THE NEWS WRAP: Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher dies, aged 87

Margaret Thatcher died peacefully last night, aged 87, with Britain’s first female prime minister set to receive a ceremonial funeral with full military honours at St Paul’s Cathedral.

 

Thatcher is considered to be a hero by many conservatives, who credit her with rebuilding the British economy through key policies, which included the privatisation of government assets and her role in ending the UK coal miners’ strike, which in turn drew controversy from those on the political left.

 

“It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of Lady Thatcher. We have lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton,” says British Prime Minister David Cameron.

 

“The Labour party disagreed with much of what she did and she will always remain a controversial figure. But we can disagree and also greatly respect her political achievements and her personal strength,” says British Labour leader Ed Miliband.

 

Holden told to “go better” after cutting 500 jobs

 

General Motors Holden has announced plans to cut nearly a quarter of its workforce, with 400 jobs set to go in South Australia and a further 100 job losses in Victoria, prompting renewed criticism about government subsidies for the auto giant.

 

“After the loss of these 400 to 500 staff [the cost per job] then rises to more than $50,000 of subsidy per employee. It’s quite a large sum of money,” said Simon Cowan from the Centre of Independent Studies.

 

“I think we deserve better. There are a range of important undertakings in that agreement that I want to ensure are delivered to South Australians and now we need to have some serious discussions with the company,” said South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill.

 

Vodafone announces 4G network rollout

 

Vodafone has announced the rollout of 4G services, following significant falls in the company’s subscriber base in recent years.

 

“At least for a period of time, we will have the fastest 4G network in Australia. We will have a bit of a differentiation point that no one else has,” said Vodafone chief executive Bill Morrow.

 

Overnight

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.33 per cent, at 14,613.40. The Aussie dollar is up to US104.10 cents.

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