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EastEnder Dot in shock return

DOT Branning makes her comeback to Albert Square -- to find her granddaughter canoodling on her sofa.

The EastEnders veteran is back in Walford after actress June Brown, who has played her since 1985, began a sabbatical last year.

Brown (85) has taken a break before, leaving for a four-year period in the 1990s. She will make her return in the BBC1 soap tonight.

A spokeswoman said Dot has the "fright of her life" when she walks in to find them. "Her shock turns to horror when she later finds out that Lauren's boyfriend, Joey, is her cousin," she added.

Protests over health system

THOUSANDS of people marched in Madrid to protest against plans to privatise parts of their public health care system, with some questioning the motives behind the government's actions.

The march is the year's second large "white tide" demonstration, named after the colour of the scrubs many protesters wear.

Demonstrators thronged boulevards in the capital, carrying banners saying: "Public health care should be defended, not sold off."

North Korea in nuclear hint

NORTH Korea is vowing to strengthen its war defences amid concerns it may conduct a third nuclear test.

Citing US hostility, Pyongyang's Foreign Ministry said without elaborating that the country will "continue to strengthen its deterrence against all forms of war".

A ministry memorandum urged the US to dismantle a UN command that oversees an armistice signed at the close of the Korean War in 1953.

North Korea claims the right to build atomic weapons to protect itself against US threats.

Farc peace talks restarted

COLOMBIA'S delegation to peace talks with Farc rebels is heading back to Cuba to resume negotiations.

Its chief Humberto de la Calle said after meeting Colombian president Juan Manuel Santosit that it is time to accelerate the pace and get some measurable results toward ending the half-century-old conflict.

A Farc unilateral ceasefire is set to end on January 20.