Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Varied headlines in the papers this morning.The Telegraph leads with the story that
Motorists face fines and points for minor accidents.

Thousands of drivers who would have escaped prosecution for collisions after simply swapping insurance details will now face likely prosecution as soon as the police become involved.
An array of trivial motoring offences in addition to minor crashes are also likely to lead to action under proposals to give police powers to issue fixed penalty notices for careless driving.

The Times reports that

Hundreds of children who suffered neglect or abuse at the hands of their parents have been given the green light to sue councils for damages that could total millions of pounds.
Between 200 and 300 cases where councils failed to take children promptly into care are being prepared after a landmark legal ruling, The Times has learnt. The delays in removing children stretch from weeks and months to years in some cases.

The Sun is in Afghanistan

THOUSANDS of miles from their loved ones, Royal Marines sing Christmas carols in Afghanistan – moments before Taliban forces staged a surprise attack.
The troops, from 40 Commando Royal Marines, were attempting to bring a touch of British normality to war-torn Helmand Province when their festive service was interrupted by enemy gunfire.
Hurling aside hymn sheets, they rushed to grab their weapons and – still in their Santa hats – loosed off round after round of mortar fire to see off the enemy.

Little Oliver is a real Christmas miracle is the lead in the Mail

Sitting by the tree with his mother and a pile of presents, two-year-old Oliver Taplin looks as happy as any boy in Britain.
But behind the Santa hat and the timid smile is the story of a toddler who has been fighting for his life since it began.
With him at every turn have been his parents, who were told by doctors to give him his last cuddle when he was just seven days old.

The Independent leads with the story that Millions stranded in trains fiasco,the paper reports that

The rail industry, the Government and regulators were engaged in a farcical blame game last night over who is responsible for Britain's annual 58-hour Christmas railway shut down, which begins tonight.
Train operating companies said yesterday that they would be ready to introduce services from next year but blamed the Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) for not co-ordinating an agreement. Atoc, however, said it was prepared to take part in meetings with Network Rail and the Government to discuss a new Christmas timetable, but it blamed the Government for failing to co-ordinate talks. Meanwhile, the Government has laid the blame at the door of individual operators, which it says are the only ones who can act to introduce the services.

The recession is covered as the Times reports that

Retailers are introducing earlier and bigger discounts in the hope of unleashing a wall of pent-up Christmas spending among shoppers.
After nearly three months of poor trading, shopkeepers are offering record discounts in the hope of bringing forward the levels of spending they anticipate when the January sales begin in earnest on Friday.

The Telegraph says that

The Queen will stress the importance of the family during the economic downturn in her Christmas Message which will include rare film footage of Prince Charles as a baby.

Whilst the Indpendent reports that

Alistair Darling may be forced to revise his forecast that the economy will start to grow again from next summer amid fears that his prediction is already proving too optimistic.

A French hedge fund manager whose company lost as much as $1.4bn of clients' money in Bernard Madoff's corrupt investment firm was found dead in his Manhattan office yesterday after apparently killing himself.
The body of Thierry de la Villehuchet, 65, co-founder of Access International Advisers, was found at his company's headquarters on New York's Madison Avenue. Police said a knife and pills were lying nearby.
reports the Guardian

According to the Express

MILLIONS of families were given a dose of Christmas cheer last night after experts predicted that energy bills would be slashed by 30 per cent next year.
Combined gas and electricity charges could tumble by as much as £400 for the average household in 2009, finally bringing some relief to struggling home owners and pensioners.

The Guardian leads with the news that

Animal rights activists are continuing a campaign of threats and intimidation against scores of companies linked to the controversial animal research laboratory Huntingdon Life Sciences, despite a £3.5m police undercover sting which will put key extremists behind bars.
Four leading activists were convicted yesterday for a six-year campaign of blackmail against firms linked to HLS. Three others pleaded guilty before the trial.

The Mirror reports that

A postman had his arm nearly ripped off in a frenzied attack by two Rottweiler guard dogs as he delivered Christmas cards.
Keith Davies, 54, was savaged outside a £1.3million mansion in an exclusive area of Cambridge.
He was only saved when brave builder Anthony Lunn, 44, fought the dogs off with an iron bar – before they then turned on him.

Reading to children daily 'improves achievement and behaviour at school'says the Telegraph

The Institute of Education's study found a correlation between mothers who believe it is important to teach their toddler the alphabet, to count, and read to them regularly and the child's achievement at the age of five.
The Government-commissioned study looked at the foundation stage profile, a teacher's assessment of a child's achievement after one year at school, and assessed the cognitive abilities of just over 8,000 five-year-olds

Many of the papers report that

Pope angers campaigners with speech seen as attack on homosexuality

Speaking to the Curia, the Vatican's central administration, the pope said that the church viewed the distinction as central to human nature, and "asks that this order, set down by creation, be respected". The church, he said, "should protect man from the destruction of himself". He said a sort of ecology of man was needed, adding: "The tropical forests do deserve our protection; but man, as a creature, does not deserve any less." He attacked what he described as "gender" theories which "lead towards the self-emancipation of man from creation and the creator".
reports the Guardian

The Times adds that

Roman Catholic leaders in England, traditionally a liberal province, sought to distance themselves from the Pope’s remarks, claiming that he had been misrepresented because he never used the word “homosexual”.

Finally the Mail reports on the The liposuction fatmobile

Many report that Guinea in crisis after military coup

The West African nation of Guinea has sunk into political crisis after the army staged a coup on Tuesday following the death of the president
says the Telegraph adding that

Under Lansana Conte, the late dictator who seized power in 1984, Guinea became a crucial link in the global drugs trade. Every year, large quantities of South American cocaine are smuggled through Guinea to Western Europe, often with the connivance of the army and at least one senior member of the dead president's family.

The Independent says that

The President, who was famously so paranoid that he would not confirm his own age, had held power since leading a coup in 1984 and was believed to have been in his seventies

Finally the Mail reports that

If you're keen to establish your green credentials you can install solar panels or stick a wind turbine on your roof.
Or you could become a patient of Dr Alan Bittner.
The leading Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon claims to be saving the planet by using fat removed from clients in liposuction operations to power his 4x4 car.

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