Investors have pushed London’s FTSE 100 above 6,300 for the first time since May 2008. The benchmark index was up 24 points, or 0.4pc, at 6,308 in mid-afternoon trade today after data from the US beat market expectations and boosted trader confidence. The index has already gained almost 7% since the beginning of 2013, its best start to a year since 1989.
BUOYANT FTSE BREAKS ABOVE 6,300
NEW HIGH SPEED RAIL STOPS UNVEILED
Plans for phase two of the £32 billion high speed rail link – cutting the London to Manchester journey time to one hour and eight minutes – were unveiled today. Trains will stop at Manchester and Manchester airport, and at Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds. A rebellion is expected from Tory councils and constituencies "cut in half" by the new lines.
BRAZIL NIGHTCLUB FIRE: THREE ARRESTED
Three people have been arrested following the Brazilian nightclub fire in which 231 people died at the weekend. They are an owner of the Kiss club in Santa Maria, a member of the band that allegedly started the fire by setting off a flare, and the club’s head of security. A ceremony in Brasilia to mark 500 days to the World Cup was cancelled today.
MALI: INSURGENTS RANSACK TIMBUKTU
Islamist insurgents have dealt a "devastating blow" to the world's heritage by torching buildings in Timbuktu containing thousands of priceless documents, some of them 900 years old. Claims that as many as 20,000 historic manuscripts have been destroyed emerged as French-led troops advanced into the ancient desert trading post today after seizing the airport.
IRAN SENDS MONKEY INTO SPACE
Iran has launched a live monkey into space, describing it as a step forward in the development of a missile and space programme that has alarmed the west and Israel. An Iranian news agency said the animal was launched into space on a Kavoshgar rocket. The rocket reached a height of more than 75 miles (120km) and "returned its shipment intact".
BRITAIN TO WARN EU MIGRANTS: 'STAY AWAY'
The government is considering mounting a publicity campaign to make Britain less alluring to a feared wave of migrants from new EU members Romania and Bulgaria, it is claimed. Ads would warn of foul weather, poor job opportunities and barriers to benefits and services. Quotas on the numbers who can enter Britain expire next December.
BORIS UNDER FIRE FOR MURDOCH DINNER
London Mayor Boris Johnson was accused yesterday of "totally inappropriate" contact with Rupert Murdoch after it was revealed he attended a private dinner at the media mogul's home. Johnson had joined guests including Homeland actor Damian Lewis at the gathering. The media campaign group Hacked Off said the contact "beggared belief".
MAN DIES IN RIVER AS THAW BRINGS FLOODS
A canoeist in his thirties died yesterday after he was pulled from the swollen Arkle Beck river in North Yorkshire after becoming trapped in debris. More than 80 flood warnings and 300 alerts were issued as thawing snow and heavy rain combined to raise river levels to the danger point. Forecasters predict more rain this week.
ARGO CAST WIN TOP ACTING AWARD
The Iran hostage drama 'Argo', directed by and starring Ben Affleck, won the prize for overall cast performance at the Screen Actors Guild awards in Los Angeles yesterday. Daniel Day-Lewis won best actor for 'Lincoln' and Jennifer Lawrence was named best actress for 'Silver Linings Playbook', beating favourite Jessica Chastain, star of 'Zero Dark Thirty'.
HOT TICKET: EVERETT 'BORN TO BE WILDE'
Neil Armfield's revival of David Hare's 'The Judas Kiss', has transferred to the Duke of York's theatre in London's West End. Rupert Everett plays Oscar Wilde, whose hopeless love affair with Lord Alfred Douglas leads to his downfall, betrayal and imprisonment. Everett was born to play the role, says the Daily Telegraph. Until 6 April.