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BBC Front Page News

May to focus on Irish backstop in her Brexit 'plan B'May to focus on Irish backstop in her Brexit 'plan B'

The PM will try to win over Tory Brexiteers and the DUP in order to gain support for a withdrawal deal.

China economy: Fourth quarter growth slips to 6.4%China economy: Fourth quarter growth slips to 6.4%

A damaging trade fight with the US is adding to worries in China as its economic slowdown deepens.

British soldier sues Army over Q fever chronic fatigueBritish soldier sues Army over Q fever chronic fatigue

Wayne Bass claims his life has been ruined after catching the disease in Afghanistan.

Mike Ashley in talks to buy music chain HMVMike Ashley in talks to buy music chain HMV

HMV collapsed last month, its second administration in six years, risking 2,200 jobs at 125 stores.

BBC news for Shetland

Improvements to historic Skye routesImprovements to historic Skye routes

One of the hill paths is an old cart track and the other includes part of where a diatomite mine railway once was.

Higher peak-time ferry fares floated to ease demandHigher peak-time ferry fares floated to ease demand

The suggestion is one of a number of options the Scottish government is looking at to ease demand on CalMac routes.

The woman with her head in the cloudsThe woman with her head in the clouds

Lisa Wood is taking a picture of the sky almost every single day before she loses her eyesight.

Use of two CairnGorm ski tows suspendedUse of two CairnGorm ski tows suspended

The suspension is the latest problem to hit the centre which has not been able to operate its funicular since October.

AskTen - Ten things you may not have noticed last week!

1.      Carney warns UK businesses are unready for no deal. The Governor of the Bank of England said that fewer than half of UK businesses have contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit. Mark Carney also denied that his warnings were intended to scare the public into backing his favoured type of Brexit, after the Bank said yesterday that leaving the EU without a deal would plunge the country into the worst recession since the 1930s. BBC
 

2.      Legal advice says 'Britain would be trapped in customs union'. Leaked details of the attorney-general’s legal advice suggest Britain would be trapped “indefinitely” in a customs union with Brussels if MPs back Theresa May’s Brexit deal. The PM is refusing to publish the advice because it contains a stark passage that makes clear the UK could end up locked in a “backstop” arrangement with the European Union. The Sunday Times
 

3.      Younger generation more stressed. A survey to ascertain the wellbeing of UK adults found that 18- to 34-year-olds had the lowest score of any other group, with up to 80 per cent experiencing anxiety or stress daily. A confluence of working longer hours, sleeping less, more time on digital devices, plus a nutritionally inferior convenience diet were all contributing factors - but the biggest improvements could be made with the easiest changes: moving more, and getting outside for fresh air and daylight. Psychology Today
 

4.      To excel you need five competencies. The most successful leaders excel at five emotional intelligence competencies: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill. These competencies combine in different ways to create distinctive leadership styles. Master the styles, and you can flexibly switch among them as circumstances dictate. [MORE]
 

5.      Five people rang police 8,655 times in 2017. Five people with mental health problems rang London’s Metropolitan Police a total of 8,655 times in 2017, according to the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary. The police watchdog says that answering the calls cost £70,000, and is warning that police forces across the UK are “picking up the pieces” for poor mental health provision. BBC
 

6.      Is university worth the money? As the Government prepares to publish a review of higher education funding in 2019, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has released the results of an analysis of the tax records of UK graduates now aged 29. According to the report, female graduates earn 28% more (£6,700) on average than their female peers who did not go to university, while men earn 8% (£2,700) more.
 

7.      Council tax to rise after government cuts weaken police. Council tax is set to rise as part of a £700m police funding boost. The move, which could see bills go up by as much as £24 a year for each household in England and Wales, comes in response to warnings from officers about an increase in violent crime and reductions in officer numbers across the country following the government's austerity cuts. The Times
 

8.      Biggest drop in house prices since 2012. House prices fell by the biggest average drop since 2012 last month, according to data from property website Rightmove. The firm says the average asking price for a home fell by £5,222 in November to £302,023. The steepest falls were in London, where the typical asking price fell £10,793 or 1.7%, and south-east England, where it fell £8,647 (2.1%). Financial Times
 

9.  The bottom line. The BBC is planning to spend £10.65m promoting its new audio app Sounds - about 10% of the entire annual budget for BBC local radio. The app brings together the Beeb’s radio, music and podcasts in one place in a bid to attract younger listeners. The Times