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Paper Monitor

12:38 UK time, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Forgive Paper Monitor. When you have so many publications to read telling them apart becomes difficult. Such is the case with the Independent which risks confusing itself with the Daily Mail. The homecoming of the mercenary Simon Mann who was jailed in Africa for plotting a coup is its page 3 lead. But rather than focusing on the intricacies of Mann's exploits which landed him in a prison cell in Equatorial Guinea, the paper appears more interested in his finances. "Last night he was on his way back to his £5m British country residence via a five-star hotel." Mann also stood to gain "£9m if the coup succeeded." And, after touching down on board a "private jet" he will face a barrage of questions.

The Times by comparison treats the story with the awe of a boy-scout revelling in the adventures of his daring hero. It explores the "names in the frame" of the Wonga Coup and delves into the conspiracy theories behind their exploits.

"For years a motley collection of adventurers, arm dealers, sanction busters, diamond smugglers and fighters traded on the continent's unfailing supply of civil wars, coups and counter coups. Their adventure has finally ended."

However, it can't resist pointing out that Mann stands to make a "splodge of wonga" from his astounding story. Nice pun guys.

It's not been easy trying to ignore the rise of TV hate objects Jedward, but coverage in recent days has reached such a feverish pitch that it's now officially impossible. Over at the Daily Star, it's a case of too much information as the paper delves into the sex life of X-Factor's brothers grim. Apparently, twins John and Edward Grimes have a bombshell sex secret: The "Only squeeze they get is hair gel tube" reveals the headline (if you can call that a revelation.) It's not much of a secret to their "friends" back home in the Dublin suburb of Lucan. One kindly soul said: "Some people around here see them as village idiots."

The Jedward Factor also hits page 7 of the Daily Mirror whose 3am girls followed the Addams Family-a-like collection of X-Factor finalists to a film premiere. Rather than seeking the twins' sex secrets, or lack thereof, they were after the key to their gravity-defying hair-dos. Despite their herculean efforts at the sharp end of investigative journalism, the 3ams didn't get far, the twins giving little away. "This attention is crazy. We're loving every minute. We've even got people copying our hair. Can you believe it." Rhetorical surely.

And, what a difference a week makes. It's back to the biggest poppy debate. Last time we checked only two papers had pinned a red flower to its masthead - the Sun and the Daily Star. Now, the Daily Telegraph, The Times, the Daily Mail and the Independent are proudly displaying their foliage. There are two frontrunners for the coveted award of most sizeable masthead poppy: the Telegraph and the Mail, both of which could be mistaken for "actual-size" renditions. At the other end of the scale is the Times, which, calculated in accordance with Paper Monitor's unique SI unit for masthead poppy measurement is... about the size of the now defunct half-penny piece.

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