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Total Eclipse Tuesday, 24 August, 1999, 11:53 GMT 12:53 UK
Papers thrilled by eclipse
It may have only lasted two minutes but, as The Express puts it, "Britain was united in sheer awe" at the event which took place in the dark Cornish sky on Wednesday.

Images of the sun completely blacked out, surrounded by the halo of its corona, dominate the front pages. The Independent considers the spectacle as "a tiny demonstration of nature's immense power and precision".

The sight was not confined just to Britain, and The Guardian notes that in India as soon as the eclipse was over, women set off for the village pond for a ritual bath to erase the polluting effects of an event which superstition dictates will bring bad luck.

Despite the weather's attempts to spoil the historic event in the West Country, The Mirror believes the eclipse more than lived up to the promise and "made moaners look pathetic."

According to the paper, many of those who marvelled had cynically asked before what all the fuss was about.

However, The Sun highlights how hordes of Britons were left asking: "Was that it?" This sense of anticlimax is summed up by a picture of two women on the beach at Paignton in Devon - who seem to have fallen asleep under their protective glasses.

The Daily Telegraph says there was also disappointment for some of the 200 people who had spent 1,500 each to fly on Concorde to ensure a cloud-free eclipse.

The paper says that while the supersonic plane was well above the clouds, the windows were tiny and the phenomenon could only be seen from one side of the plane.

Omagh investigation investigated

The Independent says intensive farming methods are being blamed for the disappearance of millions of birds over the past 20 years.

It says as the landscape changes to accommodate more crops, species of birds including the skylark, lapwing and yellowhammer have suffered as their natural habitats are destroyed.

As the town of Omagh prepares for a public rememberance ceremony for the 29 people who died in last August's bombing, The Times reports that a senior British police officer is to review the investigation into the attack.

It says the move is an attempt to defuse growing public anger at the inability to track down those to blame.

Wifely advice from Ffion

The Telegraph reveals that Ffion Hague is taking a central role in efforts to mould her husband into "a loveable and dynamic figure". It says she is determined to help William overcome what she admits is his "school swot" image.

Her ideas include seeking photo opportunities which will portray the leader of the opposition as both an action and a family man.

However, the paper thinks Mrs Hague's efforts could be in vain, saying that once a man has walked down the isle, "no amount of nagging will stop him from wearing his favourite pair of carpet slippers".

Under a headline "Big Brother in your pocket", The Times has news of a new device launched in Japan for monitoring the movements of vulnerable people like the elderly.

It could also prove just as useful to husbands or wives who suspect their partners of errant behaviour, it says.

The Partout, which costs about 28,000, links up to the Global Positioning System and can not only pinpoint someone's location, but also reveal whether they are standing up or in horizontal position.

Links to more Total Eclipse stories are at the foot of the page.


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