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Insurance firms to be banned from paying terror ransoms

Insurance companies will be banned from paying ransoms to terrorists to free British citizens, under new measures announced by the Home Secretary.

Home Secretary Theresa May. Credit: PA Wire

The Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, being introduced to Parliament this week, will make clear it is an offence for firms to reimburse ransom payments, Theresa May said.

Mrs May, who will address a counter-terrorism event in London today, said it would help end the practice which "only put many more lives at risk".

The policy is part of a range of measures - including giving police more powers to seize internet data about suspected terrorists - to protect the UK from terrorists.

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NHS: 'Robust plans' in place to deal with strike

"Robust plans" are in place to protect patients during a four-hour strike by thousands of health workers today, NHS England said.

Around 150 police officers will drive or help crew ambulances in London as part of the plans, with paramedics among those walking out in the row over pay.

NHS organisations have tried and tested plans to deal with a range of disruptions including industrial action.

"We are working with the NHS to ensure there are robust plans for November 24 that protect the safety, welfare and service provided to patients.

– NHS England spokeswoman

NHS workers to stage four-hour strike in pay row

NHS workers will stage a four-hour strike today in a row with the Government over pay.

Members of 11 unions will walk out for four hours today in the row over pay. Credit: PA Wire

Midwives, nurses, radiographers, paramedics and psychiatric staff will walk out from 7am in England and 8am in Northern Ireland in protest at the Government's refusal to to accept a recommended 1% wage rise for all NHS employees.

Unison leader Dave Prentis said the second strike in a month should "sound alarm bells" in Westminster as the "anger is spreading".

A Department of Health spokesperson said the government "can't afford a consolidated pay rise in addition to increments without risking 10,000 frontline jobs".

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Lewis Hamilton F1 title victory dominates back pages

British Airways plane checked after 'technical issues'

A British Airways plane is being checked after its crew had to make two unscheduled landings in three days.

The British Airways plane suffered technical issues on two flights in three days. Credit: PA Wire

On Friday, the Boeing 777, flying from Heathrow Airport to Boston, USA, made an unscheduled stop at Shannon Airport due to a "suspected technical issue".

The same aircraft, carrying 220 passengers, had to be diverted to Shannon on its journey from Seattle to Heathrow on Sunday morning following a "minor technical issue".

The passengers were later flown to their destination on a replacement flight, while the plane was inspected.

A BA spokeswoman said: "Safety is always our first priority, and the aircraft diverted purely as a precaution."

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Two seriously injured in explosion in south Birmingham

Two men have been seriously injured in an explosion in a flat in south Birmingham.

Emergency services are still at the scene in Aldersmead Road, West Heath.

Emergency services are still at the scene in Aldersmead Road, West Heath. Credit: Google Maps

The cause of the explosion is not known but emergency gas crews are on their way to the scene.

The full extent of the damage to the building and neighbouring properties is still being established.

The two injured men are thought to be in their late 20s or early 30s and have been taken to hospital, and were believed to have been inside the flat at the time of the explosion. No other injuries have been reported at this time.

People in the area are being asked to return to their homes if safe to do so to give blue light services clear access.

Aldersmead Road and surrounding streets will be closed until the situation is resolved. Drivers and pedestrians should avoid the area.

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