Paper review: Syria involvement warning


Both the Daily Mail and the Independent warn of the risks of Western military involvement in Syria.

The Mail says in an editorial that the threat of a strike against President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Damascus evokes a "dreadful sense of deja vu".

The paper suggests it could become "another Iraq" and argues that the military intervention in Libya only led to "continuing chaos".

The Independent agrees, arguing that, if the plight of ordinary Syrians is worsened as a result of Western involvement, David Cameron will have to accept his share of the blame.

Writing in the Guardian, John Kampfner says that military action in Syria "might be an understandable moral reflex but it does not make for long-term policy".

He says that, "after a brief flirtation, the world is turning away from a rights-based approach" and that Mr Assad will be smiling knowing that - even if he is hit with "a token gesture" - he could be around for quite some time yet.

'Stuff EU'

The Times says Communities Secretary Eric Pickles is urging councils to build a new generation of bungalows for the growing number of people aged 65 and over.

It says he is to publish plans to make town planners match development to the type of building needed for an ageing population.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England tells the paper the plans raise serious concerns about the government's pledge to restrict green-belt building to "exceptional circumstances".

London Mayor Boris Johnson tells the Daily Telegraph Britain should open its doors to an unlimited amount of Australian immigrants and tell the EU law-makers to "stuff" their rules.

Writing in the paper, Mr Johnson, who has been visiting Australia, argues the UK should "raise our eyes above Europe" and not think of ourselves as "little Europeans run by Brussels".

He calls for Britain to rekindle its relationship with the Commonwealth countries it "betrayed" in favour of the EU.

Hissing cockroaches

The Mail reports on "a storm in a tea shop" after 50 cockroaches were posted through the front door of a tea shop in the village of Cookham in Berkshire.

The paper says the infestation of the Madagascar hissing cockroaches caused the shop to close while investigations took place.

The Telegraph says police were looking in to whether a rival business could be behind the incident in what the paper says is the second richest village in the country.

The Times tells how the astronaut, Luca Parmitano, thought he was drowning during a space walk from the International Space Station.

The Italian describes how water leaked in to his helmet, covered his visor and obscured his vision, making it difficult for him to breathe and impossible to communicate.

The paper said the 36-year-old got back into the space station before his colleagues pulled off his helmet.

Nasa was investigating the cause of the leak, it added.

Parmitano told a press conference it was best not to forget that astronauts worked in a harsh, inhospitable environment and were "explorers, not colonisers".

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