Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: NI and Republic of Ireland stories


With a look at today's newspapers, journalist Mike Philpott.

The papers lose hope in the case of missing Ballycastle woman Karen Coyles.

She is pictured on the front of the Belfast Telegraph on a night out with friends last Saturday, 24 hours before she went missing. The paper says the search has now moved from land to sea, after sniffer dogs identified a trail leading from her car to a cliff top.

"Hope fades," says the headline.

That same phrase turns up in the News Letter main headline, below a picture showing the cliff edge cordoned off with plastic tape. The story says many of those who had been searching for Karen broke down in tears at the news.

The Irish News leads instead with the words of Keith Munro, the police doctor targeted in a Real IRA bomb attack. He is quoted as saying that he feels sorry for those who placed the device in the garden of his home near Claudy.

The paper comments that it almost beggars belief that an organisation could target someone whose work is crucially important in the welfare of prisoners.

The Daily Mirror describes it as "a new low".

Norris comeback?

In Dublin, there is news that David Norris may relaunch his campaign to become president.

The Irish Independent says he will address independent TDs and senators amid intense speculation that he will seek their support for a new presidential bid.

The paper reminds us that he withdrew from the race a month ago after it emerged that he wrote a letter to the Israeli authorities seeking clemency for his former partner Ezra Nawi, who was convicted of rape.

The story says he may still fall short of the required number of nominations and may need the backing of some Fianna Fail TDs and senators.

The Irish Times leads with international matters - the attempt by Germany and France to halt the Greek bail-out crisis. It also reports that there was good news for Ireland when the European Commission agreed to reduce the country's annual repayments on its loans by a further 200m euro.

The Greek crisis is also a major talking point in London.

The papers are not impressed by the confusion among European leaders before they finally agreed a deal that calmed the world markets.

The Guardian says the German government was embroiled in a dispute about whether Greece should be allowed to go bankrupt. The The Times quotes one unnamed European minister as saying that Greece could be forced to leave the euro to save the single currency. It says the former Liberal democrat leader, Lord Ashdown, raised the possibility of an exit by Ireland, Spain and Portugal, too.

The Daily Mail claims Britain is drawing up contingency plans for the collapse of the euro, which, it says, "could plunge our economy into a recession beyond comprehension".

Finally, talking parrots baffle the residents of Sydney in Australia.

Chatty parrots

The Daily Mail reports on a growing phenomenon of parrots nesting in trees around the city and talking to passers-by. The paper says people have been calling scientists, concerned about their sanity after going out to look at a flock of wild parrots in their gardens, only to hear every bird chorus phrases like "hello darling".

Apparently, domesticated parrots have been learning phrases from their owners, but then escape, join a wild flock, and pass on their knowledge of English.

According to one scientist quoted in the story, people have been lucky so far, because there is no sign yet of any birds who have been taught swear words.

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