Newspaper headlines: Libya air strikes, sex education call, Greece talks collapse

Cairo's decision to launch airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Libya after the killings of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians attracts widespread coverage.

The Times says Egypt's first full-scale military action abroad since the 1973 war with Israel adds a "further layer of complexity to the chaos" in Libya and the battle with IS as a whole.

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In its leader column, the paper suggests the risks for President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi are "worth taking" and the strikes represent a "welcome recognition" that a regional power should take regional responsibilities. The president's efforts must not be a distraction from Egypt's domestic problems, it adds, urging him to continue the "encouraging steps" taken so far and show he is a "genuine reformer".

The Independent's Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk says the killings this month by IS militants of a Jordanian pilot and now the Egyptians have "created a new Arab military alliance to bomb the West's enemies". But he warns IS will now "want revenge for the Egyptian air raids".

According to the Daily Telegraph, the situation in Libya is "sadly consistent with that country's slide into turmoil". It says the decision to remove Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, in which the UK played a leading role, was not wrong but there are questions about the way the action was conducted.

Interventionist foreign policy is out of political fashion, says the paper, but the "time may well come when Britain once again needs to intervene abroad to ensure its own security".

The Daily Mail sees Libya as "yet another lesson to jejune politicians, of every party, that they should be careful what they wish for... before they intervene in foreign wars".

Writing in a commentary piece in the Mail, Michael Burleigh says the world has been so transfixed by gruesome events in Iraq and Syria that the developing Islamist threat in Libya has been largely ignored.

The Guardian's leading article says IS "prospers in failing states" and a political settlement between the two rival governments and the work of the UN in Libya is crucial in the battle against the group.


'Stark conclusions'

A Commons Education Select Committee report on sex education in schools in England features on several front pages.

The Independent says the "hard-hitting report" accuses the Conservatives of putting children's health at risk by refusing to make sex and relationships education compulsory in primary schools. The paper's education editor Richard Garner says its conclusions "could not have been starker".

Such lessons are already compulsory in council-run secondary schools.

But the Guardian says the report "comes down firmly on the side of campaigners" who have long fought for sex and relationships education to be made mandatory in all primary and secondary schools.

The Daily Telegraph says that the MPs' recommendations follow concerns that schools are failing to keep pace with the sexualisation of children by the internet.

While the Daily Mirror notes that Labour has already pledged to make "age-appropriate" sex education compulsory in primary schools, it also carries the comments of lobbying group Christian Concern, which is against the move.

The Daily Mail's lead story focuses on another sex education campaign. It reports that an NHS scheme known as "C-card" and which provides free condoms to children as young as 13 has been criticised by a family group, the Christian Institute.

The story is also covered in the Daily Express. Piloted by Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, it aims to cut teen pregnancies and reduce the risk of sexually transmitted disease, but the paper says another campaign group wants the trust to face prosecution.


Eye-catching headlines


Therapeutic ending?

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told reporters he believed a deal was still achievable

The breakdown of talks on Monday between Greece and its eurozone creditors leads the papers to suggest the relationship between the parties is at a new low.

The discussions in Brussels collapsed in disarray, heightening concerns that the country is edging closer to a disruptive exit from the single currency, reports the Guardian. Eurozone finance ministers were effectively presenting Greece with an ultimatum and said Athens had until Friday to agree to maintain the current 172bn euro (£127bn) bailout, it adds.

The Times says despite efforts to find some common ground, the gulf between the two sides was as wide as ever going into the talks. And relations between Greece and its eurozone partners descended into "open hostility" after they ended.

According to the Financial Times, EU officials saw the meeting as a "make-or-break session". The paper says the impasse suggests further talks may be futile, meaning the bailout would expire on 28 February, amid fears of market turmoil and a bank run in Greece.

The Sun says Europe "stood united" against Greece. It agrees that if officials do not reach a compromise the Greek economy could collapse completely but carries finance minister Yanis Varoufakis's comments that "there is going to be an agreement in the end which will be very therapeutic for Greece".


'Alzheimer's pill'

Could scientists have found a method which could potentially stop the growth of Alzheimer's disease in its tracks?

According to the coverage of research published in the journal Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, there is now the prospect of a wave of new treatments for the condition.

Image copyright University of Cambridge/PA

The Daily Telegraph is among the papers to report that a team at Cambridge University, working with partners in Sweden and Estonia, have identified a molecule which can block the progress of Alzheimer's at a crucial stage in its development.

The Times says the discovery raises the prospect of "statin-like drugs" to stave off the disease.

Lead author Dr Samuel Cohen is quoted in the Daily Mail saying: "This is the starting point for finding a drug that stops Alzheimer's disease in its tracks. It might be used when the first symptoms appear. But another potential approach is that people would take it as a preventative drug."


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