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Last Updated: Monday, 31 January, 2005, 07:29 GMT
Papers scrutinise Iraq elections
Iraq's first multi-party elections for over 50 years dominate Monday's papers.

Women wearing headscarves raise the victory sign in photographs on the front pages of the Times and the Sun.

"They came in their tens of thousands," says the Daily Mirror, "walking silently like pilgrims to what they hope will be a better future."

But the Guardian points out that it is not clear when the "grim nightmare of violence" will be over in Iraq - a sentiment echoed by the Daily Star.

Hercules crash

"They died for freedom" is the epitaph the Sun writes for the British servicemen killed in Iraq on Sunday.

The Daily Telegraph believes up to 15 people may have died, while the Sun says up to 20 lost their lives.

Both papers believe troops from the SAS and other special forces may have been on board the aircraft that crashed.

The Telegraph says US troops may have been on board, while the Daily Mail and the Mirror wonder whether the Hercules was hit by a surface-to-air missile.

Fatal stabbings

The Daily Mail is appalled that banks and public utilities increasingly use 0870 and 0845 numbers for call centres.

It explains that a percentage of the charge on such lines goes to the bank or power company, which is an incentive to keep customers on hold for longer.

Meanwhile, the Daily Express is worried by the rise in the number of people being stabbed to death.

It believes the UK is "in the grip of terror" and demands tougher sentences to "reclaim" the streets.

Marriage guidance

The Times identifies a sign of changing social customs in the latest advice being given by the Church of England to couples wishing to be married.

A leaflet by the vicar of Chobham suggests men and women should discuss their attitudes to sex, money and children before they tie the knot.

But the vicar points out that this approach can have unforeseen consequences.

A couple called off their wedding after the woman could not think of a good reason why they had chosen each other.


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