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Nato to set up 'command units' in six eastern EU countries

Nata will set up what it is calling 'command units' in six eastern European countries. It denied that the move should be considered provocative by Russia.

The move comes as the head of Nato said that Russia's 'disturbing actions' in Ukraine had threatened Europe's security environment, and that recent victories by Ukrainian separatists could be directly linked to the shipment of Russian arms.

France's President Hollande called for a political solution in eastern Ukraine - and said sanctions would be maintained until there is one. Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reports on the increasing diplomatic pressure on Russia over the conflict.

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Islamic State chemical weapons expert 'killed in air strike'

The US says an Islamic State chemical weapons expert was killed in a coalition air strike in northern Iraq last week.

A statement from US Central Command, which controls US military operations in the Middle East, said the death would "temporarily degrade and disrupt the terrorist network".

Abu Malik had been a chemical weapons engineer during the rule of Saddam Hussein and joined al-Qaeda Iraq in 2005, Central Command said.

Cumberbatch's pardon plea to William and Kate

Benedict Cumberbatch has urged the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to help convince the government to pardon tens of thousands of gay men convicted under outdated indecency laws.

Benedict Cumberbatch has joined the campaign to pardon gay men Credit: Reuters

The film star, who has been nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of gay scientist Alan Turing, added his name to an open letter in The Guardian calling for action. Stephen Fry and gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell are also leading members of the campaign.

Cumberbatch played Turing, the pioneering computer scientist who helped crack the Enigma code, in the film Imitation Game. Turing was convicted of gross indecency in 1952 for being gay, and committed suicide two years later.

Campaigners are calling for the Royal Family to act and convince the Government to pardon 49,000 men who were convicted under the law.

"The UK's homophobic laws made the lives of generations of gay and bisexual men intolerable," the letter reads.

"It is up to young leaders of today including The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to acknowledge this mark on our history and not allow it to stand.

"We call upon Her Majesty's Government to begin a discussion about the possibility of a pardoning all the men, alive or deceased, who like Alan Turing, were convicted."

Top diplomat investigated for 'unnatural sexual proclivities,' documents show

A top British diplomat was investigated by the Thatcher Government for "unnatural sexual proclivities," according to previously classified documents.

Sir Peter Hayman served as High Commissioner to Canada in the early 1970s and has been described as being an "operative" for MI6. He died in 1992.

The Cabinet Office released the briefing to the National Archives. Credit: Getty

Documents declassified by the Cabinet Office today reportedly show that he kept a record of his sexual activities and fantasies, some involving children.

The name and code assigned to the documents suggest Hayman was investigated by Margaret Thatcher's government in the early 1980s because his past was seen as a security risk.

According to BBC News, the briefing says there was "no evidence" Hayman had sought to "approach children for sexual purposes".

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Wreaths laid in service for Churchill at Westminster Abbey

Two wreaths were laid on the green marble memorial to Sir Winston Churchill in Westminster Abbey in a private service this evening.

A private service in remembrance of Sir Winston Churchill at Westminster Abbey
Three of Churchill's great-great-grandchildren lay a wreath at Westminster Abbey
Wreaths lie on the green marble memorial to Churchill

Haircuts for Rome's homeless at the Vatican

Two homeless women sit on a bench in Rome Credit: Reuters/Alessandro Bianch

Homeless people in Rome will soon be able to go to St Peter's Square for haircuts, shaves and showers.

The head of Pope Francis' charity office said new facilities will open in mid-February.

It is being reported that barbers and hairdressers will volunteer their services on Mondays, the day their shops are traditionally closed in Italy.

They are said to have already donated chairs, mirrors and scissors.

The Pope's almoner Bishop Konrad Krajewski came up with the idea of building showers in St. Peter's Square last year after a homeless person told him that it was harder to find places to wash than to eat in the city.

NFL murder trial jury given special Super Bowl orders

Jurors on the murder trial of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez can watch this weekend's Super Bowl - but must walk away if he is mentioned.

No mention of Aaron Hernandez allowed for jurors Credit: Reuters

The judge at Bristol County Superior Court, Susan Garsh, told the jury they could watch the game but must take precautions to avoid being exposed to information about Hernandez. The Patriots take on the Seattle Seahawks in the showpiece event on Sunday.

Hernandez is charged over the shooting death of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd in 2013. The trial began on Thursday with opening statements.

Twenty-five-year-old Hernandez, who caught quarterback Tom Brady's last Super Bowl touchdown pass in the Patriots' 2012 loss to the New York Giants, had a $40 million contract with the New England team when he was arrested.

Tiger Woods shoots worst round as professional golfer

Tiger Woods made his worst score as a professional golfer when he shot 82 at a US tournament on Friday,

Tiger Woods failed to make the cut at the Phoenix Open Credit: Reuters

The former world number one had a terrible day at the office during the second round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, finishing 11 over par and missing the cut.

Woods had only failed to qualify for the final 36 holes on 12 occasions until today in 19 years as a pro golfer and it was only the second time that he failed to break 80.

Woods' previous worst effort came at the 2002 Open Championship at Muirfield when, in horrendous conditions, he shot 81 in the third round but he went one worse than that in Arizona.

The 39-year-old was playing in playing in only his second event since missing the cut at the PGA Championship in August last year.

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