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Govt to take student loan recommendations 'seriously'

The Department for Business has welcomed an MPs' report that claims the student loans system is "at tipping point" due to Government miscalculations, saying it will take the recommendations "seriously".

A spokeswoman said: "The costs of the loan system are based on projections of graduate repayments over the next 35 years. These projections will continue to fluctuate due to numerous macroeconomic variables, and present no immediate pressure on the system.

An MPs' report that claims the student loans system is "at tipping point" due to Government miscalculations.
An MPs' report that claims the student loans system is "at tipping point" due to Government miscalculations. Credit: Johnny Green/PA Archive

"The Government is committed to ensuring that the taxpayer is receiving value for money.

"This is why we are continuing to work with the Student Loans Company on improving best practice and have already dramatically tightened the regime for recouping repayments from graduates both domestically and overseas."

Conflicting reports over missing Israeli soldier

An Israeli soldier is presumed dead after he went missing in the Gaza Strip, according to local media. The reports come two days after the Islamist Hamas group announced they had captured a soldier during clashes.

Israel's Channel 10 News said the military believed the man was killed along with six other troops in an attack on an armoured vehicle on Sunday. However, the army has only identified six bodies. Hamas on Sunday announced it had captured an Israeli soldier, but did not say whether he was dead or alive.

Abu Ubaida, the spokesman of the Hamas's armed wing, said the soldier was seized in heavy fighting on the Gaza border on Sunday. He displayed a photo ID and army serial number of theman, but showed no image of him in their hands.

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Train carrying MH17 victims' bodies arrives in Kharkiv

A train carrying the bodies of flight MH17 victims has arrived in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, Reuters reported, citing a witness.

A Ukrainian policeman watches as a train carrying the victims of downed flight MH17 arrives in Kharkiv.
A Ukrainian policeman watches as a train carrying the victims of downed flight MH17 arrives in Kharkiv. Credit: REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Ukrainian officials have said the bodies will be flown to Amsterdam.

Read: The long journey back to Amsterdam for MH17 victims

EU meeting 'opportunity to send clear signal to Russia'

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said today's meeting with his EU counterparts was "an opportunity to send a very clear signal to Russia" over the downing of flight MH17.

Speaking as he entered the Brussels meeting, Mr Hammond said: "We're obviously pleased that there is movement now on repatriating victims, pleased that there is some access being granted to the site.

"But we mustn't forget the overall context - this terrible incident happened in the first place because of Russia's support to the separatists in eastern Ukraine, because of the flow of heavy weapons from Russia into eastern Ukraine, and we have to address that issue today."

"I shall be urging my colleagues and our partners to send a very clear and strong signal to Russia today," the Foreign Secretary added.

Scientists find 80 genes associated with schizophrenia

Scientists have found the location for more than 100 genes associated with schizophrenia in a major research breakthrough that could "open a window" to finding new treatments for the disease. Eighty-three new genes associated with schizophrenia have been identified in a wide-ranging study.

Scientist locate 80 new genes associated with schizophrenia.
Scientist locate 80 new genes associated with schizophrenia. Credit: Klaus Rose/DPA/Press Association Images

A total of 108 loci - locations on genes - were discovered in the research undertaken by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, a group of more than 80 institutions. Samples from more than 150,000 people, almost 37,000 of whom had been diagnosed with the disease, were examined and the new locations were found showing a difference in the DNA sequence between those with the illness and those without.

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Government 'has worrying student loans record'

The Department for Business has a "worrying record" of miscalculating student loans repayments, a group of influential MPs has warned.

More disturbing is the fact that independent forecasters have been recommending improvements to the Government's methodology for some years, which the department has ignored.

We recommend that it starts to listen now.

– Commons Business Select Committee report

The committee's report goes on to suggest that the Government is already struggling to collect student loan debts, with approximately 14,000 graduates living overseas behind on their repayments.

Sky News reporter: 'Error of judgment' over MH17 bag

Sky News reporter Colin Brazier has spoken of his "error of judgment" after he rifled through the luggage of a flight MH17 victim live on air.

Writing in the Guardian, Brazier said: "While presenting Sky's lunchtime coverage of the flight MH17 disaster, I stooped down to look at a piece of debris. It was a child's suitcase."

"I put my hand inside and lifted up a water bottle and a set of keys. As I did so my mental circuit-breaker finally engaged and I apologised instantly on-air for what I was doing."

The reporter, whose actions were berated on Twitter, said he had "started blubbing on air" which could not be heard on internet replays of his broadcast.

"Too late, I realised that I was crossing a line. I thought aloud: 'We shouldn't be doing this … this is a mistake', an instant apology that was only selectively quoted by those determined to see what I did as a powerful example of journalistic vulturism," Brazier added.

MH17 victim's nephew says 'their dignity has been lost'

The nephew of a British man who died on downed flight MH17 has said scenes of victims' bodies being thrown onto trains in Ukraine were "tough to swallow" as "their dignity has been lost".

Jordan Withers told Good Morning Britain he was still unsure whether the body of his uncle, Glenn Thomas, was on the train travelling to Kharkiv, whether his remains would be identified.

He said: "We still don't know if it's on that train ... We just want to know if Glenn's body is going to be coming back to us as soon as possible and then we can begin the grieving process.

"It's just been such a whirlwind, we've had no time to reflect or grieve or mourn, and I don't think you can actually do that until you get closure on what has happened."

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