Newspaper headlines: Miliband in spotlight and 'nuclear terrorism'

Ed Miliband Image copyright PA

Labour leader Ed Miliband is feeling the heat after criticism from senior party figures, according to a number of the front pages.

The Times says former Health Secretary Alan Milburn warned it would be a "fatal mistake" for Labour to increase the NHS budget without reforming it for the modern age.

The paper thinks this sets the tone for the weeks to come. In a leading article headed "health v wealth", its says: "For the next three months, Labour will spread fear about the NHS and the Conservatives will warn of economic anarchy if the opposition wins."

The Daily Telegraph says Mr Miliband's efforts to put the NHS at the heart of his party's strategy appeared to backfire, as both Labour and the Conservatives stepped up their election campaigns.

Mr Miliband was facing a backlash from supporters of Tony Blair, according to the Guardian. "Health is not only a contested issue between the two main parties," it says. "It has also come to be seen as a way of separating New Labour from Next Labour."

The Independent says Labour denied the criticism, insisting that its NHS plan included reforms that would save money.

Mr Milburn and fellow former cabinet minister John Hutton write a joint opinion piece in the Financial Times in which they urge Mr Miliband to defend the economic record of the last Labour government. "The facts are on our side," they say.

"Hammer blows for Red Ed over the NHS" is the headline in the Daily Mail. The paper comments: "The long-term success of the NHS depends on two factors: a robust economy - and readiness to use public and private resources to deliver the best care. Mr Miliband has shown he can't be trusted with either."

The Sun says Mr Miliband's flagship election plan for the NHS was dealt a devastating blow. Addressing Mr Milburn's reference to Labour's failed 1992 general election campaign under Neil Kinnock, the paper says: "The Sun was never a fan of Neil Kinnock. In fairness, it was mutual."


'Stuff of James Bond'

The papers are gripped by the opening developments in the public inquiry into the death of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko. Mr Litvinenko died in a London hospital in 2006 from radiation poisoning.

The Telegraph says the inquiry was told that thousands of lives were put at risk in an "act of nuclear terrorism" on the streets of London to murder Mr Litvinenko.

In an editorial, the Telegraph says of Vladimir Putin: "The inquiry into the grisly death of Alexander Litvinenko in London eight years ago is a deeply human reminder, if one were needed, of why the West cannot trust the Russian leader accused of ordering the assassination.

"The opening day heard an almost incredible tale of how Russian secret service agents deposited traces of the deadly radioactive substance polonium-210 around our capital as they sought an opportunity to poison their one-time colleague."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Marina Litvinenko attended the first day of the inquiry at the High Court

The Guardian says that in scathing terms, Ben Emmerson QC, acting for Mr Litvinenko's widow, Marina, suggested that Mr Litvinenko was the victim of a dysfunctional state in which criminals and politicians had merged.

The Independent, which pictures Mrs Litvinenko leaving the High Court after the opening of the inquiry on its front page, said the nuclear terrorism claim was made against Mr Putin in an incendiary start to the inquiry.

Looking at the background to the case, the Independent says: "It is the stuff of James Bond, 007: poisoned by a deadly radioactive isotope administered through a genteel cup of tea.

"Except the victim's painful death - as the radiation travelled through his blood, coming to rest in his kidneys, liver, spleen, even his bone marrow, where it destroyed internal organs and sabotaged his body's immune system - is too brutal for Hollywood."


'Tears and defiance'

Moving pictures from the Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations at Auschwitz feature widely across the papers.

"Tears and defiance: Survivors return 70 years after liberation," says the Guardian above its front page picture. The Telegraph also puts a picture on its front page: "Auschwitz survivors' final return to the wall of death."

Daniel Taub, Israel's ambassador to the UK, writes in the Telegraph that recent events involving violence against Jewish people are a reminder that anti-Semitism did not come to an end in 1945.

Image copyright Getty Images

"They are the dwindling few who know, truly, what it is to go to hell and back. Seventy years on, they were there again yesterday," writes the Mail's Robert Hardman who is in Auschwitz.

"On this very spot, they had seen their loved ones for the last time. Next to this bleakest of buildings, millions of families had been torn apart forever in a hysterical bedlam of beating, whipping, attack dogs and random execution. Has anywhere else endured such misery?"

The Daily Express reports Prince Charles's words at an event in London where he said the Holocaust is a "warning and lesson to all of us".

In an editorial, the Sun says: "Every year that passes makes it harder to remember the full horror of the Holocaust. But it must always remain a vital reminder to us and future generations of what humans are capable of."


'Unfair and unsporting'

The Times reports that plans are afoot to transform Napoleon into the triumphant hero of a giant reconstruction of the Battle of Waterloo.

"The Duke of Wellington may have defeated Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo," it says, "but the French are seeking to reverse the result for this year's bicentenary of the battle."

Frank Samson, the French lawyer who was chosen to play Napoleon after an apparently fierce struggle with rival re-enactors, tell the Times: "The public will acclaim him and we have forgotten that he lost. In terms of public relations, in terms of his historical importance, it's clear that he won at Waterloo."

Image copyright PA
Image caption This saw was used to amputate the Earl of Uxbridge's leg

The paper remarks: "While the British and their allies will win day two of the re-enacted battle, the French will be permitted in effect to win day one. This, of course, is like reporting of a football match that it was a draw because the losing team was winning at half time. It is both unfair and unsporting. And they call us perfidious!"

And the Telegraph says a field surgeon's blood-stained saw and glove are among dozens of artefacts in a new collection that marks the 200th anniversary of Waterloo.

The paper explains that the items were used during the battle to amputate the Earl of Uxbridge's leg which was preserved and later became an attraction in the Belgian village of Waterloo.

Other items in the exhibition include the Duke of Wellington's boots, Napoleon's cloak and an eagle standard taken from the French army after their defeat.


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