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THE NEWS SERVICE HEARD BY 26 MILLION LISTENERS TO COMMERCIAL RADIO IN THE UK [READ MORE]

Established in 1973 at the birth of commercial radio in the UK, IRN provides client stations with a continuous service of national and international news. The service comprises a ready to air hourly news bulletin, delivered live 24/7, in addition to a suite of pre-recorded news content in the form of news audio cuts on the main stories, written cues and scripts to help stations produce their own bulletins, plus plenty of extra material within sports news, showbiz and music news, money news and consumer technology news.

Top Stories

Calais Crisis: UK To Send Extra Sniffer Dogs

31 July

Extra sniffer dogs and fencing will be sent to France to help deal with the Calais migrant crisis, David Cameron has said.

The Prime Minister made the announcement after chairing a meeting of the Government's emergency Cobra committee, to discuss the problem.
He also confirmed plans to use military land in the South East to park lorries and ease congestion caused by the ongoing migrant crisis.
Later today, he will discuss the matter with French President Francois Hollande.
"This is going to be a difficult issue right across the summer," he said.
"I will have a team of senior ministers who will be working to deal with it, and we rule nothing out in taking action to deal with this very serious problem."
Mr Cameron said Britain would work "hand in glove" with the French to tackle the problem.
"The situation is not acceptable and it is absolutely this Government's priority to deal with it in every way we can.
"We have got people trying to illegally enter our country and here in Britain we have got lorry drivers and holidaymakers facing potential delays.
"We are going to take action right across the board starting with helping the French on their side of the border.
"We are going to put in more fencing, more resources, more sniffer dog teams, more assistance in any way we can in terms of resources."
Ministers are working with officials in Kent to find space to park lorries and ease congestion on the M20, where Operation Stack is frequently having to be enforced due to disruption to ferry and Eurotunnel services.
Sky sources say the Shornecliffe Army Camp at Folkestone is one of the sites under consideration.
Sky's Jon Craig said: "The idea is not sending in troops or anything like that, but using Ministry of Defence land to ease the chaos, the gridlock, on the M20."
Mr Cameron chaired the Cobra committee following his return from a four-day tour of South East Asia.
He asked ministers and officials to see what more can be done to address the crisis at the port and the Channel Tunnel.
The Prime Minister has faced criticism for describing the migrants attempting to gain access to Britain as a "swarm".
Acting Labour leader Harriet Harman said: "He should remember he is talking about people not insects."
Today, French ferry workers set fire to tyres on the main road into Calais port, causing major congestion and sending black smoke into the sky. 
Last night, up to 100 migrants tried to break through police lines at a petrol station near the Channel Tunnel.
French police struggled to control the men, women and children, who managed to stop traffic coming out of the tunnel.
Eurotunnel said its French platform was unavailable due to "security reasons".
Thousands have tried to make the perilous crossing to Britain in recent months.
One man died during an attempted crossing this week.
It brought the number of people killed so far this month to nine, according to Eurotunnel.
Meanwhile, Bernie Gibson, managing director of Compass Fostering, said social services were struggling to cope with numbers of asylum seeker children.
She said referrals to the organisation for fostering had increased almost five-fold since last year.

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Calais Migrant Crisis: Firms Count The Cost

31 July

Business groups are warning that the Calais migrant crisis is "a threat to the long-term viability" of British companies - as firms begin to count the cost of delays to travel through the Channel Tunnel.

It costs £1 a minute to run an HGV (heavy goods vehicle), so when Operation Stack is enforced on Kent's roads - with waiting times often in excess of six hours - it can cost hundreds of pounds for companies trying to export to mainland Europe.
Operation Stack involves parking - or stacking - up to 5,000 lorries on the M20 when Eurotunnel or Dover ferry services are disrupted.
It was first introduced in 1996, but in June and July of this year it has been used to unprecedented levels due to the migrant crisis, with the M20 closed for 24 out of 40 days.
But there are also challenges when returning to the UK from Calais, not least when migrants manage to break into lorries.
According to the Freight Transport Association (FTA), one major distributor of pharmaceuticals carrying drugs bound for NHS hospitals had to write off stock of £2.5m after such a break-in, because it posed a major safety risk.
The security lapses also cause a headache for other industries, especially those where perishable goods are at stake.
Figures from the Fresh Produce Consortium suggest at least £10m worth of food destined for Britain had to be binned between January and June, because stowaways had posed a "contamination risk".
The Road Haulage Association estimates that 90% of all road freight between the UK and the continent uses Kent's road network, with as many as 10,000 loads moving across the Channel on a daily basis.
Even if just 1% of the stock is tampered with, at an average loss rate of £30,000 per trailer this amounts to a loss of £3m a day, or £1bn a year.
The FTA believes importers and hauliers have been left "carrying the can" because of the migrant crisis.
Some insurance companies are declining to cover the cost of written-off stock, invoking clauses which state that acts of civil disorder are not covered in the policies of affected businesses.
Jo James, chief executive of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, told Sky News: "Kent has been plagued with the effects of Operation Stack for over 20 years now - and every time it has been introduced, the result is the M20 is turned into a huge lorry park.
"At last, the Government has woken up to the fact that this is a national problem and a solution needs to be found.
"The loss to the local economy is significant, as businesses are unable to deliver goods and services.
"This is unacceptable and a threat to the long-term viability of some businesses."
Eurotunnel has also accused public authorities of "underestimating the migrant situation".
Last week, the company revealed it has spent €13m (£9m) on security measures in the first half of 2015 alone - and called on the French and British governments to reimburse them.
Ministers are now working with officials in Kent to find space to park lorries and ease congestion on the M20.
With the warnings that continued delays will be unsustainable for small businesses - and the prospect that higher costs will eventually be passed on to consumers - the pressure is on to resolve the crisis sooner rather than later.

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MH370 Search: New Items Wash Ashore On Reunion

31 July

A Chinese water bottle and an Indonesian cleaning product have washed up on Reunion Island, where debris that could be from MH370 was found this week.

Experts are preparing to analyse the piece of aircraft, which could be part of a wing from the Malaysia Airlines flight that vanished last year.
Malaysian officials are confident the piece is from MH370, as a police helicopter searches the remote Indian Ocean island for more debris.
Malaysian Deputy Transport Minister Abdul Aziz Kaprawi said on Friday it is "almost certain" that the piece is from a Boeing 777 aircraft. 
Sky's producer King Chai Woon in Kuala Lumpur said Malaysian authorities have confirmed that the debris is from a Boeing 777 jet, but it will take one or two days for official confirmation it is from MH370.
However, no other Boeing 777 aircraft is known to be unaccounted for.
Aviation experts have identified the debris from photos as a wing flaperon, used to control the plane's roll and provide extra lift or drag.
Experts from Malaysia are due to examine the piece on the island, before the debris is flown to the French city of Toulouse, where it is due to arrive on Saturday.
It will be examined at a special defence facility used for aircraft testing and analysis, according to the French Defence Ministry.
Experts are expected to be able to use a code on the wing piece to ascertain if it is from MH370.
French TV showed images of the debris bearing the mark "657 BB" - which would match with a code in the Boeing 777 manual for a right-wing flaperon, according to a document posted on aviation websites.
The remains of what could be a suitcase were also found on the same stretch of rocky beach, in the town of Saint Andre.
MH370 disappeared on 8 March, 2014, on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board, mainly Chinese citizens.
Investigators believe it headed south into the Indian Ocean after disappearing from radar off the coast of Thailand.
Australia has been leading the hunt for the plane, using sonar to trawl a massive expanse of ocean some 1,000 miles off its west coast.
Reunion is about 2,500 miles west of the current search area off the Australian coast.
Oceanographers say it is possible that currents could have swept the debris such a distance - though the piece, even if confirmed as part of MH370, is unlikely to help investigators figure out where the plane came down.
It could, however, provide crucial clues as to the cause of the crash.
The find might also offer a measure of comfort to relatives of the passengers, Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak said.
"We have had many false alarms before, but for the sake of the families who have lost loved ones, and suffered such heartbreaking uncertainty, I pray that we will find out the truth so that they may have closure and peace," he said. 

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Theresa May Reverses Ai Weiwei Visa Refusal

31 July

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been granted a full six-month UK visa after an order by the Home Secretary Theresa May.

The dissident revealed on Thursday that the officials in Beijing would only issue him with a three-week visa after claiming he had failed to declare a "criminal conviction" on his application.
Mr Ai posted a photo of the letter from the British Embassy on his Instagram account which said it was "a matter of public record that you have previously received a criminal conviction in China, and you have not declared this".
Chinese authorities only returned Mr Ai's passport last week and he is coming to the UK in September for a show of his work at London's Royal Academy of Arts.
In 2011, Mr Ai was detained for 81 days amid a crackdown on government critics, but not formally charged with a crime.
A Home Office spokesman claims Home Secretary Theresa May was not consulted after Mr Ai was initially refused a visa.
He said: "The Home Secretary was not consulted over the decision to grant Mr Ai a one-month visa.
"She has reviewed the case and has now instructed Home Office officials to issue a full six-month visa.
"We have written to Mr Ai apologising for the inconvenience caused."
Mr Ai is famous for designing Beijing's Olympic stadium and filling Tate Modern's Turbine Hall with ceramic sunflower seeds.

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Ebola Vaccine Success Hailed 'A Turning Point'

31 July

A successful trial of a vaccine against ebola is being seen as pivotal in the fight against infectious diseases.

Analysis of the drug found that it was 100% effective when used in certain conditions in Guinea.
An outbreak of the disease caused the deaths of more than 11,000 people in the sub-Saharan countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The VSV-EBOV (Merck, Sharp & Dohme) vaccine was tested on communities where ebola had broken out to see if it helped to prevent the disease spreading.
Around 4,000 people who were close to victims - called a "ring" due to the the way they often surrounded people affected - were given the treatment to see if it offered protection.
Scientific research published in the Lancet and released by the World Health Organisation found that VSV-EBOV had proved "highly effective".
It was also tested on a small number of frontline workers with the charity Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) who have been involved in treating those with the illness.
Its success means that WHO is planning to roll it out to other frontline workers and it is due to be trialled on children, having been deemed safe for adults.
Those involved in funding the trial called it a "remarkable" result and said the co-operation between organisations and countries that allowed it to come about augured well for future outbreaks of dangerous viruses.
Jeremy Farrar, director of the UK-based Wellcome Trust, one of the funders of the trial, said: "This partnership also shows that such critical work is possible in the midst of a terrible epidemic.
"It should change how the world responds to such emerging infectious disease threats."
Assistant director-general Marie-Paule Kieny, who leads the Ebola Research and Development effort at WHO, added: "This record-breaking work marks a turning point in the history of health R&D (research and development).
"We now know that the urgency of saving lives can accelerate R&D.
"We will harness this positive experience to develop a global R&D preparedness framework so that if another major disease outbreak ever happens again, for any disease, the world can act quickly and efficiently to develop and use medical tools and prevent a large-scale tragedy."
Bertrand Draguez, medical director at Médecins sans Frontières, said: "With such high efficacy, all affected countries should immediately start and multiply ring vaccinations to break chains of transmission and vaccinate all frontline workers to protect them."
The vaccine is different from the two British drugs currently being developed by Oxford Vaccine Group/Johnson & Johnson and the University of Oxford/GlaxoSmithKline.

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