The papers: Rolf Harris's letter and Eurovision oddness

Rolf Harris arriving at court Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Rolf Harris with his wife Alwen (L) and daughter Bindi (R)

A story involving a nationally beloved veteran TV star and a number of lurid sexual allegations was always destined to take top billing in the national newspapers, and so it proves with the Rolf Harris court case.

The Daily Mirror, like most papers, focuses on a letter Mr Harris is said to have written to the father of one of his accusers.

The paper says Mr Harris admits having a sexual relationship with the girl, but that it began when she was 18, not 13 as the witness claims.

The entertainer, who lives in Berkshire, denies 12 counts of indecent assault involving four different women.

The Sun describes Mr Harris's arrival at court. It says the 84-year-old "arrived at court clutching at the hands of his wife and daughter as if holding on for dear life".

The Daily Telegraph highlights the prosecutor's assertion that "Rolf Harris's fame and reputation meant that no one suspected or challenged his behaviour".

The Guardian's headlines include the claim from another prosecution witness that on an Australian TV channel Mr Harris was known as "the octopus" for his groping behaviour.

'Soul destroying'

Cash-strapped British hospitals could be left needing to recruit 20,000 more nurses, according to a front-page story in the Guardian.

The paper leads with expected new guidelines drawn up by the health watchdog NICE, which will say that one nurse should not be expected to look after more than eight adult patients.

The guidelines would be in line with the recommendations of pressure group Safe Staffing Alliance, which includes many healthcare professionals, the paper says.

The staff-to-patient ratios became major concerns in the wake of hospital scandals, such as that at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust.

The Independent also carries the report, noting that the health expert who came up with the one-for-eight figure suggests the ratio was not "ideal or sufficient" but based on what was achievable and did not put patients at "substantial risk".

The paper says the government has always resisted calls to set minimum nursing cover levels.

The Daily Telegraph picks up on warnings about patient safety for another hard-pressed group of NHS workers - junior doctors.

The paper reports the British Medical Association (BMA) as saying that despite EU working hour rules limiting doctors to a 48-hour week, some are still working 100 hours in a seven-day period.

The "soul destroying" shift patterns can happen as the hours limit is only averaged over a 26-week period - with some weeks vastly exceeding the regulations.

The BMA also says that some doctors are being pressured into not recording work that takes them over that legal limit.

The organisation wants to cap hours at 72 a week, to avoid putting "patients and doctors at risk".

Terrorist 'identity'

The horrifying kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls has made headlines around the world, but it could have been prevented, says a report quoted in Guardian.

Amnesty International says the country's armed forces were aware for almost four hours that armed Boko Haram militants were approaching the town that is home to the school, but they failed to act.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Sekau's group is fighting to establish an Islamic state in northern Nigeria and they are opposed to secular education

Nigeria's army has rejected the story as "rumours and allegations", the paper adds.

The Times reports that British experts have arrived in the Nigerian capital Abuja to assist with rescue efforts.

They will join US, French, Chinese and Spanish officials aiding the operation.

The Daily Mirror says there are fears that British involvement in any operation against Boko Haram could spark a backlash in the UK.

Its "intelligence service source" says "it only takes one or two to adopt the twisted Boko Haram faith and we have a huge problem".

The Financial Times carries a detailed feature on Boko Haram and its "megalomaniacal" leader Abubakar Sekau.

It says Sekau's chilling threat to sell the girls as slave brides and his many videotaped threats to Nigeria's president and other world leaders are designed to fashion "an identity as a global terrorist".

The FT's analysis is that the militant group's hit-and-run terror attacks are beginning to alienate some of its more ideological members.

Increasingly, its foot soldiers have to be recruited at the barrel of a gun, the paper adds.


It was only a set of wooden steps, but the Queen's decision not to climb them has sparked a frenzy of speculation in the Daily Express.

The 88-year-old monarch was represented by Prince Charles at part of a ceremony for the Order of the Bath at Westminster Abbey, after fears that climbing the steep stairway in her ceremonial outfit might overburden the Queen.

The Express notes that some royal watchers have estimated that the outfit - which contains plenty of gold - could weigh 70lbs.

The paper poses the question: "Is the Queen starting to hand over the reigns to Charles?"

It adds that Palace officials are trying to minimise the Queen's exposure to long periods of standing, extended walkabouts and photographers' flashbulbs.

The Daily Telegraph's leader column, however, says the Queen "shows no obvious sign of slowing down".

It adds: "Her Majesty's apparent indefatigability would be extraordinary in a person half her age."

The Daily Mirror notes the Queen is not expected to make any other changes to a "hectic schedule" in the coming weeks.

The Daily Mail has an interesting sidebar on the origins of the Order of the Bath.

It notes that members were originally required to ritually bathe four times - an unusual act in the medieval world - before being bestowed the knighthood.

The watery requirement was abolished in 1815, it adds.

Twelve new knights were installed at Friday's ceremony. Members of the order are often, but not always, high-ranking military officers .

Butter churning

Love it or hate it, if you read the newspapers you won't be able to ignore it - Eurovision time is upon us again.

The Guardian - perhaps surprisingly - has the most comprehensive coverage of this weekend's song contest.

The paper notes that all eyes will be on the Ukrainian entrant Mariya Yaremchuk - who was a declared supporter of ousted president Viktor Yanukovych.

Ms Yaremchuk has subsequently said that she is apolitical and her song will be in honour of her 46 million fellow countrymen.

The paper says that Russia is likely to give the entry, Tick Tock, the infamous "nil points".

When it comes to the contest itself, the Guardian's analysis is that last year's winners Denmark have "essentially resigned" from the running by entering a song the paper's pundit describes as "the worst noise you have ever heard".

The Sun has a full list of the 25 contenders, but says Britain's Molly Smitten-Downes fears she will lose out to the Austrian "bearded lady".

Vienna's entry Conchita is actually a drag act, but the paper makes the song 7-2 favourite.

Image copyright Getty Images

The Sun lets people know what to watch out for, including on-stage butter churning from a Polish group, Greeks trampolining and the aforementioned Ms Yaremchuk who will perform in front of a giant hamster wheel.

Twitter's servers should brace themselves for a busy night, says the Daily Express.

The paper says that 3.7 million tweets were sent during last year's finals, and even during the knockout stages this year more than 7,600 messages per minute were being sent to the microblogging site at one stage.

Making people click

Times: They're not worked up about Poles in "Ukipshire"

Star: I made kids cry, says Angelina Jolie

Independent: Bob Geldof speaks out about Nigeria kidnappings

Mail: The moment a mother thought her child was being abducted