Monday, December 22, 2008

The recession dominates the headlines this morning

The Independent leads with the headline,Britain's job 'bloodbath'

Britain faces an unemployment "bloodbath" in the new year with many tens of thousands of jobs axed in the public and private sectors, according to a cabinet minister. Senior government figures are braced for a dramatic lengthening in dole queues in the first quarter of 2009, as employers delay announcing redundancies until after Christmas.
Thousands of civil servants and town hall workers will share the pain as government efficiency savings bite, while struggling retailers and manufacturing industry are heading for heavy redundancies.

The Telegraph leads with

Archbishop of Canterbury warns recession Britain must learn lessons from Nazi Germany

Dr Rowan Williams risks causing a new controversy by inviting a comparison between Gordon Brown's response to the economic downturn and the Third Reich.
In an article for The Daily Telegraph, he claims Germany in the 1930s pursued a "principle" that worked consistently but only on the basis that "quite a lot of people that you might have thought mattered as human beings actually didn't".

According to the Times,

Gordon Brown puts millions on table to save car maker Jaguar Land Rover

Brown had decided to intervene to prevent the collapse of the carmaker and was preparing to announce a short-term bailout package today or tomorrow. But a combination of tough rhetoric in public and private reassurance appears to have helped the Tata Group to secure enough cash to postpone the bailout until after Christmas.

The Guardian though says that

A major government rescue package for Jaguar Land Rover is expected to be placed on hold amid signs that the company's Indian owners are prepared to make an emergency cash injection.
As Canada became the second G8 economy to bail out its motor industry, British government sources indicated that Tata is prepared to stave off an immediate crisis.

It leads with the news that

Funding gap puts maternity reform at risk

The government's plans for an overhaul of maternity services are in disarray because hospitals have not received tens of millions of pounds of extra funding for urgently needed improvements, the country's top midwife warns today.
Widespread failure to pass on the money means the NHS will not be able to honour ministerial pledges to give women in England world-class, personalised care – such as a dedicated midwife during pregnancy and labour, and the choice of having their baby at home instead of in hospital – by the deadline in a year's time, according to Professor Cathy Warwick

The Times reports that

Britain’s top antiterror police chief was at the centre of an extraordinary row last night after accusing the “Tory machinery” of seeking to undermine the Damian Green investigation.
Bob Quick, the Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner in charge of specialist operations and counter-terrorism, claimed that the Conservatives and their supporters were “mobilised” against the investigation “in a wholly corrupt way”.
Although Mr Quick later retracted the claim of corruption, the outburst led senior Conservatives to question the judgment of the man in charge of the Green inquiry.

Tories demand full retraction from Met anti-terrorism chief says the Telegraph

The Conservatives have demanded that Britain's anti-terrorrism police chief withdraw an accusation that they are seeking to undermine his investigation into Whitehall leaks.

According to the Telegraph

Britain's generous welfare system triggered baby boom

The changes in 1999 meant the worst-off families could claim £56.76 a week instead of £39, making it "economically much more attractive to have children".
An academic study claims that an extra 45,000 babies were born to mothers who left school at 16 in the year after the "unprecedented" increase in the value of child benefits introduced by Labour

The Mail stays with that theme as it reports that

A mother of four receives more than £90,000 a year from the taxpayer to live in a £2million townhouse in one of the country's most fashionable areas.
Francesca Walker is given £1,755 a week in benefits to pay the rent on the five-bedroom villa, which is a few hundred yards from David Cameron's home.
Kensington and Chelsea Council says under Labour's benefits rules it has no choice but to offer Miss Walker the home in Notting Hill, West London.

It leads with a breakthrough in medicine

Every GP is to be trained to diagnose dementia under an ambitious five-year plan that will revolutionise treatment for Alzheimer's sufferers.
Memory clinics will be set up in all major towns to give patients and their families support, up-to-date care and help on a scale never seen before.

According to the Express

THE worst flu outbreak in nearly 10 years is set to overwhelm hospitals over Christmas.
The epidemic will affect casualty departments already struggling with huge numbers of patients suffering from the norovirus vomiting bug.
And as GPs’ surgeries shut over Christmas, hospitals will break under the strain of yet more patients demanding treatment, doctors fear.

The Independent reports from Lockerbie: a town finally at peace with its tragedy

In the hauntingly beautiful hamlet of Tundergarth, four miles east of the town of Lockerbie, there is a picturesque little cottage which houses a memorial book dedicated to those who died in Britain's worst air disaster.
Yesterday, one message stood out for its heartbreaking solemnity. It was dedicated to a brother and his wife, just two of those who died when Pan Am Flight 103 hurtled into the Dumfriesshire town 20 years ago yesterday, killing 11 people on the ground and all 259 people aboard.

Companies blacklisted in US for allegedly backing Mugabe operate freely in UK reports the Times

Businessmen who have been accused by the US Treasury of financially supporting the Mugabe regime are operating freely in Britain, in spite of Gordon Brown's declaration that “enough is enough” in Zimbabwe.
Of 21 companies put on a US blacklist by President Bush last month, 14 are based in Britain, two in the Isle of Man, one in Jersey and one in the British Virgin Islands. The other three are based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Florida and Zimbabwe itself.

Mugabe unleashes wave of terror with mass abductions says the Independent

Fears are mounting in Zimbabwe for the lives of more than 40 opposition officials and human rights activists who have been abducted as part of a renewed crackdown by the regime in Harare. At least two more members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change have disappeared in the past week, along with a freelance investigative reporter.

'Merchant of death' denies arms dealing reports the Guardian

The man dubbed the "Merchant of Death" for his alleged arms smuggling activities took the stand today for the first time to fight extradition to the United States and deny charges that he conspired to arm Colombian rebels.
Dressed in an orange prison uniform, Viktor Bout was shackled at the ankles but looked relaxed and spoke in mostly measured tones during his testimony at Bangkok's criminal court

The Sun reports that

X FACTOR winner Alexandra Burke landed the Christmas No1 yesterday — and shattered sales records.
Her cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah is the fastest-selling single by a female in UK chart history.
It outsold the rest of the Top 20 combined, shifting 576,000 copies.
And in another chart first, two versions of the same track occupied the number one and two positions — with Jeff Buckley’s 1994 interpretation of Hallelujah just behind Alexandra’s.

Finally the Guardian reports that Stampede for 'Bush shoe' creates 100 new jobs

Their deployment as a makeshift missile robbed President George Bush of his dignity and landed their owner in jail. But the world's most notorious pair of shoes have yielded an unexpected bonanza for a Turkish shoemaker.
Ramazan Baydan, owner of the Istanbul-based Baydan Shoe Company, has been swamped with orders from across the world, after insisting that his company produced the black leather shoes which the Iraqi journalist Muntazar al-Zaidi threw at Bush during a press conference in Baghdad last Sunday.

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