Newspaper headlines: Jimmy Savile's 'secret daughter', body image dilemmas

While no two papers lead on the same story, three very different matters relating to children make front pages.

The Sunday Mirror hears from the daughter of a woman who fears she could be serial child abuser Jimmy Savile's daughter. Her mother had told her she was abused by the DJ from the age of 13 and that she fell pregnant aged 16, at a time she was sleeping with her boyfriend. The woman tells the paper it would be the "worst nightmare imaginable" if it proved to be the case.

Meanwhile, the Mail on Sunday reports the case of parents who say their daughter's dying wish was for her frozen eggs to be implanted in her mother's womb. They are reportedly fighting a legal battle to export the eggs to a New York fertility treatment. At least four women in the UK have carried grandchildren in this way, says the paper, citing the example of a woman whose daughter had a lung condition meaning pregnancy could be fatal. However, it says none are believed to have done so on behalf of a dead child.

The Independent on Sunday's lead story - based on police data obtained by the charity Parents and Abducted Children Together - says the number of children aged under 18 who've been kidnapped or abducted rose 13% in the last financial year. "The abduction of children by people other than their parents - which could include a stranger luring a child into a car with sweets or a teenage girl being taken willingly by an older man - rose twice as fast as parental abductions (14% compared with 6%," the paper says.

Liberation and comfort?

The fate of three children who appear to have fled voluntarily - the London schoolgirls believed to be travelling to Syria - continues to cause concern.

Several papers print pleas from relatives for their return. On its front page, the Sunday Times quotes an older sister of one telling the 15-year-old: "Mum needs you home... Syria is a dangerous place and we don't want you to go there." However, the Sunday Telegraph quotes an intelligence source within Turkey - where the girls touched down on Tuesday - saying they had travelled by car to the border on Friday, and had since crossed into the Syrian town of Tal Abya, which is controlled by Islamic State (IS) extremists.

Other papers focus on those allegedly helping IS to recruit young Britons. The Sunday People quotes the parents of a 20-year-old Glaswegian who fled to join IS last year describing their daughter as a "disgrace". There are fears she helped the young trio to leave the UK after one of them contacted her via Twitter, the paper says.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption From left: Kadiza Sultana, Amira Abase and Shamima Begum know a girl who went to Syria in December

Meanwhile, the Mail on Sunday focuses on the tale of the Iraq-born former wife of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. It says she's famed for smuggling gold under her Islamic dress to finance the group's operations. "For radicalised Muslim women in Britain and beyond who seek to marry into the blood-stained ranks of Islamic State, Saja al-Dulaimi is the ultimate icon," the paper says.

Shiraz Maher, of King's College London, writes in the Sunday Mirror that it can seem "bewildering" that youngsters would abandon the freedoms of British society for such a repressive environment. But he says: "They regard British society as decadent while IS is virtuous. It offers them liberation and comfort."

Appearance matters

Columnists find themselves wrestling with the conventions of body image. Reflecting on the press having highlighted the Duchess of Cambridge's grey hairs this week, the Sunday Times's India Knight wonders why so few women allow themselves to go grey.

Image copyright AFP

"Somebody needs to go first," she writes. "And it annoys me that it's absolutely 100% not going to be me: I can give you all the reasons why going grey would be a wonderful, defiant, stylish act - so much smarter than keeping up the ludicrous pretence that your hair is still bright yellow, or indeed bright black, all over - but I'm still not going to do it."

Meanwhile, a leaked "unretouched" photo of ex-supermodel Cindy Crawford confirms the suspicions of the Mail on Sunday's Rachel Johnson that "in the fashion world, making women look unnatural is normal, while allowing them to look almost human only ever happens by accident".

A similar leak of singer Beyonce Knowles-Carter's photoshoot for L'Oreal prompts Louise Mensch to write in the Sun: "Beyonce did not look wonderful. She looked rough. And isn't that great?" The former Conservative MP argues that the star should "embrace the flaws", writing: "She sells herself as a feminist but contributes to girls' body image issues by insisting on Photoshopping away all her imperfections."

Celia Walden, writing in the Sunday Telegraph, says that while on social media women celebrated the beauty in the leaked images, she suspects their jealousy would have made for a "laughably different" tone around water-coolers. She recalls a fashion agent telling her that women aspire to impossible ideals, saying: "It isn't men perpetuating this unreachable fantasy - it's you lot."

'Only the facts'

After the Daily Telegraph printed an editorial comment defending itself from claims by ex-chief political commentator Peter Oborne that it allowed commercial interests to affect its journalism, the broadsheet's Sunday stablemate follows suit. "We do not accept such accusations," it says. "Journalists will always pursue the facts and only the facts - with no consideration other than sound editorial judgment," it insists.

However, for the Sunday Times, Ben Laurance speaks to a host of former Telegraph staffers and insiders who describe news reports and even film reviews being amended at the behest of commercial advertising staff. One is quoted saying: "The traditional church and state line between advertising and editorial has not just been crossed - it's been shredded."

Commentators reflect on the Telegraph's response to claims it did not give due prominence to reports alleging HSBC's Swiss banking arm had helped clients to evade tax. The Daily Telegraph had "made no apology" for its coverage of an issue it claimed had been "enthusiastically promoted by the BBC, the Guardian and their ideological soulmates in the Labour Party".

Image copyright Sunday Telegraph

However, the Sunday Times says a front-page story in which the Telegraph linked the suicides of two advertising staff it described as "overworked" provoked an angry response. It was "intended as retaliation against rival newspapers", says the Times, and was described on Twitter as "disgusting" and "a new low". The Independent's Ian Burrell says: "These hatchet jobs carried an anonymous staff reporter byline and appeared to be based on information from the Telegraph's commercial team, rather making Oborne's point." He reckons the Telegraph has "only sullied its own brand" and will suffer lasting damage from the "unseemly skirmishes".

By way of explanation for the "shambles", the Observer's Peter Preston reckons "there isn't any true editor anywhere on view" at the Telegraph. Instead, he says, it has Chris Evans, a "sort-of editor... who plays boss on the day, choosing stories, pictures and the rest", while chief executive Murdoch MacLennan - who is under pressure to maintain profits - has the real power.

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