Northern Ireland

What the papers say


Mike Philpott takes a look at Thursday's newspapers

The lead in both the Irish News and the Belfast Telegraph is how Alison Hewitt, a first-time offender and a single mother, broke down in the dock after being sentenced to three months for stealing jeans which were worth £10.

The Telegraph says family members were not in court to hear the verdict, because they had been told to expect a term of community service.

The Irish News reports that the Committee for the Administration of Justice has questioned the sentence, because in its opinion the human rights of Ms Hewitt's young daughter should have been considered.

The News Letter concentrates on figures from the Department of Agriculture which show that the number of farmers in Northern Ireland has fallen by more than 5,000 in just 10 years.

The paper calls this decline "alarming" but quotes the Strangford MLA David McNarry as saying that it could be halted.

Star Wars

It's the lead in the Guardian and the Independent - and most papers agree that the violence on the streets of Cairo is an attempt by the government to reassert its authority.

The Daily Telegraph leads with leaked documents suggesting that the United States threatened to take military action against China during an arms race in space. The paper says both countries shot down their own satellites in earth orbit to prove to the other that they had so-called Star Wars capability.

The Daily Mail reports under its main headline that lawyers have set up shop in dozens of prisons in the UK, encouraging inmates to claim compensation for not having the right to vote.

The paper says they have already collected 2,500 clients seeking payouts if the British government loses a constitutional battle with the European Court of Human Rights.

The Daily Express concentrates on yet another health story on its front page, reporting that over-zealous use of sun block on children is helping to fuel a rise in Vitamin D deficiency.

The Irish Times suggests that Fine Gael is on course to lead the next government in the Irish Republic, while Fianna Fail has fallen to another record low of just 15%.

But the paper comments that the outcome is far from certain. It points to the fact that more than a quarter of people either haven't made up their minds, are refusing to vote, or simply won't say who they plan to support.


The other poll, in the Irish Independent , focuses on how people want the next government to tackle the economic crisis. It says two thirds want a reduction in public spending in preference to tax rises.

Apparently cosmetic surgeons have noticed a surge in demand from people wanting to get rid of wrinkles around the eyes caused by reading an ever-increasing volume of email on their phones.

The Mail reports that the wrinkles are caused by scrunching up the eyes to read the small text. The paper's cartoon shows one tortoise saying to another: 'You've been using your new phone too much'.

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