Page last updated at 10:58 GMT, Monday, 28 December 2009

What the papers say


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

The big international story is the attempt to blow up a plane.

There is a photograph of the suspect on several front pages.

The Mail says it is a picture of "boyish innocence". The shot was taken in 2001 and shows him adjusting his woolly hat and looking much like any other teenager.

The Mirror has the headline: "Bomber at the Palace". It shows Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab with classmates on a school trip to see Buckingham Palace.

The Guardian says Scotland Yard and MI5 want to establish how he was radicalised and by whom and whether he had accomplices.

'Gilded life'

Many papers delve into his rather privileged background.

"A gilded life," says the Guardian. The Mail talks about "a life of comfort and privilege as the son of a millionaire banker".

The Independent says his father is in deep shock. It says he lost track of his son's movements after he abandoned a business course in Dubai, against family wishes.

The Daily Telegraph is concerned about the role played by some of our colleges.

It says that in the past decade, institutes of higher education in London have consistently provided sanctuary to Islamist terrorists who parrot the hate-filled rhetoric of Al Quaeda.

There is much interest in the repercussions for air travellers.

There will be world-wide consequences. The Belfast Telegraph reports on tighter security at Belfast International.

It says all passengers will be subject to more intense screening and passengers travelling on Continental Airlines to Newark, New Jersey, will be restricted to one piece of hand luggage instead of two.

The Irish News is very much in favour of airport vigilance. It reminds us that if security measures become more time-consuming and more inconvenient as a result of this latest outrage, then we should bear in mind just who is to blame.

The Christmas sales get plenty of coverage.

The Belfast Telegraph's main headline calls it "the £40m sales boom".


Given the volume of business, it says, it might be hard to believe that the economic downturn has been as bad as it seemed but in a recession, people are more careful and know how to wait for the right purchase at the right time.

The News Letter agrees. It says shoppers in Northern Ireland are a canny lot when it comes to a bargain and when there's a chance of a 50% saving, they get even more excited.

It says 2009 has been "a dismal year", but at least it seems to be ending on a higher note than we could have hoped for.

In the Dublin papers, there is plenty of interest in the finance minister, Brian Lenihan, who has cancer.

The Irish Times says he is going to make a statement about his situation in the New Year. The Irish Independent says that ministerial colleagues have been rallying round.

It says they have been contacting him, asking: "Is there anything I can do? Can I take a bit of the workload off you."

The paper says that over the past year Mr Lenihan has shone in efforts to repair the economy. It says his steady hand on the tiller will remain vital.

Finally, the Daily Telegraph reports on a growing problem for golfers.

It says that when some of them finally tee off to the great clubhouse in the sky, friends and family often like to mark their passing with a memorial bench on their home course.

Teeing problems

But some courses have become so cluttered with memorial seats that players are complaining about problems playing shots.

At one course in Kent, there is now a rota system which allows a set number of benches out at any one time.

The club secretary suggests that, in future, people would think about planting a tree instead.

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