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NHS payrise 'will not cost the taxpayer more money'

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that an NHS payrise, offered as a way of averting strike action by health workers, would not cost the taxpayer any more money:

QC: 'Trail of polonium leads directly to Putin's door'

A 'trail of polonium traces' leads directly to the 'door of Vladimir Putin' the barrister representing Alexander Litvinenko's widow has said, referring to the death of the poisoned spy.

Marina Litvinenko outside the Royal Courts of Justice. Credit: PA

When all of the open and closed evidence is considered together, Mr Litvinenko's dying declaration will be borne as true, that the trail of polonium traces lead not just from London to Moscow but directly to the door of Vladimir Putin and Mr Putin should be unmasked by this inquiry as a common criminal dressed up as a head of state.

– Ben Emmerson QC

The QC told the inquiry, chaired by Sir Robert Owen, that Mr Livtinenko became a "marked man" in 1998 when he attempted to expose a plot by the Russian intelligence service - the FSB - to kill Russian billionnaire Boris Berezovsky.

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Osborne remains tight-lipped on policies to tackle inequality

Chancellor George Osborne refused to say whether he would implement policies to tackle inequality, such as raising taxes on the wealthy, in the next Budget.

In an interview with Business Editor Joel Hills, he admitted that growth had not been entirely balanced, but insisted the gap between rich and poor was getting narrower:

Mr Osborne also said Britain needed a "clear economic plan" due to uncertainties on the international stage.

He mentioned the ongoing issues in the Eurozone and Greece, downgrading of Russian bonds and the dropping price of oil as examples.

Unions to consult members on health worker pay offer

Union leaders have cautiously welcomed a new offer from the Government in an ongoing row over pay.

Unison's head of health Christina McAnea said it "isn't a great offer" but that it would consult its members on the new terms.

The GMB amd Unite unions both said they too would consult members on the new offer.

Dr Peter Carter, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said the "breakthrough" was a "positive start, but there is more to be done".

Barrister: Putin should be unmasked as a 'common criminal'

A barrister representing Alexander Litvinenko's widow has said that the Russian president Vladimir Putin should be unmasked as "nothing more than a common criminal dressed as a head of state" by a public inquiry into the death of the poisoned spy.

Barrister Ben Emmerson QC. Credit: PA

On the first day of the long-awaited hearing, Ben Emmerson QC, for Marina Litvinenko, said the murder of the Russian spy turned political campaigner was an "act of nuclear terrorism on the streets of a major city".

Held in the Royal Courts of Justice, the inquiry heard that Mr Litvinenko, affectionately known as Sasha, may have been poisoned "not once but twice" with radioactive polonium-210.

Mr Men head for big screen - after studio deal is signed

Little Miss Hug recently created by Roger Hargreaves son Adam Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

After years of talk and anticipation, it seems the likes of Mr Tickle, Mr Bump and Little Miss Chatterbox will now grace the silver screen.

Fox Animation, the studio behind Ice Age and Rio, has signed a deal to make a film version starring the Mr Men and Little Miss characters.

No director or writer has been announced, but we do know it will be produced by Shawn Levy, who was behind the Night At The Museum series.

I loved reading these books as a kid, and now I love reading them to my own kids.

Their humour, wit and uniquely specific tone make this a truly classic series. I can't wait to help shepherd them to the big screen.

– Shawn Levy, producer

The books, created by Roger Hargreaves first went into print in 1971.

But they have not lost any of their popularity, with one being sold somewhere in the world every 2.5 seconds.

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Timeline: Investigation into murder of Nicola Payne

Two men have been charged with the murder of missing Coventry mother Nicola Payne, who disappeared 23 years ago.

Nicola Payne was 18 when she went missing Credit: West Midlands Police

West Midlands Police said the charges "follow months of extensive enquiries."

Timeline of events

  • Nicola goes missing on 14th December 1991 after leaving her boyfriend's house. A number of police searches come to nothing.
  • 2007: Detectives re-examine the case with Nicola's parents making a fresh appeal for information.
  • 2012: Investigation reopened after new information comes to light
  • 2013: Police announced a forensic breakthrough and arrest two men later released on bail.
  • A three-day search of woodland at Coombe Abbey Park near Coventry uncovers "items of interest"
  • Today: Two men arrested in 2013 are charged with Nicola's abduction and murder

Nigel Barwell, 51, of Copperas Street, and Thomas O'Reilly, 50, of Ribble Road will appear before magistrates tomorrow, charged with her murder.

A 52-year-old year old woman, originally arrested in December 2013 on suspicion of perverting the course of justice and later bailed, has since been released without charge.

'Don't hijack Alice's death' - family warns anti-immigration groups

The family of murdered schoolgirl Alice Gross say they do not want her death to be 'hijacked' by anti-immigration groups.

Alice's parents Jose Gross and Rosalind Hodgkiss say they need to know what the authorities knew about convicted killer Arnis Zalkalns, and hope an inquest will look at the wider circumstances surrounding her death.

Jose Gross and Rosalind Hodgkiss, the parents of Alice Gross during the appeal to find her last year Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Although we now have certain information about how Alice died, we are still left with a number of serious unanswered questions about what the authorities knew or should have known about the man who is believed to have killed our daughter when he came to the UK.

Alice believed in the free movement of people and so do we.

For her sake we are determined to ask these questions responsibly and sensitively.

– Family statement

The family has asked civil rights group Liberty to represent them at her inquest.

Emma Norton, a legal officer from the organisation said 'The family is aware that this is a sensitive and difficult subject, and is concerned to ensure that it is not hijacked by groups with an anti-immigration agenda.

The family believe in freedom of movement and human rights. That is why they approached Liberty and asked us to help them.'

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