15/02/2017 The Papers


15/02/2017

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

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With me are the business editor of The Independent,

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Josie Cox, and Helen Joyce, the international editor

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Let's take a look at the front pages then.

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First up the FT - it's reporting that companies competing to build

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nuclear power stations in the UK have been asked to offer

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a significantly lower price for electricity than the ?18 billion

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According to an investigation by the paper, eleven maternity

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and neonatal units across England face closure or consolidation under

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The Independent focuses on the stark US

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warning to NATO allies, that members must increase military

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The Express takes a look at the latest

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official employment figures, saying the number of foreign-born

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workers rose by almost 450,000 in a year -

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And the Metro leads with the fresh attack

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by Donald Trump on US intelligence agencies for reportedly leaking

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details of discussions between his team and Russia.

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Let's start with President Trump. He accuses US intelligence services of

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criminal push to undermine him. This is today's episode of the ongoing

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soap opera. This is going to be a running plotline, cars since before

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the election there have been serious worries, including the American

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intelligence community and elsewhere, that President Trump's

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liking for Vladimir Putin is puzzling, to say the least. He

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criticises other people, but not him. His national security adviser

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has had to step down because it appears he has had unauthorised

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contacts with Russian intelligence agents, and now President Trump

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doesn't really like that people are leaking things like this. One

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extraordinary thing about this story is that in a tiny corner of the FT

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we have, Trump backs off a 2-state solution. On another day, this would

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be enormous news. It has four little lines on the front page because of

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this ongoing soap opera. Quite incredible. Having said that, it is

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a bit out of order. Your intelligence services leaking

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private documents. What would happen tomorrow morning if Theresa May

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found out that MI5 and MI6 were leaking stuff? You cannot function

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in that way? In any other situation, this would be a remarkable story.

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But in the context of what we have seen in the Trump administration and

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the narrative that is unfolding, it is not as surprising as it perhaps

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should be. And his reaction, the words he is using, the aggressive

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tone, in accusing the intelligence services of doing this, that is not

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unusual either. He has fired similar shots at the media, the Obama

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administration and at Clinton. This is becoming routine. And is he

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trying to have it both ways? As a campaigner, when he was running for

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the White House, he was happy for the Secret Service to leak against

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his opponent. You cannot have it both ways. Is he stupid, or what? I

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think he is a man with a special approach to what we might call

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consistency. The most extraordinary thing he said before the election

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was he lives in bite it Putin to hack into and release Hillary

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Clinton's private documents. He asked the Russians to get

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information on Hillary Clinton, so how can he talk about it now? All

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bets are off. The Republicans are in control of Congress and should be

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saying that we should investigate this, there are credible links

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between the Trump administration and the Russians. But they are not, so

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this is the point where we have the intelligence services leaking this

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stuff. And something about the nuclear plant's viability being in

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doubt? Another bad story in the week of bad stories about the power

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industry in the UK. We had some very poor results from Toshiba, the

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Japanese conglomerate, which owns a very large stake in the company

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supposed to be developing a nuclear power plant in Cumbria. That called

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that whole development into question. Now we have a story about

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funding. Government officials have indicated that future projects would

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be expected to deliver a discount of at least 15% to 20% on the price of

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electricity, which is absolutely massive, and will deliver a big blow

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on any revenue they may generate to pay off those projects. This is a

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big blow if you are into nuclear power. Even the green lobby believe

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this is the way forward. The problems, potentially, that there

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might be of leakages and so forth seem to have been dealt with, unless

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you live in Japan and you have a tsunami. We know the problems of

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Fukushima. So we know that cost is potentially a problem. It seems like

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a massive shame. You don't want to overpay for your electricity. We are

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on the cusp of having lots of other renewable energy a lot cheaper. So

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would you want to spend millions on a whole load of nuclear plants if

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you can get solar in a few years? That is what the green lobby is

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saying. It's starting to look like a possibility. On to the daily out

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loud. Or is that lots of love? That is what David Cameron thought. Are

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used to think that as well! Perhaps we all did. This is the laughing

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airport assassin. This is one of the suspects in the death of the

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brother-in-law of Kim Jong-un ill. Apparently he has been a target of

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the North Korean assassination plots for several years. He believed he

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was going to be attacked. You normally has Chinese bodyguards with

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him. They seem to have injected him with poison in the airport and

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attempted to get the body back before there was an autopsy. This is

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a mysterious state were terrible things happen, and these things

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erupt into our consciousness. I don't know what to tell you about

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it. I don't know anything about the man or what he did. But I guess we

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have this mysterious picture that has caught our imagination because

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of the T-shirt. It is cold war. Basically, if you are related to Kim

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Jong-un, where ever you are in the world, watch out, basically.

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Absolutely. In the Daily Telegraph as well. The Church of England a

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step closer to gay marriages in church. A three years study from

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bishops from the Church of England said that the church should still

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not approve of gay marriage. They put together a report of a status

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quo that they should believe that they should not approve of same-sex

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marriages, that they should have a more welcoming attitude towards

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same-sex marriages. The motion has been rejected, which means that we

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will stick with the status quo for the time being. It seems like they

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haven't really created any change or furthered any cause, but it is

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perhaps encouraging to see that there is motion in the debate around

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the subject. I think they were trying to balance between two very

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much opposing sides, say that marriage is between a man and a

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woman, but that we must be nice to same-sex couples. But that seems not

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to have worked. The House of Clergy of the three bodies, so your

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ordinary rank and file vicar, it seems they've voted to reject this

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report. They are the ones who have to deal with it. Yes, they are the

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ones who have to deal with parishioners every Sunday. With

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someone saying that they are being rejected. The idea is that, at some

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point, some way down the line, perhaps the church is moving closer

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to officially sanctioning gay marriages. Let's go to the Times. An

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ultimatum on Nato spending. I cannot understand why a country like

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Germany, the fourth or fifth biggest economy in the world, doesn't pay

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its way. What's that about? They said they would. One of the Nato

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agreements is that you spend 2% of GDP on defence. It's not just what

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you spend, it is what you spend it on. It is that troops can

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interoperate and so on. Only five countries actually spend that 2% of

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GDP. That headline, he is right. I agree with him. He has said so many

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different things about Nato, and some very worrying. This is a man

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who was not willing to affirm a long-standing commitment to one of

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Nato's commitments that if one were attacked, -- to be attacked, that

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the others would stand with them. I agreed with him for about five

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seconds! That if you are a member of this alliance, why would you not be

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willing to pay for the privilege? I guess people haven't for such a long

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time. Spending on defence is like spending on foreign aid. And we have

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all felt so save for such a long time. The world seemed a nice place

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a year ago, five years ago. Now it all looks a lot scarier. I really do

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think they will start stumping up. So you approve of Trump's policy.

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I'm not sure if it is his policy as such, and I don't agree with

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undermining what Nato is about. It looks like a lot of the thrust of

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this is coming from his Defence Secretary. Nato itself has been

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saying this for a long time. In the Times, Britain sees final warning on

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the shameful air-pollution levels. Yes, another topical story, though

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it does feel like we have been here before. It seems like air pollution

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is one of those things that keeps coming up. It will keep coming up in

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the lead up to Brexit, because of EU regulation and to what extent we in

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London could benefit from that. I don't know if this furthers the

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causes or not. What will Brexiteers think of this? This could

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potentially go to the European Court of Justice. But I suppose Brexiteers

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will want clean air as well, but will not want it to be legislated

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over there rather than via? The problem of this particular aspect of

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air pollution is diesel cars. They produce less carbon, but they do

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produce these little particles that go into your lungs. Josie runs and I

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cycle, so... This will feed quite nicely in to the tinted Brexit

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debate, no doubt about that. It should be about us being healthy!

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Thank you so much for joining us. That is it for The Papers tonight.

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You can go to our website for more details. And if you have missed the

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programme, you can watch it on my player. Goodbye.

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