Northern Ireland

What the papers say


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

The Irish News reports on a jobs' fair that had to be cancelled because of the lack of jobs.

The recruitment fair in Strabane had 800 people queuing to get in last year, but this time, only one firm had any vacancies, so the event was pulled.

But County Tyrone has something else that's pulling in an international audience.

On page three of the paper, US tourists are getting "down and dirty" in a bit of bogland, courtesy of businessman Brian McGirr.

His only problem is getting some ground that's firm enough to hold the visitors.

The Belfast Telegraph reports the full extent of the local operation of a UK-wide vice ring, which came to the High Court on Thursday.

It was claimed that a Scottish criminal gang spent £54,000 on national newspaper advertising, as well as buying dozens of flights to bring prostitutes into Belfast - all allegedly masterminded by a Scottish graduate.


Meanwhile, the News Letter continues with coverage of the repercussions of the 1972 Claudy bombs.

Gordon Miller, who lost his father David, says that he does not want to be told what he describes as "more lies and half-truths" in any proposed meeting of families and survivors with Martin McGuinness.

The paper's Morning View column says that the "spotlight is shining very brightly" on the Deputy First Minister to reveal his IRA past and the orders he gave.

The proposed burning of the Koran, now postponed, it seems, has substantial coverage.

Most of the papers reporting its "cancellation", now amended to postponement and the Irish Times shows Pastor Terry Jones shaking hands with the president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida.

Inside the paper, Michael Jansen reports that the very threat of burning, whether fulfilled or not, is seen as an affront to the 1.5 billion people, who revere the text.

The Guardian carries warnings from Interpol of reprisals if the "obscure Florida pastor" lights the bonfire of 200 copies of the Koran, an act legally protected as free speech under the US constitution.

The Independent dubs it "the bonfire of one man's vanity."


Meanwhile, it's mammon making other headlines.

"Robbed by the banks we own," says the Mail.

Despite interest rates being held at a 300-year low, the paper says banks are "fleecing" their most cash-strapped customers by charging record overdraft rates.

But it's possible big money for a book deal, that's making the headlines in the Mirror. The paper reports that former MP Iris Robinson is currently writing a memoir.

Meanwhile, the Sun deplores the decision to ask sacked social work boss Sharon Shoesmith to give expert advice on child safety to a committee of MPs.

She lost her job in the wake of the death of Baby Peter and the paper calls the invitation "an insult to baby Peter's memory".

And finally, do you use one of those hot-air hand dryers in the loo in your workplace?

Well, don't rub your hands, if you do. Keep them still!

If you rub them together, they will actually spread germs, say scientists, as your own bacteria are near the surface of your skin and will move around.

The new very high velocity air jets are better, but the best solution is still the paper towel, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The Journal of Applied Microbiology article doesn't cover the drying of your hands on your jeans, however - possibly not ideal.

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