Maoist cult leader jailed for 23 years

A Maoist cult leader who raped two of his followers and kept his daughter a "slave" for 30 years has been jailed for 23 years.

Aravindan Balakrishnan, 75, known as Comrade Bala, brainwashed his cult into thinking he had God-like powers and could read their minds, and subjected them to decades of abuse.

His daughter Katy Morgan-Davies, 33, waived her right to anonymity to speak out about the years of psychological and physical bullying she endured at her father's hands.

She said: "It was horrible, so dehumanising and degrading. I felt like a caged bird with clipped wings."

Balakrishnan, of Enfield, north London, was impassive as he was sentenced at London's Southwark Crown Court.

Brazilian president steps up fight against Zika virus

Brazil is losing the battle against the mosquito spreading the Zika virus, President Dilma Rousseff said today, calling for a national effort to eradicate the insect.

"We do not have a vaccine for Zika yet. The only thing we can do is fight the mosquito," she said during a visit to a command centre for the Zika crisis.

The virus has been linked to thousands of cases of babies being born in Brazil with microcephaly - meaning they have abnormally small heads and brains that have not developed properly.

Ms Rousseff called on Brazilians to eliminate still water in puddles and open storage tanks in their homes where the insect breeds.

On 13 February, more than 200,000 soldiers will join a nationwide effort to eliminate mosquito infestations.

Travellers in bid for new talks with council

Representatives for families evicted from a closed halting site in Woodland Park in Dundalk said they have not had a meeting with representatives from Louth County Council since 19 January.

Spokesperson for the families Rebecca Quinn said she was told last night that Louth County CEO Joan Martin would not meet the families, along with legal and political representatives.

The council said that it has not refused a meeting, but that communications between the parties were ongoing and clarifications had been sought as to who would attend such a meeting.

A spokesperson for Louth County Council this evening said: "All families have not been written to as yet offering accommodation, as the Council is still in the process of assessing applications."

Teen settles TalkTalk damages claim against Twitter

A Co Antrim schoolboy arrested over the cyber attack on TalkTalk has settled his claim for damages against Twitter.

The 15-year-old's privacy action was resolved on confidential terms, with no admission of liability by the social networking service.

The boy was questioned in October last year by police investigating a major hack into the phone and broadband provider's database.

The boy was among a number of suspects to be detained in connection with the TalkTalk probe. No charges were brought against him.

Since then his lawyers have issued a number of writs claiming negligence, misuse of private information, defamation, breach of confidence and data protection.           

Four miners rescued after being trapped underground for 36 days

Four miners who had been trapped underground for 36 days in a collapsed Chinese mine have been rescued.

The operation to save the men trapped more than 200 metres underground took two hours as each was hauled up to the surface one by one, in Shandong province, in eastern China.

The four were among 29 trapped when the mine collapsed on December 25.

Of the 29 miners, 11 were rescued the following day and one was pronounced dead while 13 remained unaccounted for following the rescue.