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Boko Haram girls 'married off and will not be returned'

A man claiming to Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said that more than 200 girls kidnapped by the group six months ago from northeast Nigeria had been "married off" to its fighters, contradicting government claims they would soon be freed, Agence France-Presse reports.

The militants usually give a copy of their videos to the French news agency a day before they get posted online. The latest one is likely to raise doubts about whether talks between a rebel faction and the government in neighbouring Chad will secure the girls' release.

Lack of training poses threat to end of police cautions

The Police Federation has warned that a lack of training could hamper the pilot scheme to scrap police cautions.

If the pilot proves to increase confidence and effectiveness of the criminal justice system, it will be beneficial for everyone.

It should be noted however that lack of sufficient training in this area may pose a threat to its potential success. The most effective way to prevent crime is to have a well-funded and highly trained police service that is visible and readily available in communities.

It must be acknowledged that due to austerity measures, policing is under significant strain and is struggling to provide effective support to victims and witnesses, as was highlighted by last week’s National Detectives Survey.

This fundamentally undermines confidence in the criminal justice system and must be addressed in order to allow for the potential positive change this pilot could provide.

– Police Federation

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Brighter skies and sunny periods across England and Wales

Outbreaks of rain will clear away from more southeastern parts by early afternoon. Brighter skies with good sunny periods across the rest of England and also Wales will spread east.

Brighter skies and sunny periods across England and Wales Credit: Met Office

Later this afternoon cloud and rain will arrive in western parts of England and Wales with some gusty winds, and this rain will be edging further east this evening. There'll be some showers across Northwest Scotland and sunny breaks further east but rain will spread to the south and west of Scotland later this afternoon and evening. After a fine morning rain will spread into Northern Ireland. Top temperature 18 Celsius (64F).

Lib Dems: Miliband 'only paying lip service' to Lords reform

Ed Miliband is paying "lip service" to the principle of House of Lords reform the Liberal Democrats have said.

The Labour leader's plans drew an angry response from the Lib Dems who bitterly accused Labour of combining with Conservative MPs to wreck their plans to reform the Lords two years ago.

Ed Miliband partnered up with backbench Tories to destroy the best chance this country has had to reform the Lords.

We could have given the UK greater representation in Parliament, but when presented with the chance, he bottled it; turned his back and ran.

This is simply lip-service from a Labour party who have no intention of actually delivering.

– Sir Malcolm Bruce Lib Dem deputy leader

Miliband: Labour will replace Lords with Senate

Ed Miliband arrives at Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Ed Miliband will say the House of Lords should be replaced with an elected Senate at Labour’s North West conference in Blackpool today.

Mr Miliband is expected to say:

We’re going to reverse a century of centralisation and make sure that £30 billion of resources is devolved to the city and country regions that need it.

Labour has a radical plan for spreading power and prosperity across the great towns, cities regions and nations so that the recovery reaches your town square – not just the Square Mile of the City of London.

And today I am announcing plans to give the regions and nations greater power and a stronger voice in Westminster too.

When people say that they are turned off from politics and that it doesn’t represent them, we have to do something about it.

US Marine Andrew Tahmooressi freed from Mexico jail

A former US Marine, who had been held in Mexican jail for months after arriving at the border from California with guns in his vehicle, has been freed on psychological grounds, a Mexican court said.

Andrew Tahmooressi is escorted to a federal court in Tijuana in August. Credit: Reuters

Andrew Tahmooressi, a 26-year-old American veteran of the war in Afghanistan, had been held in Mexico since arrest on 31st March.

After agents discovered three guns in his pick-up truck, he was charged with weapons offenses and put in prison. But he was freed on Friday by a federal judge in Tijuana so he could be properly treated for the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) he developed after his military service.

Tahmooressi's case drew considerable attention, with US lawmakers taking the unusual step of scheduling a House of Representatives hearing during a congressional recess in the hope of putting pressure on Mexico and on President Barack Obama's administration to intervene more urgently in the case.

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Movement restrictions removed from US 'Ebola nurse'

Credit: Reuters

The US nurse who treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone can move about as she pleases after a judge eased state-imposed restrictions on her.

Judge Charles C LaVerdiere ruled yesterday that Kaci Hickox must continue daily monitoring of her health but said there is no need to isolate her or restrict her movements because she has no symptoms and is therefore not contagious.

The judge also decried the "misconceptions, misinformation, bad science and bad information" circulating about the lethal disease in the US.

Firefighters strike in pensions row

File photo: Firefighters on strike in 2010 Credit: PA Archive

Firefighters in England have walked out on strike for the weekend as their bitter row with the government over pay continues, ahead of several fireworks displays across the country.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union in England left their stations at 6pm yesterday and will not return until 6pm on Tuesday, the evening before Bonfire Night.

Picket lines were mounted outside fire stations, and will continue throughout the next few days.

Fire brigades again launched contingency plans, including hiring contract staff to cover for striking firefighters, but the public were warned to be extra vigilant, especially if they attend a firework event.

The Government has been accused of showing "contempt" for public sector workers amid continued deadlock in the long-running dispute in England.

Richard Branson: 'Space is hard, but worth it'

Sir Richard Branson has said he will persevere with his plans for a pioneering space tourism venture following the death of a test pilot killed when a rocket crashed during a test flight in California's Mohave desert yesterday.

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