Top news from The Times, Daily Telegraph, The Indepedent and The Guardian newspapers
Says the Times: “The Pope has risked a renewed rift with the Islamic world by baptising a Muslim journalist who describes Islam as intrinsically violent and characterised by ‘hate and intolerance’.”
And what of Mr Allam?
Mr Allam is “an outspoken Egyptian-born critic of Islamic extremism and supporter of Israel. He has been under police protection for five years after receiving death threats over his criticism of suicide-bombings.
If religion did irony…
Says the paper: “When the ban on displaying tobacco products is implemented England will join just a handful of others to have taken the step. Ontario, Canada, has passed legislation forcing cigarettes under the counter which comes into effect this May. Two administrations in Australia – Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory – are also taking steps to keep tobacco out of sight.”
This is the UK’s peer group, an outpost in Canada looking for an identity – and Canada’s Most Intolerant Province” is a start – and bits of ozone depleted Australia.
And through the smoke we see a vision of the future. See the smoker approaching the check out girl, a light sweat forming on his brow, hands growing clammy, face reddening. Fear. Death . Addiction.
Man: Do you have any biros?
Shop girl: Blue or black?
Man: Blue…er, blue… And a Lucky Dip, please. And a packet of chewing gum and some headache tablets.
Shop girll: Anyfink else?
The shopper leans forward and whispers, his not breathy crosses the counter.
A security guard fingers his walkie-talkie. Eyes narrow. A queue has formed. Sounds of shuffling feet. Tutting.
Man: The man reaches inside a carrier bag (cries of “Shame!”, “Murderer!” and “Kill him!” are heard). He produces a copy of Necrafillia Monthly and whispers “..and Twenty Bensons. Wrap them in this please.”
Shop Girl: Twenty Bensons, was that? TWENTY BENSONS.”
The man throws a pile of cash at the girl. He is running. Running. Eyes burning holes in his flesh.
Words attributed to one Roger Stone, billed in the Times as “a controversial Republican operative”, who alerted authorities four months before the Democratic governor was forced to step down in a sex scandal.
Says the paper: “He told the Miami Herald that he learnt about the governor’s behaviour from a high-end call girl at an adults-only club called Miami Velvet who confided in him that she was disappointed to have missed a chance to entertain Mr Spitzer. Instead, her friend met Mr Spitzer and noted that he kept his socks on, Mr Stone said.”
Readers should recall the name Stephen Byers, the married former transport secretary, who was revealed by one Barbara Cornish to have worn his black socks while in the act of a private consultation.
Can it be that before Mr Byers was exposed in a tabloid shag ‘n’ tell, Mr Spitzer was just a normal office guy in his novelty socks? On reading of Mt Byers’ sexual prowess, and considering the middle-aged man’s anodyne exterior, did Mr Spitzer place too much stock on those black socks, seeing them as the source of the Blarite’s sexual vigour; Samson’s hair in a nylon and viscose blend?
We can only wonder.
And recall to mind the old public school adage that you can always trust a man who tucks his vest into his Y-fronts – and leaves it tucked in until he returns home from chambers…
IN “Why Old Technologies Are Still Kicking”, the New York Times’ Steve Lohr looks at technical innovation and newspapers:
The demise of the old technology is confidently predicted, and indeed it may lose ground to the insurgent, as mainframes did to the personal computer. But the old technology or business often finds a sustainable, profitable life. Television, for example, was supposed to kill radio, and movies, for that matter. Cars, trucks and planes spelled the death of railways. A current death-knell forecast is that the Web will kill print media.
The web will not kill print media. We buy newspapers for the writers. London’s free newspapers have no good writing and no decent articles. Like the web they are free.
We buy newspapers for the good writing and the decent articles. Those newspapers with the least good writing and the weakest voice will no longer be needed and die out.
The web can scoop newspapers. But the best newspaper writers can put the news in context.
The web works best as an editor – a strong editorial voice linking the news of most interest to the best writing.
The new Anroak will be an online magazine and an editor for the web.
THE Celebrity Suicide Cult – Anorak checks on the mental wellbeing of Harry Potter author JK Rowling.
Says the Sunday Times:
Rowling said her usual GP was away, and the replacement doctor sent her away. “She said, ‘If you ever feel a bit low, come and speak to the practice nurse’ and dismissed me.”
Rowling added: “We’re talking suicidal thoughts here, we’re not talking ‘I’m a little bit miserable’.
Two weeks later I had a phone call from my regular GP who had looked back over the notes . . . She called me back in and I got counselling through her.
“She absolutely saved me because I don’t think I would have had the guts to go and do it twice.”
It’s celebrity suicide – everyone’s talking about it…
Picture: The Spine
THE INDEPENDENT: “Saga of the McCanns is not yet over”
Says Richard Ingrams:
No one can feel too sorry at the thought of Express owner Richmond Desmond, who has made a huge fortune out of pornography, having to shell out a fraction of his profits to the needy McCanns.
No, not climate porn, the Independent’s apocalyptic visions of climate change, but real flesh and hair porn – the porn that has given Richard Demsond “huge profits”; which must mean many not only enjoy porn and are happy to pay for it. Would “no one” feel sorry for Mr Desmond if his fine curtailed his porn output?
All the same, the story is puzzling. The Express was undoubtedly guilty of libel. But the suggestion that the McCanns might have been in one way or another responsible for their daughter’s death did not originate with the newspaper. It was the Portuguese police who long ago branded the McCanns as suspects. And officially they remain so. It has never been explained why they were so convinced of the McCanns’ guilt when all the facts seem to point the other way.
Facts? There is only one fact: Madeleine McCann is missing.
JEFF Randall tells his readers what a short sale is and how not to confuse one with a future.
Put simply: I know that you want to buy 100 shares in Jayar Junk. The shares are trading at £10 each. We strike a deal at that price, and I promise to deliver them in one week’s time. At this point, I still don’t own any Jayar Junk. No matter, my buddies at the Rumour Mill are about to go to work.
What irony in the McCanns winning £550,000 damages from the tabloid press, to whom they turned to keep their missing daughter Madeleine in the public eye. Thanks to the tabloids, Madeleine is big news once more. And with the money – notably the Star’s – get this – donation going to the Find Madeleine Fund, Express Newspapers have helped the search for the missing girl.
Meanwhile, the News of the World’s reward remains unclaimed. So is this a victory for Express Newspapers? Is the Express the tabloid that cares most?
FINANCIAL TIMES: “McCann libel payout cues media debate”
Lawyers and newspaper executives agreed on Wednesday that a £550,000 ($1.1m) payout by Express Newspapers to the parents of missing Madeleine McCann would temper tabloid behaviour. But not for long.
Broadcaster Andrew Neil, former editor of The Sunday Times, said: “The Express got its come-uppance and I believe the editor should resign. But it is only the worst example…Whether that lesson will be heeded for long, I’m not so sure.”
A former tabloid editor, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, added: “It’s a disaster for them from a PR point of view, but I don’t think it will affect their circulation, certainly not the Star. It might make everyone more cautious, but I doubt that will last.”
THAT “Express apology – By Robert Shrimsley”
We now acknowledge there is no evidence whatsoever to support our theory that repeating this rubbish every day on our front page did in fact bring us any extra readers. We furthermore recognise that we should have stuck to the Diana inquest, given that she is dead and can’t sue.
Sun: “TWO British sisters have revealed they saw oddball Robert Murat lurking by the Portuguese holiday apartment from which Madeleine McCann vanished”
As an expression of our regret we are going to spend the next few weeks hounding Heather Mills in the hope this does the trick.
She’s blonde. So she’ll do.
Express front pages to look out for:
DIANA – IS SHE DEAD?
KATE McCANN – WE CANNOT APOLOGISE ENOUGH (every day)
ANTHEA TURNER – MY BLONDE HELL
Her bag is agape.
Kenneth Cooper approaches. He is a pickpocket. He sees the bag.
Says Prentice: “I was just turning round to ask him to stand back when he got off the bus. I knew straight away that something was wrong and looked into my bag to discover my purse had gone.”
“He’s nicked my purse,” exclaims Ms Prentice.
As we have heard from Ms Prentice’s colleague Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary and customer of “KATIES kebabs and burgers” in Lewisham, the streets of South London are dangerous places full of dragons and many-headed beasts in checked caps and brandless white trainers.
MS Prentice is in danger. Luckily, reports the Times, an “off-duty” detective sergeant is stood in the queue behind Ms Prentice. He gives chase.
In the Times, Dutch wine producer Ilja Gort has insured his nose for 5million euros, or £4million
In the Guardian Mr Gort’s nose is priced at £3.9million.
In the Mail, it’s drooped to £3.8million.
In the Express, Mr Gort’s hooter is worth just £3.5million.
“Every time I look in the mirror I feel rich,” says Mr Gort.
And so long as he doesn’t take any settlement in pounds, he should continue to feel fine…
THE Independent reports that Howard Sounes, author of Fred & West, the tale of the serial killers, is in talks with Harper Collins to tell the story of Paul McCartney’s life.
Was the marriage that bad?
“A CONMAN awaiting trial for swindling three women out of their savings stole his own barrister’s identity to trick his fourth victim,” writes the Times .
Having being charged with deception, Roy Moyse claimed to be barrister Roy Benson who worked in the same chambers as he’d taken on to represent him in court.
Roy Moyse has now been jailed for three years for tricking three women out of more than £50,000.
Mr Benson has a GSOH, a wallet left at home and is free for dinner…
SHANNON WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Shannon Matthews
Shannon Matthews has been in the care of the local authority since she was found. The media had a few hours to speculate and focus on Shannon “what ifs” but now the shutters are down. The man has been charged and will appear in court today.
DAILY MAIL: “Don’t let Shannon go home because her mother’s not ‘ready’, say her grandparents”
You can always interview the family.
“We just don’t want Shannon going back to that house. She can stay with us,” said the nine-year-old’s grandfather Gordon Matthews. “I don’t think that Karen and Craig are ready to look after her properly. While all this has been happening, we had Shannon’s brother and sister staying here with us and they were both so happy – they didn’t want to go back.”
Wonder why? Let’s speculate…
He and his wife June are fearful that Shannon, who is in foster care after her 24- day abduction ordeal, could soon be back at home. Mrs Matthews, 64, added: “I have been thinking of Shannon going back to Karen. It’s just not right. Karen was a great mum before she took Craig in. Since he arrived they’ve had a terrible life.”
Craig Meehan is innocent. Why mention him?
Mr Matthews added: “Craig is like a tiny child. He’s so immature. He rings Karen all the time on the phone, literally 20 times a day.”
Maybe it’s love? Maybe Karen Matthews likes children?
“Karen is like a taxi service for him. She picks him up and drops him off everywhere. I have never liked him and I don’t want Shannon going back to her mother while he is around, you just wouldn’t want him looking after your child.”
DAILY MIRROR: “SHANNON WILL STAY WITH COPS”
Shannon Matthews will not return to her mum and stepdad but will be looked after by specialist carers. Police chief Sir Norman Bettison confirmed that the nine-year-old will not be going home just yet to Karen Matthews, 32, and 22-year-old Craig Meehan for the moment.
Norman Bettison. West Yorkshire’s leading copper. After listening to the grandparents, listening to Norman is the next story. Prepared to update the Wikipedia entry, sir!
Says Sir Norman B-E-T-T-I-S-O-N: “She is safe. She’s well. She’s in the place where we think that she’s safest at the moment.”
He singles out Detectives Paul Kettlewell and Nick Townsend who refused to leave when they got no answer at a flat where neighbours said they could hear a child’s footsteps. They watched the front and back entrances and called for a battering ram. They broke down the door and discovered Shannon.
Says Chief Constable Sir Norman: “I think it is amazing and I think it is a question of pride for me that they started to make inquiries of the neighbours. Given this was the 700th action they had undertaken since the start of the investigation…
“It’s been phenomenal and it’s been unprecedented [“You’ve already used ‘amazing’ sir!] and let me tell you where I’m standing it’s been entirely professional. It’s painstaking methodical work.”
Of his officers: “They’re special people, extraordinary people doing an extraordinary job.”
Wikipedia: Sir Norman Bettison the Amazing, phenomenal, extraordinary, unprecedented…
“Tony Blair offered to take the unprecedented step of holding secret masked meetings with the IRA as he fought to save the Northern Ireland peace process from collapse,” continues the piece.
It is one claim made by former No. 10 chief of staff Jonathan Powell, whose book is, coincidentally, serialised in the Guardian all this week. It also forms the basis of the paper’s lead leader piece. Book reviews are rarely so newsworthy.
But what of the story and news that Blair wanted to sit down for a face to balaclava chat with, well, who knows?
It could be anyone beneath the mask. Tony could be talking with the man who used to do the BBC voice for Gerry Adams, Coronation Street’s ‘Big’ Jim McDonald or just about any Northern Irishman looking for work. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
Acpo’s DNA Minority Report:
Primary school children should be eligible for the DNA database if they exhibit behaviour indicating they may become criminals in later life, according to Britain’s most senior police forensics expert.
DAILY MAIL: Amanda Platell
There cannot be a person in the country who didn’t feel a surge of delight on learning that little Shannon Matthews has been found alive and well.
We can think of one.
All the more so in these days when good news has become such a rare commodity. Yet even as we celebrate, we should spare a thought for Gerry and Kate McCann, for whom Shannon’s discovery, wonderful as it is, will be a fresh reminder of their own terrible loss. The return of one lost girl is a marvel. The return of two . . . now that’s a miracle worth praying for.
Was it the power of prayer that got Shannon Matthews found? If so, who gets the reward?
THE INDEPENDENT: “Deborah Orr: Wonderful news that carries a message for the media”
It isn’t often that the papers have some really wonderful news to report. But it really is wonderful that Shannon Matthews has been found alive.
Amanda Platell agrees.
This amazing news also carries a lesson for the media, about the way it turns horrible crimes into great stories, and what an unpleasant, self-regarding business this can be.
LAST year, Gloucestershire became the Venice of the North and everyone in Tewkesbury got a river view. The Independent was certain as to what had brought about this wondrous event:
In “England under water: scientists confirm global warming link to increased rain”, Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor, wrote:
It’s official: the heavier rainfall in Britain is being caused by climate change, a major new scientific study will reveal this week, as the country reels from summer downpours of unprecedented ferocity.
More intense rainstorms across parts of the northern hemisphere are being generated by man-made global warming, the study has established for the first time an effect which has long been predicted but never before proved.
NOw in 2008, the Daily Mail reports in “Freak rain, not global warming, blamed for last year’s devastating £3bn floods”:
The devastating floods that deluged Britain last summer were not caused by climate change, contrary to the claims of politicians and green campaigners, scientists have said.
A major new study says there is no evidence that the “exceptional river flooding” – which caused more than £3billion damage and left thousands homeless – was anything other than a freak “100- to 200-year” event.
And while temperatures have risen in England over the last few decades, there is no proof that flooding in the summer or winter is more common, the researchers added.
No proof. None at all…
THE TIMES: “The hangover Budget”.
The story is underscored by the Times, er, offer: “Eat out for £10.”
THE INDEPEDENT:” MR DARLING AND HIS BOX OF TRICKS.”
The image is or Darling holding his red box up over his face. All that remains of him in view are a body and a tuft of white hair. Is that a rabbit? Or Knut?
Scarlett Keeling has been raped and murdered in India. Two men have been arrested. But the story is of the girl’s mother, Fiona MacKeown, who is to be judged in the media.
DAILY MAIL: “The truth about ‘Good Life’ of murdered teenager Scarlett Keeling”
The truth? Does the Mail know what happened to Scarlett Keeling, who killed her?
An empty milk bottle, tie-dye sheets pinned over the window instead of curtains, discarded black bin liners and a sleeping bag on the floor, and the contents spewing carelessly from a chest of drawers. On top of them the remnants of a lost childhood – a plastic duck and young girl’s jewellery box.
As these pictures show, this is the squalor in which Scarlett Keeling was being raised. It is a million miles from the fantasy world of a wholesome family upbringing painted by her mother Fiona MacKeown in the past two weeks.
Cleanliness is next to godliness.
A mother grieves. Fiona MacKeown wants justice. And the Mail looks at her home. There are pictures of caravans. But no Caravan Club of Great Britain stickers. Not here.
She described their family’s life on a small-holding in Devon, where they grew their own food and kept their own chickens, as a perfect example of The Good Life.
The Good Life, that middle-class dream of nice-looking eco-warriors and self-sufficiency in the suburbs, where the childless erudite couple make their own wine, cheese and gentle humour from their land. They are the rebels. Fiona MacKeown is something else:
She has nine children born to five different men, none of whom plays a day-to-day roll in their upbringing; the family’s only discernible income is from state benefits; her older children, educated largely at home, drink and, in Scarlett’s case, take drugs; and her eldest son, just 19, was left behind in Devon only to break his neck in a mystery car accident currently being investigated by British police.
A dead girl. A caravan. Children. A car accident. “Naivety or negligence? Some would argue that that question goes to the heart of not just this sorry tale but Fiona’s lifestyle in the round.” The Mail is brought to you by the Non-Sequitur Society Of Great Britian.
Yesterday her remaining children finally arrived back in Britain where they will be cared for by their grandmother. Fiona remains in Goa, determined to continue her fight. It is a fight not just for justice for Scarlett, but also to convince a growing army of critics, who believe she fatally let her eldest daughter down.
Does Fiona MacKeown have to convince her critics, and these are critics who may already be critcal of her lifestyle? Does she use her energy to talk to Daily Mail readers? And for these readers is the biggest concern, the ultimate pain, the biggest problem, that Fiona MacKeown does not give a stuff what they think of her. Is that what hurts the Mail’s readers most. Or please them best?
THE SCOTSMAN: “So what is a mum to do?
Every so often, circumstances conspire to hold up before us that most reviled of creatures: the bad mother. We love a bad mother…
Now it’s Fiona MacKeown’s turn. On the McCann scale of public opprobrium she ought to come off worse – and it may yet prove that she does, because this story is still young.
We have solar panels, and are having photovoltaic panels fitted as soon as we can get hold of them, but the demand is very high …
I am getting my panels in from a Chinese plant, the only one in the world with a really solid eco-record for making them.
DAILY MIRROR: “Hunt for Shannon Matthews is the biggest since the Yorkshire Ripper”
The search is the biggest since the one for Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe who murdered 13 women in the 70s and 80s.
DAILY STAR (front page): “SHANNON: BIGGEST MANHUNT SINCE RIPPER”
DAILY EXPRESS: “SHANNON: HUNT IS ON SCALE OF RIPPER”
Chief Inspector Graham Armitage said: “It’s certainly the biggest missing persons inquiry since the Yorkshire Ripper, which I also worked on.”
Ripper. Ripper. Ripper. Is this a new context to place the disappearance of a child in? Is comparison with Madeleine McCann no longer apt?
DAILY MAIL: “Someone I know abducted missing Shannon just to hurt me, says mother”
Matti Vanhanen, Finland’s prime miniter, is partial to:
Matti Vanhanen, 52, prime minister since 2003, has been enjoying a wave of support since the disclosure that he likes to take a sauna before sex and enjoys his favourite meal of beef and baked potatoes afterwards.
Eliot Spitzer prefers donuts:
The rendezvous that established Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s involvement with high-priced prostitutes occurred last month in one of Washington’s grandest hotels, but the criminal investigation that discovered the tryst began last year in a nondescript office building opposite a Dunkin’ Donuts on Long Island, according to law enforcement officials.
Tony Blair likes:
Bananas, Beck’s lager and pistachio nuts – maid who served Blair at Labour conference
Fresh fettucini garnished with an exotic sauce of olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes and capers – NSPCC Islington Cook Book
Fish and chips – Sedgefield Labour Party election leaflet
Indonesia’s Vice President Jusuf Kalla eats out:
“It’s alright to use it as a food seasoning,” VP Jusuf Kalla was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Post daily.
W. T. Mayhall, Jr., John Read, and Democrat Bobby Shows don’t lke watching fat people eat.
Sambhu Mandi, a minister in West bengal, sees food everywhere:
“If there is food scarcity … they will also survive on snakes, rats, toads”
The motion at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers annual conference in Torquay next Tuesday runs: “Conference notes with deep concern that many children in our schools appear unhappy and anxious.”
The adults will debate and discuss why children are so unhappy.
Over the next two weeks, ATL members will discuss several topics relating to the mental health of primary age children and the pressures they face in modern society.
Teachers discussing what makes a young child unhappy is a bit like the jockey asking the horse why his face is long. It might be that – and whisper it – school is the biggest problem. It is school that ruins the child’s pursuit of fun.
Question asked; question answered.
It may also be that the teacher’s idea of happiness is not the pupil’s.
Armani is happy eating chips for breakfast, her teacher is not; Blake’s face lights up whenever he delivers a punch to a smaller child’s arm, his teacher’s does not; Romeo is never happier than when he is picking his nose and firing the oar at the girls, his teacher is not.
Worse: “The idiot had just one hand on the buggy, with a cigarette in the other, as breakers crashed over Brighton’s sea wall.”
Shock: “Andrew Hasson, who saw the dad and a pal, said: “They were stupid and lucky not to be swept away.”
He offers no comment on the cigarette. But a nation is sickened.
More beach shots as on the Times. A man is airborne. In his hand the remnants of an umbrella. The sea to his right. The soft wet sand beneath. No cigarette. He might make it yet.
This is “HURRICANE BRITAIN” says the Express on its cover. Had only BBC weatherman Michael Fish been an Express reporter in 1987, he’d not have poo-pooed warnings of a hurricane. He’d have screamed it. And he’d have continued screaming it every day, just in case he was right.
A SOLIDER is said to have tried to sell pictures of Prince Harry in Afghanistan to The Sun. The paper declined to publish them until Harry was on his way home:
British media, including The Observer, agreed not to report Harry’s deployment throughout his time in Afghanistan. ‘Obviously people in theatre knew about it, and it was extremely unlikely that no one would attempt to try to leak stuff. There were never any guarantees,’ said one source. ‘But all in all it went pretty well.’
Troops serving alongside Harry were warned not to tell their families at home about the royal in their midst. Harry himself later admitted that there had been a couple of occasions when the deal might not have held without behind-the-scenes help from the British media in alerting officials to potential leaks.
One soldier. One. A united army. A united media. Things mgiht not be so bad…