Northern Ireland

What the papers say


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

Suggestions on "how to tax you more" are in a number of the titles.

It is a rather ominous display on the front of the Irish News for Friday.

And the leaked little list that the paper reports includes possible charges to see your GP, congestion charges for driving into Belfast's city centre and reintroducing prescription charges.

The paper says that officials across all 12 government departments have put forward up to 50 "revenue-raising proposals" in the leaked document.

Meanwhile the Belfast Telegraph leads on the discretionary sentence given to a woman who stabbed her husband to death.

There is said to have been "outrage" from the family of the victim and anger from domestic violence campaigners at the minimum four-year jail sentence awarded at Belfast Crown Court on Thursday.

Back to politics, with "tough decisions" for Tom Elliott says the News Letter, but the new UUP leader has announced he will take two weeks to decide on who will fill the Ulster Unionist Party's top posts.

His honeymoon period was short-lived, says the paper, with a first challenge to Mr Elliott's leadership by former Irish rugby player Trevor Ringland in a Radio Ulster interview, over his non-attendance at GAA matches.

The Mirror sums it up with a neat headline "it's Gaame on" between Messrs Ringland and Elliott. That's spelt GAAme.

And a radio interview is still making headlines in the Irish Republic.

A new TV3 opinion poll is showing that Brian Cowen may have lost credibility, but most voters will be unaffected.

Only one in ten voters will change their political allegiance because of Mr Cowen's now infamous radio interview.

Meanwhile the Labour Party's popularity in the Republic has seen a huge surge, according to the report on the poll in the Irish Independent.

The Taoiseach is pictured with one of the competitors at the National Ploughing Championship in Athy on Thursday.

He's "ploughing ahead" says the Irish Times, using the same shot.

In a tongue-in-cheek opinion piece, the paper proposes a "two-state" solution to the current economic crisis in the Republic.

Frank McNally says it's time for "good Ireland" to tell "bad Ireland" to split away from it.

"Good" Ireland would retain most territory and Irish success in culture and sport. "Bad" Ireland would take over what it calls "the mess left by the construction bubble".

And public spending cuts in the UK are once again the focus.

The Daily Telegraph reports Coalition plans to abolish 177 quangos, but also says that 350 have been reprieved.

Those publicly funded bodies that are threatened are said to include BBC World Service and the British Council.

Meanwhile according to The Times, Defence Secretary Liam Fox has given a promise to the United States that Britain will keep its nuclear deterrent.

This followed alarm at the Pentagon, at the scale of UK spending cuts.

The paper's editorial says that Trident is "money well spent" and that the Obama administration concurs with successive British governments, who have maintained that an independent nuclear capability reinforces deterrence.

And finally, Mamma Mia, could Abba have gone political?

Well, no is the answer to that one, but the Swedish supergroup has taken exception to a Danish far-right party taking up their 1976 hit anthem Mamma Mia.

The female leader of the Danish People's Party is called Pia Kjaersgaard, hence Mamma Pia, says the Daily Telegraph. But Benny and Bjorn are not amused and legal action is about to take place.

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