Newspaper headlines: Athletics doping, EU protest and Myanmar election

It's rare outside of an Olympic Games for an athletics story to lead even the sports sections but the shocking conclusions of a report into alleged doping in Russia forces the sport onto front pages.

Several of them highlight the term "sabotaged", which was used by the World Anti-Doping Agency to describe the effect of what it says was systematic cheating on London's 2012 Olympic Games.

Noting that Vladimir Putin's government is alleged to have facilitated the doping programme, the mirror declares the Russian president "The Fraud of the Rings", alongside a representation of the Olympic rings from London 2012's opening ceremony.

Jeanette Kwakye, a British 100m finallist at 2008's Beijing Olympics, offers an athlete's view in the Guardian: "Many elite athletes, including myself, will tell you they have never used performance-enhancing drugs. I couldn't even tell you how or where to find the stuff. The problem we now have is that no-one believes us."

Image copyright Reuters

The Sun says International Association of Athletics Federations chairman Lord Coe has been forced into a "humiliating U-turn" after initially saying Russia should not be banned. It argues: "Coe takes a hard line on any cheating. But he made a feeble start at the IAAF by leaping to athletics' defence and, disgracefully, attacking the media instead of taking allegations seriously."

Sports writer Simon Barnes agrees in the Daily Mail that Lord Coe "has not been a good role model as an official of his sport", saying his response to the original suggestions of suspicious blood samples amounted to: "When bad news comes, kill the messenger." He adds: "It's time for Coe to stand up and take his sport into rehab."

The Times reckons that the double Olympic 1,500m champion must "break free from institutional loyalties" and adds: "It will be the hardest race of his life." The Independent's Ian Herbert does not hold out much hope, however, saying: "There was no sense behind his eyes on the darkest day athletics has known that he was ready to be radical... An initial weasel statement from Coe... stretched to 104 words."

For the Daily Telegraph's Paul Hayward, the IAAF has "mistaken governance for business", existing to "chase money rather than enforce order". He says: "The real solution is to take doping control out of the hands of national federations and compromised global authorities - who must be subjected to police and government oversight".


Eye-catching headlines

  • "A man walks into a pub, orders a large export boom..." - the Guardian describes a surge in demand for Greene King IPA beer in China, after the country's president shared a pint with David Cameron
  • "Kate British Bake Off" - the Duchess of Cambridge wants to "become the new Jamie Oliver" by launching a line of healthy foods, according to the Daily Star
  • "Chris: I went from bad to verse" - Coldplay singer turned to ancient poetry and WW2 literature for guidance after his "conscious uncoupling" from Gwyneth Paltrow last year, reports the Mirror
  • "How lounging in the Sun could stop heart attacks" - the Daily Express takes an optimistic approach to reporting links between a lack of vitamin D - promoted by exposure to sunlight - and heart complaints

'Very British protest'

The Europe Union - or at least the UK's membership of it - is back in the news. And the Daily Express sees support for its "crusade" to "get us out" from economist Prof Patrick Minford, who reportedly claims that the cost of living would fall by 8% "on day one" should Britons vote to leave in the planned referendum.

David Cameron has pledged an in/out referendum by the end of 2017 but, according to the Daily Star, next June "is fixed for your Brexit vote". The prime minister is setting out the concessions he wants from Brussels in exchange for his support for the UK's continued membership in a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk. And the Sun's Trevor Kavanagh puts himself in the PM's place to pen the letter he "must" send. "We must win back control over our borders," he writes.

But Rachel Sylvester argues in the Times that the renegotiation process is "a political device designed to hold the party together rather than a genuine attempt to transform this country's relationship with the Continent". Telegraph cartoonist Matt sums up criticism of the lack of detail in Mr Cameron's reform demands by picturing a husband telling his wife over a menu: "It's an EU themed restaurant. We don't tell them what we want and they don't give it to us."

Sketchwriters, meanwhile, enjoy the heckling of the PM as he addressed the Confederation of British Industry. Two student members of the Vote Leave campaign group had repeatedly chanted: "CBI, Voice of Brussels."

Patrick Kidd writes in the Times: "Former LSE students would have occupied a boardroom or chained themselves to the Bank of England, but these two were even more radical: they had formed a start-up web company to gain accreditation to the CBI conference, put on suits and ties and ever so politely begun to chant."

Quentin Letts, of the Mail, is amazed: "Smelling salts, Petunia! The CBI is such as airless pod of careerist constipation and jargoned diarrhoea, heckling here was incongruous - like a hearse burning rubber at a T-junction, or the Duchess of Kent doing a monster burp."

As the Guardian's John Crace saw it: "Rather than applauding their enterprise, most members of the CBI reacted to this very British, well-mannered protest as if it was the 1917 Russian revolution." But Michael Deacon saw it differently for the Telegraph, writing that the students might have momentarily been thrilled that their plan came off, only to be "confronted by glum reality: a bemused hall, seemingly unconcerned security and a bored prime minister".


What the commentators say

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Media captionMirror columnist Susie Boniface and Financial Times energy correspondent Kiran Stacey join the BBC News Channel to review Tuesday's papers.

'Mother of the nation'

The early results of Myanmar's first openly contested national election in 25 years lead several papers to declare victory for the opposition National League for Democracy. The Independent's Peter Popham soaks up the atmosphere in Yangon, where hundreds supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi's party "waved red flags and danced to the party's repertoire of rock songs, blasting out of large speakers as a red and green drone floated overhead".

He continues: "The party had already been going for more than 24 hours since polls closed on Monday and the fatigue was beginning to show... But when the night's final grouping of results came through... the crowd leapt to their feet and roared their approval."

The Times charts the troubled history of the country, also known as Burma, and of Ms Suu Kyi, who went from "daughter of a hero to mother of the nation". However, Richard Lloyd-Parry writes that since emerging from 15 years of house arrest and stepping into the "muddy pit" of politics her performances have been mixed.

Image copyright Gemunu Amarasinghe

He writes: "She has failed to establish good working relations with the president... or to persuade the military to change the constitutional rules that enshrine its power and bar her from the presidency." She is also accused of freezing out able younger politicians and failing to speak up for Rohingya Muslims driven from their homes by Buddhist ethnic cleansing, he says, but adds that "no-one else could have won the victory she has".

There's a note of caution from Simon Tisdall in the Guardian: "It is hardline members of the old guard - who ran the junta before 2011 and treated Aung San Suu Kyi as a mortal enemy - who hold the key to what happens next."

He argues that Ms Suu Kyi will need political skill and subtlety to keep the military onside. "Her international standing and proud lineage, as the daughter of Aung San, Myanmar's independence leader, and founder of the Burmese army, will help. But a host of other issues, such as Buddhist chauvinism, ongoing political repression, and high poverty levels, will complicate her task."


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