News Daily: Gatwick drone latest and US defence secretary quits

By Victoria King
BBC News

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Flights resume

Image source, PA

Gatwick was closed for a second night after a drone was seen over the airfield. The runway reopened at about 06:00 GMT on Friday and the airport says it's working with airlines and air traffic controllers to introduce a limited number of flights over the coming hours. Follow our live page for all the latest on the situation.

It's certainly going to take time to clear the backlog. More than 120,000 passengers have been unable to fly from, or land at, the airport since the shutdown began on Wednesday evening - some of them with distressing stories of special trips missed and loved ones let down. Read more on their rights.

Police have been locked in a game of cat and mouse with the drone operator, with the Army called in to help, but no arrests have yet been made. Anyone due to travel is urged to check their flight status before turning up.

How can a drone, such a small thing compared with a commercial plane, cause so much chaos? Our technology reporter explains. And what do other countries do about them?

'Protest resignation'

Donald Trump's defence secretary has resigned, saying the president should have someone in the role "whose views are better aligned" with his own. It comes a day after Mr Trump said he was pulling all US troops out of Syria - and as rumours swirled of a withdrawal from Afghanistan too, despite a resurgence of the Taliban. Gen Mattis said he believed in the importance of international allies and of using US power to contain authoritarian rivals - and by inference, the president did not.

It's a protest resignation, plain and simple, says the BBC's Anthony Zurcher, and it could mean even more turbulent times ahead. Gen Mattis had been one of the cooler heads around Mr Trump, our correspondent adds, and now that check on the president is gone.

Donald Trump's administration has had a very high staff turnover. Here's a run-down of who's quit, been fired, or been pushed out. And lastly, was Mr Trump right to say Islamic State had been defeated?

'Pay for harm'

The government must do more to force industry to cut levels of sugar and salt in food, says England's chief medical officer. Prof Dame Sally Davies said firms should "pay for their harm or subsidise healthier choices". She hinted she would like to see a tax on chocolate and junk food, but recognised this was "a dream". In her annual report, she also urged the government to ban added sugar in jars of baby food. The food industry says it's making changes and taxation is not the answer.

Merry Christmas

News Daily will be taking a festive break after today and will return on 2 January. Best wishes to all our readers.

Have waits for GP appointments got longer?

By Caroline Parkinson, BBC News

How long do you wait to see your GP? Members of the BBC NHS Health Check Facebook group report waits of three weeks or more are common. Lisa Johns said: "Ours book five weeks ahead. For the last three weeks, I've been trying to book a standard appointment and can't get one, as they go in seconds." Another member posted: "I booked a non-urgent appointment with my GP last week.... for 22 January 2019." Their experiences are backed up by statistics.

What the papers say

Almost every front page features the drone chaos at Gatwick. The Guardian describes passengers slumped on the floor among piles of bags they weren't able to check in. The Matt cartoon in the Daily Telegraph shows a child at the packed airport declaring, "Only four more sleeps till we get on a plane." The Daily Mirror insists there have been repeated calls for the licensing of drones and additional safety measures around airports. "It's a scandal they were ignored," it believes. The Daily Mail also says there's "fury" that more wasn't done to stop something like this. Elsewhere, there's a strong reaction to a call from England's chief medical officer for a sugar and salt tax. The Independent says she's declared herself the nation's "chief nanny", but the Sun accuses her of "snobby hectoring". Finally, the Times covers the international outcry against Japan after reports that it's planning to resume the commercial hunting of whales.

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