Newspaper review: Cyprus 'on the brink'


As politicians in Cyprus scramble to agree new terms for a financial bailout, the Independent wonders who will "blink first" in "a 16bn euro poker game".

Observing that the European Central Bank appears to be playing "hardball" with Nicosia, the paper quotes the Bank of Cyprus saying the country's economy is "on the brink".

The next move, the Bank of Cyprus warns, may prove "its salvation or destruction".

According to the Guardian, prominent Greek Cypriots, based in the UK, have met to discuss paying substantial contributions into a new national solidarity fund.

The Financial Times considers the prospects for a bailout by Russia, warning that this could give the Kremlin much more influence in the region.

The paper notes that the island's value to Moscow has been evident during the Syrian civil war with suspicions that Cyprus has allowed itself to be used as a transit point for Russian arms shipments to the Assad regime.

Out of gas?

The Times predicts that Nick Clegg's proposals to tackle immigration abuses will run into "strong opposition" from migrant groups, particularly those from the Indian subcontinent.

Sources close to the deputy prime minister tell the Daily Telegraph his intervention signals the start of a "tougher stance" on immigration issues by the Liberal Democrats.

But the Financial Times says Mr Clegg's attempts to align himself with the concerns of voters risk being undermined after Business Secretary Vince Cable attacked the government's policy of reducing net migration, warning it could do "enormous damage" to the economy.

On its front page, the Daily Mirror focuses on the heavy snow expected to hit large parts of the country while the Daily Express predicts the "coldest March weekend for 50 years".

The Times reports that Britain's gas reserves could run out in two days which would leave the country dependent on costly imports from Norway at a time when many householders are turning up the heating.

An energy analyst tells the Daily Mail that the UK is unusual in using so much gas but in having so little storage.

'Cold-shower man'

A photograph of the newly-enthroned Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby - smiling and resplendent in a golden mitre - fills the front page of the Times.

The Guardian looks for early indications as to how he will lead the Church.

In his first sermon, the archbishop left the impression of "a cold-shower man rather than a warm-bath one", the paper says.

It concludes that his is a "muscular, unapologetic faith" but says he has a long record of going to difficult places to bring people together.

Banquet snub?

Many papers report on the efforts made by Margaret Thatcher to plan an opulent banquet for her Chinese hosts during a visit to Beijing in 1982.

According to the Mail, newly-released papers reveal that the former prime minister tried to keep shark's fin and sea slugs off the menu - not from squeamishness but because of cost.

The Guardian says the documents reveal the "astonishing amount of time" she spent fretting over the banquet.

And despite the painstaking preparations, it appears the event, held in the Great Hall of the People, may not have been a hit.

The British banquet ended early and only one senior Chinese leader turned up.

The paper describes how other senior Chinese figures attended another banquet in the same building, hosted by North Korea, at which toasts to friendship between the two nations continued late into the night.

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