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The Papers: ‘Australia burns’ and the 2020 ‘rail rip-off’

The Guardian
Image caption The Guardian splashes with a striking image of a kangaroo leaping past a burning house in Lake Conjola, Australia. Bushfires have killed at least eight people in the south-east of the country since Monday and the latest fires have destroyed more than 200 homes. The paper says the fire season has prompted questions over Australia PM Scott Morrison’s stance on climate change.
The Times
Image caption The Times features the same image, describing the scene as “walls of flame”. The paper leads with a story about increasing pressure on the president of Cyprus to intervene in the case of a British teenager convicted of lying about being raped by 12 Israeli men. It also reports on research showing sales of red meat plunged last year as more than 800,000 people opted for a vegan diet.
The i newspaper
Image caption “Rail rip-off (2020 edition)” is the i’s headline. It says rail fares will increase by 2.7% on Thursday despite falling satisfaction, poor punctuality and overcrowding.
Metro
Image caption The Metro says protests will be held nationwide on Thursday over the annual rise in rail fares. Passengers will demonstrate at stations including London’s Kings Cross, Norwich, Bolton and Chelmsford over the hike, which will see some commuters pay more than £100 extra this year, the paper adds.
Daily Mail
Image caption The Daily Mail claims the number of teenagers and young children admitted to hospital for eating disorders has surged in the past decade. Citing NHS Digital figures, the paper says admissions for those aged 18 or under have more than doubled from 1,700 to 4,500 since 2010, while the number of admissions for children under 13 has tripled from 74 to 229 in the same period.
Daily Express
Image caption The Daily Express reports a “job boom” for over-65s who want to carry on working. It claims people in their 60s will deliver more than half of all employment growth in the next 10 years. The paper adds that the 282,000 expected to take up jobs when over 65 will be crucial to British economic performance in years to come.
Financial Times
Image caption The Financial Times declares that any boost the UK economy received from Boris Johnson’s election win would “swiftly fizzle out” in 2020. The paper cites its annual survey of 85 economists, saying the majority predicted there would be little or no improvement in economic growth this year as weak productivity persists and Britain’s future trading relationship with the EU remains unknown.
Daily Mirror
Image caption The Daily Mirror leads on a double murder in Duffield, Derbyshire. Two people were found dead in the early hours of New Year’s Day. The paper names a victim as 39-year-old Helen Almey.
The Sun
Image caption The Sun claims Karen Matthews, who was jailed for eight years over the 2008 hoax-kidnapping of her daughter Shannon, is to get married.
The Daily Star
Image caption Finally, the Daily Star reports Bat Out of Hell singer Meat Loaf has turned vegan and joined the Veganuary campaign, which encourages people to give up eating meat and animal products in January.

Several of Thursday’s papers print photographs of Australia’s devastating wildfires.

The Guardian, the Times and the Financial Times carry the same image – showing a kangaroo trying to escape the flames engulfing a town in New South Wales.

The Guardian describes “apocalyptic scenes” with many people abandoning their homes to huddle on beaches close to the water.

The paper says the crisis has prompted questions about whether the Conservative government led by Scott Morrison has done enough to address global warming – noting that he has “deflected” questions about the underlying causes of the fires.

The Daily Telegraph says authorities in an area of New South Wales are facing a “24-hour race against time” to evacuate people before expected further fires, or face a humanitarian crisis.

The paper reports that shops have run out of food, with those still open seeing people queue for three hours to buy basic supplies.

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“Rail rip-off” is the headline on the front of the i, which says rail passengers are facing a ticket price hike of 2.7% – despite “plummeting satisfaction, poor punctuality and overcrowding.”

The paper notes that fares have risen by 46% in a decade – twice as fast as wages – with some journeys now costing more than £1 a mile.

The Sun says many annual tickets are rising by more than £100 and notes that passenger groups are warning of “another decade of misery” for commuters.

Metro says rail users will hold protests across the UK in the morning – at stations including London King’s Cross, Norwich, Bolton and Chelmsford.

Economy ‘boom’

The Financial Times says its annual survey suggests any bounce to the UK economy prompted by Boris Johnson’s election win will “fizzle out” in the coming months.

More than 85 leading economists were questioned by the paper – with most predicting little or no improvement in economic growth until Britain agrees a trade deal with the EU.

The Daily Express paints a more upbeat picture of the UK’s longer term prospects, saying the economy will “boom” in the next decade – powered by working people over the age of 65.

The paper says official figures suggest people in their 60s will take up more than half of all new jobs created by 2030.

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The Daily Telegraph reports that civil servants could soon be forced to sit exams to check they are still competent to work in Whitehall.

Writing in the paper, Rachel Wolf – the co-author of Boris Johnson’s election manifesto – says “seismic” changes are planned to improve competency and expertise.

She says other ideas include recruiting more civil servants with science degrees and ending the “merry-go-round” of officials changing jobs every 18 months.

The Daily Mail warns of what it describes as a “shock surge in child anorexia”. The paper says the number of young people admitted to hospital for eating disorders has more than doubled since 2010 – rising 4,500 last year.

Admissions for under-13s have more than tripled over the same period – from 74 to 229.

There is continued extensive coverage of the case of the British teenager convicted of lying about being raped in Ayia Napa. The Times says the president of Cyprus is facing mounting pressure to intervene in the case.

The Times also reports that sales of beef and pork “plunged” last year as increasing numbers of people opted for vegan diets.

It says research commissioned by the charity Veganuary suggests more than 800,000 people “cut back on animal products” for at least a month in 2019.

The paper adds that the findings appear to be backed up by separate research, which found supermarket sales of meat fell more than any other category last year.

Image copyright Getty Images

The Daily Mail says sales of dairy and meat-free products rose significantly, but it notes that luxury snack products were the most dominant – with chocolate sales growing faster than any other product.

Several papers report that the Army is tackling its recruitment crisis by setting up boot camps to help out-of-shape hopefuls get fit enough to join.

The Sun says the four-week courses give “wannabe soldiers a second chance to pass rigorous fitness tests”.

“Who dares, slims” is the headline in the Mirror, which says anyone who fails to improve will not be offered a place.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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