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Budget 2017 – Philip Hammond set to deliver crunch statement laying out reforms to housing and giveaways for the young in bid to get Britain ready for Brexit

PHILIP HAMMOND fights for his future today as he prepares to face down Brexiteers, Jeremy Corbyn and economic doom-mongers to deliver the trickiest Budget in a generation. The Chancellor is under p…

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PHILIP HAMMOND fights for his future today as he prepares to face down Brexiteers, Jeremy Corbyn and economic doom-mongers to deliver the trickiest Budget in a generation.

The Chancellor is under pressure to pull the Government together with a bold set of radical policies on tax and spending, after weeks of chaos which saw two senior ministers quit and Westminster rocked by sex scandals.

 Philip Hammond holding up his red box outside 11 Downing StreetAFP Philip Hammond holding up his red box outside 11 Downing Street

Theresa May’s wafer-thin majority of just 13 will be threatened if he tries to force through any unpopular changes in the Budget.

Today the PM gave public backing to Mr Hammond with a supportive tweet – just hours after Number 10 took control of the Budget, forcing the Treasury to announce more of its measures in advance.

And he is also under pressure from Brexiteers who don’t believe he has the heart to deliver our EU exit with the passion and enthusiasm needed.

He is expected to unveil a Budget to try and win back younger voters from Jeremy Corbyn – but aides have told MPs to expect a “safety first” Budget instead of pulling any big rabbits out of his hat.

 The Chancellor with his team outside No 11 todayAP:Associated Press The Chancellor with his team outside No 11 today  The Chancellor in front of his official Downing Street residenceReuters The Chancellor in front of his official Downing Street residence

Today’s announcements are set to include:

  • Measures to boost housebuilding so that Britain starts constructing 300,000 new homes every year
  • A cut in the waiting time for Universal Credit
  • New taxes to discourage the use of plastic packaging
  • Cash for struggling cities and commercial research in firms and universities
  • Handouts to young people such as a new railcard and a cut to stamp duty

But the need to balance the books means that Mr Hammond is unable to announce any large tax cuts or boosts to public spending.

 Theresa May leaving Downing Street this morning ahead of the BudgetAFP Theresa May leaving Downing Street this morning ahead of the Budget  A protest outside Downing Street ahead of the Budget announcementGetty Images – Getty A protest outside Downing Street ahead of the Budget announcement  The Chancellor is under pressure to deliver a radical BudgetGetty Images – Getty The Chancellor is under pressure to deliver a radical Budget

The Cabinet met this morning to discuss #Budget2017 which @PhilipHammondUK will deliver later today – setting out how my Government is building a Britain fit for the future: pic.twitter.com/7HOrgziVpW

— Theresa May (@theresa_may) November 22, 2017

The Evening Standard reports that a new £20million Homelessness Reduction Taskforce will be launched, aiming to halve the number of rough sleepers by 2022 and reduce it to zero by 2027.

The Chancellor also says that £240million in savings from business rates reform will be ploughed into infrastructure schemes in London.

Other measures include £400million for electric car charge points, £75million for research into artificial intelligence, £100million to boost clean car sales, £160million for 5G mobile networks, £100million to hire 8,000 computer science teachers and £76million for digital and construction skills training.

Mr Hammond can’t make another error like the tax-raid he tried to pull on White Van Man back in March – which forced him into a swift u-turn after a campaign by The Sun.

Tory backbenchers have called on Mrs May to sack the Chancellor if he fails to live up to their hopes for bold new measures.

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Who was Rebecca Dykes and when was the diplomat murdered in Beirut?

A BRITISH diplomat working in Beirut was found murdered on the side of a motorway. Here’s what we know so far about Rebecca Dykes and the circumstances surrounding her death. Who was Rebecca …

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A BRITISH diplomat working in Beirut was found murdered on the side of a motorway.

Here’s what we know so far about Rebecca Dykes and the circumstances surrounding her death.

 Ms Dykes had reportedly been working in the Lebanese capital since JanuaryFamily Handout Ms Dykes had reportedly been working in the Lebanese capital since January

Who was Rebecca Dykes?

Rebecca Dykes was a British diplomat who worked at the UK embassy in Beirut.

She was believed to be 30 years old at the time of her death.

Ms Dykes had worked as the programme and policy manager for The Department of International Development in the Lebanese capital since January.

She was a graduate of the University of Manchester, and also had a masters in International Security and Global Governance.

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Pakistan attack video shows dramatic moment cloaked ISIS gunman opens fire with a Kalashnikov in deadly suicide bombing on Catholic church

THIS is the moment a terrorist yanks up his cloak and reveals his Kalashnikov before unleashing a deadly gun and suicide massacre at a Catholic church in Pakistan.    At least nine people are dead …

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THIS is the moment a terrorist yanks up his cloak and reveals his Kalashnikov before unleashing a deadly gun and suicide massacre at a Catholic church in Pakistan.   

At least nine people are dead and 56 wounded in the horrific attack claimed by ISIS on a Sunday service in Quetta city less than a week before Christmas.

 The terrorist can be seen approaching wearing a cloakReuters The terrorist can be seen approaching wearing a cloak

CCTV footage released by the police showed the attackers, both carrying guns, approaching the church gates.

One of them is wearing a brown cape from which he produces the automatic rifle as he nears the gate.

His accomplice can then be seen following behind and he appears to trip up before getting back on his feet.

Meanwhile, the first gunman appears to be struggling to open the gate.

But with help from the other terrorist, he manages to scramble over into the church’s compound.

The second militant is then let in.

Worshippers sitting at tables outside the church are then running from the scene after spotting the killers.

 He then whips out his weapon as he approaches the gateReuters He then whips out his weapon as he approaches the gate  A second gunman wearing a suicide vest then follows behindReuters A second gunman wearing a suicide vest then follows behind  Christians sitting on chairs flee in terror as the gunmen storm the church compoundReuters Christians sitting on chairs flee in terror as the gunmen storm the church compound

Police guards stationed at the church entrance and on its roof killed one of the bombers.

But the second attacker detonated his explosives-filled vest outside the prayer hall just after Sunday services began, said Sarfraz Bugti, the provincial home minister.

ISIS has claimed the attack, the group’s Amaq news agency said in an online statement, without providing any evidence for its claim.

Officials have yet to confirm who is responsible.

 The bloody entrance to the Bethel Memorial Methodist ChurchAP The bloody entrance to the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church  Dozens were injured in the suicide bomb and gun attackEPA Dozens were injured in the suicide bomb and gun attack  Locals react after the attack at the church in Quetta, PakistanEPA Locals react after the attack at the church in Quetta, Pakistan Interior of Christian church where suicide bomber killed seven in Quetta, Pakistan

Police guards at the church exchanged fire with the attackers before they could enter the main sanctuary, said local police chief Moazzam Jah.

He said the attackers clashed with security forces, with one assailant killed at the entrance while the other made it inside.

“There were nearly 400 people inside the church,” Jah said. “We killed one of them, and the other one exploded himself after police wounded him.”

Jah said the venue – Bethel Memorial Methodist Church – was on high alert as Christian places of worship were often targeted by Islamist extremists over Christmas.

 Armed police opened fire on the attackersAFP Armed police opened fire on the attackers  Pakistani security personnel were quickly on the sceneAFP Pakistani security personnel were quickly on the scene  The church was on high alert before today's atrocityAFP The church was on high alert before today’s atrocity

Baluchistan has long been the scene of an insurgency by separatists fighting against the state to demand more of a share of the gas- and mineral-rich region’s resources.

They also accuse the central government of discrimination.

The Taliban, Sunni Islamist militants and sectarian groups linked to al Qaeda and the ISIS group also operate in the strategically important region, which borders Iran as well as Afghanistan.

 No one has claimed responsibility for today's horror attackAFP No one has claimed responsibility for today’s horror attack  Pakistan's president and other senior officials condemned the attackAFP Pakistan’s president and other senior officials condemned the attack EPA

Hospital officials said two women were among the dead while another five women and two children were among the wounded.

A young girl in a white dress sobbed as she recounted the attack to Geo television, saying many people around her were wounded.

Aqil Anjum, who was shot in his right arm, told The Associated Press he heard a blast in the middle of the service, followed by heavy gunfire.

“It was chaos. Bullets were hitting people inside the closed hall,” he said.

Scene after two suicide attackers open fire inside a church in Pakistan killing at least five and wounding multiple people  Dozens of Christians gathered outside a nearby hospital to protest the lack of securityEPA Dozens of Christians gathered outside a nearby hospital to protest the lack of security  A body is carried away from the murdeorus attackAP A body is carried away from the murdeorus attack

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Married maths teacher, 32, accused of having sex with 14-year-old boy at school

A MARRIED maths teacher has been accused of having oral and full sex with her 14-year-old male student inside the school. Jessica Langford, 32, denies three counts of sexual battery and three count…

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A MARRIED maths teacher has been accused of having oral and full sex with her 14-year-old male student inside the school.

Jessica Langford, 32, denies three counts of sexual battery and three counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor at the Ohio middle school.

 Jessica Langford is the latest female teacher in the US to be accused of sex with a teenage studentMontgomery County Jail Jessica Langford is the latest female teacher in the US to be accused of sex with a teenage student

The teacher and mum-of-one, who had taught at Miamisburg Middle School for nine years, allegedly performed oral sex on as well as receiving it.

Fox News reports she also had sex with the teen twice during May 23 at the school, Cleveland.com reported.

The student allegedly told another teacher about the sexual encounters with Langford and it was reported.

Miamisburg Superintendent Dr David Vail: “We did our own little, quick investigation at that point.

“Because of that fact, we were mandated to report it to the Ohio Department of Education.”

Langford resigned her position in late May after allegations of sexual misconduct had come to light.

She was the second teacher to be busted for alleged sex with a student in the Miami Valley area during a two-week span in November.

 Miamisburg Middle School where the teacher is alleged to have had sex with the teenagerGoogle Miamisburg Middle School where the teacher is alleged to have had sex with the teenager

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