Newspaper review: Amazon fires and Johnson-Trump G7 talks

The record number of forest fires in the Amazon features on many of the front pages of Saturday's newspapers.

"World demands Brazil acts as Amazon burns," is the headline of the Guardian.

The paper's comment section believes French President Emmanuel Macron is right to be making the issue of the wildfires a priority at the G7 summit in Biarritz - but it's pessimistic that meaningful action will be taken.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Macron tweeted about the wildfires earlier this week, writing "our house is burning"

For that to happen, it believes Mr Macron would need what it calls a "buy-in" from President Trump. It concludes that "he is not going to get it from the world's most powerful climate science denier".

The comment section of the i newspaper asks what people in the UK who are angered by the situation in Brazil can actually do about it.

A boycott of Amazon beef is not necessarily realistic, it believes, because the government is considering introducing non-tariff quotas of Brazilian meat, as a possible way of maintaining supplies after Brexit.

Johnson's G7 debut

The Daily Telegraph says the prime minister will tell the US president, at the G7 summit this weekend, that any post-Brexit trade deal won't involve giving American companies carte blanche access to the NHS, or easing animal welfare standards.

"It's the age-old problem," says the paper's leader. "Trying to do business with America, while acknowledging disagreement with a particular administration."

But it believes the two men "ought to get on famously".

The Times is less optimistic.

Its opinion column says: "There is minimal prospect that, however hard he tried to use charm, Mr Johnson can prepare the ground for a successful bilateral trade deal with the US after Brexit."

And it points out that no British prime minister has succeeded in acting as a diplomatic bridge between the White House and other allies.

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The opinion column in the Daily Mail sets the scene for what it calls "a high-stakes game for Boris the gambler".

It describes Biarritz as the chic seaside resort which was "once the playground of the English upper classes - who flocked to its famed casino to try their luck".

The Mail believes that, whether or not the gamble pays off, "at least there's a sense that someone is at least injecting some urgency into the previously moribund Brexit debate".

No-deal warning

A group of 25 former senior UK diplomats, including several who were ambassadors, have written to the Times, warning against a no-deal Brexit.

Their letter argues that leaving the EU without an agreement would represent "the biggest unilateral abandonment" of British interests in modern history.

It urges Prime Minister Boris Johnson to "signal a different approach" at the G7 meeting.

Concerns are expressed in the Financial Times that an iPhone app to help EU citizens in the UK secure residency rights after Brexit will not be ready by the end of October, when Britain is due to leave.

The uncertainty, it says, potentially affects hundreds of thousands of people, who will either have to use the Android app or make a postal application.

'Ashes to ashes'

Most of the back pages go for the jugular when it comes to England's batting collapse, in the third test at Headingley yesterday.

The Sun's headline is "Ashes up in smoke". "Sixty-seven all out, pathetic, mindless, abysmal" is the verdict.

"Ashes to ashes" is how the the Telegraph sums it up.

Image copyright PA Media

It has a column by the former England batsman, Geoffrey Boycott, in which he says the home team "batted without any brains and threw away the Ashes".

The Daily Mail's chief sports writer, Martin Samuel, asks whether it could have been worse.

"Well," he answers, "England could inadvertently have raised the dead perhaps, or unearthed a long-buried curse." But in cricket terms, he concludes, it couldn't.

Driving success

The Guardian considers why the isolated Scottish Highlands village of Gairloch has the highest driving test success rate in the country.

More than 86% of candidates pass - compared with a national average of just under 46%.

"An easy ride?" the paper asks - pointing out that "there are no proper roundabouts... and traffic lights are few and far between".

But there is another possible explanation - the talents of the local driving instructor, Kenny Tallach. "I don't teach people to pass their tests," he says. "I tend to teach people to drive as a skill."