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Ukraine talks: Russia sees no grounds for optimism ahead of Nato meeting
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Ukraine talks: Russia sees no grounds for optimism ahead of Nato meeting

The Kremlin has said it sees “no significant reason for optimism” about diplomatic solutions for the Ukraine crisis, ahead of a meeting in Brussels between Russia and Nato’s 30 member states. As Moscow was playing down the chances for success at the negotiating table after initial US-Russian talks in Switzerland on Monday, Russian forces deployed near Ukraine conducted a...

Rene Magritte ‘masterpiece’ estimated at more than £44 million to be auctioned
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Rene Magritte ‘masterpiece’ estimated at more than £44 million to be auctioned

A painting by Belgian artist Rene Magritte estimated to be worth more than £44 million is to appear in London ahead of auction. The Empire Of Light, considered to be “a masterpiece of 20th century art”, will be exhibited at Sotheby’s auction house in the capital in March. The series of paintings depicts a paradoxical image of a night...

Boris Johnson again courts scandal amid rule-breaking party claims
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Boris Johnson again courts scandal amid rule-breaking party claims

Reports that Boris Johnson and his then fiancé Carrie Symonds attended a “bring your own booze” party in the No 10 garden during lockdown have reignited uproar for a Prime Minister familiar with scandal. On Monday, an email in which Mr Johnson’s principal private secretary Martin Reynolds invited Downing Street staff to the gathering in May 2020 was leaked . It...

London Covid rates: Omicron in retreat as cases down in most boroughs
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London Covid rates: Omicron in retreat as cases down in most boroughs

Covid cases have fallen in almost all London boroughs indicating that Omicron is in retreat in the capital, official figures have revealed. Confirmed cases were down in 26 out of 32 boroughs in the week to January 5, according to the latest Government data. Just four local authorities saw infection rates increase by any significant margin. All boroughs recorded fewer...

Will Boris Johnson make a Covid announcement today? Next speech date
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Will Boris Johnson make a Covid announcement today? Next speech date

Boris Johnson has already been forced to introduce social restrictions to combat the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus and rocketing infection numbers in January could ultimately see him forced to tighten them still further. The prime minister has already brought back mandatory mask-wearing on public transport and in shops, cinemas, theatres and places of worship, asked citizens to work from home where possible...

Can London stock market shake off dinosaur image to boldly go?
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Can London stock market shake off dinosaur image to boldly go?

London’s stock market is facing a barrage of criticism, with global investors likening it to a “global backwater” struggling to attract and retain growth companies that excite investors and are building the 21st-century economy. However, after a surge of stock flotations in 2021, including cutting-edge firms such as Oxford Nanopore, and new listing rules, London’s status...

UK house sales to first-time buyers reach highest for 19 years
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UK house sales to first-time buyers reach highest for 19 years

The number of UK first-time homebuyers has hit its highest level since 2002, according to a new estimate. Despite the uncertainty generated by the pandemic and strong house price growth, the number of first-time buyer transactions in 2021 is estimated to be 408,300, according to Yorkshire Building Society. That would be a 35% increase on...

Death toll of refugees attempting to reach Spain doubles in 2021
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Death toll of refugees attempting to reach Spain doubles in 2021

An estimated 12 people a day died or disappeared while trying to reach Spain in 2021, more than double the total for the previous year. The 4,404 refugees who perished included 205 children, according to Caminando Fronteras (Walking Borders). In a report published on Monday, the NGO noted that the number of deaths was more than twice the...