Newspaper headlines: Bush, the CIA, and 'two weeks of storms'

A day after it was released, the report on the CIA's "torture" of terrorism suspects is still making a lot of news.

The Times leads with the furious reaction by the CIA to claims in the report - which was authored by Democrat senators - that their "enhanced interrogations" were not authorised.

Image copyright AP
Image caption America's last torture scandal involved the mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib military prison in Iraq

The paper says the agency identified senior administration figures from the presidency of George W Bush who "ordered and approved the torture programme", including vice president Dick Cheney and national security adviser Condoleeza Rice.

A CIA spokesman tells the paper: "President Bush has stated in his autobiography that he discussed the programme, including the use of enhanced techniques."

Elsewhere, the paper says a European court judgement, which cleared Britain of using torture on hooded terror suspects in Northern Ireland, was used by the Bush administration "as giving the go-ahead for a wide array of acts that constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment".

The paper's leader column says the report raises "many questions" over the extent to which the British colluded with the CIA programme.

"If we are to live up to our liberal sense of ourselves they must be answered," it adds.

The Guardian also goes big with the British angle.

It says MPs and human rights groups are demanding a judge-led inquiry into Britain's role in the detentions.

Andrew Tyrie, a Tory MP who chairs an all-party group on extraordinary rendition, tells the paper: "Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

"If one of the great Anglo-Saxon democracies can be so open, why can't another?"

The Guardian's editorial criticises the way the interrogations were outsourced to a contracting company set up by two former military psychologists.

Image copyright US Department of Defense
Image caption Shaker Aamer

"Some tasks should never be outsourced by the state," it says.

The Independent has an interview with one of the psychologists, Dr James Mitchell.

Dr Mitchell, who is now retired, describes the report as a "load of hooey".

"The senate Democrats have an agenda and it's clear to any American that reads it that the report is selectively produced in a way to produce outrage in the reader."

Referring to the description of the CIA programme as "a stain on America" he adds: "I would be hypocritical if I told you that I don't have a problem with killing terrorists. But killing children in drone strikes is much more of a stain."

The Daily Mail devotes three pages to the case of Shaker Aamer, a London-based Saudi with a British family who was handed to American forces in Afghanistan in 2001 and has spent 13 years in detention without trial. He is currently being held in Guantanamo Bay.

The Mail's reporter David Jones says: "The real scandal, however, is that Aamer - and let's be brutally frank here, he could be a very bad man - has never been brought before any court of law or military tribunal and given the chance to clear his name."


'Nasty cuts'

A speech in which Ed Miliband will unveil his plans to tackle Britain's deficit is the lead story in the Independent.

The paper says the Labour leader will "make a pitch for the political centre ground today by pledging to cut the budgets of most Whitehall departments every year until the nation's books are balanced.

Image copyright PA

"He will tackle the party's lack of credibility on the issue by unveiling a 'tough but balanced' approach to clearing the deficit by the end of the 2015-20 Parliament."

The coalition is planning a deficit charter - setting a 2017/18 target for getting the UK's books back in order -but Mr Miliband will only commit to that date "if the state of the economy allows it", the Guardian says.

The paper adds: "Miliband will accuse the Tories of wanting expenditure on public services to fall to a share last seen in the 1930s - a time before the NHS and when young people left school at 14."

Even before the speech is delivered, the Daily Mirror is sceptical, and says Mr Miliband "risks alienating Labour's traditional voters".

"Playing a game of Labour's nice cuts versus the Tories' nasty cuts is dangerous," its leader column says.

"Economic growth is the best way to create a prosperous future for all."

The Conservative business minister Matthew Hancock tells the Daily Mail: "'Labour's policy is to run deficits forever.

"This risk to the economic recovery is exactly why Ed Miliband simply isn't up to the job."


Bonanza

"Looming glut drives oil to five-year low under $65" is the Financial Times front page, which will alarm oil firm shareholders but delight motorists.

The paper says the cost of a barrel of crude has fallen by 43% since mid-June.

The FT explains that booming US shale oil production, coupled with weak global demand due to economic downturns in many markets, has left traders with more oil than they can sell.

It notes that the oil-producing countries cartel Opec has not voted to reduce production to force up prices, despite calls from some member states for it to do so.

Image copyright AP

"This is a market and I'm selling in a market. Why should I cut?" the Saudi oil minister told his counterparts.

The Guardian reports the slump in sales has led BP to set aside £636m in order to make hundreds of redundancies next year.

The company was already planning to trim back-office staff as it has had to sell £25bn of assets to cover the costs of the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

For UK consumers, the benefits will be felt at the petrol pumps.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams tells the paper that the dramatic falls in the wholesale prices of petrol and diesel gave "scope for petrol prices to come down by more than 8p a litre and diesel by more than 6p a litre in the next fortnight".

The Sun, which has been running a campaign to shame retailers into charging no more than £1.15 for a litre of unleaded (the level the Treasury has said was fair) is claiming victory.

Following price reductions at petrol stations run by Asda, Morrisons and Tesco, the paper says "a pumps price war" has "moved full steam ahead".

The paper is told by Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander that the wholesale price drop for oil is like a £14bn tax cut for British consumers and firms, providing oil companies pass it on.

The Daily Mail reports that some British motorists are not joining in the bonanza, as fuel prices are a "postcode lottery" with prices fluctuating by up to 16p a litre between petrol stations a few miles apart.

The paper says in some towns, unleaded is selling for as little as £1.129 a litre, but in more remote areas it is not uncommon to be charged more than £1.50.


'Snow event'

That cheaper oil may be needed to heat up quite a few British homes, as the north of the UK braces for new Atlantic cold fronts to arrive in the wake of Wednesday's "weather bomb".

The Daily Express reports that it could be "cold, wet and wild" until Christmas.

The warning comes after the "weather bomb" storm which saw winds of 80mph whip exposed parts of the northern UK, leaving 27,000 people without power, cancelling dozens of train and ferry services, the paper adds.

Image caption Bing's White Christmas dreams could come true in 2014

"This time, the south is in the firing line with a Met Office severe weather warning for wind covering half of England tomorrow," the Express continues.

The Daily Star reports Wednesday's conditions were so stormy that a 30ft waterfall was blown upwards.

The freak phenomenon occurred at Kirkby Stephen in Cumbria.

Local resident Marcus Waghorn tells the paper: "That's got to be a world's first. I have lived around here all my life and I've never seen anything like that."

The Daily Telegraph's headline confidently predicts "a white Christmas is on the way".

Forecaster James Madden tells the paper: "There is substantial risk for a major snow event with some potentially widespread blizzard conditions throughout the early to middle part of next week.

"This also opens the door to a good possibility of an official white Christmas, even in parts of the south."

Making people click

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Independent: American teenager burned to death

Times: Angelina Jolie branded a "spoilt brat"

Sun: "I'm in love with death row killer"