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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

Hot Air Balloon Crash Kills 16 People In Texas

31 July

A hot air balloon has crashed with at least 16 people on board in Texas, and officials say there are no survivors.

US investigators say the basket portion of the balloon caught fire before the craft came down in a field near the city of Lockhart, about 30 miles (50 km) south of Austin.
Marcus Officer, a reporter for FOX 7 at the scene, said: "There are massive power lines that are above where police tape is marked off.
"We have not confirmed anything as to whether the power lines caused the fire and the crash. But there's police tape just underneath it."
It is believed the 16 people were on board for the hour-long flight arranged by the Heart of Texas Hot Air Balloon Rides company.
It is thought the flight encountered difficulties about halfway through the journey.
The company's chief pilot, Skip Nichols, has been named as one of those who was killed in the crash.
A former girlfriend of Mr Nichols told the Austin Statesman news site he was highly experienced and took safety very seriously.
Wendy Bartch posted on Facebook: "Love you Skip. Forever... Rest in Peace my friend. You touched my heart."
Margaret Wylie, an eyewitness who called 911 after the hot air balloon came down, described hearing popping sounds shortly before the craft was engulfed in flames.
She said: "I looked around and it was like a fireball going up."
The accident is likely to be one of the deadliest hot air balloon crashes on record, and officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said there was a "significant loss of life".  
Three years ago, 19 people - many of them tourists - were killed after a hot air balloon came down after a mid-air explosion in Egypt.
The incident happened shortly after 7.40am local time (1.40pm UK time) on Saturday, and weather conditions were clear.
Investigators have sealed off the scene and officials are beginning to determine the exact number of victims and their identities.
Caldwell County Sheriff Daniel C. Law said the difficulties with identification stemmed from it being the kind of situation where people could walk up and buy a ticket, unlike an airplane, which would have a list of names.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the NTSB will be leading the investigation.
NTSB's Erik Grosof said a full-bore investigation would begin on Sunday when more federal officials arrive.
Texas governor Greg Abbott said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, as well as the Lockhart community."

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£33m Boost For Efforts To Tackle Modern Slavery

31 July

An extra £33m is being put into the Government's battle against modern slavery.

Prime Minister Theresa May said the money would go into blocking the routes taken by those involved in the people trafficking trade in countries like Nigeria.
Mrs May is also launching a new taskforce which will coordinate the Government's response to slavery.
Officials believe there are between 10,000 and 13,000 slavery victims in the UK.
A total of 289 offences of modern slavery were prosecuted in 2015, according to a review by barrister Caroline Haughey.
She also found there was a 40% rise in the number of victims referred for support.
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has been asked to look into how police are responding to attempts to prosecute more people alleged to be involved in slavery offences.
Mrs May said: "This Government is determined to build a Great Britain that works for everyone and will not tolerate modern slavery, an evil trade that shatters victims' lives and traps them in a cycle of abuse.
"Last year I introduced the world-leading Modern Slavery Act to send the strongest possible signal that victims were not alone and that those responsible for this vile exploitation would face justice.
"We must do more and the historic £33.5 million funding will allow us to go even further to support victims.
"Alongside this, the Haughey and HMIC reviews send a clear message that the criminal justice system must ensure that perpetrators have nowhere left to hide.
"I am pleased to see progress but we will not stop until slavery is consigned to the history books."
Ms Haughey, who has prosecuted a variety of servitude, slavery and human trafficking cases, is among those who believe more can be done.
She said: "One year on (from the Modern Slavery Act), law enforcement agencies are using the powers in the Act and the number of prosecutions and of victims supported has increased.
"But this is a generational fight to protect the vulnerable and voiceless and I believe we need to do more."

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IOC To Decide On Russia's Olympic Athletes

31 July

The final ruling on which Russian athletes will be able to compete in the Rio Olympics will be made by a panel from the International Olympic Committee.

The three-person panel will have to make its ruling on athletes that have been put forward to compete within six days of the start of the Brazil games.
Around 100 athletes have been banned as a result of their connection with state-sponsored cheating but 250 have been cleared to compete by their federations.
The IOC's ruling executive board said the panel will have the final decision of whether any of those 250 can take part in the world's biggest sporting event, which starts on 5 August.
IOC spokesman Mark Adams said: "This panel will decide whether to accept or reject that final proposal.
"We want to make it absolutely clear that we are the ones making the final call.
"We're working on a very, very tight timeline. It has to be finished by Friday at the very latest."
The three members of the panel will be executive board members Ugur Erdener, chairman of the IOC medical commission and from Turkey; Germany's Claudia Bokel, head of the athletes' commission; and Spain's Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., a vice president of the modern pentathlon federation.
Mr Adams said the panel will look at every athlete cleared by the federations, but would not reopen the cases of those already barred.
So far, 67 Russian track and field athletes have been banned from the games by the IAAF, and more than 30 others have been rejected under new IOC rules.
Russia's eight-member weightlifting team was on Friday told it cannot compete for what the international federation called "extremely shocking" doping results.
Anti-doping bodies, athletes' groups and Western media organisations have criticised the IOC for not imposing a total ban on Russia.

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Man Falls 25,000ft Without Parachute

31 July

A stuntman has fallen 25,000ft from a plane to the ground without wearing a parachute, landing in a net at 120mph.

Luke Aikins, a professional skydiver with 18,000 jumps under his belt, leapt from a plane without a parachute in a stunt broadcast live on television.
He endured forces of nearly 4G as he landed in the net on his back in the Simi Valley, California.
Shortly after landing, Mr Aikins was lowered to the ground, immediately rising to his feet and rushing to hug his wife Monica.
He had begun the jump flanked by three fellow skydivers who accompanied him until they peeled off to pull their chutes at 5,000ft.
One of them was tasked with helping him remove the oxygen mask he had to wear for the first 10,000ft of the jump.
When asked afterwards how he felt, he said: "I'm almost levitating. It's incredible. To think what just happened... to be honest I just can't get it out of my mouth - all these guys... everybody. It is awesome."
The net that 42-year-old Mr Aikins landed in was just 100ft by 100ft.
He was nearly prevented from carrying out the stunt by his union the Screen Actors Guild, who were originally insisting he wore a parachute.
If the Guild had continued with its requirement he said he would have called it off as the parachute container he would have had to wear would have made his landing more dangerous.
Mr Aikins, who made his first tandem jump when he was 12, was the back-up jumper in 2012 when Felix Baumgartner became the first skydiver to break the speed of sound during a jump from 24 miles above Earth.
He also provides skydiving training to US Navy Seals and other members of elite fighting forces.
Before the jump was shown on the Fox network in the US, an onscreen warning was shown advising people not to copy the stunt at home.

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Muslims Refuse To Bury Priest Killer Kermiche

30 July

Muslims have refused to bury one of the terrorists who murdered a Catholic priest as he celebrated Mass.

Community leaders in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray said they did not want to "taint" Islam by having any association with Adel Kermiche, the 19-year-old jihadist who killed Fr Jacques Hamel in his hometown in northern France.
Mohammed Karabila, president of the local Muslim cultural association and imam of one of the town's mosques, told Le Parisien: "We're not going to taint Islam with this person.
"We won't participate in preparing the body or the burial."
In a separate conversation with Sky News, Mr Karabila reiterated there would be no involvement by the mosque's religious leadership in any funeral.
However, he added that if the mayor's office were to request the mosque receive the body, and Kermiche's family were to indicate they wanted a burial, they would be obligated to assign an individual from the community to oversee the process.
As yet Kermiche's family have not indicated whether they want a funeral for their son.
Muslims in the town were supportive of the community leaders' decision.
Khalid El Amrani, a 25-year-old technician, said he thought it was "normal" that the mosque would refuse to help with the burial.
"What this young man did was sinful, he is no longer part of our community," he said.
The mayor's office will have the final say on whether Kermiche can be buried in the town.
Kermiche and Abdel-Malik Petitjean, also 19, stormed into the 17th-century stone church on 26 July, taking hostages before killing the priest and seriously wounding another captive.
They were shot dead by police as they exited the building using nuns as human shields.
The two nuns who were in the church when Fr Jacques Hamel had his throat cut said one smiled as he carried out the attack.
Sister Huguette Peron told Catholic newspaper La Vie: "I got a smile from the second (man). Not a smile of triumph, but a soft smile, that of someone who is happy."
At one point, Sister Helene got tired and asked to sit down. 
She said: "I asked for my cane, he gave it to me." 
Then the men started talking about religion, asking the nun if she was familiar with the Koran.
"Yes, I respect it like I respect the Bible, I've read several suras. And those that hit me in particular are the suras about peace," Sister Helene responded.
One of the attackers replied: "Peace, it's what we want ... as long as there are bombs on Syria, we will continue our attacks. And they will happen every day. When you stop, we will stop."
Meanwhile, the adoptive father of Abdel Malik Petitjean told how news of his son's crime and violent death had left him "broken".
Franck Petitjean said: "I haven't slept in days. In three months they (IS) brainwashed him."
He said he feared his daughter would want revenge for her brother's death and could be lead down the same path.
Police are still interviewing three people and a 19-year-old man has been charged with terrorism offences as authorities try to track down accomplices of the two attackers.

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