News headlines: Terror fight, 'groomed' teacher, and the 'supertramp'

Eight days on from the murderous attacks in Paris, Britain's newspapers still are full of stories from the aftermath - and general discussions on how to combat terrorism.

The Independent reports that senior al-Qaeda figures - including the organisation's chief - "took a personal interest in planning the terrorist attacks in Paris".

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Nasr bin Ali al-Ansi

The paper notes that claims by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) that the attacks were carried out in their name have been contradicted by other extremist groups, including Islamic State, who say they were behind the murders.

AQAP head Nasr bin Ali al-Ansi promised more "tragedies and terror" for France in a video, the Independent says, which features a mock-up of the Eiffel Tower collapsing in flames.

The Daily Mail reports that the "survival" special edition of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has now upped its print run to five million, and editions are exchanging for three-figure sums on eBay as collectors try to secure a copy.

But the paper says securing the magazine - whose Parisian headquarters was attacked by Islamist terrorists last week - is difficult in many countries where news retailers are afraid of handling the document.

The Daily Telegraph has a Matt cartoon of a dog arriving in a living room with a copy of the magazine in its mouth and its terrified owner immediately diving behind his armchair in fear.

Image copyright Getty Images

Elsewhere, the paper reports France has been rocked by controversy after one of the founding editors said the murdered staff at the magazine were "dragged to their deaths" by editor Stephane Charbonnier's "overdoing" the release of provocative cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

Charlie Hebdo's lawyer said the article by Henri Roussel in Nouvel Obs magazine was "polemical and venomous" towards Mr Charbonnier, who was killed in the attack.

Richard Malka added, "I refuse to allow myself to be invaded by bad thoughts, but my disappointment is immense."

With the war against terrorism high on the agenda, David Cameron becomes the first European leader to visit Barack Obama since the Paris attacks, the Guardian reports.

The prime minister is to ask the president to pressurise internet firms such as Twitter and Facebook "to do more to co-operate with Britain's intelligence agencies", the paper says.

Mr Cameron wants the social media giants to store and hand over data and content requested by UK security forces "to keep us safe", it explains.


When he returns to the UK, the prime minister is likely to find himself stalked by a man in an outsized chicken outfit.

The Daily Mirror has resurrected its chicken man (first seen shadowing John Major in 1997) to highlight Mr Cameron's refusal to take part in televised pre-election debates unless the Greens were included - a move that shows he is "frit" according to Ed Miliband.

Image caption A chicken: perhaps unfairly maligned as cowardly

In an avalanche of avian puns, the Mirror says the "savvy political bird" smelled "fowl Tory manoeuvres" as the PM tries to "duck out" of the debates.

There was more clucking in the House of Commons as opposition MPs taunted Mr Cameron during Prime Minister's Questions.

In her sketch in the Times, Ann Treneman detects a certain vacuity about the scene and says "Dave isn't frit of Ed, of course. Instead it's that nice Nigel Farage.

"There is now even talk of "empty chairing" Dave or... "empty podiuming" him.

"But who needs an empty chair when you can have, as we did yesterday, so much empty air."

The Daily Telegraph's editorial says the PM is like a man invited to a dinner party he doesn't want to attend, giving "an ever-less plausible" list of excuses why he can't come without ever saying "no".

The paper says broadcasters should "call Mr Cameron's bluff" by holding one debate featuring the Green Party.

Image caption Roger Mosey

Former BBC executive Roger Mosey writes in the Guardian that a single party leader must not block the debates as "they are part of the democratic process".

"I'm pleased to say, I don't sense the broadcasters are wavering, and they are prepared to be tough," Mosey says.

"At a time of lack of faith in politicians it would be the worst option to allow game playing to block a format the public finds valuable."

Leo McKinstry in the Daily Express agrees.

"Cameron said in 2010 of TV debates, 'we will have them in every election in the future and that really is good for democracy'.

"He should stick to his words instead of running scared."


The case of Stuart Kerner, a 44-year-old teacher from Kent, who was given a suspended prison sentence after being convicted of having sex with a 16-year-old pupil is featured in many papers.

The Daily Mirror says the trial judge's comments, suggesting that the pupil had "groomed" the teacher, are "an outrage".

Judge Joanna Greenberg said the victim was "intelligent and manipulative" - and "showed no compunction" about lying when it suited her.

Image caption Stuart Kerner

"It was she who groomed you. You gave in to temptation," Mr Kerner was told before sentencing, the Mirror reports.

The paper quotes the National Association for People Abused in Childhood as saying: "This ruling sends out the worst kind of message to abusers - or the best, if you are one."

The Daily Mail reports that the Attorney General's office has asked for more information on the case, to decide whether to refer it to the Court of Appeal for resentencing.

The paper quotes Jan Macleod of the Women's Support Project as saying: "What [the sentence] says to me is that there's a real lack of understanding about the nature of grooming.

"Grooming is all about power dynamics. In any case, the teacher definitely has a responsibility to say 'No', no matter how eager the child is."

The Independent's editorial says "a teenager cannot 'groom' a 44-year-old teacher".

"In handing down a suspended sentence, the judge's description of Kerner as having been "groomed" and "stalked" by his "manipulative" victim undermines the very principle on which the crime for which he has been convicted is based," the paper writes.

"Teachers and pupils are not equals. But it is for teachers to preserve that position, not those who are in their care. Whatever the particular circumstances of this case, it is Kerner's pupil who is the victim; not Kerner."

Waving a pint

The announcement that comedian Al Murray is to stand against UKIP's Nigel Farage in the South Thanet constituency is too good an opportunity for a chuckle for any paper to resist.

Murray, who will be contesting the seat in his Pub Landlord character, posted an extensive campaign video on YouTube.

The Daily Mirror, noting the "landlord's" claim that "it seems to me that the UK is ready for a bloke waving a pint around offering common sense solutions", quotes some of Murray's campaign pledges.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Murray on the Westminster trail: he says he has no more idea where Thanet South is than "Mrs Thatcher knew where the Falklands were"

They include reducing the price of a pint of beer to 1p (but keeping crisps at current prices); buying Greece and allowing Kent County Council to run it; and taking the UK out of Europe by 2025 and "out of the Solar System" by 2050.

The Daily Express has more, including the fabulous: "National Service - but only for people who want to do it".

The paper notes a UKIP spokesman gamely welcomed the comedian's intervention as "at last there is some serious opposition".

Mr Farage himself has said "the more the merrier".

Murray's agent, the paper adds, has confirmed the "political stunt" was definitely happening and papers were being lodged to allow the candidacy.

The Guardian carries a list of non-serious election contenders, ranging from satirist Willie Rushton to professional by-election candidate (and former rock musician) Screaming Lord Sutch.

The paper notes Rushton began the tradition in 1962 when he stood against soon-to-be prime minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home in 1963 under the very basic slogan "death to the Tories". He got 45 votes.

More effective perhaps was the relentless campaigning of David "Lord" Sutch, who achieved a peak of 4.2% of the vote in Rotherham in 1994.

But the early 60s novelty singer had achieved a bigger result in the Bootle by-election of 1990 when he outpolled an SDP candidate (418 to 155) and offered to form a coalition with the group, then led by David Owen.

The SDP was wound-up a week later, the paper notes. "Jokes can sometimes be fatal."

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