Front pages reviewed at midnight: Tuesday 25 January 2011

Tonight’s front pages contain three good stories, one great story and the Daily Mail… The Telegraph is an absolute must read for anyone interested in the current economic crisis.

The Guardian – “Revealed: how Palestinian leaders gave up on refugees”

The paper continues with the Al Jazeera exclusive which they have been exclusively leaked about the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. These revelations are enthralling and genuinely suprising; while everyone has long suspected the Palestinian Authority had lost all moral integrity these documents have the potential to destroy them. Tonight’s revelations concern the 2007/8 negotiations and the acceptance by the chief negotiator Saeb Erekat that only 10,000 Palestinian refugees would be allowed to move back, out of a total possible claimant pool of 5 million.

The Independent – “The Moscow massacre”

While I am always in favour of foreign news getting front page coverage I am worried about some of the wording in this article. The first sentence is: “A suicide bomber blew himself up inside the arrivals hall of Moscow’s
busiest airport yesterday, killing at least 35 people and apparently taking the fight for an Islamist state to the Russian capital.”

The second part of that sentence is unsubstantiated (he shouted ‘I will kill you all’ before blowing himself up) and even if he were to be a chechen rebel (as is alleged) that need not mean he were fighting for an “Islamist state.” This borders on the kind of tacit Islamophobia Baroness Warsi was talking about last week.

The Times – “Gunrunner security fiasco”

The Times claims to have unearthed a gun smuggler who has brought 80 weapons into the country in the last year on airline flights (or at least that is what is suggested by the article). Unfortunately the story isn’t really substantiated (it relies on US court papers but it is unclear when these weapons were smuggled).

The Daily Mail – “Families rationed to 80 bags of rubbish a year

Wokingham Council is trialing limiting the number of rubbish bags given to residents to 80 a year (though you will be able to buy more after you finish). We are told in paragraph that this is “under consideration by up to 180 more” but this is later qualified as “many of the 180 councils that still offer unrestricted weekly rubbish collections are watching the trial.” So actually it is just two councils that are going to do this. A local story that the Mail have tried to blow up into a national one…

One of the massively under reported issues of the past 15 years has been the ‘odious debts’, as George Monbiot has called them, that central and local government’s have developed through Private Finance Initiatives (PFI). Basically this means that the capital for a building project (a hospital or a school etc) comes from private finance and, in return they expect a profit (either through interest on loan repayments or through leasing the building back to the taxpayer. The Telegraph tonight begins a “series of reports” into the issue, which is well overdue. Some horrific examples include a hospital which charged £52,000 for a job that cost £750 and another that will cost the NHS £1.2 billion.
If you only read one: The Telegraph

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