News Daily: Cancer test 'excitement' and NZ PM's pregnancy

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Cancer test trial 'enormously exciting'

Developing a universal blood test for cancer is one of the great goals in medicine, and scientists appear to be getting nearer. A team at John Hopkins University, in the US, has trialled a method that can pick up eight common forms of the disease - of the ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas, oesophagus, colon, lung and breast - which it describes as "enormously exciting". It's hoped this will allow cancers to be detected earlier - and save lives.

Five of the eight cancers investigated have no screening programmes for early detection. Pancreatic cancer has so few symptoms and is detected so late that four in five patients die within a year of being diagnosed. The blood test is being further trialled, the aim being that people could eventually take it once a year, the researchers say.

Prime minister of New Zealand announces pregnancy

New Zealand's prime minister has announced that she'll be wearing "two hats" from June this year - those of premier and mother. Jacinda Ardern, who became the country's youngest-ever leader last year, says she will take six weeks off after the birth, during which she intends to be "contactable and available". The 37-year-old discovered she was pregnant six days before learning she would become PM. Here's an article on female politicians and the "baby question".

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Adolescence 'now lasts until 24'

When do we grow up? When we leave education, get a job, settle down? It's a vexed issue, but scientists have had a go, declaring that adolescence now lasts from the ages of 10 to 24. Previously the end age has been placed at about 19. But a study published in the Lancet Child and Adolescent Health Journal says factors like later marriage and childbirth, and continuing brain development after the age of 20 must be taken into account. However, one critic of the study warns there's a risk of "infantilising young people".

How to survive in Moscow without sunshine

By Oleg Boldyrev, BBC Russian

I tried exercise. Tugging away on my trusty rowing machine one day I imagined crossing a blue lake, seagulls screaming above, the spray of water hitting my face. I opened my eyes - the grey wall seamlessly merged with the grey of the sky outside. The sweat dripped on my shorts. My illusion filled a meagre 15 minutes. Urgh! Pre-and post-Christmas shopping in brightly lit malls might have done the trick for some. But they probably paid too much for that kind of cheer.

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What the papers say

UK-French relations get a good going over, following Theresa May's summit with President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday. The i says there's a new "entente cordiale" between the countries, while the Daily Telegraph reports that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson wants to build a bridge across the Channel, saying it's "ridiculous" that the Channel Tunnel provides the only rail link. Meanwhile, the Financial Times says leaders in Zimbabwe are promising open elections, in a break with the Robert Mugabe era. And Prince WIliam's new close-cropped haircut gets plenty of attention. "God shave the King" is the Daily Mirror's headline, while the Sun's is "One's No1 cost £180".

Daily digest

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Peter Mayle A Year in Provence author dies aged 78

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Today Pope Francis begins his visit to Peru, going to the city of Puerto Maldonado

16:00 German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in Paris for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron.

On this day

1966 Indira Gandhi, the only daughter of India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, is chosen as the country's next leader.

From elsewhere

What is happening to Africa's pirates? (Economist)

The DNA of Iceland's first known black man is recreated (The Atlantic)

Using comedy to strengthen Nigeria's democracy (New Yorker)

How slimming became an obsession (Independent)

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