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Last Updated: Friday, 17 September, 2004, 07:51 GMT 08:51 UK
What the papers say

Journalist Mike Philpott takes a look at what is making the headlines in Friday's morning papers.

The Sun features pictures of one of its reporters serving tea to John Prescott and standing next to the Ulster Unionist leader, David Trimble.

Nothing unusual in that, you might think, but the same reporter is pictured on the paper's front page with a fake bomb inside the House of Commons.

Anthony France writes that he could have killed the deputy prime minister after landing a job as a waiter using fake references.

The paper says he gave the phone numbers of two other journalists as referees but no-one checked them out.

There's never been a better moment for Gerry Adams to secure a settlement, provided Sinn Fein is prepared to cross its Rubicon
The Times

Most remarkably of all, it says, he has a Scotland Yard pass, so his name and photograph are on police records.

The Times reports that the recommendations of a sweeping review of parliamentary security were rejected last week because of rivalry between the Commons and the Lords.

The issue of fox-hunting, which led to Wednesday's security scare, continues to preoccupy the leader writers.

The News Letter is concerned that the government will attempt to extend a fox hunting ban to Northern Ireland.

It describes it as "an unpopular measure". While city dwellers might see the fox as pretty inoffensive, it says, farmers regard it as a killer pest.

'Apparent U-turn'

The paper feels the new law may come back to haunt the government.

Several papers concentrate on Tony Blair's apparent U-turn on the issue.

Having voted twice against hunting, says the Mail, the prime minister now tells us that he does not support the Bill his government is trying to bludgeon through parliament.

It concludes that "the man is beyond parody".

There's some comment about the prospects for agreement at Leeds Castle.

The Times notes that Groundhog Day in the US takes place at the same time every year - but in Northern Ireland politics the endless sense of repetition can happen in any month.

"Even so", it says, "there's a sense that these negotiations are different.

'Guns for power'

"There's never been a better moment for Gerry Adams to secure a settlement", it says, "provided Sinn Fein is prepared to cross its Rubicon."

The Irish Independent says the choice is the same as it was two years ago - guns for power.

It comments that the failure of David Trimble and Mark Durkan to hold the centre means that agreement now depends on the leaders of the two extremes of the political divide.

It concludes that Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams can be the leaders with the courage to embrace a new future - or they can linger in the shadows and let the big decisions be taken by someone else.

The Irish News examines the closure of the Fruit of the Loom textile factories in the north west.

The paper says that at least the workers have been given a breathing space to find new jobs - but it feels that might not be as easy as it sounds.

It believes it is essential that efforts to bring large-scale investment to the north west are redoubled in the coming months and years.

"These are grim times for the textile industry", it says, "and there are no signs that its decline can be halted."




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