Newspaper headlines: US 'locked and loaded' and childbirth rethink

By BBC News


The Times leads with a report that midwives have dropped their campaign for natural childbirth on the grounds that it has been making women feel bad.

It says the Royal College of Midwives has overhauled its professional guidance and women will now no longer be advised that they should have babies without medical interventions, including caesareans and epidurals.

In an interview with the paper, the chief executive of the RCM, Cathy Warwick, denied that what is known as the "campaign for normal birth", which has run since 2005, had compromised safety.

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But she said: "We don't want to contribute to any sense that a woman has failed because she hasn't had a normal birth."

In an editorial, the paper says midwives are right to revisit received wisdom on what counts as a "normal birth".

The paper welcomes the shift in emphasis with the focus now on what will work best for mothers and babies.

The Guardian reports that students waiting for next week's A-level results have described the stress of sitting new, untested, qualifications, which some say they have felt ill-prepared to tackle.

The paper says they are the first student cohort to be examined using a more demanding set of qualifications, brought in as part of the government's education changes.

It has left them feeling like "guinea pigs", the paper says.

Some students have told the paper that the changes were "rushed in" with teachers struggling to master new syllabuses and with few revision materials available.

One told how they felt like a "lab rat", saying: "No past papers. No examiner reports. No practice. It's been awful".

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The Daily Telegraph says universities have been accused of allowing admissions to descend into a "free for all" as they battle to attract new students.

The paper reports that many institutions are set to lower their entry grades drastically to entice young people after A-level results are released next week.

It warns that the lifting of a number of controls in England in 2015 gave universities the freedom to recruit as many undergraduates as they wanted and it says the move has led to accusations that they now act like businesses, seeking to maximise their revenue by recruiting as many students as possible.

The paper reports that some A-level pupils have been told their conditional offers - based around their predicted results - will be "upgraded" to unconditional offers if they confirm the university as their first-choice.

Under the headline "How insurers rip you off" there is a warning on the front page of the Daily Mail that drivers and homeowners who opt to pay for insurance by monthly instalments are unwittingly being charged hundreds of pounds extra each year.

It reports that, in some cases, those who pay monthly end up being charged £300 a year more than if they paid in a lump sum.

The paper says it believes the practice has netted three of the country's largest insurance firms more than £122 million in the first six months of this year.

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The Daily Mirror reports that online touts are already offering tickets for Premier League fixtures before the football clubs have opened their own sales.

The shadow culture secretary, Tom Watson, has described the inflated prices being charged as "obscene" and he tells the paper: "It's been taken to a whole new level where the websites can sell tickets for matches that haven't even gone on sale."

Mr Watson has called for tougher action from the Premier League to tackle the issue.

And the cartoonist Matt in the Daily Telegraph combines the current tensions in international relations with recent domestic concerns over contaminated food.

A couple are depicted relaxing on a balcony overlooking the sea with a mushroom cloud clearly visible in the distance rising over the water.

Turning to the woman, the man says: "Oh to hell with it - pass me the egg salad."