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Newspapers digest

Iraqi journalist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad (pictured) has won this year’s Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism — awarded in memory of the famous war reporter.

The judges said Abdul-Ahad’s "extraordinary series of articles in The Guardian provided a rare insight into the reality of the Anglo-American occupation. Abdul-Ahad will receive £5,000. For the first time in the history of the prize a special award is being given to Jonathan Steele, another Guardian writer, for "consistent, distinguished and frequently brilliant work over many years".

Sacked Sunday Telegraph editor Sarah Sands has returned to the journalistic fray with a job at the Daily Mail. Sands was sacked in March as editor after just under nine months in the job. This weekend she re-emerged for the first time after her exit with a diary-style column in The Independent on Sunday. And on Monday she started a new, as yet undefined role, as a consultant editor of the Daily Mail.

A Belfast businessman has launched a legal battle for libel damages of more than £300,000 from the publishers of The Sunday Times. Peter Curistan is suing over a story headed "‘IRA’ developer in row over accounts", which appeared in the Irish edition of The Sunday Times on 19 February.

Jockey Kieren Fallon has cleared a key hurdle in his High Court libel claim against the Racing Post, over allegations he was part of a race-fixing scam. In the ongoing action, Fallon claims that a front-page article on 7 September 2004 would be understood to mean that he was part of a "criminal conspiracy" in which Miles Rodgers, founder of the Platinum Racing Club, was alleged to have enjoyed considerable success backing horses to lose. Libel judge Mr Justice Eady ruled in a preliminary legal skirmish that MGN Ltd, publisher of the Racing Post, was not entitled to plead in its defence alternative, lesser meanings for what was published. The alternative and lesser meanings that they had argued could be put on the passages complained of included that there were "reasonable grounds to suspect" Mr Fallon, or "sufficient grounds to investigate" him.

A man accused of the 1996 murder of Sunday Independent journalist Veronica Guerin — Patrick Eugent ‘Dutchy’ Holland — has been released from prison in the Republic of Ireland after serving nine years of a I2-year sentence for drug offences. He had been named in court as the killer of the journalist, an accusation he has always denied.

The Guardian’s Chris McGreal is returning from Jerusalem after four years as Israel correspondent in the summer and will be moving to Johannesburg. He is being replaced by Rory McCarthy, who is currently Middle East reporter. McCarthy joined The Guardian in 2002 as Pakistan correspondent.



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