UK

Newspaper review: Gay bishops decision considered

Papers

The Church of England's decision to lift a ban on gay priests in civil partnerships becoming Anglican bishops as long as they remain celibate is examined in a number of newspapers.

It is the lead in the Independent, which carries the headline "Gay bishops allowed - but they can't have sex".

Guardian commentator Andrew Brown says opposition to civil partnerships is unthinkable - so the battle has shifted to whether gay clergy are celibate, and whether they can demand to know what their sleeping arrangements are.

The Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, tells the Daily Telegraph that hardened criminals should not be granted automatic early release.

In an interview for the paper he says he would "ultimately" like to introduce a system under which only prisoners who have behaved well are freed early.

Mr Grayling says it is difficult to make prisons seem off-putting to criminals from disturbed backgrounds.

He says: "For some young people, prison is the(ir) first stable environment."

'Wrong signal'

The Financial Times says High Street banks responsible for some of the worst mis-selling consumer scandals of the past decade will be invited into schools in England to help teach financial education, under proposed changes to the national curriculum.

The Daily Mail highlights a warning by the head of the Waitrose supermarket chain that families can expect massive increases in food prices this year.

Mark Price says recent increases in the price of bread and vegetables are "just the tip of the iceberg".

The Daily Mail is not impressed by Labour's proposal to restrict tax relief on the pension contributions of top earners and put the money raised into guaranteeing jobs for long-term unemployed people.

It is worried that once the principle of cutting tax relief on pension payments is established, future chancellors might be tempted to come back for more.

The Daily Express says it sends out a signal that the UK wants to penalise success and punish saving.

The Guardian is more concerned about how the scheme would work for the unemployed and finds what it calls "a lot wrong and a lot of missing detail".

It is disappointed that Labour is putting forward a scheme that will pay the minimum wage rather than the living wage.

And it says there is nothing about the responsibilities that will be faced by the companies receiving the job scheme money, or the quality of employment or the training they will provide.

Snarling beast

The Telegraph says flashing blue Christmas decorations have been confusing police helicopter crews because they look too much like the lights of emergency vehicles.

Pilots say they have made it difficult to pick out their colleagues on the ground after dark.

The Telegraph also has photos of the moment film-maker Gordon Buchanan came face-to-face with a hungry, 1,000 lbs polar bear.

The Daily Mirror says he cowered in a protective Perspex cube as the snarling beast spent 40 minutes trying to find a weak spot in his shelter as he continued filming for a BBC series.

Fortunately - the paper adds - like so many of today's pre-packaged foods, the cube proved impossible to open and the bear eventually gave up and slunk away.

"Without a doubt, she wanted me for lunch," Mr Buchanan tells The Sun.

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