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Morning news headlines for December 5, 2013

Large parts of the UK have been warned to brace themselves for terrible weather conditions and interest rates will remain on hold once more

National News

90mph gales threaten flood defences

Large parts of the UK have been warned to brace themselves for terrible weather conditions today, with gale-force winds and the most serious tidal surge for 30 years threatening to flood the east coast of England.

Commuters could face major delays as winds of up to 90mph batter Scotland and northern and eastern England, forecasters said.

The Environment Agency warned that huge tidal surges could top flood defences and bring "significant coastal flooding".

Longer wait to collect pensions

Millions of people have been warned they will have to wait longer to collect their state pension as George Osborne prepares to deliver his latest assessment of the state of Britain's economy.

Government sources set the tone for the Chancellor's Autumn Statement with the disclosure that people now in their 40s will not get the state pension until they are 68, while those in their 30s will have wait another year until they are 69.

News of the move came after Mr Osborne last night announced a further £3 billion Whitehall spending squeeze over the next three years.

Rates set to stay on hold

Interest rates will remain on hold once more today, despite further signs that the UK economic recovery is gathering pace.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney has already sought to allay fears that the better prospects could mean interest rates rising sooner than expected.

Policymakers have pledged not to raise rates from the current historic low of 0.5% until the jobless rate falls to 7%, although with the jobs market improving there had been fears that they could go up sooner than previously believed.

Lawson back for court grilling

Nigella Lawson will return to court today to finish giving evidence in the trial of two of her former personal assistants.

Yesterday TV cook Ms Lawson admitted to using cocaine and spoke of the "intimate terrorism" she suffered at the hands of ex-husband Charles Saatchi.

Italian sisters Francesca Grillo, 35, and her sister Elisabetta, sometimes referred to as Lisa, 41, are accused of committing fraud by abusing their positions by using a company credit card for personal gain.

May in EU free movement meeting

The Home Secretary is to challenge her European counterparts to change the way free movement rules work across the region at a meeting in Brussels.

Theresa May will tell justice and home affairs ministers of fellow European Union member states the UK is frustrated by the European Commission's failure to tackle free movement abuse.

Ahead of the meeting, Mrs May discussed measures to tackle this abuse such as applying a cap on numbers if European immigration reaches certain thresholds.

Warning over Ukraine visa checks

Tens of thousands of UK visa applications made in the Ukraine are being approved, despite the country being considered a high-risk location for forged documents, an inspection report has warned.

Border inspectors visited the Warsaw Visa Section in Poland, a huge processing hub that deals with 56,000 applications a year from foreign nationals based in 12 countries including Ukraine, Bulgaria and Romania among others.

Inspectors found that 81% of all "other visitor" applications between August last year and July this year were from Ukraine.

Decision expected on naming Marines

Leading judges are to announce their decision today on whether the names of five Royal Marines should be made public following a high-profile trial over the killing of an injured insurgent in Afghanistan.

The ruling will be made by Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, sitting with Mr Justice Tugendhat and Mr Justice Holroyde at the Court Martial Appeal Court in London.

It follows a hearing last week during which argument was made on behalf of the servicemen that their lives will be at "real and immediate" risk if their names are released.

Ruling on Christian's Sunday shifts

A Christian woman fighting for the right not to be forced by an employer to work on Sundays learns the outcome of the latest round of her legal battle today.

Children's care worker Celestina Mba, from London, has asked Court of Appeal judges for a landmark ruling in her favour.

Lord Justice Maurice Kay, Lord Justice Elias and Lord Justice Vos will announce their decision in London.

Pc shooting suspect questioned

Police are questioning a man over the shooting of an unarmed officer during a routine neighbourhood call.

The 33-year-old officer is believed to have been blasted with a shotgun as she and a male colleague called at a house in the Hyde Park area of Leeds shortly after 4am yesterday.

She received serious injuries to her head, neck and right hand and is in a stable condition in a Leeds hospital.

Daley: It was love at first sight

Diver Tom Daley has told how it was "love at first sight" when he met the man who now shares his life.

The Olympic medal-winning star, who revealed the relationship for the first time this week, also explained that keeping his sexuality under wraps had felt like "a dirty little secret".

In an interview for ITV's Jonathan Ross Show to be screened on Saturday, he explained how he made the first move, even though he was not sure if his now-partner was even gay - and it was his first experience of love.



David Holmes
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