Heavy rain and gales of more than 100mph have returned to Britain overnight and hate crimes against Muslims soar
Storms set to cause more misery
Heavy rain and gales of more than 100mph have returned to Britain overnight - just days after the last storm caused Christmas misery for tens of thousands of people.
The Met Office has issued yellow and amber weather warnings, indicating "severe or hazardous weather" with potential to "cause danger to life or widespread disruption" and urged many people to prepare for flooding.
The storm will spread east across the whole of the UK throughout the morning, with the worst-affected areas expected to be northern England and northern parts of Wales.
Rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes
Hate crimes against Muslims have soared this year, new figures have shown.
Hundreds of anti-Muslim offences have been carried out across the country in 2013, with Britain's biggest force, the Metropolitan police, recording 500 Islamophobic crimes alone.
Many forces reported a surge in the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes following the murder of soldier Lee Rigby by two Islamic extremists in Woolwich, south-east London.
Departments warned on premium lines
Government departments have been ordered to stop using premium-rate phone lines for core public services.
Guidance issued by the Cabinet Office admitted it is "inappropriate" for members of the public to be hit with high charges.
The move comes after a damning National Audit Office (NAO) report found callers including crime victims and the bereaved spent £56 million on expensive government numbers last year.
Labour attacks coalition over crime
The coalition has been accused of failing victims of rape, domestic violence and child sex abuse by "hollowing out" the police service.
The number of offences referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has been falling since the general election despite a rise in recorded crime levels, according to Labour.
Rape allegations registered by police increased from 15,892 in 2010-11 to 16,327 last year. But pre-charge decisions dropped from 8,130 to 5,404 and prosecutions fell from 4,208 to 3,692.
President Obama signs budget deal
President Barack Obama signed a budget deal easing spending cuts and a defence bill cracking down on sexual assault in the military.
His signature yesterday marked a modest end to a challenging year for the White House and Congress.
Mr Obama is on holiday in Hawaii where he has been laying low since Saturday as he regroups for the midterm election year ahead.
Hot summer helped wildlife recovery
After six consecutive poor summers, a hot July and August helped to turn around the fortunes for much of our wildlife.
The winners of the year were warmth-loving insects, particularly butterflies, moths, bees, crickets and grasshoppers, many of which fared really well, according to the National Trust.
The distinctive tree bumblebee, which only started to colonise in the UK in 2001, expanded considerably, crossing north of Hadrian's Wall for the first time.
Icebound ship is closer to rescue
An icebreaker named the Snow Dragon has drawn close to a ship that has been trapped in Antarctic ice since Christmas Eve, raising hopes a rescue is imminent.
The Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy got stuck in the ice on Tuesday.
The ship was not in danger of sinking, and there were ample supplies for the 74 scientists, tourists and crew on board, but the vessel could not move.
Missing Hiker: Searchers find body
Mountain rescuers searching for a British hiker in New Zealand have recovered a body at the bottom of a 110 yard cliff.
Andrew Ian Wyatt, reportedly from Cornwall, was last seen leaving a lodge in Nelson Lakes National Park near the city of Nelson in the country's south island on December 15.
The body, which has yet to be formally identified, was found below Lake Constance Bluff - part of Mr Wyatt's intended tramping trail.