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The target for the NHS says 95 per cent of patients with suspected cancer referred by their GP must be seen by a specialist within two weeks.
The data suggests many are not seen on this basis and are eventually diagnosed another way. While some GP practices show 100 per cent of patients with cancer making it through the fast-track system, others fall far behind.
Thousands of people eventually diagnosed with cancer may be failed by GPs who do not refer them quickly enough, data suggests. Figures from around 4,000 GP practices in England show that, in many cases, only a minority of patients are fast-tracked for investigation by a specialist.
In some practices, only around one in 10 patients eventually diagnosed with the disease saw a specialist within two weeks.
The United States welcomed North Korea's decision to release American citizen Merrill Newman, who was detained by North Korean authorities in late October on a visit as a tourist to the secretive country, the State Department said in a statement.
"We are pleased that Mr. Merrill Newman has been allowed to depart the DPRK and re-join his family. We welcome the DPRK's decision to release him," said Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman.
The electric guitar Bob Dylan played at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, when the acoustic troubadour shocked traditionalists with a set of rock and roll, sold for $965,000 (£590,000), a world auction record for a guitar, Christie's said.
The 1964 Fender Stratocaster, along with five song lyrics left on a private airplane by the songwriter and his band in the months after the Rhode Island festival, were part of six lots in a special sale of Dylan material in New York.
"A tremendous amount of international interest was generated at the time of the sale's announcement, and today's result justifies the mythic status of this guitar in the annals of music history," Tom Lecky, a specialist at Christie's, said in a statement.
North Korea said on it has deported Merrill E. Newman, an 85-year old American it has been holding on charges of "hostile acts" against the state, on humanitarian grounds because he has admitted to his wrongdoing and apologised.
The deportation was announced by the North's KCNA news agency.
Mr Newman, who has a soldier during the 1950-53 Korean War and worked with guerrillas fighting against the socialist North, has been held by the Pyongyang regime since late October. He was visiting North Korea as a tourist.
Nelson Mandela 'knew his ability to inspire people' the former US president Bill Clinton said in an interview for US television.
Mr Clinton said: "He was a very, very effective president and he knew his ability to inspire people around the world, would only endure, if he could prove that there was not only freedom and forgiveness, but that it worked better for society that when people worked together, good things happen."
Mr Clinton was interviewed by Brian Williams for NBC News.
For an hour the football mad country of Brazil came to a complete standstill. All eyes were on the draw to see who was playing who - and ex-pat England fans were nervous.
With six months to go it felt like the party had already started. But for fans travelling out from England, the logistics and costs may dampen the euphoria.
There were mixed emotions in the Soweto township where Nelson Mandela lived under - and fought against - the Apartheid regime.
Crowds gathered outside his former home which is now a museum.
From there ITV's International Correspondent John Irvine reports:
A successor President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, called upon the world to celebrate the loss of Nelson Mandela - 'an international icon'. A memorial service will be held in Soweto next week; he will lie in state before a state funeral, next weekend.
It will be attended by world leaders, more of whom offered their praises today. But, in South Africa and around the world, the grief and gratitude of ordinary people too, poured out - some had met him; all felt he had touched their lives and changed their world.
From outside Mandela's Johannesburg home, ITV's Africa Correspondent Rohit Kachroo reports: