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Friday, May 21, 1999 Published at 05:55 GMT 06:55 UK


'Tone down war rhetoric, Blair told'

The Guardian says US President Bill Clinton and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair had an unusually difficult telephone conversation about Kosovo this week.

The American leader is said to have told the prime minister to "get control" of people who were encouraging reports of splits between London and Washington.

The Independent has a similar report that Mr Clinton intervened to tell London to damp down its war rhetoric. The Times reports that after eight weeks of Nato bombing, the number of Serb soldiers in Kosovo remains at 40,000 - the same as when the air campaign began.

Rapist confession

"Did this monster rape 100 women?" is the headline in The Express, which - like most of the tabloids - leads with the conviction of the former disc jockey, Richard Baker, for raping and assaulting 12 women.

The Daily Star focuses on attempts by detectives to get other women who may have been his victims to come forward.

The Sun reports that after a previous conviction Baker confessed to his mother that he was addicted to sex, and that 20 women a day would not be enough to satisfy him.

Rebels 'clapped-out'

"Blair rocked by revolt on disabled" is The Daily Telegraph's front page headline on the rebellion by Labour backbenchers against changes to incapacity benefit.

The Independent believes the prime minister's drive to reform the welfare state has suffered a huge setback, while The Guardian concludes there is now enormous pressure on the government to make concessions.

But not all the papers think the rebellion was serious. The Sun dubs the rebels "clapped-out, worn-out and irrelevant" and predicts that the bill will eventually pass into law.

The Times discloses that one of the founders of the Pro-Euro Conservative Party is a member of the Liberal Democrats.

Two Tory MEPs who helped to set up the breakaway group are said to be "aghast" at the revelation about their General Secretary, Andy Mayer.

He was thought to have resigned from the Liberal Democrats, but the paper says he merely sought a suspension of membership until after next month's Euro elections.

Eating baboons is 'cannibalism'

Finally, The Daily Telegraph reports that there is outrage at plans to catch and eat wild South African baboons.

An abattoir is being built north of Johannesburg to produce salami, ribs and tinned meat from the baboons for sale in central Africa and eastern Europe.

The primate's teeth, nails, hands and - it is believed - genitals are to be sold to Asian countries as aphrodisiacs.

Conservationists say baboons are so genetically similar to humans that eating them is tantamount to cannibalism.

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