The massive cyber attack on Sony is being treated as a "serious national security matter", the White House has confirmed. Senior Republicans have said the firm's decision to pull The Interview indicates that America has "lost its first cyber war."
Radical reforms in stamp duty have helped boost the housing market, experts have said.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said the changes - which see stamp duty increased gradually alongside the cost of the house, rather than increasing in large 'steps' - are responsible for a predicted rise in house prices, coupled with a lack of homes to choose from.
Under a revised system unveiled and launched earlier this month, the vast majority of buyers will pay less stamp duty - though it means people buying homes at the top end of the market will pay significantly more.
House prices in the north west, south east, the West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside are set to shoot up by five per cent in the coming year - while property in the capital will remain level, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has said.
It comes as further research from property analyst Hometrack found that house prices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Southampton, Bristol and Birmingham had grown at a faster rate than London over the three months to November.
The RICS predictions state that Northern Ireland and Scotland will see overall increases of four per cent, while the east of England, the East Midlands and the north east are set to see rises of three per cent.
House prices in Wales and the south west are expected to rise by two per cent.
London is the only region due to see no overall rise at all, though property experts have warned of massive fluctuations between different areas of the capital.
Driving home for Christmas is one thing - but it's when it comes to parking that people in Britain seem to have a problem.
According to research by one insurance company, 17 per cent of male drivers have had an accident while trying to park, along with 15 per cent of female drivers.
The survey also found:
- 19 per cent have asked someone else to park for them
- 21 per cent have had an argument with someone over a parking space
- 17 per cent had left a note on another car criticising the driver's parking
- 18 per cent admitted they had illegally used a disabled space in the past
US investigators are looking at the possibility that Iran helped North Korea in a 'state-sponsored' cyber attack on Sony's film division, government officials have said.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official told Reuters news agency that the code used to attack the studio bore striking similarities to malware known as 'Shamoon'.
Shamoon is believed by the US to have been used by Iran to target tens of thousands of computers at Saudi Arabia's national oil firm, Saudi Aramco, in an attack in 2012, and against banks and broadcasting companies in South Korea last year.