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Britain braces for blizzards, snow and strong winds

The Met Office said sleet and snow showers would affect parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland today, with snow falling to lower levels and extending further south through the day.

Britain braces for blizzards, snow and strong winds. Credit: PA

A very cold airmass will spread southwards across Scotland and Northern Ireland accompanied by strong winds, spreading southwards into northern England and north Wales later in the day.

Frequent showers are likely to form in this airmass, and with the cold air snow is likely to accumulate, even to low levels in places.

Periods of enhanced snowfall are possible within this general flow, perhaps more especially across the high ground of Scotland and north-east England, but these details are more uncertain.

– Met Office's chief forecaster Eddie Carroll


Dozens detained after protest turned violent in Austria

Police have detained dozens of protesters after a protest against an annual ball in Vienna's imperial Hofburg palace reportedly turned violent on Friday night.

According to Reuters police told local broadcaster ORF that 38 people had been taken into custody after 5,000 demonstrators gathered on the streets of Austria's capital to protest against the Academics' Ball which is hosted by the far-right Freedom Party.

Protesters on the streets of Vienna Credit: APTN
38 people were arrested in the protests Credit: APTN
Around 5,000 protesters gathered outside Hofburg palace Credit: APTN

US: IS expert death will 'disrupt' chemical weapons use

A coalition airstrike came near Mosul, Iraq. Credit: Google Maps

The death of an Islamic State chemical weapons expert is expected to temporarily "degrade and disrupt" their use against "innocent people" US Central Command said in a statement.

His death is expected to temporarily degrade and disrupt the terrorist network and diminish ISIL's ability to potentially produce and use chemical weapons against innocent people.

– US Central Command

US Central Command has issued a statement saying Islamic State chemical weapons expert Abu Malik, was killed in a coalition airstrike on January 24 near Mosul, Iraq.

Malik had been a chemical weapons engineer during the rule of Saddam Hussein and then affiliated himself with al Qaeda Iraq in 2005, Central Command said.

When he joined Islamic State, also known as ISIL, it gave the insurgent force a chemical weapons capability, the statement said.

Canada tightens anti-terror laws in wake of attacks

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said jihadists had declared war on Canada. Credit: Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press/PA

Tough new laws announced by Canada will make it a crime to call for a terror attack and allow police to detain anyone suspected of being involved in a plot without charge for up to seven days.

Work to toughen the law began in October after a gunman killed a soldier at Canada's national war memorial in Ottawa before storming parliament.

The attack came two days after a man said to be inspired by the Islamic State (IS) group, ran over two soldiers in a car park in Quebec, killing one and injuring the other before being shot dead.

Under the current law it is a crime to make a specific threat, but the new measures will criminalise calling for general terror attacks on Canada or to promote or advocate others to carry out terrorism elsewhere.

The penalty will carry a maximum of five years in prison and authorities will also be able to remove terror-related material from any Canadian website.

Over the last few years a great evil has been descending upon our world, an evil that has been growing more and more powerful, violent jihadism.

– Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper

Mr Harper said jihadists had declared war on Canada and it would be a grave mistake to ignore their threats.

Japan says hostage negotiations are 'deadlocked'

Yasuhide Nakayama said talks to free the hostages have become 'deadlocked'. Credit: Reuters/Muhammad Hamed

Japan's deputy foreign minister has said negotiations with the Islamic State group threatening to execute a Jordanian pilot and a Japanese journalist have become "deadlocked," according to Japanese state media, AFP reports.

Yasuhide Nakayama told reporters in the Jordanian capital that there had been no progress in trying to secure the release of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto and pilot Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh.

According to Japan's public broadcaster NHK, Mr Nakayama said: "It has become deadlocked. Staying vigilant, we will continue analysing and examining information as the government is making concerted efforts together."


Woods analyses his worst round of professional golf

Tiger Woods was playing in his second event in five months after undergoing surgery. Credit: Willie J. Allen, Jr./PA Wire/PA

Tiger Woods has said he will "keep fighting" after he plunged to new depths with the worst score of his professional career in Friday's second round at the TPC Scottsdale.

The 14-times major champion was out-of-sorts in every phase of his game as he struggled to an 11-over-par score of 82 at the Phoenix Open.

Woods was competing at Scottsdale in only his second event in five months after suffering back problems for most of last year after undergoing surgery.

Charity calls for liver disease screening as deaths rise

The rise in deaths from liver disease could be linked to an increase in alcohol consumption. Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire/PA

The number of people dying from liver disease in the UK has risen by 400% over the last 40 years according to the British Liver Trust.

The charity is calling for the Government to introduce early liver disease screening along with a specific national liver health prevention campaign which it said could save £600m and thousands of lives.

Chief Executive of the Trust, Andrew Langford, said: “If we do nothing, we will continue to see ever increasing rates of liver damage and early death.

"The average age of death from liver disease is 57, that’s over 20 years lower than deaths from cancer, stroke and heart disease – liver disease is now the third most common cause of premature death."

The organisation has launched its fourth annual 'Love Your Liver' campaign along with an online screening tool which is designed to help the public assess their risk of liver disease.

British army sets up brigade to fight social media war

The new 77th Brigade will be equipped to fight wars in the digital age. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/PA

The British army is setting set up a specialist brigade that will be expert in the use of social media in the digital age, according to reports.

The new brigade, which will be made up of reservists and regular troops and based in Hermitage in Berkshire, is expected to be officially operational in April following a recruitment drive in the Spring.

An Army spokesman said the unit would "play a key part in enabling the UK to fight in the information age" and that it "consists of more than just traditional capabilities".

He added: "77 Brigade is being created to draw together a host of existing and developing capabilities essential to meet the challenges of modern conflict and warfare.

The new brigade is being named the 77th in tribute to the Chindits,a British guerrilla force led by Major General Orde Wingate against the Japanese in Burma during WWII, which used unorthodox tactics.

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