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Last Updated: Friday, 9 April, 2004, 05:15 GMT 06:15 UK
Focus on bloody events in Iraq

One year on from the capture of Baghdad by US forces and the papers are in sombre mood as they contemplate this week's bloody events in Iraq.

The Independent's front page couples pictures of the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue and jubilant crowds waving the stars and stripes with the latest images of Japanese hostages and civilian casualties in Falluja.

The front pages of the Times, the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail are all dominated by pictures of one of the anguished hostages being held at knifepoint by a group of rebels.

The Guardian, under the stark headline "Chaos, Killing and Kidnap", sets the scene for its coverage with a front page picture showing Sunni insurgents celebrating in front of a burning American convoy.

The Daily Mirror laments that we have lost the peace.

Anniversary cartoons

The cartoonists make some wry observations on the anniversary of Saddam Hussein's fall.

One of the celebrated images at the time was the claim of the then Iraqi Information Minister, Mohammed Saeed Al Sahaf, saying "we are still in full control".

Nicholas Garland, in the Telegraph, depicts him uttering those words alongside a drawing of the US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, saying the same thing in 2004, black smoke billowing in the background. The caption reads "spot the difference".

The Times cartoonist, Peter Brookes, draws inspiration from the appearance of Condoleeza Rice before a congressional commission investigating the 11 September attacks.

She is shown struggling to prevent a statue of President Bush going the same way as Saddam.

But the Sun takes heart from Dr Rice's performance at yesterday's hearing.

Calling her an iron lady, the paper remarks that her confidence in US victory over terrorism was most reassuring.

The Independent, highlighting another of her nicknames, the Warrior Princess, says Dr Rice gave at least as good as she got.

But the Guardian remarks that her assertion that President Bush was fully briefed about al-Qaeda before 11 September simply does not ring true.

M5 heaven

This being a holiday weekend, the papers offer a good deal of lighter fare.

The Daily Express uses its front page to inform us that "we've never had it so good".

And the reason?

Supermarkets are said to be offering Easter shoppers the biggest price cuts for a generation, spurred on by cut throat competition between the big four chains.

The Mail offers some consolation - well possibly - to motorists who find themselves stuck in a jam on one of Britain's busiest holiday routes, the M5.

The paper reports that a book about the joys along its route between Exeter and Birmingham has become a best-seller.

The attractions, according to the Mail, include the soul-searching vista of the docks near Bristol and the rural ambience of Sedgemooor Services.

In the paper's words, it's a jam good read.

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