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Hammond: 'Lot of moving parts' in EU renegotiation deal

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond Credit: BBC/Andrew Marr Show

The Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has said there are "still a lot of moving parts" in a renegotiation deal on Britain's membership of the European Union.

Speaking to the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Mr Hammond said: "There are still a lot of moving parts in this discussion but it's already clear that we're going to get a clear statement that Britain is outside obligations of ever closer union."

Mr Hammond added that he was in no doubt "we'll run to the wire with some of these things only being able to be decided by the heads of state and government on Friday".

He also insisted that prior to the in/out referendum, the agreed package will have to be looked at “as a whole”.

“The point of having a referendum is that everybody will make up their own mind about whether the package, on balance taking the rough with the smooth, is in Britain’s interest or not”.

Putin and Obama discuss Syria conflict resolution

Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama have failed to see eye to eye over the Syria conflict Credit: Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama discussed issues related to resolving the conflict in Syria on Sunday, the Kremlin has said.

During phone talks, both leaders agreed to intensify diplomatic and other cooperation to implement a ceasefire agreed at a global security conference in Munich, the Kremlin said in a statement,


Turkey continues to shell Kurdish militia in northern Syria

The Turkish army have shelled positions held by Kurdish-backed militia in northern Syria for a second day, killing two fighters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group has said.

On Saturday, Turkey demanded the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia withdraw from areas that it captured in the northern Aleppo region in recent days.

Turkey's prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu insisted the army 'retaliate against every step' made by the YPG. Credit: Reuters

The shelling has targeted an air base and other positions captured by the Kurdish-backed forces from insurgents in Syria.

Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu warned that Turkey would retaliate if the YPG did not leave the airbase.

"We will retaliate against every step. YPG and the forces behind it should be aware of Turkey's stance. The YPG will immediately withdraw from Azaz and the surrounding area and will not go close to it again", he said.

Three confirmed dead after huge pile-up on US highway

Three people are confirmed to have died in a pile-up on a highway in Pennsylvania that involved more than 50 vehicles.

According to TV station Penn Live, 70 people were transported to several hospital after accident on Interstate 78.

Winds of at least 30 mph were blowing at the time of the crash, NBC News reports, citing The Weather Channel, and visibility was less than 2 miles.

Earthquake strikes New Zealand city

The earthquake's epicentre was 15km east of Christchurch Credit: Google Maps

A 5.7 magnitude earthquake has struck near Christchurch, on New Zealand's east coast.

The quake caused cliffs to collapse into the sea, but no injuries and no major damage to the city was reported.

The epicentre of Sunday's earthquake was 15km east of Christchurch, the country's seismological body Geonet, said.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said: "Obviously with a 5.7 magnitude earthquake so close to the eastern coast of Christchurch its certainly been a big shock for the city, a set back in terms of people's confidence and feeling of security."

In 2011, Christchurch was devastated by an earthquake which killed nearly 200 people.


Obama confirms he will nominate Scalia's replacement

President Barack Obama has confirmed he will nominate a successor to Justice Antonin Scalia, following the death of the respected conservative Supreme Court judge.

"I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities," Mr Obama said, but added "there will be plenty of time to do so".

He paid tribute to Justice Scalia, saying that "at this moment we most of all want to think about his family".

Obama 'will nominate Scalia's Supreme Court replacement'

The US flag outside the Supreme Court flies at half-mast following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia Credit: Reuters

Barack Obama intends to nominate a Supreme Court judge following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, according to a report on CNN.

If confirmed, the move is significant as by convention the president does not make a Supreme Court nomination in an election year.

"The fact of the matter is that it's been standard practice over the last 80 years to not confirm Supreme Court nominees during a presidential election year," Chuck Grassley, a Republican senator and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement.

But Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy said Mr Obama had a duty to make a nomination as the Supreme Court was "too important to our democracy" to be left for months with a vacancy.

'Multiple fatalities' reported in US highway pile-up

Forty people have been taken to hospital following the crash Credit: RTV/NBC

There have been "multiple fatalities" following a 50 car pile-up on a highway in Pennsylvania, according to a report on NBC, quoting an official from the state's emergency management agency.

The official did not say how many people had been killed.

Forty people have been taken to hospital following the crash, which occurred outside Harrisburg and closed both lanes of the I-78 highway.

US Supreme Court judge Scalia dies aged 79

Justice Scalia was one of the most conservative members of the US top court Credit: Reuters

US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has died aged 79.

According to a CNN report he died in his sleep at home, having told friends he did not feel well.

Appointed by President Ronald Regan in 1986, Justice Scalia was one of the most conservative members of the US top court.

"On behalf of the court and retired justices, I am saddened to report that our colleague Justice Antonin Scalia has passed away," Chief Justice John Roberts said in a statement.

The judge's death looks set to create a political dispute between President Barack Obama and the Republican-controlled Senate over who should replace him.

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