Northern Ireland

What the papers say

Newspapers

Journalist Fionola Meredith takes a look at what is making the headlines in Tuesday's newspapers.

Health stories are much to the fore in the Northern Ireland papers.

The Irish News claims an exclusive for its report that beds at an acute neurological centre at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast have been cut by more than 30%, causing major concerns among doctors about frontline care.

As the paper notes, the reduction, made last week without public consultation, is the latest cutback in a health service struggling to cope with less funding.

In the News Letter, meanwhile, concerns are raised about frail older people in hospital, after two elderly patients were injured in their beds at Craigavon Area Hospital, allegedly by another patient on the same ward.

Local government employees are helping to bankroll the global tobacco industry through their pensions - that's the claim in the Belfast Telegraph.

It says the body responsible for managing thousands of public sector pensions has almost £50m tied up in the industry.

Professor Mahendra Varma, chair of Chest, Heart and Stroke in Northern Ireland, sums up the ethical dilemma quite bluntly.

He says: "It's time to put a stop to the idea that planning for a comfortable retirement entitles us to invest in the painful death of others."

Tuition fees

The cost of university tuition fees is lead story in several of the English papers.

The Guardian says that graduates earning between £35,000 and £60,000 a year are likely to have to pay back more in fees and interest than those earning over £100,000.

That's according to an analysis of plans due to be unveiled today by Lord Browne, on the future of university education.

One way or another, a degree certainly isn't going to come cheap - the Daily Telegraph says that students face paying out at least £21,000 for a three year course.

The Matt cartoon shows the serpent in the Garden of Eden talking to Eve. It says: "Did I mention that the the Tree of Knowledge comes with an £8,000 tuition fee?"

Questions persist over the killinmg of aid worker Linda Norgrove.

The Independent compares "the two deaths of Linda Norgrove"'.

In the first official version, the British aid worker was said to be kidnapped by fanatical insurgents, that she was killed by her captors during a rescue attempt that was her only chance of survival, and that there was nothing to suggest US fire was the cause.

But under the heading "What we know now', the paper says that Norgrove's kidnappers are thought to have been criminal rather than insurgent, she was probably killed by a grenade detonated by her American rescuers, and tribal elders negotiating her release had asked Nato not to intervene yet.

The Mirror even claims that a US soldier was caught on film lobbing the grenade that killed Norgrove.

"Why this compulsion to mislead?", asks the Independent. It says "the accumulated weight of mendacity, the insistence that the enemy is evil incarnate and our boys invariably heroic, is sickening".

And finally, if your sofa's gone to the dogs, your pet is just gloomy, according to the Daily Telegraph.

It reports that dogs who wreck the place when you're out aren't being naughty, they're just stressed out and anxious.

A new study suggests they are suffering from a form of pessimism that is brought on by a "separation related disorder", and a "glass half empty" approach to life.

Basically when you go out, they think you're never coming back, and so they rip things up in a state of desperation.

And the answer? See a dog therapist. Apparently, the treatment is so effective, it can even make your dog glad to be left alone.

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