UK

Newspaper review: Papers welcome fracking decision

Papers

The government's decision to allow the resumption of fracking in Britain is widely welcomed.

The controversial process, in which liquids are blasted into underground rock to free trapped shale gas, is described by the Daily Express as a possible solution to a "full-blown energy crisis".

The Sun says it is a potential "bonanza of jobs, cash and cheaper energy".

The Times notes the concerns of environmentalists but says pressing ahead with test-drilling will not necessarily set back development of wind and solar energy.

"It's clear the world needs a package of technologies," it says, "and shale gas could stem climate change and create jobs too."

The strongest criticism of the decision is in the Guardian, which says Britain has relinquished its world leadership on the issue of climate change for a "doubtful bonanza from fossil fuels".

Marriage shock

The Daily Mail says the £2.2m payout to a Libyan dissident is the price of what it calls Tony Blair's "tawdry deal in the desert" with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2004.

The paper calls it "hush money" to buy the man's silence, and in a scathing editorial it says a meeting which left a stain on the nation's conscience has now left the UK counting a financial cost.

It says Mr Blair's courting of Colonel Gaddafi cost Britain's moral standing dear.

The Independent reports that a second Libyan dissident is pressing on with a legal case against the UK, and says it could shed light on the role played by MI6.

The Guardian reports that the Church of England and the Church of Wales were neither told nor asked about the exemption they were given in proposed new laws on gay marriage.

A senior bishop said they felt "complete shock" about the measures, which they learned about only when they were announced.

The paper says the claim puts further pressure on Culture Secretary Maria Miller, who cancelled a meeting with the Churches last Thursday.

The Daily Telegraph, which broke allegations about Mrs Miller's expenses on the same day, quotes Church officials as describing the proposed laws as "botched" and "legislation on the hoof".

Shot in foot

There is outrage on the back pages about Uefa's decision to fine the Serbian FA just £65,000 for the racist abuse of England Under-21 players at an international in October.

"What an insult" is the headline for the Daily Telegraph, which points out that a player was given a bigger fine at Euro 2012 for displaying the logo of a company which was not an official sponsor.

The paper's football correspondent Henry Winter calls Uefa's action shallow and pathetic, and says the "cowardly reaction to the bigotry of the Serbs shames everyone" at the European football body.

The Daily Mirror's chief sports writer Oliver Holt says Uefa shoots itself in the foot with horrible monotony, but always finds new ways of doing it.

"The message sent out yesterday," he says, "is that racists in football have little to fear."

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