Future storm fears, Mirren and Cowell Jr in the papers

  • 16 February 2014
Helen Mirren Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Dame Helen Mirren features in the papers ahead of the Baftas

The storms and flooding continue to make headlines with reports of the latest disruption providing the backdrop to a range of analysis in Sunday's newspapers.

The Observer leads with comments from Labour leader Ed Miliband that Britain is "sleepwalking into a national security crisis" because of a failure to recognise that climate change is causing the extreme weather.

In an interview with the paper, he urges "decent people" in the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats "to come forward and say, we can't have this ambivalence any more because it will be disastrous for this country".

A photograph of the devastation after a tidal surge ripped through Milford on Sea in Hampshire on Friday night is featured on the front page of the Mail on Sunday.

However, the newspaper also carries comments from Met Office expert Mat Collins that it says appear to contradict a suggestion from the organisation's chief scientist that climate change does have a role to play in the stormy weather.

"There is no evidence that global warming can cause the jet stream to get stuck in the way it has this winter," it quotes Prof Collins as saying.

The lead story in the Sunday Express says dangerous levels of bacteria that can cause typhoid fever, dysentery, hepatitis and antibiotic-resistant bugs similar to MRSA have been discovered in floodwater near the Thames.

The paper also reports that Treasury chiefs are reviewing the possibility of exempting flood victims from VAT payments on home repairs and replacement goods.

'Short-term agendas'

Image copyright PA
Image caption Images of storm damage continues to appear across the papers

A front page story in the Sunday Times says that five aircraft unable to land at Heathrow and Gatwick during Friday's storms were forced to declare emergencies, some perilously close to running out of fuel.

In an editorial, the Sunday Times accuses successive governments of failing to plan for extreme weather.

"The government's own impact assessment seems to assume that flood risk will remain the same over time, despite official projections that clearly suggest it will increase," it adds.

Writing in the Independent on Sunday, Richard Ashley, a scientist who in 2007 co-authored a government study into flooding says there has been a "systemic failure to take a longer-term and strategic approach to environmental hazards".

"Many in government either don't believe, or don't wish to upset those who don't believe, that the climate is changing," he writes.

"An interest in floods falls away rapidly after a major event, short-term political agendas return and only what affects the outcome of the next general election becomes important."

The Sun on Sunday also suggests the storms "underline the need for changes in the way we prepare for, and cope with, such extreme weather".

"While David Cameron was right to say money is no object in the relief effort, future policy must focus on prevention," it adds in an editorial.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Telegraph carries a report that councils in some of the areas worst affected by flooding - in Surrey and the Somerset Levels - have published plans to build on land that is currently under water.

'Extremist tourists'

The decision by NHS England boss Sir Bruce Keogh to hold a review into the deaths of children following heart surgery at Bristol Children's Hospital is welcomed by the Sunday People.

The paper, which has long campaigned for an inquiry, says it was "confident it will provide the answers to questions parents have been asking for too long".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Photographs of Team GB's gold-winner Lizzy Yarnold feature again - this time at the medal ceremony in Sochi

According to the Daily Star Sunday, defence chiefs are to offer soldiers up to £4,500 to train as intelligence experts for covert operations, amid fears over a shortage of "spooks".

They have been at the forefront of the battle against the Taliban in Afghanistan, the paper says.

The lead story in the Sunday Times concerns security fears over the disclosure that about 250 British-based jihadis who went to train and fight in Syria have returned home.

Officials quoted by the paper say the events underline the growing danger posed by "extremist tourists" heading to the war-torn region.

The lead story in the Sunday Telegraph covers an investigation by the paper that suggests doctors are being paid as much as £3,000 per shift by NHS hospitals to fill "endemic" staff shortages in Accident and Emergency units.

The Sunday Telegraph also reports Home Office data showing that a record number of foreign criminals won appeals against deportation on human rights grounds last year. The paper says it is "major blow" to the government's tough stance on immigration.

A leader in the Independent on Sunday turns it attention to minimum pricing on alcohol.

The paper welcomes the decision by Lib Dem Home Office minister Norman Baker to look at the issue again in England.

"The history of legislation on alcohol has been one long story of obstruction by the drinks industry to frustrate and delay measures to protect the public interest," the paper says.

Screen killings

Dame Helen Mirren is featured in many papers ahead of her appearance at the Baftas where she is due to receive a fellowship.

In an interview with the Observer, the Oscar-winning star hits out at the way violence is depicted on screen.

And she points out there is a clear gender divide when it comes to murders on British television dramas.

"Most of those bodies are young women," she tells the Observer, adding, "I do get terribly upset when I see films where people are just randomly shot."

Reviewing the newspapers for the BBC News Channel, Cosmopolitan editor Louise Court said: "There has been a huge growth in crime drama ... and most of the victims tend to be either women or children. You don't have as many male bodies, so she has a really good point.

"The worrying thing is, does it desensitise us to violence against women."

The birth of pop mogul Simon Cowell's son continues to be of interest to the tabloids, with the Sun on Sunday and Daily Star Sunday both featuring the story on their front pages.

A different game

Former Preston and England winger Sir Tom Finney, who has died at the age of 91, is warmly remembered.

Brian Glanville, in the Sunday Times, says Finney "possessed an impeccably modest demeanour and exemplary sportsmanship".

He recalls that the player was refused permission to take up a lucrative offer to play in Sicily and wonders what might have happened to his career had he been allowed to go.

In the Sunday Telegraph, Henry Winter describes Finney's return to the football field after serving in the Middle East and Italy during World War Two.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Tributes to Sir Tom Finney took place before football matches on Saturday

"He did his duty in many ways, for his country in combat... he did his duty in sport."

He adds "It was Finney's skill, his two-footedness acquired through constant practice on his weaker right foot, his balance, keen eye for a goal and willingness to withstand ferocious tackling that contributed to the post-War golden age of English football."

In an editorial, the Sunday Mirror reminds its readers that Finney played in a different footballing era, continuing to work as a plumber and travel to matches by bus.

"Fans who started to follow the game after he last kicked a ball will find it hard to comprehend the life he had," it says.

Bringing things up to date, the front page of the late edition of the Sun on Sunday reports that Wayne Rooney has signed a record £70.2m contract to stay at Manchester United until 2018. According to the paper, the striker's £300,000-a-week deal is the biggest in Premier League history.

Making people click

Sunday Telegraph: Jamaicans lead calls for Britain to pay slavery reparations

Mail on Sunday: Watch out below! Russian satellite set to hit earth

The Observer: Naughty but nice: chefs' guilty pleasures

Independent on Sunday: Summer 2014 'likely to be hottest on record'