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News Daily: Ken Dodd dies and CIA boss defend’s Trump over Kim talks

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    Hello. Here’s your morning briefing:

    Comic legend Ken Dodd dies

    He was one of the best-loved comedians Britain has produced – and certainly the most energetic. Ken Dodd, famed for his tickling stick, the Diddymen characters and his rapid-fire delivery of gags, has died at the age of 90, after suffering from a chest infection.

    The Liverpool legend’s comedy career started in the the 1950s and he made it in to the Guinness Book of Records in the 1960s for telling 1,500 jokes in three and a half hours. His gentle-but-zany humour made him a TV star, while he became a successful singer with hits including Tears and Happiness.

    A few days before his death he married Anne Jones, his partner of 40 years, at their house, the one in which he’d grown up, in the Liverpool suburb of Knotty Ash – often referenced in his comedy.

    Here’s the story of Ken Dodd’s extraordinary life. And take a look at some of the pictures of his long and varied career.

    Trump not naive about Kim talks, says CIA boss

    It came as a surprise last week when Donald Trump agreed to talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the pair having exchanged insults as the crisis over the latter’s missile testing has escalated. Critics of the US president – who has predicted the “greatest deal for the world” – have questioned what can actually be achieved and whether a meeting will benefit Mr Kim. But CIA director Mike Pompeo says Mr Trump’s eyes are “wide open” to potential risks and that sanctions against North Korea are working. The BBC’s Joel Gunter looks at the tricky task of preparing for such an unlikely summit.

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    Fury as Labour’s Debbie Abrahams leaves front bench

    There’s anger and confusion over the departure of Labour’s work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams. On Sunday, the party said she had stepped down while an “employment issue” was being investigated. But Mrs Abrahams has claimed she was removed from her post against her will, calling herself a victim of a “bullying culture of the worst kind”. The Oldham East and Saddleworth MP described a complaint reportedly made against her as “spurious”, adding that she would not rule out legal action.

    Have voters changed their minds about Brexit?

    By John Curtice, Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    All of the polling evidence points in the same direction – there appears to have been a slight drop in backing for Brexit, such that the balance of opinion might now be the reverse of what it was in June 2016. But at this point considerable caution is in order. Opinion polls are not always wholly accurate. Polling is too hazardous an enterprise for the position to be otherwise. When the polls are as close as they are on Brexit, the only sensible judgement we can make is that the outcome of any second referendum is too close to call.

    Read the full article

    What the papers say

    Most newspapers focus on ldevelopments in the investigation of the nerve gas attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. The Daily Express asks why it’s taken a week to alert people who were in the vicinity when the chemicals were released to wash their belongings. And the Daily Telegraph says residents of Salisbury, where the attack happened, are demanding more information from officials. Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph says Theresa May is “on the verge of publicly blaming Russia” for what happened when the National Security Council meets later. Elsewhere, a picture of football pundit Jamie Carragher appearing to spit from a car window features on the front pages of the Sun and the Daily Mirror.

    Daily digest

    Jail whistleblowers Pair sacked for raising safety concerns over Liverpool Prison

    Nerve agent attack Salisbury diners and pub-goers told to wash possessions

    Bomb alert Putin ordered downing of plane as Sochi Winter Olympics about to start

    Brexit backlash Lib Dems’ Vince Cable criticised over “white nostalgia” comment

    If you see one thing today

    US race where both parties are ‘pro-gun’

    If you listen to one thing today

    Should baby boomers pay more tax?

    If you read one thing today

    Image copyright EPA

    Life in Putin’s Russia in 10 charts


    09:00 A commemoration for the 80th anniversary of the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany takes place in Vienna.

    11:05 Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat speaks about Brexit at an Institute of Directors event in London.

    On this day

    1969 Hundreds of Beatles fans turn up as Paul McCartney marries photographer Linda Eastman in a civil ceremony in London.

    From elsewhere

    France debates the age of consent (The Atlantic)

    Scientists unravel mystery of the ancient ‘gate to hell’ (CNN)

    Pet Shop Boys make ballet debut (New York Times)

    Aprium, anyone? The pick of hybrid fruit and vegetables (Guardian)

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