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Released US journalist 'overwhelmed' by welcome home

Peter Theo Curtis, back home in the US
Credit: Reuters

A journalist released earlier this week after almost two years of imprisonment in Syria said he was overwhelmed by the outpouring of attention he has recieved upon returning home.

Peter Theo Curtis, 45, returned to the United States late Tuesday after being released on Sunday.

He was captured in 2012 and held by Nusra Front, al Qaeda's official wing in Syria and rivals to the militant group Islamic State.

Speaking for the first time publicly at a briefing outside his family's home in Massachusetts, he said:

"I am overwhelmed with emotion.

I suddenly remember how good the American people are, and what kindness they have in their hearts -- and to all those people I say a huge thank you from ...the bottom of my heart.

– Peter Theo Curtis

More: American 'killed fighting alongside Islamic State jihadists'



Woman finds 3ft wasp nest on bed

Wasp nest
5,000 wasps were in his nest built on a woman's bed Credit: John Birkett

A pest controller couldn't believe his eyes when he was asked to remove a 3ft wasp nest from a woman's bed.

John Birkett, who runs of Longwood Services Pest Control, got the call to the Winchester property where he discovered a nest containing 5,000 wasps.

It's believed the wasps got in via an open window in an unused spare room.


Timeline of Rotherham abuse

The inquiry found 1,400 children were abused between 1997 and 2013
The inquiry found 1,400 children were abused between 1997 and 2013
  • Early to mid-1990s: Workers told the new report they came across examples of child sexual exploitation from this period.
  • 1997: Risky Business, a team of youth workers, is set up over concerns about young people being abused through prostitution.
  • 2002: Chapter of draft report contained severe criticisms of agencies in Rotherham involved with child sexual exploitation (CSE).
  • 2005: Councillor Shaun Wright appointed cabinet member for the newly-created department of children and young people's services.
  • 2008: Operation Central set up to investigate men believed to be involved in sexual exploitation.
  • 2009: Ofsted rated Rotherham's children's services as "inadequate".
  • 2010: Five men given lengthy jail terms after they are found guilty of grooming teenage girls for sex.
  • 2012: Reports in The Times claim that details from 200 restricted-access documents showed police and child protection agencies in the town had extensive knowledge of these activities for a decade, yet a string of offences went unprosecuted.
  • 2013: Publication of Home Affairs Select Committee report into CSE andindependent inquiry into the issue in Rotherham is announced.
  • 2014: Professor Alexis Jay's report finds 1,400 children suffered sexual exploitation in a 16-year period.


Some 500 earthquakes hit Iceland volcano within hours

Around 500 earthquakes have rocked a rumbling volcano in Iceland since midnight, adding to fears that an eruption could be sparked at any moment.

The country has issued an orange aviation alert - the second highest - warning of possible disruption to air traffic should the Bardarbunga volcano blow.

Warning signs block the road to the Bardarbunga volcano
Warning signs block the road to the Bardarbunga volcano Credit: Reuters

Seismic activity and magma movement as close as 10km beneath ground level has been reported in the region since the middle of August. However, the Met Office has downgraded its alert from red to orange, saying an eruption was no longer considered to be imminent.

Roads are still closed in the region.

It comes after tens of thousands of flights were grounded when Iceland's Eyjafjallajokul volcano erupted in 2010, creating an enormous ash cloud which experts feared would damage jet engines.

Brown: Yes vote 'won't benefit ordinary Scottish people'

The shareholders of Scotland's most profitable private companies will benefit from independence rather than the ordinary people of Scotland, Gordon Brown has said.

Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown during a Better Together Scottish referendum event in Dundee.
Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown during a Better Together Scottish referendum event in Dundee. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

The former prime minister launched an attack on the SNP's tax policies under independence as he joined Better Together leader Alistair Darling at a rally aimed at postal voters.

Former prime minister Gordon Brown.
Former prime minister Gordon Brown claimed the SNP has 'o plans to raise funds that would come from a fairer taxation system'. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Brown told the audience that while the nationalists "dine out" on ideas of equality, they have "no plans to raise funds that would come from a fairer taxation system".

Sunny spells set to break through this afternoon

After a couple of days of pretty grotty weather in some parts of the country, there are signs of improvement over the next 24 hours.

As for the rest of today, it will stay fairly wet for people in the south west, but for those elsewhere expect sunny spells and warmer temperatures, particularly in the western parts of Scotland.

ITV weather presenter Becky Mantin has the latest forecast:

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