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Sunday, 16 December, 2001, 07:06 GMT
Papers reveal Osama DNA sample
With many of the paper's speculating that the net around Osama Bin Laden appears to be closing, the Mail on Sunday and Sunday Mirror report that the Americans now have DNA from a relative.

It is reported that the authorities obtained the sample from one of Bin Laden's half-brothers to identify the terrorist if he is captured or killed.

The reports claim the CIA were provided with a blood sample earlier this year from the man, who lives in Boston.

It is thought the terrorist mastermind has several doubles who are used to confuse the authorities.

SAS VCs?

The DNA sample will be crucial if experts are to be satisfied that they have the right man.

The Mail on Sunday goes on to claim that two SAS fighters hunting Bin Laden may be awarded the Victoria Cross.

It would be the first time that a living soldier has been considered for the honour in more than 30 years.

The paper says it understands that two men have been singled out for exceptional acts of courage in close combat fighting in the Tora Bora caves in eastern Afghanistan.

Cocktail cash

A senior source is quoted as saying: "When the full details of the SAS's role become known, people will understand why we are considering such an honour."

Celebrity agencies are offering senior politicians thousands of pounds to make personal appearances at Christmas parties, according to the front page of the Sunday Times.

The paper reports that among the MPs available on the party circuit are Peter Mandelson and Michael Portillo.

One agency spokeswoman is quoted as saying that - at 6,000 - Mr Mandelson "is a very cheap" guest.

'Shakespeare's World'

And if it is entertainment you want, a report in the Observer suggests you head for Stratford-upon-Avon.

The paper says plans are under way to create a theme park devoted entirely to Shakespeare.

Called "Shakespeare's World", the 30-acre site will target tourists and daytrippers - with the recreation of a full-scale street from the Elizabethan era and actors dressed in costume.

The man behind the plan, Kris Liszerwicz, tells the paper: "We are going to be providing them with a new audience.

"Shakespeare is a superstar but at the moment he is not up there on the pedestal alongside David Beckham."

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