Newspaper headlines: Alex Batty 'exclusive' and 'Christmas travel chaos' – BBC

The Sun devotes its first five pages to its interview with 17-year-old Alex Batty, who was found in France last week after disappearing six years ago. He speaks of tiring of the nomadic lifestyle with his mother and grandfather, and details the measures he took to return to Britain. He says he walked for more than 20 miles, over two days, in France. The paper carries a picture of the teenager reunited with his grandmother in the UK.
The travel delays and cancellations caused by Eurotunnel industrial action and Storm Pia feature on many of the front pages. "Going nowhere for Christmas" is the headline in The Daily Telegraph. For The Scottish Daily Mail, it's "the getaway nightmare before Christmas". The Daily Mirror's headline calls the disruption "Pia pressure". The Daily Mail reports on the destruction left by the storm: a car crushed by a felled tree in Derbyshire, a roof blown off flats in Sheffield, and damage caused to train powerlines. One rail passenger tells the paper the situation at Euston station in London was "bedlam".
The chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, raises the prospect of a reduction in interest rates next year in an interview with The Financial Times. He says 2024 will be the year to "throw off our pessimism and declinism about the UK economy" and predicts that, by the end of next year, "people will begin to have more confidence in their own prospects and the prospects of their family". But the paper says the chancellor's talk of rate cuts will "jar" with the Bank of England which jealously guards its independence.
The main story in the Guardian is a report on the large number of patients being admitted to hospital with malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies. It says 800,000 patients in England and Wales showed signs of such illnesses last year. The paper says the NHS figures have prompted warnings about the devastating health impact of food insecurity.
The issue of assisted dying, which has been highlighted by the BBC's Today Podcast interview with Dame Esther Rantzen on Tuesday, continues to feature in several of the papers. "Is the tide turning?" asks the headline on the front of Tthe Daily Mail. The paper calls for a debate, saying it's one of the most challenging moral and legal issues of our age. The Daily Express carries an article written by Dame Esther in which she says the current law as it stands can be "hideously cruel". In its leader column the paper calls for MPs to be given a free vote on the issue, saying now is a time for "deep thinking, courage and integrity".
Finally, Tthe Times reports that 2023 has been a vintage year for British wine. The paper says as many as 22 million bottles will be produced from the grape vintage, which is 50% more than the previous record. Experts say the minimal spring frost and warm weather in June, September and October helped. But there's a sour note from the Times's wine critic, Jane MacQuitty, who predicts that "with lower than average ripeness levels, due to the lack of summer sunshine, it's unlikely this year's wines will trump those of Britain's heatwave summer of 2018.
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