By Andy Bruce and William Schomberg LONDON (Reuters) - British retail sales suffered their biggest slump in more than four years in December, denting what had been a promising fourth quarter and rattling sterling as more signs emerged of a pick-up in inflation since June's Brexit vote. Consumer spending has been the main driver of Britain's economy since June's referendum decision to leave the European Union, with other sources of growth like investment and trade lagging. Friday's data showed retail sales volumes dropped 1.9 percent month-on-month in December, far below economists' forecasts in a Reuters poll for a 0.1 percent decline and the biggest fall since April 2012.
The Islamic State group has demolished more treasured monuments in Syria's ancient Palmyra, a month after recapturing it from government forces, the country's antiquities chief said Friday. The news is a fresh blow for the UNESCO World Heritage site, which had already been ravaged by the jihadist group during the nine months it held the site before being expelled in March last year. "Local sources told us that 10 days ago Daesh destroyed the tetrapylon," a 16-columned structure that marked one end of the ancient city's colonnade, Maamoun Abdulkarim told AFP using an Arabic acronym for IS.