Newspaper review: Libya hogging the headlines


Events in Libya and their repercussions continue to take centre stage in Thursday's papers.

The Daily Mail declares itself decidedly unimpressed with efforts to evacuate the hundreds of Britons still trapped in Libya.

The Mail complains that "our rescue plane is broken down at Gatwick; our warship won't dock till it's safe; and, oh yes, the Deputy PM is on holiday".

According to the Daily Telegraph, David Cameron is struggling to get a grip on a "sluggish" government operation.

The Independent's Robert Fisk has made it to Tripoli and the paper leads with what it bills as the "first dispatch from Libya's war-torn capital".

Fisk speaks of up to 15,000 men, women and children besieging Tripoli's international airport, shouting and screaming for seats on flights out.

In the city itself, Fisk says, there is little sign of opposition to Colonel Gaddafi but plenty of loyalists armed with Kalashnikov rifles. He says a "numbed" population has little food and the centre of Tripoli is shuttered.

The Guardian says its correspondent, Martin Chulov, is the first Western journalist to reach Benghazi, where Libya's uprising began.

Chulov says there is barely a trace of the colonel, except for obscene graffiti mocking him on the walls where his portraits used to hang.

Several papers focus on a British builder who saved six people trapped in a collapsed building after the New Zealand earthquake. The Sun and the Daily Mirror say Carl Stockton had to overcame his own claustrophobia.

The Financial Times says it has been told by senior police and security figures in Northern Ireland that the parlous state of the economy has given a boost to dissident republicans.

A senior police officer says: "It's all very well saying the private sector has to create more jobs - but just talking about it won't stop [them]."

According to the Guardian, ministers are planning to cut many richer councils loose from Whitehall control in a major shake-up of local government funding in England.

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