Newspaper review: Mixed economic signs considered

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Media captionA look at the first editions of the UK papers

The papers reflect on what the Independent calls the "bewildering" and "contradictory signals" of the week's economic news.

The Sun hails a rise in retail sales as "a small sign" that we could be "on the long road to recovery".

But it asks: "Will we be able to afford the petrol or diesel to get there?"

The Independent hopes next month's Budget will make a "commitment to growth", while the Daily Express argues for a "radical, tax-cutting budget".

Convincing display?

David Cameron's visit to Paris for talks with President Nicolas Sarkozy is considered with some amusement.

The Daily Mirror says the PM's backing for Mr Sarkozy's re-election bid could leave the UK "isolated" if he loses.

The Times says the leaders indulged in "so much shaking and slapping that if Mr Sarkozy and Mr Cameron had got any closer, their wives could have taken offence".

But the Daily Telegraph felt each side was competing "to see who could pay the most unconvincing compliment".

Foreign affairs

"A world crisis is inevitable." That is the view, according to the Daily Telegraph , of Foreign Secretary William Hague.

Based on his current preoccupations - the eurozone crisis, Syria, the nuclear ambitions of Iran - "his assessment is stark", says the paper.

But it detects "a sense of purpose" at the Foreign Office.

Mr Hague "never stops", an aide says, and has strived to revive a department the paper feels was left "demoralised and marginalised" by Labour.

No happy ending

A Scotland Yard poetry competition on the theme of gender equality is, says the Mail, "enough to make the hard men of the Sweeney choke on their cigars and double whiskies".

The papers look ahead to the funeral of Whitney Houston in New Jersey later.

The Sun claims actor Kevin Costner "is racked with guilt that he could not save her life like he did in The Bodyguard".

The Daily Mail's David Jones reports from the US on the fiercely polarised opinion over a great but squandered talent.

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