Disgraced peer Lord Hanningfield spent more than £286,000 on luxury trips using an Essex County Council credit card, receipts show.
The first of five planned strikes by Essex firefighters will take place today in a row over cuts to services.
MPs are to debate the future of the Coryton Oil refinery this evening. However administrators have already announced the plant is to close.
There are severe delays on A13 London bound between A176 Nether Mayne (Five Bells Interchange, Basildon and A1013 Stanford Road / A1014 The Manorway (Stanford-Le-Hope). There are tailbacks for three miles in the roadworks area.
The A13 is closed underneath the Stanford-le-Hope junction continuously all this weekend. This is part of the long term roadworks in the area. Delays of over an hour westbound on the approach.
– Spokesman for St Margaret's Church of England School
We take the safety and wellbeing of all students extremely seriously. We took the precaution of calling police community support officers and then followed their expert advice."
A primary school in Essex was evacuated after a pupil took an artillery shell to show and tell. It's believed a year five student at St Margaret's Church of England Primary School in the village of Bowers Gifford, took the 20cm artillery shell into class yesterday.
An email was sent to parents asking them to collect their children after the alert at about 1.30pm.
The device was taken to a nearby field while 250 pupils gathered at a safe distance. Army bomb disposal teams were called and decided the device posed no danger.
Crays Hill Primary School was once the subject of rumours and terrible press reports because of its link to an infamous travellers camp - but now inspectors have praised it and rated much of its teaching as outstanding. Elodie Harper reports.
A team of experts is visiting Basildon Hospital today as part of a review into mortality rates. The site is one of fourteen locations under scrutiny.
The Prime Minister initiated the investigation into sites that have shown higher death rates over the past two years. Basildon Hospital's Chief Executive has said that work is underway to ensure patients receive compassionate care.
Disruption on C2C between Fenchurch Street and Pitsea due to overhead wire problems between Purfleet and Grays. Buses replace trains in both directions between Barking and Grays via Rainham. Trains are diverted via Upminster. Disruption is expected until approximately 2pm.
There is slow traffic due to debris on the road on the A127 Southend Arterial Road London bound between A129 (Rayleigh Weir) and A1245 (A130 / Fairglen Interchange). Debris is in lane two.
There are delays of two hours and bridge closed due to a police incident on M25 QE2 Bridge clockwise at A282 (Dartford River Crossing), congestion on M25 to Before J30 A13 (Lakeside). Tailbacks in Essex for five miles.
The QE2 Bridge has been closed since 11:10 this morning because of an incident on the bridge. It is hoped to open by 18:30. Major delays on the approach, as well as on roads approaching the Blackwall Tunnel.
On the Kent side - similar 2 hour delays with congestion on M25 to J3 M20 / A20 (Swanley Interchange). Tailbacks for six miles. There is two way traffic through the Dartford Tunnels, meaning that anticlockwise traffic is down to two lanes from the usual four.
The first video clips of three giant cranes from China as they head into port on the River Thames near Essex. The cranes will aid container shipping once the London Gateway opens later this year.
Three new giant cranes have arrived from China into the new deep-sea port in the Thames Estuary. The site is near Stanford le-Hope in Essex. The quay cranes which are taller than the London Eye measure 138 metres in height - two and a half times the height of Nelson's column in Trafalgar Square.
The cranes will be used to lift containers from big ships onto the shore. The LOndon Gateway is due to open at the end of 2013. When complete, its owners say it could bring 36,000 jobs to the economy.