Twenty-one severe flood alerts have been issued, covering most parts of the UK, as further storms batter the country and high tides coincide with heavy rain. Thirty foot waves are expected in the southwest. The environment secretary is chairing a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee to discuss the affected areas.
NATIONWIDE: HOUSE PRICES ROSE 8.4% IN 2013
The Nationwide Building Society says house prices rose 8.4 per cent nationally in 2013, based on data from its mortgage clients, meaning the average home was valued at £175,826. Prices rose in all areas, though the last quarter of the year in London saw the biggest increase. Prices are still 5 per cent below the 2007 peak.
BNP'S NICK GRIFFIN IS BANKRUPT
BNP leader Nick Griffin has confirmed he has been declared bankrupt, but says his financial woes won't stop him seeking re-election as an MEP. Griffin, who is believed to owe about £70,000 to a legal firm, said he has learned from the experience and is writing a booklet about debt for his constituents.
BRITISH TEACHER MURDERED IN LIBYA
A British man and a New Zealand woman, both teachers in Tripoli, have been shot dead near the city of Sabratha in western Libya. Their bodies were found with their luggage near an oil/gas complex, an official said. Nothing had been stolen and the motive for their killing was not clear.
OBESITY QUADRUPLES IN DEVELOPING WORLD
Nearly one billion people in the developing nations are now overweight and obese, according to British think tank the Overseas Development Institute. The statistics means obesity has almost quadrupled there since 1980, swelling from 23 per cent to 24 per cent. Egypt and Mexico were particularly badly affected.
YVONNE FLETCHER: LIBYA WARNED UK
Libya twice warned the UK in 1984 that any demonstration outside its London embassy would meet with “repercussions”, previously classified papers show. On 17 April that year, a gunman inside the embassy opened fire on demonstrators and police, killing PC Yvonne Fletcher. No-one has ever been brought to justice.
INDIA PM SINGH: I WILL STEP DOWN
India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, has told a press conference he will step down after the next election this summer, should his party win. He said he would “hand over the baton to a new PM” after ten years in the job at the head of a coalition government. Singh has been widely criticised for tolerating corruption.
WAL-MART RECALLS DONKEY MEAT IN CHINA
US supermarket giant Wal-Mart has recalled a donkey meat product from its stores in China because it contained traces of other meats, including fox. The retailer plans to take legal action against its supplier after tests on the ‘Five Spice’ brand by the Shangdong authorities. Donkey meat is a popular snack in China.
STEVE MCQUEEN: US AVOIDS SLAVERY FILMS
British director Steve McQueen has criticised Hollywood for avoiding the subject of slavery, a week before his own critically-lauded Twelve Years a Slave is released in the UK. In contrast, said the Turner Prize-winning artist turned filmmaker, there are “hundreds and hundreds” of films about WW2 and the Holocaust.
HOT TICKET: NELSON MANDELA BIOPIC
The biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is released in UK cinemas today. Idris Elba stars as the late anti-apartheid activist and South African president Nelson Mandela in the story of his fight against prejudice, imprisonment and eventual triumph. With Naomie Harris. Elba is "magnificent" says the Daily Telegraph.