A last-minute deal has been struck to stop America toppling off the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’. With only hours to go until the deadline for automatic tax rises and spending cuts, Senate leaders reached a bipartisan compromise last night that will head off some, but not all, of the austerity measures due on Tuesday. The deal has yet to be approved by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
DEAL MADE ON EDGE OF ‘FISCAL CLIFF’
EUROPE TOO RELIANT ON US MILITARY
The UK and other European countries rely too heavily on the US military and must use money saved by the withdrawal from Afghanistan to boost the capacity of their armed forces, the American ambassador to Nato will say today. Ivo Daalder will warn European leaders they need to reverse defence spending cuts and boost their military might because America’s “strategic priorities” are China and the far east.
LLOYDS COMPUTER GLITCH HITS NYE
Lloyds Banking Group spoiled the New Year party for some of its 22 million customers last night when a computer crash left them unable to withdraw cash. Frustrated account holders took to Twitter to bemoan the fault which also prevented some people from checking their account balance and saw debit cards being declined. “What a great time for computer problems. Thanks.” tweeted one user identified as Steve J.
OLD AGE STARTS AT 59 SURVEY REVEALS
At what age are you officially old? The worrying answer, according to a new study, is 59 years, two months and two weeks. The poll of more than 2000 people conducted by the Department for Work and Pensions, also found that mid-life starts at 40 years, eight months and two weeks. Perceptions of age differed between the sexes, with men seeing 38 as the age they stop being young compared to women who felt 42 was the turning point.
RECYCLED WASTE HITS LANDMARK
For the first time ever more rubbish is being recycled than sent to landfill, official figures show. But the boost in recycling is being driven by a reduction in rubbish collection services, with many councils only collecting bins once every fortnight. Local authorities in England “recycled, composted or reused” 10.7 million tones of waste last year compared to the 9.6 millione tonnes shoveled into landfill sites.
CLINTON’S BLOOD CLOT IN HER SKULL
The blood clot suffered by US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton is inside her skull, but has not caused a stroke or any neurological damage, doctors say. Clinton, who was concussed after falling at her home three weeks ago, has a clot in her transverse sinus, a large vein lining the inner wall of the skull. The condition can cause brain damage or even death, but Clinton’s doctors say she is responding well to treatment.
CARPENTER IS RICHARD III KINGMAKER
The secret of whether human remains found beneath a Leicester car park belong to Richard III, will be unlocked by a furniture maker who lives in North London. DNA from Michael Ibsen, 55, whose family tree suggests he is a direct descendent of the king, will be used to determine if the bones are right royal or run-of-the-mill. Scientists say they are “only weeks away” from being able to give their verdict on the discovery.
CELL SCIENTIST AND NOBEL LAUREATE DIES
Italy is mourning the Nobel Prize-winning scientist Rita Levi-Montalcini who has died at the age of 103. Dubbed ‘Lady of the Cells’, Levi-Montalcini was a Jewish researcher who continued her work in secret when Italy became a facist regime in 1938. In 1986 she was awarded the Nobel prize for medicine (along with American biochemist Stanley Cohen) for her groundbreaking work unlocking the mysteries of the cell.
FINALLY, SOME DRY WEATHER ON THE WAY
Britons can finally start packing away their raincoats and umbrellas: clearer and more settled weather is on the way. Forecasters say the waterlogged final weeks of 2012 will give way to “much drier weather” this week which will last into the first weekend of January and beyond. Despite the promise of better things to come, much of England, Scotland and Wales remain on flood alert today.
SKYFALL LICENCED TO MAKE £100 MILLION
The latest James Bond movie, Skyfall, has soared past the blue-skinned aliens of James Cameron's Avatar to become the British box office’s first £100 million film. Cameron’s 3D epic took almost a year to earn its record breaking £94 million haul in the UK, but Skyfall hit that mark in just 40 days last year. It’s the first time a Bond movie has topped the UK charts since The Living Daylights in 1987.