Northern Ireland

What the papers say

newspaper title

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

The front of the Belfast Telegraph is dominated by the conviction of Paul McCaugherty, who fell for what the paper calls an MI5 "sting" as he tried to buy weapons for the Real IRA.

The paper reports how the agent posed as a Pakistani gun runner in a series of meetings throughout Europe between 2004 and 2006.

In a leader, it pays tribute to those who work for the intelligence agencies, describing them as "hidden heroes".

The News Letter leads with another court story, involving a man who conned farmers out of more than £1m by dealing in milk quotas.

The paper says there was anger as Neville Hylands, from Donaghcloney in County Armagh, was ordered to repay only £160,000.

For the Irish News, the big story is the disciplining of four police officers for failing to investigate loyalist intimidation of nationalist residents in Stoneyford, County Antrim.

It quotes from a letter from the Police Ombudsman's office, which described the police response to attacks as "disjointed and unfocused".

Republic's recovery

In Dublin, the main issue is Ireland's emergence from recession.

The Irish Independent says it's good news indeed, and the Republic will rejoice at any glimmer of light on the economic horizon.

But it says the unemployment figures, released on the same day, "spoiled it" somewhat.

It adds that Environment Minister John Gormley is under pressure to explain why he's for holding up a major incinerator project in his own constituency that could create 600 jobs.

The Irish Times says the country's return to economic growth is largely down to a surge in exports. But it adds that the domestic economy continued to contract, as household and government spending declined and other business investment "remained in freefall".

Roger, out

The two most photographed men of the day are both tennis players.

One of them is Roger Federer, who hadn't lost a pre-final match at Wimbledon for eight years - until yesterday, that is. "Roger and out", says the headline in the Times.

The other, of course, is Andy Murray, who, as the Sun puts it, "has lifted England's sporting gloom" as he headed for the semi-finals, neatly side-stepping the fact that he's a Scot.

The Guardian says he now carries a greater than ever summer responsibility. According to the Daily Express, the prospect of a British champion has just moved thrillingly closer.

The Independent says two questions were being asked as fans left the tournament yesterday.

The first was whether Murray could become the first Briton since Fred Perry to win the championship, to which the answer was yes.

The second was whether Federer could ever regain the number one spot. And most agreed that the answer to that was no.

Milking it

Finally, a story about how Shakespeare has been helping to improve the output of a dairy herd.

The Daily Telegraph reports that it had already been shown that cows produced more milk when listening to slow music.

But a theatre group has demonstrated that a performance of the bard can do the same.

They picked scenes from the Merry Wives of Windsor and acted them out in front of a herd in Maidstone in Kent. The result? A 4% increase in milk yield.

One of the actors tells the paper: "The farmer's happy, and it saves us having to book rehearsal space". The paper suggests they might next like to try "As Moo Like It".

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