What the papers say


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

The Irish News leads with a warning by Health Minister Michael McGimpsey that the future of the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald "is in doubt" and "thousands of jobs are at risk" if his department loses any more money in the budget being negotiated by the executive.

The paper also carries the words of Finance Minister Sammy Wilson, who warns of "economic anarchy" unless a budget is agreed before the assembly election.

Two executive colleagues - Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness - appear in the paper's main picture, accompanied by puppets from the children's TV series Sesame Tree, which was shot in Northern Ireland.

The headline says: "So who's pulling the strings?"

Mr Robinson is in more serious mood in the News Letter, where he says he intends to fight to ensure that payments from a £20m fund for the part-time police reserve will not be subject to tax.


The Belfast Telegraph leads with an attempt by the Northern Ireland Office to rebrand dissident republicans as "residual terrorist groups".

The paper says police officers have dismissed the term as "politically correct jargon".

The Dublin papers reflect the day when Prince Charles became the first member of the Royal Family to visit the Irish Embassy in London.

He appears in a picture in the Irish Times alongside Bob Geldof and Lord Bannside, better known as Ian Paisley.

The paper says the prince told those who attended that Britain and Ireland "must escape the prison of history".

The Irish Independent describes the visit as "historic" and quotes another guest, Sir Terry Wogan, as saying that it was a prelude to the widely anticipated visit to Ireland by the Queen.

'Biggest society'

The Times and the Guardian share a photograph of David Cameron and his Cabinet colleagues toasting a business deal in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

According to both papers, the British party wore poppies despite being warned by the Chinese that it would stir up unhappy memories of the Opium Wars.

The Independent looks ahead to Mr Cameron's keynote speech of the visit and says he "risks antagonising his hosts by criticising their political system and their disregard for basic human freedoms".

Its front page shows him inspecting a guard of honour in Beijing with the headline: "Cameron confronts the biggest society".

The Mail says he has a simple message for the Chinese government, namely: "You must set your people free."

'Wee boy from Harryville'

The Daily Express says there is a danger "he will not nudge his hosts one iota in the direction of democracy but merely annoy them," to the cost of British businesses.

Finally, several papers have pictures of investitures at Buckingham Palace, one of them featuring a familiar face from local broadcasting.

The BBC's Jackie Fullerton is photographed in the Daily Mirror being made an MBE for services to journalism.

Also pictured is firefighter Gavin Miller, who received the Queen's Gallantry Medal.

The paper says Jackie dedicated his award to the people of Ballymena and said he was "amazed that a wee boy from Harryville had been honoured by the Queen".

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