What the papers say


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

Israel's military operation against the flotilla of ships heading for Gaza is the main story in many papers.

The Independent says Israel is facing "global condemnation" over Tel Aviv's "gunboat diplomacy".

Under the headline "Death on the high seas." the Times says Israel is now under pressure to lift its blockade of Gaza.

The Irish Times reports that seven Irish aid workers were last night being detained in Israel after the raid, and as the Belfast Telegraph points out, the mourning could have been on our own doorsteps.

Certainly the papers' leader writers are united in their condemnation.

The Irish Times sums up the mood by saying that Israel showed blindness in over-reacting to no more than a potential PR embarrassment.

But writing in the Independent, Robert Fisk says that western leaders will be too cowardly to stop future acts of Israeli aggression.

Silent politicians

He points to what he calls a "gutless White House statement with no word of condemnation of Israel" as proof that 10dead is just another statistic to add to the middle east death toll.

"The world is tired of these outrages," he says, adding: "Only the politicians are silent".

The Irish News has been speaking to Colm Murphy, the only man convicted in relation to the Omagh bombing. He was cleared at a retrial.

Mr Murphy, whom the paper describes as "a leading dissident republican," said the attack was "awful, tragic" and "should never have happened".

The newspapers reports that Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan died in the car-bombing, challenged Mr Murphy to "cooperate with authorities if he really condemned the attack".

Meanwhile, the News Letter focuses on the mother of murdered Shankill Road man Bobby Moffett and her appeal for 'no retaliation' for his killing. The 79-year-old said that all she wanted was justice.

The "public sector rich list" is the focus in the Mail and the Daily Telegraph.

These are "the penpushers costing taxpayers millions," according to the Daily Mail - the 172 civil servants who earn more than the prime minister.

The Daily Telegraph goes big with this story, focusing on four CEOs - from the UK Border Agency, the Office of Fair Trading, the Met Office and Ordnance Survey - who earn between £170,000 and £275,000.

Transparency drive

John Fingleton of the Office of Fair Trading comes out at the top.

As the Mail notes, this is part of a new transparency drive by the government.

Describing it as a "mandarins' bonanza," the paper says the 172 high-earning civil servants cost the taxpayer in excess of £29m a year.

The Mail notes that "ludicrously, the head of IT for the benefits department earns more than the head of the armed forces".

It's only by highlighting these "absurd packages", the paper insists, that "ruinous levels of public spending can begin to be controlled".

The Irish Times reports on a "new set of food rules".

They come from a book by food writer Michael Pollan and according to the paper, they're a mix of grandmothers' advice, science and common sense from around the world.

Here's a few examples. Rule 52: buy smaller plates - it'll cut your food consumption by 22%.

Rule 20 is drive-through related: it's not food if it arrived through the window of your car.

And my favourite, rule 36: don't eat breakfast cereals that change the colour of the milk.

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