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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 January 2006, 06:31 GMT
Papers probe health 'MoT' plans
Mastheads of the national newspapers

The plans for regular 'health MoTs' for NHS patients gets the front-page treatment in two of Saturday's papers, with Sir Ian Blair and the Lib Dems given prominence elsewhere.

Interviewed in the Daily Telegraph, Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt says she is not trying to nanny the nation, but is responding to public demand for information, advice and support.

The Telegraph's journalists note the signs of a healthy lifestyle in Ms Hewitt's own office - five pieces of fruit on her desk and running shoes in her wardrobe.

But the paper is not convinced by her argument, and it accuses the government of trying to nationalise the drive towards greater fitness with an army of personal trainers.

The Daily Mail also headlines the proposals, saying ministers believe targeting the entire population will flag up health problems early.

'Ill-judged remarks'

The Times focuses on the disclosure by the Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, that undercover officers are posing as drug suppliers to try to catch middle-class cocaine users.

But like most of the papers, it also examines Sir Ian's comments about the Soham murders and institutional racism in the media.

The Times says he has "an unfortunate habit of ill-judged remarks".

To The Sun Sir Ian is the "Soham slur cop" who was forced to grovel, while the Daily Mirror says he is guilty of unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and stereotyping.

The front page of the Daily Express once again features a story about Princess Diana, as part of what the paper calls its relentless crusade for the truth.

It highlights comments by Lord Stevens, in a television interview, that his lengthy re-investigation of her death has been more complex than expected, and there are new witnesses.

No hands up

The Telegraph predicts that this will be seized upon by conspiracy theorists.

The Independent fills its front page with a close-up of the Liberal Democrat leadership candidate, Simon Hughes.

In an article inside, Mr Hughes explains why he denied that he was gay when he was interviewed by the paper nearly two weeks ago.

The denial wasn't morally or factually wrong, he writes, and it was not intended to mislead - he simply didn't want to be pigeon-holed.

Finally, the Telegraph reports that a school in east London has banned the age-old tradition of pupils putting their hands up to answer questions.

The head of the Jo Richardson comprehensive in Dagenham - Andrew Buck - explains that the rule is designed to prevent feelings of victimisation.

Because it is always the same children who raise their hands, teachers sometimes select one of their quieter pupils to answer. This, according to Mr Buck, can make them feel picked on - or panicky, if they haven't been listening.

Instead the school operates a "phone a friend" system, allowing one child to nominate another to answer the question.

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