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May: 03/05/2021: @acenewsservices

Newspaper headlines: ‘Fever pitch’ and ‘one metre-plus to be scrapped’

Warning: Front pages include spoiler details of Sunday’s Line of Duty finale

Most of Monday’s front pages carry pictures of the protest by Manchester United supporters against the club’s owners, which forced the postponement of the team’s match against Liverpool.

i news
A fan protest at Manchester United’s ground against the Glazer family’s ownership of the club makes several of Monday’s front pages. The i newspaper splashes with an image of the crowd setting off flares, after hundreds of protesters stormed on to the pitch ahead of the club’s game against Liverpool. The fixture was postponed.

BBC News: Staff:

The Guardian dubs it “The Invasion of Old Trafford”. The protest followed United’s decision, along with five fellow Premier League clubs, to join the European Super League (ESL) last month, before subsequently pulling out. Thousands gathered outside Old Trafford before a group forced their way into the ground. The Guardian leads with a call by the Scottish Conservative leader for the PM to resign if he is found to have broken government rules over his flat renovations.”

Fever Pitch” is the Daily Mirror’s take on the scenes at Old Trafford. It reports that Greater Manchester Police has launched a probe into what it called the “reckless, dangerous” incident. The paper devotes much of its front page to an image of lowland gorillas in an appeal to act against the threat of extinction of many animal species:

The Times says the so-called “one-metre plus” social distancing rule will be scrapped from 21 June under plans to ensure that all restaurants, pubs, theatres and cinemas can reopen fully: But it adds that masks will have to be worn in some cases to mitigate the risks. Citing comments from Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Sunday that some Covid-19 safeguards will need to remain in place beyond June, the paper claims that this means theatre and cinema audiences will need to wear face coverings:

The Daily Express also leads with comments from Mr Raab, who told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show that Britain was on the “last lap” of winning its battle against coronavirus. The foreign secretary also said progress on vaccination meant the UK was in “a good position” to end almost all restrictions on 21 June, but the final decision would be based on the evidence:

The Daily Telegraph has spoken to the husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe about Iranian reports that a £400 million deal has been secured for her release: The 42-year-old British-Iranian mother has been held in Iran since 2016, and was sentenced to prison again last week. Richard Ratcliffe said the reports were “a good sign” but that the family had not yet heard anything from London or Tehran. “My instinct is it is still a negotiating tactic,” he tells the paper:

The Daily Mail reports that its campaign to help create a memorial for Covid victims at St Paul’s Cathedral in London has raised more than £65,000 in two days:

The Financial Times leads with an analysis of data showing that shares in businesses that went public through deals with “blank-cheque” companies have dropped by an average of two-fifths, as investor caution rises: The paper also carries a warning by the world’s biggest vaccine manufacturer, India’s Serum Institute, that a shortage of jabs will last for months in the country:

Finally, the Daily Star leads on the finale of Line of Duty.

The Daily Telegraph speaks of “rioting fans storming” Old Trafford; the Daily Mail of “anarchy”; and the Daily Mirror of “MU-tiny”

The Guardian says there were “ugly scenes”. For the Daily Express, the “Theatre of Dreams” became one of “Screams”

The Sun reports that hundreds of fans “ran riot”; its back page headline is “Damned United”. 

A very different picture appears on the front of the Financial Times: it’s of Russian President Vladimir Putin at an Orthodox Easter service in Moscow. 

The paper says four Russian billionaires and the state energy giant, Rosneft, are suing HarperCollins in London over a book it published about the president’s rise. Claimants include the owner of Chelsea FC, Roman Abramovich.

For the FT, their move highlights the high-stakes nature of writing about the global elite and the role of top London law firms in defending their interests. 

On Sunday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab warned that some social distancing and mask-wearing measures could stay in place in England beyond 21 June. 

However, the Times suggests that the “one metre-plus” social distancing rule will be scrapped for all restaurants, pubs, theatres and cinemas, so they can reopen at full capacity for the first time in 15 months.

The paper reckons that theatre and cinema-goers will have to wear face coverings during performances, and there will be strict guidelines on ventilation and staggered entry; while one-way systems and screens may remain in pubs and restaurants. 

But the Times says that, after the success of recent trials, there will be no limits on customer numbers. 

The claim by Iran’s state media that a £400 million deal has been struck for Britain to repay a 1970s arms deal debt in return for the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe provides the main story for the Daily Telegraph.

It quotes the charity worker’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, as welcoming the reports as “probably a good sign… but still a negotiating tactic”. 

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe has already served a five-year prison sentence in Iran for spying, which she has denied. Last week she was sentenced to a further year in jail for plotting to overthrow the Islamic Republic, which she also denies. 

Both Daily Mail and the i note that the Foreign Office would say only that “legal discussions are ongoing”.

Travel green list

The Times reports that Boris Johnson is facing cabinet divisions over how many holiday destinations should be on England’s “green list” for international travel that will be exempt from quarantine restrictions in two weeks’ time. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock and England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty are said to be pressing for only a “tiny” group of countries to be included; while other ministers and many Conservative backbenchers want the resumption of international travel to be speeded up. 

According to the Sun, government insiders are warning that green destinations could turn red at the last minute if there’s a sudden surge in coronavirus cases there or a new variant of concern. 

The Guardian reports that a cross-party group of MPs is warning that holidays abroad should be discouraged even when they become legal – to prevent a third wave of coronavirus in the UK and further lockdowns.

#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: May.03: 2021:

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