Newspaper review: NI and Republic of Ireland stories


Journalist Liz Kennedy takes a look at what is making the headlines in Friday's newspapers.

The release of republican prisoner Brendan Lillis is in the headlines.

That's the lead in the Irish News, reporting what it calls "the surprise move" last night by parole authorities to free the 59-year-old from custody.

Mr Lillis praises the efforts made by his partner to highlight his case for release on medical grounds.

The Belfast Telegraph reports his supporters' delight, whilst both it and the News Letter also note Health Minister Edwin Poots' comment that Mr Lillis would have received what the Telegraph calls "more than adequate treatment" in Maghaberry prison.

And a good news story for one local family, now millionaires, with a £1m Lottery win in Kilkeel, according to the Irish News, the Daily Mirror and the News Letter.

The lucky grandmother bought her ticket at a local filling station in the County Down town.

And pictures of celebrating students everywhere this morning.

And that's mostly alongside less positive headlines, with the Belfast Telegraph saying that 20,000 students were left "in agony" after the university admissions' website Ucas crashed on Thursday.

The Times says the organisation was "taken by surprise" by the thousands who wanted to log in.

The Independent describes it as a "frantic scramble for a dwindling number of university places".

The Daily Telegraph calls it "a desperate scramble". And the Independent says the success "erases riot memories", picturing a student from Tottenham, who's the first in her family to take A-levels.

The Daily Mail finds it "mind-boggling" that even "straight A-star students" are still what they dub "rejects" for places.

The Guardian quotes the universities minister, who calls it "a cruel trick" that schools are not advising pupils better about their choice of A level subjects.

'On the brink'

Meanwhile, with Liam Gallagher Belfast-bound for a concert tomorrow night, the Sun leads on what it calls an "explosive lawsuit" by the former Oasis vocalist over allegations about his conduct made by his brother Noel.

And those dramatic falls on the world's stock markets yesterday come under close examination.

The Irish Times quotes that interview with President Obama, to be televised on Sunday, where he says that another recession in America is "unlikely".

But the Daily Mail says that "fears are mounting that the developed world is on the brink of another devastating downturn".

The Guardian talks of "a fresh wave of selling" and the Daily Express says there were "billions lost in stock market panic".

And the Irish Independent reports that investments "seen as safe havens" like US and German government bonds, the US dollar and Swiss franc and gold were all pushed higher.

Meanwhile, it documents what it calls the "extraordinary" step that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took. He shipped all his country's 11$bn of gold reserves home from banks in the US and UK.

And finally, for fans of John Wayne, an auction that could be of interest to those who want to channel their inner cowboy.

The Daily Telegraph has the story. Veteran actor John Wayne kept his costumes from True Grit and some of the jackets still have the original mud on them.

And now his family is selling them off. His scuffed old cowboy boots could fetch as much at £7,000, but the real collector's item is his black Stetson, said to be worth £20,000.

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