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Trump scraps UK visit
US President Donald Trump has cancelled his visit to the UK in February, during which he was to open a new embassy in London. He tweeted that he was not a “big fan” of the $1bn (£738m) building in Vauxhall, in the south of the city, commissioned by his predecessor Barack Obama. The ceremony may now be overseen by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
This planned trip was not the full state visit agreed between the UK and the US, but for which no date has yet been set.
(Warning: Content below contains strong language)
Meanwhile, the White House has not denied claims that Mr Trump criticised immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries using foul language. The Washington Post says the president called them “shithole countries” during an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers. He reportedly added that the US should be taking in migrants from places like Norway instead.
Teenager dies after catching flu virus
An 18-year-old woman, described by her mother as “the best daughter I could have ever wished for”, has died in hospital after catching the flu virus. Bethany Walker, from Applecross in Wester Ross, was airlifted from her home to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness after the flu developed into pneumonia. She was in the middle of a year out before planning to study midwifery.
Zuckerberg promises chattier Facebook
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has announced that news feeds on the social media network’s news feed are to become less commercial. He said content would be more focused on starting conversations among family and friends, and less on messages from businesses and brands. But this could mean some news organisations and publications “quickly go out of business”, writes BBC technology correspondent Dave Lee.
The ‘bug’ that didn’t bite
Back in 1999 the world was getting ready for a big party. But New Year’s Eve wasn’t just a source of celebration and excitement – a lot of people were worried. Many experts predicted the so-called “millennium” bug would bring down computers, forcing planes to crash, hospitals to close and financial markets to go into meltdown. It didn’t happen. So, BBC Ideas asks, what was all the fuss about?
Will Cape Town be the first city to run out of water?
By Gabriella Mulligan, Technology of Business reporter
Most recent projections suggest the city’s water could run out as early as March. The crisis has been caused by three years of very low rainfall, coupled with increasing consumption by a growing population. The local government is racing to address the situation, with desalination plants to make sea water drinkable, groundwater collection projects, and water recycling programmes. Meanwhile Cape Town’s four million residents are being urged to conserve water and use no more than 87 litres (19 gallons) a day. Car-washing and filling up swimming pools have been banned. And the visiting Indian cricket team were told to limit their post-match showers to two minutes.
What the papers say
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s comment that a second Brexit referendum could he held to end “whinging and whining” by Remain supporters has provoked a lot of coverage. The Daily Mirror calls it a “shock” move, while the Guardian says the “most obvious” vote would be on any deal reached between the UK and the EU. Meanwhile, the Financial Times says the state of the consumer economy is “precarious” following M&S, Tesco and others reporting weak Christmas sales. And the Daily Star warns of an “Arctic blast” to hit Britain next week.
Breast cancer Survival rates “unaffected” by BRCA gene mutation
Carrie Gracie BBC “deeply unimpressed” by Humphrys-Sopel jokes about pay
Heavy the head? Queen offers advice on wearing a crown
Sex and the saddle Study looks at whether cycling harms men’s erectile function
Seven days quiz What accompanied Macron’s horse gift to China?
If you see one thing today
If you listen to one thing today
If you read one thing today
Today RMT union members on Northern, Merseyrail, South Western Railway and Greater Anglia rail franchises are staging a 24-hour walkout.
13:00 The first day of voting begins in the Czech Republic’s presidential election, with polls due to close on Saturday.
On this day
1976 Dame Agatha Christie, the most popular novelist in the world, dies at home in Oxfordshire, aged 85.