News digest 18 January 2013

News digest 18 January 2013

18 January 2013

Most of the papers report on the events in Algeria where it is believed a number of hostages have been killed, including many Britons. Evidence is emerging that the Algerian operation at a gas facility in the desert where Islamist militants have been holding foreign hostages has not ended and prime minister David Cameron is chairing a meeting of Cobra at Downing Street this morning but has warned of more bad news to come. The raid was all the more disconcerting for the UK government as no advance notice was given – Cameron will address the House of Commons on the events at 11:00 this morning.

The hostage crisis means that Cameron was forced to cancel his already rearranged speech on Britain’s future in Europe, however much of the speech had already been released with the Express noting that the speech would have said that the EU must give Britain a better deal or we quit. Cameron had hoped to add some positives to his strong words, but the speech is out there and the Tory drum for exit bangs ever louder.

And while the Tory right wing gets ever more agitated by Europe, Tory MP Christopher Chope has sparked a row after referring to Westminster catering staff as his ‘servants’ prompting Unite’s Gail Cartmail to comment: “Christopher Chope let slip he’d rather be the Lord of Downtown Abbey than an MP. It’s a disgrace he views hardworking staff as his servants. He should apologise immediately.” No comment from Chope so far, but another Tory, this time peer Lady Mar has waded in over food prices saying food is too cheap and that prices should be increased, maybe she is referring to the subsidised restaurants in parliament and has not seen the 250,000 people who rely on food banks to help feed their families. Typical out of touch Tories.

And sadly fear remains rampant in the workplace. As the Mirror and Telegraph note that British men work the longest hours in Europe (43.7 hours against the EU average of 41.1 hours) the Mail highlights the fact that workers are avoiding taking disputes to tribunals due to fears over job security and finding alternative work. And what is the response to this? The government is trying to roll out further caps to workplace rights with the Morning Star quoting Unite general secretary Len McCluskey: "These changes are part of a joined-up attack on workers' rights on a scale not seen in decades" and the Telegraph notes that tribunal payments will be capped to a year’s salary, the Con-Dems continued salami slicing of workers’ rights continues.

And the Child Poverty Action group has revealed that the impact of the coalition’s benefit cuts is expected to push 200,000 children into poverty, the bill is back in the Commons on Monday but expect the cowardly Lib Dems to back the callous Conservatives. After all they back Atos which yesterday was castigated in the Commons over forcing a disabled women to return to work wearing a nappy, this is Con-Dem Britain.

And talking of Britain most of the papers report on the snow that is blanketing the country, expect the rail network to grind to a standstill and more talk of chaos and calamity, but hey it’s the weekend, so snowball fights might cheer us up, maybe Cameron and Miliband could meet outside the Commons ahead of PMQs…

Morning Star

 Daily Mirror




 Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Cameron: Country must be ready for more bad news (p1/6-9)
  • Police accept deal for voluntary redundancy (p11)
  • Nightmare for Boeing as Dreamliner grounded (p14-15)
  • Food chiefs to start hunt for contaminated meat (p17)
  • Childcare tax breaks scuppered by Lib Dems (p19)
  • Rio chief shown door (p37)
  • Retailers shine if customers can click and collect (p38)
  • Pensions watchdog to examine fees amid fears workers get a poor deal (p41)




 FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Cameron prepares for Algeria bad news (p1)
  • Rio Tinto chief steps down (p1)
  • Algeria forces EU rethink (p2)
  • Business split on impact of membership debate (p3)
  • Pension stealth tax ruled out (p4)
  • JLR leads car exports to record high (p4)
  • Croydon to get £1 billion facelift (p4)
  • No easy relief for Cameron’s European headache – Philip Stephens (p11)
  • Game makes play for HMV (p15)
  • Primark and Asos puts rivals in shade (p16)
  • Grounding threatens Boeing’s 787 dream (p18)
  • UK to privatise blood plasma business (p20)

Edited by Mik Sabiers

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