Newspaper review: UK and Republic of Ireland stories


Journalist Mike Philpott takes a look at what is making the headlines in Wednesday's newspapers.

Every paper is once again dominated by images of rioting.

The front page picture in both the News Letter and the Irish News shows a police officer in riot gear standing outside a burning shop in Manchester.

The Belfast Telegraph has a group of officers carrying shields as they made their way into the centre of Birmingham.

But perhaps the most shocking front page photograph belongs to the Mirror.

It shows a badly beaten man being helped by a policeman and a passer-by. He was attacked after remonstrating with a gang in Ealing, west London.

The Sun has a very different series of photographs - this time showing some of those allegedly involved in looting. It urges people to act if they recognise any of the faces.

All the papers agree that order needs to be restored quickly.

The Financial Times says simply that the state has lost control of England's streets.

The Daily Mail comments that "protecting the public at home is the first duty of any government".

The Irish Times says it's easy to take normal social order for granted, and the riots are a symptom of "a broken society".

There are some bright spots amid the gloom, however.

The front of the Daily Express is dominated by pictures of people clutching brushes and bin liners as they set out to clean up the streets of London. The paper sees it as "defiant Britons pulling together to reclaim the streets".

The Daily Telegraph reports how a "human barricade" of local people protected shops and houses in Clapham, while a group of mainly Turkish men faced down the rioters in Dalston and the Bengali community did the same in Whitechapel.

The Telegraph also has the story of Pauline Pearce, a feisty woman who delivered her own impromptu speech berating a group of rioters, leaving them in stunned silence.

It was filmed by one of the paper's reporters, who posted it online. It has since been viewed more than 1,000,000 times.


Among other headlines, the Irish News reports that more than 1,000 firms in Northern Ireland have gone out of business since the start of the credit crunch.

The story says an extra 30,000 people have been added to the dole queue.

The Belfast Telegraph reports on the injunction granted to a woman who went to court to prevent Facebook from showing what the paper calls a "sex tape" filmed by her former partner.

The Irish Times tells how the Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin contacted the veteran broadcaster Gay Byrne to ask him to run for the presidency.

The Irish Independent says the former chat show host will consult his family before making his final decision. But he tells the paper that if he decides to run, it will be as an independent candidate, even though he will have Fianna Fail support.

Finally, the story of the woman who has won the lottery four times. Sixty-three-year-old Joan Ginther from Las Vegas has amassed a 20m dollar fortune from four scratch cards.

As the Times reports, the odds of such a winning streak have been calculated at one in 18 septillion.

To put that into perspective, says the paper, there are estimated to be one septillion grains of sand on earth.

But it seems she was depending on something more than luck - Ms Ginther is a maths genius who may have cracked the algorithm that determines how winning tickets are distributed.

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