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US homeless people numbers rise for first time in seven years

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The number of homeless people in the United States has increased for the first time since 2010.

Just under 554,000 people were homeless, a report from the department of housing and urban development said.

West Coast cities like Los Angeles, as well as New York, contributed significantly to the rise.

Los Angeles saw the number of homeless inhabitants rise to 55,000 – an increase of almost a quarter in a single year.

Other cities recording a large increase include Seattle, San Diego and Sacramento.

The relatively large increases in those areas have pushed the national figure up by a little under 1%.

Speaking to America’s NPR radio, Housing and Development Secretary Ben Carson noted that in cities like Los Angeles and New York rents were rising “much faster” than incomes.

The government, he added, needed to work with community groups and non-profit and religious organisations, to combat the problem.

“We just need to move a little bit away from the concept that only the government can solve this problem by throwing more money at it,” he said.

Mr Carson and his department have made particular efforts to combat homelessness among war veterans but those numbers also increased nationally, again driven by surge in Los Angeles.

Despite the increase, the numbers sleeping rough are significantly lower than a decade previously, when the same point-in-time count was more than 647,000.

While the increase is the first in seven years the number of homeless is still 13% lower than the 2010 figure.

The counts are conducted by regional authorities on a single night in late January each year and include those sleeping on the streets or in cars as well as those in emergency shelters for the night.

The results are then submitted to the federal government to be compiled into national statistics.

Entertainment

Spice Girl Emma Bunton to host the Great American Baking Show

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Spice Girl Emma Bunton is the new presenter of the US version of The Great British Bake Off.



The Great American Baking Show will return to TV in the US later this year with Paul Hollywood returning as judge.

Baby Spice said it was her “dream job. Christmas time, eating cake and having such a brilliant time with Spice, Sherry and Paul.”

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Sherry Yard will join as a judge and Bunton will co-host with American footballer Anthony ‘Spice’ Adams.

Bunton revealed on her Heart Radio show that she has already started filming for the show – and was very excited.

“Just being in the famous tent – honestly it took me a week to get used to being in the tent,” she said.

Bunton added that working with Hollywood was “great fun”.

“I had lots of fun with Paul. He’s got a great sense of humour. I did watch out for him [though, as] he can be trouble. He’s got those eyes. Don’t look in his eyes!”

The Great American Baking Show was pulled off air last year after allegations of sexual harassment surrounding judge Johnny Iuzzini.

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UK minister pulls out of Saudi summit

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The UK’s International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has pulled out of attending an investment conference in Saudi Arabia next week.



It comes amid allegations the country was behind the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Mr Khashoggi has not been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, where Turkish officials allege he was killed.

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Saudi Arabia, which denies the killing, allowed investigators inside overnight.

The Dutch and French finance ministers, as well as several other politicians and business leaders, have said they are pulling out of the event.

However, a number of major businesses – including Goldman Sachs, Pepsi and EDF – are still intending to go despite growing pressure for a boycott.

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