Newspaper headlines: Doctor strikes, Modi visit, hedge funds and sniffer dog

The prospect of the first all-out NHS strikes by junior doctors in the row over new contracts makes front page headlines.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the doctors' union, the British Medical Association, has announced plans for industrial action for "emergency care only" on one date in December followed by full walkouts on two others, subject to a ballot of 40,000 members.

The Telegraph says: "It prompted concerns that an all-out strike at the height of winter would inevitably endanger lives, given that juniors make up around half of the workforce of hospital doctors.

"If strike action goes ahead, most planned operations and outpatient clinics will have to be cancelled, with consultants prioritising more urgent and emergency cases."

The Guardian leads with the reaction from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The paper says Mr Hunt is gearing up for a "fierce battle" with the doctors despite warnings by NHS bosses and the medical profession that a protracted dispute will seriously disrupt services at a time when they are under most pressure.

"Hospitals are bracing themselves for having to cancel thousands of planned operations and outpatient clinics if the BMA's ballot leads to walkouts," says the Guardian.

The paper says it understands that Mr Hunt has "rejected a number of personal overtures made in recent days to try to reach a compromise with junior doctors' leaders".

Image copyright PA
Image caption Junior doctors are being balloted over industrial action

The Times states that hospitals would be left without crucial staff when they are already struggling to cope as the busiest time of year approaches.

"The British Medical Association is furious at Mr Hunt's plan to impose a new contract on junior doctors that increases basic pay at the expense of overtime for tens of thousands of staff below consultant grade," says the Times.

"Mr Hunt says the deal would allow hospitals to have more junior doctors on duty at the weekend, but the BMA claims the deal devalues out-of-hours work and removes safeguards preventing dangerously long shifts."

The Independent says the decision sparked a furious reaction from the health secretary who accused the union of threatening "totally unwarranted" action.

In an editorial comment, the Telegraph urges the "militant" BMA to "think again".

"Yes, it has a responsibility to defend the interests of its members," it concludes. "But its responsibility towards the public surely comes first."

Red carpet

The other big story for the press is the visit to the UK of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Times reports that David Cameron insisted Britain would continue to pursue stronger ties with India despite Mr Modi's record on human rights.

Valentine Low's political sketch in the Times captures the mood of the occasion nicely.

"Mr Modi, of course, was not eligible for the full works, as he is not a head of state, and this is not a state visit, but he seemed pleased enough, slapping the Scots Guards officer in charge on the arm in a jovial, matey kind of way, as if he had told a particularly good joke," he writes.

"There was not quite the same bonhomie as he stood with David Cameron for their press conference in the magnificent Locarno Suite in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office: not so much coolness as a slight awkwardness in their relationship, as if they had not quite figured each other out yet.

"Still, they spoke with all the earnestness of a young couple thinking of moving in together. 'We have,' Mr Modi said, 'already shown that we have taken our relationship to a new level'."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Narendra Modi is on a three-day visit to Britain

The Telegraph describes how Mr Modi went from a blacklist to the red carpet treatment.

"Narendra Modi's transformation from persona non grata to guest of honour was complete yesterday when the Indian prime minister was greeted with all the razzmatazz Britain could summon," it says.

The Guardian says Mr Cameron swept aside criticism of his decision to offer a lavish reception for Mr Modi as he hailed the "enormous mandate" from the people of India.

The Independent looks ahead to an event at Wembley Stadium where Mr Modi will speak to a packed house.

"Even the president of the United States could not realistically draw a crowd of 55,000 to Wembley Stadium, but that is where India's prime minister will be speaking at five o'clock this afternoon," it says.

The Mail says Mr Modi arrived in London to noisy protests and was taken into Number 10 via a back route.

Hedge funding

The Financial Times reports a boost for David Cameron in the campaign to keep the UK in the European Union.

The paper says two high-profile hedge fund managers are to pump millions of pounds into the coffers of the Britain Stronger in Europe group.

While the Vote Leave campaign still expects significant backing from hedge funds, explains the FT, Mr Cameron had feared they would give Brexit campaigners a vital financial advantage in the forthcoming EU referendum.

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Media captionTelegraph senior political correspondent Kate McCann and political journalist Rob Merrick join the BBC News Channel to review Friday's front pages.

"Big companies, which bankrolled the Yes campaign in the 1975 referendum on UK membership, are reluctant to enter the fray this time," it continues.

"They would require shareholder approval to make donations and some fear a backlash from Eurosceptic customers.

"That has made hedge fund managers a prime target for fundraisers on both sides, not least because many are frustrated with a post-financial crisis Brussels directive that brought hedge funds under direct regulation."

The Times covers the same story, saying that the move bucks the trend of many hedge fund owners being courted by the campaigns to leave Europe.

Dogged work

It is, of course, Friday 13th - a convergence of day of the week and day of the month that is considered unlucky by many.

And the Telegraph brings us claims that Friday 13th is the cheapest day to fly as superstition stops people taking to the skies.

When this happened in June last year, apparently, the average price of a UK domestic flight was more than £50 cheaper, down to £181 from £233 across the year.

A flight booking website said search trends showed prices were also driven down in France, Austria and Sweden.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ruby the sniffer dog stuck to her duties when the Queen arrived

Finally, the Queen is reputed never to carry cash - but that did not stop Ruby the Border Force sniffer dog making an impromptu inspection of Her Majesty's handbag on a royal visit to the Home Office.

The Telegraph says the English springer spaniel knows that handbags are always a good place to check for ill-gotten gains - she has detected £10.5m of illicit cash in her five-year career.

The Telegraph comments: "The dog's behaviour was admirably professional. She sniffed the Queen's handbag, as she is trained to do, for her ultra-sensitive nose detects the ink on bank notes and discovers wads smuggled through airports.

"Even if the royal handbag been stuffed with Maundy Money, Ruby would have known that silver coins were not to be sniffed at."

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