Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: NI and Republic of Ireland stories


Journalist Mike Philpott takes a look at what is making the headlines in Wednesday's newspapers.

There is not much consensus about a lead story in the Belfast newspapers.

Justice Minister David Ford is quoted in the Belfast Telegraph as saying that his department is likely to carry out a review of peace walls which could be demolished.

It follows the successful opening of a gate in the city's Alexandra Park.

The story notes that the fence there was erected in 1994 to ease tensions between loyalist and nationalist residents at the time of the IRA ceasefire.

The News Letter reports under its main headline that Archbishop Alan Harper has moved to bring a halt to talk of a split in the Church of Ireland over the first civil partnership involving a minister.

It claims he's trying to avoid the legal and financial disputes that have blighted the Anglican Church in the US, after it became divided over the issue.

The Irish News is more concerned about a GCSE textbook which some people have interpreted as labelling hurling as a foreign sport.

The Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA), which publishes the book, says it will work to ensure that future editions are "worded more clearly".

There is a similar divergence of subject matter in London.

Economic matters make the lead in the The Times and the Independent, with the former warning that the west is sliding into the danger zone.

The Independent also has a front page picture of Troy Davis, who's due to be executed in the US on Wednesday night for murdering a police officer, even though many of the witnesses in his trial have recanted their evidence, several jurors have changed their minds, and another man has confessed to the murder.

The Guardian says the Metropolitan Police have performed a screaming, rubber burning u-turn on their attempts to use the Official Secrets Act to force the newspaper to reveal its sources in the News International phone hacking scandal.

Its columnist, Jonathan Freedland, accuses the police of abusing the act.

The Daily Mail focuses on another u-turn, this time by the government, after hundreds of thousands of women were hit by controversial changes in the state pension system. The newspaper says they will now be offered a better deal.

The most bizarre story of the day belongs to the Irish Times.

It reports that a radio station in Somalia has given out AK 47 rifles as prizes in a children's reading competition.

The third prize winner received two F1 hand grenades. The newspaper says the radio station in question is run by a rebel militia with links to al-Qaeda.

Prizes in previous competitions have included anti-tank mines. At the same time, the militia has banned musical ring tones on mobile phones, films, dancing and football.

Finally, the Guardian reports on a little trouble on the internet for the author Salman Rushdie.

He ventured on to Twitter last week, only to find that the username SalmanRushdie had already been taken.

The newspaper says he faced further indignity when would-be followers demanded that he prove his identity.

The newspaper says he is not the first to fall victim to the practice of name-squatting.

There is no clue about who is behind the spoof, but the newspaper reminds us of the famous New Yorker cartoon of a black mongrel with his paws on a computer keyboard.

The caption reads: "On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog".

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