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Summary

  1. Latest updates on Friday 22 March

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. Our live coverage across the day

    That's all from the live team for now, but we'll be back from 08:00 on Monday with more of the latest news, sport, travel and weather from across the region.

    In the meantime, this page will be updated automatically with content from across the BBC.

    Have a great weekend.

  2. North West weather: Dry afternoon but rain later

    BBC Weather

    Dry for most of the time this afternoon, with some sunshine developing at times. Cloud will thicken later on though, bringing a chance of rain by dusk. Brisk winds and highs of 11C.

    Cooler tonight with some clear spells.

    Video content

    Video caption: A mainly dry afternoon with cloud thickening later and a chance of rain. Highs of 11C.

    More from BBC Weather

  3. Lancashire girl with cancer receives 3,000 birthday cards

    A girl with cancer's dreams came true when she received thousands of birthday cards from strangers around the world.

    Tia Taggart

    Tia Taggart, from Padiham, Lancashire received more than 3,000 greetings when she turned 10 following an appeal on Facebook.

    Her family put out the appeal on social media after seeing how much Tia loved receiving "Get Well Soon" cards while she was in hospital.

    "Thank you for making my birthday so special," said Tia.

  4. Nine charged after raids to halt drugs supply ring

    Nine people have been charged after police raids to stop the alleged supply of drugs from Liverpool to Torquay.

    Seized bikes

    Five Liverpool men, three Torquay men and a man of no fixed address were charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

    Large quantities of cash, drugs, vehicles worth about £40,000, including motorbikes, and a stun-gun were seized on Thursday.

    All the accused, aged 20 to 57, are due to appear before Plymouth magistrates.

  5. Hospital doctor's knifepoint carjacking

    A doctor was held up at knifepoint and had her car stolen at a hospital in Greater Manchester.

    Royal Oldham Hospital

    The female medic was approached by four men as she walked to her car at Royal Oldham Hospital, on Friday 15 March, said a police spokesman.

    The robbers threatened her with a knife before making off in the Audi Q2.

    Hospital bosses said it was the latest in series of crimes at the site and extra guards were being brought in to escort staff to their vehicles.

    Greater Manchester Police have also stepped up patrols in the area.

  6. Envelope update

    Severe disruption: M62 Cheshire westbound

    BBC News Travel

    M62 Cheshire westbound severe disruption, at J11 for A574 Birchwood Way.

    M62 Cheshire - M62 lane closed on entry slip road and slow traffic westbound at J11, A574 (Birchwood), because of a broken down vehicle.

    To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

  7. Drugs gang who forced boy, 15, to be dealer is jailed

    A family-run drug gang who forced a vulnerable 15-year-old boy to sell drugs for them has been jailed.

    Brothers Ratib Ali, 20 and Asad Ali, 19, and Janaid Rehman 18, from Rochdale, were caught as part of a special operation by Greater Manchester Police into drugs supply and modern slavery.

    Ratib Ali, Asad Ali, Janaid Rehman

    The force said the trio made and received hundreds of calls every day to and from people buying drugs and a "large quantity of cash" was found during a search of a home on Royds Street West in April last year.

    Inquiries later revealed the teenage boy - who owed the men money - was being threatened by them into selling class A drugs.

    He is now being supported by specialist officers.

    • At Minshull Street Crown Court earlier, Ratib Ali was sentenced to four years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and conspiracy to supply heroin.
    • Asad Ali was sentenced to four years and nine months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and conspiracy to supply heroin.
    • Janaid Rehman was sentenced to two years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine
  8. Envelope update

    Severe disruption: M62 Greater Manchester eastbound

    BBC News Travel

    M62 Greater Manchester eastbound severe disruption, at J12 for M60 J12.

    M62 Greater Manchester - M62 lane closed on exit slip road and queuing traffic eastbound at J12, M60 (Eccles Interchange), because of a broken down vehicle.

    To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

  9. Boys, 15, arrested over 'meat cleaver' attack

    Two 15-year-old boys have been arrested amid reports a pupil was cut with a meat cleaver during a brawl.

    Chadderton

    The victim, who was also 15, suffered cuts to his leg during a fight in Burnley Lane, Chadderton, Oldham.

    A video of the alleged attack on Thursday was shared on social media. It apparently shows pupils fighting.

    Two teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of affray, attempted assault and possession of a bladed article, police said.

  10. Envelope update

    Severe accident: A679 Lancashire both ways

    BBC News Travel

    A679 Lancashire both ways severe accident, from Audley Range to A678.

    A679 Lancashire - A679 Accrington Road in Blackburn closed and queuing traffic in both directions from the Audley Range junction to the A678 junction, because of an accident involving two vehicles.

    To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

  11. Envelope update

    Severe accident: M56 Cheshire westbound

    BBC News Travel

    M56 Cheshire westbound severe accident, from J12 for A557 to J14 for A5117.

    M56 Cheshire - One lane closed and queuing traffic on M56 westbound from J12, A557 (Runcorn) to J14, A5117 (Hapsford), because of an accident.

    To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

  12. Thomas Cook to close two stores in Lancashire and Greater Manchester

    Travel firm Thomas Cook is closing 21 stores across the country, including two in the North West, and cutting more than 300 jobs.

    Tourists in Spain

    Stores in Accrington and Bury Haymarket are earmarked for closure.

    The company said 102 "customer-facing" roles would be axed, alongside a further 218 jobs "following a review of the retail workforce".

    It said holidaymakers were continuing to switch bookings from stores to online.

    In September, Thomas Cook said profits would be hit after the summer heatwave saw many people take their holidays in the UK.

  13. Girl, 13, died from MDMA toxicity

    A 13-year-old girl died from MDMA toxicity after falling ill at home, a post-mortem examination has confirmed.

    Eboney Cheshire, from Rainhill in St Helens, died in hospital on 3 December.

    Eboney Cheshire

    Her death was previously being treated as "unexplained" after an earlier post-mortem examination proved inconclusive and further tests were needed.

    Paying tribute to her "beautiful princess" shortly after her death, Eboney's mother Kerry Williams said she was "heartbroken".

    She said her daughter had been "so funny, full of character and so popular".

    Merseyside Police confirmed investigations are continuing into Eboney's death.

  14. Tony Bellew: I've made my money and I'm not coming back

    BBC Sport

    Former world cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew retired soon after losing to Oleksandr Usyk in November, ending an eventful 11-year career as a professional.

    Tony Bellew

    In his latest BBC Sport column the Liverpool boxer points to new challenges and gives a definitive view of the heavyweight hierarchy.

  15. Envelope update

    Severe accident: M6 Greater Manchester southbound

    BBC News Travel

    M6 Greater Manchester southbound severe accident, at J24 for A58 Liverpool Road.

    M6 Greater Manchester - M6 partially blocked and queuing traffic southbound at J24, A58 (Ashton In Makerfield), because of an accident.

    To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

  16. BreakingEboney Cheshire: Drugs caused teenager's death

    Eboney Cheshire, 13, who died in "unexplained" circumstances at her home in Rainhill in December, died from MDMA toxicity, a post-mortem examination has found.

    More to follow

  17. Envelope update

    Severe disruption: M6 Cheshire northbound

    BBC News Travel

    M6 Cheshire northbound severe disruption, at J18 for A54 Middlewich Road Middlewich.

    M6 Cheshire - M6 entry slip road closed northbound at J18, A54 (Middlewich), because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

    To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

  18. Multimillion-pound cycling plans unveiled

    Plans have been unveiled to spend £137.3m on cycling and walking projects in Greater Manchester.

    Stockport cycleway

    A scheme to turn Levenshulme into a "mini-Holland" and a bridge linking bus and rail stations in Stockport are among 18 projects to be considered by transport bosses.

    Greater Manchester Combined Authority will fund £76.5m of the cost.

    The projects will form part of the region's Bee Network, aimed at encouraging people to walk and cycle.

  19. £300k study to look at better Lancashire Yorkshire road links

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    A £300,000 government study is to examine if better road links can be forged between East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire,

    Motorway congestion

    Next month, Highways England is to analyse transport connections between the end of the M65 at Colne and place in Yorkshire including Skipton, Keighley and Bradford, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has announced.

    Mr Grayling said:

    Quote Message: This study is part of our ongoing work to ensure the routes between Lancashire and Yorkshire are fit for the future.

    The government said the corridor is home to many manufacturing industries which could benefit from improved roads, and the investment could boost economic growth.

    Highways England chief executive Jim O’ Sullivan said the study will also look at the M62, adding:

    Quote Message: This study will look at the issues currently facing road users in the trans-Pennine corridor, the extent to which the lack of strategic connection hinders growth, and options for improving those journeys and boosting economic growth.
  20. Chester Zoo baby elephant diagnosed with killer virus

    An elephant calf at Chester Zoo has tested positive for a life-threatening virus.

    Two-year-old Indali Hi Way is being treated for virus EEHV
    Image caption: Two-year-old Indali Hi Way is being treated for virus EEHV

    Two-year-old Indali Hi Way is being treated for endotheliotropic herpes virus (EEHV).

    Two calves died at the zoo last year after falling ill with EEHV, which is often fatal.

    Almost all Asian elephants carry the virus but it only develops into an illness for some and there is no vaccination against it.