Newspaper review: Storms, Balls and turtle doves

Composite image of a man holding onto his hat in the wind, a couple being rescued from their home by boat and police inspecting an overturned lorry which has crushed two cars

While the later editions of UK newspapers lead with the death of Nelson Mandela, the inside pages are awash with photographs of the devastation wrought by gale-force winds and storm surges across the country.

The Daily Star's headline reads "142mph killer winds were lifting people into the air" and is accompanied by pictures of pedestrians being blown off their feet and clinging to lamp posts to stay upright.

Huge waves engulfing Whitehaven harbour, in Cumbria, are captured by the Daily Mail, which says Britain is braced for its "worst floods in 60 years", alongside a reminder of the floods of January 1953 which killed 307 people in eastern parts of England.

And beside pictures of crushed cars, blocked railway lines and people being transported through streets by boat, the Guardian visits Sandwich, north Kent, where people have to "carry on regardless" despite the prospect of another tidal surge on Friday.

Balls at sea?

The economic weather has turned against Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, if the analysis of Thursday's Autumn Statement is to be believed.

"New Balls please, jeer buoyant Tories," is how the Daily Telegraph sums up a rowdy session in the Commons, during which Conservative MPs celebrated Chancellor George Osborne having revealed improving growth forecasts.

The Telegraph's sketch-writer Michael Deacon records a "smirk" on the chancellor's face, while the Daily Mail goes further by describing "the smile that says Britain's on the mend". A page later, its photo highlights Labour MP Chris Evans - looking as though he's slapping his forehead with a palm - as a red-faced Mr Balls struggles to make himself heard.

"A battering not seen since Tyson's prime leaves Balls on the canvas," is the conclusion of Matthew Engel's sketch in the Financial Times, while the Independent's cartoon depicts the chancellor kicking Ed Miliband where it hurts, with Mr Balls's face drawn over the Labour leader's crotch.

Economic storms on horizon?

It's left to the Daily Mirror to allow Mr Balls room for some counter-punches.

He uses a column to point out that "working people are worse off under the Tories", alongside Kevin Maguire's Mirror analysis which says "wages will rise by less than inflation over the next five years".

And while the chancellor might have been declared the winner by parliament's press lobby - with Daily Express commentator Chris Roycroft-Davis announcing: "Great Britain plc is back in business" - the Sun finds three-quarters of its readers' panel less-than-impressed. "We'd be happier if he'd just given us a lottery ticket," is the verdict on his measures for small businesses from one pub-owning couple.

The Times sees trouble ahead for the chancellor. "The recovery risks fizzling out because of an over-reliance on debt-fuelled spending," it says, based on a statement from the Office for Budget Responsibility. Furthermore, according to the FT, there's "little sign of the economy rebalancing".

It's a note echoed by Jeremy Warner, in the Telegraph, who argues: "From productivity and dysfunctional energy policy to structural reform and public spending, the challenges remain as daunting as ever."

'No turtle doves'

They might live on in the songs of festive carollers but turtle doves could disappear from the UK within 10 years, reports the Daily Mirror. It says the RSPB is warning that the number of breeding pairs has fallen 95% since 1970, to fewer than 14,000. The decline is blamed on a combination of disease and the effects of herbicides.

There's better news for puffins in the Times. Next to a picture of one bird shaking off the rain in the Farne Islands, off Northumberland, it reminds readers that a National Trust headcount there found almost 40,000 nesting pairs. That's 8% more than in 2008, the paper says.

Perhaps the doves could do with some of the fight exhibited by another declining species, sparrows. According to John Ingham, in the Daily Express: "Some are openly bolshy and do their version of V-signs - wing-flicking - before having a ruck."

Making people click

Daily Mail: 'We have just been reminded what an extraordinary and inspiring man he was': William's tribute as he and Kate leave premiere of film about Mandela's life... that they viewed unaware he was already dead

Daily Telegraph: Mystery 'alien creature' seen in Bristol harbour

Guardian: Comment: Carrie Underwood's Sound of Music - gag me now

Financial Times: A painful lesson in how not to deal with China

Daily Mirror: Paul Walker's heartbroken girlfriend Jasmine Pilchard-Gosnell pictured for first time since tragic crash