Northern Ireland

What the papers say


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

The reaction of the family of Jennifer Cardy to the sentencing of Robert Black is in the headlines.

"He won't torture little girls again" are the words of Jennifer's father, Andrew. That makes the headlines in the Sun and the News Letter. But the parents of the murdered nine-year-old girl say they hold no bitterness to the convicted child killer.

Black - previously convicted of killing three other young girls - was told he must serve a minimum 25-year sentence. Mr Cardy said that his family's faith in God had sustained them for the past 30 years.

Both papers carry Jennifer's mother's words that she would meet Black, "if he wants to be forgiven". In the Irish News, Mr Justice Weatherup is quoted, saying that Black had carried out a "wicked deed".

The front page of the Irish News, carries a photograph of a teenage girl wounded in a random attack by what the paper calls "hooded thugs". Chloe Burns, 13, was hit by a hammer thrown at her in Poleglass.

Nuala Kerr was named Woman of the Year by the Belfast Telegraph at their annual awards on Thursday night. The mother of murdered PSNI constable Ronan Kerr was "hailed for her inspired dignity". She dedicated her award to her son.

'Some hope'

There is a silver lining in the black euro cloud difficulties, it seems.

The Irish Independent leads with "the mortgage cuts" which it says will be made "as part of Europe's frantic battle to save the euro". The Irish Times has a cover-all headline of "divisions and doubts" over the European Central Bank role, as they "delay" the euro deal at the summit. Indeed that "delay" became an overnighter.

But the Irish Times front-page is shared with the report of graphic abuse carried out by a 50-year-old man on his four daughters in Mayo. He initially pleaded not guilty to 271 charges of rape and assault over an 18-year period, but changed his plea to guilty last week.

The Irish Times reports that rats are not rats, it seems. Or what we think of as rats. Researchers at Chicago University say the rodents are actually very kind and generous. They choose friendship rather than chocolate.

Thursday's storms provide some very dramatic pictures.

"First the big freeze, now the big breeze," says the Mirror. The Mail shows the wind turbine at Ardrossan in Ayrshire engulfed by flames and smoke as "gales of up to 165 miles per hour" twirled it into an exploding fireball.

Inside the Daily Express, there is a picture of a 30-ft blow-up Santa which nearly brought a house down as it ripped tiles from the roof. The Guardian has "raining hats and dogs," as one man and his dog brave the seafront for a walk.

Brain strain

But it is political storms in Brussels, as European leaders wrestled with solving the Eurozone debt crisis - everywhere in the papers.

Elsewhere, the new Libyan government "has given British police the green light" to mount fresh investigations into the Lockerbie bombing and the shooting of PC Yvonne Fletcher, according to the Guardian.

And finally, time for a rethink on taxi drivers. The Daily Telegraph reports on a study in the Current Biology journal, which shows that those cabbies who have to learn "the knowledge" about London streets develop more grey matter in the back of their brain and get near capacity, so they have difficulty taking on new information.

It is said to make them more inflexible.

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