Newspaper headlines: ‘Army lags behind Russia’ and steroid alert

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The British Army would struggle to withstand Russian forces on the battlefield, according to the UK’s most senior soldier. The Times previews a speech from head of the army General Sir Nick Carter, who will say on Monday that Britain “cannot afford to sit back”, as Russia poses a threat through cyber warfare, and its ability to launch long-range missiles.

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The Telegraph also leads with a preview of Sir Nick Carter’s speech on Monday. It adds that the aggressive modernisation of the Russian army has left Britain’s forces lagging behind. He will say: “Our ability to pre-empt or respond to threats will be eroded if we don’t keep up with our adversaries.”

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BBC Sport

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About a million people in the UK are taking steroids and other performance enhancing drugs to change the way they look, the Guardian reports. There is growing concern that the abuse of these drugs puts the long-term health of young men at risk. They may also face complications by mixing steroids with alcohol and drugs like cocaine.

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Angela Merkel looks set to have a fourth term as German chancellor as the Christian Democrats (CDU) move a step closer to a coalition with the Social Democrats party (SPD). SPD leader Martin Schultz had previously ruled out a coalition with Mrs Merkel’s party, but his party has now agreed to begin talks with the CDU. Mrs Merkel has been unable to form a government since September’s inconclusive election.

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French President Emmanuel Macron has said he fears his country would vote to leave the EU if it held a referendum, the Daily Express claims. Covering his interview on the Andrew Marr show, the paper says he believed some Britons backed Brexit because “a lot of losers” of globalisation had “decided it was not for them”.

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The i says the UK is aiding the ivory trade, as illegal products are available on online auction sites like eBay. It adds more than 20,000 elephants are killed every year “to supply [the] flourishing international market”.

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The Metro leads on the news that an eight-year-old girl has been stabbed to death in Brownhills, near Walsall. A 54-year-old man has been arrested and is in a critical condition, with a stab wound to his stomach.

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The Celebrity Big Brother house has been broken into by two intruders, the Daily Star reports. The paper says the two men posted footage of “the brazen stunt” online.

The Daily Telegraph and the Times both lead on the warning by British army chief Gen Sir Nick Carter, that Britain is struggling to keep up with Russian military advances.

The Times thinks his officially-sanctioned intervention appears designed to raise public awareness of the scale and urgency of the challenge. Britain, concludes the paper, cannot be defended on the cheap.

For the Telegraph, Sir Nick’s estimation of Britain’s capabilities is shocking. It believes Britain is clearly more underpowered than it has been for many years.

The Mail acknowledges that money is tight – but argues that the state’s first duty is to protect its people. If the money cannot be found, it argues, it should be taken from the “absurdly bloated foreign aid budget”.

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MOD / Crown Copyright

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General Sir Nick Carter

The prospect of Angela Merkel forming a new coalition government in Germany is the main story in the Financial Times.

The paper reports that the decision by the SPD to enter formal coalition talks with Mrs Merkel’s conservatives will prompt relief among European leaders such as President Macron, who it says, needs a sympathetic government in Berlin to push ahead with a sweeping overhaul of the EU.

In Germany, Der Spiegel says the SPD leadership avoided embarrassment by securing a small majority in favour of holding talks.

The Times features new research which suggests trust in social media has fallen to a record low amid fears about fake news.

The annual Edelman Trust Barometer found that fewer than a quarter of people in the UK trust the tech and publishing giants.

The Guardian highlights a thirteen point increase in support for the traditional media to the highest level since 2012. Ed Williams, from Edelman UK, tells the paper that the public want social media companies to take action on issues related to online protection.

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The Guardian also reports that public health experts and doctors have found that up to one million people in the UK are taking anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs.

Research suggests appearance rather than sporting performance is the reason for the majority of people using them.

According to the paper, users range from teenagers seeking the perfect physique to older men hoping to hang on to their youthful looks.

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The Daily Express features a woman from Rotherham who owns what’s thought to be one of Britain’s oldest working gas cookers.

Val Marks refuses to upgrade the new world appliance because it’s the last surviving memento of her mother, who bought it for £38 in 1959.

Mrs Marks, 76, says the cooker is still going strong and hopes its outlives her. If it does, she wants to donate it to a local museum.

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