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Last Updated: Monday, 17 October 2005, 08:01 GMT 09:01 UK
What the papers say
Journalist Fionola Meredith takes a look at what is making the headlines in Monday's morning papers.

"Stubbed out" is the Belfast Telegraph's headline on the day that Health Minister Shaun Woodward is expected to announce plans for a ban on smoking in all enclosed public places in Northern Ireland.

It could be April 2007 before the ban takes effect.

The News Letter points out that if a total ban is announced, "it would be in keeping with the vast majority of public opinion - a recent government consultation showed that 91% of people in Northern Ireland favour the comprehensive move".

The paper wants the government to get a move on - "smoking kills but so will the delay", it says.

Calls for the target date to be brought forward are also made in the Irish News.

Dr Peter Maguire, a British Medical Association spokesman for Northern Ireland, urged the government to move through the legislative process as quickly as possible: "Each week someone in Northern Ireland dies from inhaling second hand tobacco smoke."

Daily Ireland says that nationalists must "bite their tongues", and try to follow Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's call at the Wolfe Tone commemoration for "generosity and tolerance" to be shown towards unionism.

Each week someone in Northern Ireland dies from inhaling second hand tobacco smoke
Dr Peter Maguire

However, the paper cannot contain its disgust that Father Alex Reid's "spur-of-the-moment" comment that unionists treated nationalists like Nazis are now to be investigated by the PSNI.

It prints a selection of "anti-nationalist gems" from unionist elected representatives that were "never investigated by the police".

Meanwhile, Pol O Muiri, writing in the Belfast Telegraph, points out that the exchange between Fr Reid and some members of the audience at Fitzroy Presbyterian Church was "not all one way", as accusations about the "butchering of Protestants" were hurled back at the priest.

Mr O'Muiri thinks that some unionists are inclined to see "the Catholic Church and the republican movement as one and the same".

But he says that the church was never a recruitment agency for the IRA - and notes that Sinn Fein's rise in support has "coincided with a fall in Mass attendance".

Bird flu

Anxieties over bird flu continue to dominate the papers this morning.

"Bird flu will kill 50,000 people, but not this year" is the Daily Telegraph's ambiguously reassuring headline.

The "chilling prediction" by the government's top medical adviser, Sir Liam Donaldson, also appers on the Daily Mail's front page.

But the Irish Times editorial says that "health authorities - and the media - face a real challenge to balance relevant information and cautionary action against extravagant and unnecessary public alarm".

Finally, The Sun reports that villagers in Kent planning to stage a pantomime of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs were shocked after receiving a script with all references to dwarfs removed by the publisher.

I have no problem being called a dwarf. Why don't they ask us before they make decisions like this?
Actor Graham Hughes

The characters were referred to as "guardians of the forest" instead.

"More like Guardian readers of the forest", says The Sun.

In addition, the name of Bashful was changed - to avoid offending shy people.

The Sun sees it as an act of "politically-correct pottiness".

Actor Graham Hughes - who is 3ft 11in - agreed, saying: "I have no problem being called a dwarf. Why don't they ask us before they make decisions like this?"


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