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Newspaper review: NI and Republic of Ireland stories

Newspapers

Journalist Fionola Meredith takes a look at what is making the headlines in Monday's newspapers.

Libya dominates the front pages this morning.

"Gaddafi on the brink", is the Times headline, after a day of dramatic battles and stunning gains for opposition forces.

All the papers carry dramatic pictures of the rebel advance on Tripoli. The situation is developing so rapidly, the papers are behind.

But the editorials look ahead to the collapse of the Gaddafi regime, and what happens next.

The Guardian says there is plenty of evidence of common sense, democratic instinct, idealism and professional competence in Libya. But it warns that such elements can be outflanked and wasted as more extreme forces scramble for advantage.

Similar concerns in the Times, which says that the future for Libya - and for the Middle East in general - depends on whether the "uprising ends in anarchy or whether hopes for democracy can be salvaged".

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Richard Dannatt, former chief of the general staff, says that Libya's future depends on lessons learned from Iraq.

He cautions against a Western presence in Libya, which would provide the same pretext that enabled al-Qaeda to portray the Iraqi intervention as a western violation of Islamic space.

"The boots on the ground", he says, "must be filled by Libyan feet".

Locally, there is continuing coverage of the murders of two County Down women in Turkey.

The Belfast Telegraph claims an exclusive for its report from the murder scene in Turkey, where it's thought the chief suspect may appear for his first public court hearing today since the remains of the victims were discovered.

According to police reports presented to the judge in a private hearing, the young Turkish man accused of the murders said that he did so because "they killed my dreams".

The Sun and the News Letter both look at the legal implications of the suspects age - he would face a much lighter sentence if he were tried as a juvenile.

There is a very different story in the Irish News.

It's all about one of Ireland's forgotten disasters, which happened almost 50 years ago.

Sixteen people killed in a freak hurricane, many more injured and whole areas laid to waste.

A toddler was swept up by the twister, and miraculously survived. Pauline Loughran, from County Tyrone, was found 24 hours later, sleeping in a potato field.

The paper says that it could have been a scene from the Wizard of Oz. The Loughran family have been remembering the terror and relief of that time. Pauline herself says that she grew up with people asking her - "are you the wee girl who blew away?"

And finally, a report on bizarre by-laws in the Daily Telegraph.

An English council has published a list of its top 10 bizarre by-laws, as part of a campaign to cut central government red tape.

Included on the list of by-laws, dating from 1894 to 1935, are rules on tackling "wilful jostling" and a law against carrying bags of soot in the street.

In addition, orange peel or any other dangerous substance should not be thrown in the street. And it is laid down that the owner of a steam-powered whirligig must immediately bring it to a standstill if the operator becomes ill.

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