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Army chief warns of Russian threat
How would the UK’s armed forces fare in combat with Russia’s? Well, they would face something of a struggle, according to the head of the Army, General Sir Nick Carter. In a speech later, he will highlight Russia’s increased cyber warfare capabilities and its ability to use long-range missiles.
He will add that Vladimir Putin’s government – which has been conducting large-scale training exercises – is building an increasingly aggressive expeditionary force, warning that threats to the UK “are now on Europe’s doorstep”.
It’s vital, Gen Carter will say, to “keep up with our adversaries”. The speech has been approved by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and represents, according to BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale, “an appeal for more money” amid speculation over potential cuts.
Embarrassment ‘makes women avoid smear tests’
Cervical cancer is the most common form of cancer for women under the age of 35. Yet many are missing smear tests – which can prevent 75% of cervical cancers – because of embarrassment. A third of those surveyed by the charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust said they avoided smears because they felt ashamed of the look or smell of their pubic areas. About 15% also said they’d miss their tests for a gym class or a waxing appointment.
UK growth upgrade could ‘dwarf’ Brexit hit
What will happen to the UK economy after Brexit? Supporters of leaving the EU say it will allow businesses to thrive in international markets, while opponents argue that the effect on trade will be damaging. A recent assessment by Cambridge Econometrics for the Mayor of London suggested growth across the UK could be on average 3% lower by 2030 than it would have been if it stayed in the EU. But former Conservative Treasury minister – and Remain supporter – Lord O’Neill has told the BBC that, for 2018, the UK should do better than expected. Any gloomy predictions were likely to be “dwarfed” by an upturn in international growth, he added.
UKIP deputy leader Margot Parker quits
UKIP’s deputy leader has resigned, blaming Henry Bolton’s refusal to step down as head of the party. Margot Parker told BBC Radio Northampton that Mr Bolton had left UKIP in “limbo” and should go “sooner rather than later”. Mr Bolton has faced calls to quit over offensive texts sent by his ex-girlfriend, with the party’s national executive committee unanimously backing a vote of no confidence.
The (almost) complete history of ‘fake news’
By Mike Wendling, BBC Trending
It was summer 2016, and Buzzfeed’s media editor, Craig Silverman, noticed a funny stream of completely made-up stories that seemed to originate from one place. “We ended up finding a small cluster of news websites all registered in the same town in Macedonia called Veles,” Silverman recalls. He and a colleague investigated, and shortly before the US election they identified at least 140 fake news websites which were pulling in huge numbers on Facebook. The young people in Veles may or may not have had much interest in American politics, but because of the money to be made via Facebook advertising, they wanted their fiction to travel widely on social media.
What the papers say
The Times and Daily Telegraph lead on the head of the UK Army’s warning over the threat posed by Russia. The Guardian reports that about a million people in the UK are using steroids and performance-enhancing drugs to change the way they look, putting their health at risk. Meanwhile, the Financial Times says Angela Merkel is closer to forming a coalition government in Germany. And the Daily Star reveals that two intruders have broken into the Celebrity Big Brother house, in what it calls a “brazen stunt”.
Child stabbing Victim named as eight-year-old Mylee Billingham
US shutdown Senators trade blame ahead of Monday’s vote
Rail crash Several injured as train strikes buffer on outskirts of Sydney
Epilepsy drug Harm done to children after mothers given sodium valproate is a “scandal”, says MP
If you see one thing today
If you listen to one thing today
If you read one thing today
Today Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont is due to leave Belgium for the first time since he fled from Spain in October, to take part in a debate at Copenhagen University, Denmark.
19:30 The Disney character Minnie Mouse unveils her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame – 40 years after Mickey Mouse was awarded his.
On this day
1979 Tens of thousands of public sector workers take part in the biggest mass stoppage since 1926, beginning what’s to become known as the “winter of discontent”.