Page last updated at 08:54 GMT, Tuesday, 30 December 2008

What the papers say

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

Secret government papers, released under the 30 year rule, are top stories in the local papers. But each of the three newspapers opts for a different angle on the same material.

The Belfast Telegraph looks at the so-called "doomsday file", just released by the Republic of Ireland's department of foreign affairs. It contains speculation that hundreds of thousands of northern Catholics would have had little chance of escape if civil war had broken out in Northern Ireland in the 1970s.

In the News Letter, the focus is on Northern Ireland Office files showing that the government had IRA informers inside the Maze and had prior warning of republicans going "on the blanket".

Meanwhile, the Irish News looks at systematic beatings at RUC interrogation centres in the 70s, carried out by 10 policemen known as the "goon squad".

As the News Letter notes, the papers make "fascinating reading". There are lessons to be learned, adds the Irish News - brutal tactics don't work and actually bring more recruits to the paramilitaries.


Stone-throwing Palestinian youngsters, pictured against a backdrop of flames appear in several papers and the Irish Times shows the distraught father of five young girls killed in an Israeli air-strike.

It is "war to the bitter end" on Hamas, report the Daily Telegraph and the Independent, echoing Israel's declaration of intent.

As far as the Independent is concerned, the "relatively muted response from the Western world to the conflict in Gaza is a failure of imagination".

"There is no shortage of potential solutions on the table," it says, "just a dismal lack of will power on the part of world leaders."

"The onus is on Hamas," counters the Daily Telegraph - but it acknowledges, too, that air attacks and a possible ground offensive by the Israelis will only act as a recruiting sergeant for Hamas: "Another instance of brutality fuelling brutality".

There are lots of pictures of Liverpool and England footballer Steven Gerrard smiling happily at the bar on a night out with family and friends - but then "it all kicked off", as the Mirror's headline puts it, after he was arrested on suspicion of assault.

It is a big tabloid story, of course, and both the Sun and the Mirror do it justice in usual colourful style, complete with requisite pictures of Gerrard's model wife, Alex, looking glamorous in a furry jacket.

Crozier power

"The stained glass ceiling is broken", says the Times in its report that the Church of England has reached a historic deal which paves the way for the first women bishops.

Parishes which refuse to accept a woman bishop will get a "flying" traditionalist bishop, of the male variety. Welcoming the move, columnist Libby Purves says it will all work out fine - no croziers at dawn expected.

And finally, the Express reports that the credit crunch has added half an hour to the time that we spend worrying each day.

That will be two hours and fifteen minutes that we spend fretting now, on average.

The cost of living has bumped personal health off the top worry spot, according to the paper. And where do we do our worrying?

Favourite spots are in bed, in the shower or on the commute to work.

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