Fire crews in New York City have responded to a possible explosion and building collapse in Upper Manhattan. FDNY confirmed via Twitter that crews responded to a building collapse and fire between 114th and 117th streets. WABC-TV says residents reported hearing a large explosion in an apartment building around 9am. Metro-North Railroad says it has suspended all commuter train service in the area.
The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane has been expanded to two areas, five days after the Beijing-bound flight disappeared without a trace. Speaking at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammudin Hussein said the search had been extended to cover the South China Sea and Strait of Malacca. "Each day that passes I fear that the search and rescue becomes just a search, but we never give up hope." :: Sky News will be showing a 12-minute special report on the story so far of the missing flight MH370 at 2.30pm.
Aviation experts told Sky News pilot suicide is a possible explanation, although Malaysia Airlines chiefs say there is "no reason to believe" crew had anything to do with the Boeing 777-200's disappearance. As the mystery deepened, Australian aviation consultant Neil Hansford accused the Malaysian government of not telling the full story of what happened. He told Sky News: "I'm finding in any interviews I'm doing with Malaysians, there is a fair bit of spin, there's a fair bit of denial of the boarding procedures and the manifest checking with the stolen passport list, and inconsistencies all the time. "I think you're now finding the Malaysian authorities have got a lot to answer for."
Ed Miliband has effectively ruled out an EU in-out referendum, saying there would only be a vote in the event of a significant Brussels power grab. The key initiative from the Labour leader is what he calls a "new lock" which means no in-out referendum unless there is a transfer of powers from the UK to the EU. However, he pointed out there were no current proposals for such a transfer of powers so it is unlikely any Labour government would introduce an EU membership vote. In a speech in central London on Wednesday morning he said: "Now, there are no current proposals from other countries for such a transfer of powers.
A bill of rights should be created to govern the Internet in the wake of revelations about the depth of government surveillance, the inventor of the World Wide Web said on Wednesday.
Chinese maths teachers are to come to England to give masterclasses in the subject as part of a fresh bid to boost standards.
By Jonathan Cable LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's economy will grow faster than any other G7 nation in coming quarters, but the Bank of England will not raise interest rates until next year to avoid choking off the recovery, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday. The poll of over 50 economists, taken this week, suggested Britain's gross domestic product (GDP) will grow 0.6 percent per quarter through to September 2015. If those forecasts are met, Britain's economy will be back to its pre-crisis size by the end of June and be the fastest growing amongst the group of seven major industrialised nations. "The story on the UK remains very positive, with business surveys pointing to robust activity, confidence indicators bouncing strongly, credit growth strengthening and asset prices rising," said James Knightley at ING.
Billionaire financier George Soros said on Wednesday it would not be practical for an independent Scotland to keep the British pound, and warned a separate currency would be "potentially dangerous" as weak currencies can be attacked. A row over currency is heating up as Scots prepare to vote on September 18 in a referendum on whether to break away from the rest of the United Kingdom. Nationalists wanting to share the pound in a currency union with the UK and retain the services of the Bank of England. But the three main UK parties have united to reject that plan, telling Scotland if it leaves the United Kingdom, it leaves the pound.
Progress towards treatments for cancer and other diseases will slow down if the health watchdog continues to "underestimate" the benefits of new medicines, according to a new report.
Gas and electricity supplier E.ON increased UK underlying earnings by 26% to £296 million last year as it cashed in on a miserable spell of cold weather at the start of 2013, the company said today.
Rebekah Brooks texted Tony Blair that she was "feeling properly terrified" the day before a police interview, the hacking trial heard today.
Twelve Syrian children were deported from Britain last year along with 43 other compatriots, Home Office figures show.
By Neil Maidment LONDON (Reuters) - The world's biggest security firm G4S is to repay 108.9 million pounds ($181 million) to the British government after overcharging it on a contract to tag criminals, raising the prospect that a ban on new work could be lifted. G4S generates almost 10 percent of its 7.4 billion pound annual revenues from the UK government and the breakdown in their relationship has been a key concern for investors alongside wider worries about the group's reputation. After a disastrous 2012, when the firm failed to provide enough guards for the London Olympics, G4S has overhauled its management, making 28 senior appointments, and is embarking on a restructuring and investment programme to revive its fortunes. But 2013 brought more scandal with the tagging fiasco - when the firm was found to have charged for monitoring criminals who were dead, in prison or had not been tagged at all - leading to a ban since last July on new UK government work and an ongoing investigation into it by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday voiced opposition to boycotts of Israel, in an address to parliament on the first day of an official visit to the Holy Land.
Portugal's Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho has invited the main opposition Socialists to discuss efforts to shrink the budget gap, aiming to convince investors that next year's election won't derail the policy. After Lisbon's international bailout ends this year, its finances will still be bound by deficit reduction targets set by the 2012 European Union fiscal stability treaty. "The Socialist party ratified this budget treaty, but now it's time to move on to acts from words," Passos Coelho told a conference on Wednesday. Portugal's debt yields have fallen to their lowest level since April 2010 this week, helped by improving sentiment about the euro zone as a whole, as well as Portugal's economic recovery and the prospects of a smooth bailout exit in May. Lisbon has to cut the budget deficit to 4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) this year from last year's 5 percent plus, then to 2.5 percent in 2015 and gradually to 0.5 percent in 2017.
By Martin Santa and Luke Baker BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union member states have agreed the wording of sanctions on Russia, including travel restrictions and asset freezes against those responsible for violating the sovereignty of Ukraine, according to a draft document reviewed by Reuters. The seven-page document describes in detail the restrictive measures to be taken against Moscow if it does not reverse course in Crimea and start to engage with international mediators on efforts to resolve the crisis. If approved by EU foreign ministers at a meeting on Monday, they would be the first sanctions imposed by the European Union against Russia since the end of the Cold War, marking a severe deterioration in East-West relations. The measures are being coordinated with the United States, Switzerland, Turkey, Japan and Canada, an effort to ensure the sanctions net is as tight and effective as possible.
A residential building in New York's East Harlem neighborhood exploded and collapsed on Wednesday, sparking a serious fire, officials said.
By Lamine Chikhi ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algerian police prevented opposition leaders from marching on Wednesday to demand a boycott of next month's election, in which President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is seeking a fourth term in power. Bouteflika, 77, registered his candidacy for the April 17 vote last week, one of the few times he has spoken in public since suffering a stroke last year that has raised opposition questions about his ability to govern. Opposition leaders, including from the secularist party Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD) and the Islamist Movement for Peace and Society (MSP), believe Bouteflika's decision ends fair competition in the election. It is a peaceful march, all we want is to convey a message that Bouteflika is too old, too ill to rule Algeria," said Abdelkader Ait Ali, one of those who tried to take part.
By Dasha Afanasieva ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of mourners chanting anti-government slogans marched through central Istanbul on Wednesday for the funeral of a teenager wounded in street protests last summer whose death has sparked renewed unrest across Turkey. Riot police fired water cannon and tear gas at protests in several cities after Berkin Elvan's death on Tuesday, adding to pre-election woes for Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan as he battles a corruption scandal that has become one of the biggest challenges of his decade in power. Crowds chanting "Tayyip! Killer!" and "Everywhere is Berkin, everywhere is resistance" held up photos of Elvan outside a "cemevi", an Alevi place of worship, in Istanbul's working class Okmeydani district, from where his coffin, draped in red and covered in flowers, was carried through the streets for burial.
By Ulf Laessing TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Former Libyan prime minister Ali Zeidan has fled to Europe after parliament voted him out of office on Tuesday over his failure to stop rebels exporting oil independently in a brazen challenge to the nation's fragile unity. Zeidan was in Malta for two hours late on Tuesday on a short stop before going to "another European country", Prime Minister Joseph Muscat told state-owned television TVM. The standoff over control of oil exports runs across dangerous regional and tribal fault lines in Libya where rival militias with powerbases in the east and west back competing political factions in the transitional government. Parliament acted after rebels holding three key ports in the east disobeyed government orders and loaded a North Korean-flagged tanker with oil at Es Sider port as part of their drive for a federal state in their eastern region.