Newspaper headlines: Labour 'wipeout', Ebola threat and UK aid

The status of the Labour Party in Scotland is the focus for many of the papers after a poll which gave the Scottish National Party a resounding lead.

The survey, for the Times, puts the SNP at 43%, up from 20% in 2010 and 16 points ahead of Labour, which the paper says means Ed Miliband's party faces "near wipeout" in Scotland.

The Times adds it is a setback that could lose the election for Mr Miliband, whose own personal approval rating has dropped dramatically since the independence referendum from a quarter to 15%.

The paper says senior Scottish figures are expressing growing panic about the party's fortunes north of the border, "while insiders branded the poll results a 'game-changer' for the party nationally."

Analysis by Peter Kellner says Labour faces a double-whammy in Scotland - it has lost support generally and it can no longer count on being saved by "red Nats" - people who back the SNP in Holyrood elections but stay loyal to Labour when choosing an MP to send to Westminster.

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The Daily Telegraph says Mr Miliband faces "electoral annihilation" in Scotland after a separate poll predicted the majority of Labour MPs north of the border will lose their seats.

"Far from disappearing in a puff of smoke after its central rationale was punctured by defeat in the referendum, the SNP has flourished," says the Telegraph.

The Guardian says the Labour leader faces a fight to save his Scottish MPs. The paper says the polls came as he prepared to address a fundraising dinner in Glasgow, where he warned the party it faces one of the hardest battles it has ever faced in the six months to May's general election.

The Independent, which also uses the word "annihilation", says the latter poll suggests Labour could lose 37 of it 41 Westminster seats in Scotland "leaving Miliband with no hope of being PM".

The paper says: "While the poll suggests a bigger SNP lead than others since the Scottish referendum, it is clear that Labour has been haemorrhaging support where it has taken votes for granted for decades."

The Daily Express says: "This is yet another clear indicator that the hapless Labour leader's woefully misguided vision of Britain is not capable of winning support even in areas where his party's votes are usually weighed rather than counted." The Sun says the importance cannot be overstated and describes Mr Miliband as a "dead man walking".


Mask, goggles and visor

The Guardian's front page is dominated by a despatch from Lisa O'Carroll in Freetown, with the headline quoting national response co-ordinator Stephen Gaojia: "The world is not safe while Ebola remains anywhere."

"All over Sierra Leone's capital, buildings, vehicles and people are being commandeered in the fight against Ebola," writes the Guardian's correspondent.

"In the suburb of Wilberforce, in an old building for the telecommunications company Airtel, a dozen students loiter on a wall waiting to relieve staff from the trauma at the Ebola hotline they are manning. Outside, the din of ambulances would not be noteworthy until the driver and passenger appear in regulation yellow overalls, mask, goggles, hood and visor."

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Meanwhile, the Daily Mail seizes on a report by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact and says billions of pounds of UK aid is making corruption worse by increasing opportunities for bribery.

The Mail says the findings will be hugely embarrassing for David Cameron who has repeatedly been forced to defend his controversial commitment to spend 0.7% of national income on overseas aid despite fierce opposition from his backbenchers.

The Times says Mr Cameron faces calls from some Tory backbenchers to reduce development spending, pointing to growing support for UKIP as a reason to revisit the promise.

In a leading article, the paper says: "The danger in sending large sums to under-developed economies is that they will be misspent, funnelled to corrupt officials or will actually worsen corruption that is already the scourge of the very people Britain's taxpayers are being asked to help."

The Telegraph says the commission found one development project in Nepal encouraged people to forge documents to gain grants, and police stations in Nigeria linked to British aid were increasingly demanding bribes.

In a leader, the Telegraph says the Department for International Development has failed to allay the suspicion that its officials are more concerned with spending a 32% increase in its budget than guarding against possible unintended consequences.

"Foreign aid officers ignoring the 'scourge of corruption'," is the headline in the Independent.


'Glad to be gay'

The Financial Times reports that Apple chief executive Tim Cook has become the most prominent business leader to confirm publicly that he is gay.

The paper says his decision to make a public statement about his sexual orientation came at a time when the technology industry faces intense criticism over lack of diversity. It was immediately hailed by equality campaigners as a turning point, it adds.

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The Times says one of the most powerful businessmen in the world gave inspiration and hope to millions by disclosing that he is gay. "Apple unveils new (role) model: A CEO who is glad to be gay" is its headline.

The paper says although the number of gay celebrities from entertainment and sport is growing, the business world has been slow to adapt to changing social norms.

Mr Cook has long been an advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, says the Telegraph.

The Guardian says Mr Cook becomes by far the most influential gay business executive as head of the world's most valuable company.

Lord Browne, author of The Glass Closet, writes in the Guardian: "By deciding publicly to disclose his sexuality, Tim Cook will accelerate change in the corporate world. Cook's announcement represents several more bricks in the wall of LGBT acceptance and inclusion, but I am convinced that the best is still to come."

The Independent says until now he had not broached the subject publicly, preferring to keep the focus on Apple's products, rather than on its personalities.


Bitter row

The debate over Britain's drugs policy rumbles on, after MPs debated the issue in the Commons yesterday.

The Independent says David Cameron's insistence that current government policy was working provoked a bitter coalition row as Nick Clegg demanded new action to reduce drug deaths.

Writing in the Independent, Deputy Prime Minister Mr Clegg says: "Sticking rigidly to the same old solutions will not bring about the change we badly need."

The Times is not so sure, saying: "New research on decriminalising drugs is important, but it is not compelling enough to justify rewriting laws that are working."

The Sun says Mr Clegg might be right that the Tories are "frightened" of talking about overhauling Britain's drug laws but this is dictated by the political calendar not ideology, with next year's general election looming.

Michael Deacon in his Telegraph sketch recounts that as the procession of consensus ambled pleasantly on, journalists were startled out of their doze when Tory Guy Opperman tweeted he had spotted footballer Mario Balotelli in the public gallery.

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"On closer inspection the man proved to be a 55-year-old dancer named Ken who hardly looked like Mario Balotelli at all," he writes.

"Evidently we'd all been hallucinating."


Korea break

North Korea might not seem the most enticing destination to get away from it all but, according to the Times, Pyongyang is inviting you for a holiday.

Apparently, a tour operator running trips to one of the world's most isolated states will set up shop at a tourism fair in London this weekend, with pictures of the country's unspoilt mountains and lakes.

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The paper notes: "There are, admittedly, a few obstacles to British travellers, most pertinently a blanket ban on foreigners entering the country, which was announced last week to keep out the Ebola virus."

And the Guardian says it may have been a summer filled with "sunshine, sport and an excess of strawberries" but it took its toll on UK cinemas which experienced a decline of almost 8% in admissions compared to 2013.

Mark Batey, chief executive of the Film Distributors' Association, tells the paper: "There was a World Cup in the summer, there was the Commonwealth Games in the UK and we've had a lot of extremely clement weather, so there was a lot of distraction over the summer - all factors that have hit cinema admissions."

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