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Text Santa charity appeal raises highest ever total

The Text Santa charity appeal has raised over £5.5 million for six charities. Credit: ITV News

ITV's Text Santa appeal raised its highest ever total as viewers dug deep to donate more than £5.5 million.

The star-studded show saw Hollywood superstar George Clooney appear in a special version of Downton Abbey, former Spice Girl Mel B join the cast of Coronation Street and members of McBusted eat turkey testicles and fish eyes in a "bushtucker trial".

This year's appeal was raising cash for Teenage Cancer Trust, Guide Dogs, WellChild, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Alzheimer's Society and children's hospice support charity Together for Short Lives.

In four years of fundraising, Text Santa has now raised over £20.5 million.

Government pledges to help over-50s keep working

Older jobseekers will be given extra support to find work under a new government scheme. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

The Government is pledging to tackle ageism in the workplace by offering fresh support to older jobseekers.

A scheme will be launched in April across the UK to give "intensive" work support to over-50s, including help to get online and links with smaller firms with vacancies.

Ministers said research showed that if the 1.2 million unemployed over-50s were supported into a job, it could add £50 billion to the economy.

Despite the recent impressive trends in those over 50 getting back into work, older workers still in many cases face outdated stereotypes when it comes to business hiring practices. Not only is this a waste of valuable talent and 'life skills', but it's a missed opportunity for businesses."

– Employment Minister Esther McVey

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Police hunt teenager released from prison 'in error'

Police are offering a reward after Jordan Lee Francois was released from prison in error. Credit: Metropolitan Police

A teenager held on suspicion of attempted murder is being sought by police after he was released from prison in error.

The Metropolitan Police offered a £10,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of Jordan Lee Francois.

The Prison Service said it would "formally investigate" the incident.

A Prison Service spokesman said: "Releases in error are a very rare but regrettable occurrence. The number of incidents have fallen significantly in recent years with figures down by a quarter compared to 2009/10 but every incident is taken extremely seriously and we are not complacent."

Scotland Yard said the 18-year-old was "unlawfully at large from prison" from Wandsworth Prison, where he was on remand for attempted murder.

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Farage popularity hit by ongoing Ukip blunders

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has been criticised after his attempts to defend a former UKIP parliamentary candidate's remarks about Chinese people and homosexuals only appeared to make matters worse.

Mr Farage said controversial comments made by disgraced former Ukip candidate Kerry Smith were because he was a "rough diamond".

ITV News' Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reports on how the controversy is affecting Mr Farage's popularity.

Obama criticises Sony for 'caving in to censorship'

US President Barack Obama has poured scorn on North Korea as the FBI confirmed the dictatorship had hacked Sony pictures after it produced a satire on an assassination attempt on the life of Kim Jong-un.

Mr Obama said the hacking was 'dangerous folly' which threatened America's commercial interests and worse.

ITV News' Washington Correspondent Robert Moore reports.

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Man held after police officer's death

A 28-year-old man from Huyton has been arrested on suspicion of murder following an assault in Liverpool in which an off duty policeman died.

Merseyside Police say the man presented himself at a police station this evening and is being interviewed by detectives.

A post mortem to establish the cause of death of Constable Neil Doyle has concluded that he died as a result of a fatal bleed around the brain, caused by damage to major blood vessels supplying the brain, consistent with an assault.

Israel launches airstrike against Hamas in Gaza

Israeli aircraft bombed a Hamas militant base in the Gaza Strip for the first time since the end of a war in the territory, in response to a rocket that militants launched earlier in the day, the army said.

The bombs struck in the Khan Younis area in the southern Gaza Strip. Local hospital officials said there were no casualties.

The militant rocket fired earlier landed in a field in southern Israel and no one was injured.

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