World Cup fever has already arrived at one North East pub.
The Robin Hood, in Jarrow, South Tyneside, has been decorated with hundreds of flags, including the flags of all 32 countries taking part in this summer's World Cup in Brazil.
The pub landlord, Norman Scott, said the venture has taken considerable time and money. He said: "It's taken about a month putting them all over the roof, in the new World Cup area [beer garden] and out on the front. It's been fun."
Norman plans to take the flags down during the course of the tournament as and when countries are eliminated.
The re-opening date for the Tyne pedestrian and cyclist tunnels has been confirmed as June 2015.
The Grade-II listed tunnels, which run between Howdon and Jarrow, have been under refurbishment.
But asbestos and corrosion problems have delayed the project.
Joanna Adams, who's organising a march from Jarrow to London in protest at how the NHS is run, says she felt it was time to act. The three week march, inspired by the Jarrow jobs crusade of the 1930s, is set to begin in August.
The organiser of the 2014 Jarrow March, in protest against how the NHS is run, says the government will have to listen to them when they arrive in London. Joanna Adams refutes the Department for Health's claim that it's committed to retaining the founding principles of the service.
Joanna Adams is organising the Jarrow to London march as she says many people are unhappy about the way the NHS is run.
A group of mothers from Darlington have announced they're going to march from Jarrow to London in protest against how the NHS is run.
So far more than 600 people from across the country have signed up to go on the march. It will start in August and take more than three weeks to complete.
They say they're angry at the direction in which the NHS is heading.
They've taken their inspiration from the Jarrow March in the 1930s, in which hundreds walked in protest against unemployment.
A Department of Health spokesperson said:
"This Government is completely committed to the founding principles of the NHS - that, for all of us, it is free at the point of use, based on a person's clinical need, not their ability to pay, and there are absolutely no plans to change this."
The former World Champion 1500m runner Steve Cram is to become a key advisor to the British Athletics team.
Cram, once known as the "Jarrow Arrow", joins marathon runner Paula Radcliffe and Mo Farah's coach Alberto Salazar as an advisor to the British Athletics endurance programme.
He will mentor athletes and coaches and offer technical expertise to those on the programme, which aims to make athletics the most successful British team at the Rio 2014 Olympics.
Police are investigating reports of a fight at a South Tyneside pub.
It happened at the Queens Arms in Jarrow at approximately 10pm on New Year’s Day. Several people were taken to South Tyneside Hospital with various injuries. Two males, aged 16 and 34, have been arrested.
Witnesses can contact Northumbria Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Bishop of Jarrow Mark Bryant's Christmas message is all about foodbanks.
He said: "I wonder if 2013 will go down in history as the year that this country we discovered Food Banks?
"Wherever I go across the region, almost every day I hear stories of people for whom life is becoming more difficult than I can even begin to imagine. I hear stories too of amazing generosity as people give time and money to support people.
"It seems impossible this year to separate Christmas and Foodbanks.
"While very many of us will be spending more and eating more than we do at other times of the year, the media coverage and the collections outside our supermarkets will make it difficult to forget that we are a deeply divided country in which something is very deeply wrong.
"If there is hope - and I surely believe there is - for me it lies in the extraordinary generosity of so many. People I talk to who collect outside supermarkets tell me of the amazing generosity of so many.
"Somebody recently suggested to me that it may be the least well off who are often the most generous. (That is true world over as anybody who has visited parts of Africa will tell you)."My sense is that in many places people are becoming strangely more - rather than less - compassionate.
"Time and time again people say to me: "I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like not to be able to feed your children."
"I hear the same story from people who give a bed to a homeless teenager for the night through the wonderful Nightstop scheme.
"People say: "I would want to think that if my lad was homeless, somebody would take him in!."
"It seems that people's hearts are becoming softer. Some of us seem to be becoming more compassionate and that gives me hope.
"There have been those this year who have seemed to want us to harden our hearts with their talk of benefit scroungers - ignoring the fact that very many people on benefits are in work and some foodbanks report that sometimes their busiest time of the the day is when people are going from work.
"The Good News is how many people refuse to let their hearts be hardened and persist in being generous. That gives me hope.
"The Christmas story of a baby being born in a manger is a story of God who refuses to be a God who ignores people and does not care.
"He comes to Earth as a baby to show that God does not stand far away aloof from the lives of of ordinary people. Often as people think of the Christmas story as a story of a homeless mother who before the baby is very old and has to flee for their lives as a refugee to Egypt they start to see God.
"He understands much more than we imagine about what human life is really about.
"The Christmas story is a story about a God who does not abandon us whatever the mess and that sense that we are not along is a reason to have hope.
"What gives people hope is knowing that they have not been abandoned and that the are not along. Ask yourself - who might I give some hope to this Christmas?"
Josef Craig has won a silver medal at the IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal. He was beaten by 0.03 seconds by another British swimmer, Matt Walker, in S7 50m freestyle.
Craig also took gold and broke his own world record in the S7 400m freestyle on Tuesday.