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Newspaper headlines: Polio alert and Sunak defends pension rise Newspaper headlines: Polio alert and Sunak defends pension rise
(about 16 hours later)
A number of the papers lead with news that the virus that causes polio has been discovered in the UK. "Nationwide polio alert" declares the Metro, as it warns parents to check their children are vaccinated after traces of the virus were found in Britain's water system.
The i reports that the discovery of polio has led health authorities to declare a national incident. Vaccine coverage for the virus has fallen in the past five years for babies, the paper notes.
The Daily Mail says the virus is back in the UK for the first time in 40 years. It notes that experts repeatedly found samples of the virus at a waste water site.
In other news, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has defended the government's decision to raise the basic state pension by 10%, saying the move is less inflationary than accepting calls for higher public sector pay, the Financial Times reports. The paper also notes that teaching unions have threatened to follow rail workers and go on strike over pay and have asked the education secretary for a 12% pay rise.
Reporting on the same pensions story, the Daily Express headline says "It's only fair". Sunak said the increase would benefit those who are "among the most vulnerable people".
The Guardian leads on the ongoing rail dispute, saying talks on Wednesday to try to end the second national rail strike broke down in "acrimony". The paper says passengers have been advised to only travel if necessary, with fewer than one in five trains expected to run on Thursday.
In another development, rail workers in Liverpool were given a 7.1% pay rise on Wednesday evening which unions have hailed a "new benchmark". The Times reports that Merseyrail, which runs the service without government money, agreed the deal with Salaried Staff's Association - but rail bosses have insisted the wage rise is a one-off.
The Daily Telegraph leads on Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi describing possible teaching strikes as "unforgivable". He made the comment as officials draw up plans for supply teachers to keep schools open. Writing in the Telegraph, Mr Zahawi said young people had already faced enough troubles through Covid.
The Daily Mirror reports on the pay of "fatcat bosses" at firms facing strikes over wages. "Got to keep pay down, PM? Try telling this lot", the paper says.
The Sun pictures Katie Price, who was a bridesmaid at her sister's wedding on Wednesday, on its front page. The papers reports that the wedding was brought forward because the reality star is due in court this week.
And finally, the Daily Star leads on a story about "psychotic seagulls" holding a man "hostage". The paper says a seagull has been attacking the fisherman every time he goes outside.
With the second rail strike of the week under way, the Daily Mail focuses its anger on what it calls the "risible, archaic working practices that plague the railways".With the second rail strike of the week under way, the Daily Mail focuses its anger on what it calls the "risible, archaic working practices that plague the railways".
"How many men or women does it take to change a plug socket?", its opinion column asks, warning that this is not a joke. "Nine, if they belong to the dinosaur rail unions.""How many men or women does it take to change a plug socket?", its opinion column asks, warning that this is not a joke. "Nine, if they belong to the dinosaur rail unions."
The paper suggests that if the unions allowed working arrangements to be modernised, "it would be easy to pay rail workers more".The paper suggests that if the unions allowed working arrangements to be modernised, "it would be easy to pay rail workers more".
The Times leads on a 7% pay rise that's been agreed for Merseyrail staff.The Times leads on a 7% pay rise that's been agreed for Merseyrail staff.
The head of the TSSA union, which negotiated the deal, is quoted saying it shows that the unions are "in no way a block" to ending the current rail stoppages.The head of the TSSA union, which negotiated the deal, is quoted saying it shows that the unions are "in no way a block" to ending the current rail stoppages.
But the paper quotes an industry expert saying Merseyrail can't be compared to other operators across the country because it is not "propped up by the taxpayer" in the way that they are.But the paper quotes an industry expert saying Merseyrail can't be compared to other operators across the country because it is not "propped up by the taxpayer" in the way that they are.
The cartoonist in the Daily Telegraph - Matt - looks at the strike and one of the factors fuelling it: The surge in the rate of inflation.The cartoonist in the Daily Telegraph - Matt - looks at the strike and one of the factors fuelling it: The surge in the rate of inflation.
A disgruntled traveller who is waiting on a railway platform is being told by a station worker: "While you've been waiting for a train, prices have gone up. You owe another £4.87 for your ticket."A disgruntled traveller who is waiting on a railway platform is being told by a station worker: "While you've been waiting for a train, prices have gone up. You owe another £4.87 for your ticket."
On its front page, the Daily Mirror takes aim at what it calls the "fat cat bosses" at firms facing strikes over pay. It says these include the chief executives of Network Rail, British Airways and Royal Mail.On its front page, the Daily Mirror takes aim at what it calls the "fat cat bosses" at firms facing strikes over pay. It says these include the chief executives of Network Rail, British Airways and Royal Mail.
It compares their pay to the average amounts received by other staff. The paper's lead states that workers "rightly ask why their bosses are entitled to lavish pay, but they are denied extra money to help with the cost of living crisis".It compares their pay to the average amounts received by other staff. The paper's lead states that workers "rightly ask why their bosses are entitled to lavish pay, but they are denied extra money to help with the cost of living crisis".
The i is one of several papers that lead on the discovery of the polio virus, in sewage samples in London.The i is one of several papers that lead on the discovery of the polio virus, in sewage samples in London.
In an opinion piece, it acknowledges that some parents will have decided not to vaccinate their children against a disease "that feels as anachronistic as nationwide strikes and double-digit inflation".In an opinion piece, it acknowledges that some parents will have decided not to vaccinate their children against a disease "that feels as anachronistic as nationwide strikes and double-digit inflation".
But it concludes that "things we believed were consigned to history can come back to bite us".But it concludes that "things we believed were consigned to history can come back to bite us".
The earthquake in Afghanistan gives the Guardian some food for thought. In an opinion piece, it suggests that countries which want to assist in the response to the disaster should not be put off by the international sanctions, imposed last year when the Taliban took control.The earthquake in Afghanistan gives the Guardian some food for thought. In an opinion piece, it suggests that countries which want to assist in the response to the disaster should not be put off by the international sanctions, imposed last year when the Taliban took control.
"On the basis that most of the urgent relief work can be classified as humanitarian as opposed to development aid," it says, "countries should be able to argue the assistance is permitted"."On the basis that most of the urgent relief work can be classified as humanitarian as opposed to development aid," it says, "countries should be able to argue the assistance is permitted".
Finally, the Sun reports that potential disaster was averted at Manchester Airport, when a pilot reported seeing a child's Peppa Pig balloon floating across a busy runway.Finally, the Sun reports that potential disaster was averted at Manchester Airport, when a pilot reported seeing a child's Peppa Pig balloon floating across a busy runway.
The paper explains that the 3ft pink balloon could have damaged an aircraft's jet engine if it had been sucked inside.The paper explains that the 3ft pink balloon could have damaged an aircraft's jet engine if it had been sucked inside.
But it says that after the alert was raised, ground crews grabbed the balloon and removed it safely.But it says that after the alert was raised, ground crews grabbed the balloon and removed it safely.
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