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”.
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”.
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.