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The Times reports on Tony Blair’s imminent return to frontline politics as president of Europe. Dependent on the Irish finally voting ‘yes’ to the Lisbon treaty today, a referendum covered on opposing angles by the Guardian and Telegraph, the former Prime Minister could take up his post as early as October 29, having secured the key backing of Germany’s Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his successor in Downing Street. “Mr Brown would probably derive most enjoyment from the fury a Blair presidency would induce in the Conservative leadership,” says a Times analysis piece.
Iran may be on the verge of coming in from the cold, report the Guardian and Independent, agreeing to admit inspectors to their nuclear facilities and exporting some of its enriched uranium for processing abroad, a move described by President Obama as “a good start.” He said: “We’ve made it clear that we will do our part to engage the Iranian government on the basis of mutual interest and mutual respect but our patience is not unlimited.”
The fallout from Wednesday’s earthquake in Indonesia is covered by all the leading papers. The Independent and Telegraph report on the death toll passing 1,100, with the Times reproting that schoolgirls have been found alive under the rubble. Accompanied by harrowing pictures of children staring aghast at the devastation, the Guardian reports on the fear and desolation stalking Padang, the epicentre of the disaster. “I don’t want to be here. I know my son is dead. But I cannot go home. I don’t want to. So I just wait. But they tell me nothing. It is only bad news,” a distraught mother tells reporter Ben Doherty. “My daughter’s face keeps appearing in my eyes … my mind. I cannot sleep, I’m waiting here to see her again,” said another, tears streaming down her face.
House prices are at their highest level for a year, reports the Telegraph, with the average cost of a British home rising 0.9 per cent last month alone, the fifth successive month prices have risen. “The further increase in house prices is very much consistent with improvements in a broad range of economic and financial indicators over the last few months, all of which suggest that the most intense phase of the recession and financial crisis has probably passed,” Martin Gahbauer, chief economist of the Nationwide building society, told the paper.
The Guardian pictures the 11 new Supreme Court justices, on the court’s first day of operation. “For the first time, we have a clear separation of powers between the legislature, the judiciary and the executive in the United Kingdom,” said Lord Phillips, president of the new court. “Justice at the highest level should be transparent.”
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