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Jan.07, 2022: @acenewsservices

#AceDailyNews says here’s todays Newspaper Headlines: The Guardian’s main image is of the four protesters celebrating outside Bristol Crown Court. The paper says anti-racism campaigners hailed the jury’s decision to clear them as “a huge step in getting the UK to face up to its colonial past”. It notes the defence had urged jurors to “be on the right side of history” – describing the continued display of the Edward Colston statue as potentially constituting a crime in itself.

A jury in Bristol cleared four Black Lives Matter activists who admitted toppling the city’s statue of 17th Century slave merchant Edward Colston, the Daily Telegraph reports. The paper says the verdict “stunned ministers” at Westminster amid fears “extremists will be ’emboldened'”. After a flurry of Covid rule changes in England, Matt’s cartoon imagines someone at the Downing Street podium explaining that lateral flow tests are being replaced with fortune cookies. “A ‘Good Health’ prediction will mean no isolation,” is the punchline.

BBC News: Staff:

The Times says an estimated £3,700 of damage was caused to the Colston statue during the protest last June. The paper’s main picture is of tennis ace Novak Djokovic who has been denied entry to Australia after claiming a medical exemption from a Covid vaccine. Elsewhere, the Times reports a “boost for holidays” as a complex system of travel testing is scrapped in England.

Novak Djokovic’s deportation order leads the i paper. The paper says the Serbian star, who is not vaccinated but had been granted an exemption order to play in the Australian Open tournament , was “held by border police amid outcry from Australian public” at that sporting decision. Djokovic said last year that he was opposed to vaccination.

“Just go with your flow” says the Metro as it reports changes in England to allow people without symptoms to isolate after a rapid positive test – rather than also booking a PCR test to confirm the result.

And changes around travel to and from England will spark “lift-off Britain” predicts the Daily Mail. Travel chiefs hailed the moves and predicted a booking surge, the paper says.

The Daily Mirror leads with what it describes as a “perfect storm” of pressure on the NHS front line. It pictures a statistics board at Blackpool hospital showing three measures in red – including the longest wait to see a doctor at over six hours. It quotes a union boss as saying: “We are nearly at breaking point.”

Conservative peer Baroness Mone has been invited to a police interview after a formal complaint that she sent a racist text message, the Sun reports. Her representative tells the paper the underwear tycoon is “100 per cent not a racist”.

After several days of growing numbers of people signing a petition opposing a knighthood for former prime minister Tony Blair, the Daily Star sub-editors engineer some fine wordplay on a movie title to mark the 750,000-signature mark being passed. “The Blair ditch project” is the headline – and it is accompanied by a more serious point as the paper urges: “In fact, lets’s put an end to the whole bloody honours system once and for all.”

The protesters were cleared of criminal damage yesterday, after standing trial for toppling a statue of the slave trader, Edward Colston, and dumping it in Bristol harbour during a Black Lives Matter protest in 2020. 

Several of Thursday’s front pages feature photographs of the so-called ‘”Colston Four” celebrating outside court: Where will it all end?” asks the Daily Express’s headline after the Colston verdict. It says the acquittal of the four activists – Jake Skuse, Rhian Graham, Milo Ponsford and Sage Willoughby – has prompted “fears other monuments will be targeted”.

The Guardian says anti-racism campaigners have hailed the jury’s decision as a “huge step” in getting the UK to face up to its colonial past – but the Daily Express says it has prompted fears other monuments will be targeted. Whitehall sources have told the Daily Telegraph that the verdict left ministers “stunned”.

A number of papers use their leader columns to make clear their opposition to the acquittals. “Does the rule of law still stand? It seems not,” says the Sun. “Once again, the law is an ass,” concludes the Daily Mail.

The Express acknowledges that the jury system is a cornerstone of our democracy – but suggests that the ‘Colston Four’ benefited from a jury who made “political decisions” rather than sticking to the legal points of the case. 

The Telegraph describes the verdict as a “monumental error”. “For juries to think that statues are on trial and not the defendants in court would be laughable,” the paper says, “if its consequences were not so serious.” 

With the headline “We Have Lift-Off, Britain!” the Mail highlights the government’s decision to scrap almost all the testing rules in England related to foreign travel. It says the move will save families hundreds of pounds, make it much easier to book holidays and provide a major fillip to the travel industry. 

The Times says the UK’s airlines have described the change as a “massive boost” – arguing it marks an important step towards learning to live alongside the virus. The Metro focuses on the decision to scrap PCR tests for people who test positive with a lateral flow device. “Just Go With Your Flow”, says its headline.

The Daily Mirror warns that the NHS is facing what it calls a “perfect storm” with soaring staff absences and a huge rise in Covid patients causing “chaos” in hospitals. The paper claims the situation has been made worse by the government’s failure to invest and accuses Boris Johnson of leaving the health service “on its knees, just as we need it the most”. 

The Guardian points out that health worker absences are double the normal figure for this time of year. It says the NHS Confederation has warned that millions of patients will suffer worsening quality of care unless ministers take “immediate action” to alleviate the staffing crisis.

What’s described by the Financial Times as a “growing cost-of-living revolt” is considered by several papers after Boris Johnson was repeatedly pressed on the issue of rising prices and bills in the Commons yesterday. 

The Sun urges the prime minister to scrap VAT on energy, arguing he would hardly face critical headlines as the cut is Labour policy too. 

The Times says a “better-targeted option” would be to increase the generosity and eligibility of the warm homes discount – but the Mail insists Mr Johnson should start by “axing punishing green levies that put up bills”. “If ordinary families feel financial pain,” it warns, “they will take it out on the Tories at the ballot box.”

#AceNewsDesk report ……….Published: Jan.07: 2022:

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