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Revealed: Mandela and Winehouse shared joke

Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse performs at Glastonbury in 2007 Credit: Reuters

Nelson Mandela had a soft spot for London singer Amy Winehouse after a quip she made about his time in prison - former prime minister Gordon Brown has revealed.

The ex-Labour leader said the pair met at former South African president Mr Mandela's 90th birthday party, at which singer Winehouse made a joke comparing the anti-apartheid campaigner to her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil.

In an interview with the Guardian's G2 magazine, Mr Brown said: "The person he (Mr Mandela) most liked was Amy Winehouse.

"She said to him: 'You and my husband have a lot in common'. "He said, 'Oh, what is that?' "She said, 'You've both spent a long time in prison'."

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£200 for a rickshaw ride from Selfridges to Harrods? That's £100 a mile!

The Licenced Taxi Drivers' Association (LTDA) is giving leaflets to tourists, warning them that some rickshaw drivers are charging up to £200 for short journeys, such as that from Selfridges in Oxford Street to Harrods, a distance of around two miles.

LTDA member giving out leaflets
Taxi drivers have produced a leaflet in Arabic warning tourists about using rickshaws without agreeing a reasonable price Credit: LTDA

The LTDA has now produced a warning leaflet in Arabic to warn visitors of the possible dangers of using rickshaws. It has also used an announcement on the side of a van parked at Marble Arch.

An advan in Marble Arch
A van warning tourists in Arabic about rickshaws, which the LTDA claims are overcharging tourists. Credit: LTDA

"The LTDA has received dozens of complaints, via our taxi driving members, from Arab tourists who have been ‘Ripped Off’ by unscrupulous Rickshaw Riders for short rides around London. £200 from Selfridges to Harrods is not uncommon and £50 to go a few hundred yards is regularly reported. In an effort to protect visitors to London and safeguard our Capitals good name the LTDA have produced a warning leaflet in Arabic concerning the dangers of using rickshaws. We have produced a similar poster on our Advan which is parked at Marble Arch in the heart of the West End. All day we will be distributing leaflets in this very visual and probably controversial attempt to highlight what is happening to vulnerable non English speaking tourists in London in 2014."

– LTDA press release

Room rents soar in the Capital

Room rents in London have risen more than twice as fast as budgets over the past five years according to new figures from Spareroom.com.

Room rents soar
Renting a room has gone up by a quarter since 2009 Credit: Reuters

They've soared by 26 per cent while the amount tenants can afford to pay has gone up by just ten per cent.

In 2009, an average room set you back £549 per month, now it's £691.

National

WikiLeaks founder: I am leaving the embassy soon

WikLeaks founder Julian Assange announced he will be leaving the Ecuadorian embassy "soon" after two years at the building.

Assange told a press conference, "I am leaving the embassy soon - but perhaps not for the reasons that the Murdoch press and Sky News are saying at the moment".

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National

Assange statement 'may have been a big publicity stunt'

By Juliet Bremner: UK Editor

There is a huge number of media outside, but a police officer has just been out to relay a message that there will be no further events or movement here at the Ecuadorian embassy today.

The media throng outside the Ecuadorian embassy.
The media throng outside the Ecuadorian embassy. Credit: ITV News/Juliet Bremner

I suspect this is a big publicity stunt to try and get the British Government to engage in a discussion about his release.

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Julian Assange: Ecuador's position 'is the correct one'

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said the position Ecuador has taken on his case "is the correct one".

Julian Assange.
Ecudorian foreign minister Ricardo Patino Aroca and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Credit: Livestream/Cancilleria del Ecuador

Assange sought refuge inside Ecuador's London embassy two years ago in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning over sexual misconduct allegations.

He has denied the claims made against him.

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