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Summary

  1. We are trying out a new format for our news coverage. This is a test live page

Live Reporting

By Matthew Davis and Esther Webber

All times stated are UK

That concludes our live page trial for today.

White House National Security Council

tweets: President Obama called PM Abbott last night to express condolences on behalf of American people

and: POTUS conveyed admiration for strength, resilience, & compassion of #Australian people #Sydney

and: POTUS reiterated the US stands ready to provide assistance as #Australia moves forward in the aftermath of the hostage situation #Sydney

Latest headlines

Allegations of murder and torture made against British soldiers by Iraqi detainees after a 2004 battle were

"deliberate lies", an inquiry rules.

Funerals are being held in Peshawar after Pakistan's deadliest Taliban attack left 132 children and nine staff dead at a school.

The

first female bishop for the Church of England has been announced as vicar Reverend Libby Lane, just a month after the historic change to canon law.

Wage growth picked up in the three months to October and outstripped the rise in the cost of living, while unemployment fell again, official figures show.

BreakingBreaking News

A radical Muslim student who aspired to fly the black flag of Isis over Downing Street has been found guilty of planning to join rebel forces in Syria.

David Souaan, 20, was accused of preparing for terrorist acts around the time he was stopped at Heathrow Airport on May 31.

The prosecution said he had visited Syria in December last year and was on his way back to fight the jihadist cause when he was arrested.

Al Sweady Inquiry

Michael Fallon
BBC

In a statement to MPs on

the inquiry's findings, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said there had been a delay in conceding that Iraqis who had died were killed on the battlefield.

He condemned this delay as "inexplicable and shameful". He challenged the lawyers representing the detainees to issue an apology for attempting to "traduce the reputation" of the accused soldiers and said they would be investigated by a professional standards body.

Peshawar school attack

Martha Kearney

Presenter, WATO

A leading expert on the Taliban has told the World at One that the Pakistani Taliban attack on the Peshawar school was a sign that the army offensive in Waziristan has been successful, leaving the group "annoyed and antagonised".

Ahmed Rashid said the aim of the attack was to demoralise the Pakistani army, and could be read as as a message to the child activist Malala Yousafzai. Rashid said the Pakistani Taliban "wanted to show that their opposition to what (Yousafzai) stands for is still very much there".

You can hear the interview

on the World at One at 13:00 GMT.

Prime Minister's Questions

David Cameron and and Ed Miliband have focused on the economy in their exchanges

at prime minister's questions, with the Labour leader claiming the Conservatives' plan "is not about balancing the books - it's about slashing the state".

The prime minister responded that unemployment is down and the economy is growing faster than any other major economy, on which Mr Miliband had "absolutely nothing to say".

Russia rouble slump

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (R) chairs a meeting on economic issues
Reuters

Russian finance minister Alexei Moiseyev has been quoted by Russia's Interfax news agency as saying the government is going to sell foreign currency "as much as necessary and as long as necessary." The hope is this will stop the

rouble's slide against the US dollar. It comes as prime minister Dmitry Medvedev called a meeting with the heads of Russia's largest exporters and pledged to implement a "package of measures" to prevent a further decline in the currency.

Custody death charges

More on the news that

three police staff have been charged with manslaughter over the death of Thomas Orchard days after he collapsed in custody. Mr Orchard, 32, collapsed in a cell at Heavitree Road Police Station, Exeter, after his arrest in 2012 and died in hospital. Sgt Jan Kingshott and civilian detention officers Simon Tansley and Michael Marsden are also charged with misconduct in public office.

BreakingPeshawar school attack

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has promised to improve security and tackle terrorism. He was speaking to reporters in Peshawar.

Aftermath
EPA

Nick Robinson

Political editor

tweets: You know those election leaders debates? Think they've just had the first one in #pmqs. Only 4 months to go....

BreakingBreaking News

A 13-year-old boy has been remanded to youth detention accommodation at Highbury Corner Youth Court.

The boy - who cannot be named - is

charged with the murder of Christopher Barry who was stabbed to death in Edmonton in north London on Sunday.

Prime Minister's Questions

David Cameron is on his feet for the last Prime Minister's Questions of 2014. He starts by condemning the terrorist attack on a cafe in Sydney and the Taliban attack on a school in Pakistan, saying the latter attack was "heartbreaking" and has left the world "shocked and numb".

Follow all the updates on our dedicated live page.

Latest headlines

Funerals are being held in Peshawar after Pakistan's deadliest Taliban attack left 132 children and nine staff dead at a school.

British soldiers mistreated nine detainees after 2004 battle in Iraq but murder allegations were untrue, a public inquiry rules.

For the first time,

a woman has been made a bishop in the Church of England. Libby Lane will be the new Bishop of Stockport.

The latest official figures show that

wage growth in the UK is picking up and unemployment has fallen again - albeit at the slowest quarterly rate for a year.

BreakingBreaking News

Death in custody charges

A police sergeant and two custody detention officers have been

charged with manslaughter and misconduct in public office following the death of Thomas Orchard in Exeter in October 2012, the Crown Prosecution Service says.

Backlog of 'overstayers'

BBC News Channel

Immigration Minister James Brokenshire says: "The public can have confidence in the rigour we are attaching to this issue," in response to news the

Home Office has failed to clear the backlog of foreign nationals refused leave to stay in the UK - and says the issue was ignored by the previous government.

Peshawar school attack

The Pakistani Taliban have released a photograph that they say shows the fighters who stormed the school on Tuesday, murdering some 132 children and nine staff.

Taliban photograph of the fighters who stormed a military-run school in Peshawar, Pakistan - 17 December 2014
AP

The number of people killed in the Peshawar attack has gone up to 144, according to Pakistani newspaper

Express Tribune.

Prime Minister's Questions

The final prime minister's questions of the year gets under way at 12:00 GMT. You can follow every twist and turn on

our dedicated live page. We'll reflect the key moments here, as well as the rest of the day's unfolding news.

Al Sweady Inquiry

Norman Smith

BBC Assistant Political Editor

The defence secretary, Michael Fallon, will give a statement at 12:30 GMT on

the inquiry and its findings.

A spokesman for the prime minister said: "Where there are allegations of mistreatment, it is right and proper we look into and learn lessons from the past".

BreakingBreaking News

Hospital death charges

Three medical staff are to be charged with gross negligence manslaughter following the death of Jack Adcock, 6, at Leicester Royal Infirmary,

the Crown Prosecution Service says.

Al Sweady Inquiry

Sir Thayne Forbes
BBC

The inquiry's chair Sir Thayne Forbes says that the mistreatment carried out by British soldiers was "relatively minor compared with the original, very serious allegations".

He told a press conference that the detainees' testimony had been made "wholly without regard for the truth".

BreakingPeshawar school attack

Inside school
BBC

The

Taliban try to justify the massacre at a Peshawar school on Monday. The six attackers were specially asked to target the senior section of the school and not the nursery branch, a spokesman also says.

Al Sweady Inquiry

Caroline Hawley

World Affairs Correspondent

More on the Al Sweady report's findings that detainees were ill-treated.

  • It says detainees should have been given some privacy while being strip-searched and should have been given proper food when they were first detained.
  • They should not have been deprived of sleep before they were questioned or shouted at during interrogation.
  • And it describes as "ill treatment" an interrogator banging a tent peg on a table and walking around a blindfolded detainee blowing on the back of his neck.

Latest headlines

British soldiers mistreated nine detainees after 2004 battle in Iraq, a public inquiry rules.

For the first time,

a woman has been made a bishop in the Church of England. Libby Lane will be the new Bishop of Stockport.

The latest official figures show that

unemployment has fallen again and average earnings have risen by more than inflation.

Pakistan is holding three days of mourning for the victims of the massacre at a school in Peshawar yesterday.

A Commons committee has blocked the recruitment of Speaker John's Bercow's choice as clerk and has recommended appointing a director general for the Commons.

Backlog of 'overstayers'

Danny Shaw

Home affairs correspondent, BBC News

A report has found that the Home Office has failed to deal with a backlog of almost 174,000 foreign nationals who should have been removed from the UK.

The independent inspector of borders and immigration, John Vine, said the department must make "significant" improvements in the way it deals with "overstayers".

He said the failure to do so could "undermine pubic confidence in immigration control".

Al Sweady Inquiry

More from the Al Sweady Inquiry report. It found that British forces responded to a deadly ambush by insurgents with "exemplary courage, resolution and professionalism".

And it suggested that some of the detainees - all described as members or supporters of the Mahdi Army insurgent group - consciously lied about the most serious allegations to discredit British forces.

BreakingBreaking News

British soldiers mistreated nine Iraqi detainees following a fierce battle in May 2004, but allegations of murder and torture made against the British military were the product of "deliberate lies, reckless speculation and ingrained hostility", the judge-led Al Sweady public inquiry has found.

BreakingBreaking News

Norman Smith

BBC Assistant Political Editor

MPs have

decided to block plans by the House of Commons Speaker John Bercow to recruit an Australian as the new Clerk to the Commons. The move to recruit Carol Mills - an official in the Australian senate - prompted anger among many MPs who felt she was unqualified for the post. Former Commons Speaker Baroness Boothroyd had predicted she would be "totally out of her depth".

Boxer attacked

BBC Radio 5 live

Boxer Anthony Crolla is "in bits" after being attacked by burglars and is "lucky to be alive"

says his trainer Joe Gallagher. The boxers world title fight set for January has now been cancelled.

Unemployment falls

Rachel Reeves
BBC

Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves tells the BBC that while she welcomes

the fall in unemployment, "I don't think this is any time for complacency."

She said long-term youth unemployment had risen, which a Labour government would address by introducing a compulsory jobs guarantee for young people who had been out of work for more than a year.

Those in work are "worse-off" than they were in 2010, Ms Reeves said, arguing her party would ensure "a wage that they can afford to live on".

Al Sweady inquiry

Iraqis detained
PA

The

report of an inquiry into allegations of misconduct by British troops in Iraq 10 years ago is expected to be published at 11:00 GMT.

The Al Sweady inquiry has already rejected claims that soldiers murdered captives and mutilated their bodies after a battle in 2004 - after the claims were withdrawn.

Former Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mike Jackson, told the BBC "the rule of law applies as much to soldiers as to anybody else".

He said the reason a public inquiry had taken place was that "no civil police force was willing to take this on".

First female bishop

Norman Smith

BBC Assistant Political Editor

The Prime Minister has confirmed the government is to fast track legislation to allow female bishops to sit in the House of Lords. The bill is expected to be formally introduced in the Lords tomorrow.

In a statement Mr Cameron said the government would "bring forward legislation this week to allow women bishops to sit in the Lords".

It will not affect

the new Bishop of Stockport as she is a junior or suffragan and will not be in line to take up a seat in the House of Lords.

BreakingBreaking News

Clive Coleman

Legal correspondent, BBC News

The

Supreme Court has ruled against two midwives who refused to supervise and support colleagues providing abortion care.

First female bishop

Bishop
Getty Images

The first female bishop in the Church of England, the Revd Libby Lane, has described her appointment as "an unexpected joy for me to be here today - a remarkable day for me and a historic day for the Church".

She said she was "excited and not a little daunted", before paying tribute to the work of all those who campaigned for the change in Church law.

Peshawar school attack

Funerals are being held in Peshawar after Pakistan's deadliest Taliban attack left 132 children and nine staff dead at a school.

You can follow all the developments on this story on our dedicated live page. Key updates from Pakistan and all the rest of the day's unfolding news will continue to be available on this page.

Latest headlines

The Church of England has

named its first female bishop, just a month after the historic change to its rules.

UK unemployment in the three months to October

fell by 63,000 to 1.96 million.

Funerals are being held in Peshawar after Pakistan's deadliest Taliban attack left 132 children and nine staff dead at a school.

A long-running public inquiry into alleged abuse carried out by British soldiers in Iraq

is to report shortly.

BreakingBreaking News

The

Church of England has named the first female bishop as the Revd Libby Lane, currently Vicar of St Peter's, Hale, and St Elizabeth's, Ashley.

You can read more about the issues behind the ordination of women as bishops

here, and the views of those for and against the idea
here.

Hamas court ruling

Simon Wilson

BBC Europe bureaux editor, Brussels

Hamas
Reuters

A

European Union Court has annulled the EU decision to place the Palestinian militant group, Hamas, on a list of banned terrorist organisations, while ruling that the measures should stay in place for now pending a review. The BBC is urgently looking for clarification from the EU Council and Commission on what they will now do in the light of this judgement.

Chancellor George Osborne

tweets: Major moment in UK recovery with unemployment down, more jobs & wages growing significantly above inflation #LongTermEconomicPlan

Unemployment falls

Iain Duncan Smith
BBC

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith hailed the data as "very good figures" and pointed out 95% of those in employment were in full-time work.

He said the rise of average earnings above inflation together with falling food and petrol prices suggested "we're beginning to see an improvement in living standards".