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Last Updated: Friday, 3 October, 2003, 06:14 GMT 07:14 UK
Football frenzy builds in papers
A frenzy is beginning to build in some papers in relation to an alleged hotel incident involving a number of professional footballers and a 17-year-old girl.

The case has received widespread coverage, though the players and teams alleged to be involved have not been identified for legal reasons.

More allegations about what happened and the aftermath appear in the Sun and the Mirror.

The Star speculates that football fans may reveal who they believe to be involved by chanting the names from the terraces on Saturday afternoon.

The Times names a club which has become the first to deny publicly any of its players were involved.

It says solicitors acting for the players linked to the incident have expressed concern about the statement, fearing there's a potential risk of "identification by elimination".

Iraq divides opinion

It cost $300m, has lasted three months so far, and uncovered only a single vial of biological agent.

The search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, as far as the Guardian is concerned, drew a "blank".

But the findings of the Iraq Survey Group are received rather differently by the Daily Express.

That same test tube of deadly toxin, it says, "could have been turned into weapons capable of killing thousands within forty-eight hours" and reveals "Saddam's plot to poison the world".

The Independent says the failure to find any illegal weapons is likely to reinforce contentions that the American and British governments grossly exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

"The lack of weapons of mass destruction," according to the paper's leader column, "is evidence of historic failure".

The Times is more equivocal, insisting the inspectors' report "failed to resolve the raging controversy".

It focuses instead on President Bush's decision to triple the inspectors' budget.

'End of national curriculum'

The front page of the Daily Telegraph heralds what the paper describes as "the biggest shake-up in secondary education for sixty years".

It says the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority made an "astonishingly low-key announcement" yesterday that, from the age of 14, children will be offered a choice between academic and vocational courses.

The Telegraph says the change marks the end of the national curriculum for children aged fourteen and over - "amounting to an admission that thirty years of comprehensive education have failed".

The Guardian reports that A-level students - who are currently allowed to resit their exams only once - are to be allowed as many resits as they like, "triggering fresh claims", the paper says, "that standards are being lowered".

Pensions incentive

"Work till you're 70" is the main headline in the Daily Express, which reports the government's proposals to pay people a 30,000 bonus if they postpone their retirement.

The paper is not impressed, labelling it a "shabby plan" to solve the pensions crisis.

It accuses the Work and Pensions Secretary, Andrew Smith, of trying to turn the clock back by encouraging a "work until you drop" culture.

Dust debate

Finally, the Daily Telegraph offers an explanation for differences between men and women in their attitudes to housework.

Neurobiological research, according to the paper, suggests men's brains take in less sensory detail than women's.

They attach less personal identity to the inside of a home, and more to the workplace or the garden.

So, it claims, women who accuse their husbands of laziness for not doing housework are ignoring the simple truth that men's brains do not notice dust in the same way.




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