An unexpectedly weak December dragged on British retail sales growth in the fourth quarter of last year, although consumers still spent strongly over the October-December period as a whole. Shoppers have driven Britain's economy since June's referendum decision to leave the European Union, just as other sources of growth like investment and trade have lagged. Official data on Friday showed retail sales volumes dropped 1.9 percent year-on-year in December, far below economists' forecasts in a Reuters poll for a 0.1 percent decline and the biggest fall since April 2012.
Britain's Royal Navy has disposed of a suspected World War II bomb discovered in London's River Thames close to parliament, leading to the closure of two bridges, police said Friday. "Victoria Embankment has now reopened after police and the Royal Navy worked together to remove a suspected WWII ordnance," London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement. The ordnance was spotted after coming to the surface of the water in the tidal flow of the Thames, a police spokesman told AFP.