Al-Jazeera jailing, David Cameron 'isolated' on EU, northern 'supercity' and Wimbledon

Australian journalist Peter Greste stands inside a cage in a Cairo court Image copyright European Photopress Agency

There is support for the three al-Jazeera journalists jailed in Egypt from the British press.

Both the Guardian and Times give up much of their front pages to an image of Australian Peter Greste behind the wire of a court cage at Monday's hearing, during which he and two others were jailed for seven years for "spreading false news".

Image copyright Reuters

The Independent's Robert Fisk complains: "It is not just the outrageous, unfair, trumped-up crudity of the charges... No, it is the bald fact that prison for journalists in one of the world's most populous, historic countries must now be regarded as a normal part of the risks we take in covering the world."

In the Times, Russ Finn describes the conditions he found in a Cairo police cell after being arrested while working as an al-Jazeera producer. "The conditions were grim. We slept on the floor, which was covered in urine, blood and excrement," he writes.

The Daily Mirror can see the hope generated by the Arab Spring "mutating into fear and oppression", arguing: "Trumped up charges and the startling lack of evidence are a terrible modern stain on one of the world's earliest civilisations."

As the Times sees it: "Until the journalists are freed, international pressure must be piled on the Egyptian government."

According to the Guardian's editorial, the revelation that the US had recently released hundreds of millions of dollars in frozen military aid demonstrates poor judgement from Washington: "The United States and other friends of Egypt should be using the leverage represented by aid and other forms of assistance forcefully rather than just throwing it away."

Meanwhile, for John McTernan, writing in the Daily Telegraph, there are lessons for the UK in this "chilling reminder of the danger of state control" of the press.


PM v Europe

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David Cameron has been left "isolated" by other European leaders, according to the i's front page, which says he has been deserted by Germany, Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands in his bid to oppose Jean-Claude Juncker's election as European Commission president.

Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph is among the papers reporting a "foul-mouthed tirade" from the Polish foreign minister about the PM's "incompetence in European affairs". It prints a transcript of his complaints, which the Sun reckons leave Mr Cameron "Pole-axed".

The Daily Mirror says it proves the PM is "a naive operator, a figure of scorn in Europe's capitals who has failed, big time, in crucial negotiations". The Mail, too, reckons Mr Cameron's humiliation over the presidential appointment is "almost complete".

However, there is support for the Conservative leader from the Independent's Steve Richards. "Cameron is not to blame for the way he has sought to block Juncker or for the likely failure of his attempt," he writes, adding that it is, however, an indication of "the degree to which he is trapped by Europe".

And the Times believes the British prime minister has one more weapon in his armoury in the form of the "L-bomb". This "nuclear option" is known as the Luxembourg Compromise and can be invoked - indefinitely deferring a decision - when a country believes "a very important national interest" is at stake, the paper says. It also suggests Mr Cameron is preparing to toughen his rhetoric, as far as threatening to leave the EU.


'Supercity'

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A "supercity to rival London" is how the Daily Star describes George Osborne's vision for northern England. And the cartoonists give their take on his motives for mooting a high-speed railway line between Manchester and Leeds to develop closer links among cities between the ports of Liverpool and Hull.

Adams, in the Telegraph, pictures the chancellor in flat cap, a whippet at his side and pint in hand, as he points to map of the proposed rail route with the line meandering to spell out "vote Tory". The Independent's Dave Brown has Mr Osborne as the Fat Controller from the Thomas the Tank Engine stories with the prime minister as Thomas, towing ballot boxes instead of carriages.

"This sort of scheme could be a template for what government can do well," argues the Times. The Independent also welcomes the idea as a "worthwhile project" but points out that without financial commitment "it is little more than a pipe dream".

The Financial Times's editorial argues that a train leaving Manchester might not get up to top speed before having to apply the breaks to stop at Leeds. The chancellor "has missed an opportunity to address the real connectivity problem: the myriad bottlenecks on existing roads and railways that limit the effective size of the region's economy", it adds.

Meanwhile, the Telegraph's Michael Deacon notes that Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has said he wants the creation of a "Northern Golden Triangle". The sketch continues: "The 'Golden Triangle' is the name of the so-called 'business improvement district' in Washington, DC, although interestingly it is also the name of the huge area in south-east Asia where opium is grown. It is not known which of these two ideals Mr Clegg has in mind."


Star attraction?

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Sports writers note how defending champion Andy Murray breezed through his first round match at Wimbledon but their news colleagues are more interested in what was going on in the crowd.

The Metro spots singer Pixie Lott, comedian Jack Whitehall, actress Naomie Harris and DJ Jameela Jamil in attendance and suggests they're taking their minds of England's performance in the football... And the rugby union... And the cricket.

The Daily Express points out the "generation game" in play, with Murray's father and grandparents in the stands, while other papers focus on the player's partner Kim Sears and mother, Judy. The latter is pictured on the front of the Telegraph, greeting Sears and her son's new coach Amélie Mauresmo.

Meanwhile, the Mail says Mrs Murray is soon to be centre-stage, rather than centre court, quoting sources who say she's in talks to appear on BBC One show Strictly Come Dancing.

Murray apart, British players were "dropping like flies", according to the Independent. However, the Telegraph hails the performance of the "bad girl of British tennis" - Naomi Broady, of Stockport, Greater Manchester - who won her first-round match. It recalls how seven years ago she was suspended by the Lawn Tennis Association for "unprofessional behaviour" and stripped of funding after posing as a 17-year-old next to a nightclub condom machine.


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