Hostage negotiators expressed shock and anger at Gordon Brown’s decision to approve a commando raid to free a kidnapped British journalist, saying that they were within days of securing his release through peaceful means.reports the Times this morning,the paper adds that
Stephen Farrell — who was in Afghanistan for The New York Times — was not harmed in the raid but his Afghan translator, Sultan Munadi, and a British soldier from the Special Forces Support Group were killed
The Guardian also leads with the story reporting that
Military officials tonight defended the decision to launch a dramatic raid to rescue a British journalist from the Taliban, in which his Afghan assistant and a soldier were killed, against angry criticism in Afghanistan that the operation had been ordered while talks for his release had already begun.
Gordon Brown hailed the helicopter assault, carried out by the Parachute Regiment and the Royal Marines, as an act of "breathtaking heroism" and said the bravery of the soldier who was killed would not be forgotten.
The Independent meanwhile reports that the Prime Minister's strategy on Afghanistan is under mounting pressure from all three of the main parties as the political consensus on the war begins to crack.
The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are preparing to call for the Afghan election to be re-run amid growing evidence of vote-rigging and intimidation. Their move puts Gordon Brown in a difficult position, because Hamid Karzai, the Afghan President, is utterly opposed to holding another election.
Health spending would rise much more slowly under a Tory government than it has under Labour, the Conservatives have announced for the first time. reports the Telegraph
Andrew Lansley, the shadow health secretary, said that the Tories would cut the rate at which NHS spending was increasing.
The health service would have to “tighten its belt” and accept small increases in its budget, he added.
The economy is still on the up and the Express leads with the news that shares rocketed past the 5,000 mark to close at their highest level for almost a year.
The Telegraph adds that
Stock markets around the world have recovered from their lows as investors anticipate a recovery in the global economy. However, given the scale of the rally some analysts question whether the momentum can be sustained.
Tens of millions of letters are sitting undelivered after rolling strikes brought chaos to the postal system says the Mail
Some 20,000 Royal Mail workers are on strike, paralysing parts of the network.
The backlog in London alone could run to 20million items. Some families have not received deliveries for ten days.
The Times reports that
Hundreds of parents and dozens of private schools were left in financial chaos last night after the collapse of a company that allows parents to pay their fees in instalments.and goes onto say that
The Fees Company, which gives credit to families who cannot afford to pay school fees in a lump sum, has gone into administration hundreds of thousands of pounds in the red. The firm, based in Edinburgh, is understood to have taken payments for half of this term’s fees without passing them on to schools,
The attempts to push healthcare reform in the States feature widely
Barack Obama tried to put his presidency back on course last night with a rare fighting speech to Congress rounding on his Republican critics and promising he would not be deflected from his ambitious plan to extend healthcare to all Americans.says the Guardian
With polls showing support for both the president and his healthcare plan slipping, Obama used a rare speech to a joint session of Congress to try to win over not only the public but sceptical members of his Democratic party who could decide the fate of his reform plan.
"Our collective failure to meet this challenge – year after year, decade after decade – has led us to a breaking point," he said before a rare joint session of Congress, according to excerpts released by the White House shortly before he took to the podium. "Everyone understands the extraordinary hardships that are placed on the uninsured, who live every day just one accident or illness away from bankruptcy." says the Independent
Staying in America and the reappearance of Apple chief Steve Jobs is widely covered.
The Mail says that he
made a surprise entrance at Apple's 'It’s only rock and roll' event in San Francisco to launch the company's latest products today.
Looking gaunt, Apple's co-founder unveiled a new version of the iPod Nano now with a video camera, microphone, and speaker built in.
Finally England's qualification for nwxt year's World Cup appears on many of the front pages.
RAMPANT England crushed Croatia in a 5-1 goal-fest last night to reach next summer's World Cup finals.reports the Sun
And the style turned on by the Three Lions raised hopes they will roar in South Africa.