Newspaper headlines: The 'porridge row' and the 'weather bomb'

The clearing of wealthy Briton Shrien Dewani of murdering his wife Anni on their honeymoon in South Africa is a story that plays large in all of Tuesday's papers.

Image copyright AP

The Guardian says Mr Dewani walked free after a trial "doomed from day one".

The paper says "most legal experts in [South Africa] praised [trial judge] Traverso's decision on the basis of the flimsy evidence before her, but few argued that prosecutors should never have brought the case to trial in the first place".

Anni Dewani's family - the Swedish-based Hindochas - are said to be consulting lawyers to determine whether there "are legal grounds to sue Mr Dewani in the UK", the paper adds.

In an opinion piece in the paper, South African novelist Margie Orford says Anni Dewani has been "failed" by her homeland.

"In a country with such high levels of violence, there are so many who have failed to receive a robust investigation followed by the satisfaction of justice," she writes.

"As the Hindochas stood tearfully outside the courtroom after the verdict, there would have been so many South Africans sharing the family's anguish at not knowing how or why a loved one died."

In the Daily Express, Cape Town-based reporter Dan Newling said the prosecution case against Mr Dewani was "built on sand and plea bargains".

"Yes, Dewani, a bisexual, kept secrets from Anni. Yes, they had a rocky relationship. Yes, Dewani came across as someone with a lot to hide.

"But, all this, I thought, was irrelevant to the key issue of 'did Dewani murder his wife?'

"For that the prosecution could only point to the plea-bargained witness testimonies of two more self-confessed killers, whose evidence - if looked at properly- I discovered to be riddled with errors and contradictions," he says.

The Times speaks to Mr Dewani's friends and neighbours in Bristol who say he will be welcomed back into the community there.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Anni Dewani

The paper is one of the many which speaks of the case leaving "more questions than answers".

The Daily Mail lists what it says are inconsistencies in the defence case.

Anni's uncle Ashok Hindocha tells the Mail: "'We couldn't care less if someone is gay or not.

"But Shrien was determined to marry a beautiful heterosexual girl because he is so vain that he had to have a trophy wife.

"Whatever else happened, by marrying her knowing that he was gay, he had already ruined her life. For that we can never forgive him."

The Daily Telegraph says the case has "thrown the spotlight on the South African police".

"The case is the latest in a long line of high-profile matters where things have not gone in their favour," the paper concludes.


'Quality of champagne'

I'm not sure if it is yet officially "porridge-gate", but Baroness Jenkin's statement that "poor people do not know how to cook" and they should have cheap porridge for breakfast rather than expensive cereals, has gained as much coverage as several "gates" of recent history.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Baroness Jenkin

The Conservative peer later apologised for the remark, made at the launch a report on food banks, and said she had merely meant to highlight the loss of culinary skills in general in the UK.

The Guardian notes, "Her words were in marked contrast to the conclusions of the cross-party report, which says structural issues such as benefit delays and cuts, coupled with low wages and rising living costs, are predominantly to blame for tens of thousands of families experiencing hunger."

Lady Jenkin receives some surprising support in the paper's pages from Jack Monroe, the paper's food writer and a former food bank user, who says:

"Instead of discussing the issues at hand, the baying mobs on all sides are waiting in the wings for someone to say something imperfect, and they pounce, hurling insults and escalating debate into personal attacks and rudeness, and nobody is talking about hungry people or how to feed them any more.

"Instead it's all those big, bad Tories' fault, or the church shouldn't be commenting at all because they have a bit of gold kicking about, or it started under Labour…

"And the longer we all stand on opposing sides shouting over each other, the longer the queues around the food banks get, and the longer the benefit delays, and the longer the queues at the jobcentre."

Image copyright unknown
Image caption Jack Monroe

The Daily Mirror's comment says: "Lady Jenkin's apology for her crass remark about cooking doesn't erase the stupid comment from an unelected Tory lawmaker receiving £300-a-day tax-free allowance.

"Desperate people using food banks can only dream of that kind of money."

The Independent says the affair puts the "Tories' attitudes to the poor in a spotlight".

In three pages of coverage, the paper explains why it is not possible to make a "decent" bowl of porridge for the 4p that Lady Jenkin says hers costs.

It also outlines how the UK's spending on welfare is less per head than those of most of Western Europe, including Germany, France and Italy.

In his sketch, Donald Macintyre notes, "The baroness is a member of the Lords' "refreshment committee", which rejected a merger of the Peers' and Commons' catering departments on the grounds that the quality of champagne would suffer."


'Laser-focused'

The second parliamentarian under the newspapers' blow-torch is Nigel Mills, the MP filmed playing the online Candy Crush game during committee proceedings at the Commons.

The Sun, who broke the story, says the decision by the House's authorities to order a probe into who leaked footage of Mr Mills and his iPad was "incredible" and "crass".

In its opinion column, the paper adds: "When MPs were bought shiny new iPads on the taxpayer we always suspected they would use them largely for their own amusement.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Candy Crush is hugely popular

"We couldn't have wanted more clinching proof."

Not that the Conservative MP is the only person hooked to the sweet-based game, the Sun shows in an accompanying feature.

It illustrates some of its 100 million avid fans, including teacher Gemma Whittle, who played Candy Crush while she gave birth to her son.

Londoner Lisa Michaelson tells the paper: "I'd rather Candy Crush than romp with my hubby". Ms Michaelson, 42, has achieved level 197 in the game, the paper adds.

The Daily Telegraph columnist Robert Colville outs himself as a former addict of the game and he has some sympathy for Mr Mills.

"As anyone who's ever had to attend a meeting knows, it can be hard - even when you're completely dedicated to your task - to remain laser-focused on the topic at hand.

"Inspect the paperwork after most such meetings and you'll find not jotted bullet points listing the important action items, but doodled patterns of geometric squiggles, or mocking caricatures of the other attendees.

"Is it that much worse to distract yourself digitally?"

The Times' central page cartoon neatly ties up the Mills' story with "porridge-gate", picturing a Marie Antoinette-esque David Cameron uttering the line: "Let them eat Candy Crush!"


Blast of misery

This blog likes to bring you the papers' latest weather stories and seldom is a weather front page been seen that is bleaker than the Daily Mirror's.

It screams that a "weather bomb" is to "bring three weeks of hell" to the UK, with "80mph winds, blizzards and temperatures falling to -9C".

Image copyright PA
Image caption Today Glenshee, tomorrow Macclesfield?

The ice storm "poised" to hit us on Wednesday from the Atlantic could "uproot trees, tear tiles off roofs and knock out power supplies", the paper adds.

Illustrating the impending havoc with pictures of Teesdale, County Durham, under a "light dusting of snow", the Mirror makes clear some of us will be facing more "hell" than others.

"A strong northerly wind will bring wintry showers across the north, but sunny spells are forecast for the south," a forecaster says.

The Daily Express - the weather-watcher's paper of choice - says the "explosive" weather front working its way UK-wards will bring a "week-long blast of misery".

In the north, the paper says, temperatures will remain below freezing for days with harsh winds making it feel like -9C.

But even those further south are not immune, and the Express notes it snowed this week in Weymouth and Dorchester, cutting off power for 1,500 residents.

The AA, the paper adds, has warned that travelling conditions will be difficult in places this week.

Oh, and if you're the sort of person who places bets on Christmas snow, the best the paper suggests you can get is 4/1 for Edinburgh.

If you miss the sun, check out the Times for a report on European climate change.

Scientists reckon the continent gets the sort of heatwave that used to occur once every thousand years, every five years now.


Fairytale

As "ice hell" makes its way eastwards across the Atlantic, so the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have moved in the opposite direction, bringing a little glow to the Americas, the papers say.

The Daily Mail says the duchess was the "queen of New York" and "a hit in Harlem", where she paid a solo visit to a centre for ill children to the calls of "princess, princess".

Image copyright Getty Images

The Times - with a seasonal song in mind - says Kate had brought her "fairytale to New York"

The paper says New York had worked itself into a "lather of excitement" at the prospect of the visit from the "royal superstar", although some children at the centre the duchess visited apparently thought they'd be meeting Princess Elsa from the hit film Frozen.

It adds that every breakfast show in the States devoted a portion of time to discussing the pregnant royal's clothes on her trip, and her "star quality".

Her visit "brought back inevitable memories of Princess Diana", the Times reckons.

Prince William, who was in Washington DC to discuss action against ivory poachers, also walked "in the footsteps of his mother" in the way that he passionately argued for the campaign "with Diana's verve".

The Daily Mirror headline's the duke's admission to President Obama that "in the whirlwind" surrounding the birth of Prince George last year, he forgot to ask his wife if she'd had a boy or a girl.

It was William's "Only Fools And Horses" moment, the paper says.

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