Poverty 'scandal', benefits 'outrage', Hillsborough memorial and Ukraine crisis

Figures from the Trussell Trust which reveal the food bank charity handed out emergency food parcels to more than 910,000 people in the last year make front-page headlines.

It prompts the Daily Mirror to wonder how such a situation can arise in the world's sixth-largest economy. And comedian Eddie Izzard writes in the paper: "I've seen food parcels handed out many times in my work with Unicef or for Sport Relief... But I never thought I'd even hear of them handed out in my own country."

The Independent hears personal tales from those receiving help at the UK's busiest food bank, in Coventry, some of whom say they had benefits withdrawn after making an error on a form. The paper claims the situation is "a matter of demand, not supply". It points out that while the Department for Work and Pensions insists it's the expansion of food banks that has fuelled demand, people can only receive emergency food if they are referred by a care professional, such as a doctor, social worker or school liaison officer.

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The Guardian reports that 600 religious leaders - including 40 Anglican bishops - have called on the government to take action to tackle the "national crisis" of food poverty.

It's poverty of a different kind that troubles the Daily Express. "Poverty of ambition that keeps families on welfare," is the headline on the paper's editorial column. "Despite strong efforts from the government it seems that some are still stubbornly choosing to live purely off handouts from the state," it says.

It's not referring to food banks but to the case of a mother-of-three who reportedly told her 19-year-old daughter to have a baby instead of getting a job, so that she would get increased welfare support and a council house.

Meanwhile, the Sun has good news for working families concerned about the cost of living, reporting a "nice little earner" as growth in average pay outstrips inflation for the first time in four years.

"The time has come for optimism," says the Times in its editorial, although it warns politicians they cannot afford to forget the millions of households that "limped through a six-year wage squeeze on mounting debts".

'The 96' remembered

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"A quarter of a century on, the pain is still as raw and the sense of loss as deep as it ever way," says the Daily Mirror's Brian Reade, reporting from the Anfield memorial service marking the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. "Time doesn't heal your wounds when the system has refused to. Only justice can do that."

Pictures from the service appear on many front pages, while images of the packed stands, tearful mourners and tributes laid out in scarves appear inside. The Daily Mail is among the papers to focus on two-year-old Tommy Biggadike, photographed laying flowers in memory of his grandfather, Thomas Howard, who died aged 34 with his son, another Thomas. "He is too young to appreciate his family's terrible loss. But few sights yesterday can have been as poignant," writes James Tozer.

The Times prints a match report written by one of the victims, 15-year-old Vicky Hicks, who typed up her accounts of games and kept them in a folder hidden from her parents. Trevor and Jenni only found them after she died alongside her sister, Sarah.

For the Guardian's David Conn, the speech of Mr Hicks, along with those of Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers and his Everton counterpart Roberto Martinez dwelled on the "life-affirming side of the Hillsborough story: the families fight for justice" to lend a "warmth close to celebration" to proceedings.

Jeremy Wilson, in the Daily Telegraph, writes: "That justice might have been delayed, but the mood across all of Liverpool yesterday stretched beyond sombre reflection to immense pride at a city that, perhaps more than any other in England, is so identified by its football teams."

The Mirror has produced a special Merseyside edition, its front-page headline reading simply: "We'll never forget."

Desperate strategy?

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Tensions in Ukraine are captured on the front page of the Guardian, which describes the country as "on the verge of major armed conflict" after its forces fired at pro-Russian activists who'd captured an airfield in the country's east.

"The outbreak of fighting raised deep trepidation that Ukraine, which has already lost Crimea to the Kremlin, could be entering into a a civil war which may lead to the intervention of Vladimir Putin, who has repeatedly declared that he was prepared to act to protect ethnic Russians across the border," writes Kim Sengupta, in the Independent.

"No government in Kiev could simply sit back and relinquish control over this area, particularly as Donetsk also serves as the industrial backbone of the country's economy," writes David Blair in the Telegraph. "But restoring Kiev's authority by force would require a sizeable military operation."

For Ben Hoyle, in the Times, Ukraine's "punch-drunk government is gambling the country's future on President Putin's restraint... It looks like a desperate strategy".

Edward Lucas writes in the Daily Mail that the West must choose whether to surrender responsibility for Ukraine and the Baltic states or mount a last-ditch attempt to deter Russia from "furthering its imperial ambitions".

"If we do choose to resist Putin, we will risk a terrifying military escalation, which I do not think it an exaggeration to say could bring us to the brink of nuclear war."

Alien invasions

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"Super rats will eat our schools," says the Daily Star, reporting that "hordes of 2ft-long poison-immune rodents" could take over empty buildings over the holiday period. It quotes "rodent experts" as saying the new breed of rat is spreading across the UK and could cause damage resulting in millions of pounds of repairs.

Meanwhile, it's hornets troubling the Sun. Under the headline "king of the stingers", the paper says a "vicious" Asian species, three times the size of "normal" wasps, is on its way to the UK.

The Mail lists other species identified by a Commons committee as a threat to native eco-systems. Alongside well-known "foreign intruders", such as Japanese knotweed and grey squirrels, are the Russian zebra mussel - which clogs up water works - and the oak processionary moth whose caterpillars have toxic hairs that can cause breathing problems.

Yet more aliens, killer shrimps - fish-eating crustaceans spreading from the Caspian Sea - are labelled "natural prawn killers" by the Daily Mirror.

However, it's a single animal that makes headlines elsewhere. The Express explains that a 6ft ostrich-like South American rhea is "on the run... at 40mph" in Hertfordshire. One man spotted it hiding in a field of rapeseed crop after escaping from its owner, a landowner who keeps it to eat weeds, the paper says.

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