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The WeekThe Week

The Week V. 1209

The Week covers the Best of the British and Foreign Media. With its non partisan reporting, The Week gives the reader an insight into all the the news, people, arts, drama, property, books and how the international media has reported it. This concise guide allows the reader to be up to date and have a wealth of knowledge to allow them to discuss all these key topics with their friends and peers.

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51 Issues


9 min.
the main stories… …and how they were covered

What happened Deal or “no deal” The Brexit battle resumed this week when MPs opposed to a no-deal exit, including several Tory rebels, inflicted a Commons defeat on Theresa May – the first defeat in the Commons on a finance bill in 40 years. The MPs approved a Labour amendment to the finance bill that would, in the event of a no-deal outcome, limit the Treasury’s ability to make tax changes to mitigate the costs of it. The move came at the start of five more days of debate on May’s Brexit deal, which is set to be put to a crucial Commons vote on Tuesday. This is the “meaningful vote” that the PM postponed in December after conceding she had no chance of winning. Few expect May to have any better luck…

2 min.
the week

A new year, a new dawn? Voters are tired of the old politics, so the pundits tell us. They’re restless for change. And this year they’re due to get United for Change, a new centre party backed by the millionaire LoveFilm founder Simon Franks. But change to what? United for what? UfC is keen to bring new faces into politics, but as for new ideas, its only policy seems to be to get panels of experts to decide what policy should be. That’s what’s so odd about all this talk of the need for a political transformation. Aside from the novel proposal for a four-day week advanced by Labour’s John McDonnell, all the ideas for a brighter future seem so shopworn. There’s no new vision: we’ve seen them all before. So…

2 min.
china’s moon landing

“Half a century ago, when the first American set foot on the Moon, China was a slumbering dragon,” said Rhys Blakely in The Times. Its GDP per capita was $100 and it had yet to launch its first satellite. But on 3 January, China landed a probe on the far side of the Moon – a feat never before attempted – announcing itself “as a bona fide superpower in a new space race”. The landing of the Chang’e 4 probe was an impressive feat, but it wasn’t “technologically dazzling”, said the Financial Times. “Nasa could have done it many years ago had it wished to”; in fact, last week’s other big breakthrough in space – the fly-by of Ultima Thule, some four billion miles from Earth – was much more…

1 min.
spirit of the age

The amount of time Britons spend on landline phone calls has halved in the past six years alone as people have embraced new ways of communicating. According to Ofcom, the number of landline minutes tumbled from 103 billion in 2012 to 54 billion in 2017. In that time, mobile minutes increased slightly, from 132 billion to 148 billion, while mobile data usage leapt from 0.2GB a month per person to 2GB. Revenue from sales of CDs, DVDs and video games (installed from a disc) fell again last year; they were down 11%, or £234m, as retailers struggled to compete with Spotify and Netflix. HMV, the sector’s biggest seller, had such a bad Christmas it went into administration on 28 December (see page 41).…

1 min.
good week for

Vegans, with the launch of a plant-based McDonald’s Happy Meal (marketed as vegetarian as it may contain traces of milk); a vegan Greggs sausage roll; and, at Waitrose, fishless fingers, made from breaded seaweed tofu. Sainsbury’s is soon to launch vegan “smoked salmon” flavoured with konjac powder. Booksellers, after the UK book market experienced its fourth consecutive year of growth. According to Nielsen BookScan, sales of print books grew 2.1% in value last year and 0.3% in volume. Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming, was the most valuable book of the year, taking £7.7m in sales; the bestselling non-fiction title was Adam Kay’s memoir about life as a junior doctor, This is Going to Hurt, while the overall bestseller was Gail Honeyman’s debut novel Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.…

1 min.
bad week for

David Cameron, after it emerged that his character was axed from the final version of Channel 4’s drama Brexit: The Uncivil War, because its writer didn’t think he was interesting enough. James Graham said that by the time he finished his first draft of the script, he’d realised that the PM who called the referendum had already “slightly faded away into the distance”, and that the real “agent of change” was Dominic Cummings (see page 48). Commuters, who returned to work after Christmas to face another increase in rail fares. Regulated fares, which are capped at the Retail Price Index inflation rate for July, went up 3.1% on average this month. The overall cost of commuting by train has gone up 36% since 2010, according to an analysis by Labour.…