Newspaper headlines: Iceland crash and migrant warnings

By BBC News

  • Published
Photo of scene in IcelandImage source, Adolf Ingi Erlingsson

Several of Friday's front pages feature pictures of the wrecked car that fell from a bridge in Iceland, killing three British tourists.

The Daily Mirror calls it a "family holiday tragedy", and says none of the group have been formally identified.

While the cause is not yet known, the Daily Express reports that heavy rain before the crash may have been a factor. Meanwhile, the Independent website points to figures showing half of the 18 people killed in traffic collisions in Iceland this year have been foreign nationals.

'Humanitarian crisis' warning

There are renewed warnings about the surge in migrants trying to make their way across the English Channel.

The former head of Home Office immigration enforcement tells the Daily Telegraph that Britain risks a "humanitarian crisis" unless those rescued are sent straight back to France.

David Wood fears the current policy of bringing migrants to Kent after they're picked up by British officials has emboldened people-traffickers. "It's de-risked their business", he says, because they only have to make it halfway.

Image source, Gendarmerie Maritime

The Times reports that the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee will open an urgent inquiry when Parliament reconvenes in the New Year.

One of its members - the Conservative MP, Tim Loughton - describes the number of boats patrolling the Channel as "derisory", suggesting the Home Office has taken its eye off the ball because of Brexit and the Windrush scandal.

Cell phones

Plans to allow thousands more prisoners to make phone calls from their cells receive short shrift in the Daily Mail.

"If you commit a serious crime," it argues, "you should know you'll be made to forfeit certain freedoms. Surely one of these should be the right to contact the outside world at will."

However, the i points out that the phones can be confiscated by prison governors if they're misused, while the Guardian says it will enable inmates to access support services - such as The Samaritans - more easily.

According to the Guardian, police are struggling to stop a growing supply of illegal firearms being smuggled into Britain.

The situation has become so serious, the National Crime Agency has ordered every police force in England and Wales to step up intelligence-gathering on the use of guns.

One senior officer, Andy Cooke, tells the paper that criminals are now more willing to use firearms for "kudos", and budget cuts have "hampered the ability of law enforcement to respond".

In other news...

The i describes 2018 as a "rollercoaster year" for UK wildlife.

According to the National Trust's annual review of the weather and its impact on nature, extreme temperature changes had a profound effect, it says.

Seabirds, starfish and lobsters all suffered during the cold snap in February but the long summer heatwave significantly boosted numbers of the rare large blue butterfly.

Image source, PA

Finally, the Sun features the story of a 99-year-old great-grandmother from Wiltshire, whose long wait for a love letter has finally ended.

Phyllis Ponting wrote to her soldier boyfriend, Bill Walker, in 1940, to accept his marriage proposal while he was serving in India.

She never heard from him again, but his reply has been recovered from the wreck of a merchant ship that sank in the Atlantic in 1941.

Mrs Ponting says she "can't believe" the letter turned up, and that if Bill Walker had survived the war, he'd "have been straight round".