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15 sports, 102 medal events, 17 days – 'coldest' Winter Olympics set to begin

Media playback is not supported on this device XXIII Olympic Winter Games Venue: Pyeongchang, South Korea Dates: 9-25 February Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, Red Button, Connected TVs, BBC Sport website and mobile app. Full coverage times The 23rd Winter Olympics begin in Pyeongchang on Friday and are set to be the coldest in history. The build-up has seen relations thaw between North and South Korea, with the countries fielding a joint women’s ice hockey team, while there has been controversy over the 169 Russian athletes set to compete…

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North and South Korea to begin high-level talks

North and South Korea will meet on Tuesday for high-level talks, the first between the countries in two years. The meeting is set to take place at 10:00 local time (01:00 GMT) at the Peace House in the truce village of Panmunjom. The talks will focus on North Korea’s possible participation in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, taking place in South Korea in February. South Korea also said it would raise ways to improve inter-Korean relations. Relations between the Koreas deteriorated after Seoul suspended a joint economic project at the…

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Germany coalition: Merkel courts SPD as pivotal talks begin

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will launch a new round of coalition talks on Sunday in a bid to end the country’s political stalemate. More than three months after its election, Germany is still without a new government. The five-day talks will include Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), her allies the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the Social Democrats (SPD). Experts say this may be her last chance to form a stable coalition. The centre-left SPD has governed jointly with the chancellor’s centre-right party for eight of the last 12 years….

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Syria war: Eastern Ghouta medical evacuations begin

Medical evacuations have begun in a rebel-held suburb of the Syrian capital Damascus, the Red Cross has said. In a tweet, it said that “critical” patients were being moved from the Eastern Ghouta area to the capital. Last week, a UK charity said President Bashar al-Assad had been considering a request to evacuate seven children with cancer from the area, which has been under government siege for four years. They are among more than 130 children needing urgent medical treatment there. Nearly 12% of children in Eastern Ghouta – which…

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Outlaws to begin T20 blast defence against beaten finalists Birmingham

Next year’s NatWest T20 Blast will begin with a repeat of last year’s final between Nottinghamshire Outlaws and Birmingham Bears. Nottinghamshire completed a cup double in September when they overturned Birmingham’s home advantage on finals day at Edgbaston with a 22-run victory. The sides will kick off the 2018 edition on July 4, this time at Trent Bridge, as they once again vie for control of the North Division. The competition occupies a mid-summer block for the second year in a row, with the entire group stage wrapped up in…

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MPs begin Mugabe impeachment hearing

The Zimbabwean parliament has started impeachment proceedings against President Robert Mugabe. Mr Mugabe, who has been in power since independence in 1980, is accused of allowing his wife to “usurp constitutional power” by trying to position her as his successor. The motion to remove him is supported by Mr Mugabe’s own Zanu-PF party. Mr Mugabe has refused to resign despite last week’s military takeover, and days of protests against his rule. Let’s block ads! (Why?) BBC News – Home

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Big Tobacco's anti-smoking ads begin after decade of delay

Decades after they were banned from the airwaves, Big Tobacco companies return to prime-time television this weekend — but not by choice. Under court order, the tobacco industry for the first time will be forced to advertise the deadly, addictive effects of smoking, more than 11 years after a judge ruled that the companies had misled the public about the dangers of cigarettes. But years of legal pushback by the industry over every detail means the ads will be less hard-hitting than what was proposed. Tobacco control experts say the…

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