Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, was assassinated in Kuala Lumpur. Witnesses told the press that he had a poisonous chemical pressed in his face by two women who then made off in a taxi. It is the first violent death in the family since 2013, when the leader’s uncle was executed. The New York Times claimed that telephone records showed that members of Trump’s presidential campaign 'had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election'. Some Republican politicians backed demands for an extensive investigation into the activities of Flynn, the former national security adviser.
Downing Street hinted that Theresa May would not attend the 60th anniversary summit of the EU on 25 March because there was no point. An opinion poll in Britain found that 54% of those surveyed favoured extending the Brexit negotiations, or a second referendum, if no satisfactory deal could be reached. More than 14,000 hate crimes were recorded in England and Wales between July and September last year, immediately following the EU referendum. The leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party, Paul Nuttall, admitted in a local radio interview that a claim on his website that he had lost close friends in the Hillsborough disaster was false. A UKIP press officer, one Lynda Roughley, said she was responsible for the error and resigned. BBC online was not running this story this morning, but had found room for an item on online abortion pills in its own Victoria Derbyshire
Show and an announcement that two athletes, Mr and Mrs Kenny, were
having their first baby (the 13th most important event in the world yesterday, according to the BBC).
The Advertising Standards Authority ruled that a television ad by Alzheimer’s Research UK depicting Santa Claus with dementia and having forgotten Christmas, though upsetting for children, was not offensive. The Guardian dribbled many hundreds of words on a Twitter 'war' between the children’s author J K Rowling and the repulsive television presenter Piers Morgan. There was less ice in Antarctica than is usual at this time of year.
A report by the Scottish government claimed that wealth inequality in Scotland is getting worse. The Scottish Retail Consortium chose the word 'dreich' to describe post-Christmas sales, which were down on the previous January; the only consolations for the shops were purchases related to Burns night and the Chinese New Year. A 13-year-old boy in care, Blake Ross, who had gone missing in Edinburgh without his medication for diabetes, took ill on a bus and died in hospital; the police's handling of his disappearance is to be investigated. A retired footballer, Garry O’Connor, who played 16 times for Scotland, was fined £200 for shoplifting and ordered to pay Harvey Nichols, the department store, compensation of £700 for a stolen jacket which has not been recovered; O’Connor was said to be unemployed and being supported by his wife.