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Sunday, 9 December, 2001, 05:30 GMT
Papers focus on race relations
The lead stories in both the Independent on Sunday and the Mail on Sunday focus on the publication this week of reports into the race riots in parts of northern England during the summer.

The Mail says one inquiry has concluded that the trouble was caused by resentment among white people angry that government money was being given to ethnic minority areas.

The Independent - which carries the interview in which David Blunkett says new immigrants need to learn English - urges caution from the Home Secretary.

In its leader, the paper applauds his warnings about segregation between communities, but adds that the "way he says it" risks alienating the very people he wants to become an integral part of British society.

BA job fears

The Observer leads on what it calls "secret plans" drawn-up by British Airways to cut up to 10,000 jobs.

The article says that the airline has been "plunged into financial chaos in the wake of the September the eleventh attacks". It reports that as part of the shake-up, a number of BA's loss-making regional operations will be closed.

The Mail on Sunday carries a story that Britain is facing pressure from the United Nations to send large numbers of troops to take the lead in "keeping the peace" in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

The paper says that the Ministry of Defence is keen for Britain to be the "framework nation" in the re-building of Afghanistan, although it points out that the MoD won't be "dashing in", until it knows the full extent of the peacekeeping mission.

According to the front page of The Observer, a deal has finally been struck to re-build Wembley Stadium, at a cost of 700m.

After years of wrangling, the Football Association and the government have reached a deal which, the paper says, is intended to "banish Britain's reputation for sporting incompetence".

It adds that demolition is expected to start in the spring, with the new stadium due to open in 2005.

The Sunday Times carries a similar story, saying ministers are adamant no more public money will be spent on the project.

'Close to death'

The Sunday Mirror leads on a claim that the Countess of Wessex was just two hours from death before she was airlifted to hospital on Thursday.

The paper says that the Countess lost five pints of blood when she suffered an ectopic pregnancy.

And the failure of senior members of the Royal Family to visit the Countess in hospital leads to severe criticism from several papers.

On its front page, the Sunday People says the Queen has "cruelly" snubbed her daughter-in-law, while the Mail on Sunday reports that the Royals "preferred to shoot and socialise" rather than go to the hospital.

The Sunday Express says the Queen and Prince Philip chose to "relax with friends", while the News of the World claims that the attitude of senior Royals has "sparked fury among Sophie's closest friends".

For its part, the Sunday Telegraph reports that the Wessexes have decided to give up their business careers, to concentrate on Royal duties and charity work.

It believes the decision was made before the loss of their baby.

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