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Thursday, April 8, 1999 Published at 06:31 GMT 07:31 UK


Refugee 'nightmare' dominates UK press

The Express describes it as a "nightmare" - the forced movement of Kosovo refugees from the border of the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia.

Most of the papers carry pictures of the deserted refugee camp at Blace, strewn with abandoned clothes and belongings.

"They Vanished in The Night" says the headline in The Guardian.

The Times says the operation to move the refugees was "ruthless"; The Daily Mail describes it as "callous".

The Mail says that amid the swamp of mud and debris at the deserted camp were poignant reminders of a happier past - including a once treasured photograph album, abandoned as the refugees were herded out.

The Sun asks: "Can this really be happening in Europe, just months away from the 21st Century?"

The Independent reports what it describes as the "first indications" that Nato might be planning to put ground forces into Kosovo.

The paper says Canada has become the first Nato country to publicly acknowledge that troops might go into Yugoslavia without a peace agreement.

'Silly' trade war

The row between America and the European Union over the import of bananas is described by the Financial Times as "the silliest and most dangerous trade dispute the countries have ever indulged in".

The paper urges the EU to comply with Wednesday's World Trade Organisation ruling without delay.

The Independent agrees as does the Times, which says it would be "extremely unwise" for the EU to persist in the dispute.

However, the Guardian thinks the EU should appeal against the WTO ruling.

It is concerned about America's influence and the EU's ability to resist US exports of genetically-modified foods and hormone treated beef.

Many of the papers describe the government's revised advice on contraceptive pills as a "U-turn".

The Mail says the government advice in 1995 that caused the original health scare led to more than 29,000 extra abortions.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service tells the Guardian the 1995 announcement was a "disaster that should never have happened".

Pencil surgery

Roy Rowlandson is recovering after spending six weeks walking around with a five-inch length of pencil embedded in his lung.

The Telegraph reports that the 14-year-old from Liverpool had been carrying the pencil in his blazer pocket when he fell during a football match at school.

He didn't realise the pencil had speared his lung because it left only a small cut and a bruise.

He has now had the pencil surgically removed.

His father tells The Star his son is the luckiest boy on earth - he could have collapsed and died at any minute.

Finally, the Daily Mail highlights a new survey of the wackiest inventions in history.

The list has been compiled from patent records.

The strange inventions include gas filled living room furniture which floats up to the ceiling when not in use to give more floor space and a car-powered washing machine.

And for those still in bed there is the tootsie tube - a device that catches the air you breathe while sleeping and funnels it down inside the bed to keep your feet warm.

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