Newspaper headlines: Sydney siege, Labour on immigration and Farage on TV

Front-page photographs capture the panic among those taken hostage during Monday's 17-hour siege in Sydney.

And a flavour of the tension inside the Lindt Cafe is recorded in the Facebook posts by one of them, Marcia Mikhael, reported by the Daily Telegraph. While being held at gunpoint, she wrote: "Please help. The man who is keeping us hostage has asked for small and simple requests and none have been met. He is now threatening to start killing us."

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The former policewoman was injured in the shootout that ended the siege, the Telegraph reports. The Daily Mirror quotes a 19-year-old forced at gunpoint to call a newspaper office with the demands of gunman, Man Haron Monis. I have had a shotgun put at my head and all [he] wants is [the demands met]. We are all afraid," he told staff.

Meanwhile, the Independent quotes those who had a near miss, including one man who bumped into the gunman's bag moments before he went into the cafe. "There was something hard in it. He turned round and said: 'Do you want me to shoot you, too?' I looked into his eyes and they were crazy."

Noting that Monis posted Islamist videos of his captives online, the Independent describes the event as "Terrorism 2.0". Meanwhile, the Daily Mail wonders if mobile phone snaps of passers-by taken close to the police cordon isolating the area are "the sickest selfies ever".


Security questions

There are questions as to why the self-styled "sheikh" was even walking the streets, with the Daily Telegraph pointing out he was on bail for a string of alleged sex offences and a claim he had helped murder his wife. "Australia is on high terrorist alert. Yet this hate preacher was on BAIL for murder and sex assault charges," says the Sun.

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The Times is among the papers profiling the gunman, noting that he arrived in Australia as an asylum seeker in 1996 having fled the regime in his native Iran. Along with the alleged offences, Monis had "achieved notoriety by sending letters to the families of Australian soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan, accusing them of being murderers", it says.

Several papers describe Monis as a "lone wolf". He had, says the Guardian, "long been viewed as a fringe figure in the city's Islamic community, his self-radicalisation rooted in grievances against the government and increasing marginalisation among his peers". Financial Times defence editor Sam Jones writes: "Whether the hostage taking was a terrorist incident, an act of criminality or simply an unhinged stunt, it plays directly on the current fears of western security agencies."

British Prime Minister David Cameron says as much in the Telegraph: "This is the sort of thing that could just as well happen here in the UK or in Europe." Former SAS operative Chris Ryan - who describes in the Daily Mirror the decisions faced by the commandos at the scene - writes: "Canada and Australia have now both been targeted in recent months, probably because thy were regarded as soft options... Yet it may be only a matter of time before someone tries something like this here."

The Daily Express argues: "These small-scale attacks can be carried out by lone individuals making them very difficult for the security services to detect. As a result it is all the more important that the public remains ever vigilant for suspicious activity."


'Moving the conversation on'

The Sun is unimpressed with Labour's efforts to address voters' concerns about immigration, given that - with leader Ed Miliband speaking about the issue - a document advising party canvassers to steer away from the topic was leaked to the press. The paper headlines the story "Mili scam".

James Slack, in the Daily Mail, translates the document's words into "what Labour really thinks". He interprets advice to "acknowledge electors' concerns about immigration... opinions that may not gel with their own" as meaning: "Try not to sneer and at least humour them."

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Telegraph sketchwriter Michael Deacon, who was watching Mr Miliband deliver his speech in Norfolk, writes: "His team had billed this as a 'major' speech. In the event, it lasted just seven minutes and 25 seconds. Perhaps Mr Miliband - as per his party's confidential instructions... was hastily trying to 'move the conversation on'."

Mr Miliband said the advisory was "not very well drafted" but the Times argues it offered a "sound political strategy". Examining Labour's proposals for - as the party put it - "controlling immigration fairly" by criminalising the replacement of British workers with cheap foreign labour, its editorial column argues: "The responsible course would be to explain why economic isolation is no answer to the squeeze on living standards. Instead, lacking a convincing strategy of his own, Mr Miliband insinuates that tightening restrictions on the movement of labour will work. It is a faulty diagnosis."


'Professional drinkers'

Another politician under scrutiny is the UKIP leader. The Mail's Jan Moir kept a keen eye on his drink-fuelled appearance with the "posh" couple from Gogglebox on Channel 4 show Steph and Dom Meet Nigel Farage. His hosts "threw questions as though they were hurling balls in a coconut shy", she writes. "But the big one remained unasked and unanswered: why on earth had Mr Farage agreed to take part in the programme in the first place?

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"It seemed inevitable that he would make an ass of himself and he did not disappoint," writes Moir, describing him tripping on a step, smashing a champagne glass and spilling drink over his crotch."

Telegraph reviewer Bernadette McNulty found it "as tedious and lacking in insight as watching any group of people getting drunk". She writes: "Farage didn't so much let down his guard as puff up his maverick, 'ordinary bloke' credentials with his extra strength fags and talk of his youthful dashes with death."

The Mirror's Ian Hyland - not a fan of UKIP's policies - reckons British TV needs to "rethink its strategy" regarding the UKIP leader. "Farage dealt so well with a friendly ambush from Gogglebox's professional drinkers... I am ashamed to admit I'd warmed to the bloke by the end of their half-hour encounter," he writes.


Searching for something

Internet giant Google's Year in Search leads the press to draw conclusions about the state of society, with the Independent noting that the number of searches for "Who is Banksy" outnumbered queries about Isis - also known as Islamic State - "suggesting curiosity about the graffiti artist was stronger than the desire to learn about the international terrorist group".

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The paper assigns science editor Steve Connor to answer the top 10 "what is...?" queries, relating to Ebola, fracking and twerking, among other things, while Tom Peck explains who are characters such as Ultron, Dappy and Lohanthony.

The Sun publishes 10 lists of top 10s, including trending terms - topped by World Cup 2014 and iPhone 6 - and diets, such as the Clean 9, Ultima and Perricone. Meanwhile, the Telegraph finds some odd regional distinctions between searches.

It concludes that Glaswegians and Londoners don't know how to kiss, based on their searches for instructions, while Mancunians are keen to learn to crochet and Bristol folk are "seeking to perfect the squat-thrust".


Making people click

Mail: Faces of the victims: Heroic Sydney cafe manager, 34, shot dead as he grabbed terrorist's gun to protect hostages - and the brilliant young barrister and mother of three, 38, who died in hospital after the siege

Guardian: Estimated 15,000 people join 'pinstriped Nazis' on march in Dresden

Times: Wimbledon for sale as BBC opens door to pay-TV partner

Financial Times: Winners and losers of oil price plunge

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