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Seb Coe rejects Russia call to reconsider Rio athletes ban

IAAF president Sebastian Coe has rejected the Russian government's call for the federation to reconsider its ban on dozens of Russian athletes from competing at the Rio Olympics.

IAAF president Lord Coe insists Russia, not his organisation, is responsible for the country's drug-free athletes being banned from competing in Brazil. Credit: PA

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko wrote to the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) after the International Olympic Committee ruled it was up to individual sporting federations to decide if Russia's sportsmen and women should miss next month's Games because of the exposed state-sponsored doping scandal.

Lord Coe's reply said last month's ban of 67 Russian athletes, which followed their individual appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, will be upheld, adding: "There are no grounds for further review."

French religious leaders call for unity after priest murder

Representatives of religious communities meet Francois Hollande. Credit: Reuters

Religious leaders in France have called for unity after a meeting with President Francois Hollande.

It follows the murder of a priest in Normandy by supporters of the so-called Islamic State group.

Paris Imam Dalil Boubakeur said France's Muslims must ensure clerics are better trained and called for reform of French Muslim institutions.

The Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, called on Catholics to "overcome hatred that comes in their heart" and not to "enter the game" of IS that "wants to set children of the same family in opposition to each other".

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French former commissioner appointed Brexit negotiator

Michel Barnier will be the chief negotiators on the UK's withdrawal from the EU. Credit: Reuters

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has appointed French former commissioner Michel Barnier as chief negotiator on the UK's withdrawal from the EU.

The appointment comes days after Mr Juncker acknowledged that the UK Government may need several months to prepare its position before negotiations start.

Mr Barnier will report directly to Mr Juncker as head of the Commission Taskforce for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom.

UK economy grew by 0.6% before Brexit vote

Credit: PA

The UK economy grew by 0.6% during the second quarter of 2016, official figures show.

It follows growth of 0.4% in the first quarter, the Office for National Statistics said.

The expansion in the run up to the EU referendum was driven by industrial production (2.1%) and services (0.5%), but held back by a contraction in construction (0.4%) and agriculture (1%).

The rise in GDP from April to June came in above economists' expectations of 0.5%.

GDP was estimated to have been 7.7% higher in the second quarter than the pre-economic downturn peak of the first quarter of 2008.

Responding to the figures, Chancellor Philip Hammond said:

Today’s GDP figures show that the fundamentals of the British economy are strong. In the second quarter of this year...we saw the strongest quarterly rise in production for nearly twenty years, so it is clear we enter our negotiations to leave the EU from a position of economic strength.

Those negotiations will signal the beginning of a period of adjustment, but I am confident we have the tools to manage the challenges ahead, and along with the Bank of England, this government will take whatever action is necessary to support our economy and maintain business and consumer confidence.

– Chancellor Philip Hammond
  1. Wales

Four-year-old boy dies in Swansea house fire

A four-year-old boy has died in a house fire in Swansea.

Emergency services were called to the incident at a two-storey property in Lon Tan-yr-Allt, near Pontardawe around 1:40am this morning.

A mother and her six-year-old daughter were outside of the property when the emergency services arrived.

Firefighters rescued two children aged three and four from the property but the four-year-old boy sadly died at the scene.

The mother and two children are being treated in hospital for smoke inhalation.

A joint fire investigation will start today with Mid and West Fire Service and South Wales Police.

Our deepest sympathies of the whole rescue service are with the family and community of Alltwen. We are very proud of the work the crews did and the bravery shown during the incident.

– Chris Margetts, Mid and West Fire Service

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UK churches told to review security after France murder

Police near the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvra where the priest died. Credit: Reuters

Churches and other sections of the Christian community in Britain have been urged to be "alert" following the murder of an elderly priest in France.

There is no specific intelligence about an attack, but police have told places of worship to "review their security arrangements as a precaution".

Two supporters of the so-called Islamic State group killed Father Jacques Hamel at a Normandy church on Tuesday.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said: "As we have seen, Daesh (another name for IS) and other terrorist groups have targeted Christian as well as Jewish and other faith groups in the West and beyond.

"Following recent events in France, we are reiterating our protective security advice to Christian places of worship and have circulated specific advice today."

Meryl Streep screams as she whips up support for Clinton

Meryl Streep let out a guttural scream as she rallied in support of Hillary Clinton's bid to become America's first woman president.

The Hollywood actress, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Britain's first female prime minister Margaret Thatcher in 2011's The Iron Lady, called on Democrats to get behind their nominee as she takes on Republican rival Donald Trump for the White House.

To loud cheers, Streep told the crowd at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia: "We've got some fight left in us don't we."

'I'm not a hero', says man who confronted Tube attacker

A man who fought with a knife-wielding Tube attacker has said he is "not a hero".

Ex-Uber driver Muhiddin Mire will be sentenced today after he was convicted of trying to behead a stranger at Leytonstone Tube station in London last December.

David Pethers, exchanged words with the 30 year old before having a "running battle" with him, during which he was cut across the neck.

He told Good Morning Britain he felt he could have done more to stop the attacker.

"I don't think I'm a hero at all," he said. "Anyone could have done it."

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