Northern Ireland

What the papers say

newspaper title

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

The Daily Mirror and the Belfast Telegraph both report on plans for the funeral of snooker legend Alex Higgins at St Anne's Cathedral on Monday.

The Mirror says thousands will line the streets; the Telegraph predicts the biggest funeral since Belfast bade farewell to George Best.

The News Letter has a front page picture showing people queuing to sign the book of condolence at the City Hall.

But its biggest headline goes to the news that Iris Robinson could soon return to Belfast. The paper says the former MP is still being treated in hospital in London more than six months after her resignation.

But her husband Peter says in an interview that "the rockiest part of the journey is over" and she could be back in Belfast by the autumn.

The Irish News reports under its main headline that the BBC abandoned plans to show an all-Ireland football match because RTE tripled its fee for the game at the last minute. The paper says it emerged in tribunal papers from a failed case taken against the corporation by sports journalist Jerome Quinn.

The Irish Times reports that a militant Northern Ireland-based faction of the Continuity IRA claims to have overthrown the leadership of the terrorist organisation.

The paper's northern editor, Gerry Moriarty, says representatives of the dissident group have told the paper that they cannot mount a sustained campaign of violence at present, but plan to recruit, train and equip for what they call "a long struggle".

But a source in Republican Sinn Fein tells the paper that the new leadership is merely "another splinter group that has broken away".

The Irish Independent reports that the state-owned Anglo Irish Bank is to take control of one of Dublin's historic department stores. The paper says Arnotts is struggling with debts of 260m euros. But according to the story, no jobs are at risk at the store, which opened in 1843.

The oil giant BP is under scrutiny once again after its chief executive, Tony Hayward, agreed to step down.

The Guardian says the company has "got off lightly" for its part in what it calls the "oil disaster".

Despite being ultimately responsible, it says, it now looks as if it will bounce back from "a near-death experience". Other firms would have suffered the equivalent of a public lynching and gone under, says the paper, but for BP it seems to be business as usual.

But a former BP executive, Nick Butler, tells the Financial Times that things will never be the same again for the world's big oil companies. He says there will be more regulation, higher costs, and restricted access to deepwater oilfields.

The Independent comments that the financial pain BP is suffering should be some incentive for the company's executives to put more emphasis on safety.

Finally, the Daily Telegraph reports that the German Language Foundation is aiming to put a stop to the creeping adoption of English words such as "fast food".

The paper says it has got to the stage where if a German says he has seen a dressman with a handy at a shooting, he means he's just been to a photoshoot where a male model was talking on a mobile phone.

But it says in an editorial that we shouldn't indulge in too much schadenfreude at this German angst without examining the hinterland of our own zeitgeist.

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