Northern Ireland

What the papers say

Newspapers

Journalist Liz Kennedy takes a look at what is making the headlines in Friday's newspapers.

The Irish News features a health story.

The Cabinet and PSNI are said to have been asked to find the whistle-blowers who leaked documents exposing years of abuse in two local children's hospitals.

"Way forward on parades is sought" is the headline in the News Letter, with the Orange Order working on advancing their position over what the Grand Master of the institution calls "ongoing difficulties".

An internal committee is said to be looking at the issue, but there will still be no engagement with the Parades Commission. And on page three of the paper, good news for some; a tiny tragedy for others, as one grower announces a bumper year for Brussels Sprouts. The secret was the mild autumn and the lack of caterpillars, it seems.

'Wilson war'

Elsewhere, the new levy on local large stores is examined.

It's the "Wilson war on stores" according to the Mirror, referring to Finance Minister Sammy Wilson's go-ahead on the extra 15% on their annual rates bills. The Belfast Telegraph's consumer correspondent says that the move "will cost jobs and scare off new investment."

Retail analyst Donald McFetridge favours an "imbalance" of small, medium and large-sized businesses in town centres.

The papers in the Republic of Ireland focus, as ever, on finance.

The Irish Times takes a look at the Revenue's clampdown on a scheme that allowed at least 20 companies to avoid paying tax on more than 150m euros. The money was then used to reward staff with tax-free income. Trusts and off-shore structures were the key.

The Irish Independent reveals plans for higher property taxes in the south, even as protests continue over the controversial new 100 euros charge.

The Irish Times has an analysis of the situation in Iraq, after the withdrawal of US combat troops. Michael Jansen says that nine years after being invaded, Iraq is "completely unstable and drenched in blood".

And less violent, but very spirited, there is "a war of words" across the English Channel.

The offensive is examined in the Daily Telegraph. It is dubbing as "a war" the French calls for Britain to lose its triple-A credit rating amount. The Sun keeps diplomatic channels on hot, calling Christian Noyer, head of the Bank of France, a "triple-A rated fool".

And the Guardian looks at the case of Jacques Chirac. The former president has been found guilty of embezzling public funds.

"A judge was told he would decide Chirac's place in history," says the paper,"and he condemned him."

Cleared

But Imogen Thomas has been cleared of blackmail. That is the Sun's lead. After an eight-month legal battle, the model says she "never" wanted to reveal details over her affair with footballer Ryan Giggs.

There is a seasonal piece in the Independent - another way to appreciate turkey. Their nature studies' man says that in Mexico they are rainbow bright iridescent birds and "crisp skin and stuffing are not the whole story".

And finally, if you want to hide from the police, take up a TV career.

That was the solution for one Chinese criminal says the Times. He eluded capture for 13 years by becoming an actor in a Chinese soap. He had previously played parts including a eunuch and a judge, but it was over-confidence that was finally his undoing.

He appeared on a TV matchmaking show and watching police said: "That's the man for us".

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