Newspaper review: US spy row fall-out continues


The Guardian heralds its exclusive interview with Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who has revealed details of US surveillance programmes. It calls this "the most significant US intelligence leak in modern times", and ranks him alongside Daniel Ellsberg - who leaked the Pentagon papers on the Vietnam War.

Over five pages, Snowden says he spoke out because basic liberties were being destroyed and that he is pleased by the public response.

The paper's editorial praises whistleblowers as public servants, and says Britain and the US's insistence that they should be trusted is an argument built "on shifting sands".

There are questions for the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, in the Independent, which says he has failed to reassure the British public.

It says his comment that "law abiding people have no cause to worry" was both patronising and unforthcoming.

The Sun thinks Mr Hague was passionate and furious in his defence of British spies. Eavesdropping is what GCHQ does, it argues, adding: "Those wringing their hands over it would be a great deal more terrified if it stopped".

The Times agrees that the security services go uncredited for a great deal of work, and says there is a "tightrope between public confidence and public safety".

But it says the public must be offered reasons to trust. "There are questions which Mr Hague can answer, and should," the paper says.

Most gifted

There are plentiful tributes to the novelist Iain Banks, who has died at the age of 59.

The Daily Telegraph describes him as a writer of hallucinatory brilliance, who achieved popularity and critical success in both literary fiction and science fiction.

The Times says his death sent a wave of sadness through the literary community, describing him as a "master storyteller", and one of the most gifted writers of his generation.

The Independent notes that he received final copies of his latest book just three weeks ago - it will be in the shops in 10 days' time.

The Guardian's obituary says he enjoyed the conviviality of a shared drink and notes that he won Celebrity Mastermind with the specialist subject of Scottish whiskies and distilleries.

Many of the papers have photographs of Rafael Nadal, prostrate on the red clay of Roland Garros. The Daily Express headline is "Rafa reigns supreme" after securing his eighth French Open title, while the Mail's headline is "All time gr-EIGHT!".

The Guardian says Nadal was ruthless and imperious in dispatching his friend David Ferrer, for the Independent it was astonishing.

Pension proposal

Labour is in turmoil and confusion, say the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph, after Ed Balls suggested the party would be prepared to cap the state pension.

The Daily Mirror is highly critical of the idea - it says Labour should stand up for hard-working families and thinks it is jeopardising support by forcing people to "toil longer".

The Sun says Mr Balls' explosive proposal sparked uproar, but its political editor Tom Newton Dunn then weighs in with support for the shadow chancellor. He was "right, and even courageous" he says, saying the state's generosity to all pensioners is something the country can no longer afford"

The front page of the Times claims that what it calls "a back door bailout" of the Irish Republic has cost British taxpayers around £10bn. It says the money has gone to support the Bank of Ulster, a subsidiary of RBS, even though the arrangement "was never explicitly approved by Parliament".

A senior Tory minister tells the paper that negotiators missed a trick in 2010 when they could have handed the bank over to the Irish government.

Winnie the Pooh will enter the digital world today, according to the Times. But the paper is not impressed that a new smartphone app uses a cut-down version of the bear's adventures, as today's children are thought not to have the attention span for the whole story.

The developer says he has a minute to get youngsters on board, then they move on to the next app.

The Times editorial caustically mocks the modern-day attention span, telling the imaginary reader "he's only a bear of very little brain - but not as little as yours".

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