UK

Newspaper review: Papers react to general strike call

Papers

Plans for the first general strike since 1926 are being backed by the country's two biggest unions, according to the lead in the Independent.

The paper says the proposals were drawn up by Unite and are being supported in principle by Unison.

Independent believes a co-ordinated mass action by private and public sector workers would represent a significant escalation in the protest against the government's austerity measures.

The Sun says moderate unions are against a general strike - recognising such action would destroy jobs while achieving nothing.

The Daily Express dismisses the idea as "ridiculous", "nonsensical" and "the stuff of student political fantasy".

Benefits debate

As Mick and Mairead Philpott awaited sentencing for manslaughter, the Guardian says the notorious, high-profile nature of the case poses a challenge to the authorities as to how to protect the couple once they are in jail.

It says Mick Philpott is known as a highly opinionated man, given to frequent outbursts - and is likely to find prisoners queuing up to put him in his place.

The Independent is just one of the papers to continue the debate about the part played by benefits agencies and social services.

The paper believes that lessons need to be learned but argues that to cast Mick Philpott as the archetypal product of "Benefits Britain" is wrong.

He is a criminal, it says, with a previous conviction for attempted murder, who reverted to type.

Currency craze

The Financial Times, the Independent and the Sun all report on the rise in value of the virtual currency known as the Bitcoin.

The FT explains that a buying frenzy has resulted in the price of a single Bitcoin doubling in less than two weeks - it peaked at $147 on Wednesday morning.

But the Sun discovers a problem. It manages to use the currency to buy two pizzas, salad and a drink online - but an order which should have cost under £50 cost 1.1 Bitcoins, nearly £118 pounds.

Should you invest your savings in the new web currency, it asks? The advice - it may be worth keeping some cash under the bed, just in case.

Young watchdog

The Times quotes a former editor of Vogue Australia who claims that models are under such pressure to be abnormally thin that they are eating tissue paper and starving themselves for days on end.

Kirstie Clements says it was not unusual for girls to become so malnourished that they had to be admitted to hospital and put on a drip.

The paper says her book, The Vogue Factor, details how stuck the fashion world still is in the insidious world of size zero.

The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail show a picture of a 16-year-old girl who is to be paid £15,000 a year to represent young people's views on policing in Kent.

The Mail reports that Paris Brown, who is not old enough to vote, cannot drive and left school only last year, has been appointed as the country's first youth police and crime commissioner.

The Taxpayers' Alliance says it is great to see people getting involved in the fight against crime but it considers the post to be a ridiculous waste of money and nothing more than expensive tokenism.

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