19/02/2017 The Papers


19/02/2017

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 broadcaster Natalie Haynes and the Independent's

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We have promoted due. Deputy political editor!

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Tomorrow's front pages, starting with...

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The FT leads with the news that Kraft Heinz is abandoning its one

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hundred and fifteen billion pound takeover offer for Unilever,

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just two days after it made the approach.

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The i's front cover focuses on this week's Brexit debate

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in the House of Lords, where some of the New Labour

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grandees COULD resist the government's plans

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The Express also picks up the story, urging the Lords not to weaken

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or delay the government's Brexit approach.

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The Independent leads with the advance into

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forces and also covers the Lords' Brexit debate.

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A warning from the Defence Secretary makes the Telegraph's front page.

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Sir Michael Fallon says Britain must maintain a military presence

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in Afghanistan to avoid millions of Afghans migrating to the UK.

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Meanwhile the Metro is running with a story that Battersea Dogs

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and Cats Home is calling for tougher penalties for animal abusers.

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Let's start with the story about Afghanistan on the Telegraph. UK

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troops to prevent Afghan meltdown, Europe faces a new refugee exodus if

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Britain pulls out of the war-torn country warns Michael Fallon. How is

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this meltdown occurring? Only a short time ago everyone was saying

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we could save people out our troops. Most people have probably forgotten

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entirely that there are still 500 British troops in Afghanistan on a

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training facility. It has been quiet since the end of combat operations.

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The Defence Secretary is issuing this warning. He is only saying it

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will be wrong for Britain to pull out. He does not seem to be talking

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about increasing the number of troops over there, but the story

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refers to a senior US commander in Afghanistan saying thousands more

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soldiers would be needed to break the stalemate against the Taliban.

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You wonder whether this speech by the Defence Secretary is some sort

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of softening exercise to prepare Britain for the possibility that

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more troops would have to go back into Afghanistan 16 years after it

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all started. It would surprise and horrify a lot of people. It seems

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strange to be saying it because the numbers do not fit together. We are

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looking about three or 4 million leaving Afghanistan if things go

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wrong and that could be prevented by the 500 troops we have there now? At

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one point we had 10,000. We have a 20th of the number. 500 does not

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seem like very many to be keeping things together. I think it feels

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very much like a suggestion there will be more troops being sent

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there. Particularly 500 who are only there in a training capacity, not on

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the front line. You wonder whether there would be an appetite publicly

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to recommit people to that sort of role. Our army is much shrunken than

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the days when we first went into Afghanistan. They are using a

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different argument here to the one that I remember 15 years ago which

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was used to persuade people we needed to fight over there. If we

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did not go to the Taliban, they would come over here and attack us.

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But you do not see that in the words of the Defence Secretary tonight.

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Instead you see this warning that there would be more migration to

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hear. That is a reflection of how much migration has become the

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biggest issue in British politics. That is the warning that he is using

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to try to persuade that Afghanistan is still worth fighting for. Let's

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look at a couple of Brexit stories. It would not be a review without one

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or two of these. Donald Trump is coming up in a minute, do not fret.

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The Independent newspaper, people must have their say on the Brexit

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deal. Peter Mandelson caused a lot of consternation amongst some

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people. They seem to think he has no right to speak up, but he sits in

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the House of Lords. 191 peers to speak on this issue in the next few

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days. Very briefly, they each have six minutes. It is a bit like you

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are about to step out a small Tardis and say, what year is this? Tony

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Blair, Peter Mandelson? They are suddenly reclaiming the headlines

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like they always did supremely well. Of course the House of Lords was

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coming and he has managed to make sure his agenda has got on the front

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pages over the weekend. Peter Mandelson is coming around in a

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pincer movement. It will be a busy few days for you, Rob. You will be

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sitting there with your shorthand. It will be the focus of attention

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for a few days. But people will be saying, didn't the bill goes

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through? It will be good news for people who oppose Brexit, the Lords

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have the power to delay Brexit. Will they do there? They will be able to

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delay it for one week only. It is likely they will amend the bill in

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some small areas. Some important areas to do with the EU nationals

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and the final vote on the final deal in 2019. They may amend it slightly

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and send it back to the Commons, but in the end of the Commons will

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prevail and we will still be triggering Article 50 by the end of

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March. They have been warned off about making too many amendments.

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They have been warned off by David Davis. Could they do anything other

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than quake in their boots? They are not an elected house. The Tories are

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saying, you love things like a House of Lords. It seems very strange to

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hear somebody politically to the right suddenly standing up and

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saying that the House of Lords cannot have their day. We will wait

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and see what they daren't do. The politicians are out there arguing

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for this Brexit to continue and they are the least popular in the

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country, Tony Blair. They have some fans on social media, but some

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people are surprised they are sticking their heads above the

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parapet. Brussels wants to tie down a 60 billion euros exit bill before

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beginning trade talks. This is in the Financial Times. How was Britain

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going to be forced to pay this divorce Bill. This could be an

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indication of this. Instead of focusing on the debate in the Lords,

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it still believes that this states more clearly that the EU is

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determined to get its money back and it will do that by saying we will

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not talk about anything else with Britain. We will not talk about

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future trading arrangements, which is what Theresa May is desperate to

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talk about. That will not be on the agenda unless Britain has agreed to

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pay the divorce Bill, which is a huge amount of money. Many MPs will

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leap up and down if the government agrees to pay it and will demand we

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walk away without paying a penny. The other issue they want to cover

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in Brussels is the rights of expatriates citizens, which is

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somewhere where the Lords may feel they could get some kind of

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agreement. That feels quite plausible. Almost across-the-board

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people have seen it too have felt, people like Nigel Farage, they were

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saying we are not saying people who are here now will be asked to leave.

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I think it is pretty much across the board, with few exceptions, a sense

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that people who have made their lives here should have a degree of

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security which they do not at the moment. That would be a two-way

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thing because British people have made their homes for a long time in

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other parts of the EU who would be covered by those guarantees. That is

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the reason the Prime Minister gives for not giving a unilateral

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guarantee for the 3 million EU citizens in this country because she

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is determined to secure the rights of British expats as well. It is a

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bit more complex than it is normally portrayed. It is not can we have our

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rights and can they have their rights? How much health care and

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pension rights would EU citizens be entitled to estimate it will be a

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complicated negotiation. Inevitably. There are more EU citizens here than

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there are British citizens on the continent and maybe that is how they

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will reduce their 60 billion euro bill. The Times newspaper. Is that

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where we are going? Lies fuelling revolt over rates insist ministers.

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Number ten on collision course with small businesses. Business rates

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have been re-evaluated, but the issue because they are based on

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property prices. They will kick in in April. The government is saying

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most businesses will pay the same or less. The Exchequer will not be

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better off. That is supposed to be a financial gain for the Treasury, I

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am not sure how they achieved that. It is amazing to see that this story

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will not go off to the front pages. I think we know where it is heading.

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There is a budget next month and the Chancellor will have to give way to

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this sort of pressure from his own MPs and from the media. But this

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story says a letter has been cast around from the Communities

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Secretary and MPs in which they are complaining about misinformation in

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the media. But the letter apparently points out that in some

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constituencies bills will go up and they will go up by a large amount,

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including 10% in Runnymede, which is the Chancellor's constituency. It is

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those figures that say to me in the end there will be a climb-down in

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the budget. Many high streets are struggling already to keep small

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businesses there. You have to look at high streets virtually anywhere

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in the country since the financial crisis, which is already nine years

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ago, and lots of them, betting shops and charity shops, they are there

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because small businesses went under a long time ago and have never

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returned. It is OK to say that most businesses will have reduced bills,

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but those who will not I still half a million businesses and that is a

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lot. Those will be small businesses in the South. It is such a strange

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policy for the Conservatives. Let's have a look at the New York Times.

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There is an opinion piece called trapped in Donald Trump's addled

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mind. She says he is stuck in his own skull. It is hard to disagree

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when you see him inventing incident in Sweden and all of Sweden, bless

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them, going, what? It is like a weird vendetta against

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Scandinavians. The Norwegian former Prime Minister was stopped during

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the weekend of the travel ban at customs. I am from Scandinavia, I

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was the Prime Minister. The New York Times is one of Donald Trump's most

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hated newspapers and it is making it clear why that should be. Maureen

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Dowd on the front page saying essentially he is living in an

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entirely internal bauble and we cannot get in and he cannot get out.

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Is he not more clever than that? Everybody gets distracted by his

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Twitter in the morning and then we forget to ask about the other

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questions going on in the administration. The story is well

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timed with the phrase addled mind because he talked about a terrorist

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attack in Sweden at a rally last night and there was no attack at

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all. One theory is there has been a recent attack in Pakistan and he may

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have confused the town there with Sweden. Let's say the US suddenly

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decide are some ice as terrorists in Pakistan, so I would be worried if I

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was Swedish. Very quickly, the Daily Telegraph. Saving universities EU

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funding. What does Oxford University want to do? They have been charmed

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by the French to open a campus extension in Paris and other

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universities have been approached, like Warwick University. Extremely

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high class areas of learning. They will lose their EU funding during

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the Brexit negotiations and whether they do or not, they are worried

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that they might. Students from the EU are studying here. I am related

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to one, and they are worrying about their status and what will happen.

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Oxford has been around for 700 years and it has never had a campus in

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another country and this is an extraordinary shift and I suspect

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other universities might consider it as well. I read that there was an

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orchestra planning to move from Britain to somewhere in another part

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of Europe for the same reason, so it is not just businesses that will

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consider moving away from here. There will be no music and learning

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and we will sit here remembering what it was like in the past. The

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times, David Attenborough dives in again at 90. Another series to look

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forward to from David Attenborough, this time focusing on the oceans. 90

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years old and still working. An extraordinary tribute to him. Not

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many people achieved that. He says he is thrilled to be going back

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underwater. The series promises never before seen species including

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task fishes and something with a hairy chest that looks like the

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Baywatch actor David Hasselhoff! It will look beautiful and sound even

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better with his commentary. He did the cuttlefish mating ritual which

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appears to be something like, look at my excellent tentacles. I have

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heard worse chat up lines. We will talk about it off air. That

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is it for now. We will be back at half past 11 for another stab at the

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Christopher de Bellaigue wants to challenge our understanding

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Who is to say that that is not one of the most important

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