Newspaper headlines: May's 'climbdown' and gambling sites curbed

By BBC News

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image captionSpain's decision to take control of Catalonia - and remove its separatist leaders - features in many of the papers

Spain's decision to take control of Catalonia - and remove its separatist leaders - makes the lead in the Observer.

It says Catalan separatists are preparing for a war of attrition against direct rule from Madrid, amid growing anger at the inability of either side to swallow their pride and take a step back.

The Sunday Times says the announcement prompted vows of resistance from independence supporters, who are planning a peaceful campaign of civil disobedience.

One activist is quoted as saying they would deploy "walls of people" against police to prevent them from occupying Catalonia's institutions.

'May's climbdown'

According to the Sunday Telegraph, Theresa May is on the brink of a major climbdown over Universal Credit payments.

The paper detects a significant change of tone. It says ministers are believed to be looking at ways of cutting the six-week waiting time faced by many claimants, with backbenchers pushing for a one-month limit.

One of the MPs who has raised concerns is said to believe a resolution is very close.

The Sunday Times gives front-page coverage to the warning from Labour's Brexit Secretary, Sir Keir Starmer, that his party will unite with Tory rebels to force a binding Commons vote on a final deal with the EU.

The paper says the threat is a blow to the government, which is trying to quell a potential backbench rebellion on the EU Withdrawal Bill.

In its main story, the Mail on Sunday claims that Army recruits caught taking drugs are - for the first time - being allowed to remain in the military.

The paper says drug abuse among would-be soldiers is rife.

And throwing out recruits who failed a drugs test would mean cutting numbers when the Army was desperately short of troops.

The Army has responded by insisting there has been no relaxation of its zero-tolerance policy on drug misuse.

'Bullying' surgeons

The paper says its investigation exposed the fact that the gambling industry was targeting children with cartoon characters and other images.

Though most of the games are free, the paper says they provide an introduction to casino games for young people and a route into gambling.

The Gambling Commission, it says, has acted with a commendable alacrity.

The paper says some surgeons have reported being assaulted during operations for raising safety concerns, and an atmosphere of fear is said to be leading to failures in concentration that directly harm patients.

The online newspaper the Independent says the prime minister's plan to cap energy bills has been thrown into doubt.

It says there is evidence that Whitehall officials are laying the ground for the scheme to be scrapped next year.

According to the paper, energy investors have already been told that PM Theresa May's draft proposal will be ditched, if the big power firms do enough to tackle high bills.

'Dump the gazump'

Plans to make the buying and selling of homes faster and cheaper in England and Wales get a general welcome.

The Sunday Express says buying a house is the biggest financial commitment most of us will ever make - and it is important to get it right.

"Dump the Gazump" is the headline in the Sunday Mirror.

The Sunday People says Britain is not building enough homes - but making the buying and selling process quicker and easier is a welcome start to tackling the housing crisis.

The Observer says Britain is enjoying a remarkable apple boom, as hundreds of new community orchards revive lost varieties and contribute to a thriving heritage market.

One expert believes there are possibly thousands of varieties that are not recorded but grown by farmers, smallholders and households.

The paper lists some of its favourites, including the Colwall Quoining, which has angular ridges, the Pig's Nose Pippin and the Ten Commandments, which has 10 red spots around its core.