Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 27 Dec 2015

1

Anger as Cameron strategist gets knighthood

A fresh row over cronyism in the honours system has erupted with the news that David Cameron’s election guru will receive a knighthood this week. The gong for Lynton Crosby, the Australian strategist credited with masterminding the Conservative party’s first outright win for more than 20 years, will be announced in the new year honours list on Thursday, a Whitehall source tells The Sunday Times.

2

Evacuations in York as flood misery continues

Emergency services are evacuating people from homes in York, as severe flooding continues to hit northern England. Police advised between 300 and 400 people to evacuate near the River Ouse and River Foss in York, with up to 3,500 properties at risk. The front pages of the Sunday papers reflect the crisis, with dramatic photographs and headlines such as: “The day Britain went under.”

3

Islamic State leader issues rare video warning

Islamic State's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has released a rare audio statement calling for an uprising in Saudi Arabia and pledging future attacks in Israel. Baghdadi vowed to attack Israel and Western countries. He said IS has “not forgotten Palestine for a single moment”, adding: “And soon, soon with God's permission, you will hear the footsteps of the mujahideen.”

4

A&E figures point to children's mental health crisis

There is concern over the mental health of children after figures showed the numbers arriving at A&E departments with psychiatric conditions has risen to nearly 20,000 a year – more than double the number four years ago. According to experts, the main cause is an absence of out-of-hours community care for vulnerable under-18s, with children being advised to attend A&E after 5pm.

5

British children love fruit and shun alcohol

Are children becoming ever more health conscious? The Independent on Sunday certainly thinks so. The paper reports research this morning suggesting that the proportion of children aged five to 15 who eat five fruit and vegetable portions a day is rising, while the percentage admitting to smoking or drinking is on the decline.

6

Buckingham Palace to become Queen's 'third home'

Buckingham Palace could become the Queen’s third home as plans are put in place for her to spend increasing amounts of time at Windsor Castle and Balmoral when she enters her nineties. Her Majesty already spends more nights at Windsor than she does in London, and she will gradually lengthen the time she spends in Scotland every summer to conserve her energy.

7

Minister: suspend human rights act to aid troops

The government must suspend the human rights act to protect British troops, argues a minister. The armed forces are being weakened in their fight against terrorists because they fear human rights lawyers will take them to court, the defence secretary Michael Fallon has warned. He attacked “ambulance-chasing law firms” that have brought thousands of cases against the Ministry of Defence.

8

'Gangland' machete incident sparks terror attack panic

There were scenes of panic in a packed south London shopping centre yesterday as a youth carrying a machete sparked fears of a terror attack. As 22m people rushed for in the post-Christmas sales, the Intu centre in Bromley was the scene of a suspected gang incident which was mistaken for a Paris-style attack. Police, who recovered two knives, insisted that the incident was not terror-related.

9

Modern dancing 'symptomatic of decay in manners'

Philosopher Roger Scruton has bemoaned the trend for people to dance "at" rather than "with" each other in nightclubs, arguing it is part of a "general decay of manners". In a new essay, he says modern dancers jerk on to the floor in obedience to the puppet master at the desk”, and “tend to avoid contact with each other”.

10

Is Louis van Gaal about to quit Man Utd?

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has hinted he could walk out of Old Trafford. The Dutchman said he could "quit by myself" after Stoke City condemned his side to a fourth straight defeat. Meanwhile, Arsenal missed the chance to go top of the Premier League as they were beaten 4-0 by Southampton at St Mary's.

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