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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.

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Bootle Murders: Warning As Police Hunt For Man

18 April

Police investigating the murders of a mother and daughter are searching for one of their relatives - but warn the public "should not approach him".

Detectives have said they "urgently" need to speak to Peter Fox, after the bodies of the two women were found in separate addresses on Merseyside.
His mother, Bernadette, and sister, Sarah, have been named as the victims.
A spokesman for the Fox family said in a statement they are "still trying to come to terms" with the loss of their relatives.
"We are absolutely devastated following the loss of Bernadette and Sarah and are still trying to come to terms with what has happened to them both.
"Bernadette, who was a mother of three and grandmother of three, was a very outgoing and lovely person who wouldn't harm anyone.
"In fact she only ever had nice things to say about people. She was so caring and would help anyone.
"And Sarah was loved by her family and well-liked by her friends and neighbours. She was a fantastic aunty and was a cheeky, bubbly and outgoing person who loved her dog.
"They will both be greatly missed."
Police believe Mr Fox may have travelled to London, and have urged the public not to approach him.
Detective Chief Inspector Dave Rooney said: "We are currently trying to trace Peter Fox, the son of Bernadette, as he could have information which could assist with our investigation.
"I would appeal to Peter to come forward so that we can speak to him following the murders of his mother and sister.
"I would also ask the public to help us find Peter as we need to speak to him urgently in relation to the two murders.
"I would stress to the public that if they do see Peter Fox, they should not approach him. We would urge anyone with information about his whereabouts to contact the police on 999."
:: Anyone with information regarding the murders of Bernadette and Sarah Fox can contact the Major Incident Room on 0151 777 3802/3938, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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Miliband: All NHS Workers Must Speak English

18 April

Ed Miliband has attempted to convince voters the party has learnt from its past mistakes on immigration by unveiling tough new measures to tackle the issue.

Mr Miliband admitted Labour had made errors in 2004 under Tony Blair that left "working people" facing "dramatic changes in their communities that were not planned or properly prepared for".
Unveiling a five-point policy at an event in Wirral, the Labour leader said he would ensure that all NHS workers would be "required to speak English to a sufficient standard so they can care effectively for patients".
He said a Labour government would legislate to give healthcare regulators the power to enforce the rule.
Mr Miliband spoke about how his parents had fled the Nazi regime and come to Britain and that had made him believe in a "shared society".
He said this could only be achieved if people "speak the same language".
The Labour leader said: "And it is why I believe in a simple principle: everyone in Britain should know how to speak English.
"Sometimes, we've been too timid about this. But it is something we should expect from everyone who comes here.
"And it is especially important that people who work in public services in public facing roles should be required to speak English.
"And nowhere is that more true than in our NHS."
Apologising for the Labour government's track record, he said they should have made sure there were "maximum transitional controls" when new countries joined the European Union.
Mr Miliband said: "I've been very clear about the mistakes the last Labour government made."
And he said: "Let me be clear. It is not prejudiced to be concerned about immigration."
Mr Miliband pledged a new system of controls, including a new system to count people in and out of the country, 1,000 new border staff and tougher rules on claiming benefits.
He also promised to end illegal and abusive practices which see migrants living and working in appalling conditions for minimal pay.
He said a Labour government would set up a 100-strong police and Home Office enforcement unit to increase prosecutions and fines against bad employers who are undermining the minimum wage and encouraging low-skilled migration. 
And he said there would be a cap on immigrants coming to the UK from outside the EU.
:: Full General Election 2015 Coverage
Mr Miliband also attacked David Cameron's vow to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands, saying the "Conservatives' target is in tatters".
UKIP leader Nigel Farage said Labour's open-door policy on immigration that had caused the problem, but added Mr Miliband was right that some people who came to the UK were exploited.
He said: "There's no doubt that there are problems out there but it is not the main issue. The main issue is we have allowed too many people to come into Britain, which is pushing down people's wages."
In January, Mr Farage told Sky News that UKIP would not allow people who could not speak proper English to work in the NHS. Last year's local and European elections showed that UKIP was a threat to Labour in some areas in the North.
Tory Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said: "Nothing Ed Miliband is proposing today would help control immigration.
"Labour sent out 'search parties for people' and under them net migration increased more than five-fold."
Meanwhile, David and Samantha Cameron visited a Sikh temple in Gravesend to mark the Vaisakhi festival.
The Prime Minister made a speech thanking the community for its contribution to British society.
He told the audience the Vaisakhi festival was a "big, bold" sign of their devotion.
"I wanted to make sure Downing Street was part of this too, and I'm proud to be the first Prime Minister to host a Vaisakhi reception at Number 10," he said.
"And I'll tell you what - if I'm back there as Prime Minister, I'll keep bringing the community, the colour and the celebrations there, again and again.
"And I'm sure my children will carry on stealing the jalebi (sweets) too!"
With 19 days to go until the General Election, the latest poll by YouGov for the Sun has Labour and the Conservatives tied on 34%.

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Behind The Tory Focus On Ethnic Minority Voters

18 April

First it was Labour claiming the mantle of fiscal responsibility while the Tories packed their manifesto with pre-election giveaways.

Now Ed Miliband is talking tough on immigration while David Cameron celebrates the Sikh festival of Vaishaki in a bid to reach out to ethnic minority voters.
The reason for these, at times, counterintuitive election gambits is that both parties are trying to address their biggest challenges.
:: Full Coverage Of General Election 2015
Labour is trying to shift stubborn polls that leave it trailing on economic competence.
The Conservatives are trying to persuade people that they can turn a macro-economic recovery into something voters will feel in their household finances.
And so too on immigration. Ed Miliband is tackling preconceptions about Labour - a party that has been accused of operating an open-door policy when in government, an idea that had gained credence in the face of an upsurge of support for UKIP.
The rise of Nigel Farage's party has been a headache for the Prime Minister too - in fact, probably an even bigger one.
But there are many Conservatives who think there is a more fundamental challenge that they must face up to. That is their lack of support among ethnic minority voters.
Consider this fact: in 2010 Mr Cameron's party polled 16% of the country's non-white vote.
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Given the rate at which that population is growing, one senior adviser warns this could be an "existential threat" to the party.
This is frustrating for Conservatives - including the Prime Minister - who believe that many of these communities tend towards fiscally and socially conservative values.
Polling suggests the problem is a historical one - with voters still affected by things like Enoch Powell's infamous Rivers of Blood speech, or even Norman Tebbit's 1990 cricket test, when he called on non-whites to cheer for England if they wanted to be seen as British.
Mr Cameron's party has turned to its counterparts in Canada for advice, learning that "showing up" at community events week in, week out is part of the answer.
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Key marginal seats now have campaign managers trained centrally who have to focus on this issue.
Dedicated staff are used to push Conservative stories to specialist ethnic media outlets, and there has been a successful drive to place ethnic minority candidates in safe seats.
The Tories don't talk much about this strategy and it may have been squeezed in the face of the UKIP threat.
But they know that in the long run it is a problem that they simply can't ignore.

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'Vital Clues' In Fatal Teen KFC Stabbing

18 April

An 18-year-old man was stabbed to death and another critically injured in a fight outside a fast food restaurant in Birmingham.

Police say Sheriff Mbye was rushed to hospital in a white Audi, which then sped off and was later found abandoned.
The teenager had suffered multiple injuries and died two hours after arriving at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Officers found a 19-year-old with serious stab wounds being treated by customers in a barber shop close to the KFC restaurant after being called to reports of a stabbing shortly before 5pm on Friday.
He was taken to hospital, where he is said to be in a critical condition.
Police say they have discovered "vital clues" and have launched a major investigation. They say they have identified a small number of other men thought to have been involved and are trying to identify others.
An 18-year-old local man has also been arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in police custody.
Part of Bristol Road South, in Northfield, where the fight broke out remained sealed off to allow specialist forensic examiners to continue to gather information.
Officers are carrying out door-to-door inquiries and murder detectives are examining CCTV footage.
The lead officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Inspector Harry Harrison, said: "My condolences go to the family of Sheriff who are heartbroken at losing their loved one.
"I would like to reassure them that many people who were in the area at the time responded admirably to the terrible situation which confronted them.
"Both victims were tended to, details of possible people or vehicles involved were relayed to police and vital clues were guarded. Their assistance has been invaluable to our investigation.
"I'd also thank those people who have helped us so far and ask that others follow their lead by doing the right thing. If you were in the area at the time, and you have not yet spoken to police, please do so now."
He is appealing for witnesses to the attack to come forward and to those who may have seen the Audi at the scene or driving away after the attack.
A post mortem will take place later today to determine the precise cause of death.
Anyone with information should call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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Wonga Crashes To £35m Loss After Torrid Year

18 April

A string of regulatory scandals and restructuring costs pushed Britain's biggest payday lender deeply into the red in 2014, it will announce next week.

Sky News can reveal that Wonga Group will disclose in the coming days that it lost approximately £35m last year, ending a long run of profitability for a company which has become the target of sustained criticism by opponents of the short-term lending sector.
Sources said on Saturday that Wonga, which sponsors Newcastle United and Blackpool football clubs, would also disclose that revenues slumped by about one-third last year, from £314.7m to just over £215m.
The figures will underline the scale of the challenge confronting Wonga as it attempts to secure approval from the City regulator for a new licence as part of a broader overhaul of the industry.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has estimated that the vast majority of the roughly 400 payday lenders operating in Britain will go out of business following the introduction in January of a price cap on loan and repayment charges.
The loss of about £35m that will be announced by Wonga next week compares to a profit of just under £40m in 2013, which itself represented a 53% decline on its earnings during the previous year.
Under a management team recruited last year, Wonga is drawing up plans to diversify its business away from its core short-term loan products.
However, some analysts have expressed scepticism that the company will be able to resuscitate its brand in the wake of a series of reputation-battering scandals.
Last year, it was forced by the FCA to pay more than £2.5m in compensation to 45,000 customers who were sent letters purporting to be from law firms but which in fact did not exist.
A near-£20m charge to cover the cost of compensation, as well as legal and administrative costs related to the issue, was taken in its annual results for 2014.
More recently, Wonga has announced plans to halve its UK workforce with the loss of 325 jobs.
Explaining the cull, Andy Haste, Wonga's chairman, said: "Our focus is on creating a business that meets the demand for short-term credit sustainably and responsibly, resulting in good customer outcomes.
"We've already made significant changes, including appointing a new leadership team, implementing a new risk decision engine and tightening our lending criteria.
"However, Wonga can no longer sustain its high cost base which must be significantly reduced to reflect our evolving business and market. Regrettably, this means we've had to take tough but necessary decisions about the size of our workforce."
It is unclear when the company expects to return to the black, although one source said it was unlikely to be profitable this year.
Like its competitors, Wonga also faces the prospect of a new levy if Labour wins the General Election, with the move featuring in the Party's manifesto this week.
A Wonga spokesman declined to comment.

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