David Cameron, the Prime Minister, made a speech in Wiltshire about a letter from Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, on Britain’s demands for renegotiating terms of its membership of the European Union. Mr Cameron said: ‘What we’ve got is basically something I asked for.’ In the House of Commons, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition, said: ‘It’s rather strange that the Prime Minister is not here…’ instead of ‘…in Chippenham, paying homage to the town where I was born.’ Mr Tusk proposed that in-work benefits for migrants might be subject to an ‘emergency brake’. As for child benefit, this could still be sent home to children in foreign countries in the EU, but could be somehow indexed to the standard of living there. Britain would be allowed to keep suspected terrorists out of the country. ‘If we get this deal in February,’ Mr Cameron said, referring to a meeting of the European Council on 18–19 February, ‘the government’s position will be to campaign for Britain to stay in a reformed European Union.’ A referendum could be held in June.
Sainsbury’s increased to £1.3 billion the price of its offer to buy Home Retail Group, the owners of Argos. BP announced that its annual profits had fallen 51 per cent to £4.1 billion. Thousands of BT customers experienced temporary problems with their broadband. A Cardigan man won a case against Apple in the small claims court in Aberystwyth after his watch developed a crack. Sir Terry Wogan, the Irish-born broadcaster, died, aged 77. Religious believers are happier than atheists, the Office for National Statistics reported.
The British Medical Association said that junior doctors would strike for another day next week. A 58-year-old widow complained after being told she could not stay in a motor home at a holiday park at Hunstanton, Norfolk, because she was single. A family baker’s shop from Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim, took to the Court of Appeal in Belfast the ruling last year that it had acted unlawfully by refusing to make a cake with icing that said ‘Support gay marriage’ (which is not legal in Northern Ireland). Northern Ireland’s government nuclear bunker at Ballymena, Co. Antrim, went on sale, with accommodation for 235.
Off Turkey, 37 migrants including ten children drowned in one day trying to reach Greece; two days earlier two dozen drowned, and three days later another nine. In January, 62,000 migrants entered Europe via Greece, according to the International Organisation for Migration. A survey by Greek authorities indicated that 90 per cent came from Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq. King Abdullah of Jordan said that his country was dealing with 1.4 million refugees from Syria and needed more international help. At least 71 people died in explosions near the Shia shrine of Sayyida Zeinab, south of Damascus, an attack that the Islamic State said it had perpetrated. Another 16 people had starved to death in the Syrian town of Madaya besieged by government forces, according to Medecins Sans Frontières. A UN special envoy met a Syrian government delegation in Geneva as talks intended to bring peace began. In Stockholm, up to 100 masked men dressed in black gathered to attack immigrants. Anders Ygeman, the Swedish interior minister, said the country was ready to deport up to 80,000 asylum-seekers whose applications failed. Dutch police trained eagles to intercept drones.
In the Iowa caucuses, Ted Cruz beat Donald Trump by 27.6 per cent to 24.3 per cent for the Republicans, with Marco Rubio in third place with 23.1 per cent. For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton won by 49.8 per cent to Bernie Sanders’s 49.6 per cent. Alphabet, the parent company of Google, overtook Apple as the world’s most valuable company, worth $568 billion to Apple’s $535 billion. Yahoo began to cut its workforce by 15 per cent. Unemployment in the eurozone fell in December to 10.4 per cent, its lowest since September 2011; in the whole EU, unemployment was at 9 per cent.
The World Health Organisation declared the Zika virus, spread by mosquitoes and linked to microcephaly in babies, a global public health emergency. The first case of the virus being sexually transmitted in the United States was reported in Texas. Seven members of the Palestinian group Hamas died when the tunnel they were building from Gaza collapsed. In China, a crowd of nearly 100,000 gathered outside Guangzhou station as snow left travellers stranded.
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