Newspaper headlines: Power cut ‘chaos’ and economy ‘in reverse’

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The i weekend

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The i leads with the chaos caused to trains, traffic lights and airports across England and Wales on Friday evening by a widespread power failure. The paper picks out a quote from one passenger who was travelling in darkness through Clapham Junction station in London and compared the blackout to “something out of an apocalyptic film”.

The Daily Telegraph

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The Daily Telegraph also leads on the “unprecedented” blackout, reporting speculation a cyber attack could be behind it. The UK’s cyber security centre said there was no evidence of a link to criminals or a foreign power. It also reports the Queen’s private secretary spoke to the top civil servant about how to keep the monarch out of the “looming constitutional crisis” over Brexit.

FT Saturday

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It is no surprise that the Financial Times leads with a story on the British economy, after data showed it had shrunk for the first time in seven years. Output fell 0.2% in the second quarter of the year, worse than expected. The chancellor “pointed the finger” at economic weakness across the globe, the paper says.

The Times Saturday

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The Times mentions the shrink in the economy in its lead, citing fears Britain “is on the cusp of a recession”. It says the prime minister is drawing up plans for a bailout fund which could be used to help businesses at risk of collapse in the event of a no-deal Brexit. It says a government “secret list” has the construction and manufacturing sectors as likely to be worst affected.

Daily Express

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The Daily Express splashes on preparations for a no-deal Brexit. The paper focuses on a letter from Boris Johnson to civil servants, ordering them to make planning for leaving without a deal on 31 October “top priority”. The paper also suggests Mr Johnson is “gearing up to be the People’s Prime Minister” with regular online question and answer sessions with the public.

Daily Mail

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The Daily Mail says the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Tindall has been paid to give advice on horse racing to a Hong Kong businessman. For an annual salary of £100,000, Mrs Tindall was required to attend two board meetings by telephone a year and four company functions, the paper says. Mrs Tindall has not commented, the Mail adds.


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The Guardian reports the British Army is in “crisis” with some frontline combat units at 40% below full strength. More than 2,500 fewer personnel are on the frontline than four years ago, it says after analysing data obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests. The Army said it was committed to improving recruitment and applications are at a five-year high.

Daily Mirror

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The Daily Mirror leads on the 15-year-old London girl who is missing in Malaysia, after disappearing while on a family holiday. Nora Quoirin’s parents fear she has been kidnapped, the paper reports. The family issued a fresh statement, saying: “Every night, her special time is for cuddles and a night time story with her mum.”

Daily Star

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The Daily Star carries a stern message for two tourists who were arrested and charged with fraud in Spain after allegedly trying to pay for drinks at a bar with Monopoly money. The alleged incident, involving two 18-year-olds, was said to have taken place in the popular nightlife and beach resort of Magaluf, Majorca.

The Sun

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The Sun says it has obtained a video allegedly showing an employee of frozen food company Birds Eye urinating – or pretending to urinate – on a production line full of peas. It reports the company has suspended pea deliveries and said there will be a full investigation. But the firm says consumers can be “assured they can continue to enjoy our peas without concerns”.

“Britain hit by power cut chaos” is the headline in the Daily Telegraph after an “unprecedented power outage” hit airports, roads and rail networks.

Britain came “to a standstill” according to the i newspaper, with one eyewitness quoted as saying “it felt apocalyptic”.

The Times notes that Chancellor Sajid Javid was at the National Grid hours before the massive power cut and captions its picture: “Don’t touch that dial, chancellor”.

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PA Media

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Stories about the UK’s widespread power cut on Friday feature in several papers

Preparations for a no-deal Brexit are the main stories for the Times and the Daily Express.

The Times reports on the plans for a bailout fund – called Operation Kingfisher – to prop up businesses which run into trouble in the event of the UK leaving without a deal.

It says it understands that a secret list has been drawn up of the big British employers considered most at risk.

The Express says the prime minister has issued a direct warning to top civil servants in Whitehall that contingency planning for no agreement must be their “top priority”.

In its editorial, the paper declares that it has had a change of heart and is now in favour of a no-deal Brexit.

The Queen and Brexit

The Daily Telegraph reports on the constitutional issues of the UK leaving the EU, and says No 10 and the Palace have held talks on how to keep the Queen out of the looming controversy.

There has been growing speculation that politicians may try to force the monarch to become involved if Boris Johnson loses a vote of confidence next month.

The Telegraph says it has learned from one source that the next stage would be for the government’s top civil servant to write formally to party leaders and senior MPs, warning them to keep the Queen out of Brexit.

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The Guardian leads on what it calls “a recruitment crisis” for the Army which it says is affecting frontline operations.

Using figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the paper says some combat units are as much as 40% below strength – despite growing global threats.

The shortage is being put down to low unemployment, an ageing population, the increase in people taking up post-16 education and a lack of high profile conflicts – which tend to boost numbers.

According to the paper, the figures have prompted criticism of the company responsible for managing Army recruitment, Capita. But a spokesman said its partnership with the Army was “starting to see excellent results”.

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Getty Images

Meanwhile, 17 former and current bankers from Goldman Sachs have been charged in Malaysia in relation to a £2bn fraud, the Financial Times reports.

The paper says the charges are connected to an investigation into state investment fund, 1MDB.

The FT says the charges have been made under a law which allows executives to be held responsible for offences committed by their organisations.

The Daily Mail says they include the firm’s most senior banker in London, Richard Gnodde. Goldman Sachs and all those charged deny wrongdoing.

Arsenal players’ security fears

Several papers, including the Daily Mirror, report that the Arsenal stars Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac will miss the club’s first game of the season on Sunday after receiving what it calls “gang threats”.

Both players are said to be seriously concerned for the safety of their families.

The Mirror links it to an attempted car-jacking two weeks ago – when Kolasinac fought off a man with a knife.

The Times says there have been further “security incidents” since then, and describes the decision not to travel to the game, as “unprecedented in English football”.

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Getty Images

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Sead Kolasinac and Mesut Ozil were uninjured in the attempted carjacking

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail is among those to cover a new study which suggests the link between obesity and cancer is far more serious than previously thought.

It says a major study of 700,000 people by the World Health Organisation and Bristol University found evidence that with every increase of BMI by five points, the risk of some cancers also increased.

The Daily Express adds that would make obesity the second biggest cause of cancer, behind tobacco.

The Sun’s front page story is an investigation launched by Birds Eye after a disgruntled worker apparently filmed himself appearing to urinate on a production line of peas.

The paper says deliveries of the frozen vegetable from the plant in Hull have been suspended, and millions of packets may have to be destroyed.

Bosses tell the paper they’re carrying out tests – but the eight second phone clip may have been faked using a hose pipe, the Sun adds. The paper calls it a “Jimmy Riddle Riddle”.

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