BBC News

Newspaper headlines: Beirut in 'agony' and 'hidden victims' of pandemic

By BBC News

image copyrightEPA
image captionThe explosion in Beirut was described as an unprecedented catastrophe
The massive explosion in Beirut is widely reported, with pictures of the smoke and flames that engulfed the city on several front pages.
The Sun's headline describes the devastation as "hell on earth".
The Daily Telegraph says that even in a country that survived a 15-year civil war and is enduring the most crippling economic collapse in decades, the explosion was instantly described as an unprecedented catastrophe.
The Daily Star in Lebanon reports that rescue workers dug through the rubble overnight, looking for survivors.
The Times's correspondent in Beirut says he has witnessed the wars in Libya, Iraq and Syria, and has been in buildings hit by Russian jet missiles, but he never experienced a blast like this.
The official version of events - an industrial accident - seems unconvincing to many, he adds.
The Guardian leads with a warning by the Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, that Britain faces a "long, bleak winter" unless ministers fix the test-and-trace system and halt a second wave of coronavirus.
In an article for the paper, Sir Keir says there's "precious little evidence" of serious preparation for a resurgence, and urges Boris Johnson to set out the "hard decisions" he's prepared to take to keep schools open if cases rise.
A suggestion by the children's commissioner for England that pubs and shops should close so that schools can reopen if a trade-off has to be made, makes the lead for the Daily Telegraph.
The paper reports that Anne Longfield has criticised ministers for treating children as an "afterthought" during lockdown and insisted that they must be put at the heart of planning for a second wave.
image copyrightOffice of the Children's Comissioner
image captionChildren's commissioner Anne Longfield says pubs and shops could close so schools an reopen safety
The Daily Mail leads with what it calls the "huge toll" on non-coronavirus patients during lockdown.
It says a survey of senior doctors has revealed that those suffering from cancer, heart conditions, strokes, diabetes or lung disease are among the worst affected by delays to their diagnosis and care.
The paper's leader column takes up their plight, calling them the "hidden victims" of the pandemic.
It says that in all the clamour over fears of a second wave of infections, their voices are being drowned out.
It points out that by the end of the pandemic, deaths from other causes may well exceed those from the virus itself.
So why, it asks, is there so little urgency among health service managers to get back to business as usual?
There appears to be little evidence of business as usual in Whitehall, despite government efforts to get civil servants back to their offices.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the government's drive to set an example to the rest of the country has suffered a blow after it emerged that some civil servants don't expect to return full-time until the New Year.
One civil servant tells the paper: "You come in maybe a day a week to show your face."
The Daily Mail says that even with new social distancing policies, many civil servants appear too frightened to step across the threshold.

'Exam results shambles'

The Daily Express argues that the withdrawal of the furlough scheme will help Britain "get back to business".
It says taxpayers were glad to invest in this emergency effort, but the economy will soon have to function without colossal injections of state aid.
However, the Financial Times urges the government to be flexible, suggesting the scheme should continue in some form until next year at the very least. Forcing redundancies shortly before an effective vaccine is ready would be a tragedy, it says.
The Spectator website says there was little for pupils in Scotland to celebrate yesterday as many received worse than expected exam results, after the Scottish Qualifications Authority lowered grades for around a quarter of candidates.
It is the lead for the Daily Mail's Scottish edition, which features the headline: "Backlash over exam results shambles".
The Daily Herald in Scotland says there are calls for exam bosses to be hauled in front of MSPs to explain their reasons for lowering marks.
For its lead, the Daily Express says thousands of women could be due refunds after being short-changed on their state pension as a result of a blunder.
It says the Department for Work and Pensions is trawling through records to identify those who are due a windfall.
According to the paper, thousands have already been reimbursed after failing to receive increases in payments, with the average refund around £9,000.
Finally, the Chancellor's "Eat Out to Help Out" discount scheme for meals at pubs and restaurants appears to have drawn in the crowds on its first day.
The Daily Telegraph reports that it was the busiest Monday of the year for eating out, with spending up by nearly a fifth on the previous Monday.
But there was confusion about the scheme among some customers.
One pub, near Grimsby, reported that some customers had been rude when they realised the 50% discount was capped at £10. And they were adamant it should be applied to their alcohol bill as well.