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Newspaper headlines: Government in surplus – but pay is squeezed

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The latest figures on government borrowing have given Chancellor Philip Hammond a “shot in the arm”, according to the Financial Times. Lower spending and higher tax receipts have produced the biggest July surplus for 18 years. The paper says this will be welcome news for Mr Hammond – who has to find an extra £20bn a year by 2023 for the NHS.

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The Metro offers a more gloomy assessment of the economy. Although it says the number of employed has risen, it adds that wages have dropped by £50 a month since the financial crisis. The paper carries a warning from the Resolution Foundation think tank that the country is “in the midst of a long and painful pay squeeze”.

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The Times leads with the news that Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and “fixer” has accused the US President of ordering illegal campaign finance payments. The paper says that although Michael Cohen’s admission “directly implicates” Donald Trump in a federal crime, he cannot be indicted while in office. However the paper says he could face impeachment if the Democrats win control of congress in November.

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The Home Office’s admission of injustice towards the Windrush generation makes the front page of the Guardian. It says the apology from Home Secretary Sajid Javid to 18 people affected by the scandal has been criticised for being too narrow.

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The Telegraph leads with comments from the chairman of the Magistrates Association. The paper says John Bache has argued that hiring more magistrates with criminal records would help increase diversity among the judiciary. Mr Bache said rules allowing those with criminal pasts to become magistrates need to be better known.

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The Mirror claims victory as it welcomes a new law banning third parties such as online dealers from selling pets that have been “callously bred”. “Lucy’s law” will mean someone looking to adopt or buy a puppy or kitten must deal directly with the breeder or an animal rehoming centre, the paper says.

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The Daily Mail launches an attack on the “appalling soft justice meted out by courts”. It argues that “violent thugs, prolific burglars and drug dealers” are avoiding custodial sentences.

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The Daily Express celebrates a “wonder drug” which has been shown to shrink tumours by a third. The paper says in trials more than half of ovarian cancer sufferers and a third with lung cancer “were given extra precious time” after taking the drug combination.

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The i reports on the news that a new prostate treatment has been approved on the NHS. It says the five minute steam procedure used to shrink enlarged prostates has fewer side-effects than invasive surgery.

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The Sun leads with the story that a World War Two event at Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire included displays of Nazi memorabilia including Nazi uniforms and yellow stars. The National Trust said the Lacock At War event held next to its stately home was “insensitive and unacceptable” and has launched an investigation.

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The mugging of Emmerdale actor Thomas Atkinson makes the front page of the Daily Star. The 19-year-old was held up by “knife-wielding muggers” in France, the paper says.

“Trump told me to break election law” is how the main headline in the Times sums up Michael Cohen’s admission in court.

The paper points out that a sitting president cannot be charged with an offence – but it says Donald Trump could be impeached if the Democratic Party wins control of Congress in the mid-term elections in November.

The Guardian sees the convictions as a vindication for the special counsel, Robert Mueller. It says the implications are ominous for Mr Trump.

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European Photopress Agency

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Michael Cohen after a hearing at a United States Federal Court in New York

The New Statesman calls it a huge and potentially catastrophic day of news for the US president.

Between Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, it says, there is no doubt that the Trump campaign was mired in criminality.

The question is simple now, the New Statesman adds: “How close will the evidence get to the president himself?”

The Washington Post points out that Cohen is the fifth Trump associate to have pleaded guilty or been charged with criminal wrongdoing since the president took office.

They include his former national security adviser, his deputy campaign chairman and a former policy adviser.

The chairman of the Magistrates Association suggests in the Daily Telegraph that one way of increasing diversity on the bench might be to recruit more people with criminal records.

John Bache tells the paper that a more representative set of magistrates is needed in order to make those accused of crimes feel less alienated by the justice system.

“What does it take to get locked up?” is the question posed by the main headline in the Daily Mail, which takes aim at what it calls the soft justice meted out by British courts.

It says an audit of sentences imposed at 12 courts reveals violent thugs, prolific burglars and drug dealers avoided prison.

The Guardian’s front page picture shows cracks in the oldest and thickest sea ice in the Arctic, which has started to break up.

The paper says the phenomenon, which has never been recorded before, has occurred twice this year because of warm winds and a heatwave driven by climate change.

The Financial Times describes the drop in government borrowing as a shot in the arm for the chancellor.

But it cautions that the figures risk setting off a new debate across the cabinet table about whether it is time to loosen the purse strings after eight years of cutbacks in some departments.

The Daily Mirror hails the new restrictions on the sale of pets as “the end of puppy farming”.

The paper has been campaigning for the change after highlighting the case of a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, called Lucy, which was kept for breeding in cramped and filthy conditions.

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The Daily Express leads with what it says is a revolutionary cancer therapy that can shrink tumours by a third.

In small-scale trials in Britain, the previously untested combination of drugs proved effective for some ovarian and lung cancer patients who’d become resistant to standard treatments.

Finally, the Sun leads with criticism of the National Trust for hosting a World War Two re-enactment featuring Nazi uniforms and memorabilia.

It says one visitor to the event at Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire was left in tears by the sight of men parading round in jackboots and displaying a swastika flag.

The organisers of the event insist they do not support Nazism, but the National Trust tells the Sun the displays were insensitive and it’ll make sure they aren’t repeated. The headline says: “Don’t mansion the war”.

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