Today's papers

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The Independent Online
MINISTERS have agreed a new round of sweeping defence cuts that will mean thousands of redundancies, according to the Sunday Times. Dozens of historic military buildings will close and entire branches of the armed forces will be privatised. The package, agreed last week by Jonathan Aitken, the Defence Procurement Minister, will go to Malcolm Rifkind, the Defence Secretary next week.

The Sunday Telegraph reports that more than 100 Tory MPs are prepared to back Michael Portillo in a contest to succeed John Major as party leader. The estimate, based on calculations by Mr Portillo's backbench supporters, shows that the Chief Secretary to the Treasury is winning support outside his natural power base on the right. Supporters of the Prime Minister are urging him to prepare a survival strategy in the event of disastrous election results in June.

The slaughter of whales by commercial hunters could resume within two years under a secret deal proposed in London last week, the Observer reports. The world's two leading conservation groups, Greenpeace and the World Wide Fund for Nature, backed the plans.

MPs and church leaders last night criticised plans to target children with a new range of condoms, according to the Sunday Mirror. The contraceptives, called Jonnies, are to be offered across the country in a pounds 2.5m campaign next month.

The managing director of Harrods, Peter Bolliger, has resigned amid reports of a clash with Mohamed Al Fayed, co-owner of the Knightsbridge store. A Harrods spokesman said Mr Bolliger was leaving 'for personal reasons', the Mail on Sunday reports.

A secretary at the centre of the Goldman Sachs City sexual harassment affair plans legal action against the US bank. The secretary, who is not named in a report in the Sunday Express, is investigating the possibility of launching a multi-million-pound lawsuit against the bank.

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