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Last Updated: Friday, 7 May, 2004, 07:34 GMT 08:34 UK
What the papers say

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

A young American soldier called Lynndie England appears on more news pages than anyone else on Friday.

With her in the pictures is an Iraqi prisoner on the end of a leather strap.

"Treated like a dog," says the headline in the Daily Telegraph.

The Sun describes the soldier as "a witch".

He changed the rules on the treatment of prisoners, in ways that made it easier to abuse them
The Mail

The Irish Times describes it, and a series of other pictures, as "devastating."

The Irish Independent uses the words "shocking", "appalling" and "shameful."

The Mail says the picture "spells disaster for the US in Iraq".

And it reports that while Private England's mother passed off last week's photographs featuring her daughter as mere pranks, her response to the latest one was "Oh my God, I can't get over this".

But the paper itself wonders if the blame should go higher.

It mentions the name of the US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and says "he changed the rules on the treatment of prisoners, in ways that made it easier to abuse them".

'Vulgar'

The Mirror continues to defend its own pictures allegedly showing an Iraqi prisoner being abused by British soldiers.

Another soldier has come forward with allegations of torture, and is being interviewed by the army's Special Investigations Branch.

He is quoted in the paper as saying that he knows the soldier who took the Mirror's photographs, and the abuse depicted in them wasn't a one-off.

The Irish News reports under its main headline that a new investigation is to be carried out into the murder of GAA official Sean Brown in Bellaghy in 1997.

The paper says no officer involved in the previous investigation will take part in the new one.

In a leader, the paper considers the reaction to those comments on security by the Catholic Primate, Archbishop Sean Brady.

The paper says the barrage of abuse directed at him was "as vulgar as it was uninformed", and it wonders if his Unionist accusers even bothered to study the content of his speech.

The result is that no one party will have an advantage over the others
News Letter

"It is worth reminding ourselves that Dr Brady called for an end to paramilitary activity and said the Catholic community should remove itself totally from the legacy of violence," the paper says.

"Protestant Brain Drain," says the stark banner headline in the News Letter as it looks at a new book which claims that top jobs in Northern Ireland will become the domain of the Catholic community if the exodus of Protestants remains unchecked.

A co-author of the book, Professor Bob Osborne says there is evidence that "young Protestants who leave in pursuit of higher education simply don't come back".

In its Morning View column, the paper welcomes the government's proposal to end the ability of local political parties to raise funds outside Northern Ireland.

It believes that, "while the SDLP will be affected, the greatest impact will be on Sinn Fein.

"The result is that no one party will have an advantage over the others."

Finally, there is much coverage of the passing of the television show Friends, the final episode of which was shown in the US on Thursday night.

The Guardian says it had a distorting effect on television schedules as NBC claimed 85m viewers.

Commercials during the programme were priced at two million dollars for 30 seconds.

One competing channel gave up the fight completely.

Instead of showing programmes, it screened live pictures of its own staff watching Friends.


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