Newspaper headlines: 'Airman kidnap plot' and open borders warning

The attempted abduction of an RAF serviceman makes headlines in Friday's papers.

Police have said they cannot rule out terrorism, and the Daily Mail asks: "Was this another Lee Rigby attack?"

Metro says the incident near RAF Marham, in Norfolk, on Wednesday has put the military on "high alert" across the UK.

Service personnel have been told not to go out alone and not to wear anything which "might identify them with the military", the Mirror reports.

Writing in the paper, Chris Hughes says RAF bases are "particularly vulnerable because they are remote and vast".

The Express says the motive for the incident is not yet clear, but the police's refusal to rule out terrorism means "we must fear the worst".

It is a "sad fact" that Islamic fundamentalists across the world are planning attacks, the paper says, and it calls for improved security for UK armed forces personnel "no matter the cost".

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Police are hunting two men over the abduction attempt

No newspaper would be complete without the latest on Brexit, and Friday's headlines focus on the meeting between UK PM Theresa May and French President Francois Hollande.

The Financial Times says Mr Hollande adopted a "conciliatory tone", conceding that the UK needed time to prepare for Brexit negotiations.

But he urged Mrs May to start the formal exit process as soon as possible, it reports.

'Pipsqueak president'

The Express focuses on Mr Hollande's comment that Brexit should happen "the sooner, the better" to reduce the risk of economic uncertainty.

The Guardian says Mr Hollande delivered a warning: "No free trade without open borders."

Writing in the paper, Martin Kettle says "full or almost full" access to the EU single market would mean accepting free movement - and this means the PM cannot please both Brexit voters and the City of London.

Image copyright AFP

Several papers praise Mrs May's handling of the talks.

Under the headline "Hollande caves in to May", the Mail says Britain will be allowed to keep border checks in Calais, and Britons living in France will get the right to remain.

"May oui!" proclaims the Sun, as it says Mrs May "pulled off her first diplomatic coup as PM" by getting the agreement on Calais.

It says voters were told the controls would be moved back to the UK in the event of Brexit - so the deal means "another Project Fear scare bites the dust".

On Mr Hollande's warning over free movement, it says the "pipsqueak president" needs time to "calm down".

'Difficult discussions'

The Times says David Cameron's farewell honours list has been blocked by Cabinet Office staff due to "ethical concerns" over some of the nominees.

It says the list - intended to be published "within days of his departure from No 10 last week" - was expected to include honours for some of his closest aides.

Image copyright AFP

Some senior Conservatives are understood to be irritated because the list "focuses on friends of Mr Cameron and does not include donors who they think should be put forward", the paper adds.

A source tells the paper that remaining members of Mr Cameron's team are having "difficult discussions" with the Cabinet Office to get approval for as many of the proposed honours as possible.


Eye-catching headlines

  • Mr Unlucky: "Think you've got problems?" the Sun asks, as it tells the story of a 26-year-old man who has had cancer, a heart attack, meningitis, MRSA, paralysis, lost half his thumb and had his wife leave him for his best man. "He's still smiling," it reports.
  • It's bananas: 160 million go in the bin: Bananas are the "most wasted fruit in Britain", with more than 160 million thrown away every year, the Times reports.
  • Plumb crazy: A man who won £14m on the lottery went back to work as a plumber days later, the Mirror reports. John Doherty "reckons he would have gone round the U-bend living in idle luxury", it says.
  • Athletes to bust Games sex records: A "whopping" 450,000 condoms have been ordered for athletes at the Rio Olympics - two each per competitor, per day, the Daily Star reports.
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Rio 2016 Olympic Games will begin on 5 August

Republican 'civil war'

The papers have plenty to say about events across the Atlantic, where Donald Trump has accepted officially the Republican nomination for the US presidential race.

The i says boos erupted as Ted Cruz - who also sought the Republican nomination - finished a speech at the party's convention in Ohio.

The speech did not offer clear support to Mr Trump, the paper reports, and Mr Cruz has since defended this decision and said he would not be a "servile puppy dog".

Image copyright Getty Images

Mr Cruz has sparked a "civil war" in the party, the Telegraph reports.

It says a senior Republican official said it was now expected that, even if Mr Trump wins November's election, Mr Cruz will seek to challenge him in 2020.

This would be the first time an incumbent president has faced a "credible challenge" from his own party since 1980, it adds.

Writing in the Mail, Max Hastings calls Mr Trump a "mendacious and xenophobic braggart".

But he says Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton is "widely hated - ruthless and bossy", and the view that she represents the status quo may help Mr Trump.


What the commentators say

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Media captionFormer Labour adviser Ayesha Hazarika and New York Times reporter Dan Bilefsky join the BBC News Channel to discuss Friday's front pages.

'Feathered fugitive' and Beast of Bodmin

Animal antics feature heavily in Friday's papers, including the tale of a swan that attacks model boats (Mail) and rumours that 10 Downing Street's cat, Larry, has been injured in a "scrap" with Foreign Office feline Palmerston (Express).

The Times says the hunt for Yorkshire's "feathered fugitive" - a 6ft South American rhea - came to a "painless end without a shot being fired".

It says the bird, named Chief, was found "relaxing" on a patio in Wakefield and was handed to RSPCA officials.

Image copyright West Yorkshire Police

The Times also features other elusive creatures - the "beasts" reportedly spotted on West Country moors.

It quotes a zoo owner who believes large cats sighted on Bodmin Moor in recent decades were pumas that escaped from captivity in the 1980s.

Benjamin Mee, owner of Dartmoor Zoo - from which a lynx recently escaped - said there had been no Beast of Bodmin sightings since the particularly cold winter of 2010.

Meanwhile, the Telegraph reports claims that circus owner Mary Chipperfield released three pumas on Dartmoor after her zoo in Plymouth was forced to shut in 1978.

Ms Chipperfield died in 2014, but her husband denies any wild animals were released on the moor.


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