Northern Ireland

What the papers say


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

The News Letter devotes its comment column to WikiLeaks and the humbling of the US government. It says the ramifications of the leaks are over-stated by Washington, but the situation is embarrassing for a superpower which places much store on compiling secure intelligence. As for the alleged behaviour of the Duke of York, it reckons that if the indiscretions are proven, he must consider his position or be relieved of his duties as a UK trade ambassador.

The Belfast Telegraph is concerned about the latest report on the state of our hospitals and comments that some are still ignoring the most basic rules of hygiene. It says it would be churlish not to acknowledge the advances that have been made, but more needs to be achieved when patients' lives are at risk. It thinks a change of attitude is needed.

The Irish News examines the proposed changes in planning arrangements and says handing decision making to local councils will need to be accompanied by openness, transparency and equality.

Only the Guardian leads with the latest Wikileaks revelations. The others opt for a wide range of topics.

The Times has the headline "carry on claiming" as it reports that MPs are already flouting new rules on expenses. The paper says it's obtained a list of rejected claims, demonstrating that the election didn't lead to a complete clean-up of the Commons.

The Independent has a guest editor this morning. Sir Elton John chooses the content on World AIDS Day, and unsurprisingly, that's the dominant subject.

The Sun is more concerned about England's bid to host the World Cup in 2018. Its front page is dominated by an open letter to the organisers, referring to the BBC's Panorma investigation into corruption and pleading with FIFA to decide in England's favour.

And the Mirror concentrates on another big talking point - the weather. It has a picture of a group of baboons huddling together for warmth in a safari park. Minus 18 - it's brass monkeys, says the headline.

The Irish Independent shows a father and son sliding down a snow-covered hill in Kilkenny. The main picture in the Irish Times also comes from Kilkenny, but shows a convoy of snow ploughs clearing the M9 motorway. The paper says there are fears for the homeless and other vulnerable groups after a pensioner was found dead in County Cork.

Financial and political turmoil claim the biggest headlines. The Irish Times says the European Central Bank is trying to calm growing tensions in the euro zone, while the Independent says there are fears of an exodus from Fianna Fail, after one of its biggest names, Dermot Ahern, announced that he was stepping down as a TD. The paper says the party is bracing itself for what it calls "an election bloodbath".

Now, researchers have pinpointed the most common time for a family argument. It's 7pm apparently, and as the Daily Mail reports, the cause is usually what to watch on TV. Another flashpoint time is between 5 and 6pm, but some even disagree over what to watch as early as eight o'clock in the morning. The paper's cartoon shows a couple at the breakfast table. Remind me, says the woman. Are we having the family row at your mother's house or mine this year?

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