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Tributes paid to Welsh poet Dannie Abse

Tributes have been paid to the Welsh poet Dannie Abse, who has died aged 91.

Fellow Welsh poet, Owen Sheers said he is 'deeply saddened' by the news, while Stephen Doughty, MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, described him as 'legendary'.

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'Flying doctors' service to be introduced next year

A new 'flying doctors' service for Wales has been announced by the Welsh Government, representing new means for critically ill and injured people to transported to hospital by road and air.

The service will be operational in spring next year.

The Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service Cymru is the first national service of its kind in the UK and has been developed using the latest evidence from military and civilian experience.

It is thought the service could contribute to at least a 40 per cent improvement in survival rates from major trauma across the country and could reduce transfer times to specialist hospital care by the same percentage.

The service will be able to reach around 95 per cent of the population of Wales by air from the two bases out of Swansea and Welshpool and will be operational by April 2015.

This new service will transform our ability to provide the very best care to the most critically-ill patients in Wales. It will provide patients in remote and rural areas of Wales with rapid access to the skills of a consultant in emergency or intensive care medicine, who are equipped to provide life-saving, specialist critical care.

Our aim for specialist emergency services in Wales is for the most seriously-injured and sick patients to be treated by the very best clinicians, providing world-class, life-saving treatment.

These highly-specialised services will be provided at a fewer number of hospitals in the future but they will be supported by a wider network of local hospitals, offering people access to local accident and emergency care.

– Vaughan Gething AM, Deputy Health Minister

Welsh poet Dannie Abse dies at the age of 91

He was made a CBE by the Prince of Wales for services to poetry and literature in 2012. Credit: PA

Welsh poet and author Dr Dannie Abse, the one-time winner of the Wales Book of the Year award, has died at 91.

The writer, who recently lived in north London, was once hailed as being "at the top of the Welsh tree" by the country's literary body and named a CBE for his talents in the 2012 New Year Honours.

His agent Robert Kirby said on Twitter: "Very sad news Dannie Abse has died. A great poet and a good friend."

Publisher Hutchinson, which is due to release what will now be the writer's last collection of poetry, added: "We're so saddened by the death of the wonderful Dannie Abse. His poems will live on."

Abse was able to combine his writing with a career as a doctor, aspects of his life that, together with his Jewish background and Welsh nationality, formed integral themes in his poetry.

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Protesters hold demonstration against air strikes

Anti-war protesters have held a demonstration in Cardiff city centre against the government's decision to launch air strikes in Iraq.

MPs gave the green light for military action in the Commons on Friday by 524 votes to 43.

Campaigners say military intervention to take down Islamic State militants is not the answer.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed over the weekend that RAF tornado jets have flown over Iraq but no bombs have been dropped.

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