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News Daily: Brexit forecasts and child obesity failure

By Justin Parkinson
BBC News


Hello. Here's your morning briefing:

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Negative Brexit forecasts revealed

Areas of the UK that supported Brexit would see the biggest slowdown in economic growth as a result of leaving the EU, estimates by government officials suggest. Forecasts seen by MPs look at the potential 15-year-impact of different scenarios: the UK staying in the single market, doing a trade deal with the EU and leaving without any deal.

And these suggest that, in England, the areas seeing the largest slowdown in economic growth would be the North East and West Midlands. The research also suggests London - which mainly backed Remain - would see the lowest reductions.

But the government said the forecasts didn't "consider the outcomes we are seeking in negotiations" with the EU. And Eurosceptic Conservative MP John Redwood dismissed the figures as "complete nonsense". Here's a 300-word look at where we are with Brexit at the moment.

Anti-obesity programme in primary schools 'doesn't work'

In the UK, one in four children starts school overweight and one in 10 is obese. By the end of primary school, the proportion of children who are obese doubles to one in five. So 600 schools in the West Midlands took part in a programme promoting more exercise and better diet. And the outcome? No improvement in either. "It's a complex problem and there is no easy solution," says Dr Emma Lancashire, who co-ordinated the trial, adding that schools are just "one layer" in the fight against obesity, and that families, the media and the food industry all have to do more to help. So, what can you do if your child is overweight?

Council tax hikes planned 'across England'

If you live in England, there's a very strong chance your council tax bill will go up this year. The State of Local Government Finance survey found 95% of local authorities planned to raise it, while 93% were separately preparing to increase charges for services such as parking, burial/cremation, waste disposal and planning. The news comes as four in five councils say they are concerned about their balance sheets.

The fall of Troy: A warning from history

By Tim Bowler, business reporter

If the Greeks really did vanquish the Trojans, their victory was short-lived. Most Greek palaces were also soon destroyed or abandoned. The Hittites, Syrian city states, Assyrians and Babylonians also collapsed. Only Egypt survived. Unlike Bronze Age rulers, who could only pray to their storm god for rain if the crops failed, we are far more aware of global problems and have far more technical resources to deal with them, says Eric Cline, professor of archaeology at George Washington University in Washington DC. But Homer's is a cautionary tale, he argues. "Every civilisation in the world has ultimately collapsed. It would be very hubristic to think we will be the only civilisation to survive."

What the papers say

image copyrightDaily Express, Daily Telegraph

The planned council tax rises in England will be "thumping", according to the Daily Mail, while the Times reports that Surrey County Council is among those particularly struggling to deal with cash problems. Meanwhile, the Sun leads on the jailing of Jon Venables, one of the killers of toddler James Bulger in 1993, over child abuse images. It highlights criticism of his 40-month sentence from James's mother, while the Daily Mirror reports on James's father's plea to reveal Venables's secret identity. And the Daily Express warns of more cold weather over the next week.

Daily digest

Westminster harassment Report into allegations of bullying and improper behaviour due out later

Fake porn Reddit bans superimposing faces over explicit photos or videos without permission

Robin Williams US suicides "spiked" after actor and comedian killed himself in 2014

Winter Olympics North Korea set for military parade on eve of Games beginning in South

If you see one thing today

If you listen to one thing today

If you read one thing today


Today Environment Secretary Michael Gove is publishing a call for evidence on third party puppy sales.

11:00 A joint North and South Korea arts and peace concert is held in Gangneung, near the Olympic stadium in Pyeongchang, ahead of tomorrow's Winter Olympics opening ceremony.

On this day

1952 Princess Elizabeth formally proclaims herself Queen and Head of the Commonwealth and Defender of the Faith - following the death of George VI two days earlier.

From elsewhere

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