Three Department of Transport civil servants have been suspended after Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said "significant technical flaws" had been found in the way the decision to award the West Coast Main Line rail franchise to FirstGroup was assessed. Richard Branson, founder of losing bidder Virgin Trains, has called for a new franchise bidding system to be implemented.
APRIL JONES MOTHER APPEALS FOR WITNESSES
The mother of April Jones has appealed for witnesses to help find her five-year-old daughter, who was abducted from Machynlleth, Mid Wales, on Monday. Coral Jones said: "There must be someone out there who knows where she is. We are desperate for any news, please, please help find her." Police are questioning Mark Bridger, 46, about the disappearance and have released a photograph of his Land Rover.
UK BURGLARIES AT 27-YEAR LOW
The number of burglaries in Britain is at its lowest rate for 27 years, according to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe. He said: "Although people sometimes despair about crime, burglary is about a 27-year low right around the country. Burglary is going down." Police recorded 501,053 burglaries last year, less than half the figure for 1997.
DOZENS DIE IN SYRIA BOMB BLAST
More than 30 people have been killed and scores more wounded after a series of suicide bomb blasts in the centre of Syria's second city, Aleppo. It is thought to be the deadliest attack of the year in Syria and comes amid renewed fighting in the city. The bombings centred on the Saadallah al-Jabari Square.
HAMZA JUDGE QUESTIONS APPLICATION
The judge hearing Abu Hamza's application to delay his extradition to the US has said "the sooner he stands trial the better" and has questioned whether his medical problems, including depression, are enough to halt the process, pointing out that he could be treated in the US. The court will rule on the application at a later date.
BBC RESPONDS TO SAVILE ALLEGATIONS
The BBC says it is "horrified" by the mounting allegations of sexual abuse against the corporation's former star Jimmy Savile. The corporation's internal investigations unit will make contact with all the police force's probing the claims. Michael Grade told Channel 4 News he heard rumours about Savile when he was controller of the BBC.
RYANAIR'S O'LEARY SLAMS HOLIDAYS
Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary says that holidays are "a waste of time". The outspoken chief also admitted that travelling on his own airline has cost him "a fortune in excess baggage". Speaking to Management Today, O'Leary, who took a £1m salary last year, said he is "the most underpaid and under-appreciated airline boss in Europe".
BLAINE ANNOUNCES ELECTRIFYING NEW STUNT
American magician David Blaine's next stunt will be to spend three days and nights standing in the centre of a million volts of electric currents. Speaking of his new stunt, 39-year-old Blaine, who has previously been frozen in an ice cube, buried alive and shut in a glass box, said: "No food. Standing – no sitting. No rest".
VAN PERSIE DOUBLE SAVES UNITED
Robin van Persie was Manchester United's saviour as his two goals earned them victory in the Champions League after they had fallen behind to CFR Cluj. It was Manchester United's 100th win in the competition, equalling Real Madrid's record. Celtic recorded the club's first ever Champions League group stage away win, beating Spartak Moscow 3-2.
HOT TICKET: TURNER SHORTLIST SHOW
An exhibition of the four artists shortlisted for the 2012 Turner Prize has opened at Tate Britain. See performance art by Spartacus Chetwynd, Luke Fowler’s film about psychiatrist RD Laing, Paul Noble’s intricate drawings of an imaginary town and Elizabeth Price’s video art. “Thoughtful and demanding”, says The Guardian. Until 6 January.