Newspaper headlines: Plastic bag use plunges and Army tackles fake news


Newspaper headlines: Plastic bag use plunges and Army tackles fake news


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A positive story for the environment is on the front of the i newspaper. Sales of single-use plastic bags at England’s seven biggest retailers have plunged by 90% since the start of the 5p charge four years ago, the paper reports. Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, Co-op, Waitrose and Marks and Spencer sold 549 million single-use bags in the year 2018/19. Back in 2014, before the charge in England, the average person bought 140 bags a year – now, it’s just 10 bags.

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The Daily Mail also leads on the plastic bag story. It highlights figures that show, in the last year particularly, the number of bags sold by the top seven retailers has halved. The paper suggests a link to the “heartbreaking sight of throwaway plastic choking sealife” which “shocked the nation” – and mentions its own anti-plastic bag campaign 10 years ago. Charities are also benefitting, the paper adds, with £169m from bag charges going to good causes.

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The Army is launching a new division dedicated to “social media warfare”, the Daily Telegraph reports. According to one of the Army’s top generals, personnel will be trained to tackle cyber threats such as fake news. The paper gives examples of Russian fake news stories about unprofessional behaviour by the British Army and the Islamic State group’s “sophisticated” use of social media as among the types of threats the new division will target. Although troops’ jobs will be desk-based, they will still need to pass the usual fitness tests, the paper adds.

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A picture of the Army in action – cleaning up after downpours in North Yorkshire – features on the front of the Guardian. But the paper’s lead story is the announcement by Chancellor Sajid Javid that an extra £2bn is to be spent on no-deal Brexit preparations, as the government ramps up its plans. The paper says the plans mean that the “huge cost of a no-deal Brexit has been laid bare”.

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New Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has given his support to a campaign calling for suspects in sex offence cases to be given anonymity under the law, until they are charged. Mr Buckland told the Times he was backing the call – fronted by Sir Cliff Richard and Paul Gambaccini – but it should also be extended to all serious crimes, not just sex offences. Currently, police guidance says suspects’ names should not be published until they are charged – but there is no law preventing them being named by other means.

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The Metro leads on reports that one of the sons of Osama Bin Laden – the former leader of al-Qaeda – is dead. The US had been offering a reward of up to $1m (£750,000) for information about Hamza Bin Laden, who was believed to be his father’s heir as leader of the Islamist militant group. The claim of his death came from US government sources, the Metro reports – but none would say if American forces were involved.

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The Daily Star reports that bosses at a Wetherspoons pub in Exeter has sought the help of a bird of prey to stop seagulls “dive-bombing” customers as they sit outside with food. “Flappy hour,” is the paper’s headline. The Star says the situation peaked last week when video footage showed the birds “swooping and snatching two dinners from separate tables in just an hour”.

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The Financial Times leads on the US central bank, the Federal Reserve, which has cut interest rates for the first time since the financial crisis. It announced a 0.25 percentage point cut, justifying the move by “uncertainties” from weakness in the global economy and simmering trade tensions. Meanwhile, new Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom held her first roundtable meeting with business leaders yesterday – and the guest list was “packed” with pro-Brexit figures, the paper adds.

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The Daily Mirror has an interview with the UK’s youngest Lotto winner, who says the £1.8m prize she won aged 16 “made life hell”. In an interview with the paper, Callie Rogers, who is now 32, says she wants the age limit to play the lottery raised to 18, adding: “I was too young”.

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The Sun splashes on an interview with an electrician from Wolverhampton, who has wired his van so that anyone who tries to break in receives a 1,000-volt shock. It comes after he lost more than £5,000 in equipment in the last two years, the paper says – and police say the homemade alarm system is legal.

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The Daily Express has spoken to housing experts, who have said that stamp duty – a tax you pay if you buy property or land – needs to be cut “to keep alive the homeownership dream of millions”. It comes as the government said it would review the tax. Cutting it would also mean more elderly people could downsize more cheaply, freeing up bigger properties for younger buyers, the paper says.

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