What the papers say


Journalist Keith Baker takes a look at what is making the headlines in Monday's newspapers.

The front page of the Irish News carries the headline: "The Jet Set NHS".

It says senior managers in the Health Service in Northern Ireland are jetting around the world for expensive training courses, despite an attempt by Health Minister Michael McGimpsey to curtail such trips.

The paper has been carrying out an investigation and it reports across eight pages that since 2007 at least £350,000 has been spent flying 50 senior staff to the US, Germany, Sweden and France for training and conferences.

Alarmingly, the Irish News says, managers continue travelling to costly international courses even as the health minister warns of thousands of job losses and a hospital closing.

The paper comments that all of this indicates a disturbing mindset at the higher levels of the NHS.

Elsewhere, several of the papers focus on the Republic's financial predicament.

The Daily Telegraph says that other EU governments are putting pressure on Dublin to accept a multi-billion pound rescue, but Ireland is fighting for its political and economic independence with ministers insisting they can manage their stricken finances.

The Irish Times says they're adamant that the four-year fiscal plan and the budget next month will avert the need for a bail-out.

The Financial Times has the thoughts of one pundit who compares Dublin's stubbornness to a husband who's lost his way in the car but still refuses to take his wife's advice and turn on the sat nav.

There are plenty of pictures throughout the papers of Remembrance Day events on Sunday.

The Belfast Telegraph front page shows the SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie at the Cenotaph in Downpatrick.

It says she made history by deciding to wear a poppy. "It was a small flower," the paper says, "but a huge statement".

And of course several papers link Remembrance Day with the death of a soldier from Northern Ireland in Afghanistan.

"Poppy Day Horror" is the Mirror headline. The News Letter talks of Remembrance Day having a new note of poignancy.


Freedom is a big theme, as some of the papers focus on Aung San Suu Kyi, released from house arrest in Burma at the weekend.

But the Independent highlights her comment: "If the people are not free, I'm not free."

The paper says her message is unchanged: "Until democracy comes to Burma, her work is unfinished."

Other front pages show Paul and Rachel Chandler, released by Somali pirates on Sunday.

"Freedom at a price" is the Times headline, a reference to the ransom that was paid, believed to have totalled almost £500,000.

The paper describes the Chandlers as elated and exhausted on the day they feared they would never see.

Several papers have advice from psychologists. One expert tells the Mirror they'll need time, peace and privacy to sort out their jumble of emotions.

The Guardian says too much of a celebration could leave them overloaded.

Finally the Daily Express gives us a laugh this morning with a feature on dopey answers to radio and TV quiz questions. There are the usual landmarks like the "Leaning Tower of Pizza" and the "Sixteenth chapel".

But full marks to the presenter from BBC Radio Norfolk who tried to help a contestant get the answer to the question: "Who had a worldwide hit with the song Wonderful World?"

The first clue was the word arm, then if you're not weak you must be strong. Another clue was Lord Mountbatten's first name was Louis.

Ok, who had a hit with Wonderful World?

Back came the answer - Frank Sinatra.

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