Newspaper headlines: Sinai plane crash and Turkey election

  • 2 November 2015

With more information coming to light about the destruction of a Russian jet over Egypt's Sinai peninsular, the papers speculate as to the cause.

The Sun sets out three theories: A ground-to-air missile fired by Islamic State (IS) extremists, mechanical failure or an on-board bomb. However, it says there are weaknesses to each explanation. Rebels are not thought to have the hardware to shoot down an airliner, the Airbus A321 is one of the world's safest planes and security at the take-off airport was "comparable to European standards", it says.

All three theories are explored elsewhere. The Daily Mirror quotes one aviation specialist who believes a bomb was the most likely cause. "[If] the aircraft was undergoing a mechanical problem, an engine problem or fire, or something like that, you would expect some sort of distress call," says Prof Michael Clarke.

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The Daily Star reports IS claims to have shot down the plane, along with a video purporting to show the jet falling to earth. Analysis by BBC Monitoring found the video did not appear to be an official IS clip, and was not shared on official IS channels.

Meanwhile, quoting an interview the aircraft's co-pilot's wife gave to Russian TV, the Times says the man had "expressed concerns about its airworthiness hours before take-off".

Whatever the cause, Richard Spencer writes in the Daily Telegraph that the "misinformation" from Egypt and Russia in reporting - and then denying - that a mayday call was made, and quickly ruling out a link to terrorism, was a "textbook case of what not to do after an air crash". He says: "The great problem now is that having made a very concrete assertion on the basis of what everyone could see was little to no evidence, the authorities will struggle to be believed even when they do have a definitive answer."

Other papers focus on the grief of victims' relatives. The Guardian pictures mourners at a makeshift memorial in St Petersburg airport, where the plane had been due to land. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail prints some haunting images of some of the children killed in the crash - including one of a 10-month-old baby looking out of the airport window while waiting to board the flight.

Eye-catching headlines

  • "Sex change of the 5,000-year-old yew tree" - the Fortingall Yew, Perthshire, is considered male, as it bears pollen, but berries on a branch indicate at least part of it is changing gender, says the Telegraph
  • "'Trek specs' will boldly help blind" - glasses with tiny cameras can tell blind wearers what they are looking at, says the Daily Star, comparing them with those worn by Star Trek: The Next Generation character Geordi La Forge
  • "Raunchy Magaluf is rebranded for rich families" - a five-year plan is being drawn up to ditch the Spanish resort's "cheap cocktails and sex games" in favour of upmarket restaurants and luxury bars, says the Times
  • "Exploding hoverboard did £25k damage to our kitchen" - a grandfather tells the Daily Mail one of four balance scooters he bought as Christmas presents went off "like a firework" while charging


Turkey's elections, which resulted in victory for the incumbent AKP, are covered extensively, including on the Financial Times's front page. And most papers credit President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with propelling his party to victory just five months after an electoral flop, despite his name not being on the ballot sheet. "It's certainly a victory for Erdogan primarily, then the AKP - people see Erdogan in the driving seat," says the FT.

"Nobody believed that he could change voting patterns in such a short time, nor that he could win back votes from Kurds and nationalists by increasing violence nationwide then promising calm if his party were re-elected," writes Suna Erdem in the Times. She calls the president the "Houdini of politics".

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On the Guardian's front page, Simon Tidsall writes that Mr Erdogan's constant refrain was of: "Stability. Security." The writer says: "Reduced to its essential components, Erdogan's unpalatable message was one of division and fear: Fear of neighbours - Kurds, foreigners, refugees, the Americans, the EU - and fear of each other. The taste will linger."

"In the wake of the AKP's spectacular victory, it will be in a strong position to take control of all remaining levers of power: army, security services and media," says Patrick Cockburn in the Independent. "Ever since it first formed a government in 2002, the AKP has been progressively eliminating all opponents in positions of authority."

In the Telegraph's view: "After a decade in control, President Erdogan is probably the most powerful Turkish leader since Kemal Ataturk. But he is also the most divisive. His task for the next four years is to show he can be a unifier, too."

'Cancer divide'

A variety of stories about cancer - and those who suffer from the illness - feature in the press, with the Telegraph leading on figures suggesting that one-in-four patients is unlikely to live longer than six months after diagnosis. GPs are missing the symptoms and almost 90,000 of the 330,000 people diagnosed each year find out about their illness after arriving in casualty, the paper adds.

According to the Times, this leaves tens of thousands of patients dying within weeks. "Many have struggled to convince GPs that they are seriously ill, while others are on waiting lists for tests or specialists," one consultant is quoted saying.

The Daily Express reports the results of a study suggesting that patients from wealthier areas are more likely to survive. It quotes one public health adviser saying: "Taking action on preventable risk factors, such as smoking, obesity and alcohol - all associated with deprivation - is crucial in reducing growth of cancer."

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For the Sun, the situation adds up to a "cancer divide". Around 200,000 cancer sufferers live in the most deprived areas of England, the paper says.

The Daily Mirror reports that ministers are blocking a bill by Labour MP Nick Thomas-Symonds that "could help deliver life-saving pills produced for as little as 5p each". Drugs such as Tamoxifen, it says, can be used to prevent and treat breast cancer but because its patent has expired, the low price makes it unattractive for big drugs firms. The government is refusing to back a bill putting a duty on the health secretary to licence such drugs, saying doctors are already able to prescribe them.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail cites a study suggesting that eating one steak a week increases the risk of bowel cancer by more than two-fifths.

What the commentators say

Media captionMartin Bentham, home affairs editor for London's Evening Standard, joins campaigner and broadcaster Lynn Faulds Wood to review Monday's papers for the BBC News Channel.

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