A man claiming to be a member of al-Qaeda has taken several hostages in a bank in the south-western French city of Toulouse, a police union source said.
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Consumer prices have rocketed by 58% since 2003, with the UK industry paying the biggest bills in Europe.
Friday will be a much calmer day for many, with the weather set to remain dryer with sunny periods and much lighter winds than on Thursday.
Teachers and managers in particularly are putting in hundreds of hours of overtime free of charge.