Radioactive planes alert

The investigation into the death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko spread to 33,000 British Airways passengers last night after radioactive traces were found on aircraft.

The investigation into the death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko spread to 33,000 British Airways passengers last night after radioactive traces were found on aircraft.

Experts found "low levels of radioactive traces" on two aircraft at Heathrow airport and were preparing to examine a third in Moscow, the airline said.

Mr Litvinenko, an ex-KGB man and a fierce critic of Russian president Vladimir Putin, died last week of radiation poisoning.

The alert involves 221 flights within Europe, affecting an estimated 33,000 passengers and 3,000 staff.

Prison record

THE number of prisoners in England and Wales topped 80,000 for the first time in history yesterday.

There were 79,908 inmates in jails and a further 152 being held in police stations under the Government's emergency plans, making a grand total of 80,060.

Paper sorry

THE News of the World publicly apologised to members of the royal family yesterday - particularly Prince William, Prince Harry and the Prince of Wales - for invading their privacy after a senior journalist admitted a plot to hack into phone calls.

The apology from editor Andy Coulson and royal correspondent Clive Goodman came as an Old Bailey court heard details of a phone tapping operation.

Goodman and another man were bailed for pre-sentence reports - and face jail.

Envoys slated

SCATHING attacks on the insensitive way in which some UK officials dealt with British survivors of the Asian tsunami were disclosed yesterday.

In the new report by the National Audit Office, some survivors describe British embassy officials in the area as unhelpful, "superior" and selfish after about the 300,000 people - including 151 Britons - killed in December 2004.

New defence

CHILDREN who kill could be convicted of a new, lower category of crime if they prove they were young for their age, it was proposed yesterday.

The Law Commission suggested the new defence of "developmental immaturity" should be created for under 18s.

Loans up

MORTGAGE approvals have hit their highest level for nearly three years. The Bank of England said approvals for home loans in October rose to 128,000, up from 127,000 the previous month.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer