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George Bush Snr 'doing well' in hospital

Former President Bush has been in hospital since Tuesday. Credit: Reuters

Former US President George Bush Snr remains hospitalised near his home in Houston after experiencing shortness of breath this week but is "doing well", his spokesman said.

Bush, 90, was taken by ambulance to Houston Methodist Hospital on Tuesday.

Spokesman Jim McGrath said yesterday that the 41st president's prognosis was positive and that he remained hospitalised as a precaution.

The former Republican president suffers from Parkinson's disease and cannot use his legs, but he celebrated his 90th birthday in June by skydiving with a US Army parachute team.

George Bush Snr under observation as a 'precaution'

George Bush Snr with his wife Barbara in 2005. Credit: PA

George Bush Snr is being kept under observation as a "precaution" after struggling to breathe, his spokesman Jim McGrath said.

The 90-year-old was taken by ambulance to Houston Methodist Hospital on Tuesday evening.

It is the same hospital where he spent nearly two months in January 2013 after treatment for a bronchitis-related cough and other health issues.

Bush, who can no longer use his legs, most recently appeared seated in a wheelchair at an event in November at Texas A&M University with his son, former President George W. Bush.

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David Cameron delivers Christmas message

David Cameron praised the work of the military, aid workers and medical volunteers abroad as he delivered his Christmas message to the country.

The Prime Minister said life was safer on the streets of Britain because of their "courage, selflessness and sacrifice".

He said: "So this Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of Christ with friends, families and neighbours, let us think about those in need at home and overseas, and of those extraordinary professionals and volunteers who help them."

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who is an atheist, said the values of love, charity and hope expressed through the Christmas story were "universal."

While Labour leader Ed Miliband urged voters to choose "generosity and inclusion" in the looming election battle next year.

Tory support stagnant since 2012 - new poll

David Cameron's party have work to do to gain an overall majority. Credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire

The Conservatives have made little progress towards achieving an overall majority in the last two years, according to a new poll.

As the year draws to a close, Labour is on 33%, with the Conservatives three points behind, while Ukip is on 21% and the Liberal Democrats 10%, according to Survation research for the Daily Mirror.

David Cameron's party were on the same percentage they achieved in a September 2012 Survation poll.

According to the pollsters' chief executive Damian Lyons Lowe, the Tories "need to be ahead of Labour by a considerable margin to even begin to win seats needed to gain an overall majority".

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Roger Bird: 'Very glad' to be cleared of allegations

Roger Bird speaking at a Ukip meeting.

Ukip general secretary Roger Bird has said he is "very glad" to have been cleared by an inquiry of claims of sexual harassment.

The probe supported Mr Bird's argument that his relationship with party candidate Natasha Bolter was "consensual" and did not compromise the candidate selection process.

However he and the party have agreed that he should stand down as general secretary because of the adverse publicity generated by the situation.

Mr Bird said:

I am very glad that the party has investigated and dismissed the allegations of sexual harassment and any impropriety regarding the selection of Ms Bolter as a candidate.

I wish Ukip every success in the election campaign. I remain a member and keen supporter of the party and I will continue to make every effort to help our candidates to victory in May.

– Roger Bird

Northern Ireland Secretary welcomes 'genuine step forward'

Theresa Villiers alongside Irish foreign minister Charlie Flanagan.

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers says today's deal at Stormont is a "genuine step forward" for the region".

Appearing alongside Irish foreign minister Charlie Flanagan, who was also instrumental in the negotiations, Ms Villiers said:

We've put on the table a draft agreement for the parties, taking on board many hours of discussions and that draft agreement was positively received.

I believe this is a genuine step forward, real progress on some of the most critical issues for Northern Ireland and I'd like to express my strong thanks to all of Northern Ireland's political leaders who have participated in this process.

– Theresa Villiers

Sinn Fein hail 'remarkable' N Ireland agreement

Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams after the conclusion of the talks. Credit: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Senior Sinn Fein politicians have expressed their satisfaction at the agreement reached today between Northern Ireland's political parties and the British government.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said it was particularly important that the region's politicians were able to protect vulnerable people from what he called the "austerity approach" of the UK's coalition government.

Speaking to reporters at Stormont, he said:

We're proud of our achievement, I think it is remarkable that we managed against all odds, when people told us it couldn't be done to achieve this in the interests of those [vulnerable] people. I think that is something to be proud of.

– Martin McGuinness

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams also hailed the "considerable progress" made during the talks, but stressed that the negotiations were "a process" that was ongoing.

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