If you want to get this briefing by email, sign up here
Fly-tipping might not sound like the stuff of master criminals but one Environment Agency manager is calling the problem “the new narcotics”. Gangs posing as legitimate waste disposal businesses are using lock-cutters to break into private land and even hiring buildings to dump clients’ waste, an investigation reveals. Large-scale tipping – quantified as a dumper-truck load or bigger – has more than doubled in six years. And councils in England spent £12.8m clearing more than 36,200 large tips last year.
For the National Farmers Union, it’s a “nightmare”. Countryside Alliance head of policy Sarah Lee says tougher sentences are needed, while Keep Britain Tidy argues local authorities must be better resourced to deal with it. “Networks of career criminals” are involved, according to the government, which says the rise could partly be down to better recording. However, Country, Land and Business Association boss Sarah Hendry, says the introduction of fees at many recycling centres has contributed to the problem.
China has suffered its deadliest day at the hands of the coronavirus outbreak, with 242 deaths in the province of Hubei on Wednesday. It pushes the national death toll above 1,350, with almost 60,000 infections in total. Hubei – home to the city of Wuhan, where the outbreak began – is now using a broader definition to diagnose people, which partly accounts for the steep rise.
Meanwhile, in the UK, all 83 people who have spent a fortnight quarantined at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral will be allowed to leave later, having been told their final tests have come back negative. It comes after the UK recorded its ninth case. Health correspondent Nick Triggle examines Britain’s race to contain the virus.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace is hopeful, Health Secretary Matt Hancock is joking about “longevity” and a philosophical Attorney General Geoffrey Cox suggests “other doorways… will open”. But, with Boris Johnson set to reshuffle his top team, one cabinet minister tells the BBC’s Vicki Young they are “all paranoid, but desperately pretending not to be”. With an eye on gender balance, the prime minister is expected to promote several women, including Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Suella Braverman and Gillian Keegan. Meanwhile, Michael Gove is being touted for a role overseeing Brexit trade talks.
Why an ancient German city was destroyed in 1945
By Toby Luckhurst, BBC News
On 13 February 1945, British aircraft launched an attack on the eastern German city of Dresden. In the days that followed, they and their US allies would drop nearly 4,000 tons of bombs in the assault. The ensuing firestorm killed 25,000 people, ravaging the city centre, sucking the oxygen from the air and suffocating people trying to escape.
The bombing has become one of the most controversial Allied acts of World War Two. Even British Prime Minister Winston Churchill expressed doubts immediately after the attack. “It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed,” he wrote in a memo.
What the papers say
The coronavirus outbreak leads several papers. After confirmation of a case in London, the Guardian quotes one disease expert saying it could spread quickly via the Tube. The i and Times lead on suggestions ministers are delaying plans to fine social media giants who fail to protect users from harmful content in the face of a “backlash” from tech giants. Others report the prime minister’s expected reshuffle, while the Daily Mirror says NHS doctors face bullying and mistreatment, and are quitting “in droves”, as they struggle to cope in hospitals stretched by funding cuts. Read the review.
Big Ben Cost of repairing bell tower rises by £18.6m
Chocolate Nestle axes low sugar range due to weak sales
Boris Johnson Businessman “pays £15,000 towards PM’s holiday”
Retailers “Help us or you’ll kill the High Street”
If you see one thing today
If you listen to one thing today
If you read one thing today
09:30 The NHS in England publishes its latest statistics on measures including ambulance response times, casualty department performance and waiting lists for operations.
09:30 Labour Party leadership contenders take part in a debate on the Victoria Derbyshire programme, on BBC Two and the BBC News Channel.
On this day
1996 Boy band Take That announce they are splitting up. Watch Newsround’s report from the press conference.