Northern Ireland

What the papers say


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

Images of masked and hooded figures set against a backdrop of burning vehicles fill the newspapers after a third night of rioting.

They dominate the front of the Irish News, the News Letter and The Sun.

The Daily Mirror and the Belfast Telegraph opt for stills from a helicopter video showing rioters in Ardoyne attacking a police Land Rover.

The Mirror describes it as "wanton violence for the sake of it".

The Irish News calls it "shameful".

For the News Letter, the blame lies with dissident republicans "who have nothing to offer this community".

'Shameful thuggery'

The Telegraph takes the first and deputy first ministers to task for the length of time it took them to condemn what it calls this "shameful thuggery".

It comments that too often, policing must take the place of politics and it concludes that "we must learn to change that very quickly".

The Independent in London says it's understandable that the police should feel exasperated at the glacial pace of change.

But it concludes that there is no longer a sense of apocalypse in Northern Ireland - more an exasperation that some people are still "unable to move into the modern era".

The other big story is the murder of three soldiers in Afghanistan.

It's the lead story in the News Letter, as it reports that one of those killed when a rogue Afghan soldier opened fire with a gun and rocket-propelled grenade was named locally as Lieutenant Neil Turkington from Portadown.

The Independent calls it a "bloodbath at Patrol Base Three" and says it leaves the Afghan strategy in doubt.

National security

The Guardian says the killer fled after the murders, "taking the trust with him".

The Daily Mail calls it "a blow" to the coalition plan to hand over responsibility for national security to the Afghan Army by 2015.

The Times says the work the men were carrying out was "noble and vital" and their deaths were "the cruellest outcome" of NATO's efforts to help in the reconstruction of a nation.

The Republic's economic think-tank, the ERSI, is forecasting that 5,000 people a month will leave Ireland between now and the end of next year - that's a total of 120,000.

The Irish Independent points to the number of visa applications for Australia as evidence that it is already happening.

It adds that many foreign workers whose jobs disappeared in the recession have already left.

The Irish Times says the ERSI doesn't see stronger economic growth next year translating into a greater demand for labour.

The Daily Express reports that scientists from the universities of Sheffield and Warwick have "cracked" the centuries-old conundrum, which came first, the chicken or the egg?

They've discovered that a protein produced in pregnant hens is crucial to the formation of eggshells. So the chicken definitely came first.

But the paper says they're now going to have to work on another puzzle - where did the first chicken come from?

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