Northern Ireland

What the papers say


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

The Irish News boasts a dramatic front page. It dispenses with small text and instead uses an extended headline and pictures. Those pictures - taken from a police officer's lost mobile phone - show the officer in question, as well as her colleagues and a PSNI helicopter.

The paper says the content of the phone, which also contains details of security operations, have fallen into the hands of dissident republicans. It comments that it is "essential that police officers exercise vigilance at all times".

The News Letter and the Belfast Telegraph both carry pictures of Ian Paisley Junior leaving the Ulster Hospital after visiting his father. Both papers focus on the call by the first and deputy first ministers for people to pray for the former DUP leader as he remains in the intensive care unit.

The Daily Mirror claims that Dr Paisley was able to squeeze his wife's hands and is aware of what is happening. That story shares the Mirror's front page with an account of the emergency landing at Belfast International Airport after a plane's landing gear mechanism failed.

Many of the papers in London look at the horrific events in Syria. The Independent has a front page picture of the funeral of one of those killed during government shelling of the city of Homs. On inside pages, it shows more dead and seriously injured protesters.

The Guardian has two contrasting photographs. One shows the motorcade of the Russian Foreign Minister being greeted by pro-government crowds in Damascus. The other shows a devastated street in Homs. A Tale of Two Cities, says the headline.

The paper says protesters have accused the Syrian regime of "a genocidal attack". They add that they are being bombed, shot and starved into submission.

The Daily Telegraph says the problem for the rebels is that they are fragmented and - unlike their counterparts in Libya - they don't control any area of the country.

Road safety is an issue in Dublin. The Irish Independent reports that there is to be a huge overhaul of speed limits in the Republic in an effort to reduce the death toll on country roads. The paper says rural speed limits will be slashed, but top speeds on better routes like dual carriageways could be revised upwards.

According to the story, there are country roads with grass growing up the middle where the speed limit is 80kph, while some dual carriageways with good visibility are limited to 60kph.

The Irish Times reports that the finance bill being published on Wednesday will contain tax incentives aimed at luring senior multinational executives to Ireland. The objective, according to the story, is to boost job creation.

Finally, a police operation that didn't go to plan. The Sun reports how a closed circuit TV operator tried to guide a plain clothes officer to arrest a suspicious looking character he'd spotted in the street. But every time it looked as if the officer was closing in on the suspect, he was nowhere to be seen.

The mystery was solved when a sergeant walked into the control room and pointed out that the suspicious character being followed by the cameras was, in fact, the undercover officer himself.

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