Northern Ireland

What the papers say

Newspapers

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

A lone figure walking on a beach takes up most of the Belfast Telegraph front page.

The person in question is Marie Simmons, whose brother, Peter Wilson, was abducted and murdered by the IRA in 1973.

As the search for his body continues, the paper says it's a cruel twist of fate that his last resting place is the beach at Red Bay in north Antrim that his family had loved to visit.

A burning bus is the main image for the News Letter and Irish News, after the latest violence on the streets of Rathcoole.

The papers are outraged at what's happened.

'Orgy of violence'

The News Letter comments that there can be no excuse for the violence, which, it points out, began after a series of police searches connected with UVF-related crime.

It calls for decisive and effective action to ensure that "this orgy of violence" can't be repeated.

The Irish News agrees, and says that if the UVF was involved in the disturbances, "it will raise further concerns about the intentions of the organisation".

The Times and the Daily Telegraph both opt for the latest growth figures. The Telegraph talks of the economy recovering, but warns us not to cheer too loudly just yet.

The Mail has a not unrelated story, reporting under its main headline that three out of four applicants for new incapacity benefits either failed to prove their unfitness for work or withdrew their applications.

The paper talks of "weeding out the workshy", and says the new test could save the taxpayer £8bn a year.

The Guardian and the Independent both look to Afghanistan for their main headlines, with the Guardian reporting that just three British military units are being linked to the bulk of civilian casualties caused by UK forces.

'Humiliation'

The Independent says Russia is returning to the scene of its humiliation of 21 years ago as it steps in to help NATO forces in the struggle to defeat the insurgency across the country.

The Irish government is about to announce cuts of 15 billion euros, and the papers predict that the deepest of them will come sooner rather than later.

The Irish Times warns people to expect a draconian budget.

The Irish Independent says people face a massive cut in their living standards.

It predicts a reduction in welfare benefits across the board, as well as cutbacks in health and education.

The paper describes the 15bn euros figure as "twice as bad as previous predictions".

Festive charge

The Financial Times reports that the supermarkets have already begun offering discounts on festive items, including beer and spirits, confectionery and Christmas puddings.

The Belfast Telegraph notes that Anne Marie McCardle from west Belfast is already leading the festive charge by decking out her house and garden in Christmas lights, as she does every year.

She tells the paper it'll cost her £300 extra in electricity between now and the big day.

The paper reminds us that a Christmas tree went up in one store in Belfast's CastleCourt shopping centre in June and another was put up in Ballymena on Tuesday night.

One store in London's Oxford Street has been running its yuletide season since 2 August.

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