The death of a British embassy worker, Rebecca Dykes, whose body was found on the side of a motorway in Beirut, is featured on most of Monday’s front pages.
Elsewhere, Brexit and Theresa May’s performance continues to dominate coverage. The Times says Mrs May is being urged not to stand down before 2021 – to avoid the Tory party engaging in a bloody battle that could ruin trade talks with the EU.
An unnamed Cabinet minister tells the paper: “I’m confident she’ll go on beyond what many people expect”.
The Daily Mail believes Mrs May has ridden storms that might have sunk a less resilient politician and nears the end of the year with her place at the helm looking remarkably secure.
“Whisper it softly,” the paper says, “but Britain may have a prime minister who means what she says.”
Mrs May is ending the year “on a surprise high“, says the Sun.
It’s not all praise though. The Daily Telegraph says there’s a battle in the Cabinet between those who want convergence with the EU on trade after Brexit and those who want to divergence from the EU – so far the convergers, it says, have the upper hand.
According to the Guardian, Conservative rebels who defeated the government last week are urging the prime minister to reach out to Labour MPs and form a cross-party alliance for a soft Brexit. They are said to believe that last week’s vote should embolden her to face down hardline Brexiteers.
The Daily Mail leads on what’s described as “a middle class pensions crisis“.
It says Department for Work and Pensions figures show that 12 million people aren’t saving enough, despite more than half of them earning more than £34,000 a year.
The Daily Telegraph says the figures show that more than six million high earners are not putting enough aside. It says employers are cutting back pension arrangements because of increased costs resulting from the government’s auto-enrolment scheme.
The Financial Times says the figures show that millennials and “the gig economy” have been “left behind by pension reforms“, with a third of the workforce still “under-saving”.
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt has told the Daily Telegraph that Saudi Arabia has “no excuses” for blocking food and fuel shipments to Yemen – and could be in breach of international humanitarian law.
She says the restrictions could push Yemen into the worst famine for decades and Riyadh’s relationship with the UK could be damaged if they are not eased.
The Telegraph describes it as “the strongest rebuke yet” to a key ally of Britain.
Brussels is set to launch an investigation into Ikea, says the Financial Times, as the EU widens the net in its four-year crackdown on aggressive corporate tax avoidance.
The paper says the competition commissioner – Margrethe Vestager – will announce an official probe into the retailer’s Dutch tax arrangements, which allegedly helped the Swedish company avoid nearly €1bn (£900m) in EU taxes between 2009 and 2014. Ikea declined to comment.
And back to Brexit, the Guardian reports that English wine sales are “bubbling over” as the “fall in the pound hits foreign fizz”.
English sparkling wine is apparently set to oust champagne in many restaurants and pubs, as well as at Christmas dinner tables. One industry expert tells the paper: “This is an absolute game changer”.