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Two People Die As Storm Batters The Country

Two People Die As Storm Batters The Country

A man and a woman have died as rain and winds of up to 87mph sweep the country disrupting the Christmas getaway and leaving more than 6,000 without power.

A man died in Cumbria after falling into the River Rothay at Ambleside triggering a large rescue search involving the police, RAF, Coastguard, and mountain rescue teams. In a separate incident, a woman died after falling into a river at Gwynedd in North Wales.

A motorist died on Sunday at Bolventor, in Cornwall after a three-car accident during a hail storm.

In Horsham, West Sussex, two children were treated for minor injuries after being hit by branches from a falling tree. read more

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M&S Says Sorry Over Alcohol Refusal

M&S Says Sorry Over Alcohol Refusal

Marks & Spencer has apologised after a Muslim member of staff refused to sell alcohol to a customer.

The retailer said that when employees have religious beliefs that restrict what foods or drinks they can handle, it tries to place them in a “suitable role”.

An M&S spokeswoman said: “We regret that in the case highlighted we were not following our own internal policy.”

The issue arose after an unnamed customer at a London store told the Telegraph they were surprised when an “extremely apologetic” Muslim checkout worker asked for them to wait for another till to become available. read more

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Row Over NHS ‘Too Powerful To Criticise’ Claim

Row Over NHS ‘Too Powerful To Criticise’ Claim

The chairman of the NHS watchdog has sparked a political row after saying the health service has become “too powerful to criticise”.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) boss David Prior says people have become scared of complaining about poor care.

He warned the service’s perceived status as a “national religion” fuelled the problem and some areas of care were “out of control” because honesty about failings was not tolerated.

Even the most senior staff were afraid of speaking out despite millions of patients receiving a “wholly unsatisfactory” service from GPs and hospitals, Mr Prior added. read more

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France Implants Its First Artificial Heart

France Implants Its First Artificial Heart

An artificial heart that can give patients up to five years of extra life has been successfully implanted for the first time.

The heart, powered by watch-style batteries that can be worn externally, was put into a patient at Paris’s Georges Pompidou Hospital.

It uses a range of “biomaterials”, including bovine tissue, to reduce the likelihood of the body rejecting it.

Unlike previous artificial hearts, created mainly for temporary use, the design by the French Carmat biomedical firm is intended to replace a real heart for as many as five years. read more

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Blaze At Surrey Theme Park

Blaze At Surrey Theme Park

The Chessington World of Adventures Resort in Surrey has been closed for the day after a fire started at a restaurant near a zoo.

The theme park was not open to the public when emergency crews were alerted at 9am and no people or animals were injured, London Fire Brigade said.

It had been due to open at 10am for a “festive zoo day” according to its website, but a decision was made to shut the site.

Eight fire engines were called to the scene of the blaze at the Creaky Cafe and firefighters later managed to bring it under control. read more

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Nasa Astronauts Finish ISS Repair Spacewalk

Nasa Astronauts Finish ISS Repair Spacewalk

Nasa astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins have completed the first of three emergency spacewalks to replace a broken cooling pump at the International Space Station.

As the ISS orbited Earth at a speed of five miles per second, veteran spacewalker Mr Mastracchio led the way, followed by Mr Hopkins, who was making his first venture outside the global research lab.

From the inside, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata operated the station’s 50ft (15m) robotic arm, hoisting Mr Mastracchio and hefty equipment from one section of the lab to another.

“There are quite a bit of arm manoeuvres throughout all of these EVAs so I’m sure Koichi will be getting a workout,” said lead spacewalk officer Allison Bolinger, using the Nasa acronym for spacewalk: extravehicular activity (EVA). read more

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Christmas Shoppers To Spend £12bn In Four Days

Christmas Shoppers To Spend £12bn In Four Days

Shoppers are expected to spend £12bn in just four days as they make the most of slashed prices and promotions, according to retail forecasters.

The deals are being offered as a fierce battle for sales rages both on the high street and online.

Alan Dadswell relies on Christmas to keep his shop Toys ‘N’ Tuck in Southend-on-Sea going and he says discounts are crucial.

He said: “To get people to spend the money they have got to feel they are getting a bargain and we have got to give them a bargain. We have to hunt with our suppliers to do good deals to get people in to the store.” read more

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Clutha Tragedy – Comedy Gig To Help Raise Cash

Clutha Tragedy – Comedy Gig To Help Raise Cash

Glasgow’s comedians are lining up to raise a laugh for victims of the Clutha Pub tragedy.

They also hope tonight’s comedy gig will raise several thousand pounds for the Clutha Appeal Fund, which has already amassed more than £220,000.

Friends and relatives of the 10 people who died when the Police Scotland helicopter crashed into the Glasgow pub have been invited to the show at the city’s O2abc Academy.

They will be joined in the audience by emergency service workers who helped at the scene of the tragedy. read more

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London Bus Crash – 32 Passengers Injured

London Bus Crash – 32 Passengers Injured

A bus has crashed into a tree in south London, injuring 32 passengers, seven of them seriously, say police.

The accident happened around 10.50am on Kennington Road near the Imperial War Museum, while the number 59 bus was en route to King’s Cross.

Emergency services said several passengers had to be freed from the wreckage.

A 19-year-old woman and a man were the last to be rescued and are among those most badly hurt. read more

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