Europe must take the axe to its bloated benefits bill, which now accounts for half of all welfare spending on the planet, George Osborne warned today. The Chancellor told EU leaders ‘we can’t go on like this’ and raised the prospect of Britain leaving the EU altogether if the 28-nation bloc fails to reform.
OSBORNE: EUROPE MUST CUT WELFARE
LIMIT RBS BONUSES, LABOUR TELLS GOVT
With the bonus season in full swing, Labour has told the government to cap bonuses at RBS,amid reports that the bank, which is majority-owned by the taxpayer, will seek government permission to give out bonuses equivalent to two years salary. New EU rules cap bonuses at one year's salary- unless shareholders give explicit approval.
BILL ROACHE 'ATTACKED GIRL IN TOILET'
Coronation Street star William Roache indecently assaulted a 14-year-old girl in the men's toilet at the Granada TV studios in Manchester and then sent her a signed photo, a court has heard. Sending the letter "was a sort of grooming as we nowadays know it," prosecutor Anne Whyte QC said.
MELBOURNE: COURTS LIKE A 'FRYING PAN'
As the heatwave that has seen temperatures reach 42C rolls on, players in the Australian Open are hitting back. Frank Dancevic, who fainted mid-match, said playing in such conditions was "inhumane". Andy Murray questioned if it was "safe". Victoria Azarenck likened playing in such heat to "dancing in a frying pan".
ZAID AL-HILLI FREED FROM BAIL
Surrey police announced this morning that Zaid al-Hilli, the brother of Saad al-Hilli, who with his wife and mother-in-law was found shot to death in the French Alps in September 2012, has been freed from bail because there is insufficient evidence to charge him with any criminal offence.
PHONE HACKING: CCTV SHOWN TO COURT
Prosecutors in the phone-hacking trial have released CCTV clips that appear to show Rebekah Brooks's husband and News International's former head of security hiding material from the police. The clips show footage of an alleged plot by Rebekah Brooks, Charlie Brooks and Mark Hanna to conceal evidence before police searched the Brooks's London flat in the summer of 2011, the prosecution claimed.
DEADLY CLASHES AS EGYPT VOTES
Egypt's constitutional referendum enters its second day today, after deadly clashes left at least nine people dead. The Muslim Brotherhood is boycotting the vote, but fighting between security forces and supporters of the deposed Islamist president Mohammed Morsi led to a number of casualties. Some 350,000 soldiers and police have been deployed.
WARNINGS OVER 'BREAKING BAD' METH
Authorities in the US have warned about a copycat form of crystal meth, that is being cut with chemicals to make it resemble the product in the TV series Breaking Bad. The Department for Homeland Security said a replica blue product has hit the streets of New Mexico, and is being "pushed by various distributors", leaving a number of people ill.
BIEBER SEARCHED AFTER EGG THROWING
Police in Los Angeles have searched Justin Bieber's home after he allegedly threw eggs at a neighbour’s house, causing 'extensive damage’. Following a search of the singer’s home in the Los Angeles suburb of Calabasas, police also arrested a member of his entourage for alleged cocaine possession.
HOT TICKET: JOHN KEARN'S SIGHT GAGS
John Kearns's Edinburgh Festival comedy hit, Sight Gags for Perverts, has opened at the Soho Theatre, London. The rising star uses wigs, false teeth, and a dress in an absurdist routine that deals with Bruce Springsteen, heartbreak and the Berlin Zoo. "Beautifully bonkers," says Chortle. Until 31 January.