Newspaper review: Strong growth produces mixed messages

Papers

The UK's unexpectedly strong growth rate has produced mixed messages as the papers struggle to make sense of it.

The Sun compares the economy to a sickly patient saying there is a pulse but no room for complacency. The Daily Mail agrees that the "omens are good".

But the Daily Telegraph cautions that we should not "cheer too loudly".

And the Daily Express says while such news might have come as "a tonic" at other times, "these days it comes as nothing more than a relief".

Russia in Afghanistan

The prospect of Russia playing a role in supporting Nato's mission in Afghanistan makes several papers.

The Independent calls it "a remarkable turn of events" pointing out that in the 80s Nato encouraged the mujahideen to drive the Russians out.

Remembering the long history of outside interventions in the region, it says "the Great Game reasserts itself".

The Times describes that withdrawal 20 years ago as a "humiliating rout" and says a return would be "hugely emotive".

'Cut price'

The Guardian reports that brown bears in Siberia have been digging up corpses in village graveyards and eating them.

The gruesome report says they grew desperate after a scorching summer.

The Financial Times, meanwhile, reports that supermarkets are offering "cut price" deals on Christmas food and drink weeks earlier than usual.

And the Daily Mail highlights figures suggesting three-quarters of the people who apply for benefits saying they are too ill to work, are fit enough.

Octopus death

Concerns that 50 species of mammal are at risk of extinction are described as a "crisis" in the Daily Telegraph.

But it is the death of Paul the Octopus - the creature that allegedly predicted the outcome of the World Cup - that preoccupied some of the papers.

The Sun pays tribute to him as a "mystic cephalopod" while the Daily Mirror recalls he astonished millions.

But the Guardian repeats claims he died in July, since when an impostor has taken his place at a German aquarium.

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