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News Daily: UK children miss measles jabs, and call to end free TV licences

By Rob Corp
BBC News


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Measles cases quadruple in a year

Analysis by the children's charity Unicef shows that more than half a million British children were not given the measles vaccine between 2010 and 2017. The charity's findings come as the boss of NHS England said measles cases in England had quadrupled in one year. Public Health England says that while the overall risk to the public is low, there is a danger that unimmunised people could catch the disease while outbreaks continue in Europe. The chief medical officer for England, Prof Dame Sally Davies, has previously warned against people believing myths about vaccinations.

Call to scrap free TV licences for over-75s

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The money that is spent on benefits for older people, such as free TV licences, should be scrapped, according to a report by members of the House of Lords. The peers, who sit on the Committee on Intergenerational Fairness, have said in a report that free licences should be phased out because improvements in pensioners' incomes mean the measure is no longer justified. The committee added that young people were getting a "raw deal" and urged action to reform rental properties, increase affordable housing and expand further education. The peers' report chimes with a study for the BBC - which will take over funding the benefit in 2020 - which found pensioners are less likely than any other age group to live in poverty. But Dr Anna Dixon, from the Centre for Ageing Better, warned against "tinkering" with existing benefits.

Kim and Putin to meet in Vladivostok

North Korea's "nuclear problem" is on the agenda as the country's leader Kim Jong-un meets Russia's President Vladimir Putin. The summit in the Russian Far East city comes after two rounds of talks with US President Donald Trump failed to reach an agreement. Arriving in Vladivostok by train on Wednesday, Mr Kim said he hoped his visit would be "successful and useful". It is understood that Moscow is keen to restart six-party talks about North Korea's nuclear weapons, involving the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the US. But Mr Kim is also thought to be keen for Russia to ease sanctions on his country. Analysts also believe Mr Putin wants to be seen as a major player on the Korean peninsula. The BBC's Laura Picker said the visit was being widely viewed as an opportunity for North Korea to show it has powerful allies following the breakdown of nuclear talks with the US. We've put together an explainer on what to expect from the Kim-Putin summit, which you can read here.

Tropical tree loss persists at high levels

By Matt McGrath, environment correspondent

Around 12 million hectares of forest in the world's tropical regions were lost in 2018, equivalent to 30 football fields per minute. While this represents a decline on 2016 and 2017, it is still the fourth highest rate of loss since records began in 2001. Of particular concern is the continued destruction of what are termed primary forests. An area of these older, untouched trees the size of Belgium was lost in 2018. Frances Seymour, from the World Resources Institute, said: "For every hectare of forest loss, we are one step closer to the scary scenarios of runaway climate change."

What the papers say

The call to end certain benefits for pensioners is the lead for several papers, with the Daily Express saying the peers who wrote the report face a "furious backlash". The Daily Mirror leads on an interview with the friend of murdered TV star Jill Dando, who says she will "forever be haunted" by flashbacks of finding her body. Elsewhere, the Daily Mail leads with a report by experts at the UN, which says children under two should not be allowed to watch screens for any amount of time. And the Times says spy chiefs have demanded an inquiry following an "unprecedented leak" of confidential talks about the Chinese telecoms company Huawei. You can read our full paper review here.

Daily digest

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If you see one thing today

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If you listen to one thing today

If you read one thing today

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07:00 The Competition and Markets Authority will publish the final report on its investigation into the proposed Sainsbury's-Asda merger which it warned earlier in the year it would block.

09:30 The Office for National Statistics releases quarterly crime figures for England and Wales for the year ending December 2018.

On this day

1982 Britain re-establishes its presence in the Falkland Islands after a two-hour assault by Royal Marines on the remote island of South Georgia.

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