News Daily: Knife crime crackdown, cold weather and fast fashion

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Javid gets tough

Children as young as 12 could be hit with new Knife Crime Prevention Orders in an effort to tackle rising violence. The Asbo-style measures would put sanctions, like curfews, on people suspected of carrying knives - even if they haven't been convicted of any crimes. They could also be banned from social media - online spaces where feuds are often stirred up. Anyone breaching the orders could be jailed for up to two years.

The idea is the brainchild of Home Secretary Sajid Javid. It's his response to some worrying statistics, for example, knife possession up by almost a third in five years. Anti-violence charity the Ben Kinsella Trust said it would allow police to intervene earlier with those getting sucked into dangerous behaviour. But Labour MP Sarah Jones, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Knife Crime, said criminalising vulnerable young people, who often carry weapons out of fear, for breaching such an order was "completely disproportionate".

BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw has looked at whether more young people are carrying knives - and whether the upward trends in violence are likely to continue in 2019. Read, too, why Glasgow is a knife crime role model.

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Cold... and colder

The UK has experienced its coldest night of the winter so far, with temperatures dropping to -11C (12F) in some areas. Snow and ice have caused widespread disruption already this week to transport and schools, and Met Office yellow weather warnings remain in place for Thursday and Friday. We've been answering some of your most frequently asked wintry weather questions.

Our cold snap, though, has nothing on the extreme conditions hitting the US Midwest. At least seven people have died as the so-called polar vortex drags temperatures as low as -30C (-22F) in Chicago and -37C in North Dakota. From "frost quakes" to burning railway lines, read about the quirky side effects of the vortex. And imagine having to work outside in those conditions.

Fast fashion

Retailers JD Sports, Sports Direct and Boohoo, are "failing to commit" to reducing their environmental and social impact, according to MPs. They've been looking at the phenomenon of "fast fashion" - cheap clothes, made quickly in response to trends and not designed with longevity in mind. Amazon, TK Maxx and Missguided were also said to be among the "least engaged" in sustainable fashion. The "most engaged" were named as Asos, Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Primark and Burberry. Boohoo said the report didn't reflect its commitment to sustainability.

The city where rough sleeping doesn't exist

By Mat Trewern, BBC Radio Manchester

Emerging from Helsinki's grandiose central railway station on a bitterly cold evening, it does not take long before you notice something unusual. There are no rough sleepers and no-one is begging. The contrast with the UK's major towns and cities - where rough sleepers curled up in sleeping bags, blankets or tents are a common sight - is striking. "In my childhood I remember there were hundreds, or even thousands of people sleeping in the parks and forests," says Helsinki's deputy mayor Sanna Vesikansa.

Read the full article

What the papers say

Several papers, including the Guardian, lead with the government's new knife crime plans. The Daily Mirror is sceptical, though, describing them as a "gimmick". Back to Brexit, and the Times says Theresa May is preparing to entice Labour MPs to support her deal with a promise of extra money for deprived areas that voted Leave. Other papers, meanwhile, focus on her battle with the EU. The Sun says a stand-off is developing between Mrs May and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, with both leaders now digging in their heels. The Financial Times agrees that EU leaders have closed ranks behind Brussels' refusal to renegotiate the 585-page draft treaty. But a diplomatic source tells the Daily Mail that the EU will make concessions - if Britain sticks to its guns.

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