Newspaper headlines: Fracking back and Van Gaal sacked

Anti-fracking demonstrators Image copyright PA

Tuesday's papers analyse the decision by councillors in North Yorkshire to give the go-ahead for the first new fracking operation beneath the English countryside for five years.

The Times says allowing hydraulic fracturing at Kirby Misperton, near Malton, is seen as a "landmark decision" and a "victory for Britain's shale gas industry". The paper says fracking at the site is not expected to begin until the winter, "probably in November or December when cold weather is expected to reduce the number of activists willing to stage outdoor protests".

According to the Daily Mail, North Yorkshire County Council's decision will see energy companies with licences to explore for shale gas apply for consent at dozens of rural sites across England. The paper says fracking is "highly controversial" and involves "injecting water, sand and chemicals at high pressure into rocks deep underground" which releases trapped gas and oil.

"No fracking has taken place in the UK since 2011," reports the Sun, "when tests in Lancashire were blamed for causing minor earthquakes". The paper adds that shale is seen as a vital new resource as traditional offshore reserves dry out.

The Guardian says environmental campaigners warn that pursuing a new source of fossil fuel "is not compatible with efforts to tackle climate change". The paper notes North Yorkshire County Council received 4,375 objections to the planning application by Third Energy, "and just 36 letters in support". The council's officials had backed the proposal, it adds.

Among those concerned at fracking being given the go-ahead was the Flamingo Land theme park and zoo, says the Financial Times. It is one mile from the site and is "worried about the effect on its animals", the paper reports. However, the FT notes that while the technique is widely used in the US and Canada, it has "struggled to make headway in western Europe".

According to the Daily Telegraph, "official studies suggest Britain could have vast resources of shale gas trapped in rocks deep beneath the ground that could help meet the country's gas needs for decades to come". However, it reports Friends of the Earth is considering a judicial review of the North Yorkshire planners' decision.


'Wake-up call'

Many papers reflect on the narrow defeat of a far-right candidate in Austria's presidential election, with the Daily Telegraph saying the country had "stepped back from the brink".

It says the election of independent leftist candidate Alexander van der Bellen "will be welcomed by Europe's political elite" after he beat the Freedom Party's Norbert Hofer in the "narrowest of victories". Mr van der Bellen, the paper notes, won by just 31,000 votes.

Image copyright AP

The Times reports that Mr Hofer alarmed the EU by "threatening to politicise" the president's office "by wielding powers never used before to trigger national elections at a moment most favourable" to his party.

The Daily Mail says the close result is a "wake-up call" for the continent's established parties. It says the Austrian vote "has unsettled leaders elsewhere in Europe, particularly in neighbouring Germany where the new anti-immigration Alternative for Germany is on the rise". And it adds that the National Front of Marine le Pen in France is leading in the polls ahead of a presidential election next year.

Mr Hofer's party managed "just 11% of the vote" a decade ago, reports the Daily Mirror, and its rapid rise has been "fuelled by mass immigration, with many refugees passing through Austria on their way to Germany, Scandinavia and Britain".

The i paper says "the threat from the extreme right is far from over", as it reports opinion polls suggest the Freedom Party under leader Hans-Christian Strache could emerge as the strongest political force in the Austrian general election and win up to 30% of the vote.

"We are very, very well placed for parliamentary elections," campaign manager Herbert Kicki is quoted as saying in the Daily Express.


Eye-catching headlines

  • Our ideal bank holiday? A washout... so we can be lazy! - it may be a British cliché that the weekend before a state-sanctioned day off is going to be wet, but according to a survey for the Met Office - reported in the Daily Mail - more than half of us would actually rather it rained so we can sit around in our pyjamas and watch TV box sets. Misanthropes may want to check the BBC Weather Centre's outlook...
  • Nine yolks in four eggs - the Sun reports on a 25 billion-to-one event, when two sisters from Norfolk broke open a triple-yolk egg, followed by three double-yolkers while cooking breakfast. Megan Watkins, 17, probably speaks for all of us when she says "it's brilliant, but I'd have preferred to win the lottery". Eggsactly.
  • Pupils who don't wear shoes in class get better grades, claims study - children who leave their footwear at the classroom door are more engaged in lessons and do better academically, reports the Daily Telegraph. Going shoeless is common in Scandinavia, the paper says, where pupils take off snowy boots. British youngsters were apparently more relaxed and willing to read on the floor, as 95% don't sit on a chair and open a book.
  • Modest salaries keep us on people's side, says Webb - the BBC's Justin Webb believes news broadcasters "should be paid in a manner that keeps them on the side of the people", says the i. Webb was responding to pressure on the BBC to name employees on more than £450,000 a year. An internet list suggesting Webb earned more than the PM outraged his daughter, the i says, who told him "but you don't do anything".

Gone Dutch

The papers' football writers mull over the sacking of Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal two days after he lifted the FA Cup at Wembley, and the greatly-anticipated appointment of former Chelsea boss and "special one" Jose Mourinho as his successor.

Neil Ashton in the Sun says van Gaal "had a stab at re-writing history with his 415-word exit statement" in that he "forgot to mention they became the most unwatchable group of players in Manchester United's recent history". Van Gaal, Ashton says, "was playing to the gallery with his words, but he has left Mourinho with a massive rebuilding job".

Image copyright PA

The Daily Mirror is similarly brutal in its analysis of the departing Dutchman's tenure at Old Trafford. He lost his job, the paper says, because of a lack of identity on the pitch "and his divisive managerial approach". The Mirror claims there was a fear of a "full-on dressing room mutiny" at the club, and that "a host of senior players would push to leave this summer if he remained".

The nature of van Gaal's dismissal is considered by the Daily Mail, which says he felt "aggrieved" that his finest hour at United - winning the FA Cup - was "ruined by news of Mourniho's imminent appointment".

Van Gaal was originally willing to waive any compensation for having his contract with United terminated with a year still remaining, reports the Times, but it says he was "so annoyed about the manner of his dismissal that he demanded the payoff in full". Man Utd's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward agreed a severance package of £4.55m, the paper reports.

The Guardian and the Daily Telegraph both report that the imminent arrival of Mourinho in Manchester will rekindle his long-standing rivalry with ex-Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola - who takes over as Manchester City manager in July.

James Ducker in the Telegraph says that the "entertaining, explosive and ultimately toxic" rivalry between the pair can be traced back to Spain, where they were engaged in a "bitter battle" between their teams, Real Madrid and Barcelona.

"It almost feels as if it had to be this way," writes Sid Lowe in the Guardian. "Once city got Guardiola, United had to get his arch-enemy, a counter-reaction to every reaction". Lowe wonders if Manchester "ain't big enough for the both of us".


What the commentators say

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Media captionThe Daily Telegraph's Tim Stanley and Rowena Mason of the Guardian review the front pages

State of the Tate

The Daily Telegraph hands out a five-star review not to a play, exhibition or film, but to a building.

Image copyright Tate Modern

Noting the new £260m extension to the Tate Modern on London's Bankside had a budget which "dwarfs that of every arts building realised in Britain this century", the paper's Ellis Woodman says there is "nothing capricious about the shape - each inflection has been carefully gauged in relations to views down the surrounding streets"

The Guardian's Oliver Wainwright says the Switch House extension - named after a part of the former power station - expands the gallery by 60%, "to accommodate the surging number of visitors, which reached 5.7 million last year".

Robert Bevan in the i paper describes it as "one of the most spectacular buildings London has seen in decades". But the project is not perfect, he argues, as "the junction between old and new brickwork is awkward in places" but it will mean barriers around the art works are largely absent and displays have been moved out of glass cabinets.

The Guardian's Wainwright judges the new building to be a "powerful addition to the city, an unsettling presence that is seductive and forbidding, an appropriately challenging container for the work within".


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