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US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel resigns

US defence secretary Chuck Hagel. Credit: Reuters

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has stepped down.

NBC reported the White House had "lost confidence" in Hagel to carry out his role at the Pentagon amid criticisms of Obama's national security team and the threat posed by IS.

According to one senior official: “He wasn’t up to the job.”

President Obama has accepted his resignation.

Hagel, the only Republican on the president's national security team and the first enlisted combat veteran to lead the Department of Defense, had served in the job since February 2013.

Nuclear talks deadline extended until June 2015

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond. Credit: PA

Iran and the six powers will resume talks on the country's nuclear programme next month after a second bid to resolve the issue failed today.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said "some significant progress" had been made but it had not been possible to complete a deal before today's deadline.

It has now been extended until June next year.

Mr Hammond added the expectation was Iran would continue to refrain from sensitive atomic activity during that time.

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Body-boarding bride's wedding day rescue

A body-boarding bride had to be rescued on her big day when she fell into the sea during a post-wedding surf.

Jennifer Grant was rescued by RNLI lifeboat crews near Porth Island, off the coast of Newquay, Cornwall, after scrambling onto some rocks to avoid the waves.

Newly wed had to be rescued from the surf off the coast of Newquay Credit: PA/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Her new husband, Warren Grant, alerted the coastguards at 2.30pm on Sunday when he saw his new wife get into difficulty.

A spokeswoman for the RNLI said: "The newlywed bride had been taking a post wedding surf at Porth beach when she got into difficulties.

"She had managed to scramble onto the rocks on Porth Island but was unable to make her way back to shore."

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'Pop-up terror attacks' now greater risk to UK

Lee Rigby was mown down and stabbed in the street in May last year. Credit: ITV News

So-called 'pop-up' terror attacks, like the one on soldier Lee Rigby, now pose a greater risk to the UK than organised plots like 7/7.

Smaller, less organised attacks, where a few people, or even a single individual is targeted, show the nature of terror attacks is changing.

What went wrong in the Rigby case will be revealed in a report due out tomorrow.

Serious questions will be raised about what the police and intelligence services did and didn't do, and what they might have to do in the future to stop such attacks before they happen.

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Human rights groups blast new terror laws

Human rights groups have branded new terror laws going through parliament this week as "a recipe for injustice".

Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: "Yet again politicians resort to high talk and rushed legislation in an attempt to look tough in the face of terrorism.

"So youngsters will have their passports seized at borders and others will be prevented coming home. Even our universities must read from ministers' scripts on radicalisation.

"Another chilling recipe for injustice and resentment by closing down the open society you seek to promote."

Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch, added Theresa May's speech had "highlighted that the 'snoopers' charter' was anything but dead and buried."

911 call before Cleveland shooting released

A man who called 911 call before a 12-year-old boy was shot dead by police in Cleveland, Ohio, did tell operators he thought it was "probably fake".

Tamir Rice was shot dead by police in Cleveland, Ohio, at the weekend. The 'gun' he had turned out to be a toy replica.

The caller added Rice was "probably a juvenile" who was sitting on a swing in a children's playground at the time.

It is not thought this information was passed on to officers who arrived on the scene to investigate.

DoH denies 60% of NHS staff will miss out on 1% rise

The Department of Health have dismissed union claims that the majority of NHS workers will miss out on a 1% pay increase.

Unions claim the Government rejected a 1% pay rise recommended by the independent NHS Pay Review Body for all NHS workers. They say the decision means 60% will now not even receive a 1% increase.

Dismissing the claims, the DoH said:

  • The 55% of NHS staff not receiving a 1% rise would get an incremental increase averaging 3% and increasing to 6% for the highest.
  • The remaining 45% will receive a 1% rise this year followed by a 2% increase in 2015.

The department added that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt met with trade unions last week.

12,300 NHS workers go on strike in row over pay

NHS workers join the picket line outside Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, Basingstoke Credit: PA Wire

More than 12,000 NHS workers went on strike today in a row over pay, NHS England figures suggest.

Initial reports showed that out of 453,664 staff due to attend work this morning, 12,303 were absent.

That is 3% or one in 30 in comparison to 4.6% during the strike action in October.

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