Newspaper headlines: Weather misery, rock tributes and wine strength

Bad weather continues to hit the headlines as Storm Frank makes its presence felt in parts of the UK.

The Express says Britain was on alert for the storm, with wind and rain forecast to rage throughout the day.

There are also disturbing reports of looters targeting flood victims' homes.

"Police said it was 'impossible to comprehend' why the heartless opportunists would want to bring further suffering to those already hit by the crisis," says the Mail.

"Officers stepped up patrols last night amid fears that looters in white vans were targeting flooded houses."

The Times relates the example of Ben Cave and Aimee Barlow who thought they had just escaped the effects of the floods.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Residents had to be evacuated after a bridge at Tadcaster collapsed

"The young couple, who unlike their neighbours had chosen not to be evacuated, found that the River Foss had stopped millimetres from their front door.

"But floods, they soon learnt, bring things more sinister than water. Going to the back of the house which they had bought only two weeks earlier, they saw that the door was swinging off its hinges."

The front page of the paper provides a dramatic illustration of just how devastating the conditions can be.

It shows the 300-year-old bridge at Tadcaster in North Yorkshire which has collapsed into the River Wharfe.

The Times describes how soldiers were called in to help evacuate people because of fears of a gas explosion.

"The village of Tadcaster was split in two after its 18th Century bridge crumbled," it says. "A decision to close the bridge earlier in the day was said to have 'almost certainly saved lives'."


'Face the music'

Environment Agency chairman Sir Philip Dilley is widely criticised for being on holiday in Barbados during the crisis - although he is due to return home early.

The Telegraph says the agency has been accused of misleading the public for initially claiming in an official statement that Sir Philip "was at home with his family".

"Sir Philip, who promised when he got his £100,000-a-year part-time job that he would work 'seven days a week' if a crisis arose, is now on his way home to face the music," states the Telegraph.

The Guardian rejects the suggestion in some quarters that Britain's overseas aid budget should be reduced in favour of spending more money on flood defences in this country.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Sir Philip Dilley was in Barbados during the floods

It says in an editorial: "The UK spends 0.7% of national income on overseas aid and development, leaving 99.3% to be spent on everything else.

"If spending on flood prevention is inadequate - which it clearly is - then there are limitless ways of ensuring that flood defences get the priority treatment that is so manifestly necessary."

The Independent agrees, saying calls to divert development funds to flooded UK regions show a short-sighted misunderstanding of the impact of aid.

Meanwhile, a cartoon in the Times shows David Cameron - with George Osborne behind him in hard hat, hi-vis vest and carrying bags of cash - desperately trying to close a door against surging flood waters.

Mr Cameron is saying: "What happened to our defence against the flood of complaints?"


'Uncle Lemmy'

The papers pay tribute to Motorhead frontman Lemmy, who has passed away at the age of 70.

The Times says once reviled, Lemmy Kilmister died a figure of affection.

"Kilmister was, for a while, a figure to cause panic. In his shades, cowboy hat and iron cross, his singing voice located somewhere in the borderlands between shouting and growling, he seemed dangerous.

"Yet by the time he died he was more than respectable - an ambassador for Britain, an earner of foreign revenue and much loved by his fans all over the world.

"Lemmy the Transgressor had, inevitably, become Uncle Lemmy. So it goes."

Image copyright AFP
Image caption "Few musicians have walked the rebel's walk with as much conviction"

In an obituary, the Telegraph says his heavy metal sound was "fuelled by an appetite for drugs, sex and booze".

"Lemmy was the founder, bassist and frontman of Motorhead, the heavy metal band which took pride in its reputation for playing, and living, louder, faster and harder than anyone else," it continues.

The Guardian says few musicians have walked the rebel's walk with as much conviction and his influence as a musician and songwriter should not be underestimated.

As John Walsh in the Independent writes: "With his cavalry hat that bore the insignia "Death or Glory", his Iron Cross medallion, his custom-made boots, black shirt, tight black jeans and two facial pustules that poked from his cheek like extra fingertips, Ian Fraser 'Lemmy' Kilmister of Motorhead looked like no other rock star."


'Sore head'

Finally, the Telegraph reports that researchers have found some wine contains more alcohol than producers claim, putting drinkers' health at risk and and increasing drivers' chances of being over the limit.

"If you are struggling with a hangover this morning, it might not be entirely your own fault," the Telegraph assures us.

The study suggests that Chilean and Spanish reds and Chilean and American whites are among the worst offenders.

The paper explains that academics in California took samples from nearly 100,000 bottles of wine across the world and discovered that the alcohol content in nearly 60% was an average of 0.42 percentage points higher than stated on the label.

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Media captionHelen Joyce, international editor of The Economist, and Dan Bilefsky, of the New York Times, join the BBC News Channel to review Wednesday's front pages.

The report's authors say that while it might not seem a lot, it could lead consumers to underestimate the amount of alcohol they have consumed.

The Telegraph concludes: "For so many years we have been told to drink 'responsibly'. Now it turns out it is the winemakers who needed admonishing, for routinely under-reporting the alcohol in their punchiest produce.

"That full-bodied cabernet sauvignon, officially weighing in at 14.5%, could actually be tipping the scales at substantially more. No wonder your head is sore."


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