Brexit 'consequences', cancer 'cure', white Easter

David Cameron and Francois Hollande Image copyright Reuters

French President Francois Hollande's warning of "consequences" for immigration and the economy if the UK leaves the European Union dominates the papers' coverage of the forthcoming in-out referendum.

The Sun says Prime Minister David Cameron "was accused of orchestrating an international scare campaign" as he urged Britons to "listen to our friends" and heed warnings from world leaders ahead of the vote on 23 June.

The Guardian reports Mr Hollande saying that while he did not want to "scare" the British people, there would be "consequences in many areas", but that did not mean "that everything will be destroyed..."

The Times warns Mr Hollande's involvement has the potential to gain the opposite reaction from the British - "unintended consequences", it says - as there is a "danger that overt French support for the Remain side is likely to play into the hands of the leavers".

It's a view supported by the prominent Leave campaigner, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith. Writing in the Daily Mail, he says: "big businesses, big banks and powerful politicians from other EU member states seek to bully the British people into believing their jobs and security are at risk."

But the Independent disagrees: "the gloomy French and German forecasts could sway some undecided voters," it says, "with about one-third believed to be wavering over which way to jump in the referendum."

Michael Deacon, sketch writer for the Telegraph, says the French leader's use of the word "consequences" reminded him "of one of those old films in which a couple of gangsters pay a friendly visit to a small business". He warms to this theme: "Nice little country you got here Mr Voter. We wouldn't want anything to... happen to it."

In its editorial, the Daily Express also likens Mr Hollande's involvement to a "low-rent gangster movie", adding: "are we really to believe that he would devastate his own national economy just to inflict punishment on us for defying the wishes of the European elite?"

Mr Cameron, meanwhile, denied Mr Hollande's comments on a potential "Brexit" was part of a "giant David Icke-style conspiracy", according to the Daily Mirror. This prompted the former Coventry City goalkeeper and BBC presenter to respond on Twitter by saying "touching a nerve are we, Dave?" the paper notes.


Cancer's 'Achilles heel'

"Scientists claim cure for cancer is closer", is the Times's headline for a story about how UK-based researchers have found a way to give patients individualised cancer treatment which mobilises their immune system to fight tumours.

The Sun gives a neat summary of what has been discovered: "experts found tumour cells have proteins that can act as targets for the body's defences to blast," writes health editor Nick McDermott.

Image copyright Science Photo Library

The research, according to the Daily Mail's science editor Fiona Macrae, "gets to the heart of why existing treatments are often of such limited benefit". It explains how "a medicine that seemed to help will stop working if the cancer changes too much" because the tumour has mutated.

The new treatment works by "fishing out" certain immune cells which have spotted "signature molecules" in cancer tumours but are unable to destroy them, says the Daily Telegraph. By multiplying those immune cells in the laboratory and re-injecting them into the patient, "it should be possible to wipe out cancer, even when it has spread throughout the body", the paper says.

Dr Sergio Quezada of Cancer Research UK uses a metaphor to explain the process in the Daily Express: "Our research shows that instead of aimlessly chasing 'crimes' in different neighbourhoods, we can give the 'police' information to get to the root of a patient's tumour.

With the research team hoping to launch the first human trial in two to three years, the Guardian quotes cancer expert Charles Swanton saying "tumours essentially sow the seeds of their own destruction".


Eye-catching headlines

  • This is your captain speaking: it's a record! - the Independent's Simon Calder tells of a new air route that has taken the title of the world's longest non-stop service. The Emirates Airbus A380 flight between Auckland, New Zealand, and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is "an estimated 9,000 miles" long and has a duration of 17 hours, 15 minutes. Plenty of time to choose between the chicken or fish, then.
  • Drone catcher uses net to protect skies - barely a week goes by without a story of a hobby drone getting too close to a commercial aircraft, and now the Times reports on a portable cannon that can fire a net at one of the devices, which then sees the machine lowered to the ground under a parachute. The article is accompanied by a picture of a man aiming the device, like an extra from a Bond movie.
  • The store that sells only out-of-date food - the Daily Telegraph reports on a supermarket in Copenhagen which has taken food discounting to a new level by only stocking goods that have outlived their shelf life. The opening day was so successful that a spokesman tells the paper "it shows that people want to buy the goods".
  • Happiest at 39 but sex goes downhill - mere days after this paper review covered reports of people in their 60s being at the happiest age, the Sun (and others) reports "the average Brit is happiest at the age of 39". The figures come from a survey carried out to coincide with the DVD release of a film in which the main character is immortal.

Mitt takes the gloves off

Former US presidential candidate Mitt Romney's outspoken attack on current Republican front-runner Donald Trump features across tabloid and broadsheet alike.

Mr Romney, who challenged President Barack Obama in 2012, "savaged Mr Trump's business record", reports the Times, calling Mr Trump "a phoney, a fraud".

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Donald Trump and Mitt Romney in happier times

The speech "marked an unprecedented moment in American politics", writes the Guardian's Sabrina Siddiqui in Detroit, adding that Mr Romney is one of a "growing number of prominent Republicans now openly, frantically seeking to stop Trump".

David Usborne in the Independent believes Mr Romney "made the case, without explicitly saying it, for a brokered Republican convention in July to confer the nomination on one of the other runners".

The Daily Mail says senior Republican leaders "believe they have two weeks to stop him and they fear that if he goes up against Hillary Clinton, he will lose".

For his part, Mr Trump - notes the Daily Express - "hit back at Romney on Twitter, mocking him as a "failed candidate" who should not advise on electability and had "begged him for an endorsement four years ago".

The Daily Telegraph points out that Mr Romney "made no reference to the fact he accepted the endorsement of Mr Trump", having said at the time the tycoon "had an 'extraordinary ability' to understand the US economy".


What the commentators say

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionMiranda Green of the FT and Neil Midgley of the Daily Telegraph review the first editions

Ain't no broadband fast enough

The lesson from Friday's papers is that if you're not getting the broadband speeds you want at home, move to Nepal.

"The base camp at Mount Everest has better broadband speed than five English villages," says the Sun.

The broadband "enjoyed" by households in Miserden, Gloucestershire is "so slow that it would take 11 hours to download the latest James Bond film in high definition," notes the Times. The village has download speeds of 1.3 megabits per second, the lowest in the country, says the paper.

By contrast, reports the Daily Telegraph, visitors to Everest "can access minimum speeds of two megabits per second (MBps) via a satellite connection".

The country's fastest broadband is to be found in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, with average download speeds of 77.17 MBps, states the Times.


I'm dreaming of a white... Easter?

Dire weather warnings are normally the preserve of the Daily Express, but the possibility of the UK waking up to a snowy scene on Easter Sunday is reported by several of Friday's papers.

"Blizzards till April" says the Sun, suggesting that there will be "falls all this month", with forecasters believing the freezing weather "will last into April".

Image copyright PA

The Daily Mirror concurs, and believes this could be "one of the coldest-ever Easters", while the country "is on alert for snow and ice swept in by Arctic blasts this weekend".

The risk of an early-spring cold snap is dependent on a "freak change in high-altitude winds - called sudden stratospheric warming", says the paper.

The Daily Express says this "imminent change in the polar jet stream" would reverse the west-to-east flow of winds in the upper atmosphere and allow icy air into the UK.

The last time Britain experienced the effects of sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) was in 2013, notes the Daily Mail, and the Met Office's forecasts have "'consistently suggested an increased risk' of SSW towards the end of this winter".

The Sun points out that the last time there was snow over the Easter holiday was in 2008 - when flurries reached as far south as London.


Making us click

Daily Telegraph - Scientists develop mini Death Star to protect us from asteroids

The Guardian - North Korea: Kim Jong-un orders nuclear weapons readied for use 'at any time'

The Times - Expect 'consequences' if you leave EU, Hollande warns Britain

Daily Mail - Disgraced Adam Johnson had a 'hardcore porn app' on his phone and sent x-rated pictures of women he'd slept with to his Sunderland team mates

The Independent - Scientific paper which says the human hand was designed by a 'Creator' sparks controversy

Daily Mirror - World's most embarrassing selfie? Woman sends photo to parents - then realises her huge mistake