Cancer 'breakthrough', ferry disaster and economic 'turning point'

Clinical trials aimed at producing "personalised medicines" to fight cancer offer front-page material for the Daily Express and Independent.

The latter reports that the trials will seek new treatments for patients at advanced stages of incurable lung cancer by testing the effectiveness of 14 drugs against 21 genetic abnormalities in their tumours. It produces a graphic to demonstrate how the trials will seek to discover which combinations of drugs "match" different types of cancer.

Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK - which is funding the trials with two pharmaceutical companies - writes in the Daily Express that the vision of a patient's genetic make-up guiding their treatment "has become closer to reality".

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Another story to make the front pages is the sinking of a ferry with more than 450 people on board, off South Korea. The Metro's front page headline - "I love you. I think we're going to die" - captures the horror of one of those trapped aboard. The paper says the message was sent by text to a loved-one ashore.

The Sun reports how schoolchildren were among those passengers told to "stay put" on the vessel as rescue operations began, even though 95% of it was underwater. "The lost 300," is how the Daily Mirror describes those still unaccounted for at the time of going to print.

'Turning point'

With the pound having hit a four-year high against the dollar, and unemployment falling below 7%, the Times suggests these signs of economic recovery could herald an interest rate rise.

However, "don't bank on it" is the verdict of the Guardian's Larry Elliott. He adds: "[The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee members] are likely to take more notice of the details of the labour market statistics rather than the headline numbers."

While the Sun celebrates the jobless rate hitting a five-year low and wages outstripping inflation, its deputy political editor Steve Hawkes says there is "more to do" - pointing out that of 239,000 new jobs revealed in the latest figures, only 44,000 were traditional full-time roles.

The Financial Times quotes research suggesting that wages have dropped nearly 10% on average since 2008 and notes that Chancellor George Osborne has "ordered that there should be no triumphalism... recognising the risk of appearing to rejoice at a time when many households can see no discernible change in their fortunes".

However, the Daily Mail quotes economists saying the figures "mark the beginning of the end of the cost of living crisis".

Its editorial column declares it a "red letter day for recession-hit Britain" and says it "utterly destroys what little was left of the two Eds' economic strategy" - a reference to Labour leader Ed Miliband and his shadow chancellor Ed Balls.

However, the Daily Mirror is angered by Employment Minister Esther McVey's "boasts" of a "seismic shift" in the economy, pointing out that wages rose 0.1% in real terms. "With bonuses stripped out, the earnings rise is still below inflation at 1.4%. And if mortgages and rent were included, inflation would be 2.4%," it says.

In its editorial, the Independent welcomes the figures but says: "The economy may be at a turning point, but there's still a long way to go."

'Like a banana'

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As the royal tour touched down in Australia, the Duchess of Cambridge and "podgy" Prince George - as the Telegraph calls the eight-month-old heir to the throne - share the headlines.

The Times has its fashion writer Charlie Byrne cast a critical eye over the duchess's dress. The writer concludes Catherine "proved her worth as a diplomat" by sporting a "canary yellow shade, giving a nod to Australia's national sporting colours".

However, she notes: "The dress might have the fashion industry's approval but upon reaching Sydney Opera House the Duchess confided in one fan, Heather Easton, that 'William said I look like a banana'."

Meanwhile, the Daily Express says that while the duchess "has long inspired followers of fashion… her son is catching up". It adds: "As photographs of every outfit have been flashed around the world, the little Prince has sparked a mini-stampede in department stores."

The Daily Mail describes a "Royal selfie frenzy", when the duke and duchess "posed for snaps with fans" in Sydney, while Prince William and his wife played "pass the parcel" with their son.

'Day of humiliation'

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The Guardian's Luke Harding gives a first-hand account of how a Ukrainian "show of strength" in the country's east - involving a column of six armoured personnel carriers - ended when "without a shot being fired they abandoned their vehicles".

"Pro-Russian gunmen grabbed them. They raised a Russian tricolour. They sat on top and went for a victory spin," he writes.

Roland Oliphant, in the Telegraph, describes it as a "public humiliation" for Kiev's armed forces and government. He describes another incident, in a nearby town, involving another 15 armoured cars being surrounded by a pro-Moscow crowd.

"Faced with a large crowd and reluctant to use force on civilians, the paratroopers had little choice but to park up and await instructions... By sunset, the unit had been disarmed and had no choice but to retreat."

The Times blames "Russia and Russia alone" for turning "Ukraine's bitter but manageable succession struggle into a full-blown military stand-off that threatens to rip apart a European state" and says the West has no option but to set limits for Russian President Vladimir Putin "even though nobody seriously thinks he will respect them".

James Nixey, from international affairs think tank Chatham House, writes in the Independent that there is "little chance of success at any level". He adds: "Brokered solutions in faraway cities may not mean much with events unfolding at a pace politicians cannot keep up with."

Meanwhile, Dominic Midgley, in the Daily Express, asks: "Could this be the start of World War III?"

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