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North East devolution: back on the agenda?

On the 18th September, people north of the border will decide if Scotland will become an an independent country, or remain part of the UK.

Ten years ago, the North East was preparing to vote in its own referendum, on whether we should establish our own form of regional government.

In the end, the people of our region gave a resounding 'no' to plans for an elected North East assembly.

A decade on, Helen Ford investigates whether there is any appetite for devolution now? Watch her report here:

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University of York students given option to airbrush graduation photos to make them look slimmer

graduation
Credit: PA

The official graduation photographer for dozens of universities around the UK is giving students the chance to make themselves look slimmer with digitally enhanced snaps.

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I can pay £9.95 to have my graduation pictures photoshopped to make me look thinner. :( http://t.co/onsLjKEVOH

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Success Photography, based in Surrey, offers the option of 'Digital Slimming', for the added price of £9.95. And if that's not quite enough to make your pictures look perfect, you can even throw in a bit of 'Smile Enhancement' for £7.95.

The University of York have tweeted:

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We've raised the "digital slimming" issue with YUSU. They've spoken to the photographers who are in the process of withdrawing the service.

The photography company takes graduation photos for some of the UK's biggest universities, including London School of Economics, Queen Mary University of London, Birmingham University and the University of York.

On its website, Success Photography says the 'Digital Complexion and Smile Enhancement' option:

Removes all imperfections such as blemishes, redness and shine, leaving your skin looking smooth and healthy.

We also enhance the whiteness of your smile.

– SUCCESS PHOTOGRAPHY

As for the 'Digital Slimming' option, the company says it was referring to the size of the graduation gown - rather than the size and shape of the body inside it.

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Just to make clear 'digital slimming' refers to reducing the appearance of the gown only, never the individual.

47 people from our region have been arrested for suspected paedophilia

Scout leaders, doctors and police officers are amongst those who have been arrested for suspected paedophilia in our region and beyond.

Northumbria Police have now confirmed that they have arrested 19 people in connection with a nationwide operation by the National Crime Agency. This is the force area with the largest number of arrests in our region.

Cleveland Police have arrested 12 people, North Yorkshire have arrested 11, five people have been arrested in Durham.

The operation targeted internet users who accessed child abuse images, but it has already led to charges for serious sexual assault.

More than four hundred children who were in the care, custody or control of the suspects have been safeguarded.

More than 28 people have been arrested for suspected paedophilia

Doctors, teachers and former police officers - from our region - are amongst the 660 suspected paedophiles who have been arrested in the biggest operation of its kind.

The six month long action has been led by The National Crime Agency.

Cleveland Police have arrested 12 people, North Yorkshire have arrested 11, five people have been arrested in Durham and Northumbria Police have arrested 19 people.

The operation targeted internet users who accessed child abuse images, but it has already led to charges for serious sexual assault.

More than four hundred children who were in the care, custody or control of the suspects have been safeguarded.

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Mike Ashley bows out of Sports Direct profit-share scheme

Mike Ashley
Credit: PA

Mike Ashley has bowed out of a controversial profit-share scheme which could see 3,000 permanent staff receive a piece of £200m if profits double in 2019.

The scheme recently came under fire from investors groups and the Institute of Directors who were planning to vote against Chairman Keith Hellawell and other board members because they were unhappy with the arrangement.

In a statement on the Sport's Direct website today the company confirms that despite approval from a panel of independent shareholders that he could receive a payout he has - after discussions with the board - decided to refuse his payout.

Keith Hellawell, Non-Executive Chairman of Sports Direct International plc, said:

"The resolution passed by shareholders to implement the 2015 Bonus Share Scheme clearly recognises the success of previous company-wide schemes, and the significant contribution from Mike.

"On behalf of the entire Board, I should like to thank shareholders for the trust and confidence that they have demonstrated towards the team.

"Mike remains fully committed to achieving the scheme's stretch targets. Regarding the allocation of shares, Mike's focus is on ensuring that the scheme aligns all employees to achieve the Company's objectives.

"Following recent unhelpful speculation surrounding his potential allocation, he is determined to ensure that there is the maximum number of shares available for the eligible employees."

Mike Ashley has not received a salary or any bonus since Sports Direct was floated in 2007 when he received £929m.

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Church of England votes in favour of women bishops

The Church of England has voted in favour of allowing women bishops for the first time in its history.

The result means women bishops could potentially be appointed by the end of the year.

Members of the Church of England's Synod vote. Credit: PA Wire

After almost five hours of debate, the legislation to allow women to take up senior roles in the church received the required two thirds majority in all three Houses of the General Synod.

Thirty-seven bishops voted in favour with two against and one abstention, while 162 clergy approved with 25 against and four abstentions.

In the House of Laity, there were 152 votes in favour, 45 against and five abstentions.

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David Cameron 'in favour of women bishops'

David Cameron said he was in favour of women bishops as the Church of England prepares for a second vote on the issue.

Prime Minister David Cameron. Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

The Prime Minister said: "I am in favour of women bishops. I think Archbishop Welby has shown great leadership on this issue and I wish him well."

Read: Female bishop's unique insight ahead of historic vote

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