Sunday, 18 December 2011

Pensioners to be evacuated from Spain,Clegg on the warpath and tragedy in the Philippines-Sunday papers

The last Sunday before Xmas and the papers are not agreed on this morning's top stories.

Europe though continues to cast a shadow with the Sunday Times revealing that Britain has a contingency plan to help expats in Spain and Portugal if their banking systems collapses.

According to the paper,the Foreign Office is concerned that expats who have invested savings in their adopted countries could be left stranded, unable to withdraw cash and facing losing their homes if the banks call in loans.

The Observer reports that analysts have predicted that France could be stripped of its triple-A credit rating before Christmas, raising new doubts about the survival of the euro.

The Mail on Sunday in its latest bit of Europe bashing claims that the European Commission is considering whether to force store chains to lower the temperature of chiller units that display fresh meat, fish, dairy products and fruit juices to a distinctly cool two degrees Celsius.

Meanwhile the fallout in the coalition over Europe continues to with the Telegraph leading on the story that Nick Clegg is to attack Tory plans to introduce tax breaks for married couples, claiming ministers must not try to preserve a “1950s model” of family life in “aspic”.

The paper says that the speech designed to reassert the Liberal Democrats’ voice in government,and Clegg will also set out his vision of an “Open Society”,in direct contrast to the Big Society trumpeted by David Cameron.

But there are problems on the opposition benches as well as the Independent reports that Ed Miliband is planning a new year shake-up of his internal party structure, as criticism of his faltering leadership escalated last night.

The paper says that his performance at Prime Minister's Questions last week left some members in his party talking openly about a succession unless he improves.

Royal topics on the front of the Mail and the Express.The later says that Princes William and Harry are to make an emotional return to the home they grew up in with their tragic mother Princess Diana,whilst the Mail says that Prince Harry became embroiled in a real-life crime drama when he came to the rescue of one of his best friends after he was mugged on a London street.

The papers report on the tragedy that swept through the Philippines yesterday after least 430 people died and hundreds more have gone missing after the tropical storm Washi swept across the south of the country.

Many of the dead were swept out to sea reports the Telegraph. Others were buried alive as mud cascaded down mountain slopes. Water levels rose three feet in less than an hour, forcing thousands to climb on to the roofs of their homes where they huddled against wind speeds reaching 55 miles per hour.

The Independent leads with the trial of whistleblower,Bradley Manning.In an exclusive the papers says that startling claims by army personnel about both his mental state, and lax security at the US base from which he is alleged to have leaked a huge tranche of classified US cables, are contained in a document prepared by his defence team.

Another exclusive on the front of the Observer which reports that according to leaked advice provided by consultants to the Treasury,highly paid City traders are depriving pensioners and savers of thousands of pounds through high management fees that are often hidden.

The Sunday Times meanwhile reports that the House of Commons has drawn up plans to hire itself out as a private members’ club for corporate clients and a venue for VIP gigs, champagne tours and banquets.

A leaked copy of a blueprint to raise an extra £53m over five years warns that the proposals may force MPs to give up historic privileges “in an age of austerity where parliament needs to sweat its assets” says the paper.

The Telegraph claims that Lord Mandelson lobbied for business from Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak’s regime days before it was overthrown.The former Cabinet minister,says the paper,approached senior Egyptian officials before the uprising in an attempt to win lucrative work for Global Counsel, his Knightsbridge-based “strategic advisory” firm.

The People reveals yet more shocking pictures showing the fallout of "booze-fuelled" Christmas carnage as revellers collapse and vomit during wild benders.

It’s a sad but familiar scene across Ireland and Britain,says the paper, but the mayhem gets even worse at this time of year, creating a nightmare scenario for emergency services repeatedly called out to deal with a staggering scale of drunkeness.

On the same topic,the Independent reports that the Health Secretary insists that minimum pricing on alcohol will not beat Britain's burgeoning drink problem.Instead,Andrew Lansley, who is preparing to launch a new year drive aimed at ending the country's binge drinking culture.

Finally the country has a new strictly winner with McFly star Harry Judd winning the Strictly Come Dancing final with dance partner Aliona Vilani.

The Sunday Mirror says that Judd said after his win: "I've been on the best show on TV and I'm just honoured. I was so nervous when I first started, and I didn't think I would be able to do it.

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