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Tower Hamlet Report 'due in days'

The findings of a Government-commissioned investigation into the finances of Tower Hamlets Council will be announced within a "matter of days", Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has said.

He told the House that the consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers had finished their report but explained the facts now had to be checked with the local authority which would have the right to respond.

Mr Pickles was replying to a question from Labour's Jim Fitzpatrick (Poplar and Limehouse) who asked for an update on the progress.

The minister said: "We are talking in terms of a matter of days. "I understand that the consultants have finished their report, but the facts will have to be checked with Tower Hamlets. "Only when that process has been completed will I be briefed on it. I shall then have to make a 'minded' statement, because Tower Hamlets will obviously have the right to respond before I make a final statement to the House."

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Revealed: Mandela and Winehouse shared joke

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.

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.

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.

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.

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