Dog blamed for baby death, Kiev burning and Poundland millionaires in papers

An Alaskan Malamute, like the one taken from the Carmarthenshire house where the baby died Image copyright AP
Image caption A dog similar to the one taken from the Carmarthenshire house

Tabloids lead on the death of a six-day-old baby who was apparently mauled by her family's dog.

The Daily Mirror quotes neighbours describing the screams of the girl's mother, Sharon John, as she emerged into her Carmarthenshire street after the incident.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The picture from the Kiev protests used by the Guardian on its front page

It runs through the "spate of tragedies involving dangerous dogs" in recent years, although it notes the dog in question was not covered by the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Meanwhile, the Sun describes how ownership of its breed, the husky-like Alaskan Malamute, has soared in Britain, with more than 10,000 registered in the past decade. "The Kennel Club has been worried about their popularity, stressing they are not suitable pets for everyone," it says.

Many other papers feature images from the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, on their front pages. At least 18 people were thought to have been killed on Tuesday as violence flared during clashes between pro-European Union demonstrators and police.

Reviewing the papers for the BBC News Channel, broadcaster Penny Smith highlighted the Guardian's front-page picture of a man protecting his face from flames, saying it showed the spectrum of society involved in the protest. "This was quite a revelation," she said. "Other pictures I've seen have generally been young men or young women. This is someone with grey hair, engulfed in flames... trying to get away."

Political commentator Sean Dilley added: "Police are using firearms. We aren't sure whether they are rubber bullets or not but all it takes is one act of brutality to bring down any regime."

Judgment call

Many papers are delighted at a Court of Appeal ruling that whole life tariffs are legal when imposed on those who've committed the most serious murders, contradicting European judges who had said the terms breached prisoners' human rights.

The court "deftly avoided putting itself in the crossfire" between Europe and the Conservatives who oppose the human rights act, says the Guardian, noting that the English judges "may be waking up to some unaccustomed tabloid praise".

The Daily Express is among those celebrating a "victory for the British justice system", pointing out that murderers don't concern themselves with their victims' human rights. "It is simple common sense that the most depraved murderers should never be allowed to walk the streets again," it adds.

In his analysis, the Daily Mail's James Slack says: "Justice Secretary Chris Grayling can now rely on the judgment in his ongoing battles with the European Court."

The Guardian cautions that Mr Grayling must be "extremely careful" with his handling of the issue, given the appeal court said the sentences were only acceptable if they are open to review after 25 years.

The Daily Telegraph has no problem with the justice secretary standing up to the Strasbourg court, however. It says: "By stretching the meaning of the [human rights] convention, and its own judicial role, to breaking point and beyond, the European Court of Human Rights has made itself look ridiculous. Britain should and must stand firm."

Mail cartoonist Mac isn't taking it too seriously, however. He sketches a grizzly-looking bride at the altar, where the vicar whispers to the groom: "You do know that whole life means WHOLE LIFE?"

Unlikely millionaires?

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The Financial Times uses a colourful screenshot from the social media gaming phenomenon Candy Crush Saga on its front page to illustrate a report of an unlikely-sounding stock market flotation.

King Digital Entertainment, the UK-based firm behind the online craze played by some 93 million users every day, hopes to raise up to $500m (£300m), the FT reports, noting that it paid out the same sum in dividends to investors and directors over the past four months.

Meanwhile, the Guardian predicts that bargain goods will create multimillionaires when Poundland hits the stock market. Valued at £700m, the store is one-quarter owned by 155 of its top managers and they will be in line for a windfall, the paper says.

In the Independent, Simon Neville examines the "relentless march" of the chain and explores what the success of discount chains reveal about modern Britons, hearing from analysts who say squeezed incomes have helped the store win custom from supermarkets who "failed to keep up with the pace of change".

The paper also visits a store in Shepherd's Bush, west London, to ask customers what draws them through the doors. "I shop here because I've got four kids," says one mum.

Claims 'not true'

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Benefit reform continues to provoke controversy, with the Guardian reporting that leading charities have told an inquiry that jobseekers are being set unrealistic targets - such as to apply for 50 jobs per week, or face having their payments withdrawn.

The paper says figures are expected to show record numbers having payments withheld and quotes Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols saying "something is going seriously wrong when... people are left in that destitute situation and depend solely on the handouts of the charity of food banks".

However, the Daily Telegraph finds David Cameron taking issue with the archbishop's suggestion that benefits cuts are "primarily about saving money". The prime minister writes that there is a moral case for welfare reform, allowing people to "stand on their own two feet" and supporting them into work. "Archbishop Nichols's claims that the basic safety net no longer exists are simply not true," he argues.

Despite that, the Financial Times sees a looming "welfare reform crunch" and quotes Whitehall sources as saying the trouble-hit universal credit - aimed to simplify benefits into a single payment - "must start delivering results by the next election or risk being cut back or even abandoned".

However, Labour is setting up a "universal credit rescue committee" to develop - rather than ditch - the scheme, the FT reports.

Big draw?

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The prospect of more medals for British athletes at the Winter Olympics in Sochi gets some of the papers excited, with the Mirror inviting readers to "brush up on curling" ahead of Team GB's men and women competing in semi-final matches. It runs down the sport's history, jargon and celebrity fans including George Clooney and Donald Sutherland.

"Come on CURLS... and boys," cheers the Sun, profiling the two squads and running through the complex rules of this "chess on ice". Matthew Norman, in the Independent, writes that even to "the emotionally stunted male incapable of almost anything but fixating on televised games... curling is that one step too far". Nonetheless, he's planning to spend six hours watching this spectacle of "housework on ice" on Wednesday.

And the Daily Express cartoon imagines curling fever spreading through cleaners at home in the UK, who commandeer the school gym for a makeshift game using mops and buckets.

Some papers enjoy the turn on the slopes of Vanessa-Mae, or the "Violympian", as the Daily Mirror dubs the classical musician. She competed for Thailand in the giant slalom. It was, for the Daily Telegraph, the day "the star of the show finished a distant last", as she trailed in more than 50 seconds behind the winner.

"Her main achievement may have been just completing the course, but no-one could accuse Vanessa-Mae of playing second fiddle at Sochi," it reckons.

The Independent's Robin Scott-Elliot isn't so sure, however, writing: "At a time when campaigners are pushing vigorously for long-overdue, better - and more respectful - coverage of women's sport, the sight of Vanessa-Mae... carefully negotiating her way down the slope was not designed to push the cause."

Previous enthusiastic amateurs, like Eddie "the Eagle" Edwards and the Jamaican bobsleigh, "trained long and hard to get there", whereas the musician described her Olympic bid as a "last-minute kind of thing".

Making people click

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Daily Telegraph: Chinese fraudster fakes superhuman powers to rob victims

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