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North London pub fight leaves pensioner critically ill

Credit: PA

A 72-year-old man has suffered "life threatening head injuries" following reports of men fighting outside a pub.

Scotland Yard is appealing for information after officers discovered two men injured outside the North Star Public House in Swiss Cottage, north London, yesterday.

Officers were called shortly before 10.45pm and discovered the pensioner had sustained life threatening head injuries, police said.

He was taken by ambulance to a north London hospital where his condition is critical.

A man in his 40s was also taken to hospital for treatment to "non-life threatening head injuries," Scotland Yard said.

A police spokesman said: "At this early stage officers believe that an altercation may have taken place inside the pub and continued on the street outside the venue."

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Obama declares storm hit Texas disaster zone

At least 21 people are dead and dozens more missing after the storms. Credit: Reuters

US President Barack Obama has signed a disaster declaration for parts of Texas that have been hit by devastating storms and floods this week, killing at least 21 people.

The statement from the White House said the declaration would open up federal funds to assist residents, businesses and governments reeling from the major disaster to help rebuild.

Saved by the Bell star Dustin Diamond guilty over bar fight

Actor Dustin Diamond, most famous for his role in 'Saved By The Bell'. Credit: Ozaukee County Police/APTV

Dustin Diamond, one of the stars of 90s TV series 'Saved by the Bell', has been found guilty of carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct.

He had pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of recklessly endangering public safety, plus two lesser misdemeanours - carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct.

Diamond,38, who played the character Screech on the popular 1990s show, said some people had wanted to shake his hand and pose for photos at the bar, but that others were badgering him and his girlfriend, Amanda Schutz.

He said he was trying to scare bar patrons in Port Washington after his girlfriend was punched in the face.

"I felt like we were being set up for antagonistic purposes," he said.

Witnesses testified that Schutz pushed one woman at the bar and grabbed another woman's hand, initiating the incident. Schutz also faces a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge.

Nimrod axe created 'intelligence risk' to Trident subs

The flight deck of an RAF Nimrod. Credit: PA

Russian submarines are likely to have gained "valuable intelligence" on the UK's nuclear deterrent since the scrapping of the Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft, key RAF figures have warned.

In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, five retired senior officers warned that Britain's lack of submarine hunting aircraft has given the chance for "intruders" to snoop in territorial waters and potentially track Trident missile carrying Vanguard-class nuclear submarines.

The officers said:

Without maritime patrol aircraft surveillance, opportunities for intelligence-gathering by such 'intruders' can only prejudice the security and effectiveness of our strategic deterrent.

Indeed, it would be surprising if valuable intelligence had not already been acquired by the Russian Navy since the Nimrod force was grounded in March 2010.

– Letter to the Daily Telegraph

HMRC waives late tax return £100 fees

Credit: PA

People who filed late tax returns have been let off a £100 fine for missing the deadline, it has been reported.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has waived the penalty for those who provided a "reasonable" excuse for being late, according to the Daily Telegraph.

An internal memo leaked to the newspaper revealed that HMRC staff were asked to write off the fine without further investigation for individuals who could show mitigating circumstances, and who appealed after paying their tax bill.

The January 31 deadline for completing tax self-assessment forms was reportedly missed by 890,000 people.

A HMRC spokesman told the Telegraph: "We want to focus more and more of our resources on investigating major tax avoidance and evasion rather than penalising ordinary people who are trying to do the right thing."

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Silk Road 'mastermind' gets life for drugs website

The mastermind behind the world's largest illegal online drugs market has been sentenced to life imprisonment for creating the website that allowed $200 million of anonymous drug trades worldwide.

Ross Ulbricht, 31, was sentenced by US District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan after a federal jury in February found him guilty of charges including distributing drugs through the Internet and conspiring to commit computer hacking and money laundering.

UK may expand military support mission in Iraq

British soldiers instruct Kurdish Peshmerga fighters during training at a shooting range in Arbil, October 2014. Credit: Reuters

The UK is preparing to send troops into the more dangerous parts of northern Iraq in support of the US military mission to train local forces to fight so-called Islamic State fighters.

The Times reports that the prospect of expanding the British mission to Iraq from the relative safety of Kurdish held areas has been raised at a meeting of the National Security Council, chaired by David Cameron.

It is understood that the British Army is ready to go ahead, but it is awating political approval from ministers.

The operation would involve the deployment of a specialist team of experts in countering roadside bombs - improvised explosive devices (IEDs) - to work alongside American trainers.

They would be based in the capital Baghdad but could also operate outside the city where the US is conducting training of Iraqi forces preparing to take on IS

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