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Downing Street 'car crash' ahead of PMQs

Official state cars suffered a minor crash outside Number 10 as drivers prepared to take David Cameron to Prime Ministers' Questions.

Cameras sited in the Downing Street caught the sound of honking before the bump.

In a statement, a spokesman said the official car was being manoeuvred when it "momentarily touched" another car.

"No damage was done," he added.


Tim Yeo loses libel action over 'cash for advocacy' claims

Former South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo Credit: PA

Former Tory MP Tim Yeo has lost his High Court libel action over a "cash for advocacy" claim in The Sunday Times which he said trashed his reputation.

Mr Yeo, 70, had asked for substantial compensation over three reports in The Sunday Times, in June 2013, which followed a lunch the previous month with two undercover journalists from the Insight team posing as representatives for a solar energy concern in the Far East.

They alleged that he was prepared to, and had offered to, act in a way that was in breach of the Commons code of conduct by acting as a paid parliamentary advocate who would push for new laws to benefit the business of a client for a daily fee of £7,000 and approach ministers, civil servants and other MPs to promote a client's private agenda in return for cash.

They also contained comment to the effect that he had shown willing to abuse his position to further his own financial and business interests.

Times Newspapers Ltd said that the articles were true, it was fair comment and also responsible journalism on matters of public interest.

Mr Yeo was not at London's High Court today when Mr Justice Warby dismissed his case.


Russia 'to send missile defence system' to Syria

Air defence missile systems will be sent to Russia's air base in Syria, government leaders have said.

Russia's S-300 missile defence system, pictured in Moscow in 2009 Credit: Reuters

After a Russian fighter jet was shot down by Turkey amid allegations the Russians had violated their airspace, news agencies reported President Vladimir Putin as saying advanced, long-range anti-aircraft surface-to-air S-300 missile system would be deployed to the region.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the newer version - the S-400 missiles - would be sent, to be stationed at Hemeimeem air base from where Russia is conducting its aerial bombing campaign in Syria.

Putin also accused Turkey's political leaders of supporting a "deliberate policy of Islamisation" of the country, saying he believed that was part of the problem.

Winter deaths 'highest since 1999'

There were an estimated 43,900 excess winter deaths across England and Wales in 2014 - the highest number since 1999.

extra deaths across England and Wales in winter 2014.

The number of excess deaths was a jump of 151% on the previous winter, and the biggest year-on-year rise since 1967/68.

The majority of deaths occurred in people aged 75 or over, and respiratory diseases were the underlying cause of death in more than a third of cases, the figures from the Office for National Statistics show.

Excess winter deaths are defined by the ONS as the number of people whose deaths were registered between December and March, compared with the numbers for the previous three months and the following three months.

Germany to send 650 soldiers to help keep peace in Mali

Up to 650 soldiers will be sent from Germany to Mali to join the UN peacekeeping mission there, the country's Defence Minister has announced.

Ursula von der Leyen said the move was aimed at helping French forces already in position in the African nation.

It comes after 19 people were killed and a further seven injured when militants seized 170 hostages at the Radisson Blu in Bamako earlier this month.

Merkel: Shooting down of Russian jet 'complicates' Syria talks

Turkey needs to do everything it can to de-escalate the situation with Russia after shooting down one of its fighter jets, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned.

The incident has "complicated" the process of finding a political solution in Syria, she added, speaking in the lower house of parliament.

The situation has been aggravated by the shooting down of a Russian plane by Turkey.

We need to do everything to avoid an escalation. Of course every country has a right to defend its territory, but on the other hand we know how tense the situation is in Syria and in the surrounding area.

I spoke yesterday with the Turkish prime minister and asked him to do everything to de-escalate the situation.

– Angela Merkel, Chancellor
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