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Pentagon release statement on Syria militant airstrikes

The Pentagon Press secretary has released the following statement regarding the start of airstrikes against Islamic State militant targets inside Syria:

I can confirm that U.S. military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against IS terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles."

Given that these operations are ongoing, we are not in a position to provide additional details at this time.

The decision to conduct theses strikes was made earlier today by the U.S. Central Command commander under authorization granted him by the commander in chief. We will provide more details later as operationally appropriate.

– Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby

Miliband to launch 'six goals' to help young people

Ed Miliband will outline six "goals" designed to help young people on the path to a better future in his party conference speech later today.

Among them are:

  • Doubling the number of people buying their first homes to 400,000 each year.
  • Boosting apprenticeship take-up until it matches the number going to university.
  • Halving the number of low-paid workers.
  • Creating a million new "green" technology jobs.

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Miliband expected to put NHS at heart of '10-year plan'

Ed Miliband will unveil a 10-year plan to rebuilt Britain with plans to boost NHS funding at its centre.

Ed Miliband has already pledged to raise the minimum wage to £8 over the next Parliament. Credit: PA

Ed Miliband will unveil a 10-year plan to rebuilt Britain with plans to boost NHS funding at its centre.

The Labour leader is expected to use his final conference speech before the 2015 general election to promise to redirect funds to the NHS.

But he will stress the party's commitment to fiscal discipline, insisting a "world class" country can be achieved without "big spending".

Some immediate incentives are expected to be announced - the NHS is expected to be at the heart of their 2015 manifesto.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has so far told the Manchester conference Labour would do "whatever it takes" to protect the health service, and there is speculation the party will fund plans via a mansion tax.

Japan: No nuclear power until 'safety restored 100%'

A Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) employee measures radiation levels as workers conduct operations to construct an underground ice wall at Tepco's tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima Credit: Reuters

Japan will not restart its closed-down nuclear plants "unless safety is restored 100 percent," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said.

Mr Abe said that Japan is currently "completely dependent on fossil fuels." He was speaking at the World Leaders Forum, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, and he also said that his government was looking to introduce renewable energy sources at a fast pace.

"Only when safety is established will [nuclear] plants return to operation," Abe said.

Alex Salmond returns to Holyrood

Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Alex Salmond will return to Holyrood today for the first time since his bid for Scottish independence failed.

Mr Salmond, who has announced his intention to step down as First Minister, is expected to reflect on the independence referendum and put pressure on the victorious unionist parties to deliver on their devolution pledges in a statement to the Scottish Parliament.

Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick will open today's proceedings with "time for reflection", a Holyrood slot normally reserved for spiritual or philosophical contributions from religious or secular figureheads.

Mr Salmond's statement will be followed by two days of debate on the future of Scotland, with Labour leader Johann Lamont, Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie expected to open with responses from the Scottish opposition parties.

Scotland voted against independence by a majority of 55% in the referendum on Thursday.

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Online deliveries expected to grow 'to £1.35bn by 2018'

Products bought online are expected to generate up to £1.35bn in deliveries over the next four years, research from a high street bank has shown.

Barclay's bank found more and more people were relying on online services to buy consumer goods, and found:

  • Electricals are forecast to be the highest growth sector for deliveries, with the number of packages expected to increase by 61% over the next four years.
  • Nearly 30% of retailers would use Click & Collect as their preferred delivery option although less than 20% of consumers have used this service in the past year.
  • Whilst the majority of retailers believe online shopping and delivery have benefited their sales numbers, over 30% believe it has been detrimental to costs.
  • Letterbox-sized packages and small parcels made up 60% of all deliveries from online orders in 2013 and letterbox-sized packages are set to see the highest growth by 2018, growing by 45%.
  • East Anglia is to see the biggest growth in deliveries, while the South East is set to remain as the region with the highest number. Regions where people live closer to towns and cities will see slightly lower growth.

Huge surge expected in online shopping by 2018

Demand for online shopping is expected to rise by more than a quarter, figures from Barclays have shown.

Book delivery services like Amazon may well be overtaken by Supermarkets. Credit: PA

Online deliveries are expected to rise by 29% by 2018, with clothing and footwear the most popular items.

More and more people are expected to have their weekly shop delivered, with groceries set to overtake books as the third most delivered item.

East Anglia is to see the biggest growth in deliveries, while the South East is set to remain as the region with the highest number.

Regions where people live closer to towns and cities will see slightly lower growth.

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