UK

Newspaper review: Hostile reaction to new peers

Papers

There is some hostile reaction to the news that the latest appointments to the House of Lords include donors to all three main parties.

The Daily Mirror calls it a scandal of ermine for donors, with the wealthy effectively buying seats as lawmakers.

The Daily Mail says it shows once again that the out-of-touch political class just does not get it.

According to the Daily Telegraph, some critics felt the nominations would not look out of place in a developing world dictatorship.

The Times says the national interest would be better served if more independent-minded people were appointed to the Lords.

But it believes the upper house is functioning well - though with careful reforms, the paper says, it can be better still.

Personal information

The Guardian devotes its front page, and three inside pages, to documents leaked by fugitive American intelligence analyst Edward Snowden, focusing on links between the National Security Agency in the US and the UK government's communications centre GCHQ.

The paper says the documents make clear that the Americans expect a return on the £100m they have invested in GCHQ over three years, and GCHQ has had to work hard to meet their demands.

The Guardian also claims GCHQ is pouring money into efforts to gather personal information from mobile phones, and has said it wants to be able to exploit "any phone, anywhere, any time".

The Daily Telegraph says the Serious Organised Crime Agency is under intense pressure to reveal the names of more than 100 firms and individuals who have used rogue private investigators.

The paper believes the resignation of the agency's chairman, Sir Ian Andrews, has made the disclosure more likely. It says he was seen by some MPs as the main obstacle to publication.

The Guardian says the long arm of the law has finally caught up with former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi after the country's highest court upheld a prison sentence for tax fraud.

Drugs dogs

The Daily Telegraph calls it the final fall from grace, though it points out that Mr Berlusconi is unlikely to see the inside of a prison cell and will probably be placed under house arrest or given community service.

The Daily Mail says specially trained dogs are being sent round hospital wards to catch patients using illegal drugs.

It reports on one recruit, Coco the cocker spaniel, hired to work at six hospitals in north-east England.

The paper says there have been concerns that dealers are preying on sick and vulnerable patients, some of whom have a history of drug abuse.

Several papers report a ruling by the government that a ring that once belonged to Jane Austen cannot leave the UK.

The gold and turquoise ring was bought for £150,000 by American pop star Kelly Clarkson, an Austen fan, who wants to take it to the US as an engagement ring.

The Times says she may eventually be able to take it out of the country - if a British buyer is unwilling to pay the same six-figure sum.

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