A Commons select committee has raised concerns that Defra may not be able to respond adequately to weather emergencies because of cuts to its budget. The fears come as the UK faces yet more flood warnings, with high tides and strong winds forecast for today. The south and southeast coasts are worst affected.
MPS FEAR CUTS MAY HURT FLOOD RESPONSE
CABLE: MIGRATION TARGET IS IMPRACTICAL
Business secretary Vince Cable has criticised David Cameron’s target to reduce net migration to less than 100,000 a year by the next election in 2015, saying it is an “arbitrary cap” which is unlikely to be achieved and is not practical. His comments were made to the BBC, for a film on immigration to be shown tonight.
PATIENTS VISIT A&E 50 TIMES A YEAR
Some patients - a tiny minority - visited the same A&E units more than 50 times in 2012-2013, it has emerged. Comparing figures from 183 units, the BBC found that 12,000 people visited the same unit 10 times in the year - and 150 visited 50 times. Mental health problems and drug or alcohol abuse may be the motivation.
AMERICAN COLD SNAP TO HEAD EAST
The cold weather affecting the American Midwest and parts of Canada in recent days is forecast to move east. Thousands of flights have been grounded and people have been warned their skin could freeze if they go outside. Temperatures in New York and Washington DC are expected to fall 45 degrees overnight.
HMP OAKWOOD: VIOLENCE ‘NOT NEW’
Violence is not new at the privately-run prison near Wolverhampton where a serious disturbance took place on Sunday, it has emerged. A series of assaults and disturbances took place at HMP Oakwood in November. On Sunday, a group of between 15 and 50 prisoners smashed windows and built barricades.
UK ADMITS 1,500 SYRIAN ASYLUM SEEKERS
Britain has accepted 1,500 asylum seekers from Syria in the past year, the Deputy Prime Minister has disclosed. Nick Clegg made the disclosure after the government was criticised by politicians including Ukip leader Nigel Farage for refusing to admit Syrian refugees to Britain.
LINDSEY VONN TO MISS SOCHI GAMES
Skier Lindsey Vonn will miss the Sochi Olympics because of a right knee injury, leaving the Winter Games without one of its biggest stars. The 29-year-old, who is golfer Tiger Woods' girlfriend, announced her decision today, exactly one month before the opening ceremony in Russia.
JANET YELLEN BECOMES HEAD OF FED
Janet Yellen was confirmed yesterday by the US Senate as head of the Federal Reserve by a comfortable margin of 56-26. When she takes over from Ben Bernanke on 1 February she will become the first woman to lead the institution in its 100-year history.
TWO PLEAD GUILTY TO 'TROLLING' FEMINIST
Two people have pleaded guilty to sending "menacing" tweets to feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez. Isabella Sorley, 23, and John Nimmo, 25, admitted at Westminster Magistrates' Court sending the messages over a public communications network. They will be sentenced on 24 January.
HOT TICKET: SLAVERY EPIC 12 YEARS A SLAVE
Steve McQueen's historical epic 12 Years a Slave opens in UK cinemas this week. Based on a true story it stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as a free man kidnapped and sold into slavery. With Michael Fassbender. "The greatest feature film ever made about American slavery," says the New Yorker.