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Stars and Stripes, which has published a daily newspaper in the United Kingdom since World War II, Wednesday debuts a free weekly tabloid called Stars and Stripes UK.

The new publication will be inserted into each Wednesday’s edition of the daily Stars and Stripes, and be made available for free the next day at AAFES facilities, lodging areas, commissaries and dining facilities. It will provide stories and information dedicated to readers at U.S. military bases in the U.K., including RAFs Lakenheath, Mildenhall, Alconbury, and other smaller facilities in the country.

David Mazzarella, editorial director of Stars and Stripes, said U.S. troops in England were being underserved and deserved special consideration.

“It’s a place where we do not have a print site,” Mazzarella said. “For that reason, papers were getting there sometimes in an erratic manner, and that had an effect on our circulation.

“We felt we could pay them back in some way with a special product like this.”

There are about 9,000 U.S. troops and 16,000 U.S. civilian employees and family members in the East Anglia district, where Lakenheath and Mildenhall — the main military hubs — are located. Stars and Stripes UK will feature stories about local troops, civilians and family members.

Wednesday’s edition, for example, includes a story about how servicemembers in England are coping with the steep exchange rate between the British pound and U.S. dollar.

The Stripes editorial staff, whose office is located at RAF Mildenhall, will also be providing local sports news, features on off-base recreational opportunities, and listings of entertainment, sports and music events on and off base.

The UK staff has been expanded to two full-time reporters and one editorial assistant.

“This is part of a whole new series of things we’re trying to do to make the paper more relevant to readers, especially young readers,” Mazzarella said.

He cited the newspaper’s upgraded Web site, which features only Stars and Stripes-generated stories, and the ability to download the entire newspaper in a PDF file, as ways the newspaper is trying to fulfill its mission to provide U.S. troops with news wherever they are.

Stars and Stripes is currently printing and distributing its daily newspaper in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar in addition to longtime operations in Europe and Asia.

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