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EDITIONS
Thursday, 28 November, 2002, 09:02 GMT
What the papers say
Journalist Mike Philpott takes a look at what is making the headlines in Thursday's morning newspapers.

Two stories dominate the front of the Belfast papers - one of them a tragedy on Lough Neagh, the other the latest dispute involving staff and council members at the Northern Ireland Hospice.

The Irish News devotes its biggest headline to the death of Paddy Kelly, the 17-year-old A-level student who became the victim of stormy weather on Lough Neagh.

The paper says paramedics who attended the scene had to cross several fields on foot with rescue equipment because the terrain and weather were so bad.

It quotes an ambulance spokesman as saying that the crew members were traumatised by the tragedy.

Hospice troubles

The News Letter leads with the acrimonious scenes at last night's annual general meeting of the Hospice.

It quotes one former staff member who said she had left in August because she could not bear to work there any more.

The paper says the meeting was divided between those who supported the current Chief Executive, Tom Hill, and those who opposed him.

The leader writers opt for widely differing issues.

The News Letter joins most of the cross-channel papers in reflecting on Gordon Brown's pre-Budget statement.

It says he's opted to take a huge gamble.

"For it to pay off," it says, "the economic cycle will have to show an upward trend before too long."

Name dispute

It believes Mr Brown's tactics are good news for Northern Ireland, since it is so dependent on public spending.

The Irish News says the dispute over the name of Northern Ireland's second city is far from over.

The paper believes the difficulty over the use of Derry or Londonderry mainly concerns the written word.

But it feels the issue might be best left until devolution is back in place at Stormont.

Even then, it says, the argument will be largely academic, since most people will continue to use the name they prefer.

One of the most widely-used stories in the cross-channel papers is the news that the first transplant of a human face could take place in less than a year.

The Times says the technology is already in place to allow such an operation, but plastic surgeons have called for an ethical debate before they proceed.

'Obsessed'

The Daily Telegraph says it's likely that the operation will take place in Britain and the first beneficiary would be someone who had suffered facial trauma in an accident or because of cancer.

But the Mail has a feature written by Simon Weston, the former soldier who suffered terrible burns during the Falklands War.

He says he would not want to undergo such an operation and he argues that modern society has become obsessed with physical appearance.

The Daily Star reports on a row about a school which has offered pupils the chance to win a 2,000 family holiday if they turn up for lessons.

Those with a 100% attendance record at Rose Bridge High school near Wigan in Greater Manchester will enter a draw sponsored by local businesses.

The Campaign for Real Education tells the paper that pupils should not be rewarded just for turning up.

Finally, the Express has the story of Barry Stevens from Whitstable in Kent, who is suing the Halifax bank for posting a statement to his home.

The problem was that the statement concerned an account he held with another woman, and the blunder has led to the uncovering of a nine-year affair.

The paper says Mr Stevens has been given the boot and is now sleeping in his office.

It quotes him as saying: "It's easy enough to get caught ... you don't need any Xtra help from the Halifax."

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