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Thursday, May 13, 1999 Published at 02:12 GMT 03:12 UK


Press anger over security breach

"Traitor" is the one-word headline in The Mirror which sums up the paper's outrage that the names of British spies have been published on the Internet.

The Mirror says former agent, Richard Tomlinson, has blown the cover of secret service men and women around the world.

The Express estimates that the lives of dozens of secret agents have been put at risk, while The Sun says British spies were forced to flee to safety before they could be killed or captured.

The Guardian describes the release of the information as a "nightmare scenario" for the secret service.

It says the floodgates of information opened by the Spycatcher case have - with the help of the Internet - been turned into a tidal wave.

The Daily Telegraph says Mr Tomlinson appears to have chosen the equivalent of the "nuclear option" to exact revenge on his former employers by using what the paper calls the "worldwide web of betrayal".

Shrewd move

According to The Daily Mail, many Tories were left "seething" by the appointment of the former Conservative Party Chairman and Hong Kong Governor, Chris Patten, as one of Britain's European Commissioners.

The Times believes it is a shrewd move by Tony Blair. He has humiliated William Hague by rejecting his choice of candidate, and neutralised a potential future rival for the job of prime minister.

The Sun agrees that the prime minister has outwitted the Tories and played what it calls "a trump card".

The Daily Telegraph argues that Conservatives should be relieved by Mr Patten's departure to Brussels, even though he was a politician who reached parts of the electorate that other Tories could not reach.

The Independent reports that the only copy of an opera score by the leading British composer, Michael Berkeley, has been stolen.

Mr Berkeley - the son of the composer Sir Lennox Berkeley and godson of Benjamin Britten - believes the manuscript was taken when he was unloading his car in west London on Tuesday night. He is offering a reward of several hundred pounds for its safe return.

Prophecies believed

As the Daily Mail points out, the 16th Century mystic, Nostradamus, wrote the following lines about this coming July: "In the year 1999 and seven months there will come from the skies the great King of Terror."

The Times says this prediction is being taken seriously in Japan, where the prophecies pf Nostradamus are widely believed

One lingerie company has gone as far as producing an "Armageddon Bra" which alerts its wearer to incoming missiles by means of a shoulder strap sensors and a high-tech control box.

The manufacturers say that ideally the bra should be worn outside outer garments to work efficiently.

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