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Summary

  1. Updates on Thursday 23 February 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

That's us all done for another day - thank you for joining us.

You can catch up with the latest news tonight on  BBC TeesBBC NewcastleLook North  and online.  

Most of the region seemed to avoid the worst of the weather today - but take a look at this photo Tony Cowan sent us of Storm Doris pounding the coast at Seaham, County Durham, this afternoon.

He said: "It's difficult to capture a decent picture when the wind's trying to blow you over and the air is full of wind driven spume!"

Seaham
Tony Cowan

If you have a photograph you'd like to share with us, you can Tweet us  @BBCNewsNEemail , or contact us via our  Facebook page .

We'll be back tomorrow from 08:00 and hope to see you then.

Weather: Windy with clear spells

BBC Weather

Brisk north to northwesterly winds will continue to ease overnight. 

Cloud will generally thin with clear spells developing. However, the region could see some isolated wintry showers, primarily over the Cheviot Hills and other areas of high ground. 

Feeling cold, with the risk of icy patches, minimum temperature 1C (34F).

Weather forecast
BBC

Council agrees cuts in budget

Northumberland County Council has agreed cuts of £6m in the 2017-18 budget and a total of £36m up to 2020.

At a full council meeting last night, councillors also agreed a tax increase of 1.99% for the next three years and a further 3% increase to cover social care for 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Northumberland County Council
Google

Council leader Grant Davey said: "We face unique challenges in Northumberland due to our geography... nonetheless we are doing all we can to maintain vital frontline services; investing in town centres generating jobs in the county, improving education and providing affordable housing."

Brit Awards: Most bewildered winners

The BRIT Awards 2017

Little Mix
PA

When Little Mix won best single, they took so long to find the podium that organisers had to play their intro music twice .

"I'm sorry it took so long to get up here," said a taken aback Perrie Edwards.

"We didn't know where to go because we didn't think we were going to get it," explained Jade Thirlwall. "We were just sitting chinwagging."

'Two-year delay' on clearing Didcot site

Demolition of the decommissioned Didcot Power station has been set back at least two years after a collapse that left four dead, the BBC has been told.

It is a year since Michael Collings, 53, from Teesside, and three other men were killed when the boiler house came down.

Relatives are due to visit the site where a memorial will be held later.

RWE Npower planned to have it cleared by the end of 2017, but an expert said the collapse had delayed it until 2019.

The four men
FAMILY HANDOUTS

Still on the road with 39 points on licence

A North East motorist is still on the roads despite having one of the highest number of penalty points on their license in the country.

A BBC investigation, using data from the DVLA, has found one person in the Tyne and Wear area with 39 points on their licence

Across the North East there are more than 300 drivers with at least 12 points on their license. 

Getting 12 penalty points usually means a ban but courts can let drivers keep their licence, if losing it would cause "exceptional hardship".

View more on twitter

Storm Doris batters Look North reporter

BBC Weather

As gusts of wind up to 94mph hit the UK, BBC Look North reporter Alison Freeman has felt the force of Storm Doris.

She was lashed by wind and rain as she reported on the weather conditions from Blackpool seafront.

However, the North East appears to have avoided the worst of the bad weather.

This afternoon will be wet and very windy with a maximum temperature of 8C (46F).

View more on twitter

'How my mother's organ donations brought new friendships'

Victoria Derbyshire

When her mother died in 2013, Ella decided her organs should be donated in the hope of saving the lives of others. It has led to several successful transplants and two wonderful friendships. Now Ella is hoping to donate to one of the same women as her mother.

Ella Murtha from Stockton-on-Tees, had always hoped the recipients of her late mother's organs would contact her, and that it might bring some form of closure. But she never expected to gain such strong friendships.

"I hoped I'd hear something when I agreed to be contacted [by the recipients], but I didn't know," she tells the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme.

Ella Murtha and friends
ELLA MURTHA

Her mother Tish died unexpectedly in 2013 following a ruptured brain aneurysm, aged 56. Despite her not being on the organ donor list, Ella felt that it was right for her organs to be passed on.

Nissan boss refocuses role

Carlos Ghosn is relinquishing his role as chief executive of Nissan, but will remain chairman of the Japanese car maker.

He's championed Nissan's plant at Sunderland in the past - and helped secure the future of the site on Wearside - after fears in the wake of the Brexit vote.   

The reshuffle will allow Mr Ghosn to focus on Nissan's alliances with Mitsubishi Motors and France's Renault. Hiroto Saikawa, already the company's co-chief executive, will take over. 

The company employs thousands of people on Wearside at its Sunderland plant and thousands more in the supply chain.

Carlos Goshn
Getty Images

Mr Ghosn said: "Having recently taken on new responsibilities at Mitsubishi Motors, and taking into consideration the upcoming Nissan general shareholders meeting, I have decided that the time is right for Hiroto Saikawa to succeed me as Nissan's CEO."

Mystery manure delivery causes a stink

But gardeners don't turn up their noses...

BBC Newcastle

A huge pile of manure has caused a bit of a stink on Wearside. 

It appeared outside allotment gates in Washington and while it was welcomed by gardeners, it led to a warning from Sunderland City Council to get it cleared up, and fast.

Members of Ayton Allotment Association say the free fertiliser deliveries are dropped off now and again by a mystery donor and that they're "always welcome".

But the latest delivery caused some local concern as it was 6ft-high (1.8m) and 12ft-wide (3.5m).

View more on twitter

Your photos: Colourful castle

Robert Scott sent us this picture of a moody sky and a double rainbow over Auckland Castle in County Durham.

Have you got any photos you'd like to share with us? In that case you can tweet them to @BBCNewsNEemail them, or contact us via our Facebook page.

Auckland Castle
Robert Scott

Helen Bailey murderer jailed for 34 years

The fiance of Northumberland-born children's author Helen Bailey, who murdered her and threw her body in a cesspit, has been jailed for 34 years.

Ms Bailey, 51, was secretly drugged and suffocated by Ian Stewart, 56, who wanted to inherit her near-£4m fortune.

Her body was found under the home she shared in Royston, Hertfordshire, with Stewart, who was found guilty of murder at St Albans Crown Court.

Police described him as "a narcissist" who was "cold" and "calculating".

Ian Stewart and Helen Bailey
SBNA

Cheryl 'confirms' pregnancy in youth charity campaign launch

BBC Newsbeat

Cheryl has confirmed she's pregnant for the first time while helping to launch a new charity youth campaign.

The 33-year-old singer has previously refused to comment on whether she and Liam Payne were expecting a child.

But this time there's no doubt, with Cheryl showing off a noticeable bump.

Cheryl
L'Oreal

The Prince's Trust and L'Oreal Paris are launching a three-year project aimed at helping raise the confidence of 10,000 young people across the UK struggling with self-doubt.  

Two charged over Newcastle stabbing

Two teenagers have been charged over the stabbing of a 22-year-old man in Newcastle on Monday night.

An 18-year-old man from Buckinghamshire and a 16-year-old boy from Newcastle have been charged with a Section 18 assault, Northumbria Police said.

Both were remanded in custody and are due to appear before magistrates in Newcastle this morning.

The stabbed man remains in hospital in a critical but stable condition. 

Durham Cathedral seeks new music master

Durham Cathedral is looking for a new master of the choristers and organist to replace Canon Dr James Lancelot (pictured) who is retiring after 32 years in the role.

A cathedral spokesman said the organisation is "looking for someone who has a clear understanding of and commitment to the place of music in worship".  

James Lancelot
David Wood

The candidate is required to have an "outstanding record as a performer" and be able to "lead, inspire and train others". The job starts in September.

Council defends tax rise

BBC News England

Evenwood and Barony Parish Council has told the BBC it has had to raise its Council Tax precepts to save a popular children's centre from closure.

BBC News analysed the bills of more than 8,500 town and parish councils from 2013-14 to 2016-17

Some 318 parish and town authorities out of 8,583 issued levies in 2016-17 that were at least double the amount they charged in 2013-14.

A spokesman for Evenwood said: "When the smaller council decides to take things on, because they have limited funds and low precepts, any increase is highlighted much more."

Alnwick Garden loan plan put on hold

Plans for Northumberland County Council to loan more than £8m to the charity that runs the Alnwick Garden have been suspended. 

The proposal was debated as part of the council's budget meeting last night.

Alnwick Gardens
BBC

The trust behind the garden, which was created by the Duchess of Northumberland, wants to build a major new tourist attraction nearby. 

Some councillors oppose the loan and the plan will now go to a "risk appraisal" panel before it can go back before councillors.

Councillors at a meeting
BBC

Little Mix win first Brit

BBC Entertainment and Arts

Little Mix have won their first ever Brit award at a ceremony dominated by the late David Bowie.

The girl group, which includes South Shields pair Jade Thirwall and Perrie Edwards, won the best single award for their track Shout Out to My Ex.

The X Factor graduates thanked each other on stage, hinting their success hadn't been without its downsides. "If it wasn't for our friendship, we wouldn't still be going," said Thirlwall.

The group also performed at the awards. Meanwhile, tributes were paid to David Bowie, who died last January. He also won two Brits for best British male and best British album.

Weather: Doris brings rain, wind and snow

BBC Weather

Storm Doris is expected to strike England and Scotland today having already hit Ireland.

Closer to home, heavy rain is due during the morning with the downfall wintry in places. An amber weather warning for snow is in place for North Northumberland with heavy snow expected between now and 18:00, with up to 10cm in many areas and 30cm on higher ground.

Weather bars
BBC

Coastal gales are also likely. 

Elsewhere the rain will ease and it will turn cold with sunny spells and wintry showers.

Welcome to our live coverage

Russ Ward

BBC Newcastle

We'll be with you throughout the day to bring you the latest news, weather, sport and travel updates from across the North East.

To start you off, here is a picture sent to us by Alan Farnworth of a sheep remaining resolutely unruffled by the weather at Belsay Hall.

Have you got any photos you'd like to share with us? In that case you can tweet them to @BBCNewsNEemail them, or contact us via our Facebook page.

Sheep
Alan Farnworth