Newspaper headlines: Julian Assange 'tug of war'

The i front page, 13/4/19

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The case of WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange makes headlines for a second day. The i reports that prosecutors in Sweden are considering reopening an investigation into an alleged rape which had been dropped after he evaded arrest by taking refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy in 2012. It could, the paper says, lead to a “tug-of-war” with the US, which wants to extradite him over claims of a “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion”.

Daily Mail front page, 13/4/19

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The Daily Mail quotes one of Mr Assange’s accusers criticising Labour’s Diane Abbott, who called on the UK government to block his extradition to the US on the basis he was a whistleblower who helped expose US military atrocities. The paper quotes the unnamed woman saying: “It really is not ‘all about WikiLeaks’…” Mr Assange has always denied any sex offence allegations.

Guardian front page, 13/4/19

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Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that Ms Abbott’s opposite number, Home Secretary Sajid Javid, is under pressure to prioritise any action to allow the extradition of Mr Assange to Sweden, rather than the US. There are concerns, the paper says, that “US charges relating to WikiLeaks’ activities risked overshadowing long-standing allegations of rape”.

Daily Telegraph front page, 13/4/19

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Mr Javid makes the Daily Telegraph’s front page for different reasons. It says the home secretary drew up “a detailed technological plan” to remove the need for the Irish backstop in the Brexit deal but saw them blocked by the Treasury. The paper says technology used in Switzerland could have been harnessed to avoid the need for customs checks in Ireland.

Daily Express front page, 13/4/19

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The Daily Express’s front-page highlight another story of an ex-military death as part of its ongoing “Betrayal of our veterans” crusade. It says a coroner has urged Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson to give members of Britain’s armed forces better help to cope with the trauma of active service, following the inquest of a former special forces member who killed himself.

Financial Times front page, 13/4/19

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The Financial Times leads on the £400,000 fine handed to hospital “goody-bag” provider Bounty for sharing “highly sensitive” personal information of millions of new mothers and their babies with credit reference and marketing groups.

Sun front page, 13/4/19

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The Sun leads on the jailing of an accountant who siphoned off £262,000 from his company’s accounts to feed his addiction to “drugs, call girls and glamorous parties”. Darren Carvill, 38, of Maidstone, almost bankrupted his employers, Mr Clutch, the paper reports.

Daily Star front page, 13/4/19

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The big news for the Daily Star is that EastEnders actor Jake Wood and his family were “almost eaten alive” by alligators while on holiday in Florida… five years ago. The 46-year-old, who plays Max Branning, tells the paper that his wife was swimming in 2014 when he saw the “maneater” approach.

Daily Mirror front page, 13/4/19

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The Daily Mirror leads on an interview with former Crimewatch host, Nick Ross, who claims that police focused on “the wrong lines of inquiry” when investigating the murder of his co-presenter, Jill Dando, 20 years ago this month.

The Times front page, 13/4/19

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Finally, the Times says fresh doubt has been cast over the authenticity of the world’s most expensive painting, the $450m Salvator Mundi. The paper reports claims the National Gallery included it in an exhibition in 2011 but failed to publicise art historians’ doubts that the painting was the sole work of Leonardo da Vinci. However, the gallery is quoted saying the exhibition offered an opportunity to “test a new attribution by direct comparison with works universally accepted as Leonardo’s”.

The fate of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has prompted a fierce debate in Saturday’s papers.

The Daily Mail accuses the shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, of downplaying the allegations of sexual assault made against him in Sweden, which he denies.

It says she displayed a “warped Stalinist worldview” in which crimes can be ignored and expunged as long as you are political bedfellows.

The Daily Telegraph says it has caused a rift at the top of Labour, quoting an unnamed senior shadow cabinet minister describing the remarks as “ill-judged” and “wrong-headed”.

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The Daily Mirror also thinks Assange should be extradited to Sweden, if the rape claim case is reopened. But, it argues, he shouldn’t be handed to the US because the secrets he published laid bare horrors in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Robin Lustig, writing in HuffPost UK, agrees. He argues that if Assange is extradited to the US, he should be acquitted in order to uphold the freedom to publish material which governments don’t want released.

Gender inequality?

Many of the papers carry the story of a serial drink driver who was spared from going to prison because she’s a woman.

Victoria Parry, who’s 30, admitted dangerous driving after crashing into three cars in Warwickshire and ending up in a ditch.

In court she was told by Judge Sarah Buckingham that if she had been a man she would have been “straight down the stairs” to jail.

The Sun says her sentence was condemned by the road safety charity, Brake, which called for repeat offenders to be dealt with severely.

The Mirror reports that the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office is examining the Judge’s remarks.

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Brexit logjam

Senior Tories are blaming shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer for obstructing the Brexit negotiations, according to the Telegraph.

The Conservatives blame the logjam on his demands for a second referendum and say they’ve found shadow chancellor, John McDonnell and the shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey more open to compromise.

But according to the paper, Labour have hit back – accusing the Tories of failing to compromise on a deal which has already been rejected three times.

Times columnist Matthew Parris thinks Leavers – and not just Remainers – should demand another referendum.

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Meanwhile, the sketch writers were all there to witness what one describes as “the Nigel Farage roadshow”, as the former UKIP leader launched his new Brexit party.

“He’s back,” says Henry Deedes in the Mail, “buzzy, boisterous” and “still mildly bonkers”.

Quentin Letts says in the Times that although Mr Farage has already “retired more times than George Best”, he was clearly enjoying the “buzz of high political performance”.

The Guardian’s John Crace draws attention to Mr Farage’s call for the British people to “rise up against the career politicians”.

Then he points out the speech was being given by a “career politician who, bankrolled by Brussels as an MEP for 20 years, had tried and failed seven times to get elected to Westminster and was now heading up his second political party”.

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