Newspaper headlines: BP revolt, death of an eagle, bawdy in Bhutan

Bob Dudley Image copyright Reuters

"Mutiny", "revolt", "fury", and "rebellion" are among the words used in Friday's papers to convey the strength of feeling shown by investors in oil giant BP, as they voted against a 20% pay rise for the firm's chief executive Bob Dudley.

The New Day notes the firm made a £3.6bn loss last year, while thousands of jobs are being cut. It adds that Mr Dudley's total pay package is worth almost £14m.

The Financial Times says Mr Dudley's pay "looked particularly out of line to shareholders" because other major energy company bosses had their pay cut in 2015.

The defeat at BP's annual general meeting, notes the Daily Mail, is the largest revolt since June 2012. Then, shareholders in advertising group WPP voted against boss Sir Martin Sorrell's package of £11.9m, which the paper says "marked the rise of the first shareholder spring and caused an overhaul of voting rules".

The Daily Mirror quotes one investor, Adam Matthews from the Church of England's pensions board who asked the company's chiefs if it was "morally right" to give Mr Dudley such remuneration.

BP has "moved to appease disgruntled investors", says the Daily Telegraph, promising to overhaul the way it pays its most senior directors. This will include how executives' performance is judged, oil price fluctuations and how they link to shareholder value.

The Guardian quotes the normally boss-friendly Institute of Directors as saying British boardrooms are "in the last-chance saloon", warning of government intervention with the introduction of tougher regulation on executive pay.

In its leader column, the Times says the vote is non-binding and Mr Dudley will still receive "his £1m cash bonus and see his retirement savings doubled to £4.5m". The paper adds that by rejecting his package, "shareholders should embolden others to make clear their views. The days of rewarding under-performance are over".


Putin and the Panama Papers

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual televised phone-in show on Thursday, in which he made a "surprise admission", reports the Guardian, concerning the Panama Papers leak of files.

According to the paper, documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca link an old friend of Mr Putin's, cellist Sergei Roldugin, "to a number of offshore companies with cash flows of up to £1.4bn".

Image copyright AP

But the Guardian reports that Mr Putin told a caller, who had originally asked why the president was not suing Western media for spreading "lies", that the information was correct but "it doesn't actually accuse anyone of anything" and the leaks were "trying to cause confusion".

The Daily Telegraph was also monitoring Mr Putin's question-and-answer session, and says he described the leaks as "provocations" and accused the US of using them to destabilise Russia.

"In an effort to explain the massive cash flows, Mr Putin said that Mr Roldugin had been spending millions of dollars on antique instruments that he was going to donate to the state," says the Telegraph. These included a £12m Stradivarius, the paper notes.

The annual phone-in is a "heavily choreographed TV marathon in which the president is supposedly grilled by his citizens", says the Times.

"Mr Putin, caked in stage make-up lacked the sparkle of some previous televised performances," the paper says. But the show "could not be complete without a love-life question, which the president professes to dislike", it reports, as he was asked when he might present a new first lady - following news his ex-wife had remarried.


Eye-catching headlines

  • Tories sent on 'bonding sleepover' - the Daily Mirror says "warring" Conservative MPs spent Thursday night at a rural Oxfordshire retreat "to halt their feuding". The paper says the idea is "reminiscent of an episode of comedy The Thick of It". Malcolm Tucker would probably have said something unprintable in a family newspaper review about such an idea.
  • To identity and beyond - news in the Sun that Buzz Lightyear has won his year-long battle with the DVLA to get his name on his driving licence. He is, of course, not the animated star of the Toy Story movies, but a 27-year-old Devonian who was previously known as Sam Stephens, before he changed his name to help a children's cancer charity.
  • Ballroom ban on 'slippery' dancers - the Daily Express reports that a group of ballroom dancers have been banned from using a venue in Llandudno, north Wales, because it is alleged they have used chemical sprays to make the floor shinier, to help them glide across the floor. The dancers, who number around 40 people and are aged 35-90, deny the claim.
  • Hi-tech mattress that can tell if your spouse is having an affair - suspicious partners can now spend £1,200 on a "Smartress" which comes complete with a "Lover Detection System", reports the Daily Mail. The Spanish-made item is able to "generate a 3D map" which shows areas of pressure "and what movement is taking place", it says. The bed comes with a five-year warranty, handy if it disproves concerns of marital infidelity.

Oral warning

An "oral health crisis" among English children features prominently in Friday's papers, with the Daily Mirror saying the cost of extracting youngsters' decayed teeth has "soared by 61% in the last five years" to more than £35m a year.

The Daily Express reports that there are more than 100 hospital operations per day to remove decayed teeth from children and young people, according to research carried out by the Local Government Association (LGA).

There were 40,970 such procedures among under-18s in 2014/15 compared with 32,457 in 2010/11, the paper adds.

Paediatric surgeon Claire Stevens tells the Daily Mail that many procedures are to remove at least half of a child's rotten teeth, with a "complete clearance" every other week.

The New Day quotes dentist Dr Ben Atkins as saying that while 30% of 18 year olds in the 1960s wore dentures, fluoridated water and fluoride toothpaste helped turn the tide against tooth decay, but "we're headed back to the bad old days".

The LGA blames excessive sugar consumption for the problem. It wants to see teaspoon labelling for sugar content on soft drinks introduced, reports the Guardian.


What the commentators say

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionBroadcaster David Davies and Helen Joyce of the Economist review Friday's front pages

Passing of a predator

"After a sad and celibate existence, it seems the last golden eagle in England is almost certainly dead," the Times solemnly reports.

Concerns are growing for Eddy the golden eagle because he has not been seen performing his annual mating dance above Haweswater in the Lake District this spring, the paper says.

The Times says Eddy is descended from a breeding pair which crossed the border from Scotland in the late 1960s, and he is believed to be 19 or 20, which according to the RSPB's Chris Collett, is an advanced age for an eagle.

Eddy "lived a lonesome existence since the death his elderly female mate in 2004", reports the Daily Telegraph, adding that the Cumbrian fells are currently unable to support a breeding pair at the moment, although it is working to restore habitats to produce natural prey - crows, magpies, grouse and small mammals, in the hope a pair will nest again.

"An element of wilderness" has gone, the RSPB's Lee Schofield is quoted as saying in the Daily Mirror, adding there is a "real sense of loss" over the missing eagle.

It is thought Eddy died from natural causes, reports the Sun.


Bawdiness in Bhutan

Most of the papers cover the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's arrival in the Himalayan mountain kingdom of Bhutan, where they are spending two days after touring India, and were given the opportunity to take part in the popular national sport of archery.

Image copyright AFP

"The couple appeared hugely entertained by a group of female cheerleaders who were singing songs to put off their opponents", reports the Daily Mail. "It was only afterwards that an official revealed they had been 'singing obscenities'," the paper adds.

The Sun can be relied upon to provide a translation of what the duke termed "good distraction songs". According to the paper the Bhutanese sang "you're bald, you've got a big nose, we hope your private parts are as big, your arrows will fall short".

The Daily Express says the duke and duchess's hosts in Bhutan, "glamorous young rulers King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, 36, and his Queen Jetsun Pema, 25, have been compared to the Cambridges".

"The two women share common ground as fashion icons, mothers, art lovers and sportswomen," says the Daily Telegraph. It adds that the Queen of Bhutan and Duchess of Cambridge "hit it off", adding this will be "music to the ears of the Foreign Office in a geographically important country that has no formal diplomatic relationship with Britain".

The Times sees things differently, saying that while royal tours are "intended to pursue the government's agenda", this one "appears to have more to do with the couple's desire to reach out the royal hand of friendship to a couple with whom they feel a bond".


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