Page last updated at 05:50 GMT, Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Harsh words for China in Wednesday's papers


There are harsh words for China over its decision to execute a British man convicted of drug smuggling.

The Daily Mirror says China's treatment of Akmal Shaikh was "barbaric," which is a sentiment echoed by the Times.

It insists all judicial killing, even by other countries, such as the US, is "a barbarity that stains humanity".

According to the Guardian, China would be more respected in the world "if it did not sustain such a casual approach to trying and executing people".

Mrs Thatcher

The release of cabinet documents from Margaret Thatcher's earliest days in office is covered by all the papers.

But the Daily Mail is most impressed by what it sees as a "stirring portrait" of how she "transformed Britain's relations at home and abroad".

It finds it "impossible not to admire the sheer vigour and straight-talking honesty" of Mrs Thatcher.

But, with the public finances once again in chaos, it wonders: "Where is the new Mrs T to rescue us?"

Navy nostalgia

The seizing of a UK-registered ship by Somali pirates prompts feelings of nostalgia for a time long before Mrs Thatcher in the Daily Express.

"In the 19th century, when Lord Palmerston was foreign secretary, a gunboat would have been dispatched forthwith to retake the vessel", it says.

It laments that, these days, "neither the Royal Navy nor the government seem prepared to lift a finger."

"Can't this nation show a bit of gumption for once?" it asks.


The recipients of the New Year Honours will not be announced until Thursday, but the Daily Telegraph reckons it has a good idea who will be on the list. Stars from the world of sport will dominate, according to the paper.

It predicts honours for Formula One world champion Jenson Button and the world champion gymnast, Beth Tweddle.

But the paper says it has been told by "royal sources" that television personalities will be largely missing from the list.

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