Malaysia jet's final messages, TV licence dodger block and Kate Bush in papers

International arrivals board shows Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 as being delayed

A transcript of the last 54 minutes of cockpit communication aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 provides more potential clues about the disappearance for the papers to pick over.

The Daily Telegraph, which claims to have been the first to obtain a copy of the document, prints the conversations between the co-pilot and the control tower, and other air traffic controllers in full.

Listed shed

Illustration from first edition of Alice in Wonderland showing Alice, the March Hare and the Mad Hatter

A lollipop lady was astonished to learn that the dilapidated two-storey brick shed where she stored her lawnmower is to be preserved as one of the treasures of Britain's industrial heritage, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The outhouse in the back yard of 74-year-old Lillian Robinson's terrace home in Denton, Greater Manchester, has been given Grade II status by English Heritage.

It was believed to be a "planking shop and bow garret", the only surviving intact example of a 19th Century workshop once common in an area known for its thriving hat-making industry.

The Daily Mail points out it is the very kind of site where a hatter such as the Mad Hatter portrayed in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland would have been based.

The transcript runs from the time the Boeing 777 was taxiing to its last known position above the South China Sea en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March and includes exchanges from a point at which investigators believe the plane had already been sabotaged, says the paper.

Analysts said the sequence of messages appeared "perfectly routine" but two features stood out as potentially odd, it adds.

According to the Daily Mirror, fears that missing flight was hijacked have increased because the transcript showed that all communication with the plane was lost during a handover between air traffic controllers in Malaysia and Vietnam.

The Times is among the papers to highlight another theory that has emerged by pointing out that the flight was carrying a consignment of lithium-ion batteries in its hold, which have been previously blamed for causing fires on aircraft.

Meanwhile, reporting from Beijing, Times correspondent Leo Lewis says the families of some of the 153 Chinese passengers on board are still waiting for the country's president, Xi Jinping, to make his first public comments on the mystery.

"For families encamped in the stale and suffocating Grand Ballroom of the Lido Hotel... praying for a miracle, the silence of their President is just one wound of hundreds," he writes.

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'Not cheap'

There is speculation about the future of the TV licence following reports ministers have backed plans that would give them powers to make non-payment a civil rather than criminal offence.


Viewers who fail to pay the licence fee face having their BBC channels blocked under plans considered by ministers, reports the Times.

Everest mystery

Mount Everest

A piece of mountaineering equipment belonging to a man behind one of the greatest climbing mysteries is coming up for auction, reports the Times.

George Mallory's ice axe was used on his unsuccessful attempt to conquer Everest in 1922. On his way down, it was his ice axe that held fast as he plunged it into the snow and saved three of his companions from death.

Two years later, the axe which is expected to raise up to £8,000 at Christie's next month, was in Mallory's possession when he and Andrew Irvine were last seen alive disappearing into the clouds close to Everest's summit.

Mallory's body was found by a US-led expedition in May 1999, 600m from the top, fuelling speculation as to whether had, in fact, made it to the summit.

The paper says it is seen as an answer to growing concerns from the corporation at the potential for evading the annual fee but the move would be costly to implement and is "not technically be straightforward or cheap", perhaps involving the addition of a new set top box or card to existing systems.

In its front page story, the Daily Mail says that the move by ministers meant the abolition of the licence fee has come a step closer. Its columnist Simon Heffer suggests the BBC "urgently consider a subscription model" for many of its services, and negotiate a government grant to pay for an "essential public service network".

The Sun says "criminalising people for not having a TV licence is an idea long past its sell-by date". And it dismisses a warning by the BBC that the loss of the licence fee could see channels close, asking it to "ditch a layer" of executives instead.

Another area occupying political minds is a mansion tax, reports the Daily Telegraph. Treasury officials have begun work on introducing a levy on expensive properties, Danny Alexander, the Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, tells the paper.

He said there was growing political support for a tax on expensive houses "in the context of further deficit reduction" and the preparatory work means any government elected next year might be able to introduce the charge soon after taking office.

But if industry experts quoted by the Times are to be believed, a mansion tax risked being "self-defeating" because of its "unintended consequences" - it could dent house prices and slash the income from other taxes.

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Boris deal?

Doctors who worry about the safety of cholesterol-reducing statins are creating a misleading level of uncertainty that could lead to the loss of lives, one of the UK's leading medical academics has told the Guardian. Professor Sir Rory Collins, from Oxford University, says he believes GPs and the public are being made unjustifiably suspicious of the drug.

Meanwhile, concerns of doctors are raised in the Independent which reports that a 1% pay rise has left the profession with "a deep sense of outrage".

In a personal letter to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, British Medical Association chairman Dr Mark Porter writes that "chipping away at wages highlights the fact the government doesn't yet have a meaningful and sustainable solution to addressing the funding gap in the health service." The Department of Health, however, tells the paper the "door is open to agree alternative proposals on pay providing we can continue to protect the frontline".

David Cameron's confirmation that he wants Boris Johnson back in Parliament by 2015 is widely discussed.

David Cameron, Boris Johnson at Crossrail site in London on 16 January 2014

The Daily Express is among the papers to see the retirement of Britain's longest-serving MP, Sir Peter Tapsell, as potentially clearing the way for the London Mayor to return to Westminster.

Tory MPs now see the London Mayor as favourite for Sir Peter's Louth and Horncastle seat in Lincolnshire, it says.

But the Times reports that a "bidding war has started among Conservative constituencies trying to attract Boris Johnson", saying that the North-West Hampshire constituency of Sir George Young, who is also standing down at the next election, is another option.

The Guardian points out that Mr Johnson would probably need a London constituency if he were to continue as mayor.

Although Mr Johnson has yet to throw his hat into the ring, the Sun quotes "friends" as saying he will run. And it goes further, suggesting there are "growing Westminster whispers" that he and the prime minister have done a "deal for power" similar to the one Tony Blair and Gordon Brown cut in the 1990s, with Mr Cameron promising not to stand in the way when the time came for Mr Johnson to run as party leader.

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Shock announcement
Kate Bush, Kylie Minogue

The announcement that Kate Bush is to play a series of concert dates in the UK later this year - 35 years after her first and last tour - attracts much comment and reminiscence.

The Guardian's music critic Alexis Petridis says the 15 dates at the Hammersmith Apollo "confounded all reasonable expectations".

"Even in a world where David Bowie's 2013 return to recording has supposedly immunised the public to rock legends springing surprises on their audience, the level of shock the announcement has caused seems entirely understandable," he added.

The Daily Telegraph's Anita Singh explains that Bush waited until her son turns 16 to undertake the series of live shows. "The decision to restrict the shows to London means she can return home each night".

The Times is among the papers to borrow the title of one of her songs to sum up the news. "Wow, Kate Bush back in concert at 55", says its headline.

And reports of another pop star's touring plans make front page headlines in the Daily Mirror and Sun.

Kylie Minogue's reported comments that she is going to be too busy with live commitments to return next year to the Saturday night TV singing contest the Voice spells a "bitter blow to the BBC", says the Mirror.

The Sun says Minogue reckons the "timings wouldn't work" but quotes the BBC as saying discussions are still ongoing and it is looking to accommodate the star's commitments if the show does make a return.

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Making people click

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The Times: British Euroscepticism is becoming contagious

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