“Government sources had suggested it was unlikely to be extended.”

The only reason I can see for any surprise at the BBC headline – “Decommissioning deadline extended” – is the referenced briefings earlier this year by “Government sources”. Mark Devenport implies similar briefings too – and the Northern Ireland Secretary of State’s statement is here. Clearly I didn’t get the memo when, in July this year, I identified the date for the termination of that service as Feb 2010.. Meanwhile police have linked unidentified loyalist paramilitaries to four blast bombs in south Belfast..