Northern Ireland

What the papers say


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

The Daily Telegraph produces a long list of figures for us to contemplate - 10,000, the minimum death toll expected, 12,000 rescued so far, 590,000 people evacuated from their homes since the earthquake struck.

And the list goes on.

The word meltdown dominates several front pages such as the Belfast Telegraph.

The Irish Independent writes of a race to prevent a nuclear and humanitarian disaster.

There are pictures everywhere of the devastation. One of the most shocking is on the front page of the London Independent which shows a barren landscape which is all that's left of the town of Minami Sanriku on the north east coast.

The Daily Express says it's a town that's been washed from the face of the earth.

But as is often the case, it's the individual human touches that grab your attention.


The Daily Telegraph shows a young woman wrapped in a blanket and looking stunned by the destruction around her.

The Sun front page pictures a man found clinging to the roof of his house, ten miles out at sea.

The Independent shows a little boy with his arms outstretched as he's checked for radiation.

The Mail front page asks: "Is the worst still to come?"

After the tsunami, it says, comes the nuclear threat. The paper's science editor says the word meltdown is one that brings dread to the hearts of nuclear engineers.

The Guardian writes of workers at the Fukushima power plant pumping seawater into the reactors in a last-ditch attempt to make them safe.

Expensive catastrophe

The Times says the stock markets are braced for economic devastation.

The Daily Telegraph says it's likely to be one of the most expensive catastrophes in history for the British insurance industry, which is the third largest in the world. The bill for British insurers alone could be at the very least £3.1bn and the paper says that as profits go down, premiums might go up.

The Belfast Telegraph talks to Martin McGuinness about the Queen's visit to Dublin.

He tells the paper that any protest would be a huge mistake, a statement which the Telegraph sees as a significant milestone. Columnist Ed Curran says the royal visit "could be Sinn Fein's Mandela moment".

The News Letter turns its attention to the shooting of Marion Millican in Portstewart on Friday. The headline says she was one in a million. This is the description by the minister who'll conduct her funeral service on Tuesday.

And students are in the headlines in the Irish News. It says they're turning their backs on Belfast's Holylands area because of its reputation for anti-social behaviour.

The Irish News says one in five student houses in the area is now lying empty.

Finally, the papers are of course full of stories of the bravery of the rescue teams in Japan.

However, that generosity of spirit might be sadly lacking in a story in the Daily Telegraph about a taxi driver in Coventry.

The paper reports that he kept his meter running while a young woman gave birth in the back of his cab and as well as the fare, he then demanded an extra £40 to cover his cleaning bills.

The young mother says: "I was appalled."

But the taxi firm now tells the paper they'll foot the bill as a gesture of goodwill.

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