this is bbc news. the headlines at midday... a woman from hull is sentenced to three years in an egyptian jail for taking painkillers into the country. universities must protect free speech and "open minds, not close them," or face the consequences. as the boxing day sales get under way, a warning that prices for many everyday items could rise unless the government focuses on replacing trade agreements after brexit. a royal navy frigate spent christmas day escorting a russian warship through the north sea — one of several russian ships to pass close to the uk in recent days. it was officially a white christmas in the uk for some, with areas of cumbria and the south of scotland recording light snowfall. a mum from norfolk says she's been "overwhelmed" by the international response to her capturing the perfect image on her phone, of meghan markle alongside prince harry and the duke and duchess of cambridge. and australia's batsmen put the hosts in control in melbourne, as england's bowlers struggle
to take wickets on the opening day of the fourth ashes test. good afternoon and welcome to bbc news. the family of a british woman accused of smuggling drugs into egypt says she's been sentenced to three years in jail. laura plummer, who's 33 and from hull, was arrested in october with 290 tablets of the painkiller tramadol, which is banned in egypt. she says she was carrying them for her egyptian partner's back pain, and didn't realise they were illegal. ms plummer is to appeal. we will be live with our correspondent in egypt in the next
little while. the universities minister, jojohnson, will use a speech today to warn that academic institutions must protect free speech. he'll say students must be able to both hear and challenge controversial views during their years of study. some universities and student groups have refused entry to speakers, as edward curwen reports. time spent at university must open minds, not close them. that's the view ofjojohnson, the universities minister, who will today set out a firm defence of free speech on campus. speaking at a jewish cultural festival in birmingham, he will say students must be free to challenge each other‘s views, and groups seeking to stifle those who do not agree with them must be stopped. his defence of open debate comes after speakers on subjects from the state of israel to transgender rights have faced bans, sometimes by student unions, for having views considered inappropriate. others have demanded so—called ‘safe spaces‘, where they won't hear about issues they may find upsetting. mrjohnson will say this cannot be tolerated, reiterating universities have an obligation to protect free speech and encourage frank and rigorous debate. from next april, a new regulator,
the office for students, will have the power to fine universities that fail to uphold free speech. the body representing british universities said it would not allow legitimate debate be stifled. the challenge for university leaders will be deciding where to draw the line between extremist speech and a frank exchange of views. edward curwen, bbc news. let's get reaction to that report now from julie bindel. she's a feminist who was "no—platformed" — ie banned from speaking at a univeristy — because of her views on transgender people. good afternoon. hello. tell me your reaction to whatjo johnson good afternoon. hello. tell me your reaction to whatjojohnson is saying on the subject today. reaction to whatjojohnson is saying on the subject todaylj reaction to whatjojohnson is saying on the subject today. i think it's absolutely right that we have to think about universities, which are mainly state funded, as arenas where you should encourage debate
and discussion and wet students should be able to think for themselves and form opinions. —— and where students. but universities who do no—platform, or more rather, what happens to me occasionally, i get invited and then am disinvited after a keyboard warrior scuffle by stu d e nts a keyboard warrior scuffle by students who take objection to an article i wrote in 2004, what happens when feminists like myself are no—platformed, is that we need to look at the equalities law. at universities where i have been stopped from speaking about male violence towards women, for the simple fact i once offended some of the transgender community. a week later you have somebody like milo yiannopoulos or an islamic hate preacher who advocates the killing of dues. that has happened to me. we need to look at who is being no—platformed. who is being
disinvited. —— who advocates the killing ofjewish disinvited. —— who advocates the killing of jewish people. disinvited. —— who advocates the killing ofjewish people. we also need to look at articles around freedom of expression that might be contravened here. let me make it clear, iam not contravened here. let me make it clear, i am not for blanket freedom of speech. i am for restricted freedom of speech, because we have to look at how the law stands in this country where we protect against incitement to racial hatred and incitement to violence, which is right. but stopping feminists like myself saying things like gender is a social construct, or most rapists are men, it seems like they are babying are men, it seems like they are ba bying and nannying are men, it seems like they are babying and nannying students. what about the new office for students thatis about the new office for students that is being talked about, which would have the power to fine universities who failed to uphold free speech. would that give you greater confidence in the system? again, i believe in restricted free speech. i don't think we can talk about blanket free speech. it isn't a cce pta ble about blanket free speech. it isn't
acceptable when we are looking at incitement to violence or incitement to sexual or racial hatred. we have two qualify this and act within the law. but there are laws already in place that in theory would guard against that. there are. me saying in 2004 that gender is a social construct and a man can'tjust identify himself as being a woman, and counsel rape survivors, is clearly not hate speech, it is clearly not hate speech, it is clearly a view that students have a right to listen to and challenge. in terms of defining, that is one way we could pull universities into line. —— we could pull universities into line. -- in we could pull universities into line. —— in terms of fining. the problem is, students now rule the roost completely at universities. universities are now effectively private businesses. ijust want universities are now effectively private businesses. i just want to get your action to the fact that in some circumstances it is down to the national union of students. and when stu d e nts national union of students. and when students are being polled, it seems
most are students are being polled, it seems mostare in students are being polled, it seems most are in favour of what are regarded as safe spaces to a degree. how do you respond to that? most stu d e nts how do you respond to that? most students really have no recourse other than the national union of students. students who are polled are signed up to this ridiculous snowfla ke are signed up to this ridiculous snowflake attitude of being wrapped in cotton wool. students tell me all the time they want to hear the likes of meat speech and they are against blanket no—platforming, and feminists who might be no—platform. they want to make the decisions about the debates that happen in their universities. millions of shoppers are expected to head out to the boxing day sales today. it has traditionally been an important period for retailers across the uk. but a majority of shoppers surveyed by bbc radio 4's you and yours programme say online shopping and early black friday deals have made the post—christmas sales less compelling. our correspondent emily unia has been to oxford street in central london to see
if the internet is beating the high street. we will show you that in a few moments. joining me now from leeds is dr dong hoang, from leeds beckett university's retail institute. good afternoon. good afternoon. i wonder how you think people will respond to this prospect of boxing day sales today? we expect people will still go out and shop in stores, but not at the magnitude that we have seen traditionally, because of the online shopping that is so convenient for people to shop earlier on. and also, don't forget that a lot of sales happen throughout the year, so people have a sentiment of sales fatigue, and maybe the budget has been dispersed throughout different sales events. and people don't have a budget to
spend on specifically boxing day, as they traditionally have, where they might have saved for that specific date. how much of an impact has black friday had ? date. how much of an impact has black friday had? we know a family has a budget, and if they already spend a good chunk of that on black friday, then it means there will be less for the boxing day sales. it means the spending on black friday will significantly impact on how much people can spend on boxing day. you mentioned online shopping. isn't there still an argument that says while people look at things online, significant numbers still like to go to the shop to actually make the purchase. yes, they do. on that aspect as well. but online sales expected to increase significantly. the trend is that it has increased double digits every single year.
people physically go into stores to buy stuff that has been declining over the years as well. we still see the significance of boxing day, but not as much as we have seen traditionally. when you look at the traditionally. when you look at the traditional retailers, do you see some that are actively making successful efforts to draw more people in, despite the trend to move away? yes, that's why we have seen the highest rates and stores on the high streets, have been very innovative in making a shopping experience more significant for shoppers. the way the stores are being decorated, the way stores have displayed their merchandise is very different to traditional methods. we have seen many places where stores that are designed specifically to increase the shopping experience,
rather than to display as much merchandise as possible for people to purchase. i think the high street will be very different than what it has traditionally done, particularly with regard the displayed items for sale. thank you for coming on. the royal navy says there's been an increase in the number of russian ships travelling through or near the uk's territorial waters over the christmas period. yesterday, hms st albans was sent to escort a russian warship through the north sea as it passed close to uk waters. the defence secretary gavin williamson said he will not "tolerate any form of aggression". he warned we will not be intimidated when it comes to protecting our country, people and national interests. let's speak now to rear admiral chris parry, a former royal navy officer and former nato commander and a former director general at the ministry of defence. good afternoon and merry christmas.
give us an assessment of the seriousness of what has happened in a north sea in the last 48 hours.|j wouldn't exactly echo the seriousness the defence secretary has pulled out. it's a normal deployment by a russian warship that is coming to the north sea. she is perfectly entitled to do that under international law. it is demonstrating the right of innocent passage. we do this in the black sea and the baltic sea all the time. the russians have said, it's christmas, we will have to be at sea, so let's get somebody else to look at us as well. and you expect somebody to look at them as well. i would hope this country would send a warship out to look at any warship that comes out to look at any warship that co m es close out to look at any warship that comes close to us, other than our nato allies. it's also an opportunity to look at our brand—new frigate, it's the latest russian frigate, it's the latest russian frigate, it's the latest russian frigate, it has systems and other equipment on it we want to have a closer look at. ordinarily, we
wouldn't get that close. what about the wider picture, if there is one, because you might say there isn't, but what about relations between russia and the uk, which are not exactly great at the moment. does that add to the potential significance of something like this? it's a good question. i think it is coincidental rather than causal, to tell the truth. the russians want to say to the world, we having to lean in syria, we want to show the russian flag around the world and there is no better way of doing that than putting your navy out to sea. it has appeared on all sorts of tv and news channels. the fact of life is the russian navy is at the moment, getting increased levels of expenditure. they want to show they can go anywhere they want to to at any time they want to. they have done it in the baltic sea and black sea. any time they approach the united kingdom now, instead of going to the west of ireland, they tend to
go through the channel. they are showing their flight and are entitled to do so. the fact they are coming through the north sea more than they used, you wouldn't say that's a cause for concern?” than they used, you wouldn't say that's a cause for concern? i would not. this is what we call presents operations. they just want to get attention. they don't want to show any aggressive posture. if we saw consistent deployments of this type of frigate and also submarines that are capable of firing cruise missiles, for example, around the uk, theni missiles, for example, around the uk, then i think we would have to ta ke ste ps uk, then i think we would have to take steps to say, you are getting a bit close and we need push you away a bit. we appreciate your time, chris parry speaking to us from portsmouth. the news that we brought you at the top of the hour, a british woman accused of smuggling drugs into egypt has been sentenced to three yea rs egypt has been sentenced to three years injail. laura plummer, 33 from hull, was arrested in october with 290 tablets of the painkiller tramadol, which is banned in egypt.
we can go to cairo to get the latest from our bbc arabic correspondent. what is known at this stage? we know that laura plummer has been sentenced to three years in prison here in egypt for bringing tramadol into the country as she entered in october. she has been sentenced for smuggling drugs. what we understand is that this is a first—degree verdict, so we do expect an appeal. what is known about the court hearing at this stage, if anything? when laura plummer came back in october, she came to meet her boyfriend in a resort close to the red sea. she brought around 290 tramadol tablets as well as naproxen for his back pain. she was arrested
for his back pain. she was arrested for carrying the tablets in her suitcase. she said she did not know the drug was banned in egypt. she did not know about that, and she had brought it for her boyfriend. however, the court found her guilty of bringing an smuggling drugs into the country, and therefore came the verdict of today. her lawyer told us yesterday that there was some lost in translation issues in the court. as she was asked by one of the judges about the accusation, and she pleaded guilty, but she said she didn't understand the question very well. we also understand that the lawyer is willing to appeal that verdict. thank you for coming on. retailers have warned that prices for many everyday items will rise unless the government focuses on replacing trade agreements which will no longer apply when britain leaves the eu. the department for exiting the european union said
it is committed to continuing existing trade and investment deals. but helen dickinson — the chief executive of the british retail consortium — says about 80 trade deals will be lost when the uk exits the bloc, and replacing them will be a big task. thejob in hand is really focusing on those trade arrangements, and replicating the bits, particularly from the point of view of uk consumers. and we're talking here about everyday products that people buy week in, week out. fish from norway, wine from south africa, clothes from turkey. all of those products that are on our shelves or on websites that we are buying from each and every day, each of those have lower tariff rates on them than would exist if we didn't have those deals in place. what we are trying to do with the research that we have gathered from our membership — so, from many of the retailers in this country — is really highlight which countries are the ones that are most important for what people
in the uk are buying, day in, day out. and south africa and turkey are the top two of those. and really, just put a little bit of focus on it. given, as you say, the focus up to now has been all about the relationship with the eu. just let's recognise that there is... there's another world out there, which is the relationship with all those other countries too. and that has an impact on uk consumers. helen dickinson of the british retail consortium. out of all the photographers waiting to snap a picture of the royal family at the christmas day service in sandringham, it was a mum from norfolk who managed to capture the perfect image on her phone. this photograph taken by karen murdoch has now been used by journalists from all over the world. she says she hopes its sale will help with her daughter's university costs. she spoke to bbc breakfast this morning and explained what it's been like since she took the image. in one word, overwhelming.
i've had five likes, maybe, on a tweet before! i just... it is a nice photo, though. i do like it. it's a great photo! yeah, it's lovely. but it's bonkers. now, there's another word for you — bonkers! laughter. so, karen, tell us how you managed to get that shot. because you were down there with your daughter. paint the picture for us, how did you get that perfect picture? yes, well, i was with my daughter, rachel, and my friend sara. and i literally, and i hate to sound like a bit of a geek here, but i was fangirling! i was literally, we were all like, "merry christmas!" as you can probably tell, i can get a bit excitable. and that's it, it was just lucky. it was pure luck. i took it on my iphone. yeah, a great picture, yeah. and i'm glad everybody liked it. so you shouted merry christmas, they turned round and gave you a smile, and then what happened? you put the picture on twitter and facebook and the like? well, what i did... oh, this is embarrassing!
but i couldn't remember if meghan had an h in her name or not. so i put her name in and ijust... i think it was the bbc website just saying, the royals are attending. so i put my picture in the comments. and the rest, as they say, is history. sport now, and for a full round—up from the bbc sport centre, here's holly hamilton. first to melbourne. england are trying to avoid a series whitewash in the ashes — and day one of the fourth test hasn't really given us much hope that might be possible. a century from david warner and another great performance from captain steve smith left australia on 244—3 at the close. patrick gearey was watching. to borrow an australian phrase, england were always going to be in for a lot of hard yakka, from the moment they lost the toss
and had to field on a pitch that suited the batsmen on a warm day in melbourne. david warner made it look like any total was possible for australia. thanks to him they had 100 by lunch. england changed tack after the interval, getting rid of the out—of—sorts cameron bancroft, then frustrated warner as he neared his century. at 99, he blinked, and it seemed he had given tom curran his first test wicket on debut. but the replay revealed no ball. back came warner, and the mcg roared his hundred. warner went soon to james anderson, caught behind. after tea, stuart broad got his first wicket for more than 400 deliveries, usman khawaja. he nearly got another with his next, shaun marsh given not out lbw. the review went with the umpire's call, a key moment. from there, marsh and steve smith — who else — stabilised things. smith unbeaten. and england worry he might perhaps be unbeatable.
i don't think we started very well, didn't adjust to the conditions of the pitch quick enough. when you bowl at somebody like warner, one of the best players in the world on a pitch like that, and you don't bowl to your best, he will hurt you. in the second session at 40—2, i thought we dragged it back really well. we stuck to our plan better andl well. we stuck to our plan better and i thought we deserved the two wickets we got. tony pulis has been appointed manager of championship side middlesbrough three days after they parted company with garry monk. tony pulis had said he wanted to spend christmas with his family before returning to football. he was sacked by west bromwich albion just over a month ago. they are ninth in the table, three points outside the play—offs and they played bolton next, where he will be in the stands. football's festive fixtures continue with eight games today. leaders manchester city play
newcastle tomorrow but in this afternoon's early kick—off, tottenham meet southampton with harry kane looking to break a record held by alan shearer. kane's hat—trick in saturday's win over burnley put him level with shearer on 36 goals in the calendar year. manchester united's task is to narrow the huge i4—point gap between themselves and manchester city at the top of the table. they're at home to burnley today. united slipped up at the weekend, allowing leicester to equalise in injury time — but burnley manager sean dyche knows that doesn't mean his side will get an easy ride. they still look a high—quality group of players to me. i was there recently when they had to dig in and get a win against a brighton side who played very well. but that's the mark of a good side. if it's not quite their day or the other team are playing well, they still come out with the result. i don't think we will go there expecting it to be anything other than a tough game. and there's just one game in the scottish premiership this afternoon, with champions celtic away to dundee. celtic can move i! celtic can move 11 points clear at the top with a win at dens park. a near collision between two of the
favourites marked a dramatic start to the annual sydney— hobart yacht race. an attack from a time when a wild oats rotted within a few metres of the magical stop after a protest, it could give them a time penalty later on. that's all the sport for now. i'll have more in the next hour. good afternoon. millions of shoppers across the country are hitting the high street today for the traditional boxing day sales. analysts at barclaycard suggest one in three of us will head to the shops today in search ofa bargain. but with the rise of discount deals for black friday, and more of us shopping online, has the post—christmas shopping spree lost some of its appeal? james waterhouse reports. no camping, no stampedes. but there
was at least a bell for the boxing day faithful. in selfridge's, one of britain's oldest store names, you can get your hands on almost anything. perfume is, make up, clothing and of course shoes. 50% off clothing and of course shoes. 5096 off prada shoes, so that is a great saving. we love shopping, and we like bargains. they are normally 480, i got them for 230, so it's decent. we can get these online, but over here they are cheaper. so if we can find the size, then yes. different prices but similar scenes in york. retail analysts say they are seeing a shift in shopping behaviours, but only a slight one. the high street is still a significant impact on people's shopping because people like going out to meet people rather than just
buying the item. that is the feeling in glasgow today as well.” buying the item. that is the feeling in glasgow today as well. i think customers are very savvy, they are looking for a depth of markdown. never mind 30%, they are looking for 50% plus. never mind 30%, they are looking for 5096 plus. a survey suggested that thousands of shoppers feel that co nsta nt thousands of shoppers feel that constant sales devalue the brand of the shop, and more people are spending in the black friday sales and can't fork out twice. in selfridge's at least, people in their tens of thousands are walking around trying to find that dream discount. but this is the biggest store on the uk's busiest shopping street. the feeling from some experts and shoppers is that the boxing day sales have lost their appeal. for many, the boxing day sales are as traditional as the turkey itself, so it's going to take a lot more to put them off. james waterhouse, bbc news, oxford street in london. let's go outside london.
our correspondent fiona trott is in york. how is it there? people have been queueing since eight o'clock this morning in the freezing cold, a lot of them telling us they wanted to stock up on clothes for the rest of the year, because the price of clothing has increased by about 3% since last year. other people wanted to buy more luxury items like jewellery and treat themselves to things they wouldn't do normally because the cost of living is so high. so you can see the streets are relatively busy, but local people saying not as busy as it has been in previous years. they say they are all feeling the pinch, and we spoke to one retail expert earlier here today who said that there could be sales fatigue as well. every day we get offers online, and a lot of people were here in the high street
just before christmas, so a lot of them have spent their budget then. so yes, predictions say that more than a third of us will be out in stores like here in york, spending a record £4.3 billion in the high boxing day sales, but one thing people can't predict is the weather, and it is freezing here in york today. stay warm, fiona! fiona trott in york there. a british woman being held on suspicion of drug—smuggling in egypt has been sentenced to three years injail. laura plummer, who's 33 and from hull, was arrested in october. emily unia is here. a word about the background to this case first of all? she is a shop assistant from hull who travelled to egypt on october the 9th, going to visit her egyptian partner who reportedly suffers from severe back pain, and in hersuitcase reportedly suffers from severe back pain, and in her suitcase were 250 tramadol tablets, it is legal in the uk, but it is banned in egypt and is
the most abused drug. apparently she had no idea these drugs were banned in egypt, she was simply taking them to her partner. her family have been campaigning on her behalf are the last two months, haven't they? yes, her mother roberta sinclair is in egypt, she travelled out for the hearing which ended up happening today. they are saying that she is being held in terrible conditions in a communal cell with no beds, sharing with 25 other women. she thought it was a joke when she was pulled over by officials, she said, was todd she was carrying illegal drugs. lawyers have lodged an immediate appeal. emily, thank you very much indeed. the universities minister, jojohnson, will use a speech this afternoon to warn that academic institutions must protect free speech or face possible fines. he'll say students must be able to both hear and challenge controversial views. some universities and student groups have refused entry to speakers advocating disputed points of view. the ministry of defence says a royal navy frigate spent christmas day escorting a russian warship through the north sea.
hms st albans shadowed the admiral gorshkov as it passed close to uk territorial waters, keeping track of its activity in areas of national interest. the navy says that several russian vessels have passed close to the uk in recent days. once a key industry in the north west of england, cotton—spinning has made a return to the uk. a manchester mill is the only textile factory to spin cotton commercially again. the process has revived the sector, connecting businesses across the region as they make clothes using the yarn. our correspondentjudith moritz has followed the process from the production line to shop floor. fresh off the boat from california, cotton has come back to its spiritual home. refurbished and reenergised, this manchester mill is the first in the uk to spin commercially again. for the first time in 50 years, cotton is in full production.
it's really reengaged the weavers and the finishers and the dyers to pull together and forge those chains back again. and there is honestly an enormous appetite for provenance and british—made. we're following the process as the cotton spun here finds its way from the bale to the clothes hanger. from its raw state to spun yarn. i'm now going to take this cotton from here in manchester over to blackburn to be dyed. that's for you. what happens now? we are going to take this into our dye house. we're going to load it onto a dye stand. we are going to bleach it, we're going to dye it and we're going to dry it. this yarn dyer‘s used to source all its cotton overseas. now it only travels 30 miles. turned pink, it's time to take the yarn up the road to burnley to be woven.
the resurrection of the cotton process comes at a good time for the industry. bbc news and the trade body make it british spoke to almost 100 textile businesses to see how their 2017 has been. 30% of them say they're exporting more british made goods the last year. there is concern about the age of the workforce. two thirds have staff whose average age is over 40. but overall, the news is positive. 50% of them are turning over more than a year ago. the factory weaving our pink cloth is a good example. our order book is really healthy. so the next six months‘ forecast is looking great. so much so that we're now having to put on extra shifts and recruit additional staff. here you are, then. back in manchester, our cloth is now ready to be made into a shirt. cut. pressed. stitched. and finished at this factory. one of the few of
its kind to survive. i don't think we'll ever see a return to the halcyon days of cottonopolis. however, there is huge opportunities for businesses and brands like ours to create sustainable, viable and ultimately very profitable businesses by making things here again in the uk and selling to an international market. spun, dyed, woven and stitched, the cotton process has been sewn back together again. ourjourney behind the seams ends with a shirt made from local yarn. judith moritz, bbc news, manchester. cricket now, and australia's cricketers are on top after the opening day of the fourth ashes test in melbourne against england. david warner hit a century for the hosts, who are 3—0 up in the five—match series. they were 244 for three at the close. our correspondent patrick geary reports from melbourne. no wonder they couldn't wait to get in. australia's festive season began with their series victory last week. ashes monday.
in fact, in what seems an age since england first landed, the only thing they haven't lost is the toss. at the worst moment, that deserted them, too. so australia batted, of course they did. this was a gift certificate of a pitch. happy christmas, david warner. 50 runs at england's expense, 100 for the aussies by lunch. ouch. at the other end, cameron bancroft had only been marginally more involved than the spectators. out of sorts, out for 26. a wicket, finally. the rambunctious warner grew edgy as he neared his century. on 99, he blinked. there, tom curran‘s first test wicket, what a moment. butjust a moment. look at the replay. no ball, not out. a misstep to sum up a series. back came warner. next ball, no mistake. a100, and the boundless joy of a reprieved man. his second life was short, though. whenjames anderson got him, there was no escape. england battled back. stuart broad as much as anyone. he'd gone 414 balls without a wicket before he removed usman khawaja.
broad's blood up. was this shaun marsh out next ball? the umpire said no. the technology upheld that. crucial. small margins can mean hard yards. in one of cricket's great venues, one of the great modern batsmen. steve smith rolled ominously on, unbeaten, perhaps an unbeatable. but had the cricket match the occasion? people want to see, you know, exciting cricket. you know, we did our best. we didn't bowl great first session. we didn't add to that excitement, unless you're a david warner fan. but second session, we did all we could on that pitch, and i know it wasn't exciting to watch. it wasn't exciting to play, to be honest. it's certainly been a very slow pace at the mcg. it's the kind of match which might be decided not by magic, but by mistakes. and so far in this series, unfortunately for england, they've made too many of them. patrick geary, bbc news, in melbourne. there's more throughout the afternoon on the bbc news channel. we're back with the late
news at six o'clock. now on bbc one it's time for the news where you are. hello. you're watching the bbc news channel. russia is ready to act as a mediator between north korea and the united states if both parties are willing for it to play such a role, the kremlin has said. north korea has made big strides in its nuclear and missile programme and is expected to continue on the same path in the new year. our correspondent paul adams has been to seoul to take a look at how south korea are responding to the continuing threat. changing the guard in seoul. ancient rituals in the heart of this modern city. in the past, the threats came from imperial, rapacious japan. but today, the danger is just over the hills, and this year,
it seemed to grow and grow. month after month, north korea tested ever more fearsome missiles. the biggest thought to be capable of reaching almost anywhere in america. rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself. the new man in the white house responded with insults and threats. we will have no choice but to totally destroy north korea. and there were bigger and bigger displays of american military might. a great armada of ships. air exercises involving the most advanced jets in the world. but nothing so far seems to work. the world failed to prevent north korea from becoming a nuclear state. at the border, curious visitors capped distant glimpses catch distant glimpses
of life on the other side. thanks to a steady trickle of defectors, south koreans have a rough idea of what goes on in the north, but there is much that is unknown, too. translation: looking through the telescope is very heartbreaking. it made me think about the recent soldier who defected and how he must have felt. we found out a lot in 2017 about north korea's ballistic missile and nuclear capabilities. it's likely that in 2018, we will find out even more. but what we still don't really know is what does kim jong un want all this technology for? does he just want to be treated with respect, or does he have some more aggressive intentions? south koreans are less afraid of kimjong un than you might imagine. when kim min yong takes his impersonation of the north korean dictator to the streets of the capital, the reaction is hardly one of horror.
some guys say he is dangerous, but we are not afraid. we are not afraid of chairman kim. but it is talk like that which infuriates park hwee rhak, university professor and self—decla red ha rdliner. i think that saying good words, or saying, don't worry, be happy, is a very easy. but in order to protect our sons and daughters and our grandchildren, we need to take the hard course, which is to prepare for the worst—case scenario. if you are genuinely worried about the prospect of a nuclear attack from the north, you might want to invest in one of these. this a nuclear—proof bunker, which, for about $50,000, you can have installed in your garden. inside, everything you might need for an extended period of living underground.
but how likely is this doomsday scenario? most people expect the provocations to continue, but to stop well short of armageddon. the good news is that the north korean leadership is rational, they are secular and they wish to survive. it's manageable. i mean, it's sub—optimal, deterrents can fail, but the bluster and rhetoric, it's not helpful, the fearmongering, there's nothing to panic about. for all the theoretical danger, most south koreans seem to agree. they know the north is on the verge of realising its nuclear ambitions. they wish it weren't so. but like the eye of a hurricane in, the city seems unnaturally calm. pauladams, bbc news, seoul. the nhs has promised to cut back on prescribing gluten—free biscuits, pasta and anti—dandruff shampoo. a study by the taxpayers alliance has found many items, which are prescribed by gps in england, are available in supermarkets — often
at a much cheaper price. nick quraishi reports. the taxpayers alliance has highlighted a number of items it says were prescribed on the nhs last year. they include ambre solaire factor—50 sunscreen. a non—branded version is available for half the price. branded gluten—free biscuits, significantly more expensive than a supermarket equivalent. ibuprofen, 30% cheaper away from the nhs. and colgate total advance toothpaste. over the counter, it's a seventh of the cost. the taxpayers alliance says... in response, an nhs england spokesperson said... the health service says it's already reviewing ten items it
claims are ineffective, unnecessary and inappropriate for prescription. nick quraishi, bbc news. the 2018 pyeongchang winter olympics begin injust over a month's time in south korea. whilst concerns about the on—going conflict with north korea and the russian doping scandal have dominated much of the build—up, the british team are aiming to make history at the games themselves. bbc sport's nick hope takes a look at some of the best british prospects in path to pyeongchang. it takes a special kind of athlete to succeed at the winter olympics. traditionally, british success has been sporadic at best. but in recent years, team gb has finallyjoined the party. lizzie yarnold is the olympic champion! there were four gb medals during sochi 2014. that could be upgraded
to a record haul of five. british athletes are winning more major medals now than at any point in history. there is every chance that pyeongchang 2018 in south korea could be great britain's best ever games. one of britain's best medal prospect is elise christie, competing in three events. since the last games, she has become a world champion. she is looking to put her olympic demons firmly behind her after a devastating sochi 2014. oh, they've gone down, they've all gone down! i can't believe it! christie's been penalised again. it's been tough. i can't even describe how hard it was. i suffered a lot after it, in my normal life can be in.
in my normal life too. i had a crash at the game. i received a lot of death threats and online abuse from the south koreans. it changes me as a person. you know, i lost a lot of confidence from it. but since then i have actually had a massive turnaround. christie, the first british woman to win a short track world title! people became fans and they were really sorry for how people had treated me. and actually the majority of the south koreans really support me. i think it's nice to see how much i've moved forward since then. i'm a totally different skater. i've developed so much. i don't know how i'll survive if it happens again and i have a terrible olympics and i mess it up. when i go to the olympics, i'm hoping to win a gold medal. i definitely want it more than anything else. but at the same time, part of me does need it, just with what happened in sochi
and get redemption for what mistakes i made. if i won a gold, it would be incredible, indescribable. the british bobsleigh four—man team finished fifth, an agonising 0.11 seconds from the medals at sochi 2014. but they are in line for an upgrade to bronze following the disqualification of two russians for doping offences. corruption on an unprecedented scale. 1,000 russian athletes are accused of doping. the russian government organised and directed a sophisticated doping programme. from london 2012 through to sochi 2014 and beyond. great britain look set to win a bobsleigh bronze medal, the ioc banned three more russian athletes for doping. we've been stolen our
moment, basically. i feel like we fought so hard, knowing we were good enough to get on the podium. it's hard to take. as we're seeing across all sports in the world right now, this is happening all too frequently. it's a really sad state. it would have been a massive family achievement, more than anything. there's no escaping that, it would have been different. the funding would have been much higher. obviously, the personal reward of it. potentially, though, there would have been opportunities for us to further our careers. we did come third but until we've got the medal... how much would you like it to be resolved by pyeongchang? one of the things that is mentioned
is, how do you feel about your moment being stolen away from you? in some cases, that could be corrected by being presented the medal in the pyeongchang. silver for great britain. bronze last week. you have another chance to do it at the games themselves. the team is going in the right direction? it is. previously there had been one competitive team, now there is two. the possibilities are huge for this team. we are going to get a podium. the british four—man team from sochi 2014 should learn whether they will receive a retrospective bronze medal by late january. sliding sports won't enter the winter paralympics until beijing 2022. but for pyeongchang 2018, britain possess some medal prospects. here are some of the ones to watch. like britain's wheelchair curlers, its gb olympic curlers have enjoyed plenty of medal success at recent games. the women won bronze and the men silver at sochi 2014, and both collected european honours in the last few months, suggesting
that they are in career—best form. eve will skip the women's team, whilst her older and younger brothers will line up for the team gb meant. for the team gb men. competing alongside my brothers will make it exciting and extra special. it's not every day you can compete at the olympic games alongside two of your brothers with great britain on your back and family watching and that makes it really exciting. i guess there is a little bit of added pressure, having been medallists before, you kind of have that podium the kind of step up to. to kind of step up to. but there's nothing stopping us being as good as we were last time, if not even better. the winter olympics have been revitalised by freestyle skiing and snowboarding events in the 21st—century. and at the last games,
great britain claimed a first—ever winter olympic medal on the snow, withjennyjones claiming a bronze medal. although she isn't competing any more, there's still plenty to be excited about. ski sunday's ed leigh has more. i've spent more than a quarter of the century reporting on winter sport, and i can say hand on heart, going into pyeongchang, britain has never had so many medal contenders. the first one you have to talk about is katie ormerod, she just missed out on so four years ago, and in the period since she has she just missed out on sochi four years ago, and in the period since she has established herself as one of the best slopestyle riders on the female tour. the next rider you have to talk about is billie morgan, the first man to land the hallowed trick in snowboarding right now, billy is another serious contender. jamie nicholls is my dark horse. he is pound for pound
one of the best rail riders in the world, and has been working hard on hisjump tricks. he is now a brilliant all—round rider. he could be a serious hope for a medal. we can't forget about the skiers. there is no shortage of talent in that corner either. james woods is top of the list. fifth in sochi whilst carrying a hip injury, the last 12 months have been brilliant build—up to the game. he has had world cup goals. izzie atkin is an ex—american skier who claimed third in slopestyle at the world championships. katie summerhays has bagged a silver. i'm very excited about team gb‘s prospects in pyeongchang. so, there's certainly plenty of medal potential from a freestyle perspective. next, we take a look at the other prospects on the path to pyeongchang. britain has struggled in alpine skiing for decades,
but slalom specialist dave redding now has world cup success to his name. this athlete will be competing in her fourth olympics, the first as a mother. she gave birth to her daughter, leah, in 2016, and is already training herfor a future in the sport. ice dancers penny combs and nick buckland and have been one of sport's most unlucky in recent years. he needed heart surgery before the last olympics, and combs shattered her knee in 2016. but they are back on the up. andrew musgrave is on top of his game, and competes at one of the olympics' toughest events, cross—country skiing. the british bobsleigh women's team had all of their financial support pulled months before the game. but a crowdfunding campaign saw them raise over £40,000. also keep an eye out for this skeleton athlete. she has won world cup honours
in recent years and will be looking to make an impact on her olympic debut. britain's leading slider remains lizzie yarnold, the olympic champion from sochi 2014, who has taken a one year career break since the last games. she has returned refreshed, but has struggled to find the consistency of old. lizzie yarnold is the olympic champion! oh, my goodness! since i was a little kid i always wanted to go to the olympics. today i am an olympian and a gold—medallist, it's mind blowing. i think after sochi, there was this niggling feeling that i hadn't been world cup champion, i hadn't be world champion or european champion. my mind skipped immediately to that. to be able to achieve all four titles within two seasons, 407 days, was awesome. but i was so exhausted. so i'm really glad that i did take that time off. training was a lot harder
than i had remembered. it'sjust constant. everything we do is in a basement of a gym, just lifting weights, trying to get stronger, trying to get faster i think the past 18 months have been very up and down. lizzie yarnold takes the bronze medal! she's way back in tenth, 11th spot, i'm surprised! the olympic champion may struggle to get a second heat after that run. at the moment, my results and were warned them to be. at the moment, my results are not where i want them to be. i'll believe in myself and have confidence. the goal of trying to become the first british winter olympian to retain my title is so motivating. that's what gets me out of bed every morning. as you've been seeing, we have more medal prospect
for great britain in winter sports than at any point in history. there is every chance that pyeongchang 2018 could be record—breaking game for great britain. hello once again. many parts of the british isles are going to see a much fresher, brighter day than has been the case of late. and it certainly started on a fresher note through the central belt of scotland and across the southern uplands, top ends of the pennines as well, as this wee feature dragged quite a bit of snowfall down through those parts. now showing signs of wanting to get off into the north sea, leaving behind, as i say, a day with a good deal more sunshine on offer than we've seen of late. a peppering of showers across the northern half of britain. but already we've seen a transition from a really decent start to the day across the south west,
into one of quite a bit of wind and cloud and rain, as well. and that will gather all the while across the south—western quarter, gradually wanting to push further north and eastwards with time through the rest of the afternoon. further north than that, after quite a showery start to the day with a wee bit of snow across the higher ground across the north of england, through northern ireland and southern scotland, well, i think the showers just tending to fade somewhat. so there'll be a wee bit more sunshine, doing nothing for your temperatures. and then across the far north of scotland, those showers turning increasingly wintry as the air gets pretty cold there, certainly as the sun goes down. and that cold air begins to interact with all of this moisture. and look at this, southern and central parts of the pennines, coming down into the peak district, through the higher ground of wales, and then increasingly through the midlands as we get on through the night there will be a change of that rain into snowfall to really quite low levels, and it will lie, as well. so don't be at all surprised in the midlands and parts of wales if you wake up to a pretty white start to wednesday.
that threat drags down to the high ground into sussex and into the chilterns, as well, before eventually pulling away. if you stick with the rain, you'll see quite a bit of rain — 35, 45 millimetres of rain or so. once it's away, then it's a chilly day. a bright one for central and western areas. and even those showers out west could be a wee bit wintry across the higher ground of the moors of the south—west and the welsh hills. through into the start of thursday, there could be quite a widespread problem with ice, given that the skies will have cleared and it really will be that cold to start the new day on thursday. but thursday itself, a really decent sort of day. yes, there'll be a breeze coming in from the north—west. not a warm day, despite the sunshine. later on, we'll bring a weather front into the west to see more in the way of mild weather, but more cloud and rain come friday. this is bbc news. the headlines at 1:00pm... a woman from hull is sentenced to three years in an egyptian jail for taking painkillers into the country.
her local mp has condemned the ruling. i think it's a damning indictment, to be honest with you, about good sense and fair play. because this is a naive young woman. a decent, honest, hard—working hull woman who was simply naive. universities must protect free speech and "open minds, not close them," orface possible fines. as the boxing day sales get under way, a warning that prices for many everyday items could rise unless the government focuses on replacing trade agreements after brexit. a royal navy frigate spent christmas day escorting a russian warship through the north sea — one of several russian ships to pass close to the uk in recent days.