Newspaper headlines: Corruption remarks, and terror drill apology

It would've been a private comment made to three pillars of the establishment, were it not for the fact that a news camera with a microphone had been invited into a reception at Buckingham Palace to mark the Queen's 90th birthday.

According to the Daily Mail, Prime Minister David Cameron was caught on camera making the candid remark to the Monarch that the "leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries [are] coming to Britain". The paper says he added that Nigeria and Afghanistan were "possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world". The comments, the paper adds, "appeared to leave the Queen visibly shocked".

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The Guardian says Mr Cameron's remarks - made in front of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Commons Speaker John Bercow - came in advance of the government's anti-corruption summit on Thursday, at which Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari will deliver a keynote address.

"The Queen did not respond to Cameron's comment," reports the Daily Telegraph. However, it adds, the archbishop did, stating the current Nigerian leader "is actually not corrupt".

Mr Bercow also responded, reports the Daily Mirror, asking whether the Nigerian delegation was "coming at their own expense".

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani "admits his is 'one of the most corrupt countries on Earth'", reports the Daily Express. But it adds that Nigerian President Buhari said he was "deeply shocked and embarrassed" by Mr Cameron's comments.

The Sun's editorial questions why the two countries receive millions in UK aid, saying "Nigeria is meant to spend it tackling terror. It doesn't. Afghanistan is a cesspit of institutional criminality". The Sun believes the PM should "pull the plug" on its aid programmes there.

According to the Times, Afghanistan and Nigeria "have been among the five countries who received the most in British aid for the past decade - long before the present regimes". The paper states that Afghanistan benefited from £212m of UK aid in 2013, while Nigeria was given £249m.

The Financial Times notes the conference comes in the wake of the Panama Papers, leak, which showed Mr Cameron had benefited from offshore investments, and that the prime minister "has promised that his summit will break the 'taboo' around the issue".

'Unacceptable in a civilised society'

The Sun calls it a scandal. The paper, along with several others, covers a report by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman into complaints about the premature discharge of elderly people. "Hospitals," the paper says, "are freeing up beds by booting out vulnerable elderly patients before they are better."

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The Daily Telegraph says that often patients "had been discharged before they were fit to leave or it had been established that they could cope on their return home".

The ombudsman's report covers the experiences of nine patients, says the Guardian, including that of Mrs T, who was in her late 90s. The paper reports she was "sent home from hospital after doctors failed to a diagnose her infection, only to collapse and die in her grand-daughter's arms".

Angela Little tells the Daily Mail she will be "haunted" for the rest of her life by the care her 80-year-old mother Alma received. She tells the paper hospital staff "never bothered to tell her when they discharged her mother". She would find out only when her mother called her in tears.

According to the Times, hospitals are under "mounting pressure" as they face more elderly patients and a decade-long funding squeeze. "Bed-blocking" costs the health service £900m a year, the paper says, with around 5,500 patients occupying a bed each day who are fit to leave.

The Times reports charities believe the ombudsman's findings "marked a new low and should be unacceptable in a civilised society".

Eye-catching headlines

  • Peter Pan? He was a right little brute - according to the Daily Telegraph, we've been getting JM Barrie's little boy who wouldn't grow up all wrong. Rather than the "saccharine" Disney version, Peter is a "completely egotistical, amoral, rather brutal child", the author's great-great-nephew tells the paper. Barrie apparently knew "just how cruel children could be", David Barrie adds.
  • Budweiser puts America on labels until election - ostensibly done to celebrate the range of sporting events the US will host and/or compete in this summer, that most American of American beer is changing its labels to say America until November's general election, reports the Guardian.
  • It takes us five years to admit we're fat - the Daily Mail reports on a survey - carried out for a slimming club - which suggests it takes people four years to admit they're overweight and another 18 months to tell someone. The "normalisation of obesity" is also a factor, says the paper, as we compare our weight with others.
  • A-llama's sounded - a classic punning headline from the Sun to introduce a story about a llama called Brad Pitt who went on the rampage in Reigate, Surrey. The story reveals the animal was only recaptured when he was rugby tackled by a local woman after getting a call from a "panicked pal" who was cornered in her garden by the creature.

'Ploddy Ridiculous'

Many papers report on an apology issued by Greater Manchester Police after it staged an anti-terror drill in which a man playing the role of a suicide bomber shouted "Allahu Akbar" - Arabic for "God is greater" - before "detonating" a dummy explosive belt.

According to the Daily Express, the exercise at the Trafford Centre shopping mall during the early hours of Tuesday morning "was one of Britain's biggest ever" and used 800 volunteers, with victims "smeared in fake blood" seen running for their lives.

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The Guardian adds that the exercise had taken five months to plan and "was designed to be similar to the Paris and Brussels atrocities".

But the decision to have a Muslim extremist as the fake terrorist sparked a social media storm, says the Daily Mail, "with critics complaining it was a stupid decision and accusing the police of fuelling Islamophobia".

The Sun - which headlines the story "Ploddy Ridiculous" - says the force was accused of "bowing to political correctness" after Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan stated the chant "was unacceptable and said sorry to Muslims who complained".

The anti-Islamophobia group, the Community Safety Forum, is quoted in the Times as saying "this sort of thing panders to stereotypes and further divides us", adding that it would "increase anti-Muslim hate crime".

The Daily Telegraph gives space in its leader column to what it believes are the issues raised by the story: "fear of saying anything at all on the topics of race, ethnicity and cultural difference is leaving us unable to address some of the major challenges of our time - extremism, terrorism and segregation."

What the commentators say

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Media captionThe WSJ's Rebecca Byrne and the Daily Telegraph's Christopher Hope review the papers

Gold coast, Wales

The discovery of Britain's biggest gold nugget off the coast of Anglesey excites the papers, with the Daily Express reporting the 3oz (85g) metal is the size of a small chicken's egg and could be worth as much as £50,000.

Image copyright Thinkstock

The Sun says the nugget "is almost twice as heavy as the UK's second biggest, found in Cornwall in 1808, weighing 2oz [56g]".

It was spotted close to where a ship carrying £120m of gold from Australia sank in 1859, reports the Daily Mail.

Prospector Vincent Thurkettle kept his discovery a secret for four years so he could continue to search for the wreck of the Royal Charter, says the Daily Telegraph.

"Because it was so close to a shipwreck Mr Thurkettle had to notify the receiver of wreck and the piece is now the property of the crown," reports the Times. The paper adds that the gold will "eventually be displayed in a museum, although Mr Thurkettle expects to receive a finder's fee".

Making us click

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The Guardian - Academy trust lauded by Cameron falls apart as executive head quits

Daily Telegraph - Star pupil finds lost Mayan city by studying ancient charts of the night sky from his bedroom

Daily Express - 'My blood is boiling' LBC callers' fury at BBC job advert white people cannot apply for

Financial Times - China companies borrow to repay debts in latest credit binge

I - Suspected hit-man with target list 'should be questioned by British police urgently' in Perepilichnyy case

Daily Mirror - Emma Watson named in Panama Papers leak - but insists she only set up offshore firm for 'privacy'