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The Papers: White House threat and PM’s Iran ‘tightrope’

Mirror front page 6 January 2020
Image caption “Attack the White House,” is the Daily Mirror’s headline as it reports comments by an Iranian MP who said the country could attempt to strike the presidential residence, in Washington DC. The paper claims Iran’s response to the US killing of army chief Qasem Soleimani could put “a bounty on Donald Trump’s head”.
The Times front page 6 January 2020
Image caption The Times reports comments from a senior commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s international force who says British soldiers could become “collateral damage” in attacks against the US. The paper says the person claimed there were very clear targets identified and that they urged the UK “to not stand with this Trump regime”.
Guardian front page 6 January 2020
Image caption The Guardian says pressure is growing on President Trump to justify the air strike last week on General Soleimani moments after the Iranian arrived in Baghdad, Iraq. The paper says US foreign minister Mike Pompeo has “failed to quell scepticism” over the claim America faced imminent attack.
Metro front page 6 January 2020
Image caption “Get your troops out”, says the Metro, which reports the verdict of Iraqi MPs who voted to expel all foreign troops based in the country. It notes Iraq’s parliament also voted to deny use of the country’s airspace.
The Sun front page 6 January 2020
Image caption The Sun says there are “no tears for a terrorist” as it reports Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s statement on the crisis over Gen Soleimani’s killing. The paper says Mr Johnson said Britain would “not lament” the Iranian’s death but called for “de-escalation from all sides”.
Daily Mail front page 6 January 2020
Image caption The PM is walking a tightrope over the Iran crisis, the Daily Mail says. The paper notes Mr Johnson “finally” breaks his silence after his 12-day Caribbean holiday but now backs President Trump while also urging calm.
Daily Express front page 6 January 2020
Image caption The Daily Express also reports Mr Johnson’s statement and says the PM has spoken with Mr Trump as well as French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Telegraph front page 6 January 2020
Image caption “Do not dare to strike at us,” is the Daily Telegraph’s front page headline on the Iran crisis. The paper says the prime minister’s first intervention since the US strike saw him seek to mediate between the US and a “more cautious Europe”.
FT front page6 January 2020
Image caption The FT splashes the announcement by Iran that it will roll back on a deal to limit its enrichment of uranium – needed for nuclear weapons. The paper says the move came hours after hundreds of thousands turned out in Iran’s holiest city Mashhad to mourn Qasem Soleimani.
i paper front page 6 January 2020
Image caption The i paper says the budget for the HS2 high-speed rail link is now “out of control”. It claims the route could now cost taxpayers £40bn more than expected.
Star front page 6 January 2020
Image caption The first British cosmonaut Helen Sharman has said she believes aliens do exist, according to the Daily Star. It says Ms Sharman has claimed extra terrestrials “could be living among us here on Earth”.

The front pages continue to focus on the diplomatic crisis between the United States and Iran.

The Guardian says Donald Trump’s administration has been “scrambling” to justify its claim that the killing of General Qasem Soleimani was about stopping a war, rather than starting one.

“Attack the White House” is the headline in the Daily Mirror, which suggests the Iranians have put a £60bn bounty on President Trump’s head.

In its leader, the Daily Express calls the ramping-up of threats between the countries “entirely predictable and extremely disconcerting”. It urges the government to do its best to “de-escalate the situation” to avoid what it calls “Gulf War 3”.

Image copyright AFP

The Sun takes a more robust line. Under the headline “stand up to evil,” it says Boris Johnson should throw his weight firmly behind the Americans. It argues that by supporting Washington, the Prime Minister will “do wonders for the special relationship” between Britain and the US.

There is concern in the Daily Telegraph’s opinion column that Iran may try to stop oil tankers using the Strait of Hormuz – the sea channel through which shipping passes, in order to leave the Gulf.

“Britain is especially vulnerable to this action,” it says. It calls for the UK’s armed forces to be deployed “to protect our interests”.

Image copyright Reuters

But writing in the Daily Mail, the former First Sea Lord, Lord West, suggests Britain may no longer have the military resources to rise to such a challenge. He argues that “years of reckless and irresponsible defence cuts” mean that it is “almost impossible” for the UK to do so.

Plastic waste tax

The Financial Times reveals that Brussels is renewing efforts to impose a new EU-wide tax on non-recycled plastic waste to help plug a £15bn gap in its budget left by the loss of British contributions after Brexit.

Some nations are expected to resist the idea of the money being diverted straight to the EU’s coffers. But an unnamed official tells the paper: “We have a Brexit gap. Member states know this and will eventually have to accept new revenue streams.”

The new boss of South Western Railway has told The Times that he won’t give in to the demands of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union even though almost half the company’s weekend trains were cancelled last month because of a strike.

Mark Hopwood, who takes up his new job today, says that caving in over the role of guards on trains would sacrifice the company’s ability to improve punctuality.

‘Unable to switch off’

Patients hooked on watching TV streaming service box sets are being treated for “binge-watching addiction”, according to The Daily Telegraph.

One psychotherapist says his patients “felt unable to switch off. They just had to watch the next episode, and the one after that, and the one after that”.

And finally, The Times says dairy farming is returning to the Channel Island of Sark, after a three-year lay-off. Since the last dairy farmer left, products like butter have been imported from Guernsey. But people on Sark say they’re inferior to those made locally.

The Times says Jason and Katharine Salisbury, a farming couple from Suffolk, are moving to the island – and plan to resume milk production there by April next year.


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