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Tuesday, 21 December, 1999, 06:54 GMT
Mail spies Bond knighthood

The Daily Mail reports that the actor, Sean Connery, is to receive a knighthood in the New Year Honours List. The paper says the move amounts to a spectacular U-turn by New Labour, which denied him a knighthood two years ago because of his support for the Scottish National Party.

Other names the paper says have been long overlooked and are now in line for knighthoods are the Virgin boss, Richard Branson, and the comedian, Norman Wisdom. The paper also suggests that the outgoing director-general of the BBC, Sir John Birt, is to become a life peer.

The Expressis angry at the decision not to prosecute the 87-year-old former Soviet spy, Melita Norwood, and four others. Alone among the papers to put forward a view, the paper describes the announcement as a betrayal of justice.

The statement that any prosecution would fail is, the paper believes, a typical piece of legal caution that flies in the face of common sense and principle.

There is widespread fascination at what The Guardiancalls the Putin phenomenon - the rising fortunes of the Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, following the parliamentary elections on Sunday in which, the paper points out, he wasn't even a candidate.

For The Mirror, a Czar is born - and one who has taken a giant step towards his dream of succeeding Boris Yeltsin in the presidential election next June, after the success of his Unity Party.

According to The Times, Mr Putin appears to have an almost messianic appeal for millions of voters weary of drift and corruption.

But, Daily Telegraph complains, the problem is that, beyond bellicosity in the Caucasus, he has articulated no clear policy.

Reports of the flooding disaster in Venezuela are accompanied by aerial pictures of towns along the northern coast ruined by the mudslides.

It is the main story forThe Independent, which describes the floods and mudslides as one of the worst natural disasters in South America this century. It has a picture of a man surveying the wreckage of his home, destroyed by the mud.

And it appears that women who fought for equal rights are abandoning their feminist values when it comes to their daughters-in-law.

A number of papers carry the results of a study which, according to the Times, suggests that women who have become mothers-in-law within the past 10 years still expect their daughters-in-law to play traditional wifely roles and to pamper their husbands.

Most manage to irritate their daughters-in-law by spoiling their sons and then expecting the younger woman to do the same.

One daughter-in-law is quoted in the Telegraph as saying that when her husband's mother comes to visit, it sets him back 15 years in his behaviour at home

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