Newspaper headlines: Johnson 'on brink of Brexit deal' amid late talks

By BBC News

Image caption,
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is hoping to secure a Brexit deal with the EU and secure the support of MPs back home

The Guardian says Boris Johnson has made "major concessions" in Brexit talks and that "negotiating teams have agreed in principle that there will be a customs border down the Irish Sea".

It quotes senior EU and British sources as saying that a draft text of the agreement could be published on Wednesday, if Downing Street gives the final green light.

The Financial Times reports that the prime minister has been haggling with the DUP's leader, Arlene Foster, about a big cash payment for Northern Ireland to secure her support.

The Daily Telegraph says Mr Johnson is increasingly optimistic that a deal could be agreed by both the EU and Parliament before the end of the week.

The paper's cartoonist, Matt, sums it all up, showing a baffled woman confronted with a billboard reading: "Only 70 Brexit crunch days to Christmas".

Several papers report that the British Legion's red poppy will this year, for the first time, be used to remember civilian victims of war and of acts of terrorism.

A spokesman for the Legion says the organisation wants to make sure people know it reflects the views and values of modern Britain.

The Guardian says the change is a sensitive issue for the charity. It's been criticised by the pacifist campaign group, the Peace Pledge Union, which sells white poppies and opposes military marches at remembrance ceremonies.

The Times reports research suggesting that living in an area with high pollution could worsen the memory as much as ageing 10 years. The study of 34,000 people across England measured levels of nitrogen dioxide and particulate pollution from exhaust fumes and other sources.

The scientists didn't prove that air quality caused affected memory but believe they ruled out other factors. An academic from Warwick University tells the paper: "When it comes to remembering a string of words, a 50-year-old in polluted Chelsea performs like a 60-year-old who lives in relatively unpolluted Plymouth."

The Guardian reports on the latest efforts to repatriate the remains of James Joyce and his wife from Zurich to Dublin, more than 70 years after the author's death.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Irish novelist and poet James Joyce (left) - pictured with his wife Nora (second right) and children Lucia and Giorgio - left Ireland in 1904, aged 22, and only made four return visits to his homeland

Two city councillors claim it would be observing the author's final wish - despite his choice to spend decades in self-imposed exile to gain artistic freedom.

They want the council to ask the Irish government to approve the idea in time for the centenary of Joyce's novel, Ulysses, in 2022.

Many of the papers tell the story of the man who found a wallet in the street - and hit upon an ingenious method of tracing the owner.

Simon Byford realised he could send a short message through bank transfers using account details on the debit card in the wallet. He transferred one penny four times, each time writing in the space allowed for a payment reference.

When combined, the message read, "Hi, I found your wallet in the road. Text or call". The owner, Tim Cameron, who is Australian, tells the Daily Mail the wallet contained his residence permit and that Mr Byford is "a legend".

Mr Byford tells the Times, "He called me right away and came around with a bottle of red wine - I'm still waiting for the four pence".

An Oxford professor accused of selling papyrus fragments of the Bible to an American millionaire appears in The Guardian, the Times and the Daily Telegraph.

The Egypt Exploration Society claims Dirk Obbink sold 11 priceless fragments from its archive, which were among half a million discovered in a rubbish dump 100 miles from Cairo by Victorian explorers.

Professor Obbink had been classifying the fragments. The buyer is said to be a chain of craft shops, Hobby Lobby Stores, founded by Steve Green, who founded the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC. The Society says it's now recovered the fragments from the museum.

Oxford University says it's conducting an internal investigation to establish the facts. The Times says the professor is still employed by the university and did not reply to requests for comment.