News headlines: Inflation, ambulance row and Big Brother 'walkout threat'

On a mixed day for newspaper front pages, the fall in the UK's annual rate of inflation to 0.5% sparks headlines and much analysis.

The Daily Telegraph notes the rate is as low as has ever been recorded under the present system of calculation (which was begun in 1989) and says the news is a "a fillip for the Conservatives ahead of the general election".

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"The Bank of England said inflation would 'continue to drift down' over the coming months and could even turn negative, providing an immediate boost to households' spending power," the paper adds.

James Kirkup, the Telegraph's politics editor, says there is a contradiction in celebrating low inflation which the Treasury "requires the Bank of England to keep [at] around 2%" in order to "grease the wheels of the economy".

"Yesterday, Treasury ministers were actually celebrating something they they have actually ordered the Bank of England to prevent and which they believe could eventually leave us worse off".

The Financial Times took a generally more optimistic view of the fall, although it notes that most economists "do not credit the chancellor with this freak result from falling oil prices".

In its Q&A it characterises the UK's low rate as "good deflation" which will "put more money into consumers pockets".

It contrasts this with deflationary pressure in the eurozone which it says is driven in part "by low confidence, which is making businesses and consumers delay purchases".

The Guardian's economic editor Larry Elliott outlines the risks of the situation.

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Image caption George Osborne: a lucky chancellor?

"Deflation becomes a problem when consumers and businesses think it is going to last," he writes.

"In those circumstances, they put off spending or investment decisions because they anticipate that prices will be lower in the future than they are today. In those circumstances, economic activity dries up."

Elliott says he does not think that is likely as the Bank of England seems unlikely to raise interest rates, and credit and rising pay levels will eventually push up prices adding inflation back into the economic equation.

The Times' editorial says the chancellor George Osborne has "in many respects been lucky, but he can afford some satisfaction against his critics.

"GDP growth is likely to have been about 3% last year; unemployment has fallen to 6%; the structural budget deficit has halved as a proportion of national income.

"Now, at last, consumers can anticipate being better off too."

'Without wisdom'

The aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo and kosher supermarket shootings in Paris still occupies many column inches in the press.

Tuesday saw the burial of four Jewish victims in Israel, and Wednesday sees the publishing of the first post-massacre edition of the satirical magazine itself.

The Daily Star covers the Jerusalem funerals and notes that at least one relative of a murder victim has called for a "response" to Islamist terrorism.

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Image caption The burial ceremony in Jerusalem for four Jewish victims of the Paris shootings was attended by Israel's president

Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu said, "Islamist terror is not just the enemy of the Jewish people, but of all humanity", the paper notes.

It adds France's president Francoise Hollande's words at a Paris memorial service to all 17 victims of the killers: "Our great and beautiful France will never break, will never yield, will never bend".

The Financial Times notes the new edition of Charlie Hebdo is expected to sell out its initial 1m print run, with another 2m expected to be printed in coming days.

A Parisian newsagent tells the paper: "We normally sell four copies a week, but I am expecting demand for maybe 100 or 200 tomorrow. The question is will we be getting enough copies?"

The Daily Mail profiles a village newsagent who says she will be selling the magazine and has orders for 80 copies.

Ila Aghera says she is nervous, but "what I'm doing is right".

The Mail says about 2,000 copies of Charlie Hebdo are being imported into Britain and wholesalers Smiths News and Menzies Distributors would be handling distribution, although Britain's largest newsagent chain WH Smith will not stock the magazine.

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Image caption Francoise Hollande

The special edition features another cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad on the cover, below the headline "all is forgiven".

The Independent's reporter Kim Sengupta finds angry young French Muslims condemning the latest cartoon and showing no sympathy to the victims of the shooting.

"They know what they are doing and they must take the consequences," says one.

Sengupta notes that "bitterness and disillusionment" among French Muslims runs deep in economically impoverished areas, and some Muslim schoolchildren have reportedly refused to observe the national minute's silence in memory of the terrorists' victims.

An older Frenchman of Algerian origin tells the Independent that young Muslims are "fighting back".

"I am not saying the killings last week were right, no, not at all. But young men nowadays, not just Muslims, seem to be very angry and when they are angry, they act without wisdom."

Zero tolerance

The Independent's lead story is closely linked to the attacks on Jewish targets in France.

It says that more than half of British Jewish people "fear Jews have no future in the UK", according to a report from the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) .

The paper reports CAA commissioned a YouGov poll which found at least one in four respondents agreed with at least one of four anti-Semitic assertions that were put to them.

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Image caption Former petty criminal Amady Coulibaly murdered four Jewish men in a supermarket in eastern Paris

The paper says, "the study coincides with a general rise in anti-Semitic attacks last year - from cemetery desecration and violence to the display of offensive posters - and increased anxiety caused by the murder of four people by gunman Amedy Coulibaly in a kosher grocery store in the French capital on Friday."

The CAA survey found that, "54% of British Jewish people questioned... said they fear Jews have no future in the United Kingdom. A further 45 per cent of Jews said they felt their family was threatened by Islamist extremism", the paper reports.

Gideon Falter of CAA tells the Independent: "Britain is at a tipping point: unless anti-Semitism is met with zero tolerance, it will grow and British Jews will increasingly question their place in their own country."

The Times notes that the number of British Jewish people emigrating to Israel rose by 20% last year.

but Benjamin Netanyahu's call for European Jews to leave for Israel in order to escape anti-Semitism gets short-shrift from some within the faith.

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, of the European Jewish Association, called the Israeli prime minister's call a "Pavolvian" reaction and not a solution to terror.

The paper notes that most Jewish schools in the UK already have private security guards, and police patrols have been stepped to keep an eye on potential terrorist targets.

The Guardian notes a report from the Hope Not Hate group which says support in Britain for far right groups is at a 20-year low.

The paper reports that Hope Not Hate believes the splintering of far-right organisations, and loss of identifiable national leaders has prevented those on the "political fringes" from "capitalising" on concerns over Islamist terrorism and child abuse by mainly ethnic minority gangs.


If you thought Wednesday's papers were all about terrorism and hatred, a little light show business news to clear the mind.

The Sun reports musician neighbours Robbie Williams and Jimmy Page are at loggerheads over the former Take That star's plans to modernise his 46-room west London mansion.

Former Led Zeppelin guitarist Page fears the singer's proposed studio extension will overlook his garden and "create an eyesore", the paper says.

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Image caption Bez's revolution may have to be postponed - or renamed

The paper illustrates the story with Robbie, somewhat inevitably, saying "let me renovate yeah". Page's "reply" - inspired by the rock band's 1971 hit Black Dog - is rather more convoluted.

More musician mishaps are reported in the Independent.

The paper reports that former Happy Monday's "freaky dancer" Bez has hit a setback in his quest to become an MP.

Bez - real name Mark Berry - had founded a "revolutionary" and "anti-fracking" group called the Reality Party, and had intended to contest the Salford constituency, with two friends standing elsewhere.

But the Independent reports that the "baggy" icon has now had his party "deregistered" by the Electoral Commission after failing to respond to their letters expressing concern that his new group could be confused with a London-based political group, the Realists' Party.

The paper explains that the Reality Party has blamed an "administrative error" for the oversight.

It adds that Bez may be able to stand for election under a different party name. Watch this space.

Possibly also feeling a little in error is former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher.

Image caption Liam Gallagher in characteristic pose

The Daily Mirror reports that the star has been fined £3,300 by a "furious" New York judge after failing to show-up in court for a child support hearing.

The mother of Gallagher's 22-month-old daughter Gemma is seeking to increase the amount the Mancunian pays to his daughter.

Gallagher's doctor's note claiming he was "anxious and depressed" was dismissed as "insufficient" by the American judge, after she was shown pictures of the singer walking arm-in-arm in London with his new girlfriend.

The Mirror says that Gallagher missed another court appearance in November saying he was ill, but was photographed in a pub the next day.

The paper, it should be noted, wisely resists any references to Oasis lyrics, particularly "you've got to roll with it".

Making people click

Express: Heavy drinking linked to longer working hours

Mail: Rotterdam's Muslim mayor tells anti-Western co-religionists to "pack their bags" and leave

Times: "Cameron is right to chicken out of debates"

Telegraph: Farage: French cities have "no-go" zones