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FUKUSHIMA EMERGENCY RAISED TO HIGHEST LEVELJapan has raised its nuclear crisis level from five to seven – putting the Fukushima emergency on a par with Chernobyl. The nuclear and industrial safety agency [Nisa] stressed that the new level does not mean radiation levels are rising – rather, it reflects a fuller understanding of the data available. A further five communities in northern Japan are to be evacuated as a result.
Fukushima upgraded to Chernobyl crisis level
'That bigoted woman' collars nick clegg Gillian Duffy, the pensioner described by then-prime minister Gordon Brown as "that bigoted woman" in a comment picked up by a microphone, has come face-to-face with Nick Clegg. Duffy repeatedly asked the deputy prime minister if he was happy with the coalition's programme of public sector cuts. Clegg lectured her at length on the tough choices facing the country. What he really thinks of her was sadly not recorded by a stray microphone.
SURPRISE FALL IN UK INFLATIONThe Consumer Prices Index fell to 4 per cent in March from 4.4 per cent the previous month - a trend put down to weakening retail sales. Food prices led the way, falling 1.4 per cent as supermarkets slashed prices to tempt cash-strapped consumers. The fall in inflation means the Bank of England is unlikely to increase interest rates until much later this year.
Inflation fall eases prospect of interest rate hike
'FAIR TRIAL' PROMISED FOR LAURENT GBAGBOIvory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo, finally captured from his palace bunker, will get a "fair trial", said Alassane Ouattara. In a TV broadcast, the internationally recognised new president promised a truth and reconciliation commission and appealed to Ivorians "to abstain from all reprisals and violence". US President Obama urged rival militias to lay down their arms.
CAMERON'S 'ONE BLACK STUDENT' CLAIM 'ABSURD' David Cameron's claim that Oxford admitted only one black student last year was denounced as "absurd" and "mind-boggling" by academics and MPs. He had singled out Oxford as having a "terrible record" of enrolling state school pupils. Oxford retorted that Cameron's figure related only to Afro-Caribbeans: it had actually admitted 41 students with black backgrounds.
MITT ROMNEY DECLARES HIS CANDIDACYThe multimillionaire Mitt Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, has confirmed that he will seek the Republican nomination in the 2012 presidential election. He is the second Republican after Tim Pawlenty to declare. President Obama has also confirmed he is standing again. Donald Trump and Sarah Palin are among those making noises but not actually declaring so far.
MOUSSA KOUSSA 'to meet libya rebels in qatar'Moussa Koussa, the former Libyan foreign minister who defected to Britain, is being allowed to leave the country to travel to Qatar, the Guardian reports. It is thought he will attend a conference on the future of Libya, where it is thought he will meet members of the Libyan opposition to see if he has a role to play alongside other former Gaddafi loyalists. Koussa is expected to return to the UK after the conference.
SIMON COWELL 'HELPED HIDE' TYCOON'S ASSETSSimon Cowell of The X Factor was named in a High Court divorce hearing as one of three millionaires who allegedly helped property tycoon Scot Young hide millions in assets. The other two named by Young's wife Michelle were Topshop's Sir Philip Green and restaurateur Richard Craig. Cowell called the allegations "utterly untrue" and said his lawyers would "contact" Mrs Young.
BRADLEY MANNING: UN TORTURE CHIEF ACCUSES USThe senior UN representative on torture, Juan Mendez, has issued a reprimand to Washington for preventing him from meeting in private with Bradley Manning, the American soldier accused of being the WikiLeaks source. In the kind of censure normally reserved for authoritarian regimes, he said he was "deeply disappointed" and that the US "has a key role in setting an example".
CANNES FESTIVAL TO HONOUR BERTOLUCCIThe first of a new annual honorary Palme d'Or award at the Cannes Film Festival will go to Italian film director Bernado Bertolucci, best known for Last Tango in Paris. There was renewed controversy over the film when actress Maria Schneider died at 58 in Paris this year. She had said she "felt raped" in the notorious "butter scene" with Marlon Brando.