News in 5 Minutes: Syrian civil war reaches final bloody phase, Scottish Government releases new education statistics, and what Donald Trump and the Queen have in common


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TODAY’S INSTALMENT (13 December) of the CommonSpace daily news roundup includes the final bloody phase of the Syrian civil war, the release of fresh Scottish education statistics, and the thing that Donald Trump and the Queen have in common.

News: Syrian city of Aleppo ready to fall to Assad’s troops

Syrian civil war enters final bloody phase

Troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad are closing in on the last hold-out rebel areas in East Aleppo. Once Syria’s largest city, Aleppo was a centre of the revolution in 2011, which degenerated into a drawn-out civil war. Russia’s air-power intervention on the side of Assad in September 2015 marked a turning point against fractured rebel forces. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have died in the conflict so far.

Post office and Southern rail strikes take hold in days leading up to Christmas

Bosses have failed to accept the demands of workers in the Post Office and Southern rail trains, leading to industrial action. The Aslef train drivers union have begun 48 hours of strikes on Southern rail services in England, disrupting the journeys of up to 600,000 passengers. Post Office workers plan five days of strikes from Monday, which could cause unprecedented disruption in the busy holiday period. The CWU union says it is facing a desperate fight to save a service being cut to the bone by bosses.

Politics: Fresh Scottish education statistics to be released

New stats come after disappointing Pisa figures

The Scottish Government will reveal fresh statistics in the Scottish Parliament later today. The announcement by at 2:20pm today John Swinney comes a week after figures showed Scotland falling behind in Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) international rankings.

Sport: Students mock FA advice on girl’s football

Pink whistles and soft footballs, are you having a laugh?

Girls at a school in Doncaster have mocked advice produced by the English football association (FA), advising that pink referees whistles, brightly coloured bibs and softer footballs be deployed to encourage girls to take up football. Writing to the FA, sixth year girls at Luley Junior School said: “We aren't brainless Barbie dolls. We don't all like the same colour – pink.”

Culture: Edinburgh theatre to showcase Trump ‘Locker room talk’ satire

Playwright Gary McNair negotiates issues around Donald Trump campaign and misogyny

Playwright Gary McNair will team up with Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh and an all-female cast to launch a play in 2017, exploring the issues of misogyny around Donald Trump’s campaign to be US President.

Weather: Mild weather keeps up across the country

Almost uniformly cloudy across Scotland

It will remain mild and cloudy across Scotland today, though there’s nothing left of the humidity from last week. The far north east of the country will see splashes of sun.

And another thing: What do the queen and Donald Trump have in common?

Just look at its face                                     

What impels someone to seamlessly graft US President elect Donald Trump’s face onto the Queen’s head? Who knows, but the results are twisted and compelling.

Picture courtesy of Christiaan TriebertIlmicrofono OggionoLee WinderGage SkidmoreAdrian Kingsley-Hughes

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