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Jan 9, 2013

UK goods deficit suggests trade slowed economy in fourth-quarter

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s goods deficit narrowed slightly in November but held above its average for the past year, raising the chance that trade activity in the last three months of 2012 dragged on economic growth.

The Office for National Statistics said on Wednesday that the goods trade gap shrank slightly less than expected to 9.164 billion pounds from October’s 9.487 billion pounds, as exports rose faster than imports.

Dec 19, 2012

Hillsborough verdicts quashed after more than 20 years

LONDON (Reuters) – The deaths of 96 soccer fans in the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster will be reinvestigated after Britain’s High Court quashed the original inquest verdicts on Wednesday due to a “profound and almost palpable” sense of injustice.

The government also set up a new police investigation into Britain’s worst sporting disaster, in a victory for victims’ families who never accepted the official version of events and have campaigned for more than 20 years for “Justice for the 96″.

Dec 19, 2012

Nearly half of UK forces to leave Afghanistan in 2013

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will withdraw nearly half its troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2013, the government said on Wednesday, as part of a security handover to Afghan forces more than a decade after the U.S.-led invasion.

Nearly all of Britain’s 9,000 soldiers are due to pull out when the NATO mission finishes in late 2014, ending a long, costly and unpopular war that has cost the lives of 438 UK troops.

Dec 14, 2012

Britain seeks new EU deal from euro zone crisis

BRUSSELS, Dec 14 (Reuters) – Britain must use the upheaval
created by the euro zone crisis to forge a new relationship with
the European Union, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Friday
as he fights a rising anti-EU mood at home that could threaten
his chances of re-election.

Speaking at the end of a summit of EU leaders that secured
the first part of a banking union, Cameron played down fears
Britain’s future lies on the margins of a two-tier Europe, while
euro zone members build an ever-stronger core.

Dec 14, 2012

EU to consider all options to help Syrian rebels

BRUSSELS, Dec 14 (Reuters) – All options are on the table to
support the Syrian opposition fighting President Bashar
al-Assad, European Union leaders said on Friday, raising the
possibility that non-lethal military equipment or even arms
could eventually be supplied.

In their strongest statement of support for the Syrian
opposition since the uprising began more than 20 months ago, EU
leaders instructed their foreign ministers to assess all
possibilities to increase the pressure on Assad.

Dec 6, 2012

UK government heading for political blow from debt downgrade

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is lurching closer to an embarrassing loss of its prized triple-A credit rating as the economic outlook darkens, and the political pain for Prime Minister David Cameron’s government from a once-unthinkable move may exceed the economic damage.

Finance minister George Osborne warned of weaker growth and more austerity in a budget update on Wednesday. Although he avoided the political mis-steps for which the media lambasted him after March’s budget, there now looms the more menacing specter of a downgrade before an election due in 2015.

Dec 6, 2012

Darker growth outlook pushes austerity plan off track

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will endure more austerity and miss a key debt-cutting goal as the economy looks set to grow far slower than previously thought, the government said, in a bleak outlook that could hurt Prime Minister David Cameron’s re-election chances.

Chancellor George Osborne said welfare payments will be squeezed and tax rises and spending cuts will drag on for an extra year until 2018, as tight lending and weakness in the global economy hold back Britain’s recovery.

Dec 5, 2012

Britain to miss key debt goal, growth targets

LONDON (Reuters) – Chancellor George Osborne said on Wednesday he would break a key debt promise and warned that growth will be weaker than expected in a bleak outlook that could damage his party’s hopes of winning a 2015 election.

In a budget update to parliament, Osborne said weak growth meant he will be a year late in meeting a self-imposed target of seeing debt falling as a percentage of Britain’s national output by 2015/16.

Dec 5, 2012

UK government says economy healing but growth forecasts cut

LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister George Osborne said on Wednesday he would break a key debt promise and warned that growth will be weaker than expected in a bleak outlook that could damage his party’s hopes of winning a 2015 election.

In a budget update to parliament, Osborne said weak growth meant he will be a year late in meeting a self-imposed target of seeing debt falling as a percentage of Britain’s national output by 2015/16.

Nov 27, 2012

Olympic spending propels UK economic rebound in Q3

LONDON (Reuters) – Spending at the London Olympics fuelled Britain’s strongest quarterly economic growth in five years between July and September, although that strength is unlikely to be sustained.

Tuesday’s figures, confirming that Britain has come out of recession, will buoy Chancellor George Osborne a week before he is due to deliver his half-yearly budget statement.