Newspaper headlines: Cameron gongs row, and female orgasms

One story dominates Monday's papers - the growing row over former Prime Minister David Cameron's resignation honours list.

According to the Daily Telegraph, senior Conservative MPs "reacted with anger" at Mr Cameron's decision to reward his Number 10 colleagues, and "his wife Samantha's stylist".

The Telegraph says the former prime minister has requested honours for "48 advisers and Remain campaigners, including two major donors who helped fund the case to stay in the European Union to the tune of more than £650,000".

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The i notes Mr Cameron is the first prime minister since Sir John Major to exercise his right to issue an honours list. Among those names understood to be in line for knighthoods are "four of his ministers including the former Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and the Defence Secretary Michael Fallon".

"Charges of cronyism were hurled at Mr Cameron amid anger at the length of the alleged honours list and its apparent weighting towards figures who backed Remain in the EU referendum," reports the Times.

Among those criticising the former prime minister is deputy Labour leader Tom Watson, who tells the Daily Mirror "it's cronyism, pure and simple".

The Sun quotes shadow home secretary Andy Burnham as saying that if the list is accepted by Whitehall officials, "it will destroy any remaining shred of respect for the honours system".

According to the Guardian, the leaking of the proposed honours list to the Sunday Times is an "unprecedented breach of secrecy".

The paper goes on to report that when Mr Cameron became Conservative leader he promised to "clean-up politics", although "he handed peerages to at least 13 big Tory party donors during his tenure, as well as a number of knighthoods and lesser honours".

'Desperate bid'

In its editorial, the Sun says honours "should single out people who have done something extraordinary". The paper adds that if a way cannot be found to "keep honours for people who have done something of substance... then it's time the whole thing was scrapped".

Isabel Oakeshott in the Daily Mail says Mr Cameron's list does not reward the Conservative Party's grassroots. "Certainly it is not the army of quiet volunteers who devoted years of unpaid service to his regime, organised cheese-and-wine evenings and cake stalls to raise a few pounds for the coffers, keep local party branches alive and help parliamentary candidates win marginal seats," she writes.

The Daily Express's editorial calls it a "last desperate bid to claw back some kudos and influence for the Remain camp who are still determined to talk down the British people, the British economy and our sense of nationhood".

The Guardian's leader column calls the honours system "an odd mix of personal patronage, political expediency and bureaucratic convenience", and suggests that "too many awards appear to be at best irrelevant baubles, at worst egregious favours, serving more to divide than to unite us".


Terror warning

The UK's most senior police officer's analysis in the Mail on Sunday that it is a case of "when, not if" there is a terrorist attack in Britain is widely followed up by the papers.

The Daily Mail says Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe admitted that despite a "huge rise in the number of armed police and the country's 'world-beating' security forces", he was unable to "guarantee the country would not be hit".

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While Sir Bernard was "hoping to offer reassurance after a number of attacks in France and Germany, he admitted that he was ultimately limited in doing so by the reality of the situation", says the Guardian.

According to the i, "police and the security services are tracking up to five suspected terrorist plots amid what senior officers consider to be an unprecedented upsurge in Islamist extremism".

The Daily Telegraph says Sir Bernard referred to the terror plots foiled since the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby in 2013, and that the public has a healthier relationship with the police, "to become the nation's eyes and ears" as well as praising the UK's tolerance.

The Daily Mirror states that bosses of stadiums and shopping centres have been told by the government to review security, as such venues are considered targets.

Elsewhere, the Times reports a deal has been done to use military helicopters to "lift and shift" police firearms officers to remote locations.

The paper says this has been done because of concerns rural areas are exposed due to a shortage of marksmen. It adds there are 1,267 fewer trained firearms officers than in 2010 due to budget cuts, although it adds an extra 1,500 will be deployed by the end of April next year.


Eye-catching headlines

  • Lonely men to get guide on building a sex robot - the Times reports on a home-made robotic companion created by 42-year-old Hong Kong man Ricky Ma Wai-kay "which bore a startling resemblance to American actress Scarlett Johansson". Mr Ma plans to write a manual so other men can build a robotic partner, says the paper, although he insists it is not a sex toy. "I don't think they should fall in love with robots," says Mr Wa.
  • Eight pairs of pants for hols - UK men setting off for a week in sunnier climes take away one more piece of underwear than the number of days they are away, reports the Daily Mirror. British chaps also pack seven T-shirts, four pairs of shorts and six pairs of socks. Whether the latter are paired with sandals goes unreported.
  • Fat food's mind con - a diet high in saturated fat can stop the bit of the brain that tells us when we're full up, reports the Sun. Italian researcher Prof Marianna Crispino says she was "amazed at the impact of a fatty diet on the brain". Scientists say we should eat foods rich in unsaturated fat, like fish.
  • Asteroid dangerously close to hitting Earth - a matter-of-fact headline for a story in the Daily Mail about a space rock called Bennu which will pass within a "hair's breadth" of our planet, but not until the year 2135. The paper quotes a Northern Irish astronomer as saying the asteroid "falls on the boundary in terms of size for an object capable of causing a global catastrophe".

So far so good, so far so good

It takes a special kind of person to jump out of a perfectly serviceable aeroplane, but the papers leap to tell the story of US man Luke Aikins, who not only did such a thing, but without a parachute.

Aikins became the first person to jump from 25,000ft (7,600m) without a chute, and land in a net, reports the Sun.

Image copyright AP

Noting that Aikins stunt was watched by millions on US TV, the Times reports it was broadcast on delay in case anything should go wrong, "and with a warning to viewers not to try it at home".

Yet everything went smoothly, with the Daily Express saying he "hit the 100ft by 100ft (30m x 30m) net perfectly, climbed out and walked over to hug his four-year-old son Logan and wife Monica", who had been watching.

Aikins is a veteran of 18,000 parachute jumps, reports the Daily Mirror. His feat took 18 months to prepare but just two minutes for him to complete as he plummeted Earth-wards at 150mph (241km/h).

The i reports that Aikins was nervous before the jump "and his mother said she was one family member who would not watch", but the broadcast nearly did not happen, as the Screen Actors Guild "had ordered him to wear a parachute to ensure his safety", but he argued having a canister on his back would make the net landing far more dangerous.

The Daily Telegraph concedes in an editorial that while Aikins' feat "was a spectacular sight to behold", there was "something slightly ghoulish about the crowds that gathered to watch what could, after all, have been a messily fatal misadventure".


'I'll have what she's having'

"If you really want to upset an evolutionary biologist, the surest thing to do is to raise the subject of female orgasm."

So says the Times as an intro to a piece about US research which suggests the euphoric climax to sex could hark back to a time when "our distant female ancestors needed something very much like an orgasm to have babies".

"The theory is likely to prove controversial in a field where there are few established facts and many fierce opinions," writes the paper's science correspondent.

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Image caption Aristotle was reportedly perplexed by the female orgasm

The Daily Mail explains that scientists at Yale believe women hundreds of thousands of years ago only released an egg "after being stimulated by a male just before or during sex". This is still the case for numerous other animals including ferrets and camels, the Mail adds.

The Guardian picks up the story, reporting that male-induced ovulation became redundant with the evolution of spontaneous ovulation, "with female orgasm going on to acquire other roles".

"Women hoping their partners will now have no excuses may be left disappointed", says the i, as it notes the researchers admit the "novel characteristics" of the human female orgasm leave some questions unanswered.


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