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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 June, 2004, 07:57 GMT 08:57 UK
What the papers say

Journalist Grania McFadden takes a look at what is making the headlines in Thursday's morning papers.

The papers focus on the soaring price of oil, which the Telegraph claims could "prompt fuel protests" across Britain, and the Independent notes is fast becoming the central issue of next week's elections.

The Sun claims chancellor Gordon Brown has been given just 24 hours by hauliers and drivers to shelve plans for a rise in fuel tax in the autumn or face the threat of demonstrations.

The Express claims to have seen a leaked document outlining government plans to deal with fuel protestors.

It says workers could be put on a three day week, there would be petrol rationing, with police guarding filling stations, and sporting events like Wimbledon could be cancelled.

But a government spokesman claimed the report was drawn up last year, and was not a direct response to the latest protest threats.

Serious infections

The Irish News reports that hundreds of people who were examined with a piece of unsterilised equipment at Lagan Valley Hospital are considering taking legal action against Down Lisburn Trust.

The paper says the 490 patients concerned have been offered counselling as well as the option of blood tests for serious infections like HIV and hepatitis.

The hospital has promised an inquiry into the incident.

It must make the findings public, says the Irish News, and take action to ensure such a thing never happens again.

The News Letter reports on a decision by some members of Scratchers Motorcycle Club in Markethill to sell their bikes, after two members died in accidents within days of each other.

Eight children were left without a father after the crashes, and the club chairman said many members did not want to risk their families suffering the same heartache.

The fate of Judge Brian Curtin makes it onto the front pages of the Dublin papers.

The Irish Independent says politicians are to press ahead with procedures to impeach the judge.

'Church wedding'

The Irish Times reveals that the judge's legal team has eight days to go to court to try to prevent investigators gaining access to his personal computer.

The Times turns to royal affairs for its lead story. It says the Archbishop of Canterbury has dropped objections to a church wedding for Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles after secret talks with the prince.

The paper claims the couple are now actively considering wedding plans, although marriage is ruled out until the investigation into the death of Diana is complete.

The Guardian also carries reports that drug company Glaxo-Smith-Kline is facing fraud charges in America for allegedly concealing information that its leading anti-depressant caused suicidal behaviour in children and teenagers in clinical trials.

The Telegraph reveals that a new survey of dried baby foods shows that some contain disturbing levels of potentially harmful bacteria, including one linked to childhood meningitis.

The Independent is concerned that Britain's largest tobacco company has been testing cigarettes flavoured with chocolate and alcohol.

It says anti-smoking groups fear the research is designed to "entice children" into smoking.

Finally, the Sun warns drivers to stay away from Cambridgeshire during July.

The reason? Thirty-year-old Viney Styles from Whittlesey is hoping to break the land speed record by motorcycling at 160 miles per hour blindfolded.




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