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  1. A record number of people in the UK have failed to claim premium bond prizes.

    Officials at National Savings and Investments (NS&I) are now trying to track down 898,000 bond holders who are owed cash.

    In total, £44m is waiting to be claimed, from prizes dating back to 1957.

    The biggest unclaimed prizes are two for £100,000, owed to a woman from London, and another from Manchester.

    However, the average payout is just under £50.

    The cash usually goes unclaimed when bond holders fail to keep NS&I informed about address changes.

    "Prizes often become unclaimed as a result of people moving house, or forgetting that bonds have been bought for them as a child, or executors are unaware the bonds are held when someone dies," said Jill Walters, NS&I's operations manager.

    The oldest unclaimed prize is owed to a man from South Yorkshire.

    He won £25 in November 1957, the year after premium bonds were introduced by the then Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan.

    If he is still alive, he will find his prize money considerably eroded by inflation. But he has no time limit on claiming, as there is no deadline for prizes.

    NS&I advise anyone wanting to see if they have won to contact them via the website www.nsandi.com. Customers will need to enter their premium bond number into the search engine.

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  2. Motorway tailgaters and middle-lane hoggers are to face quick justice with on-the-spot fixed penalties under new measures announced by the government.

    From July, police will be able to issue £100 fines and three points for careless driving offences that would currently have to go to court.

    The idea is to target offenders without the need for lengthy court procedures.

    Current fixed penalties for using a phone while driving or not wearing a seatbelt will also rise by £40 to £100.

    The move brings careless driving offences into line with the penalties for similar non-motoring fixed penalties. Drivers will still be able to appeal against any decision through the courts.

    People guilty of careless driving will face fixed penalties or the chance to go on a driving course, but the more serious examples will continue to go through the courts, where offenders could face much higher fines and penalties.

    Many offences currently go unpunished because of the bureaucracy involved in taking a case to court.

    Not only does a motorist have to be stopped by the police, but a summons has to be issued and evidence presented in court.

    Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond said: "Careless drivers are a menace and their negligence puts innocent people's lives at risk.

    "That is why we are making it easier for the police to tackle problem drivers by allowing them to immediately issue a fixed penalty notice rather than needing to take every offender to court."

    The AA said responsible drivers would welcome the changes.

    "We are also pleased to see that at long last new powers and fines will be given to the police to tackle the top three pet hates of drivers - tailgaters, mobile phone abusers and middle lane hogs," said AA president Edmund King

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  3. Syrian pro-government forces have taken full control of the strategic town of Qusair, state TV and the rebels say.

    The town, near the Lebanese border, has been the centre of fighting for more than two weeks between rebels and Syrian troops backed by fighters from the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

    Syrian state TV said a large number of rebels had died and many had surrendered.

    The rebels said they withdrew overnight in the face of a massive assault.

    Earlier, the military leader of the main rebel umbrella group, the Free Syrian Army, said his fighters were prepared to take the conflict inside Lebanon in pursuit of Hezbollah fighters.

    Gen Selim Idriss of the Free Syrian Army - the main umbrella rebel group - told the BBC that Hezbollah fighters were "invading" Syria and Lebanon was doing nothing to stop them.

    Qusair lies just 10km (six miles) from the Lebanese border and along major supply routes.

    Syrian pro-government forces, including Hezbollah fighters, have been battling rebels for control of the town for more than two weeks.

    But on Wednesday, Syria's Sana state news agency said the "heroic armed forces have returned security and stability to all of the town".

    Sana said a large number of "terrorists", as the state refers to the rebels, had been killed and many had surrendered. It said the army was now destroying barricades and weapons caches and searching the town for explosives.

    In Lebanon, Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV reported "widespread collapse" of the rebel forces in the town, while one Hezbollah fighter told Reuters news agency: "We did a sudden surprise attack in the early hours and entered the town. They escaped."

    In a statement also quoted by Reuters, the rebels said: "In face of this huge arsenal and lack supplies and the blatant intervention of Hezbollah... tens of fighters stayed behind and ensured the withdrawal of their comrades along with the civilians."

    The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist group that monitors the conflict, said Hezbollah fighters had "overrun" Qusair after an "intense bombardment cover overnight by regime forces, which continued until dawn today".

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  4. Thousands of people have fled their homes across central Europe as deadly flood waters continue to rise.

    Emergency operations are under way in Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic to deal with record levels of flooding in some places.

    Landslides and flooding have led to the deaths of at least four people. At least eight people are missing.

    In Germany, more than 7,000 people have been moved from their homes in the town of Eilenburg, reports say.

    The Czech capital, Prague, is on high alert amid fears that floodwater could swamp its historic centre.

    More than 2,500 people have been forced to leave their homes in the capital and the surrounding region, Radio Prague reports. Animals from Prague's zoo have also been moved.

    Underground stations have been closed and schools shut as Prague officials wait and see whether the Vltava River will flood its banks.

    Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas called a special cabinet session on Sunday to co-ordinate the emergency response, and around 1,000 troops were mobilised to help erect metal barriers and fill sandbags.

    "We will do everything to protect people's lives and health," he said. "Tonight and tomorrow will be critical."

    The BBC's Rob Cameron in Prague says the city is hoping that the defences it installed after devastating floods in 2002 will work.

    At risk is the 14th Century Charles Bridge and other historic buildings close to the river bank, he says.

    Main roads in many areas of central Europe have been closed and rail services cut. In some areas, electricity has been turned off as a precaution.

    Outside Prague, two people were killed and four reported missing when a house collapsed. The body of a man in his 50s was found close to swollen river waters north-east of Prague and two people are missing after their raft overturned south-west of the capital.

    In Austria, the meteorological service said two months of rain had fallen in just two days.

    A man was found dead near Salzburg after being swept away as he worked to clear a landslip, and three further people are missing.

    More than 300 people were moved from their homes in Salzburg and the neighbouring Tyrol as the army worked with the civil authorities to clear landslides and make roads passable.

    Parts of the Pinzgau region, which includes Taxenbach, have been declared a disaster zone.

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  5. Technology giant Apple is to begin its defence against charges by the US government that it tried to fix the prices of e-books.

    The iPad-maker is accused of working with publishers in 2009 to set prices in an effort to compete in the e-book market dominated by Amazon.

    Quotes from Steve Jobs' official biography have been cited as evidence in the case.

    The three-week, non-jury trial begins on Monday in New York.

    The US Department of Justice alleges that Apple agreed with publishers that they should set the price of e-books, rather than allowing individual retailers to do so - a system known as the "agency model".

    Prosecutors claim this allowed Apple to take a percentage of sales made through its iBooks platform. They allege that this practice prevented Amazon from charging lower prices.

    Five publishers originally named as defendants alongside Apple have already reached settlements in which they agreed to terminate their e-book agreements with Apple.

    The largest settlement was with Penguin for $75m (£49m).

    Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster created a $69m fund for refunds to consumers and Macmillan settled for $26m.

    Apple chief executive Tim Cook recently dismissed the idea of a settlement with the government.

    "We didn't do anything wrong there," he said. "We're going to fight."

    But the Justice Department has included quotes attributed to the former chief executive Steve Jobs, taken from his authorized biography, in its case.

    It says Mr Jobs explained to his biographer that Apple had told publishers: "We'll go to the agency model, where you set the price, and we get our 30%, and yes, the customer pays a little more, but that's what you want anyway."

    He was also quoted as describing the strategy as an "aikido move" - a reference to a Japanese martial art.

    Apple's defence team argue that any agreement with publishers did not affect their dealings with other retailers such as Amazon.

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  6. South African officials are investigating claims ex-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his family stashed $1bn (£600m) in assets in the country.

    Libya has reportedly called for help in repatriating diamonds, gold and cash.

    The assets were being held by four banks and security companies in South Africa, reports quoting Libyan investigators say.

    Some estimates suggest that Gaddafi's total foreign assets could be worth as much as $80bn.

    Gaddafi was captured and killed as he tried to flee his home town of Sirte during Libya's political uprising in October 2011.

    Any assets belonging to him or his family are firmly considered by many Libyans as state-owned property that should be returned.

    "There was a group that approached Treasury claiming to represent the Libyan government and we are in the process of verifying their claims about assets that are in South Africa," a spokesman for South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was quoted as saying by South Africa's Sunday Times newspaper.

    Libyan embassy official Salah Marghani said that officials had "been appointed to investigate and secure assets in Africa on behalf of the people of Libya".

    The newspaper printed extracts of letters from Libya's justice and finance ministers to their South African counterparts asking for help finding assets linked to Gaddafi, which might "have been illegally possessed, obtained, looted, deposited or hidden in South Africa".

    It said Libyan investigators had met Mr Gordhan and President Jacob Zuma to discuss locating and returning the money.

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  7. Burundi FA president Lydia Nsekera has been elected as the first woman to Fifa's powerful executive committee in the governing body's 109-year history.

     

    Nsekera, 46, will serve a four-year term on the committee after winning the vote at the Fifa congress in Mauritius.

     

    She collected 95 of the 203 votes ahead of Australian Moya Dodd and Sonia Bien-Aime, of Turks and Caicos Islands.

     

    Nsekera said: "I will inspire women to believe they can lead and I will support women in member associations."

     

    Nsekera, who last year became the first woman to be co-opted to the executive committee, has been head of the Burundi FA since 2004 and was a member of Fifa's organising committee for the 2008 and 2012 Olympic football tournaments.

     

     

    A member of the International Olympic Committee, she is also on the independent governance committee set up in 2011 to tackle corruption within Fifa.

     

    Nsekera told BBC Sport: "I am very happy to be the first woman elected. It is important for Africa, it is important for Burundi, it is important for women.

     

    "In the executive committee, we work as a team, but personally I will carry on working in order to have more women as coaches in grassroots football.

     

    "I will push for more women to be elected and ask parents to let their daughters play football."

     

    Dodd, who secured 70 votes, and Bien-Aime, who won 38, will both serve a one-year term as co-opted members.

     

    And former Australia international Dodd says the election is a landmark moment for the game.

     

    "It's a historic day for football and a great day for women," Dodd said.

     

    "Football is the sport everybody loves; no-one should be excluded. And we should not only protect the game, but also fight against discrimination outside of football."

     

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  8. A fire at a poultry processing plant in China has killed at least 119 people, officials say.

    The fire broke out at a slaughterhouse in Dehui in Jilin province early on Monday, according to state-run Xinhua news agency.

    The fire is now said to have been mostly put out and bodies are being recovered.

    There are reports that it took hold early in the morning and that explosions were heard.

    Some sources including the provincial fire department suggest there may have been an ammonia leak which either caused the fire or made fighting the blaze more hazardous.

    Other accounts speak of an electrical fault.

    It is China's deadliest fire since 2000, when 309 people died in a blaze in a dance hall in Luoyang, in Henan province.

    About 100 workers had managed to escape from the Baoyuan plant, Xinhua said, adding that the "complicated interior structure" of the building and narrow exits had made rescue work more difficult.

    It said the plant's front gate had been locked when the blaze began.

    The number of workers trapped inside the plant had yet to be confirmed, the agency added, and it is not clear how many workers have been accounted for. An unnamed government official told AFP news agency he expected the death toll to rise.

    Dozens of injured have been sent to hospital, but the severity of their injuries remains unclear.

    Pictures from the scene showed the roof mostly burned away to reveal blackened, twisted girders.

    Workers interviewed by state broadcaster CCTV said the fire broke out at about 06:00 (22:00 Sunday GMT) during a shift change and may have started in a locker room.

    The lights went out, triggering panic as workers rushed to find an exit, 44-year-old Wang Fengya told Xinhua.

    Another worker, Guo Yan, told the agency the emergency exit for her workstation was blocked and that she was knocked to the ground in a crush of workers trying to escape through a side door.

    "I could only crawl desperately forward," Ms Guo, 39, was quoted as saying. "I worked alongside an old lady and a young girl, but I don't know if they survived or not."

    An investigation into the cause of the fire is under way, Xinhua said.

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  9. Kim Kardashian is having a baby girl, it has been revealed.

     

    The gender of Kim and Kanye West's baby was revealed on Sunday night's episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, which showed Kim discovering the news during an sonogram.

     

    Dr Paul Crane, the family's doctor, laughed as he found Kim and her sisters Kourtney and Khloe, and their mother Kris Jenner all in the office excitedly waiting together. 

     

     

    'I don't see any pee-pees,' Dr Crane said as he tried to determine the gender, adding: 'I'm thinking it's a girl.'

     

    'Oh my gosh! What's the percentage?' a nervous Kim was heard asking the doctor.

     

    After being told that she was 99 per cent having a baby girl, Kim gushed: 'I am so excited to be having a girl, who doesn't want a girl.'

     

     

    Kim then added that it was what her boyfriend Kanye West, who is not in attendance, 'always wanted' noting that he would be thrilled at the revelation of their baby's sex.

     

    Kim said: 'I know that's really what Kanye has always wanted. He wanted a little girl.'

     

    Kim also hinted that her unborn child might be musical, as she shopped for baby clothes with Kourtney.

     

     

    'I feel like my kid is going to need musical things,' said Kim as she suggested all the family babies should start a band.

     

    'What kind of child will I have? A very tutu-y, like, princess?' Kim wondered as she gushed over the baby items.

     

    'I just can't wait to see what she's going to talk like and look like. I am so excited about the joy she is going to bring into our lives,' she said.

     

     

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  10. Police were forced to use pepper spray to break up a playground fight between parents at an infant school in front of pupils.

     

    Officers were called in after two mothers allegedly had a 'full-on fight' on the premises.

    People related to the two women began 'behaving in a disorderly way' as children were being collected from Penryn Infant School, Penryn, Cornwall.

     

    Devon and Cornwall Police say officers used a pepper-based CS spray on a man who was allegedly assaulting a pupil’s mother.

     

    One man was arrested and has been released on bail, pending further inquiries.

    A spokesman for the force confirmed that the spray was used in the playground of the school in Penryn in Cornwall.

     

    He said: 'The use of CS spray is an effective tool for officers, particularly in public order and violent incidents, in order to prevent escalation of an incident, to bring it to a swift conclusion and prevent injury to victims and innocent members of the public.'

     

    Pupils who saw what was happening as they left classes were so traumatised by the fight some had to take the next day off.

     

    One parent, who did not wish to be named, said: 'I arrived at the school and saw lots of police cars and officers dotted around. As the children came out these people started fighting and the language was disgusting.

     

    'It was horrible. The children were all stunned, diving to their mums' sides. School should be the safest place for kids to go and seeing it happen there was unbelievable. Lots of other mums said their children were too upset and having nightmares to go back the next day.'

     

    Officers attended the school last Thursday following reports a fight between two mothers in the playground earlier in the day. They remained at the premises to prevent a 'breach of the peace', according to Police Constable Jules Evans.

     

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