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Syria president Assad makes rare public appearance

Bashar al-Assad has claimed that recent military setbacks are just part of normal warfare as his troops seek to relieve an insurgent-held town.

Speaking at an event in a school at an undisclosed location to commemorate martyrs, the Syrian president said soldiers would head to the outskirts of Jisr al-Shughour to help besieged soldiers.

The town, which is in Syria's Idlib province, is close to the government-held heartland of Latakia along the coast.

In a rare public appearance, he was surrounded by crowds of people who chanted in support.

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Nicola Sturgeon: 'Outlook for Scotland is sunny'

Nicola Sturgeon said it was up to the people if she joined a coalition. Credit: PA

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has said "the outlook for Scotland is sunny" on the eve of the General Election.

The Scottish First Minister Sturgeon said tomorrow's vote could be a "watershed election", with opinion polls suggesting Labour is facing a wipeout in its historic heartlands north of the border to be replaced by SNP MPs.

But she said it is up to the people to decide whether she joins the Westminster power-brokering by returning a hung parliament.

Speaking at a rally in Edinburgh Sturgeon said there was no reason for the rest of the UK to fear the SNP insisting the party would play "a positive and constructive role at Westminster".

She added: "We are now within touching distance, if we continue to work hard today and tomorrow, of doing something the SNP has never done in our history - winning a Westminster election.

"If we do that, then the voice of Scotland is going to be heard more loudly at Westminster than it has ever been heard before."

Nepal earthquake donations top £41 million

More than £41 million has been raised for those affected by the devastating Nepal earthquake.

A young boy assesses the damage after the devastating earthquake. Credit: Reuters

The Disasters Emergency Committee said it was "overwhelmed by the generosity of the British public".

The donations will help aid agencies reach isolated areas in desperate need of help, Saleh Saeed, the chief executive of the DEC, said.

More than eight million people have know been affected by the earthquake, which struck close to the Nepali capital Kathmandu on April 25.

The death toll has risen beyond 7,500.

Threats made to Sinn Fein leaders ahead of election

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams was told a bomb had been left at his house. Credit: PA

A series of threats have been made targeting senior Sinn Fein members ahead of the election.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness's home was paint bombed while party president Gerry Adams was warned that a bomb had been left at his family home in west Belfast, but police found nothing untoward.

In Derry, cars belonging to two Sinn Fein councillors were attacked overnight, one set alight and the windows of another smashed.

Officers have stepped up patrols targeting dissidents opposed to the peace process and the danger to the security forces is rated as severe.

Two men, aged 17 and 23, have since been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.

Mr Adams said: "There can be no place for these type of actions. Sinn Fein will not be intimidated."

Voters warned against taking polling booth selfies

Selfies are fine on the street but no in the polling booth. Credit: PA

David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg are not shy when it comes to selfies, but Britons have been warned not to reach for their camera phones when they enter polling booths to cast their votes tomorrow.

The Electoral Commission advises voters against photography inside polling stations so that they can avoid inadvertently breaching laws on the secrecy of ballots.

Although there is nothing to stop someone taking a picture of their own ballot paper, it is an offence to communicate or publicise this information to anyone else.

Those found guilty of such a breach can face a fine or even six months in prison.

Concerns that the craze could threaten the secrecy of ballots first surfaced last year ahead of local and European elections when it emerged that polling station staff had been told to stop people taking selfies.

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Colin Hendry charged with assaulting ex-partner

Hendry has been chraged with assaulting and harassing an ex-partner. Credit: PA

Former Scotland football captain Colin Hendry has been charged for assaulting and harassing one of his former girlfriends.

The ex-Blackburn defender was charged at a Blackpool police station today, and has been bailed to appear at Blackpool Magistrates on May 26th.

He is also alleged to have sent beautician Sarah Kinder, 40, a series of harassing emails.

Last month, the 49 year-old was disqualified from driving for 17 months after being caught with nearly two times more than the permitted amount of alcohol in his system.

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