Newspaper review: Papers react to Manning verdict


The Independent's front page is among those to show former US military intelligence analyst Bradley Manning being led from the courtroom at Fort Meade in Maryland after being found guilty of passing classified information to Wikileaks.

It argues that the verdict - clearing him of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy - "showed a welcome sense of perspective".

The Guardian, though, believes that offered "cold comfort" to the soldier and his supporters.

For the paper, arguments over whether Private Manning is a whistleblower or a traitor go "to the heart of the issue of official leaks in the digital age".

The Times, meanwhile, notes that Manning, who is gay, had felt isolated by the former "don't ask, don't tell" policy, and argues that his "superiors either missed or ignored the warning signs".

Palace hours

Comments by Conservative peer Lord Howell, suggesting that fracking should be confined to "uninhabited and desolate" areas of north-east England make many of the papers.

For the Sun, it was a "Howell-er" that will be embarrassing to David Cameron, as winning votes in the north will, it says, be crucial to him remaining prime minister after 2015.

The Daily Mirror believes the peer displayed "the sort of deep Tory prejudice... that explains why the region is no-go for them".

The Daily Telegraph, meanwhile, argues that fracking can help parts of Britain "hit hardest by the downturn, and by the death of old industries".

The Financial Times, though, says industry analysts were left puzzled - because the bulk of Britain's shale gas reserves are actually in the north-west of England.

The Guardian says it has established that Buckingham Palace is among those using "zero-hours contracts" to, in the paper's words, "keep employment costs to a minimum".

A spokesman for the palace confirms that the contracts do not "guarantee any amount of work" but denies they amount to "zero hours" because staff receive benefits such as free lunches and uniforms.

As part of a special report on the contracts, the paper argues they are leading to an "army of workers trapped in insecure, badly paid jobs".

Happy tune

Continuing on a royal theme, the Daily Mirror reports that the footman who placed the official announcement about the birth of Prince George on the famous Buckingham Palace easel has, in its words, been "forced to return to the slums of Calcutta" after the Home Office refused to renew his visa.

The Times reports that Badar Azim was "a popular and well-regarded member of staff" but that the palace had known of the impending expiry of his visa for some time.

According to the Daily Telegraph, he has now left his grace and favour apartment and returned to his family of nine who share two rooms.

Finally, the Sun is among those to feature the happy, and very valuable, reunion of a violinist and her instrument - a Stradivarius estimated to be worth £1.2m.

According to the Independent, Min-Jin Kym, whose rare violin was stolen while she was buying a sandwich at Euston station in 2010, says she's gone "from devastation to... an incredible feeling of elation".

The instrument, the Daily Express reports, "is now being kept in a secure location".

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