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texting driver's 'laughing emoji' excuse mocked by police

image copyrighttwitterimage caption the force used 14 emojis to tell the driver's story a driver who was stopped for texting behind the wheel claimed he was only sending "a laughing emoji" to his girlfriend - prompting police to respond with emojis of their own.the man was caught by officers in st helens, merseyside, using a phone and not wearing a seatbelt.in his defence, he said: "i was just putting a laughing emoji to my girlfriend."merseyside police tweeted it was a "very unusual reply".the force's road policing unit then laid out the whole incident in emojis, including a number six for the number of penalty points the driver received and pound notes for the fine.a merseyside police spokesman said the driver of a ford fiesta was stopped by police at 13:45 on tuesday on st helens linkway and given six points and £200 fine.





newspaper headlines: worboys allegation and gala 'groping'

watch the bbc news channel’s press review every evening at 22:40 weekdays, 22:30 and 23:30 weekends and via the bbc iplayer





ikea boss says it pays fair share of tax

image copyrightgetty imagesikea group boss jesper brodin has told the bbc that the company pays its fair share of tax worldwide.the flatpack furniture retailer, which has more than 360 stores, paid 25% tax last year, mr brodin said. eu tax officials opened an investigation last month into a separate part of ikea. inter ikea, which controls the company's brand rights, may have been given unfair tax advantages by the netherlands, the commission said.mr brodin acknowledged the launch of the eu investigation, but said it was focused on a separate part of the business.inter ikea, which collects royalty payments from ikea stores, said last month that it believed that the way it had been taxed "has in our view been in accordance with eu rules".image copyrightikeaimage caption jesper brodin (r) took over from peter agnefjall (l) last year mr brodin, who took the helm of the swedish furniture giant last september, said ikea group was "a stable payer of tax". he noted that ikea's continuing profitability even in the "tough years" after the 2008 financial crisis meant it had consistently continued to pay tax."we think it's important to contribute to society in many ways and paying tax is one part of it. we believe we do," he added.mr brodin is at the world economic forum in davos to talk about the so called circular economy where products are used for as long as possible before being broken down and used to make something else. ikea has pledged to eliminate waste from...





car insurance premiums rise for nine successive quarters

image copyrightpacar insurance premiums have once again risen to a new high, according to the association of british insurers (abi).between october and december 2017 average premiums rose to £481, a rise of 9% on the previous year.that is the highest figure since the abi started records in 2012, and the ninth successive quarter in which premiums have risen.the industry blames a series of increases in insurance premium tax, and changes to the so-called discount rate.since june last year all insurance premiums have been taxed at 12%.the government has already announced plans to reverse changes to the discount rate, but these have yet to come into force.the discount - or ogden - rate is designed to compensate insurers for the cost of long-term injury claims.it was reduced by the government last april, costing insurance firms large amounts of money.however, in september the ministry of justice (moj) said it would revise the scheme.new legislation may eventually ease the pressure on premiums, although some experts believe that the cost of car insurance is unlikely to fall.the moj has also announced a series of reforms to whiplash-related claims, in an attempt to reduce fraud."the rising cost of motor insurance shows no sign of abating," said rob cummings, the abi's assistant director."changes to how compensation payouts are calculated, insurance premium tax, more whiplash-style claims and rising repair bills are all piling on the pressure for cash-strapped drivers."the abi s...





tammy duckworth set to be first senator to have baby in office

image copyrightgetty imagesimage caption mrs duckworth had her first daughter at 47, while she was serving in the house us senator and iraq war veteran tammy duckworth has announced that she is expecting a baby girl shortly after she turns 50 in april.the news means she will be the first us senator to give birth while in office. only nine other female have had babies while serving in congress - all when sitting in the house, not the senate.she is already the first ever disabled woman elected to the senate, having lost both her legs while serving as a us army helicopter pilot.mrs duckworth is also the first member to be born in thailand. her mother is of chinese descent and her father is an american veteran who served in both world war ii and the vietnam war.speaking to the chicago tribune, mrs duckworth said it was "about damn time" that a female senator gave birth while serving. "i can't believe it took until 2018. it says something about the inequality of representation that exists in our country," she said.image copyrightbrendan hoffmanimage caption she was the first female double amputee from the iraq war after her black hawn helicopter was shot down in 2004 "men have been having children while they've been in office," she said."i hope if anything comes out of the women's march, it's that we get more and more women running for office. it would be good to have some company here."the 49-year-old was elected to the us house of representatives in 2...





kentucky school shooting: two teenagers dead and 17 injured

media playback is unsupported on your devicemedia caption"students started screaming and running"two people have been killed and 17 injured in a high school shooting in the us state of kentucky.a 15-year-old girl died at the scene at marshall county high school in the town of benton and a 15-year-old boy died in hospital, said kentucky's governor.the attacker, a 15-year-old male student, was arrested in "a non-violent apprehension", officials said. state police said the unidentified boy was held about 15 minutes after opening fire at 08:00 local time on tuesday. image copyrightcbsimage caption parents rushed to the school to pick up their children the lone attacker opened fire with a handgun apparently at random in a common area before classes started, according to local media.he will be charged with murder and attempted murder, said officials. the fbi was assisting in the investigation.police named the two students who died as bailey holt, pronounced dead at the school, and preston cope, who succumbed to his injuries in hospital. fourteen students were hit by gunfire, including the two who died.another five students suffered non-gunshot injuries while trying to escape the gunfire.image copyrightcbsimage caption the scene at the marshall county high school jason hall, a student at the school of nearly 1,150, described the stampede for the exits. "i saw people getting shoved down," he said. "there was a lot of blood everywhere. it was horrible."the att...





pound hits $1.40 for first time since brexit vote

image copyrightgetty imagessterling has extended its rally against the dollar to rise above $1.40 for the first time since the brexit vote.analysts said the pound's recovery was helped by falls in the dollar and a rethink by some investors about the uk's economic prospects.others said that despite little development in the brexit talks this month, there was some optimism about the uk's chances of securing a deal.the pound rose by 0.3% to $1.4030 on tuesday afternoon before easing back.sterling fell below $1.20 to a 30-year low against the dollar in the months after the uk voted to leave the european union, contributing to a spike in inflation as imports became more expensive.but the pound has seen a steady recovery in recent months, which benefits uk tourists visiting the us and could bring down the cost of imports.analysts pointed to a range of factors for the pound's rise against the dollar, which saw it also briefly touch $1.40 on monday night."there is definitely a feeling that brexit is now far more likely to be 'soft', which underestimates the risk for more problems ahead in our view but for the time being is leading to demand for [the pound]," said john marley, head of fx strategy at currency advisers infinity international.french president emmanuel macron told the bbc over the weekend that the uk could have a bespoke trade deal with the eu. earlier this month, the pound surged after a news report that the spanish and dutch finance ministers had agreed to seek ...





antarctica's weddell sea 'deserves protected status'

a submersible mission in antarctic waters has revealed unique ecosystems so rare they deserve special protection, say scientists.the seabed investigation, co-ordinated by the campaign group greenpeace, will help build the case for the creation of the world's largest wildlife sanctuary.read more on the proposals here.





'growing problem' of addiction to prescription drugs probed

image copyrightxesaipublic health england is launching a review into the "growing problem" of prescription drug addiction.nhs data suggest one in every 11 patients in england is being prescribed medication that could be addictive, or difficult to come off. this includes sedatives, painkillers and antidepressants.phe wants to avoid a situation like the one in the us, where there's been a massive increase in addiction to opioids. the hell of my prescription drug withdrawalthe prescription drug flooding the ukwhy opioids are such an american problemthe review, which will take a year, will cover:sedatives and anti-anxiety drugs known as benzodiazepines and z-drugs (zolpidem and zopiclone)painkillers called opioids, pregabalin and gabapentin (the latter two are also used to treat epilepsy)antidepressantswhile antidepressants are not addictive, some patients experience difficulties when they try to stop taking them. prescribing of "addictive medicines" - sedatives and painkillers - has increased 3% over five years, gp data for england suggests. public health minister steve brine said: "we know this is a huge problem in other countries like the united states - and we must absolutely make sure it doesn't become one here."while we are world-leading in offering free treatment for addiction, we cannot be complacent."director of drugs, alcohol and tobacco at phe, rosanna o'connor, said: "it is of real concern that so many people find themselves dependent on or suffering withdr...





ursula k le guin: us fantasy author dies at home in oregon

image copyrightafpaward-winning us science fiction and fantasy author ursula k le guin has died, aged 88, her family said.the best-selling writer passed away on monday at her home in portland, oregon, after a period of ill health. le guin's books melded dragons and wizards with spaceships to tackle earth-bound problems of race, gender and class. she wrote more than 20 novels and over 100 short stories that sold millions of copies around the world. her verified twitter account posted a statement on tuesday evening saying: "the family of ursula k le guin is deeply saddened to announce her peaceful death yesterday afternoon."she was best known for the earthsea series, written for young adults, and her 1969 sci-fi classic the left hand of darkness, set on a planet called gethen, where everyone is ambisexual."i tend to avoid fiction about dysfunctional urban middle-class people written in the present tense," she once said. "this makes it hard to find a new novel, sometimes."in a career spanning more than half a century, she won a number of nebula and hugo science fiction and fantasy awards.she also received the newbery medal, the top honour for us children's literature and the national book foundation medal for distinguished contribution to american letters. the us library of congress in 2000 designated her a living legend for her contribution to america's cultural heritage.reacting to news of her death, us horror author stephen king paid tribute to le guin as "one of th...





john worboys: fresh sex assault claim investigated

image copyrightmet policeimage caption john worboys gave his victims drug-laced champagne before he attacked them a new sexual assault allegation made against rapist john worboys is being investigated by scotland yard.the claim, which dates back to 1997, several years earlier than the date when it was thought worboys' offending started, was reported to police this month.bbc home affairs correspondent danny shaw said worboys could remain in custody if the investigation progressed quickly and led to criminal charges.no arrests have been made.worboys, 60, was jailed for a minimum term of eight years in 2009 for drugging and sexually assaulting women passengers.news that the parole board had decided to free worboys after a decade behind bars was met with a furore by worboys' victims and in parliament. lawyers representing victims said their clients were "extremely distressed" and, along with the mayor of london sadiq khan, demanded the government launch a judicial review of the decision.last week, justice secretary david gauke told the commons the government would not challenge the parole board's decision. lawyers for two victims have said they intend to pursue the case in the courts.this is a potentially significant development which could delay or even prevent john worboys' impending release from prison. although the investigation is in its early stages, and worboys has not been arrested or interviewed, i understand that detectives are taking the allegation extrem...





ntas 2018: ant and dec win big with three awards

image copyrightpaant and dec were the biggest winners at this year's national television awards, taking home three titles.the pair were named best presenters for the 17th time and also won the first bruce forsyth entertainment award.ant said being honoured again "really means a lot" after a "tough year" in which he spent time in rehab and saw his marriage come to an end.doctor foster picked up the award for best drama with suranne jones winning best drama performance.image copyrightgetty imagesimage caption suranne jones won the nta for drama performance jones, who plays gemma foster in the hit drama, told the bbc she was proud of receiving nominations at the ntas because the award winners are voted for by the public. "i can't believe we're here for a second season, it was wonderful enough that we were here for season one and it was a bit of a risk to make number two when something was so popular," she said. she also showed her support for the ceremony's gender neutral award categories, which have been in place since 2014.there was a moving tribute celebrating the life of sir bruce forsyth ahead of the announcement of the entertainment award winner, which was created in his memory. ant and dec won for their show saturday night takeaway, with dec saying the pair were "very honoured".saturday night takeaway beat all round to mrs brown's, celebrity juice and the graham norton show to win the accolade."performing with brucie was the highlight of our career a...





hundreds of cases dropped over evidence disclosure failings

image copyrightsocial media/bbcimage caption charges against isaac itiary and liam allan were dropped over a failure to disclose key evidence the number of prosecutions in england and wales that collapsed because of a failure by police or prosecutors to disclose evidence increased by 70% in the last two years, the bbc can reveal.last year, 916 people had charges dropped over a failure to disclose evidence - up from 537 in 2014-15.it comes after recent collapsed rape cases highlighted a failure to share evidence with defence solicitors.the crown prosecution service said the justice system had "systemic" problems.in the lead up to criminal trials, police and prosecutors have a duty to disclose evidence that might either assist the defence case or undermine the prosecution's.however, the recent collapse of several rape cases has heightened concerns that evidence is not being disclosed early enough, and that the rules are not being followed.'a daily struggle'in december, the trial of isaac itiary, who was accused of raping a child, collapsed when new evidence came to light.during mr itiary's trial, police failed to disclose messages which showed the girl, then 16 years old, had told the defendant she was 19.the same month, the trial of liam allan, who faced 12 counts of rape and sexual assault, was also halted.the case against mr allan was dropped when it emerged evidence on a computer disc - which police had looked through - showed messages from the alleged victim ...





bristol city 2-3 manchester city (agg: 3-5)

kevin de bruyne celebrated signing a new five-year contract at manchester city with a goalmanchester city reached their first final under pep guardiola as the premier league leaders beat battling bristol city in the carabao cup.already leading 2-1 from the first leg, goals from leroy sane, sergio aguero and kevin de bruyne at ashton gate ensured manchester city's place at wembley on sunday, 25 february.having dominated the first half, sane deservedly put the visitors in front shortly before the break, with his deflected shot bouncing in after bernardo silva had dispossessed hordur magnusson. manchester city looked to have all but killed the tie early in the second half when sergio aguero's strike across goal rounded off a lethal counter attack.the championship team produced a rousing final 20 minutes to give guardiola's side a brief late scare, with marlon pack's smart header and aden flint's stoppage-time goal threatening for a moment to take the tie into extra time. but de bruyne's calm finish with the final kick of the game denied bristol city a creditable draw on the night and confirmed manchester city's place in the final where they will face either arsenal or chelsea, who play the second leg of their semi-final on wednesday. the robins, meanwhile, will turn their attention to converting their current fifth place in the second tier into promotion - with their four previous victories over premier league opposition in the carabao cup giving them a taste of what they...





ruthin school head teacher warns pupils against teen romances

image copyrightdavid medcalf/ geographimage caption ruthin school is an independent school where pupils can board the head teacher of a top public school has warned pupils that being in a teenage relationship could hamper their chances of going to university. toby belfield, principal of ruthin school in denbighshire, wrote an email to all students to try to deter them. he said in his experience pupils in relationships at school were "at danger of academically underachieving".he added while he would not expel them, he would give them the opportunity to "review their romantic situation"."parents choose ruthin school because it is a top ranking academic institution," he explained. "in my experience, students who are in a relationship, whilst at school, are at danger of academically underachieving. "therefore, if they devote their time to their studies, rather than the emotional turmoil connected with teenage romance, they will achieve higher grades and go to better universities. "this is the primary objective of the school - to enable them to fulfil their academic potential and go to the best universities in the world. " image caption toby belfield said he wanted to dissuade teenage relationships mr belfield told bbc wales he would not hamper a student's chances of a university place by writing a less favourable reference if they had a boyfriend or girlfriend, but added: "my email was a generic one to all students, to try to dissuade them from being i...





kentucky school shooting: two teenagers dead and 17 injured

media playback is unsupported on your devicemedia caption'students started screaming and running'two people have been killed and 17 injured in a high school shooting in the us state of kentucky.a 15-year-old girl died at the scene at marshall county high school in the town of benton and a 15-year-old boy died in hospital, said kentucky's governor.the unidentified attacker was a 15-year-old male student, who was arrested and is in custody. state police said he was detained about 15 minutes after opening fire at 08:00 local time on tuesday. image copyrightcbsimage caption parents rushed to the school to pick up their children the lone attacker was a student at the school who opened fire with a handgun in a common area before classes started, according to local media.he will be charged with murder and attempted murder, said officials, who add that the fbi is assisting in the investigation."to walk in, the backpacks laying around, the phones laying around, going off, it's indescribable," said marshall county attorney jeffery edwards, reports the louisville courier-journal. "i've been doing this for 25 years. it's not like anything i've experienced in my life."image copyrightcbsimage caption the scene at the marshall county high school mr edwards told the newspaper that the shooter had appeared to open fire at random.the state governor said the attacker was taken into custody in "a nonviolent apprehension".five students were taken to the vanderbilt uni...





isaiah haastrup: 'god should decide' when baby dies

image copyrightpaimage caption isaiah, pictured with an aunt, suffered "catastrophic" brain damage, the court was told a woman fighting to stop doctors ending life support treatment for her sick 11-month-old son has told a judge that god should decide when he dies.specialists at king's college hospital said giving further treatment to isaiah haastrup is "futile, burdensome and not in his best interests". they said he is profoundly disabled, but can feel pain.isaiah's mother, takesha thomas, and father lanre haastrup, both 36, want treatment to continue.ms thomas, a pentecostal christian, said: "for me, i don't think it is right to say who should live or who should die. if god wants to take the person, he will."she told the judge: "when i speak to him he will respond, slowly, by opening one eye. "i see a child who is injured. he needs love. he needs care. i have it. i can can give it."image copyrightpaimage caption isaiah haastrup's mother takesha thomas told the high court "if god wants to take the person, he will." ms thomas told the judge that isaiah responded to her."when i take him out for cuddles, when i sing to him, when i rock he feels sleepy in my arms," she said.a specialist treating isaiah had told the judge that in his opinion the boy would not improve.he described isaiah as "profoundly disabled", and said that he could not breathe independently.the judge has ruled that medics involved in isaiah's case cannot be identified.barris...





pound hits $1.40 for first time since brexit vote

image copyrightgetty imagessterling has extended its rally against the dollar to rise above $1.40 for the first time since the brexit vote.analysts said the pound's recovery was helped by falls in the dollar and a rethink by some investors about the uk's economic prospects.others said that despite little development in the brexit talks this month, there was some optimism about the uk's chances of securing a deal.the pound rose by 0.3% to $1.4030 on tuesday afternoon before easing back.sterling fell below $1.20 to a 30-year low against the dollar in the months after the uk voted to leave the european union, contributing to a spike in inflation as imports became more expensive.but the pound has seen a steady recovery in recent months, which benefits uk tourists visiting the us and could bring down the cost of imports.analysts pointed to a range of factors for the pound's rise against the dollar, which saw it also briefly touch $1.40 on monday night."there is definitely a feeling that brexit is now far more likely to be 'soft', which underestimates the risk for more problems ahead in our view but for the time being is leading to demand for [the pound]," said john marley, head of fx strategy at currency advisers infinity international.french president emmanuel macron told the bbc over the weekend that the uk could have a bespoke trade deal with the eu. earlier this month, the pound surged after a news report that the spanish and dutch finance ministers had agreed to seek ...





mps block ex-expenses chief sir ian kennedy's new job

image copyrightpaimage caption sir ian kennedy had been in line to become an electoral commissioner mps have voted to prevent the former boss of the commons expenses watchdog from getting a new job.sir ian kennedy was set to be appointed to the electoral commission, and no objections were raised by the leaders of the westminster parties.but mps voted by 77 to 46 against the appointment, with one branding him an "arch quangocrat" and criticising his expenses reforms.sir ian's critics were accused of "petty behaviour" by one mp.sir ian was chairman of the independent parliamentary standards authority until 2016.the organisation was set up as a response to the expenses scandal, but the subsequent system has been criticised by some mps, who say it is difficult to work with and treats them unfairly.labour mp john spellar said sir ian had "largely created the dreadful, anti-elected member, vindictive attitude that has permeated so much of ipsa".the organisation has "taken as its premise that they are there to make life difficult for members of parliament," he added, questioning the process that led to the "arch quangocrat" being put forward.conservative former minister james duddridge suggested the 76-year-old was too old for the job, adding: "whilst our expenses system desperately needed to be reformed, i don't think there's a single member of the house that thinks ipsa is a system that is a system lacking in bureaucracy that couldn't be well reformed."i do...





ntas 2018: ant and dec win big with three awards

image copyrightpaant and dec were the biggest winners at this year's national television awards, taking home three titles.the pair were named best presenters for the 17th time and also won the first bruce forsyth entertainment award.ant said being honoured again "really means a lot" after a "tough year" in which he spent time in rehab and saw his marriage come to an end.doctor foster picked up the award for best drama with suranne jones winning best drama performance.jones, who plays gemma foster in the hit drama, told the bbc she was proud of receiving nominations at the ntas because the award winners are voted for by the public. "i can't believe we're here for a second season, it was wonderful enough that we were here for season one and it was a bit of a risk to make number two when something was so popular," she said. she also showed her support for the ceremony's gender neutral award categories, which have been in place since 2014.there was a moving tribute celebrating the life of sir bruce forsyth ahead of the announcement of the entertainment award winner, which was created in his memory. ant and dec won for their show saturday night takeaway, with dec saying the pair were "very honoured".saturday night takeaway beat all round to mrs brown's, celebrity juice and the graham norton show to win the accolade."performing with brucie was the highlight of our career and we miss him terribly," dec told the audience.ant added that alongside filming a new series of...