Newspaper review: Blue passports and Bitcoin nosedive


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A return of blue British passports could cause travel delays and extra paperwork, according to the Guardian. European officials have said that users of any British passport may lose the right to use EU fast-track citizens’ lanes after Brexit.

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The Daily Mail also leads with news that British passport authorities will start producing navy blue travel documents once the UK leaves the EU. The paper calls on a British firm to be given the role of producing the passports, which could be a contract worth up to £490m, it says.

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A pay-per-mile road charging system for lorries is being considered by the government, according to the Times. The paper said the Department for Transport said the proposal could be introduced to reduce traffic could be introduced to replace existing taxes like fuel duty.

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The Telegraph reports donors to pro-Brexit campaign groups during the EU referendum have accused the taxman of a “political attack”, after some have received tax demands on their contributions. Lord Edmiston and Arron Banks are two high-profile donors who have claimed HM Revenue and Customs have targeted them to pay tax in their large gifts to Leave campaigns in 2016.

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Boris Johnson has clashed with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in a highly-charged set of meetings in Moscow, the i reports. The foreign secretary said there is also abundant evidence of interference in elections in the US, Germany and France.

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The value of virtual currency Bitcoin has tumbled by 30% after concerns raised by global regulators about the cryptocurrency market’s security, the FT Weekend reports. The US’s largest exchange, Coinbase, temporarily suspended trading of Bitcoin midway through Friday due to “high traffic”.

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A Christmas confectionary box staple has been snubbed in favour of a new chocolate bar, the Sun reports. Cadbury has replaced the fudge in its Christmas selection boxes with a Dairy Milk Oreo. One Twitter user said: “Christmas is ruined.”

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News that Princess Michael of Kent wore a blackamoor brooch to meet Meghan Markle, Prince Harry’s fiance, is the front page story in the Daily Star. The paper claims that the mixed-race Ms Markle has found herself at the centre of a race row at the Queen’s annual Christmas banquet in Buckingham Palace.

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The “balmy” weather expected on Christmas Day is the lead story in the Daily Express. The paper says the Met Office is predicting temperatures will rise to 12C (54F) this weekend.

Several papers carry pictures of Boris Johnson in Moscow in front of the famous coloured domes of St Basil’s Cathedral.

There’s plenty of discussion too about what the i calls his “highly charged” meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. The Sun says the men “traded verbal blows” over claims that Russia had tried to influence the Brexit referendum and the general election.

The Independent website calls the meeting “classic Boris: bumbling, chaotic, and spectacle-driven”. But it concludes “the tone of the press conference was, by Moscow standards, tame”.

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Boris Johnson stands in front of Saint Basil’s cathedral in Red square in Moscow

The Times leads on what it says are government plans for Britain’s first national pay-per-mile road charging system. It says the Department of Transport is considering mileage and emissions-based fees for lorries to try to reduce traffic.

The paper reports that industry figures are worried that the scheme would act as testing for a universal system for all vehicles, something the government has denied.

The chief executive of Tesco tells the Daily Telegraph that his company will be the first supermarket to be free of food waste – by as early as February.

Dave Lewis, who has run Britain’s largest retailer since 2014, promises that leftover food will no longer be thrown away.

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Instead it will go to charities, or be used in animal food or to make fuel, the paper reports. Mr Lewis admits that Tesco bins up to 70,000 tonnes of food each year and asks if Tesco can make this work, then why can’t everybody?

The political blogging website Guido Fawkes has published a top 10 of MPs who it claims swear the most on social media.

The MP for Birmingham Yardley, Jess Phillips tops the list, according to data supplied by the research site PoliMonitor.

She’s one of seven Labour politicians filling the top places, others include Dawn Butler and Stella Creasy. The SNP’s Angus McNeil is at number two, while the only Conservative is Robert Syms, the member for Poole who’s in 10th place.

The Guardian reports on a surprising turnaround in the fortunes of the turntable. The paper says that record players have become one of the must-have gifts of 2017, with bumper sales for retailers such as HMV and Richer Sounds.

The music industry’s trade body, the BPI, says the number of vinyl records sold is expected to pass four million this year, with a quarter being bought by under-35s. The paper calls it a remarkable comeback for a format that looked doomed in 2007, when just 200,000 records were sold.



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