Northern Ireland

What the papers say


Journalist Fionola Meredith takes a look at what is making the headlines in Tuesday's newspapers.

The same story leads all Northern Ireland's papers; that of eight-year-old Brendan Shannon, who picked up an explosive device in the grounds of his school in Antrim.

"Just what sort of person would even consider leaving a viable pipe-bomb in a primary school?" asks the Belfast Telegraph, and there's the same sense of incredulity in all the coverage.

The Irish News says Brendan was born in Australia, and the family only moved back home because they thought things had changed.

In an editorial, the Belfast Telegraph says it was "a shocking act of recklessness".

'Insane campaigns'

It says it shows just how fragile peace in Northern Ireland is, due to the "insane campaigns" of dissident republicans, and now, it seems, loyalists.

The News Letter says wounds are "still raw" in Antrim after the Real IRA murder of two soldiers there last year, and this incident only serves to heighten tensions. It insists that there must be no return to the days of tit-for-tat violence.

Phone-hacking is still under scrutiny, with the Guardian claiming to have seen a leaked memo which shows the Home Office abandoned plans to hold an independent inquiry into the News of the World scandal last year.

A senior official at the department warned that the Metropolitan police would "deeply resent" any interference in their investigation.

Labour MPs have called for the case to be reopened, but the Daily Telegraph says David Cameron's Communications Director, Andy Coulson -- who was editor of the News of the World when the phone-hacking took place - is unlikely to face a new police investigation.

It says police and prosecutors do not believe any relevant new evidence has emerged.

'Global scandal'

The Independent publishes a detailed report on "honour" killings.

Its author Robert Fisk says it's a global scandal, a crime against humanity, and certainly not confined to the Middle East.

He says it's thought the number of victims are at least four times the United Nations figure of 5,000 deaths a year.

The Independent also carries a curious story about the French immigration minister, Eric Besson, who had to postpone his wedding because of online threats.

He was due to get married to his fiancee, a 24-year-old Tunisian art student, but put it off after more than 1,000 people signed up to a Facebook group which pledged to disrupt the ceremony.

The paper says Mr Besson has long been one of the most unpopular politicians in France, and his reputation has been further damaged by his part in implementing a crackdown on Roma immigrants.

Apparently, the group was formed to "give the minister the same medicine" that the French authorities are giving the Roma.

The Daily Telegraph reports on fears of a horse chestnut shortage.

The poor August weather means many conkers have fallen from the trees before they're ripe enough to be used, according to the Campaign for Real Conkers.

Spokesman Keith Flett says conker games would normally be in full swing now, but there is a serious shortage of serviceable conkers.

He is worried because people won't be able to get their practice in before the world championships in October.

"When you whack a conker before it's ripe, it will just crumble to bits," he says.

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