Newspaper review: Papers focus on Syria developments


Many papers report on what the Independent calls the "dizzying" pace of diplomatic activity on Syria - after Russia proposed Damascus should get rid of its stockpile of chemical weapons.

The Times believes President Putin has succeeded in stalling an American attack - and the Daily Telegraph reckons the threat of military action has receded into the distance.

The Independent says a solution that avoids military action, while removing chemical weapons from the fray, would benefit everyone.

The Guardian calls it a path worth exploring - though the devil, it adds, will be in the detail.

Photographs of Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell appear on many of the front pages after he was cleared of sexual abuse.

"Why was he ever charged?", asks the main headline in the Daily Mail, which says colleagues of the actor claim he was the victim of a celebrity witch-hunt prompted by the Jimmy Savile scandal.

The Times says the Crown Prosecution Service was forced to defend its pursuit of the actor - the paper believes the case is likely to re-ignite debate about the naming of suspects in sex abuse cases.

The Sun says Michael Le Vell contemplated suicide as his world fell apart in the months before the trial.

The Daily Mirror says he will now return to the soap - and he has been promised the best storylines of his career.

Soap return

The Times reports Ed Miliband's speech to the TUC, saying he "blinked first" in a stand-off with the unions and retreated from a showdown.

The paper says the Labour leader was accused of backing down after weeks of speculation that he would announce fundamental changes to the unions' grip on policy-making.

The Daily Express says Mr Miliband faced claims that he buckled under pressure.

But the Guardian calls it a low-key, fence-mending speech, in which Mr Miliband positioned the party squarely alongside the union movement.

The main story on the Daily Telegraph's front page says a scheme to plant millions of poppies across Britain to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War I has been refused a grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The paper says the decision provoked anger from veterans' groups.

Plastic pound

The Guardian leads on its interview with United Nations special investigator on housing, Raquel Rolnik, who says the government should scrap the so-called bedroom tax, or spare room subsidy.

The paper says she reached the conclusion after visiting council estates, food banks and homelessness crisis centres. Her remarks have been strongly challenged by the government.

There is plenty of comment on the proposal to change paper banknotes for ones made of plastic.

The Daily Telegraph points out one drawback - plastic notes do not fold.

It says more than three or four fivers would spring about ungovernably like a pocket full of kittens.

The Sun says when the notes were introduced in Canada some people were convinced that a scent of maple syrup had been added to the plastic.

The paper says one Bank of England official suggested the British notes probably ought to smell of fish and chips.

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