UK

Newspaper review: The life and times of Vaclav Havel

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Media captionA look at the first editions of the UK papers

The death of playwright-turned-Czech President Vaclav Havel leaves many writers attempting to assess his achievements and define the man.

The Times calls him an "implausibly towering figure" in the cause of freedom, who earned a place in history for his part in communism's overthrow.

The Sun calls Havel a "hero" . The Daily Telegraph says he changed the course of modern European history.

The Financial Times judges him to be "kind, wise and modest".

'Lead actor'

Those who knew Havel have been sharing their memories of him in the papers.

"The lead actor and director of a play that changed history" is how Tim Garton Ash describes him in the Guardian . But he says he stayed too long in office.

Lord Powell, who worked for Lady Thatcher, writes in the Daily Telegraph that Havel was a true hero.

He says Lady Thatcher admired Havel's courage and his speeches. Though their politics were different, he says, she never lost her affection for him.

'Ill-judged rant'

David Cameron is committed to tax breaks for married couples, says the Daily Mail , despite Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg's opposition.

It says Mr Clegg's comments on the danger of trying to return to a 1950s family model were an "ill-judged rant."

Daily Express columnist Leo McKinstry says Mr Clegg's "sneer at traditional family structures" is absurd.

But the Times says "Mr Clegg is right" and it is not the job of legislation to provide incentives to marry.

Insurance premiums

The Guardian's main story is that 700 top military and civil service posts could go in the next three years.

The Daily Mail is outraged that Britain is paying more than £13m a year in winter fuel payments to UK pensioners in some of Europe's warmest countries.

The Daily Mirror champions a motorist whose premiums shot up when he told his insurer he had lost his job.

The Times says housing benefit cuts mean more than 100,000 households could lose their homes in the New Year.

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