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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 July 2006, 07:24 GMT 08:24 UK
What the papers say
Journalist Fionola Meredith takes a look at what is making the headlines in Tuesday's morning papers.

"Is this the end of men?" asks the Mirror, as scientists succeed for the first time in using artificially-grown sperm to fertilise eggs.

According to the Mail, the technique could lead to a cure for some types of infertility, by allowing men to "grow" their own sperm.

But it too raises fears that it could all lead to men being "made redundant from the process of creating life".

The creation of the test-tube father "could make men a species who have served their time and are now discardable", according to the Independent.

"Look on the bright side ladies", says the Mirror, "we'll never have to wax our legs, iron a shirt or watch a football match again".

Headbutt

But until that far-off time, it's back to the football - and more specifically just what caused Zinedine Zidane to headbutt Italy's Marco Materazzi during the World Cup final.

Picturing the player meeting the French president Jacques Chirac, the Guardian says that Italian politicians, French anti-racism campaigners and a host of international lip-readers were trying to work out what Materazzi might have said to enrage Zidane.

In the absence of hard facts, the Guardian has a list of 10 things Materazzi might have said.

Perhaps it was: "I am very interested in the late Cretaceous period - could you show me how Homalocephale defended itself from enemies?".

Or maybe he said: "I saw your mum round the back of the Olympiastadion." Perhaps we'll never know.

Closer to home, the News Letter says that the battle to keep academic selection in Northern Ireland's schools will continue, despite a crucial defeat in the House of Lords on Monday night.

The paper says that the UUP, the DUP and the Tories united to try to delay approval of the Government's Education Order, which proposes getting rid of academic selection.

But their efforts were in vain, as the move was rejected. The DUP's Lord Morrow of Clogher Valley vowed to fight on, accusing the government of going against the wishes of the community in Northern Ireland.

The only conclusion that can be drawn is that practically nothing the IRA has said about Mrs McConville, from 1972 to the present day, can be believed
Irish News

The Irish News leads with a report on the condition of Mark H Durkan, Derry City councillor and nephew of SDLP leader Mark Durkan, who hurt himself badly in a fall from a ladder.

Inside, the paper's editorial focuses on the IRA statement claiming Jean McConville was an informer.

The paper says that when the Police Ombudsman ruled that Mrs McConville had not been an informer, it took the IRA less than 27 hours to issue a "callous contradictory statement" which caused further grief to her family.

"And yet", the paper says, "it took the IRA more than 27 years to admit it had abducted and murdered the mother of 10".

It says that "the only conclusion that can be drawn is that practically nothing the IRA has said about Mrs McConville, from 1972 to the present day, can be believed."

And finally, the Belfast Telegraph says that it's official - WAG syndrome is now endemic in Northern Ireland.

According to research by a UK financial service, almost half of women in Northern Ireland have aspirations to be a WAG, in the mould of the England team's champagne-swilling wives and girlfriends.

Apparently, 47% of women in the province are afflicted by "foootballers wives' syndrome", wanting their men to look after them financially and pay for their lifestyle.

Where have all those independent 21st century women gone?


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