UK newspaper review: Bank chief drug sting on front page

Anne Ashworth, of the Times, and Tom Chivers, of the Daily Telegraph, discuss the morning's papers.

Among a very mixed bag of Sunday papers, the Mail on Sunday's front page is striking.

It says it has footage of former Co-operative Bank chairman the Rev Paul Flowers buying and using illegal drugs - he tells the paper he has done things that were "stupid and wrong" but is getting professional help.

Elsewhere, the Sunday Times carries a call from an influential health expert calling for a lowering of the age of sexual consent.

Faculty of Public Health president Prof John Ashton said society sent "confused" signals about when sex was permitted, and the move would make it easier for 15-year-olds to get sexual health advice from the NHS.

Reviewing the papers for the BBC's News Channel, Anne Ashworth, from the Times, said many people would be left "gobsmacked" by Prof Ashton's comments. Coming at a time when the "oversexualisation of our children" is such a major concern, she said many parents would be shocked.

Tom Chivers, of the Daily Telegraph, said it was a "brave" thing for Prof Ashton to suggest, adding: "People will be very, very angry about it."

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Clegg's tax call

Putting in peril

Crocodile

After the story of a Scottish golfer attacked by a crocodile in Mexico, the Independent on Sunday lists the world's most dangerous courses, including:

  • Merapi Golf Yogyakarta, Indonesia - on the slopes of the country's most active volcano
  • Camp Boniface, South Korea - just outside the demilitarised zone and surrounded by land mines
  • Skukuza Golf Club, South Africa - lions, leopards, elephants and rhinos are free to roam

Writing in the Sun on Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says he wants the coalition to raise the income tax threshold even further than it already has - reaching £10,500 from 2015. He says people should think of it as "a workers' bonus".

Most papers view the move as political as much as it is charitable.

The Independent on Sunday says the Lib Dems "have become increasingly frustrated that the Conservatives have taken credit for raising the personal allowance even though David Cameron initially questioned the proposal".

"Ambush", cries the Mail on Sunday. The paper quotes Tory MP Charlie Elphicke who uses the word to describe Mr Clegg's decision to make the call while the PM is abroad.

The Sunday People is somewhat warmer, wanting to give "credit where it's due" for a policy that would help "those who need it most".

The Sun's view? "It's almost as if Nice Guy Nick wants to show he can get one over on those Terrible Tories. Is there an election coming?"

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Philippines clean-up

"Life begins again in the city of despair," says the Sunday Times, reporting from Tacloban, which bore the brunt of Typhoon Haiyan.

Tania Branigan, visiting Cebu for the Observer, finds people looking for jobs, desperate to earn money to start rebuilding their homes. But aid worker Leonard Doyle, in Manila, says the "strain of fighting bottlenecks [in the aid supply] that refuse to budge" is taking its toll on the humanitarian crews.

An inevitable part of the clean-up is the burial of the dead and the Sunday Mirror has a disturbing picture of a long trench filled with corpses wrapped in bin bags.

The Daily Star Sunday, meanwhile, heaps praise on the British people for their generosity towards those affected by the disaster. "Even in tough times, the good news is you still care for your fellow man."

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Disputes inquiry
David Cameron playing cricket in Sri Lanka Lots of the papers carry a photo of David Cameron playing cricket in Sri Lanka

The government has announced an investigation into industrial disputes, including "leverage" tactics by unions, following the Grangemouth refinery row. The plant came close to closure following a stand-off between its owner Ineos and the Unite union.

The Mail on Sunday's Glen Owen says it means the PM has "cranked up the pressure over Ed Miliband's links with the unions" - something he regularly tries to use against the Labour leader in the Commons.

The Sunday Times says the inquiry "appears to have caused ructions with the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable", whom it reports released "a terse statement" insisting industrial relations were generally "on a good footing".

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Showbiz snippets

Those teasers at the Daily Star Sunday have readers worrying about the future of Strictly Come Dancing with their front page headline, "Len to quit telly dance show". However, not to fear, inside it becomes clear that Len Goodman is actually, reportedly, planning to leave the US version of the show, Dancing with the Stars.

The man who brought us Borat and Bruno is back with a new character, according to the Sunday Times. Sacha Baron Cohen's latest incarnation is set to be "a football hooligan whose brother is a James Bond-like spy".

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Conspiracy continued
Bat kid in San Francisco Several papers report on Bat Kid, a young boy recovering from leukaemia, who got to fulfil his wish to be a superhero for a day thanks to the people of San Francisco

Fifty years on, it seems the assassination of President John F Kennedy continues to fascinate.

Indeed, as the Independent on Sunday's headline says "For Americans, JFK will never be case closed." Rupert Cornwell describes it as "the defining collective trauma of the baby-boom generation" and says many people still can't accept that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

Peter Foster, in the Sunday Telegraph, says Kennedy "entered history as a US president gunned down in his prime" - "part of whose greatness could never be taken away from him" because of his early demise. Even now, he says, when we know more, such as "the sordid details of his womanising", the legend continues.

The Sun on Sunday takes a sideways glance at the anniversary, telling the story of the police officer whom Oswald shot 42 minutes after the president. The paper says JD Tippit has been "virtually forgotten", but without his bravery, the assassin may have got away.

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More NHS warnings

Not a day goes by at the moment without another dire prediction or two about how the health service will cope this winter.

From the tabloids

The Sunday Express warns of an increasingly desperate shortage of public toilets, with some 13.5%, it says, closing in the last three years. "Toilet humour aside, this is no laughing matter," its leader says, especially for the elderly, infirm or pregnant.

The front page of the Daily Express goes as far as to warn of "Catastrophe on A&E wards". It quotes Dr Cliff Mann, president of the College of Emergency Medicine, who says there could be "preventable deaths" unless "patients are given a credible alternative to A&E for out-of-hours services" or staff numbers there are boosted.

In the Sunday Mirror, the fears relate to the NHS phoneline 111 which "faces a crisis over Christmas". The paper says it has seen a leaked memo which warns call volumes are expected to rise by 400% "with staffing levels already dangerously low". The Mirror's leader urges politicians to stay out of the way and let "people who know what they are talking about" - medical staff themselves - come up with solutions.

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Historic streets

A list of Britain and Ireland's 50 greatest streets makes the Sunday Telegraph. "Some are included for their aesthetic, architectural or cultural interest, others for their historical significance," the paper says.

The list includes Grey Street in Newcastle, King's Parade in Cambridge, and Charlotte Square in Edinburgh.

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"Breastfeeding bribes"?

That is the headline used alongside Barbara Ellen's piece in the Observer, reacting to news this week that researchers are going to offer women shopping vouchers in an effort to encourage breastfeeding. "Most mothers, rich or poor, already do the best they can for their children, without requiring incentives," she writes. Where help is needed, she goes on, it is "costly sustained education" and more trained support workers that would make a difference. More broadly, though, Ellen adds: "Surely people need to accept that a woman's breasts belong to her alone and hence she can do with them whatever she wishes."

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