Missing plane 'mystery', questions for the Met, and a Team GB triumph in Sochi

The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane prompts much speculation in Sunday's newspapers with several headlines describing the events as a "mystery".

Pictures of distraught relatives of some of the 239 people on board flight MH370 feature on the front page of the Observer, and the paper describes scenes of "tears and shock" at airports in Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, where it was headed.

The Sunday Telegraph, which leads with the story, reports that air safety experts were investigating whether the Boeing 777 flight could have been the "target of a terrorist attack".

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It is an angle also explored in the Sunday Times which says the "riddle" deepened when it emerged two people were travelling on stolen passports on a plane "rated as one of the safest since entering service in 1995".

According to the Mail on Sunday one possible line of investigation is a connection to separatist Muslim Uighur militants, the group blamed by China for a mass stabbing in the south west of the country last week.

In the Sunday Mirror, terrorism expert Colonel Richard Kemp says the "possibility has to be seriously considered".

"It is not beyond the bounds of possibility these people could be involved in the latest incident - either the Uighurs themselves or others seeking to support them," he writes.

The Independent on Sunday points out that last event involving a large long-haul jet that shares some similar characteristics to the incident was an Air France Airbus A330 flight from Rio to Paris in 2009 which suffered a high-altitude stall after the flight crew reacted incorrectly to a loss of air-speed indication.

The paper's travel editor Simon Calder says an attack cannot be ruled out but the "cause of the tragedy may, once again, turn out to be a sequence of unlikely events that combined catastrophically".

Expat Scots vote?

Could expatriate Scots living in Europe have a say in the independence referendum on September 18? That's certainly the opinion of an EU law expert quoted in the Sunday Times who says Scotland's first minister Alex Salmond acted illegally by denying them a vote.

Barrister Aidan O'Neill QC tells paper the decision had "good prospects" of being overturned in a judicial review on the grounds that it violated the rights of an estimated 1.15m Scottish expatriates' to freedom of movement under European law. He says he is sending the legal opinion to Mr Salmond and Prime Minister David Cameron.

According to a story in the Independent on Sunday, diplomats have quietly opened a new front in efforts to stem the flow of Britons travelling to fight in Syria by spending nearly £200,000 on "social media activity" to deter would-be jihadis". The paper says the Foreign Office aims to counter online propaganda glorifying the conflict.

Borders at home concern the Daily Star Sunday. It reports that a European criminal intelligence database will be available to police and the UK Border Agency from October after a five year delay and will help stop dangerous criminals from entering the UK. It was meant to have been ready in 2009 but has been plagued by problems and was only introduced across the rest of Europe in April.

A front page story in the Sunday Telegraph reports that the legislation of assisted suicide in England and Wales has moved a significant step closer after the government made clear that it would not stand in the way of a change in the law. Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs and peers will be given a free vote on a Bill that would enable doctors to help terminally ill patients to die in the next few months, the paper says.

Meanwhile, the embattled Co-operative Group faces a new storm over plans to pay its chief executive more than £3.5m in his first year in the job, while massively boosting the salaries and bonuses of other senior staff, reports the Observer. The paper says it has seen documents prepared for the group remuneration and appointments committee which it predicts will see the "issue of executive pay dragged once again into the spotlight".

The Mail on Sunday claims a High Court judge was a founder of a group set up to defend Paedophile Information Exchange leaders in the 1970s. Lord Justice Fulford says he has no memory of such involvement, adding he was opposed to the PIE's views and any "contribution" would have been in "general terms" in his work as a barrister acting against public morals laws.

'Secret Lawrence files'

The decision by Home Secretary Theresa May to set up an investigation into undercover policing in the wake of a damning report into the Metropolitan Police's flawed investigation into Stephen Lawrence's murder in 1993 attracts plenty of comment.

According to the Sunday Express 41 boxes of secret files on the Lawrence investigation were not made available to barrister Mark Ellison QC whose findings prompted the home secretary to take action.

In a leader column, the Sunday Express says the home secretary must make the "heavily censored files" stored at the National Archives in Kew available to the new inquiry "however uncomfortable that may be for those sheltering in Scotland Yard and her department".

An editorial the Sunday Times says the repercussions from the botched investigation "haunts the Met as much now as in 1999, when the Macpherson inquiry found it guilty of institutional racism".

It suggests the home secretary is "probably regretting" passing over the opportunity to open up the appointment of Met Commissioner to US police chief Bill Bratton who had "promised transformation".

Duwayne Brooks, who was with the black teenager on the night he was attacked, gives his first interview since the latest revelations emerged, telling the Observer: "The last two decades have been defined by one side complaining about police racism and the police defending themselves. This adversarial fight has stopped us from moving on and has prevented significant changes from being introduced in the police."

Claims of links between the Lawrence investigation and the probe into the unsolved 1987 axe murder of private detective Daniel Morgan are highlighted in the Sunday Times and Independent.

Writing in the Sunday Times, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper says a future Labour government would follow the recommendations of a report by former Met Police Commissioner Lord Stevens and abolish the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

"The IPCC has failed or proved irrelevant too many times and lacks the powers and authority it needs," she says. "It should be replaced with a new, powerful standards body able to launch investigations, prosecute where necessary and require force action."

In the Independent on Sunday, Brian Cathcart, the author of a book about the Stephen Lawrence case, believes the undercover police inquiry does not go far enough as it will not address allegations of corruption.

The story also attracts the attention of the cartoonists with the Observer's Riddell picturing the Scales of Justice crouching down to send cracks through its base - marked "police corruption".

Independent on Sunday cartoonist Schrank's effort features Dixon of Dock Green standing by the memorial to Stephen Lawrence. There is a large shadow hanging over him and the caption the "dark side".

Flying start

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The first Team GB medal at the Sochi Winter Paralympics is widely hailed.

Jade Etherington, who also became the first British woman to win a Winter Paralympic medal on the snow with her silver in the visually impaired downhill, is pictured on the front pages of both the Sunday Times and Sunday Express.

The Express says she got Team GB off to a "flying start" in the opening event of the Games.

And as the Sunday Telegraph's headline puts it: "Jade hurtles into the history books".

"It may have been an unconventional finish crashing over the line and hurtling head first into a safety barrier. But it did not bother Jade Etherington," it says.

The Observer agrees, pointing out that the win ensured that less than an hour into day one of the Games, Team GB had already exceeded their medal total of four years ago in Vancouver and were halfway to their UK Sport target of at least two medals.

It also focuses on the training of Etherington and her guide, Caroline Powell, whom it says had "completed a remarkable journey from total strangers to Winter Paralympic medallists in 11 months.... their rise all the more astonishing given how little time they have had to build a relationship, which is key to success in visually impaired skiing".

Making people click:

The Observer: Many 'self-employed' women get by on less than £10,000 a year

Sunday Mirror: Bill Roache: Cops should apologise for case that never should have gone to court

Mail on Sunday: Paras march on Downing Street to demand a medal for 'Corporal Bulletproof', their forgotten hero of the Falklands War

Sunday Express: Rain, rain, gone away: This Sunday to be hottest day yet this year