Newspaper headlines: Syria fears and 'terrorist sympathiser' Corbyn

With MPs due to vote on Syria air strikes, most of the papers look at the case for and against bombing so-called Islamic State (IS).

David Cameron has offered "no clear strategy, no coherent coalition, no credible ground forces and no proper plan to defeat IS", Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn writes in the Daily Mirror.

In the Independent, Patrick Cockburn says Mr Cameron's strategy is "based on wishful thinking and poor information".

He likens it to the approach which led Britain to "unsuccessful wars in Iraq and Afghanistan" with no "effective local partner on the ground".

Mr Cameron "glossed over the reality" when he spoke of 70,000 Syrian fighters the UK could work with, Con Coughlin writes in the Daily Telegraph.

He warns that, with many armed groups pursuing their own agendas in Syria, the force Mr Cameron's plan relies on could turn out to be "nothing more than a phantom army" - a view shared by the Daily Mail.

The Sun also voices doubts about these "moderate" forces, but it says it reluctantly hopes MPs will approve air strikes.

More diplomatic work is needed and there are doubts over what will happen, but that should "not stop us facing down our biggest threat since the Nazis", it adds.

The Express agrees, saying Britain must not "sit on the sidelines and rely on others to keep us safe".

In the Times, Roger Boyes says Britain should "strike the brain" of IS. Staying out of the conflict due to concerns about a "victory plan" is to "hide under a duvet until the Russians and their dubious allies have done the dirty work", he adds.

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Image caption Protesters gathered in central London on Tuesday night

Mr Cameron's description of Mr Corbyn and his allies as "terrorist sympathisers" makes the front of the Telegraph, which says the Labour leader in turn has been accused of bullying Labour MPs in a late bid to reduce support for air strikes.

Writing in the paper, Labour MP Tristram Hunt says there is a "strong argument" for air strikes and says MPs should be free to support them "without the threat of internal, partisan attack".

The Guardian says several Labour MPs admitted it was impossible not to be influenced by fears they could be "marked out as Blairite targets for deselection" if they supported bombing.

One MP opposing the view of his party leader is Conservative Julian Lewis, who writes in the Times that IS can only be driven out by a "credible force on the ground". He says air strikes alone are a "diversion" and calls for an alliance involving the West, Russia and the Syrian government.

Eye-catching headlines

  • It's not all about you, narcissistic students are told - A US university leader has told "self-absorbed" students they need to "grow up", the Telegraph reports.
  • Hold the front page - and leave it blank - The International New York Times has blamed Thai printers for removing a front-page story about Thailand's "sagging" economy, leaving blank space, the Guardian says.
  • The dim blue line - Cambridgeshire police have advertised for a "volunteer" detective to spend four hours a week trawling classified ads and pawn shops for stolen goods, the Sun reports.
  • Zuckerberg promises to give away 99% of his Facebook fortune - The Independent says Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg marked the birth of his daughter by pledging to give shares worth about £30bn to charity.
Image copyright AP
Image caption Mark and Priscilla Chan Zuckerberg announced the birth of their daughter, Max

Death 'in keeping with values'

A middle-aged socialite has been given permission to end her life because of her fear of growing old and "losing her sparkle", the Times reports.

It says the 50-year-old mother has won the right to stop dialysis, which keeps her alive after she took an overdose of painkillers washed down with champagne.

Doctors say the woman can recover, but a senior judge granted her wish to refuse treatment as it was "in keeping with her personality and values", the paper says. These values include being obsessed with "her looks, men and material possessions", it adds.

The Daily Mirror's front page tells the story of Hope Lee, who died just 74 minutes after being born and has become Britain's youngest organ donor. "Our little girl is a hero," Hope's parents say, after her kidneys and liver were used to help sick patients.

Hope's twin brother Josh was born healthy, and their mother Emma tells the Sun it "helped" to know their daughter had done some good for others.

What the commentators say

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Media captionPippa Crerar, political correspondent for the London Evening Standard, and broadcaster John Stapleton join the BBC News Channel to review Wednesday's papers.

Bear hugs, microwave turkeys and marauding hippos

A jewel thief was "bundled to the ground and pinned in a bear hug" by a partially sighted ex-wrestler, the Daily Mirror reports. It says James Pass and two other have-a-go heroes in Leeds caught the man, who has now been jailed along with two accomplices in the £1m raid.

The Express also reports the story, quoting a police officer who says the gang "hadn't bargained on" the courageous bystanders.

Escaping an even more fearsome bear hug were two British climbers who - the Guardian reports - fought off a grizzly in Canada. One of the men had to prise the bear's jaws off his leg, it adds.

A more manageable meal might be the "turkey in 10", which features in the Telegraph. It says Tesco is tackling long Christmas cooking times by offering a turkey joint that can be cooked in the microwave in 10 minutes.

In rather more alarming animal-related news, two hippos which used to belong to Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar are "marauding" through the town of Puerto Triunfo in search of food, the Mirror reports. It says locals fear bloodshed due to the "extraordinarily aggressive" animals.

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Osborne migration claims

Chancellor George Osborne has been accused of encouraging mass migration to help him "balance the country's books", the Daily Mail reports. It says the claim comes from Nick Timothy, an "ally" of Home Secretary Theresa May.

In a comment piece, the paper says Mr Osborne is "banking on at least a million more foreigners pouring into Britain by 2021". The idea, it says, is to "increase the headline figure for national output" - and it brands this "scandalous" and "downright dishonest".

Meanwhile, in an "assault" on Mrs May's policy brief, the Telegraph says Mr Osborne has indicated foreign students will no longer count in migration figures - which it says could lead to claims he is trying to "massage" the statistics.

It says the chancellor has also "slapped down" plans prepared by Mrs May for tougher language tests and savings requirements for student visas, saying the "public's concern is about permanent migration".

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