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Police name two men killed in firework factory blaze

Detectives investigating a fatal fire at a firework factory in Stafford have released the names of those who are believed to have died in the blaze.

41-year-old Simon Hillier, of Mountside Street, Hednesford, and Stewart Staples, 57, of Bond Way, Hednesford.

Although formal identification isn't likely to be confirmed for some weeks, evidence gathered places both of the men at the scene when the explosion happened.

I is believed Simon was working at the premises while it's thought Stewart was a customer.

A man in his 40s remains critically ill in hospital, while a fourth casualty is recovering at home.

– Supt Ian Coxhead, of Staffordshire Police


85 killed by Islamic State fighters in Iraq

Islamic State militants have killed 85 more members of the Albu Nimr tribe in Iraq, in a killing campaign launched last week in retaliation for resistance against the group's territorial advances, a tribal leader and security official told Reuters.

Sheikh Naeem al-Ga'oud, one of the tribe's leaders, said Islamic State killed 50 displaced members of Albu Nimr on Friday. In a separate incident, a security official said 35 bodies were found in a mass grave.

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Man stabbed in Isle of Man as knife amnesty gets under way

The scene of today's incident.

A man is recovering in hospital after being stabbed in the Isle of Man.

It happened as the island's police force launched a knife and gun amnesty.

Last night's attack happened at an address in Hilltop Rise, Douglas.

From today, the public can hand in guns, knives and other weapons into police stations in the capital, Ramsey, Castletown and Peel.

Police tape close to the scene.

“The victim remains at hospital with serious but not life threatening injuries.

"This outcome is predominantly as a result of the immediate first aid he received prior to the arrival of paramedics.

"We were fortunate to identify a number of witnesses and obtain an early account of what had taken place, but we would still like to speak to anyone who was in the area but might have left prior to our attendance."

– Sergeant Michelle McKillop, Isle of Man Constabulary

Witnesses should call CID on 01624 631212 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Boko Haram girls 'married off and will not be returned'

A man claiming to Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said that more than 200 girls kidnapped by the group six months ago from northeast Nigeria had been "married off" to its fighters, contradicting government claims they would soon be freed, Agence France-Presse reports.

The militants usually give a copy of their videos to the French news agency a day before they get posted online. The latest one is likely to raise doubts about whether talks between a rebel faction and the government in neighbouring Chad will secure the girls' release.


Lack of training poses threat to end of police cautions

The Police Federation has warned that a lack of training could hamper the pilot scheme to scrap police cautions.

If the pilot proves to increase confidence and effectiveness of the criminal justice system, it will be beneficial for everyone.

It should be noted however that lack of sufficient training in this area may pose a threat to its potential success. The most effective way to prevent crime is to have a well-funded and highly trained police service that is visible and readily available in communities.

It must be acknowledged that due to austerity measures, policing is under significant strain and is struggling to provide effective support to victims and witnesses, as was highlighted by last week’s National Detectives Survey.

This fundamentally undermines confidence in the criminal justice system and must be addressed in order to allow for the potential positive change this pilot could provide.

– Police Federation

Brighter skies and sunny periods across England and Wales

Outbreaks of rain will clear away from more southeastern parts by early afternoon. Brighter skies with good sunny periods across the rest of England and also Wales will spread east.

Brighter skies and sunny periods across England and Wales Credit: Met Office

Later this afternoon cloud and rain will arrive in western parts of England and Wales with some gusty winds, and this rain will be edging further east this evening. There'll be some showers across Northwest Scotland and sunny breaks further east but rain will spread to the south and west of Scotland later this afternoon and evening. After a fine morning rain will spread into Northern Ireland. Top temperature 18 Celsius (64F).

Lib Dems: Miliband 'only paying lip service' to Lords reform

Ed Miliband is paying "lip service" to the principle of House of Lords reform the Liberal Democrats have said.

The Labour leader's plans drew an angry response from the Lib Dems who bitterly accused Labour of combining with Conservative MPs to wreck their plans to reform the Lords two years ago.

Ed Miliband partnered up with backbench Tories to destroy the best chance this country has had to reform the Lords.

We could have given the UK greater representation in Parliament, but when presented with the chance, he bottled it; turned his back and ran.

This is simply lip-service from a Labour party who have no intention of actually delivering.

– Sir Malcolm Bruce Lib Dem deputy leader

Miliband: Labour will replace Lords with Senate

Ed Miliband arrives at Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Ed Miliband will say the House of Lords should be replaced with an elected Senate at Labour’s North West conference in Blackpool today.

Mr Miliband is expected to say:

We’re going to reverse a century of centralisation and make sure that £30 billion of resources is devolved to the city and country regions that need it.

Labour has a radical plan for spreading power and prosperity across the great towns, cities regions and nations so that the recovery reaches your town square – not just the Square Mile of the City of London.

And today I am announcing plans to give the regions and nations greater power and a stronger voice in Westminster too.

When people say that they are turned off from politics and that it doesn’t represent them, we have to do something about it.

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