Page last updated at 05:39 GMT, Monday, 29 December 2008

Papers fear Israeli ground attack


After two days of bombing, the papers appear convinced that Israel is about to launch a ground assault on Gaza.

The Telegraph says calls from the UN Security Council and the Pope for a halt to the violence went unheeded, as Israel mobilised reservists.

The Financial Times says many analysts believe air strikes alone will not be enough to stop the Hamas rocket fire.

But it says few believe Israel has the stomach for the bloody urban warfare needed to stamp out the rocket attacks.

'World threat'

The Sun urges instant action from US President-Elect Barack Obama, saying no task could be more important than bringing peace to the Middle East.

The Times thinks the violence there threatens Mr Obama's foreign policy agenda in the wider Arab world.

It says any pro-Israeli bias would quickly destroy the goodwill he currently enjoys.

And the Telegraph warns Mr Obama to understand "the Hamas-Iranian axis" poses a threat to the entire world.

Falling house prices

The Sun declares six people a week are stabbed to death in Britain, after the Tories obtained fatal stabbing figures.

The Telegraph says it is the highest figure for three decades, adding that a knife victim is admitted to hospital every 72 minutes in Britain.

The Daily Mail reports a forecast that house prices will fall 12% next year.

It says mortgage lenders are making any excuse to reject applications. It cites one case where an applicant was turned down for exceeding an overdraft by 30.

Shark attack

The Independent says the family of an Australian man presumed to have been snatched by a shark have asked authorities not to hunt the animal.

Brian Guest, who disappeared while snorkelling, had told his family not to harm a shark, even if it killed him.

The Guardian says a candidate for US Republican Party chairman has been criticised for sending party members a song entitled Barack the Magic Negro.

Chip Saltman says any listener would see it was meant to be light-hearted.

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