News Daily: May on backstop and Chinese economy slows

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Brexit: May to focus on backstop concerns

It’s understood the cross-party talks Theresa May called for after last week’s overwhelming defeat of her Brexit plan aren’t going too well, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn not taking part and not enough of his MPs likely to back her in another vote. So, cabinet sources say, the prime minister is expected to make another effort to get more Conservative Brexiteers and the DUP on-side by addressing their concerns over the Irish backstop.

The backstop – an “insurance policy” to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic in the event of no trade deal between the UK and the EU – has been highly contentious. Here’s a reminder of what the controversy is all about.

Mrs May hopes she can persuade the EU that MPs could back a Brexit deal without the backstop provision, and that this will make Brussels soften its position. She’ll address the Commons later. Mrs May will also table a “neutral” motion, simply saying MPs will consider her statement, which will be debated with a vote on 29 January. Confused? Take a look at our really simple Brexit guide.

Meanwhile, the BBC meets pro- and anti-Brexit protesters outside Parliament and finds a surprisingly civilised atmosphere.

China: Economic growth slips

Concerns about weakening growth in the Chinese economy are supported by the latest figures. During 2018 it expanded by 6.6%, its slowest rate since 1990. This has raised worries of a knock-on for the global economy, with the US-China trade war adding to a sense of gloom. So what could all this mean for the UK?

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Ex-soldier sues MoD over Q fever

Former soldier Wayne Bass is suing the Ministry of Defence, accusing it of failing to provide the antibiotics he needed to protect him from the disease Q fever. He says his life’s been ruined since he caught it in Afghanistan, causing him pain and making it hard to walk. The MoD isn’t commenting on the case, but says it wouldn’t have been reasonable to use the antibiotic doxycycline due to its side-effects and because it would have compromised the effect of anti-malarial drugs given to troops.

Why women still can’t eat alone

By Flora Drury

In the age of #MeToo, a single woman sitting alone in a restaurant shouldn’t be a problem. Especially, you would think, if that restaurant is in the middle of New York, one of the most progressive cities on the planet.

So when Clementine Crawford was reportedly told she could no longer sit at the bar of her favourite Manhattan restaurant, she was confused. As she wrote later, she was even more confused when a man, arriving not long after she had been sat at a table, was allowed to take a seat at that very same bar.

It was only, she says, when she pushed for a reason, that she was told “the owner had ordered a crackdown on hookers”.

Read the full article

What the papers say

The Times reports that Theresa May is blaming Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn for the “failure” of cross-party Brexit talks. But the Financial Times says the prime minister is facing a “collision course” with Parliament after refusing to shift her position over her deal with the EU. The i adds that any fresh setback for her could lead to a general election. Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror says the Queen has sent a message of concern to Emma Fairweather, injured in a car crash with the Duke of Edinburgh last week, but that the duke himself has not made contact. And the Daily Mail reports that many women are risking their lives by not attending cervical cancer screening appointments because of embarrassment.

Daily digest

Damascus strikes Israel says it has hit Iranian targets around the Syrian capital

HMV future Mike Ashley in talks to take over music chain

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Who’s the boss? TV mistakes fan for new Huddersfield manager

This week What to expect, other than Brexit

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Why are so many people still dying from snake bites?

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Lookahead

12:00 The World Health Organisation publishes its first comprehensive review of the health of migrants and refugees in Europe.

17:00 Sir David Attenborough receives a World Economic Forum Crystal Award for his “leadership in environmental stewardship”.

On this day

1950 George Orwell, author of works including Animal Farm and 1984, dies aged 46.

From elsewhere

The uncounted families torn apart at the border (New Yorker)

Going solo: The chefs who work on their own (Guardian)

Why some people never catch a cold (Daily Mail)

There are benefits to doing absolutely nothing (Sydney Morning Herald)

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