Newspaper review: Papers ponder Neon ruling and Thatcher surgery


On a day where no single story dominates, a number of papers carry the case of Neon Roberts and the High Court ruling that means he can be given radiotherapy for cancer treatment, against his mother's wishes.

Sally Roberts is opposed to radiotherapy because of the side-effects it can cause. The Times reports that the case has prompted a clamour for more funds for research into childhood brain tumours.

One charity calls it the "forgotten cancer", as the paper says it has learned that only £700,000 of taxpayers' money was spent on research in this area in 2012.

Emergency surgery to remove a growth from the bladder of Lady Thatcher leads the Daily Mirror, while the Daily Telegraph quotes friends of the former prime minster who say she has "handled the surgery well".

Meanwhile, the Prince of Wales has added his voice to calls for doctors and nurses working in the NHS to be more caring, according to stories in the Daily Mail and the Telegraph.

The Mirror says Prince Charles has never been shy about sharing his views on alternative medicines, and now he is giving his own home-grown prescription for a shot in the arm of the NHS.

Armed guards

The Times carries an interview with the Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, a vicar in east London who serves as a chaplain to the Queen. She tells the paper she believes racism is a more pressing issue than that of homosexuality.

Ms Hudson-Wilkin says that while the church has "made a lot of steps forward", she is shocked that only 15 out of the 467 members of the General Synod are black or Asian.

Many column inches are taken up with mulling the backlash in the United States, following the powerful National Rifle Association's call for armed guards in every school after the Connecticut massacre.

The Guardian says that the statement - coming a week after 20 children and six staff at Sandy Hook school were shot dead by one man - dashes hopes that the gun lobby group is willing to engage in debate about tighter restrictions on American gun ownership.

The Daily Mail runs striking pictures in a two-page spread of American homeowners "armed to the teeth and ready to kill", as the paper puts it.

One photograph features two children, from Arizona, holding rifles while their parents stand armed and smiling behind them.

Popped corks

A "civil storm" over the super-yacht Venus, built for Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs, has caught the attention of some of the papers.

The I on Saturday reports that the vessel has been impounded in the port of Amsterdam because of a row over an unpaid bill to one of the designers, Philippe Starck.

The Financial Times - which features a picture of the Venus on its front page - says Mr Starck claims that he has been paid only 6,000,000 euros of the 9,000,000 he is owed.

The Financial Times also reports that French spirits have fallen this year, with champagne sales down and people spending less on toys.

The paper says the gloomy mood has been exacerbated by the spat between the actor, Gerard Depardieu, and President Hollande, over his decision increase the top rate of tax to 75%.

The fuss over the actor's plan to live in tax-exile in Belgium is of no surprise to John Lichfield. But, writing in the Independent, he questions the scale of the fuss in France and wonders if it betrays "the more than usually febrile mood" of our nearest neighbours.

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