Northern Ireland

What the papers say

newspaper title

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

A dramatic picture takes up most of the front page in the Irish News.

It shows a white lorry with collision damage to the front after the incident in south Armagh that left two police officers injured, one of them seriously.

It prompts the paper to call, in an editorial, for better resources to ensure that police officers, customs officials and ordinary citizens are not left in vulnerable circumstances in any part of the border region.

That's also the lead story in the Daily Mirror.

The News Letter devotes its biggest headline to criticism of a TV documentary on Gerry Adams from the widow of a postman who was murdered by the IRA more than 30 years ago.

Water waste

The Belfast Telegraph, meanwhile, leads with Thursday's hearing by the Public Accounts Committee at Stormont into spending by Northern Ireland Water.

"The waste goes on", says the paper, as it highlights how consultants were paid half a million pounds for 10 months' work and value-for-money guidelines were not followed.

The Irish Independent reports that banks in the Republic are to be told to "go easy" on families who are finding it difficult to pay their mortgages. It calls it a government "lifeline" for the tens of thousands of people who find themselves in arrears.

The Irish Times leads with a mini-rebellion in Fianna Fail over the government's bill to ban stag hunting. It says a TD from Tipperary was the latest to oppose the measure and was expelled from the parliamentary party.

Spy scandal

The paper also has a front page story on claims by the FBI that one of the people accused in the US of working for Russia obtained a false Irish passport in Rome. It says the government in Dublin is taking a serious view of the allegation.

That spy scandal also takes up some space on the news pages in London.

The Times calls it "an astonishing tale of deep cover and dead drops", but like many other papers, it's distinctly unimpressed with the alleged activities of those who've been arrested.

"Less James Bond, more Austin Powers", is how it sums it up. The paper says the people in question are not even being charged with espionage, but with lesser offences such as money laundering, suggesting that they weren't very good at the job.

The Guardian evokes the name of another movie character - Inspector Clouseau - in summing up the ineptitude.

A former officer in the KGB tells the Financial Times that the group made so many mistakes it's hard to believe it was a Russian operation. The Daily Telegraph says the would-be spies seem to have spent most of their time "griping about money and faulty equipment".

Finally, an account of the not-so-long march of Lottie the tortoise.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Lottie lived up to all the stereotypes of her species after going missing from home in Essex in August 2008.

Her young owner had given up hope of ever seeing her again, but two years on, she's turned up - just a mile down the road.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites