Lloyds Banking Group has posted its first annual profit since a 2008 bailout by the British government, edging it closer to a return to full private ownership, results showed Friday. LBG recorded a profit after tax of £1.125 billion ($1.74 billion, 1.55 billion euros) last year compared with a net loss of 838 million in 2013, the bank said in an earnings statement -- in a boost also to Prime Minister David Cameron ahead of Britain's general election in May. Chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio said the results showed how Lloyds Banking Group had been transformed over time "into a low cost, low risk, UK focused retail and commercial bank".
More than 200 people have been killed in a series of avalanches triggered by heavy snowfall around Afghanistan, officials said Thursday, warning the death toll could rise still further. The bulk of the deaths came in Panjshir province, north of Kabul, where at least 168 people were killed, acting provincial governor Abdul Rahman Kabiri told AFP. "Our death toll has risen to 168 people killed in avalanches in Panjshir province," Kabiri said, warning that the figure may rise in the coming hours. "We have not seen this much snow in Panjshir, or this many avalanches, for decades," Kabiri added.