What the papers say


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

"Does he really get us?" asks the Belfast Telegraph headline.

The "he" in question is David Cameron, as the paper carries a warning from "a senior source at Stormont" that "we have no friends at Westminster".

Experts assess that Mr Cameron's austerity cuts will cause greater devastation in "friendless Ulster" than in any other part of the UK.

But The News Letter reports on a positive note, that the UK coalition government has received 67,000 emails from state employees on how savings can be made, as a result of Mr Cameron's Spending Challenge.

'No crisis'

Meanwhile, NI's education minister is interviewed at length in The Irish News.

Caitriona Ruane is definite that there is no "stalemate" in the system. The paper devotes five pages to an assessment of education, but despite "the continuing row over transfer reform," Ms Ruane insists there is "no crisis".

The Mirror continues the tragic story of the teenagers who died at Castlerock this week.

The paper has spoken to Aaron Davidson's sister, who says that her aunt - who owned the apartment where Aaron and his friend Neil McFerran died - had also been sick after staying there.

The most pictured person on the front pages seems to be supermodel Naomi Campbell.

The "dirty pebbles" story is everywhere.

The Guardian, Express and Times all report Campbell's testimony at the Hague war tribunal, concerning a gift from men thought to be in the entourage of former Liberian president Charles Taylor.

"Dirty pebbles" according to Naomi, but "blood diamonds" allege the prosecutors.

'Grotesque figure'

The Daily Telegraph pictures Ms Campbell with Nelson Mandela, as she alleges she passed on the "pebbles" to the South African leader's children's charity.

The Guardian points out that Mr Mandela has "never been afraid to ruffle feathers with his political associations" but The Independent says that even in the "grim annals of African history" Charles Taylor "stands out as a grotesque figure".

Meanwhile, a body language expert in The Sun says Miss Campbell's appearance in court suggested a "gracious, but mildly irritated diva".

And also on the diva front, The Sun is leading with a secret wedding on Saturday - not so secret anymore - for Robbie Williams. The singer's said to getting hitched to American actress Ayda Field on an island off California.

And Bono's back. Yes the U2 vocalist returns to rock in Turin tonight, after the back surgery, which put the biggest rock band in the world off the road for two months.

The 50 year-old frontman is pictured in the Irish Independent, dressed in a black hoodie and looking a bit like a boxer.

Leprechaun crossing

And finally, "is your left side on the same side as ours?" and other questions from holidaymakers.

The Irish Times prints some of the queries asked at tourist offices. One American tourist in Sligo asked how big the sausages would be at breakfast.

And the leprechaun sighting question is often aired, but it's thought that locals contribute to the belief that the little folk do exist.

One coach driver screeched to a halt, for example, to let a leprechaun cross the road. And everyone jumped out to see the mythical creature.

But it's not just in the Republic that there are silly queries. English Heritage reports that one visitor to Osborne House - where Queen Victoria died - asked if Sharon and Ozzy lived there.

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