Newspaper headlines: Gatwick drone hunt and £76m lottery win

By BBC News

  • Published
Waiting passengersImage source, PA
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Airport chiefs said 120,000 people due to arrive or fly had not been able to travel since Wednesday

The disruption at Gatwick Airport makes the front of many newspaper front pages for a second day.

The airport problems are the lead story for the Times and the Daily Mail - but the arrest of a man and a woman in connection with the drone sightings came too late for the early editions.

The Mail focuses on the latest drone incursion, which forced the airport to close briefly on Friday afternoon.

It says the drone - evading a new state-of-the-art detection system - was able to dart through Gatwick's airspace once again, and mockingly flash lights at police below. "Catch me if you can", is the headline.

According to the Times, the army and police appeared powerless to stop the drone operators, despite deploying a system that they said was capable of jamming the devices.

There is incredulity among commentators and leader writers that the authorities were seemingly unable to stop drones closing down Gatwick airport.

The former Chief of the General Staff, Lord Dannatt, writes in the Daily Telegraph that the "fiasco" has been a "national embarrassment of biblical proportions".

The Financial Times says it almost defies belief, but the mayhem has highlighted the speed with which technological innovations can throw up new security risks, outstripping the authorities' ability to respond.

And in the Sun's view, the five-year jail term for endangering an aircraft must be doubled.

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Lucky lottery winner Andrew Clark also features in many of Saturday's papers

The builder who has won £76m on a EuroMillions ticket that had been unclaimed for six weeks makes the lead for several papers.

The Daily Mirror says Andrew Clark's jackpot could so easily have slipped through his fingers.

Numb from the cold as he grafted outside day after day, the 51-year-old from Boston in Lincolnshire was having a "terrible" time, but kept ignoring pleas from loved ones to check the dozens of Lotto tickets in his van.

Now - the paper adds - he's downed tools and taken early retirement.

The Daily Express' headline quotes Mr Clark telling a news conference: "I'm the man who nearly lost 76 million pounds".

Measles at 20-year high

The Guardian's main story reports a warning by health experts that a growing anti-vaccine movement in Europe - which it says is fuelled by social media and anti-establishment populists - may be to blame for measles outbreaks hitting a 20-year high.

According to the paper, they say vaccine sceptics are driving down immunisation rates for measles, flu and other diseases.

One expert - Heidi Larson, of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine - tells the paper: "We're in a very vulnerable place right now. There's more hyperbole in the US, but I don't know a country in the world that doesn't have some questioning going on."

Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph leads on an attack by the Work and Pensions Secretary, Amber Rudd, on the European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker - describing him as "ghastly" and condemning what she calls his "grotesque" behaviour towards Theresa May at the recent EU summit.

Image source, Reuters
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Tory minister Amber Rudd criticises the EU's Jean-Claude Juncker

In an interview for the paper, she says his conduct should have been the subject of an official complaint.

She says that when she used to go to the EU for meetings, she would try to avoid getting enveloped in a bear hug by suggesting she had a cold.

"All the EU commissioners love doing their big hugs," Ms Rudd adds.

Meanwhile, there is widespread alarm at the resignation of the US Defence Secretary James Mattis.

For the Times, his departure - and that of other key figures in Washington - is an acknowledgement that efforts to restrain President Trump's isolationist instincts have failed.

Core assumptions that have underpinned US foreign policy for 70 years no longer hold, the paper says.

The paper asks: For America's traditional allies, this is a troubling moment. What happens now?

MPs 'challenged to explain mess'

Meanwhile, the Times says MPs have sat through 24 hours of Brexit debate, three lengthy prime ministerial statements, a leadership challenge and a botched vote of no confidence. Now they face their biggest challenge yet: explaining the mess that is Brexit to ordinary people during the Christmas break.

According to the paper, politicians yesterday expressed some trepidation as they left the Westminster bubble for their constituencies. Some have decided to leave the country - it says - to avoid being harangued about the political impasse.

The Telegraph has a Christmas message for the government: it is about time it became more Conservative.

The paper complains that the Tories no longer talk about lowering taxes, shrinking the state, empowering consumers or encouraging enterprise. Instead, they pledge allegiance to social justice dogmas, entering a race with Labour to promise more money for welfare programmes.

It calls on all Tory MPs to return in the New Year armed with fresh policies, determined to advance the interests of business, consumers, families, patients and the much-put-upon taxpayer.

Finally, several papers report that desperate retailers have launched what the Mail calls an unprecedented wave of pre-Christmas sales in a final bid for shoppers today, which has been dubbed Super Saturday.

According to the paper, they are counting on shoppers to spend one-point-seven billion pounds on last-minute presents.

The Daily Mirror says it's a make-or-break "D-day" for the High Street.