Newspaper headlines: Laptop bomb threat and 'the killer who turned to peace'

Laptop on a plane Image copyright PA

The government's decision to ban large electronic devices from hand luggage on some flights to Britain is widely covered in many of Wednesday's papers.

The Daily Telegraph claims the move is a response to intelligence gathered by US Navy Seals in Yemen in January during a raid which targeted al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular.

Its editorial accepts that bombs on board airlines are "not an idle threat" but questions the "puzzling" response, asking why Britain has not adopted identical measures to those implemented by the US.

The Times says the restrictions will affect at least 12,000 flights and nearly 2.5m people over the next year.

According to the Daily Express, the ban is a "worrying development" but also proof that intelligence-gathering operations are "working effectively".

McGuinness death

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Image caption Photographs of senior members of Sinn Fein carrying the coffin of Martin McGuinness feature on the front pages of several newspapers.

Martin McGuinness is praised and reviled in almost equal measure, following his death at the age of 66.

The Daily Mirror argues his political transformation from IRA commander into a man of peace "is one of the most remarkable of any age" and hails him as "one of the big reasons" why Northern Ireland has come so far since the Good Friday Agreement.

Writing in the Guardian, Tony Blair's former chief-of-staff, Jonathan Powell, remembers the "archetypical hardman" who managed to keep the system of power-sharing together. No-one should forget the violence of his early life, Powell writes, but his "remarkable contribution" to making peace means he will have an "important and enduring place in British and Irish history".

There are no such tributes in the Sun which uses its editorial to condemn what it describes as the "revolting orgy of pious praise" for Mr McGuinness. Describing the former deputy first minister as a "vicious, merciless killer", the paper concedes that the second half of his life "was very different from the first".

But it argues that despite mellowing in middle-age, "he had no remorse" and says it is a "monstrous injustice" that global statesmen are lining up to whitewash his "blood-drenched wickedness", as a witch-hunt continues against former British soldiers who served during the Troubles.

The Daily Mail agrees, and criticises what it sees as the "grotesque" comparison between Mr McGuinness and the "paragon of reconciliation", Nelson Mandela. It devotes two pages to pictures of bombings carried out by the IRA when Mr McGuinness was still a member, before using its editorial to argue that "our world is cleaner without this butcher".

For the Times his life is a "vindication of the urge to talk to our enemies, however obnoxious".

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'Fertile science'

The lead story in the Daily Mirror highlights a long-term study which found that the contraceptive pill makes women less likely to develop some cancers for 30 years. Researchers from the University of Aberdeen studied data taken from 46,000 women over 50 years. They suggest taking the pill decreases the risk of specific cancers, including bowel and ovarian but don't say why. Nevertheless, the Mirror welcomes what it describes as the "fertile science" and hopes that continuing advances will, one day, help to beat a "killer disease".

Royal GM crop row?

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Image caption Princess Anne's views on GM crops is seen as a challenge to Prince Charles by several papers

A BBC interview with Princess Anne, in which she outlines her view that genetically modified crops have important benefits in providing food, is seen by several papers as a challenge to Prince Charles.

According to the Daily Mail, Anne's position is at "extreme odds" with that of the Prince of Wales, who has warned the mass development of GM crops could cause "the world's worst environmental disaster".

The Times also thinks a Royal dispute is brewing, suggesting that the Princess Royal "defied one of her brother's most cherished principles" by declaring she would like to grow GM produce on her farm.

Colin Dexter legacy

Generous tributes are paid to the author of the Inspector Morse novels, Colin Dexter, who died yesterday at the age of 86.

The Daily Express argues his "rich legacy" will be "sorely missed", while the Daily Mail thinks it took a "special genius" to create the curmudgeonly detective.

"It helped that Dexter wrote of what he knew", says the obituary in the Times, with both Morse and his creator loving the music of Wagner, the writing of Dickens and the taste of real ale.

School funding reform

A former education secretary has told the Times that Theresa May "must stick to her guns" on the reform of school funding.

Writing in the paper, Nicky Morgan says schools are not the only employers to face pressure from rises in national insurance and pension contributions and argues it would be "wrong" to delay the funding reform because of a campaign "based on speculative figures", perpetuated by opponents of the plan. Reforming funding "was never going to be easy", she writes, but making the system fairer "is a manifesto promise we need to keep".

Secondary ticketing

The Daily Mirror's editorial is outraged at the failure of a senior manager from the website Viagogo to appear before a parliamentary committee investigating allegations of abuse in the secondary ticketing market. It claims the "no-show" by the "arrogant leeches" at Viagogo shows the "contempt" of a company which "milks fans" by selling tickets at "exorbitant" prices.

The Sun reports how the MPs were "horrified" when the manager of the singer Ed Sheeran accused Viagogo of "lying to the public".

Mary Berry piegate

Image caption A pie must be "totally and wholly encased in pastry" according to the rules of the British Pie Awards

And finally, when is a pie not a pie? This is the question asked by the Daily Telegraph after Mary Berry made a potato, leek and cheese pie without a pastry base for her latest BBC series. Twitter, says the Telegraph, was "flooded with comments", with one viewer declaring, "a pie without a base is a lie".

According to the Daily Mail the experts agree, as the rules of the British Pie Awards stipulate that only pies with a filling "totally and wholly encased in pastry" are eligible.

All this leads the Daily Express to conclude that people "have too much time on their hands". Fall back, it says, Mary Berry "is sacred and can do no wrong".