Demolition work begins on flats in Newburn badly damaged by flooding last month. A vehicle known as a 'grabber' started work at 8 am.
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Beverley, Doncaster, Leeds, Northallerton, Ripon and York have also named as race starting venues for the nine-day event.
Visitors to a South Tyneside festival are being advised to expect delays due to tighter security in the wake of the UK terrorist attacks.
BAFTA-winning Brenda Blethyn OBE is among eight people being honoured by The University of Sunderland.