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Weather: Bright conditions for most on Monday

Many places will be bright for a time this morning but across Scotland there will be further wintry showers with some sunshine in between.

Many places will see bright weather on Monday. Credit: Met Office

Cloud, rain and strong winds will spread into Northern Ireland this morning and then spill eastwards through the afternoon and evening to all but Northern Scotland, where the showers will continue.

Gales will develop around many coasts but especially in the west and southwest.

Top temperature 12 Celsius (54F).

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David Cameron warns of 'stark choice' at election

David Cameron will warn voters that they face a "stark choice" between him and Ed Miliband on May 7.

David Cameron will outline his election message today. Credit: PA Wire

His party will head into the first official day of the election campaign encouraged by an ITV News/Daily Mail poll showing the party four points ahead of Labour.

The Prime Minister will reiterate his message that Britain is on the "right track" and must avoid the "economic chaos" he says a Labour government would deliver.

He will accuse Ed Miliband of planning a £3,000 tax hike for every working family if the party returned to power - a claim Labour described as "totally made up".

Mr Cameron will say: "Ed Miliband pays lip service to working people while planning to hike taxes and increase debt. After five years of effort and sacrifice, Britain is on the right track. This election is about moving forward - and as Prime Minister here at Number 10, that's what I will deliver."

Miliband: Tories pose 'danger' to business with EU plans

Ed Miliband has warned that Tory plans to hold a referendum on Britain's membership with the European Union pose a "clear and present danger" to jobs and prosperity.

Ed Miliband will outline his fears for business if an EU referendum is held in 2017. Credit: PA Wire

The Labour leader will use the first day of the official campaign period to warn that David Cameron's plans for a referendum in 2017 will lead to "two years of uncertainty".

In a speech at Bloomberg in London today, Mr Miliband will say businesses will face years of "chaos" and will be left unable to plan for the future if the the Tories win power on May 7 and the referendum goes ahead.

Miliband will say that his party will not "condemn this country to years of uncertainty, years of insecurity, by threatening our European future".

IS expanded since start of air strikes, Assad claims

Islamic State has expanded since the start of US-led air strikes last September, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Credit: Reuters

Asked how effective the strikes had been in fighting the terror group, Assad told CBS: "Sometimes you could have local benefit but in general if you want to talk in terms of ISIS, actually ISIS has expanded since the beginning of the strikes."

Assad claimed that there were some estimates that IS was attracting 1,000 recruits a month in Syria.

He also warned the group were expanding into new territory in Iraq and Libya.

The Syrian president - who has been involved in a brutal civil war with rebels since 2011 - said he would leave power when he no longer retained public support, or felt he could not represent "the Syrian interests, and values."

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Two bodies found after New York gas explosion

Two bodies have been found following a gas explosion which destroyed New York City apartment buildings last week, officials say.

A car sits amongst the rubble after the deadly explosion in New York. Credit: Reuters

The bodies were discovered close to one of the buildings which had been reduced to rubble by the blast on Thursday, the city's fire commissioner Daniel Nigro said.

The remains are believed to belong to two missing men who were eating in a sushi restaurant when the explosion occurred.

Three buildings collapsed and 11 buildings were evacuated after the blast, leaving residents of around 144 apartments homeless.

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