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Morning Call: pick of the papers

The ten must-read comment pieces from this morning's papers.

1. How Britain's economy got dumber: Pfizer's bid for AstraZeneca (Guardian)

The true significance of the proposed takeover is how few options Britain has now that our manufacturing and research capacity has withered away, writes Aditya Chakrabortty

2. Despite the rifts, the coalition will stagger on until the election. But can you imagine Cameron and Clegg reunited in the rose garden? (Independent)

There are Tory MPs aching for a brief period of minority government, writes Steve Richards. 

3. A Swift way to curb Putin’s ambitions (Financial Times)

The evidence suggests that while the Russian president is bold, he is not mindlessly reckless, writes Gideon Rachman.

4. Spend, spend, spend: the chaotic world of free schools (Guardian)

While the crisis of primary places mounts, vast sums of public cash are being chucked at the education secretary's pet, writes John Harris.

5. This time the coalition is fighting for real (Times)

There is nothing phoney about rows over free schools or knife crime, writes Rachel Sylvester. And it can only get worse as the election nears.

6. Look in the mirror, Gary. You did a bad thing (Times)

The prime minister, who believes in the Big Society, should take a strong line against the Take That tax avoiders, says Hugo Rifkind. 

7. Now troubled children are an investment opportunity (Guardian)

An 18% return on the most disturbed and needy children in care homes is the extreme end of Britain's outsourcing culture, writes Polly Toynbee. 

8. If the super-rich like Gary Barlow paid their share, maybe the taxman wouldn't have to pick our pockets (Daily Mail)

The old saying is untrue, that the only certainties in life are death and taxes: for the super-rich only the former applies, writes Max Hastings. 

9. A day in the life of David Cameron (Daily Telegraph)

In the age of social media, meeting voters is more demanding than ever before, writes Benedict Brogan. On the road with the Prime Minister, we see how he copes.

10. Tories fail to grasp the minority vote (Financial Times)

A party stands or falls by the gut impression it creates when voters pay attention to politics, writes Janan Ganesh.

#Match4Lara
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#Match4Lara: Lara has found her match, but the search for mixed-race donors isn't over

A UK blood cancer charity has seen an "unprecedented spike" in donors from mixed race and ethnic minority backgrounds since the campaign started. 

Lara Casalotti, the 24-year-old known round the world for her family's race to find her a stem cell donor, has found her match. As long as all goes ahead as planned, she will undergo a transplant in March.

Casalotti was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in December, and doctors predicted that she would need a stem cell transplant by April. As I wrote a few weeks ago, her Thai-Italian heritage was a stumbling block, both thanks to biology (successful donors tend to fit your racial profile), and the fact that mixed-race people only make up around 3 per cent of international stem cell registries. The number of non-mixed minorities is also relatively low. 

That's why Casalotti's family launched a high profile campaign in the US, Thailand, Italy and the US to encourage more people - especially those from mixed or minority backgrounds - to register. It worked: the family estimates that upwards of 20,000 people have signed up through the campaign in less than a month.

Anthony Nolan, the blood cancer charity, also reported an "unprecedented spike" of donors from black, Asian, ethcnic minority or mixed race backgrounds. At certain points in the campaign over half of those signing up were from these groups, the highest proportion ever seen by the charity. 

Interestingly, it's not particularly likely that the campaign found Casalotti her match. Patient confidentiality regulations protect the nationality and identity of the donor, but Emily Rosselli from Anthony Nolan tells me that most patients don't find their donors through individual campaigns: 

 It’s usually unlikely that an individual finds their own match through their own campaign purely because there are tens of thousands of tissue types out there and hundreds of people around the world joining donor registers every day (which currently stand at 26 million).

Though we can't know for sure, it's more likely that Casalotti's campaign will help scores of people from these backgrounds in future, as it has (and may continue to) increased donations from much-needed groups. To that end, the Match4Lara campaign is continuing: the family has said that drives and events over the next few weeks will go ahead. 

You can sign up to the registry in your country via the Match4Lara website here.

Barbara Speed is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman and a staff writer at CityMetric.