Newspaper headlines: UK 'hostage' to strikes and 'World Cup le crunch' – BBC

The Daily Telegraph leads on its own analysis of the impact on patients of forthcoming strike action by nurses – warning that 15,000 operations are set to be cancelled. It reports that NHS Trusts have been told to ensure patients are informed by Tuesday – adding that more than 100,000 out-patient appointments could also be affected.
The Guardian has an interview with the leader of nurses' union, Pat Cullen, who accuses the Health Secretary Steve Barclay of being a 'bully boy'. The head of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) says he is unwilling to negotiate with her because she is a woman representing a largely female workforce. A spokesperson for Mr Barclay tells the paper he has the utmost respect for nurses – and further talks with the RCN were possible.
The likely consequences of industrial action in other sectors is also reported. The Times says that police chiefs are refusing to step in and support the ambulance service, which had requested that officers assist by driving vehicles on strike days. The paper also reckons rail services will be disrupted every day for at least a month because of industrial action. "Strike hell" is the Daily Mail's verdict.
The Telegraph reports on a warning from union sources that Christmas cards won't arrive until February because of Royal Mail backlogs made worse by strikes. According to the paper, Royal Mail has insisted there is "no evidence" to suggest Christmas cards will arrive so late – and it has put in place contingency plans to minimise delays.
The Independent online has a warning from Sir John Vickers – the architect of banking reforms which were designed to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crash – warning that Mr Hunt's relaxation of those rules is a "huge mistake". An editorial in the Telegraph criticises the changes as being more a whimper than a bang and argues deregulation needs to be bold, broad and rapid – not slow, narrow and timid.
The Daily Express leads on reaction to criticism of the Commonwealth in the Netflix series by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Its newest member nation, Gabon, said it was "surprising and patronising" for the couple to use their series to attack the organisation. It quotes Gabon's ambassador to the UK saying: "To think we would sign up blindly to be vassals to another empire is to suggest we are foolish. We entered the Commonwealth last year with our eyes wide open and hearts full of excitement."
The Mirror says England will take on the World Cup holders France tonight in Qatar with the belief they can win. "World cup le crunch" is its take with the headline "Yes, oui can." On its front page, the Sun has a slice of toast bearing the image of England captain Harry Kane, alongside the words: "Now let's make French toast, lads."
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