THIS MORNING’S FRONT PAGES

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POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Australia

Political life

Allergy sinks its teeth into John Howard – Former prime minister John Howard is recovering well after suffering a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction to a dental treatment – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Australian ex-PM John Howard in hospital after anaesthetic reaction – Brisbane Courier Mail

Health prevention

The nanny state is coming – the National Health Preventative Taskforce has its way, by 2020 Australians should be beer-refusing, meat pie-avoiding non-smokers. Vast new bureaucracies will be established with just one thing in mind: To stop you from eating, drinking and smoking anything the government disapproves of – Brisbane Courier Mail

Economic matters

Make Henry justify spending, say Greens – Treasury secretary Ken Henry could be brought before the Senate economics committee to justify the Rudd government’s stimulus spending after Greens leader Bob Brown yesterday called for a raincheck on the $42billion package – The Australian

Employment

Foreign workers to be paid local rates – Foreign guest workers will have to be paid market rates under a new step by the Federal Government to protect jobs for locals – Sydney Morning Herald

Chinese workers exploited in building sites all over town, just like home – writes Kirsty Needham in the Sydney Morning Herald

Job losses highest in outer areasSydney Morning Herald

Industrial relations

Queensland workers’ watchdog rocked by factional war – Queensland taxes pay for eight commissioners on $300,000 a year each whose duties have been slashed but are guaranteed their jobs until they turn 70. The State Government has no idea what it will do with the Industrial Relations Commission and is hoping talks later this month with the Federal Government and other states about a national system will boost the workload of the faction-riddled commission – Brisbane Courier Mail

Security

Terror warning system on the cheap – The NSW State Government risked public safety when it knew Sydney’s anti-terror emergency warning system would fail in a blackout because it had opted against an expensive battery back-up – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Transport

Business fears ALP deal to scupper ferry plan – Top Sydney business figures say key staff in the office of the NSW Premier are trying to block the partial privatisation of Sydney Ferries as part of a deal to win union support for senior positions in the Labor Party – Sydney Morning Herald

Education

Sydney Uni looks at slashing intake – in a bid to become one of the world’s leading research institutions – Sydney Morning Herald

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Debutante’s balls

Pedophile at deb ‘inappropriate’, says MP – “It probably wasn’t the best idea by the school,” Ms Neville said. “It is clear that this has caused considerable distress for some families.” Gary Riddle was charged with 14 counts of indecent assault against nine girls aged eight to 16, between 1971 and 1989, and was sentenced to five years in prison in 2002. – Geelong Advertiser

Boat people

‘Officers used feet to repel refugees’ – Female navy personnel moved quickly to save desperate Afghan refugees from drowning after another boat carrying mostly male navy crew abused and physically prevented the Afghans – many with serious burn injuries – from boarding their rescue vessel – The Australian

Aboriginal affairs

Anger as NT schools threaten languagesSydney Morning Herald

Whistle blowing

Labor ignored whistleblower on airport security flawsThe Australian

Smuggling

Cigarette smuggling hits all-time highSydney Daily Telegraph

Political history

Noel Pearson’s push for John Howard – Paul Kelly plugs his book The March of Patriots – the Struggle for Modern Australia – The Australian

Opinions

Canberra to maintain a hard line on Fiji – Rowan Callick writes in The Australian that the Pacific-watching community, such as it is in Australia, is wringing its hands about what to do about recalcitrant Fiji – but Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is displaying no second thoughts.

Debt rhetoric paints Malcolm Turnbull into a corner – writes Glenn Milne in The Australian.

An economist’s laugh, but joke’s on us – David Burchell argues that in practice, a good deal of the fiscal stimulus doled out across the Western world over the past 12 months has followed Keynes’s light-hearted spirit. Just as for Keynes the pharaohs’ pyramids made better public works projects than did railroads, so for us the best form of stimulus is that which gets money into people’s pockets the fastest, regardless of its economic or social efficacy – The Australian

Focus on the means – Our present approach to solving global warming will not work. It is flawed economically, because carbon taxes will cost a fortune and do little, and it is flawed politically, because negotiations to reduce CO2 emissions will become ever more fraught and divisive. And even if you disagree on both counts, the present approach is also flawed technologically writes Bjorn Lomborg in The Australian

PM’s task: making voters see they dodged a bullet – Phillip Coorey in the Sydney Morning Herald says that domestically, there lingers a problem of convincing people what they avoided, let alone have them appreciate it.

Transport’s big problem? No one’s in charge – writes Kenneth Davidson in the Melbourne Age

Elsewhere

Afghanistan

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SHALL WE STAY OR SHALL WE GO NOW? As Gordon Brown is forced to defend UK’s Afghan role, we ask… Should we pull our troops out of Afghanistan NOW? Is it time – to use the title of a 1971 protest song – to Bring the Boys Home? Freda Payne was singing about the Vietnam War in which more than 58,000 American troops died. Now Afghanistan is in danger of becoming Britain’s Vietnam – The People, UK

Sri Lanka

Australian told to leave Sri Lanka after remarks – The Sri Lankan Government says it has ordered a senior United Nations official to leave the country over comments the Australian made about the recently ended war against Tamil Tiger separatist rebels – Sydney Morning Herald

BUSINESS

BHP and Rio are eyeing more tie-ups after Pilbara – Mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are looking at a $1billion merger of their Canadian diamond operations as they try to find further synergies on top of their huge iron ore joint venture – The Australian

Banks’ funding guarantee on way out – The use of the government guarantee to underwrite debt raisings by domestic banks and financial institutions in Australian credit markets is fading as credit spreads improve and investor confidence returns – Sydney Morning Herald

Currency surge hurts exportersMelbourne Herald Sun

ENVIRONMENT

Marathon fight over what lies beneath the Flinders Ranges – The anti-Marathon lobby is made up of an array of strange bedfellows including greenies, scientists, tourists and politicians – most notably federal Liberal heavyweight Nick Minchin, who, as resources minister, approved the nearby Beverley uranium mine. They are stepping up a campaign urging the Rann government not to let Marathon continue its work – The Australian

Survey shows eco-regime adds costs, little benefit – The centrepiece of Australia’s environmental law largely duplicates existing regulations, provides little extra protection and has added more than $820 million in additional costs to business since it came into force nine years ago, an Australian National University survey shows – The Australian

‘Few checks’ made on big projects – Only a small proportion of environmental conditions imposed on projects such as the Gorgon gas plant are monitored by authorities, a survey of Australia’s biggest companies has found – Sydney Morning Herald

Treeless towns warning – Land cleearing ules passed by State Parliament last week have the potential almost to completely denude towns in the Dandenongs and Upper Yarra Ranges, according to an RMIT University analysis – Melbourne Age

Shadow cast over solar plant future – Victoria’s largest solar power project is in jeopardy as the company behind the power plant struggles to secure financial support for the $420 million project – Melbourne Age

Warm winter curbs state’s gas emissionsAdelaide Advertiser

Climate change: melting ice will trigger wave of natural disasters – Scientists at a London conference next week will warn of earthquakes, avalanches and volcanic eruptions as the atmosphere heats up and geology is altered. Even Britain could face being struck by tsunamis – The Observer, UK

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Carlton off the air, back in the Herald – The broadcaster Mike Carlton will announce on air this morning that he is leaving his 2UE breakfast radio slot to return to the Herald as a Saturday columnist – Sydney Morning Herald

3D TV just a mirage – Mark Day writes in The Australian on how next year will see the introduction of receivers capable of displaying pictures of incredible depth on flat screens a couple of centimetres thick.

Scott enters fray over Murdoch criticism – Australian Broadcasting Corporation chief executive Mark Scott will use a major London media conference next week to challenge the controversial speech given by News Corporation executive James Murdoch 10 days ago in which he attacked the BBC – The Australian

Facelift for Nine Network as it seeks revival – The Nine Network will overhaul its on-screen graphics and corporate rebranding within the next two months to reposition the network as “the home of TV” – The Australian

LIFE

Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s research links three genes to disease – Findings hailed as ‘huge step’ towards earlier testing and better treatment for Alzheimer’s – The Guardian, UK

Cancer

Breast cancer tests at overload – Tens of thousands of women aged under 45 and over 75 would be denied free mammograms under a contentious plan to stop those not considered at greatest danger of breast cancer from overloading the screening program – The Australian

Genetic testing

Insurance fears deter bowel cancer tests – Australians could be shying away from life-saving genetic tests out of fear of being denied insurance cover, according to experts who found that half the people offered a test for a mutation that causes bowel cancer refused the procedure – The Australian

Implants

Meals, trips used to sway choice of devices – Some medical device companies have made secret financial arrangements with doctors in an attempt to influence the brands they implant in their patients – Sydney Morning Herald

Doctors

Patients dying at the hands of doctors working for days on endBrisbane Courier Mail

Patients put at risk as tired doctors work marathon shifts – Brisbane Courier Mail

Births

Women pay the price in baby stakes – The cost of having children is putting young women off motherhood until they get older – Melbourne Herald Sun

Smoking

Pay poorer smokers to quit, heart lobby urges Melbourne Age

Consent

Study slams jargon in medical consent – More than 80 per cent of the consent forms patients are asked to sign before having an operation are incomprehensible to anyone without specialist medical knowledge – The Australian

Consumer affairs

Consumers avoiding rival ATMs as fees biteSydney Daily Telegraph

Scramble to verify free-range eggs – Free-range egg farmers have backed calls for an independent accreditation system which they say is urgently needed to protect the sector’s integrity – Sydney Morning Herald

Peter Fray

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