What the papers say

  • Published

Journalist Fionola Meredith takes a look at Tuesday's newspapers.

The Hazel Stewart trial continues to dominate the local papers.

The faces of former lovers Colin Howell and Hazel Stewart appear on almost every front page, as convicted murderer Howell gave evidence at Mrs Stewart's murder trial.

All the papers carry extensive coverage of Howell's account of the relationship between the two.

In particular, the Belfast Telegraph, the Irish News and the Mirror focus on Howell's claim that Mrs Stewart had no moral objection to the murder of her husband and Howell's wife.

In the Republic, the Irish Times assesses Monday night's televised election debate.

It says that Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny emerged largely unscathed from the debate involving the leaders of all five main political parties.

As the paper notes, it was expected that he would face an onslaught from the other leaders, following his refusal to take part in last week's tv debate - not to mention his party's continued strong showing in the opinion polls.

Summing it up, sketchwriter Miriam Lord says that Fine Gael supporters seemed happiest with the result, claiming that they could "sell Enda on the doors a lot easier now", which - as Lord notes - makes him sound rather like a cleaning product.

Elderly care

Elsewhere, many papers lead with the damning report on the state of NHS care for the elderly.

The Independent, The Times and the Daily Telegraph all describe how elderly people treated by the NHS were denied even the most basic standards in care, according to a scathing report that reveals a health service "rife with ageism".

The Times reports that spot checks on how the elderly are treated will begin "within weeks", following the report by the Health Service ombudsman, which found that patients were left hungry, unwashed and with inadequate pain relief.

While welcoming the surprise inspections, the Times says the problems go much deeper.

There are problems all along the chain, the paper says, with patients getting lost in the "labyrinth" that is the distinction between healthcare and social care.

Meanwhile, the Independent thinks the NHS is too focused on the interests of staff rather than patients.

The Guardian claims that energy companies are spying on green activists.

The paper says it has seen leaked documents which show how the owner of a security firm "tipped off company executives about environmentalists' plans after snooping on their emails".

The paper says the disclosures come as police chiefs privately claim that there are more corporate spies in protest groups than undercover police officers.

Animal attacks

What should you do if attacked by a dangerous wild creature? The Guardian has some suggestions.

When Eddie Sigai was attacked by a crocodile while swimming in a Queensland River last month, he went for its eyes - and survived to tell the tale.

According to African safari experts, you could also try reaching into the creature's mouth - your arm might be in there anyway - and go for the back of the throat, which could cause the animal to recoil.

But perhaps the best advice is simply to carry a soup ladle with you at all times.

Earlier this week, it was reported that a Malaysian man hunting squirrels was saved from a tiger when his wife bopped it on the head with her ladle, causing it to scurry off into the jungle with its tail between its legs.

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