Newspaper headlines: Queen's speech and Gatwick probe criticism

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The investigation into the disruption at Gatwick Airport following reports of a drone again features on many newspaper front pages this Christmas Eve.

The Daily Mail feels the investigation into the chaos at Gatwick last week has "descended into farce" with the police suggesting it was possible there was no drone activity there in the first place.

It sums up the latest development with the headline "clueless", while the Daily Mirror opts for "shambolic" for its front page.

According to the Times, sources at the Department for Transport have expressed bemusement at the police's comments, because the devices appeared to have been caught on video.

The i newspaper reports that ministers will hold emergency talks today to discuss how to tighten security at airports, because of fears of copycat attacks.

The Guardian reports that anti-drone technology used by the Army has been brought in at Gatwick to thwart further attempts at disruption.

And the Daily Telegraph says Britain's major airports are to step up security with military-grade detections systems. Gatwick is expected to be the first to operate this kind of technology, which is designed to be as sophisticated as that used by the RAF and Army signals teams who were deployed at the airport last week.

Several papers also mention the investigation in their leader columns. "What's going on?", asks the Sun. "Are we completely incapable of protecting our airfields?"

The paper says it is staggering and "anybody using our airports deserves an answer".

The Daily Mirror says it is "beyond belief that so many people's travel plans were ruined for seemingly no reason".

And the Mail comments the saga has exposed "dispiriting levels of incompetence and lacklustre leadership among those tasked with protecting the public".

Image source, Getty Images
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Survivors return to destroyed houses on Java in Indonesia, after a volcano triggered a deadly tsunami

There are many graphic images from Indonesia of the destruction caused by what the Daily Star calls the "killer wave from hell".

The Mail shows survivors of the tsunami inspecting the ruins of their homes, while the Daily Express features a devastated beach community.

The Guardian reports that the national disaster agency said the size of the tsunami may have been exacerbated by an abnormally high tide because of the full moon.

The main story in the Daily Telegraph focuses on the Queen's Christmas message in which she will urge Britain to overcome "deeply held differences".

Image source, PA
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The Queen's message was recorded on 12 December and will be broadcast on Christmas Day

The Times describes it as a message of goodwill to all, while for the Daily Mail it is one of conciliation to a nation divided by issues such as Brexit.

The Daily Express suggest she is referring to disagreements over Brexit and wider disputes between different groups in Commonwealth countries.

The Express also carries a letter from Theresa May in which she appeals for people to come together and also put aside their differences. The paper sees it as a warning shot to MPs still squabbling about her Brexit deal.

The Financial Times reports Theresa May has cut short cabinet ministers' Christmas break by summoning them to a meeting to discuss a no-deal Brexit on 2 January.

The FT quotes a minister describing the meeting as "all about show" to prove they were "pulling out the stops to prevent the worst".

In the Times, Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood argues that to deliberately pursue no deal over the government's plan would be an act of folly. No deal, he argues, is simply not an option.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times believes US foreign policy is in disarray following the resignation of the Defence Secretary, James Mattis.

Image source, Reuters
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US President Donald Trump forced Defence Secretary James Mattis to leave his post early

The Daily Telegraph says further questions were raised when President Trump appeared to link his decision to withdraw US forces from Syria to expanding trade deals with Turkey.

In its view, the Times says the abrupt resignation of Brett McGurk - the US special envoy to the coalition fighting Islamic State militants - has underlined the turmoil provoked by the withdrawal of American troops.

It says the West will have few options after they leave and it looks as if peace will come on Russian and Iranian terms.

Last-minute Christmas shopping

Shops are braced for what it calls "bloke blitz" on Christmas Eve, the Sun predicts. Seven out of 10 last-minute Christmas shoppers are expected to be men.

The paper also notes that many leading chains have either begun or are about to start their post-Christmas sales online.

The Telegraph has gloomy news about the prospects for high street retailers. It says the leading insolvency company Begbies Traynor thinks more than 30,000 of them are in financial distress.

Finally, if you are looking for an unusual last-minute Christmas present, the Guardian tells how for the equivalent of £46 in euros, anyone can become part-owners of a crumbling French medieval château.

A crowd funding project to buy the 15th century fortified castle at Ebaupinay has already raised enough to buy the building, but at least £90,000 is still needed to make it safe. Anyone who supports the fund-raising effort will get free admission for life and be invited to participate in the restoration.

And, whether you love them or hate them, sprouts remain a staple part of Christmas dinners. The Daily Star enters into the festive spirit, offering some unusual facts about them.

Apparently people in Britain eat more of them than in any other European country. But a man from Sweden holds the current world eating record after swallowing 31 of them in just a minute.