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Saturday, September 18, 1999 Published at 06:48 GMT 07:48 UK


UK

Papers gloat at GM setback



The Times, The Express and The Independent all lead their front pages with reports that the government faces a setback over genetically modified (GM) crops.

The Express says controversial trials of the crops were thrown into confusion, following a legal challenge by the environmental group, Friends of the Earth.

The Times reports that the Environment Minister, Michael Meacher, has admitted some of the illegally planted fields may have to be dug up.

The Financial Times says farmers across the UK are likely to receive a compensation package worth at least 80m after ministers bowed to pressure to help the industry.

It says the government has been forced to act by the prospect of the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament offering unilateral support packages - which would have infuriated farmers in England.

TV freedom

The Daily Mail says British scientists have developed a vaccine which could provide lifelong protection against asthma - from a single jab.

The Guardian says the government has announced plans to change the rules on the way commercial television companies are controlled, giving them much more freedom to decide on the content of programmes.

The paper claims it could mean there would be fewer programmes devoted to religious affairs, and more popular drama or game shows.

Tributes to the singer Frankie Vaughan are led by The Times, which describes him as the "quintessential romantic crooner".

The Mirror headlines the story So long Frankie - you gave us the moonlight.

No social life

The Express is one of several papers which tips Martha Lane Fox to become Britain's youngest multi-millionaire.

She started her Internet company - selling among other things last minute holidays - a year ago - and stands to gain 400m if it is floated on the Stock Market.

But Ms Fox, 26, said she worked 14 hours a day and had no social life.

The Independent reveals that the prime minister and his wife have decided to give the main entertaining room at 10 Downing Street a facelift.

Several 18th century portraits of generals and former prime ministers are being replaced with modern works, more resonant with the Blairs' Cool Britannia image.

Collection plate

The Sun reports the tale of lucky Phil Kitchen, from Redditch, Worcestershire.

After picking up a cheque for nearly 2m, one of his first jobs was to nip round to his local pawn shop and buy back two limited edition plates he had pawned a few days before his big win.

The Daily Telegraph reports on attempts to rehabilitate the town of Slough.

Ann Timperly says the Berkshire town has never recovered from the battering it took in the late John Betjeman's eponymous poem.

Now she wants the new Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion, to pen a few lines to improve its reputation.





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