HOUSING APPOINTMENT: A North-East housing association has appointed two board members to strengthen its existing team.

Two Castles Housing Association, in Newcastle, has welcomed Claire Scholfield who has more than 30 years' experience in the financial services industry.

She will be joined by Jane Bowyer, who has similar experience in the financial sector.

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MORTGAGE DROP: Mortgage approvals dropped in January, with experts blaming the winter weather for the fall.

Figures show there were 32,288 mortgages approved last month, which was 14 per cent lower than a year ago.

The British Bankers' Association also revealed borrowers remained cautious, with personal loans falling to half the figure they were in 2007.

HONDA CUTS: Japanese car manufacturer Honda has reduced production after last month announcing it was cutting 800 jobs.

The firm has moved workers from double to single day shifts at its Swindon plant.

It said it has received a positive response to a voluntary redundancy programme, and said it still hoped to avoid compulsory redundancies.

It blamed the cuts on falling sales across Europe for a drop in demand.

PRIMARK RESULTS: Clothing retailer Primark is expected to reveal sales increases of 23 per cent and increased like-for-like sales.

The company, which has stores in Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Newcastle, anticipates sales will be up for the six month period to March 2.

It said profits were higher due to lower cotton prices and better trading.

FLIGHTS CANCELLED: All Nippon Airways (ANA) has cancelled all Boeing 787 flights over safety concerns. International regulators grounded all 787 Dreamliners last month for safety checks to be carried out on lithium-ion batteries.

The Japanese firm will cancel more than 1,700 flights in April and May, taking the number of affected ANA Dreamliner flights to 3,600.

SPORTS DEAL: BT has agreed a deal to buy ESPN's UK and Irish TV channels to add to its sports coverage.

The move will see BT take on the SPN and ESPN America channels, and pick up their existing rights to broadcast football matches in the FA Cup, UEFA Europa League and Scottish Premier League.

BT will launch its sports package in the summer.