07/02/2014 The Papers


07/02/2014

No need to wait to see what's in the papers - tune in for a lively and informed conversation about the next day's headlines.


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have had a second appeal rejected against the suspension of their

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striker Andy Carroll. That is all in 15 minutes after The Papers.

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Hello and welcome to our look ahead to what the the papers will be

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bringing us tomorrow. With me are Kevin Schofield, Chief Political

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Correspondent for The Sun, and Peter Conradi, The Sunday Times Foreign

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Editor. First, let's whizz through some of the front pages.

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The Independent, like many of the papers, focuses on the floods, with

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the headline, "An unnatural disaster".

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The Daily Mail leads on the weather too, reporting on calls to spend

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foreign aid money on the flooding crisis.

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Mortgage costs is the lead for the Financial Times. The paper says

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borrowers are rushing to secure cheap loans, fearing an increase in

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interest rates. It's back to storms with the Daily

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Mirror and their headline, "Stormaggedon".

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The i also leads on flooding, reporting on David Cameron's visit

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to the Somerset Levels. The Daily Express warns readers to

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stay safe during the expected weekend storms.

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The Telegraph shows head of the Environment Agency, Lord Smith,

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being scolded by a Somerset farmer over the flood response.

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And the Guardian leads with a photo of the four-ringed Olympic symbol at

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the opening of the Sochi Games. The snowflake didn't melt into the fifth

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ring, as planned. I am sure Vladimir Putin was delighted! Good evening,

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gentlemen. It is difficult, because this is a conveyor belt of storms,

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ongoing flooding. There are only so many times you can say, flooding

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crisis, more weather on the way, so the imagination has set in with some

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of the headlines. Starting with the i, Cameron wades into row over

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biblical flood. For those in the Somerset levels, it probably does

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feel biblical. Well, it just seems endless. We have seen in the weather

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forecast that there is more awful weather to come. Literally, the

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Prime Minister wading into the row today. It was a carefully

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stage-managed appearance in Somerset by the Prime Minister, in and out

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quite quickly, not meeting any angry residents. That was left to Lord

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Smith, who is on the front page of the Telegraph, getting a bit of a

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dressing down from a local farmer. I am not sure who his PR advisers are,

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but for him to turn up and not at least offer some kind of an apology

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was quite incredible. We will move to the Telegraph in a moment, but

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staying with the i, David Cameron has defended staying in London,

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saying he is better off leading the COBRA meetings, making decisions

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here, rather than being on the Somerset Levels. Do you think he has

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played it right? I think so. There is a limit to how much time he can

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spend walking around sodden ground in his Wellington boots. I think it

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is important to make an appearance, as he has done. But I think people

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want to see him back in London getting on with his job and

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coordinating the work from there. You mentioned the Daily Telegraph

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and we can look at that now. A very downbeat head of the Environment

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Agency, Lord Smith, getting a telling off from one of the local

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farmers. As we have seen from our correspondence this week, a lot of

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farmers in that community have had their businesses ripped apart. They

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have had to move their livestock. Is his job on the line? I think so. In

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this day and age, we always look for some kind of scapegoat. We in the

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media are probably guilty of that, I think. But in this instance, the

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buck does stop with him. He has been in the job since 2008. There is lots

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of criticism that there has been very little preparation leading up

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to the current bad weather, and since it set in several weeks ago

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nothing has been done. You can't totally blame the Environment Agency

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and Lord Smith for what is unprecedented weather. I suppose

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they are supposed to plan for all eventualities. You try planning for

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the weather in this country! That is true, but we had a succession of wet

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winters. They have got a lot wetter. This particular winter is

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exceptional, but I think there is a sense that they have been slow to

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react and he is the man who should, I think, accept his fair share of

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the blame. He also fell into a classic trap. He was asked if he is

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proud of the work of his agency and he cannot say no, but the minute he

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says that it is used against him and it is a gift for headline writers.

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Many homes have been saved, as David Cameron pointed out. Yes, but many

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others have not. It is those people, you can understand their anger,

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particularly farmers whose livelihood is a risk and is being

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washed away. But you do want to ask who was his PR adviser who

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encouraged him to stand there. You would think the first thing he would

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do would be to hold up his hands and show some level of apology. It is

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reminiscent of Gordon Brown being ambushed by the woman he accused of

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being a bigot. There were shades of that. Let's move on to the Daily

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Mirror. It is a staggering headline, really. We were talking

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about this earlier, before we came on air, this millionaire's home,

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which you can see in the top right of your screen, where he built his

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own flood defences which are just about holding off the water around

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his home in Somerset yesterday. The wider picture on the front page of

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the Daily Mirror, showing more storms to come. It is just

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relentless. If you live in Somerset and wake up tomorrow morning to this

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front page you will just think, this is never going to end. It is a

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pretty stark satellite image and it speaks for itself. There is another

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huge storm coming our way. It is quite a remarkable picture of the

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house which has been cut off. He spent ?1 million, apparently, making

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this house. And he also has ?10,000 of his own money to build his own

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defences which, until now, appeared to be working, but who is to say

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that will not change? Do you think this could be the start of seeing

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some more serious investment in flood defences, modernising many of

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what are described as Victorian defences, particularly on the coast?

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Is this when David Cameron has to take long-term leadership over this?

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I think you are right. There has been a succession of mistakes. Not

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just by him. I suppose it is bound to happen, he is blaming labour for

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not doing enough during the 1990s and the last decade. The rivers were

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not drenched, so they were more prone to flooding -- they were not

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drenched. They have to try and find the money to make sure this kind of

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thing does not happen. The Daily Mail is one for you, Peter,

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suggesting we should spend foreign aid on British victims of flooding,

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rather than foreign victims, often of flooding, in countries like

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Bangladesh. This is a huge budget, in ?11 billion. Is this a case of

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where perhaps charity should begin at home? It is a difficult question.

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Being cynical, you would say this prince together two of the Daily

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Mail's favourite subjects, the floods and the iniquity of foreign

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aid. -- the iniquity of foreign aid. There are arguments that you could

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spend the entire foreign aid budget at home, or you could spend none of

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it. It is a question of looking at flood defences, the economics of

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flood defences, and finding money within the money we spend at home

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and diverging it to more spending on floods. I think they are bringing

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together two completely separate things. It is another example of

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UKIP forcing the political agenda in Britain. Nigel Farage, UKIP leader,

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said yesterday that this should happen. At the time, it did not get

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much of a pick-up, because you always expect Nigel Farage to say

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something like that, but now it has become more mainstream. You have

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Conservative MPs, nervous about UKIP, making the same call. You can

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understand where it is coming from but I think it would be a

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controversial thing. There is no prospect of the Prime Minister doing

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it. Flooding is going to become political in the weeks ahead. There

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are some other stories on the front pages. Let's go on to the financial

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Times weekend. The rate fears prompt a rush to fixed mortgages. Many

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people worried about mortgages and interest rates going up, and many

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people very happy about it as well. If you are a pensioner on a fixed

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income, relying on savings, the prospect of ink -- interest rates

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going up is probably quite pleasant, but if you have a mortgage

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it is scary. We were told by the Bank of England governor, Mark

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Carney, last year, he introduced this idea which was supposed to calm

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the markets and make us be reassured that interest rates would not go up

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quickly. Unemployment has come down so fast that there is now a major

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concern that interest rates will go up. I suppose it causes other

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problems because if people are making money out of savings they are

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less bothered about spending it. That is another thing the government

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want us to do, to go and spend money. But I suppose it will settle

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house prices in some areas. It will dampen them down. Such low interest

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rates in the last few years have been extraordinary, and we'll got

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used to them, which is dangerous, because they can only go up. The

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fact they are going up is a sign of economic health, that the economy is

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recovering, and it will be a bit more painful for those who have

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mortgages. But they will have a bit more disposable income. I am a play

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it safe guide! Fixed rate. They probably won't be such good deals.

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Just staying with the FT, we have a picture there of some of the

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fantastic scenes from the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic

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Games. The most expensive Olympic Games ever to be staged. This was,

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hopefully, Russia's time to get back at the critics, really, and show

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them what they were made of. But it is such a huge cost. This is a real

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prestige project. More than ?30 billion. An enormous cost. A huge

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amount of Russian prestige is resting on it. We've had the first

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hiccup, one of the rings not lighting up properly. Probably will

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not be the last. The boycott, the controversy around it... It's not

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going as smoothly as it could've done. We can show that. It's on page

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seven the Daily Mail. A lot of our BBC correspondent there, some of our

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coverage team, were tweeting it earlier. You can see what was meant

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to happen. One of these snowflakes was meant to become the fifth Ring

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of the Olympic symbol, and it just didn't happen. Somebody is going to

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be in trouble tonight in Moscow! We can afford to be a little bit smug,

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given how successful the Olympics in London were, so we can maybe laugh a

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little bit. But on the scale of things that could go wrong, that is

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not the worst thing. It was a very enjoyable is ceremony to one. -- to

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watch. Yes, with opening ceremonies, the bar is always raised. London,

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Beijing... It was spectacular. I think we can forgive them that

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little hiccup. A huge global audience for the Olympics as well.

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Is there as much enthusiasm for it as with other Olympics? It is never

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as big as the Summer Olympics, but with all the controversy that

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surrounded it this time around... Who remembers the last Winter

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Olympics? Was it thank you the? And we have all this again when the

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World Cup goes to Russia, and there will be more controversy. It will be

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fascinating to see how they handle it. President Putin will be hoping

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it passes off without incident. My favourite line in the coverage was

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that Prime Minister Medvedev apparently fell asleep during the

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ceremony! It is a long flight, and a huge time difference. You will be

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back at 11:30pm. But for now, thank you very much to our guests. Join us

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later. Still to come on BBC News at 11pm,

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more on the floods afflicting the south of England. David Cameron

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visits one of the most worst affected areas of Somerset. Coming

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up next, it is sports day. Hello and welcome to Sportsday.

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Here's what we have for you tonight. The World is welcomed to Sochi, as

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the 22nd Winter Olympics are

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