Newspaper headlines: Ebola fears, plane emergency and Greece

Tuesday's big story is the diagnosis of a British nurse with Ebola, after her return to the UK from Sierra Leone.

The Independent explains: "The woman had returned to Scotland on Sunday night via Casablanca and Heathrow, arriving into Glasgow Airport on a British Airways flight.

"She was screened both in Sierra Leone and Heathrow, but at that stage was not displaying any symptoms."

The Guardian says the nurse's condition is "quite stable and showing few signs causing clinical concern".

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The nurse who contracted Ebola will be transferred to the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, north London

As the early editions went to press, she was in the process of being transferred from a Glasgow hospital to the UK's specialist Ebola unit in London.

The nurse had worked at an Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone, run by Save The Children.

The charity "has been extra vigilant about the health of the volunteers who work with them", the Guardian adds.

The Daily Telegraph highlights the comments of Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who has appealed to the public not to panic, and said the chances of a wider outbreak were "negligible".

The paper says those sitting near the nurse in her flight from Heathrow to Glasgow will be monitored, with other passengers advised about the potential hazard. Passengers on the other two planes the nurse travelled on are being traced.

The Telegraph quotes microbiologist Prof Nigel Brown, who says: "Ebola is a very difficult virus to transmit. If a person is symptomless they are unable to infect anyone else."

The Daily Mail says the case raises questions because, "the woman was vetted twice - in Sierra Leone and at Heathrow - without any symptoms being detected."

The paper continues: "When [the patient] arrives at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, north London, the health worker will be admitted through a specially-assigned hospital entrance, before being taken to the high-level isolation unit - the only ward in the UK equipped to cope with Ebola.

"It is the same isolation unit that nursed William Pooley back to health after he contracted Ebola in August. "


'The unthinkable'

The day's biggest picture story is the emergency landing of a Virgin Atlantic airliner at Gatwick Airport, following a malfunction in its landing gear.

With its front page dominated by a dramatic picture of the 747 landing with sparks emerging from its undercarriage, the Daily Mirror says the lives of those on board were saved by "a hero pilot".

The man, known to the papers only as David, won praise from passengers - and the paper, who dub him "Dave the Brave" for the calming announcements he made to terrified passengers.

A friend of David's tells the paper: "He's a typical pilot. Calm and considered. You don't get to do that job unless you are laid back and intelligent."

Image copyright Getty Images

Passengers tell the Sun that they became aware of problems on flight VS43 when the pilot repeatedly tried to "bounce" the plane in mid-air to try to free the jammed section of the landing gear.

The plane then flew in circles around southern England for three hours to burn off fuel and make the landing less hazardous, the paper adds.

Aviation expert Tony Osborne tells the Daily Express: "The pilot got it down safely. That would not have been an easy landing. He was taking control of a very challenging situation".

The Independent devotes two pages to an aviation story with what is very likely to have a less happy outcome: the disappearance of the AirAsia flight over Indonesia.

Simon Calder, the paper's travel editor, says there is anger that the aviation authorities do not appear to have learned the lessons of earlier tragedies.

"Some observers believe that real-time flight tracking, where the position of each aircraft can be continuously monitored, should have become mandatory,

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The search continues for the missing AirAsia jet, although it is believed to have been lost at sea

"Technology allowing airlines to track their aircraft is widely available," he added, but is not fitted to AirAsia planes.

The Guardian writes that the plane's disappearance "caps a difficult year for the airline industry".

The paper's travel correspondent Gwyn Topham says, "the likely loss of a third airliner in the space of 10 months appears to have made 2014 the deadliest year for passengers in almost a decade.

"While the priority given to safety is a knee-jerk mantra recited by all airline executives, an acceptable level of risk versus cost has to infuse all industry thinking, especially in a business whose profit margins in recent years have been slim.

"The calculations run from how tired your pilots can be to how little you can pay your crew, to whether you really need that state-of-the-art tracking system.

"How many airlines really need to invest in the all-frills package touted by Inmarsat?

"What chance of any plane escaping detection given the various tracking systems in place? But then the unthinkable happened."


Tough vegetables

The release of a cache of hitherto confidential government papers from 1985-86, has the papers looking back at Margaret Thatcher's administration - and the thoughts of "the Iron Lady" herself.

The Times focuses on the then-PM's concerns that new GCSE exams would "lack the rigour" of the O'Levels they were replacing.

However the paper says she went ahead with the change "to spite the teaching unions" who were vigorously opposed to the new exam.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Margaret Thatcher in 1984.: the former Conservative Party leader was made a baroness in 1992

Mrs Thatcher told an aide she had "no option but to go ahead" with the change, the paper reports.

In its editorial, the Times says the PM was "right to worry about GCSEs" and it urges Education Secretary Nicky Morgan to follow up "the reforms of Michael Gove" and make GCSEs "a proper test for 16-year-olds".

Other stories from the archives covered by the Times include the suggestion that TVs be fitted with "descramblers" allowing those who only wanted to watch commercial TV to possess sets incapable of picking up a BBC signal and thus excusing them from paying the licence fee.

There is also a 1986 suggestion that sex aids could be banned as "obscene items" which could tend to "corrupt and deprave the public".

The suggestion came from then-home secretary Leon Brittan, after a meeting with campaigner Mary Whitehouse.

The Daily Telegraph's coverage leads on how Mrs Thatcher was "talked into the poll tax catastrophe" by adviser Oliver Letwin, who is now minister for government policy.

"The papers show the prime minister was deluged with warnings about the 'catastrophic' political consequences of the policy, but Mr Letwin's intervention appears to have guided her decision to trial the [Community Charge] in Scotland in 1989 and roll it out nationwide in 1990."

Opposition to the scheme, the Telegraph reports, was led by Nigel Lawson, who said the tax was "completely unworkable" and Douglas Hurd, who suggested that collecting it would be as difficult as gathering "the TV licence fee in West Belfast".

The Daily Mirror said the revelation of Mr Letwin's central role in arguing for the Community Charge "will be embarrassing for the Tories given [his] role at the core of Mr Cameron's government."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Oliver Letwin: could he be the man whose idea led to the break up of the UK, the Guardian asks?

The Guardian's editorial says that Mr Letwin's "poor judgement" in using Scotland as a trail-blazer was a mistake for which "the Conservative Party is still paying in Scotland and of which the ultimate price may be the dismemberment of the United Kingdom".

The paper's coverage highlights the then-government's plan for a £200m chemical weapons programme.

The Sun notes that the cabinet secretary at the time, Sir Robert Armstrong, warned Mrs Thatcher that the deregulation of the City of London would lead to "dodgy practices, corners being cut" and a financial "bubble that would be pricked".

The paper notes many of Sir Robert's warnings rang true in the financial crisis of 2008.

The Independent covers a mooted campaign to be called "goalies against hoolies" which would enlist football goalkeepers to speak out against crowd violence in the game.

Manchester United goalie Gary Bailey was to front the campaign "as an articulate graduate", proposed Bernard Ingham, Mrs Thatcher's press secretary, who was closely involved in planning the strategy.

The paper's opinion page says the papers reveal "the depth of Margaret Thatcher's radicalism" but may surprise many with the "strength of her cabinet".

"The institutions of British governance that she did so much to reform were still robust enough to restrain her," the paper writes.

The Spitting Image view of the Thatcher cabinet was as "vegetables", the paper says, recalling an old sketch from the satirical show.

"But those 'vegetables' were tougher than we thought," it adds.

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