Northern Ireland

What the papers say


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

The face of Hazel Stewart stares out from the front pages of the Belfast Telegraph, the Irish News, the News Letter, the Daily Mirror and the Sun, after she was convicted of murder.

"Guilty as sin", says the Mirror's main headline. "Staring at life behind bars" is how the Irish News sums it up.

Deric Henderson, in a colour piece that's part of eight pages of coverage in the News Letter, talks of red-raw emotion in the court as the guilty verdict was announced. He calls it a "dramatic and sensational" trial.

The Telegraph comments that it was a classic courtroom drama "filled with tales of passion, greed, deceit and murder". But the paper says questions remain - one of them being whether the original police investigation was sufficiently robust.

That's a view echoed in the Irish News, which says simply that the murders would have remained unsolved if it had not been for Colin Howell's confession two years ago.

The big economic story shares the front pages in Dublin with a more unusual topic.

The Irish Times reports under its main headline that Fine Gael and Labour have had briefings on the economic crisis - briefings that included information of which neither party was aware until now. The paper says they confirmed the depth of the crisis facing the country.

The Irish Independent says Fine Gael's hopes of renegotiating the terms of the international bailout have been dashed, after the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, ruled out any reduction of the crippling interest rate.

But there's joy to balance the gloom, after Ireland's staggering victory over England - in cricket. "Crease lightning", says the Independent's headline as it reports how batsman Kevin O'Brien scored the fastest century in the history of the World Cup.

The story is covered in the cross-channel papers as well. "Ashes to Crashes", says the Mail's headline above a dejected England team. "England fall to pluck of the Irish", says the Daily Express. "Jolly green giant slays England" is the line in the Times.

The Independent's front page is filled with a series of pictures from Libya showing burning vehicles, cheering rebels and others with bandoliers of ammunition. Its headline focuses on Colonel Gaddafi's promise to fight "to the last man" as it reports how the rebels repulsed government attempts to retake the oil-rich town of Brega.

"Gaddafi's bloody onslaught begins", says the main headline in the Daily Telegraph as it reports how civilians armed with machetes, axes and hammers were pounded by air strikes and artillery.

The Guardian poses the question "is this the start of civil war?" and answers it with the words of Gaddafi himself, after he promised the world "another Vietnam".

Finally, the Daily Telegraph reports how a woman wrecked a shop because it didn't have her favourite flavour of cupcake. It says staff ducked for cover as she broke display units and knocked down shelves.

The fairy cake she was looking for is apparently made of an assortment of flavours topped with candyfloss. The police in Cardiff are looking for a woman aged between 35 and 45, five feet three inches tall and - perhaps not surprisingly - well-built.

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