Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: NI and Republic of Ireland stories


With a look at Tuesday's newspapers, journalist Fionola Meredith.

The Irish News reports on a new tally of victims.

Thirty years of the Troubles created 500,000 victims in Northern Ireland, according to the Victims Commission. It is thought that almost one in three of the population were directly affected by the conflict.

As the paper notes, because the research did not extend to the Republic of Ireland or Britain, the true number of people affected is likely to be even higher.

There are concerns about school closures in several papers.

Education Minister John O'Dowd has ordered an audit of every school before the end of this year. SDLP education spokesman Conall McDevitt said that a total of 380 schools - that is one in four - could face the axe.

The Belfast Telegraph describes it as "the biggest shake-up" in education for decades. But the Telegraph approves of Mr O'Dowd's swift audit of schools - as long as he takes firm action on its findings. It thinks that other ministers should face up to making similarly tough decisions, even if they are not popular with the public.

Field of dreams?

There is plenty of interest in pop star Rihanna's appearance in a field near Bangor.

The singer, known for her explicit dance routines, was shooting material for a new music video. Pictures show the singer posing for the cameras while exposing a striking amount of midriff, and a little more besides.

The Sun describes her "gyrating among the wheat". The Sun has also been talking to the land's owner, who is described as a teetotal DUP councillor.

Alan Graham tells the paper that he is not keen on "inappropriate dancing" taking place on his property, but in the end it is a matter of conscience for people.

Elsewhere, the Labour Party conference dominates the headlines.

There is plenty of reaction to Ed Balls's speech to the conference on Monday. The Daily Mail says the shadow chancellor's admission that the last Labour government did not get everything right is worthy of the Golden Raspberry for the understatement of the decade.

But there is no doubt who stole the show. The Guardian says that 16-year-old Rory Weal delivered a message that wowed the party faithful and had the leadership on its feet. Instant comparisons were made to William Hague, who was dubbed Tory Boy after a similarly impassioned speech to the conservative party conference in his youth. The Guardian says that bookies have Labour Boy at fifty-to-one to make it into Downing Street by 2040.

Several papers look ahead to the Amanda Knox murder appeal.

The Independent has a striking picture of Knox under a halo-shaped light, with the headline - "Saint or she-devil?"

The US student was convicted of killing her British room-mate Meredith Kercher in Perugia, an Italian hilltop town. Now, she has been described in court as a "diabolical she-devil" by a lawyer representing the man that she initially accused of the murder. But Knox is hoping her sentence will be overturned after new testimony called into question DNA evidence used to convict her.

And finally, the Daily Express reports on "embarrassing parent syndrome".

It is well known that teenagers don't like their parents trying to act too young, and now a new survey reveals the worst offences. These include: wearing jeans low to expose underwear, wearing baseball caps back to front, and touching fists instead of shaking hands.

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