Northern Ireland

What the papers say


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

The main headline in the Sun is "Top Guns 1 - Mad Dog 0".

With it there's a picture of a huge ball of flame after an air strike by allied fighters on a Libyan tank.

And we're undoubtedly going to see more headlines like that as the conflict goes on.

The same picture appears on several other front pages. The Mirror calls it "The Road To Hell".

And the Mail declares: "Yes, we would kill Gaddafi" which is how it sums up remarks by Defence Secretary Liam Fox.

There are other dramatic pictures as well and dramatic descriptions.

The Times has a wraparound front page picture showing an explosion outside Benghazi. It says Gaddafi troops were blasted to pieces by French air strikes.

The Independent calls the attacks "pulverising and relentless" and writes of "bodies lying dismembered and burned".

And the big question of course is where will all this lead?

Ed Curran in the Belfast Telegraph says it's all an eerie reminder of what happened in Iraq.

A military expert in The Times says the UK has again become involved with its allies in an intervention operation without having agreed an identifiable end-state or joined-up strategy for delivery.

The scholar Noam Chomsky talks to the Irish Times. He says intervening in a civil war is a complicated business and it will antagonise many in the Arab world.

Different thoughts elsewhere. A commentator in the Daily Telegraph says the only way to get rid of Gaddafi is to send in ground troops to drive him from his bunker.

There's a view in the Independent that Gaddafi will go but it wonders who will replace him. Usually, it says, the local leaders who rise to the top in these circumstances are those who speak the best English and get on with the US.

Odyssey Dawn

Meanwhile the Independent also notes the name that's been given to the current action - Operation Odyssey Dawn.

It says the thinking behind the name hasn't been revealed but one writer says it reminds him of a 70s porn star.

And with all this happening the situation in Japan hasn't exactly been forgotten but it's largely been shoved to the inside pages.

As always, the news caravan moves on. One story from Japan does make a front page, that's in the Daily Telegraph.

It's the story which is widely covered elsewhere of an 80-year-old woman and her 16-year-old grandson being pulled alive from the wreckage of their home nine days after the earthquake.

It says the boy had been able to reach the fridge and they survived on yoghurt, bread and fizzy drinks.

RIR Parade

On the local front pages, the News Letter writes of confusion about a planned homecoming parade in Enniskillen for the Royal Irish Regiment.

There are claims that because of republican opposition it's going to be scrapped. Unionists, the paper says, are demanding answers.

And the Irish News says social clubs for prison officers have been operating inside Maghaberry and Magilligan without drinks licences.

It says this is embarrassing for the Prison Service. It reports that the clubs don't have gambling licences either despite having fruit machines on the premises.

And finally there's not long to go until the royal wedding.

There are plenty of stories about how people are cashing in on the occasion.

The Mail reports that Prince Charles has even joined the souvenir sellers with a £29.95 Kate and William jigsaw which you can get from his Highgrove online shop.

It's made of wood - from sustainable forests, needless to say.

The paper says this now joins a list of other items - including royal scratch cards being flogged by the company run by Kate's parents.

And from somewhere else you can even get William and Kate sick bags just in case the big day proves too much.

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