Northern Ireland

What the papers say

Newspapers

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

The Irish News leads with a report about the funeral of a former senior IRA man. It follows Gerry Bradley taking his own life this week and will be a strictly private cremation.

The father of four was said to have been ostracised after publishing his life story. The paper says the service will contrast with the way the deaths of other leading republicans have been marked.

Teenager Shane Magill from Randalstown, who was killed in a road crash this week, had got his moped for his 16th birthday only a fortnight ago. The News Letter has an interview with his mother Rosemary, who says her son was about to join the army.

Meanwhile, the Belfast Telegraph examines the first and deputy first ministers' strategy to tackle sectarianism. 150 leading local figures have signed an open letter calling for the "Cohesion, Sharing and Integration" blueprint to be revised.

They say Stormont's big plan won't heal divisions and that ministers are "just tinkering with the issue."

And American politics is also in the news, as President Obama sees the popularity of the Democrats tumble.

The picture lead in The Independent says it all - it's the back of President Obama's head. But the paper assesses that the likely takeover of the House of Representatives by the Republicans next week "could be the making of the President" but for Mr Obama's first term at least, "the time of sweeping political change is over."

But politics could be all a matter of genetics, according to the Daily Telegraph, Guardian and the Daily Mail. Scientists in America have identified a so-called "liberal gene" that makes people more open-minded.

The research was done by Harvard and the University of California and is published in the UK-based Journal of Politics.

It finds that age, ethnicity, gender and culture make little difference to the way you vote. It's all down to the liberal gene DRD4.

The Guardian headline sums it up: "Reading this paper?" it asks. " It could be in your genes."

The politics of finance in the south and the losers in a share wipeout are listed.

The Irish Independent documents all of those who saw the value of their stocks in AIB plunge. The special investigation looks at the "politicians, business people, churches and charities who lost millions in share prices".

It says that the Church of Ireland is nursing one of the biggest losses. Worth at their highest value 17.3 million euro, the investment has plummeted to just over 260,000 euro at the moment. The church held 750,000 shares and says it is holding the shares with the expectation that they "would eventually recover."

Meanwhile the Guardian says that the UK's bosses have been accused of ignoring economic reality, after it was revealed that boardroom pay went up 55% ast year.

And finally, are the legs still up to it... that's this morning's debate about the Lord of the Dance.

The Irish News thinks not, as Michael Flatley - whose legs were once insured for $40m danced at Belfast's Odyssey last night. "Not firing on all cylinders" in a show that seems "rather tired" in an age of austerity, it thinks. Meanwhile the Daily Mirror says the super-hoofer was "back better then ever."

And legs under examination in The Sun, with councillors in Moyle having taken local soundings on a sculpture planned for Rathlin Island.

The representation of a maiden washed ashore was said to be too revealing. A new design has less leg and more skirt.

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