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Thursday, July 29, 1999 Published at 06:27 GMT 07:27 UK


'Night of the short knives' disappoints press

Describing it as the "night of the short knives", the Daily Telegraph says the Cabinet reshuffle ranks as a lamentable exercise in staff management.

The Times says Mr Blair has allowed himself to be boxed in by his old Labour colleagues, who have refused to go quietly.

The paper forgives him for procrastinating over ministerial changes while he was consumed by Kosovo and Northern Ireland. But it dismisses the apparent indecision of recent weeks as nothing less than "pathetic".

The Guardian believes he is paying the price for trying to do too much. The paper says he rarely has time to rest and has had little time to clear his diary and discuss the reshuffle with colleagues.

One unnamed ally of the Prime Minister, quoted in the Financial Times, says Mr Blair likes to do things at the last moment.

A senior company executive who knows him well, tells the paper that although Mr Blair likes to think of himself as a businessman he does not have the hiring and firing skills.

In the wake of the death of 19 young people in the Swiss Alps this week, the Daily Telegraph asks why people continue to risk their lives in the pursuit of cheap thrills.

Its reporter, Richard Madden, admits he has been white-water rafting and says such activities generate such an intensity of feeling they banish the stresses of modern life.

Joe Simpson, a mountaineer writing in The Express, says such daring should be celebrated not condemned. He points out smoking and drinking are much more likely to kill him than the high-risk sports he indulges in.

Walking makes you brainy

The Daily Mail leads with the news that scientists working in Scotland three years ago produced genetically modified salmon which grew at four times their normal rate.

Although the government says all the fish have now been destroyed, environmentalists believe it demonstrates that much of the work on genetic modification is taking place in secret.

Carrots make you see in the dark and crusts make your hair curly - and now apparently walking makes you brainy. According to The Independent a brisk walk can help prevent mental decay in the over-sixties.

Researchers believe that the increase in breathing rates caused by aerobic exercise help improve short term memory.

The Financial Times reports that Bill Gates, the head of Microsoft, has joined forces with Bloomsbury Publishing to produce the first international English dictionary.

Having laid waste to his computer rivals, the paper says he's now massacring the English language. The new dictionary contains such phrases as "gym rat" - somebody who spends a lot of time exercising - and "daddy track" - a man who gives up his career to look after his children.

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