Michael Schumacher's 'fight for life' leads newspapers

Michael Schumacher skiing in 2006

News that Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher is in a critical condition in hospital after a skiing accident dominates several front pages on Monday.

Elsewhere, fears and forecasts about migration to the UK from Romania and Bulgaria continue to generate headlines.

Both the Daily Mail and Independent lead on plans to charge migrants for accident and emergency care, while the Daily Star predicts "war on the streets" if a sizeable influx does occur.

Images of the bombing of a Volgograd railway station appear on the front of the Financial Times - with the paper worrying about the implications of the attack for the forthcoming Winter Olympics.

'Toughest challenge'

"Few Formula One drivers take the slippers and Horlicks route in retirement," writes Paul Weaver, in the Guardian, and Michael Schumacher certainly isn't one of them, enjoying skydiving and motorbikes as well as skiing. "He was always destined to continue to be fast, even if he altered his mode of transport," Weaver adds.

Jason Beattie, political editor at the Daily Mirror, told the BBC News Channel's paper review that Schumacher's current condition had taken his news desk by surprise.

"This wasn't going to be our splash at five o'clock, I don't think it even was at eight o'clock. [He] hit his head on a rock, but we got news through that he was OK, he was conscious at the time.

"But very late breaking, we hear he's in a coma, he's got neurological damage and it's much more serious and critical than we thought."

Joanne Hart, investments editor at the Mail on Sunday, added: "Apparently only one in a million people actually die in a skiing accident, so even though it has a reputation for being a risky sport, it's really quite safe, safer than a lot of sports like football and rugby."

The Sun uses its leader column to wish Schumacher the best with the "toughest challenge he has ever faced". It adds that it is "a terrible twist that he should suffer life-threatening injuries relaxing with his family rather than on the fearsome F1 track".

Advantage Farage?

The Guardian says Nigel Farage has "shocked" members of his own UK Independence Party - the Daily Mail says they are "angered". The reason? His public call for some Syrian refugees to be allowed to come to Britain.

The Daily Telegraph, however, says it is the prime minster who "yet again" has been "wrong-footed" by Farage. He has "pulled off a quite remarkable coup... UKIP now looks more compassionate than Mr Cameron's self-descried 'compassionate Conservatives'". Combine this with the fact that Mr Farage "has also caught the mood more astutely than Mr Cameron on the subject of Bulgarian and Romanian immigration", and it's definitely "advantage Mr Farage", the paper's leader says.

The Times is slightly more cynical, describing Mr Farage's motives as being "as much political as humanitarian", but it adds: "On the fundamental issue of whether some of Syria's most vulnerable have a reasonable case for seeking asylum in Britain, he is right."

Terror in Russia

First, it was a potential boycott over Russia's treatment of gay people, and now the threat of terrorism is hanging over the Sochi Winter Olympics.

The Independent's editorial column thinks that threat is very real following the "horrific" suicide bombing in Volgograd on Sunday. In the short term, it says, President Putin will react "by tightening a formidable range of security measures already in place", but in the long run, "whether Russia can ever restore lasting peace in the North Caucasus is doubtful."

The Financial Times says the Russian authorities "have prepared to close off the entire area including the city, the sports facilities and the transport corridor connecting the two", but senior officials accept that "excluding security risks [is] impossible".

"There is good reason to suppose the bombings were related to the Sochi Games, since security there has become so intense... that the extremist groups trying to disrupt the event are switching to more distant targets," says the Guardian's leader.

All in all, writes Helen Womack, in the Times, "despite the facade that Russia is a happy federation, the war and the cruelty" in the Caucasus continue. "Indeed," she says, "one explanation for [President Putin's] support for the regime of President Assad is that he fears Caucasians fighting alongside the rebels in Syria may become further radicalised and bring their war experience back to to Russia."

Melbourne 'massacre'

Columnists in every paper pick over England's humiliating defeat in the fourth Ashes test - and while the words might vary somewhat, the sentiment is universal.

"What I feel right now is embarrassment," writes former professional Ian Botham, in the Daily Mirror. He says the team have become "a laughing stock... cowering in the corner, afraid to play a shot in anger", instead of "competing with pride and going toe-to-toe with their hosts".

That sort of attack on the character of the England players is echoed in the Daily Telegraph, which says that rather than a team they looked like "self-interested individuals". It adds: "If you can't compete, or look as though you care... you have no right to wear the shirt."

Several papers focus on Alastair Cook and whether or not he should continue as captain. Gideon Brooks, writing in the Daily Express, thinks he is "more secure than he might feel at the moment, largely given the total absence of viable alternatives".

Paul Newman, in the Daily Mail, thinks Cook should and will carry on, but batting coach Graham Gooch could be on his way out. "One of English cricket's greatest servants will surely be too proud to watch batsmen continually letting down him and their country," he writes.

"If Cook is looking for any succour in the darkest says of his captaincy, he need only cast back to his opposite number" - Michael Clarke - when Australia were soundly beaten at Lord's six months ago. So says John Townsend, in the Independent. He says what Cook needs is "a decent system" like Australia - "pick talented and sensible players, work them hard, show faith in their contribution and lead them well".

Image caption Rarely a back page goes by without some Luis Suarez controversy and Monday is no different - this time the Liverpool striker has been accused by Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho of being an "acrobatic swimming pool diver"

Paying for the NHS

The Daily Mail is pleased to hear that non-EU migrants will be asked to pay for A&E and maternity care, but is very unimpressed with doctors' union the British Medical Association which has expressed concern. "What's new?" it asks. "The BMA has fought almost every reform since it resisted the very foundation of the NHS." The paper adds that the BMA "should not underestimate growing anger over flagrant abuse" of the free-at-the-point-of-use principle.

The Daily Mirror thinks the government's efforts "smack more of gimmickry than a serious attempt to address the problem". It says there are "existing agreements to recover money from other countries" and those should be better implemented.

Meanwhile, the Sun offers readers the perspective of some of those coming to the UK for maternity care. One woman, Nigerian Bimbo Ayelabola, tells the paper she flew to Britain to give birth to her quintuplets to "avoid another miscarriage in a calmer place". The Sun's says her care cost taxpayers up to £200,000, but she is "unlikely to ever pay the cash back".

Making people click

Financial Times - US public finance: Day of reckoning

Daily Mirror - Michael Schumacher: Live updates as Formula 1 legend fights for his life after skiing accident

Guardian - I worked on the US drone program. The public should know what really goes on

Daily Telegraph - Schumacher's most important battle

Times - England sift through the rubble of a dynasty now truly broken