Air strikes

The later editions of the papers cover the overnight bombing of targets in Syria. The Telegraph says:

America, Britain and France have launched a coordinated airstrike in Syria to punish the regime for a chemical weapons attack that killed more than 70 people.
Donald Trump announced he had ordered the strike at 9pm on Friday in Washington DC with Theresa May issuing her own statement minutes later.
Three Syrian sites involved in the use of chemical weapons were targeted in the attack – one scientific facility near Damascus and two storage facilities near Homs.
More than a hundred missiles were launched and the strikes lasted no longer than 70 minutes. America, British and French naval and air force units were involved.
Addressing the nation in a televised statement, Mr Trump said it was a response to the “evil and despicable” chemical attack by the Syrian regime last Saturday. 

BBC News reports:

The US, UK and France have bombed multiple government targets in Syria in an early morning operation targeting alleged chemical weapons sites.
The strikes are in response to a suspected chemical attack on the Syrian town of Douma last week.
Explosions hit the capital, Damascus, as well as two locations near the city of Homs, the Pentagon said.
Russia’s ambassador to the US responded by saying the attack on its ally “will not be left without consequences”.
“The nations of Britain, France, and the United States of America have marshalled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality,” President Trump said in an address to the nation from the White House at about 21:00 local time (02:00 BST).
“The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread, and use of chemical weapons,” he added.
The wave of strikes is the most significant attack against President Bashar al-Assad’s government by Western powers in seven years of Syria’s civil war.

The Times claims the strike is a one-off.

Britain, the United States and France launched more than 100 airstrikes in a “one time shot” against Syria early this morning to stop President Assad from using chemical weapons.
It was double the firepower of a US attack against a single Syrian air base a year ago, James Mattis, the US defence secretary said.
The bombardment, which included US Tomahawk and British Storm Shadow cruise missiles, was fired at three targets linked to Syrian chemical and biological warfare operations, one on the outskirts of Damascus and the other two close to the western city of Homs.
It took place at 2am UK time despite warnings by Russia, a close ally of Syria, that its armed forces might shoot down incoming missiles.

The Star reports the explosions.

LOUD explosions were heard tonight as co-ordinated strikes by UK, US and French forces battered key areas in Damascus today.
The Pentagon said the air strikes, which began at 4am Syrian time, involved planes and ship-launched missiles, more than a hundred weapons in all.
Officials named three targets: a scientific research centre in Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs, and another storage site and command post nearby.
Explosions were reported in Damascus moments after Trump’s seven-minute address.
Raw footage and images from Syria are pouring in of the coordinated strikes with the United Kingdom and France
.
Trump said the strikes were intended to deter the use of chemical weapons like the attack on civilians in the Syrian town of Douma last week, and that the U.S. was prepared to continue the attacks until the Syrian regime stops using chemical weapons.
An US official confirmed the strikes involved the use of deadly Tomahawk missiles.

Breitbart reports on the tie up between three countries.

The British government has joined with the American and French militaries to strike targets in Assad’s Syria following an alleged chemical weapons attack in the country.
“These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster instead,” President Trump said in an address from the White House late on Friday evening.
The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons,” he wrote. “Establishing this deterrent is a vital interest of the United States.”

Sky News has the Prime Minister’s statement.

Theresa May confirms British armed forces were involved in a combined operation with the US and France to strike Syria.
Here is the Prime Minister’s full statement:
This evening I have authorised British armed forces to conduct co-ordinated and targeted strikes to degrade the Syrian Regime’s chemical weapons capability and deter their use.
We are acting together with our American and French allies.
In Douma, last Saturday a chemical weapons attack killed up to 75 people, including young children, in circumstances of pure horror.
The fact of this attack should surprise no-one.
The Syrian Regime has a history of using chemical weapons against its own people in the most cruel and abhorrent way.
And a significant body of information including intelligence indicates the Syrian Regime is responsible for this latest attack.

ITV News quotes the US president.

Donald Trump said Friday air strikes against Syria are “underway” alongside military forces from the UK and France.
Speaking at the White House, Mr Trump said the strikes were in response to the alleged chemical weapons attack in the town of Douma last Saturday.
“This evil and despicable act left mothers and fathers and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air,” he said.
“The combined American, British and French response will integrate all instruments of our national power.”

Skripal

In associated news, the Times covers new intelligence on the Russian poisoning.

Theresa May released new intelligence on the Salisbury poisoning yesterday as she prepared to justify military action to prevent the collapse of a 100-year-old taboo on the use of chemical weapons.
Britain’s security chief revealed that Russia spied on the former double agent Sergei Skripal in the five years before he and his daughter were attacked with novichok, a type of nerve agent, last month. This included the hacking of Yulia Skripal’s email accounts.
In a letter to the head of Nato, Sir Mark Sedwill also said that Moscow had an assassination programme based around nerve agents that included attacking a victim by smearing poison on a door handle.

The Telegraph claims the Russians had been observing the Skripals for some time.

Russian intelligence agents hacked Yulia Skripal’s emails for at least five years before she and her father Sergei were poisoned in Salisbury, newly-declassified Government intelligence has revealed.
Cyber specialists from the GRU – Moscow’s Main Intelligence Directorate – targeted email accounts belonging to Miss Skripal as long ago as 2013, and possibly even before that, according to the British security services, in an apparent attempt to track the Skripals’ movements.
Theresa May took the highly unusual decision to release previously classified intelligence in order to quash weeks of Russian “disinformation” about the source of the attack.

And the Mail reports that Russia has issued its own report into the incident.

The Russian Embassy have published their own 8,000-word report into the Skripal poisoning row.
It comes as Britain dramatically moved to counter  Russian propaganda on Salisbury today by releasing new evidence.
The UK authorities disclosed that Moscow security services were spying on the Skripals for at least five years, and hacked the email of Yulia, who was poisoned along with her ex-spy father Sergei last month.
Russia’s report sets out a timeline of events, the British response and the lack of information it claims to have received following official requests.
It concludes that ‘the situation around the Skripals looks more and more like a forcible detention or imprisonment,’ adding ‘if British authorities are interested in assuring the public that this is not the case, they must urgently provide tangible evidence.’

The Mirror quotes a security boss.

Britain’s top National Security chief has revealed further evidence that Russia was behind the nerve agent attack in Salisbury.
In a letter to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, National Security Advisor Mark Sedwill said Sergei and Yulia Skripal had been under scrutiny from Russian intelligence services in recent years.
Yulia Skripal’s email account, he said, was targeted by Russian intelligence cyber experts as far back as 2013.
The letter, shared with NATO allies, set out the government’s case for Russia being the only state with “the technical means, operational experience and the motive” to carry out the attack.
Mr Sedwill wrote: “There is no plausible alternative explanation”.

Reuters also claims the Skripals were spied on.

Russia’s intelligence agencies spied on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia for at least five years before they were attacked with a nerve agent in March, the national security adviser to Britain’s prime minister said.
Mark Sedwill said in a letter to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday that email accounts of Yulia had been targeted in 2013 by cyber specialists from Russia’s GRU military intelligence service.
Sedwill also said in the letter, which was published by the government, that it was “highly likely that the Russian intelligence services view at least some of its defectors as legitimate targets for assassination.”

Brexit

Closer to home, the Sun claims Gibraltar could come under Spanish rule.

BRITAIN is ready to cave into Spain’s demands for more control over Gibraltar, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has claimed.
In incendiary comments, Michel Barnier said Britain was already in talks with Madrid over Spain’s wish to have joint control of Gibraltar’s airport, greater co-operation on smuggling and tax rates on the Rock.
The French bureaucrat added that he believed Spain’s demands were “reasonable”.
Speaking to Spanish newspaper El Espanol he claimed Britain had entered into talks as ministers knew the EU stood behind Spain – and Gibraltar would be left out of the post-Brexit transition deal unless an agreement could be reached between London and Madrid.
He said: “That lever is there and the British know it well.

And fisheries are also in the spotlight in the Sun.

BORIS JOHNSON has been accused of “betraying Britain” after foreign companies were picked for six new lucrative fishing licences.
UK bidders for rights to fish waters around the Falkland Islands ripped into the Government after being snubbed.
Of the six contracts, four went to a Norwegian company, one to a New Zealand business and one to a Chilean vessel.
Documents seen by The Sun reveal that Foreign Secretary ordered that one licence was kept for a Chilean-registered boat.
The four-year contracts to fish Chilean seabass or Patagonian toothfish – said to be Prince Charles’ favourite catch – are thought to be valued at more than £75 million.

The Brexit secretary’s plans to accelerate talks could be under threat, says the Times.

The EU is to rebuff David Davis’s plans to establish up to 50 Brexit negotiating groups to start work on a trade and security treaty with the bloc.
The Brexit secretary claimed this week that there would be “about 40 to 50 negotiating strands starting shortly”.
His remarks, at a conference in London, come after a letter was sent to Whitehall departments calling for officials across government to take part in the next phase of the negotiations.
Senior figures in the European Council and Commission said that Britain had not put forward proposals for such working groups and any attempt to do so be would be rejected. “There will be no ‘50 negotiation strands’, no hundreds of negotiators.

And the Telegraph claims India will demand more visas for its people.

India is using immigration as a “stick with which to beat us” in early talks on a post-Brexit trade deal by exaggerating the UK’s resistance to handing out more visas, business leaders have warned.
Richard Heald, the head of the UK-India Business Council, said the situation was “not as bad as it is portrayed by the Indians,” pointing out that the number of visas handed out last year had increased “significantly”.
It comes after high-ranking Indian officials warned that  Britain must be prepared to allow higher levels of immigration if it wants to secure a comprehensive free trade agreement.
YK Sinha, India’s high commissioner to the UK, said in November that any future deal could not be a “one-way.

‘Rivers of blood’ speech

Enoch Powell’s famous speech was scheduled to be broadcast by the BBC but may have to be pulled, says the Telegraph.

A controversial BBC broadcast of Enoch Powell’s notorious Rivers of Blood speech has been abandoned by its contributors amid a growing backlash.
The 50th anniversary broadcast, due to be read by actor Ian McDiarmid on Saturday, will mark the first time in British radio history that the infamous 45 minute anti-immigration speech will be transmitted  in full.
During the 1968 speech,  Enoch Powell,  the Conservative MP for Wolverhampton South West, attacked the anti-discrimination Race Relations Bill and warned that “in 15 or 20 years time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man”.
Politicians and expert guests to the programme have claimed that rebroadcasting this speech may stoke racial tensions.
The BBC has responded to the criticism by urging people to “wait to hear the programme before they judge it.”

The Times claims the decision not to broadcast it has already been made.

The BBC has had to remove an interview with an academic about Enoch Powell’s “rivers of blood” speech.
The speech is scheduled to be broadcast in full for the first time tonight to mark its 50th anniversary. It is due to be read by Ian McDiarmid, the actor, on Radio 4 but has led to the BBC being criticised for allowing the broadcast and the risk of stirring racial tensions.
Shirin Hirsch, an academic at the University of Wolverhampton, said she was “disgusted by the way the BBC are promoting this” and had “made a mistake” by being interviewed for the show. She wrote on Twitter yesterday: “I’m not going to be included in [the] BBC programme, thanks all.”

Housing

The correlation between housing and immigration is examined by Westmonster.

New research out from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has shown that between 1991 and 2016, mass migration increased house prices by 21%.
Essentially, it sets out how population growth between 1991 – 2016 led to a 32% overall increase in house prices, with two-thirds of population growth driven by non-UK born people, thus accounting for a 21% increase.
As the report sets out: “In 1991, the population of England was 47.1 million. In 2016, the population of England was 54.5 million. This is equivalent to an increase of 16 per cent over this period (1991 to 2016).
“Applying the relationship from the University of Reading model set out in the methodology section above (a 1 per cent increase in the number of households leads to a 2 per cent increase in house prices) 7, this increase in the population is expected to have led to a 32 per cent increase in house prices.”

Education

Schools’ catchment areas are examined in the Times.

Sixty primary schools are turning down pupils who live more than 350 metres away from the front gate as competition for places at the best ones shows no signs of abating.
The smallest catchment area for a primary in England is now 93 metres.
London has the most schools where parents need to live within a stone’s throw of the front gate to get a place for their child.
The data, compiled by Findaschool, the online service, excluded religious schools, which are often even harder to get into, requiring parents and children to be certified, regular churchgoers.
The data covers this academic year. It comes before parents learn on Monday whether their children will get into their first choice of school.

Breitbart considers a call by teachers about religious education in schools.

The government should take measures to stop parents withdrawing their children from some lessons where they have to study Islam or visit mosques, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) has said.
Parents are allowed to pull their children from some Religious Education (RE) lessons that conflict with their personal views. However, a motion passed by the ATL claims the power is being abused by “prejudiced” parents.
The teachers argued that studying Islam, as well as other religions, is key to preparing pupils for adult life in the UK.
The motion at the union’s conference was proposed by London teacher Richard Griffiths, who said removing children because of genuine religious beliefs was “very rare”, according to 
The Times.

Tidal power

Power from the waves comes under the spotlight in the Guardian.

MPs are to press ministers on why they have left investors hanging in limbo over taxpayer support for a pioneering £1.3bn tidal lagoon in Swansea.
The business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) committee and Welsh affairs committee will call on government to explain why no decision has been forthcoming on the flagship scheme. The government has still not indicated whether it is minded to support the lagoon, 15 months since  an independent review told ministers to back the clean energy project.
Tidal Lagoon Power, a Gloucester-based company, has been pushing for years to build the first of five lagoons at Swansea, to harness power from the ebb and flow of the tides.
But the company needs an indication the government is prepared to negotiate a guaranteed price of power for the renewable energy it produces, akin to the ones awarded to windfarm and nuclear power station developers.

Rubbish collections

A plan to charge homes to collect rubbish by weight is covered by the Sun.

FAMILIES could be left shelling out more to have their rubbish collected under new plans to boost recycling.
The scheme, dubbed “pay-as-you-throw”, would charge households for bin collection by weight which could see large families paying more than singletons or couples.
However, waste put in the recycling bin would be collected for free or at a reduced fee, but tougher rules would be enforced to stop people dodging the bin levy and contaminating recycling.
The plans from the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC), which represents waste collection officers at about 70 per cent of councils, would essentially penalise people who don’t recycle.

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