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Sunday, 6 January, 2002, 06:57 GMT
Papers assess Blair's diplomatic tour
Many of the Sunday papers express opinions on Tony Blair's South Asian tour - and whether he has abandoned domestic problems for the international stage.

The Sunday Express poses the question: Is Tony Blair right to cast himself in the role of global firefighter?

The Sunday Times believes he is entitled to bang the drum for Britain in world affairs - provided he does not lose sight of Britain's real objectives, which means we will sometimes have to temper international ambitions in favour of dull domesticity.

But Jackie Ashley in the Observer disagrees, saying: "Come home, Tony, your country needs you."

It's time, she declares, that he stopped worrying about putting his stamp on the new world order and got down to some domestic chores.

The Independent on Sunday takes up the theme, arguing that Mr Blair must not make claims that Britain cannot live up to or which appear fanciful or distant from national concerns.

Calming presence?

As Mr Blair prepares to meet the Indian Prime Minister, Atal Vajpayee, the Sunday Telegraph suggests that he may not receive such a warm reception as he might hope.

It says he suffered embarrassment when an Indian cabinet minister said India did not need his calming influence in its dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir.

The Mail on Sunday reports that the prime minister had to rewrite parts of his speech in Bangalore to give it a more pro-Indian stance after the local media accused him of siding with Pakistan.

President Musharraf's decision to shake Mr Vajpayee's hand at a summit in Nepal is seen by the Independent as another example of what it calls his fleet-footed public relations.

The Observer concludes that despite Mr Musharraf's attempts to reassure the world that he does not want war with India over Kashmir, the two sides are as far as part as ever.

Security fears

The Sunday People cannot contain its anger after its reporters uncovered more lapses in airport security.

It beggars belief, says the paper, that its investigators managed to smuggle lethal weapons on to a plane for the second week running.

Rich residents

New research, featured in the Times, gives an insight into where rich people live.

The place with the highest number of millionaires is not the London borough of Kensington or Mayfair but the village of Loudwater near Watford in Hertfordshire, where almost one in four people have a seven figure fortune.

Baby agony

There is widespread coverage of what the News of the World calls Gordon Brown's baby heartache.

The Mail, which devotes five pages to the news that his daughter has been transferred to a specialist baby unit, thinks Mr Brown and his wife are experiencing a lonely agony that people can only imagine.

The Sunday Express offers a note of hope to the Browns by featuring the stories of other children who were born prematurely.

Money laundering

The question of whether or not Britain will join the euro once again prompts much speculation and comment, but the Sunday Mirror turns its attention to the issue of whether the new euro bank notes are wash proof.

The paper has put pound, dollar and euro notes to the test in a washing machine.

The dollar is said to have come out undamaged if a little crumpled, while the pound faded in the wash and the euro fared only slightly better.

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