BBC News Daily: 4 May 2017

Hello. Here's your morning briefing:

  • French presidential rivals trade insults
  • Are the British drinking less?
  • Hand in your old fivers ASAP
Image copyright AFP

It got personal and it lasted more than two hours, with arguments over the future of Europe, the economy and terrorism dominating. Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, the two candidates remaining in France's gruelling presidential election, made their cases to the public in a TV debate.

Polls suggest Mr Macron, dubbed the "candidate of savage globalisation" by his rival, impressed more viewers. Voters decide between him and Ms Le Pen, whom Mr Macron called "the high priestess of fear", on Sunday.

Analysis: Was the French presidential debate a 'disgrace'?

By Hugh Schofield, in Paris

Some in the French media say it was all mud-slinging, that it was unworthy of a presidential election. Maybe. But it didn't half make for riveting viewing.

Read Hugh's full article

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  • Are we drinking less? Well, that appears to be the case, according to the Office for National Statistics, which has found that fewer than 60% of adults in Britain consumed alcohol at least once a week last year - the lowest rate since it started its lifestyle survey in 2005. So, who's drinking most? The middle aged and those on high incomes, apparently.
  • "Banknotes were all paper once," grandparents of the future will no doubt tell spellbound children. The fiver was the first to make the transition from (easily) rippable tree by-product to tougher polymer, with tenners set to follow. People have until the weekend to use their old £5 notes, when they cease to be legal tender - with about 150 million thought still to be in circulation.

What the papers say

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As local elections are taking place today, the BBC and other broadcasters are restricted to reporting only factual accounts of voting in line with polling-day rules. So looking at the non-political stories in the newspapers today, the Sun and the Daily Telegraph report on the apparent decline in drinking among the young. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reveals that the Queen is among the almost two billion users of Facebook.

Daily digest

Pensioner death - Woman lay undiscovered under car for nine days

Prostate cancer - Blood test could help target treatment

Very social media - Facebook monthly user number nears two billion

Singer's earnings - Adele not struggling for a bob or two, says Times Rich List

If you watch one thing today

Image copyright Getty Images

Are women smoother drivers than men?

If you listen to one thing today

AN Wilson on the Reformation

If you read one thing today

Image copyright Getty Images

Gunfire audio opens new crime-fighting front

Thursday lookahead

17:00 French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron holds an open-air meeting in Paris, while rival Marine Le Pen attends a fete.

17:15 The world premiere of Sir Ridley Scott's film Alien: Covenant takes place at the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square, London.

20:05 Manchester United take on Spanish side Celta Vigo in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final.

On this day

1979 Conservative Margaret Thatcher becomes the UK's first female prime minister.

2000 Ken Livingstone, who was expelled from the Labour Party after running as an independent candidate, is elected London Mayor.

Best of the rest

Exploitation and abuse at the chicken plant (New Yorker)

Is cauliflower becoming the new kale? (Daily Mail)

What are Ireland's cricketing ambitions? (Guardian)

Picasso's relationship with the Minotaur (Apollo)