Newspaper headlines: Paris march, Kim 'Jock-un' and 'weaponising' the NHS

While front-page photographs capture the sheer scale of Paris's "unity march" against terrorism, the atmosphere is conveyed in a series of moving dispatches from reporters.

Ben Macintyre, of the Times, writes: "On a day of bright sunshine and sleeting rain, this unique event was part mourning, part defiance and, above all, an outpouring of support for the threatened values of the French Republic... Yesterday's mass gathering was of a scale and intensity the country has never seen before, a mass rally of every creed, political complexion, colour, age and race, a precise cross-section of French society."

Image copyright Metro
Image caption The Metro marked the occasion by producing a wraparound cover

John Lichfield writes in the Independent: "Most people were unable to move forward. New rivers and streams of humanity poured into the crowd from every direction. Spontaneously, the people began to clap rhythmically. The clapping spread like a river of sound up every avenue and boulevard."

As the nation mourned the 17 people killed over three days by Islamist gunmen, many marchers carried pencils in solidarity with those shot dead at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

"There was a festival mood despite the rain and the squashed crowds that had been brought to a standstill near Place de la Republique started singing All You Need is Love by the Beatles, after hearing the music playing from an apartment above," reports the Financial Times. The Guardian hears from some of those present, including a pensioner holding a pencil in her teeth who jokes: "That's scary, isn't it? You know we have been crying for three days and now we are here to laugh in solidarity."

In a powerful sketch, the Daily Telegraph's Michael Deacon sums up the day by saying: "It was extraordinary to see: both noisily uplifting and unspeakably sad. But most important it sent a message - not so much to terrorists as to ourselves. A rally cannot stop a society being attacked, but it can help hold it together and give it courage. Look at how many we are. Look how different, yet how unified, we are... It showed union, where terrorists sought conflict."

Image copyright EPA

Several writers note the presence of dozens of world leaders, with the Independent's John Lichfield saying: "Who would have thought that the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, would walk through Paris four places away from Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority? Who would have imagined the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, would take part in a street demonstration in the French capital?"

Robert Hardman describes in the Daily Mail how the "hermetically sealed delegation" led the march, "while 5,500 troops and police officers manned every street corner and rooftop" during the "awkward stroll, arm-in-arm, along a short, empty stretch of the Boulevard Voltaire". He adds: "The paranoia was understandable."

Some reporters were clearly moved by the scenes. The Sun's Oliver Harvey writes: "Never, as a journalist, have I felt so welcomed in a nation suffering such grief. A passionate throng soon surrounded the 'journaliste anglais' keen to tell me how they were determined to uphold Charlie Hebdo's principle of free speech."

"For once a politician wasn't guilty of hyperbole when French President Francois Hollande declared Paris the capital of the world for a day," says the Daily Mirror's editorial.

Eye-catching headlines

  • "School tests whether Lego maths adds up" - the Guardian visits a school where five-year-olds are using plastic bricks to help with sums
  • "Nessie's ancient, killer cousin that hunted in the waters off Scotland" - the Daily Telegraph's take on the discovery of the first "uniquely Scottish" prehistoric creature
  • "Micro pig? We were told a porky" - a couple complain that their "pint-sized pet grew into a 50-stone porker", in the Daily Express
  • "Gas and heir" - the Sun reports from an Essex pub called the Prince of Wales, which received a gas disconnection letter addressed to Prince Charles

The Big Kim?

A suggestion that North Korea is keen on opening a restaurant in Scotland gives sub-editors plenty of punning opportunities.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mushroom on the menu?

"Kim dine with me," says the Daily Star, playing on the name of the reclusive state's "tubby tyrant", Kim Jong-un, as it suggests that dog meat soup and pine-nut gruel would be on the menu. The paper explains that a Pyongyang-backed restaurant is already open in Amsterdam, channelling 30% of its profits back to the state, and that Kim has "warmed" to Scotland because of its independence campaign.

The Daily Mirror dresses up the "supreme leader" in a tartan hat and ginger wig, renaming him "Kim Jock-un". Its effort at a "McJong's" menu includes Kim sum, Pyong lamb and spotted dictator. It says the North Korean leader has "fallen in love with all things Scottish, particularly whisky".

"See you Kimmy," is the headline in the Sun, which also pictures Kim in a bonnet, declaring: "I'm the Supreme Eater." That paper's idea of North Korean fine dining includes barbecued mollusc and cold noodles, washed down with an aphrodisiac made from bear's bile.

Lethal verbification?

Labour leader Ed Miliband comes under fire for a TV interview in which he refused - no fewer than seven times by the Daily Mail's count - to deny saying that he wanted to "weaponise" the NHS during the election campaign. "People will have to make up their own minds whether he has a genuine case of amnesia or is simply dissembling," says the Mail, adding that - either way - "it's depressingly clear that Mr Miliband is prepared to exploit the suffering of the sick for party political gain".

"This strategy is depressing not just because it insults the electorate's intelligence, but because it removes any possibility of having a grown-up debate about how to tackle the health service's problems," complains the Daily Telegraph. "The last thing the debate about health provision in Britain needs is 'weaponisation', by any party."

Image copyright PA

It's the very term that offends Times sketchwriter Ann Treneman. "Surely it is one of the ugliest words ever, verbification at its most irritating." The writer was further dismayed when interviewer Andrew Marr - talking about David Cameron's refusal to take part in a TV debate without the Greens - suggested the PM might be "empty-chaired". Treneman's reaction: "Noooo! I felt the desire to weaponise immediately."

However, the Independent's Matthew Norman reckons the Labour leader missed a trick by not repeating "empty-chair". He writes: "When seeking to grab public attention and provoke a torrent of hashtag ridicule, a wearily familiar adjective-noun combo won't cut it. You need a thrillingly American-sounding, if hideous, compound verb."

Mr Cameron is not left unscathed by Monday's press. Along with continued complaints about his apparent reluctance to debate with rivals on TV, the Sun points out "there's no mention of migration" in his six major election priorities. Referencing a poll conducted for the paper which suggested 49% of readers saw immigration as one of the country's biggest concerns, it argues: "If he won't address the issue... you have to wonder if he really wants to win."

The paper does highlight his pledge to help "millions more Brits to own their own home". However, the Financial Times reports that in the past five years buy-to-let landlords have been the biggest beneficiaries of rising house prices, making a £177bn profit from capital growth. It points out recent data showing private sector tenants live in the country's poorest-quality accommodation, yet face the highest housing costs, and quotes a property advice firm calling on the government to encourage professional investors to build more homes for rent.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports figures from BBC Inside Out London suggesting that one in five people who bought their council home in Westminster under the government's flagship Right to Buy scheme were receiving housing benefit when they applied.

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