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Paper Monitor

10:55 UK time, Friday, 1 December 2006

Well, here's something Paper Monitor didn't expect. The first day of December and only a few sightings of Christmas stories in the papers. Just the Telegraph and the Express acknowledge the start of the festive month with stories on Xmas sales and what a bumper year it is for mistletoe.

But the Express must think all its Christmases have come at once. It's managed to get Diana onto the front page and its not even Monday. The paper has an "exclusive" - although several other papers are in on the secret. The words "cover-up" and "establishment plot" are used. After reading similar stories every Monday in the paper for months - possibly even years - Paper Monitor is confident you can fill in the gaps yourself.

Buried deep in the Times is a story about how one Chinese city dealt with prostitutes and the clients who use them. No fines, no prison - they organised a mass parade through Shenzhen. The offenders were allowed to wear surgical masks to cover their faces, a bit redundant considering police read out their names and offences to the crowd at the end of the parade.

Someone else is named and shamed in the paper's today. Noel Edmunds is allegedly using TV quiz Deal Or No Deal to pick up women contestants, according to the Mirror. Kelly Napper says she received a card from him asking her for a date, which he signed off with the question deal or no deal? Classy.

Probably the best news for Edmunds is that while "he looks a bit ugly on TV... in real life there is something about him", according to his date. Mr Blobby's been saying the same thing for years.

And finally, the frenzy of give-aways can stop now. You can keep your wallcharts and wrapping paper, nothing tops the offer of a free can of tomato soup for every Express reader. And we're not talking any old rubbish - it's Heinz soup. It will be interesting to see the Guardian's next move - Paper Monitor's advice is to just admit defeat and retire gracefully.

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