Northern Ireland

What the papers say

Newspapers

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

There are concerns about the prison service in the Belfast Telegraph.

Despite having more staff than inmates, the prison system still struggles to deliver an effective service.

That's according to the Criminal Justice Inspection, which claims that the system is still operating as it did during the Troubles, when the focus was more on security than rehabilitation, with inmates locked up for long periods of time.

In an editorial, the paper says that our jails need reform from top to bottom.

It calls on Justice Minister David Ford to "address the fundamental flaws in the service, ensuring that the right people are at the helm, and that the prison warders' union no longer exerts undue influence on the prison regime".

Wikileaks cable claims about the Northern Bank robbery are still very much to the fore.

The News Letter reports that unionist politicians - such as Gregory Campbell and David McNarry - have called on Sinn Fein leaders to "come clean" about the allegations, while the Mirror leads with Gerry Adams' insistence that he had no prior knowledge of the £26.5m bank raid.

The Mirror's editorial says the Americans are squirming, as what they say in public seems to bear little resemblance to what's said behind closed doors.

But it says that all the embarrassment will be worth it, if it helps us to get closer to the truth about the Northern Bank robbery, and also about the murder of Pat Finucane.

Digital move

The Irish News reports that RTE Digital is coming north.

Northern Ireland is going to get RTE through Freeview.

It is part of a groundbreaking deal which is also expected to include greater access of BBC services south of the border.

The move follows a memorandum of understanding between the British and Irish governments earlier this year.

"Bring it on," says the paper's editorial. "It's right that viewers here should be able to access RTE as easily as BBC or UTV."

There are more questions about the Stockholm suicide bomber in several English papers.

According to the bomber's family, it was his stay in Britain, in Luton, that turned him from an ordinary teenager to an al-Qaeda fanatic.

The Independent asks why Luton has become "the epicentre of the global clash of civilisations".

The Daily Telegraph thinks it has the answer, describing the town as 'a hotbed of extremism" which has "featured in a significant proportion of British terrorism plots over the past decade".

The Times says that it could be to do with the decline of Luton's car-making industry which left the town with "a combustible atmosphere, racial tensions, high unemployment and the highest crime rate in the region".

And finally the Daily Telegraph goes out on a limb and insists that a white Christmas is now a virtual certainty, with a second big freeze on its way.

The Daily Express is already dreaming about it - it says that snow may bring havoc, but "who could deny that a carpet of white on the back lawn is a perfect accompaniment to Christmas lunch?"

Meanwhile, back with the Telegraph, there's news of a couple for whom summer never ends.

Janys and John Warren have been living on British summer time for years, and claim that refusing to put the clocks back has improved their health and cut their heating bills.

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