Northern Ireland

What the papers say


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

The front pages are dominated by tributes to two people.

One is Marie Colvin, the Sunday Times war correspondent who was been killed in Syria. The other is local comedian Frank Carson.

Most of the newspapers report that the Syrian government deliberately targeted journalists in an artillery barrage.

The Times carries the headline: "The Price of Truth".

The Mirror says oppressed people around the world have lost a true friend. Peter Oborne, writing in the Daily Telegraph says that without Marie Colvin's courage, "we simply would have no idea of the scale of the killing in Syria".

Frank Carson's passing is marked with a mixture of sadness and his trademark humour. It is the lead story in both the Mirror and the Sun.

The Mirror describes him as a warm-hearted gentleman from the old school of comedy. He was a beaming ambassador for Northern Ireland during the darkest days of the Troubles, the newspaper says, and despite his fame and fortune he never forgot where he came from.

Eddie McIlwaine, writing in the Belfast Telegraph, says he had an extraordinary life, serving as a paratrooper in the 1950s and being honoured as a Knight of St Gregory by Pope John Paul the Second.

There are several other stories on the local front pages.

The Belfast Telegraph's main headline says "End of the Supergrass" as it reports on the failure of the prosecution case against 12 of 13 loyalists at Belfast Crown Court. The newspaper calls it a farce, and says £20m has been wasted.

The News Letter reports on the decision by the relatives of the workmen murdered at Kingsmills to postpone a walk in their memory, which had been due to take place this weekend.

For the Irish News, the big story is an appeal from the authorities at Queen's University for students to return home on St Patrick's Day to avoid trouble on the streets of Belfast.

The newspaper says the university area has been blighted by violence in recent years.

Tragedy dominates the front pages in Dublin. The Irish Times has a picture of a hearse leaving a farm in County Carlow.

The Irish Independent says two men died in a dispute over land. One was shot, while his brother-in-law was found hanged a short time later.

Several newspapers report on the French government's decision to abolish the term "mademoiselle".

The Daily Mail says the Gallic equivalent of the term "Miss" is being scrapped because it is seen as sexist. The Guardian says that until now, women had to identify themselves as married or single on everything from tax forms to insurance claims and polling cards.

Men, meanwhile, had to make no such distinction. In future, all women can use the term "Madame". The Daily Telegraph says it is a blow for traditionalists, but a victory for feminism.

Finally, the Sun has the bizarre story of a brother and sister who have won a mountain of prizes by entering two competitions every day.

Wendy and Kevin Sheldon from Nottingham are pictured surrounded by some of the things they have won.

They refuse to do the lottery because the odds are too high, so they enter smaller competitions with more modest prizes.

They have won exotic holidays, dishwashers and even a garden shed. They tell the newspaper their best prize was a trip to Miami, while the worst was a packet of seeds.

The most puzzling win was when a packet of crisps arrived in a box every day - until the makers told them they were the proud owners of a year's supply.

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