Newspaper review: Cyprus crisis looks gloomy


Cyprus continues to occupy the papers, with the Financial Times being gloomy about the prospects ahead and warning that it's running out of "bailout options".

The Guardian's economics editor, Larry Elliott, thinks the drama has been turned into a crisis. He blames the failure, last week, to exclude deposit holders of less than 100,000 euros from a proposed bank levy.

The paper also reveals that Britain has dispatched a task force of top civil servants to the island to help pull the banking system from the brink of collapse.

The Daily Mirror highlights government advice for British tourists travelling to Cyprus. "Pack a bag of cash" and "take precautions against getting mugged" is the paper's summary.

On its front page, the Telegraph warns there could be more cuts to the armed forces and the police. This is based on an interview it has with Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, where he refused to say these areas would be protected from more than £11bn worth of savings to be made across Whitehall from 2015.

Labour's challenge

The Times gives prominence to an interview it has with Labour leader Ed Miliband. Its front page story highlights his challenge to his party to persuade voters that it can save them from what he calls "a lost decade" of economic decline.

But the paper itself is critical of Mr Miliband, accusing him of giving the impression that the pain of austerity might magically be avoided if Labour were in power.

Comments made by the former Labour business secretary, Lord Mandelson, are also seized upon by many of the papers.

The Daily Mail says the peer made a thinly veiled swipe at shadow chancellor Ed Balls when he urged the Labour leadership to start setting out a positive alternative for the economy.

The eight-nil drubbing meted out to San Marino by England's footballers leaves the sports writers questioning the point of some World Cup qualifying matches.

Paul Hayward in the Daily Telegraph concludes that if games are too unequal, they become a "training ground jog" for the victory... while the vanquished side doesn't gain anything other than "the sweat-soaked jersey of a famous oppressor".

Winter weather

"The ice of March refuses to loosen its grip" is how the Daily Telegraph sums up the cold snap.

And the papers are full of pictures showing the impact of the weather: upturned cars on icy roads in Derbyshire; sheep covered in snow in Cumbria; a farmer trying to clear 11ft of snow in Wales.

But the main talking point is the concern about Britain's gas supplies. Many of the papers highlight how wholesale gas prices were pushed to a new record high as a result of the weather and a technical problem that affected Britain's main import pipeline.

The Independent quotes analysts who say that a fortnight of low temperatures could lead to gas rationing. However, the government disputes with this suggestion.

It tells paper that it is in close contact with the National Grid which could source more gas from the market, if there was risk of a shortfall.

The Sun warns ministers that aside from security, they have no more essential duty than to keep our lights on and our homes warm.

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