The top stories in Wednesday's newspapers:
THE IRISH TIMES
- The British government envisages there will be no customs posts on the Border after the UK quits the European Union, the paper says. It will push for a deal that ensures there will no border posts between the North and the South and will also seek some form of transition arrangement to allow mechanisms to be put in place to make the border "seamless and frictionless".
- It also reports that failure rates among students sitting higher level Leaving Cert subjects have dropped dramatically as thousands of candidates benefit from a more generous grading system. Some 58,000 students will receive their results today although those who have applied for college will not know if they have secured their first choice places until next Monday.
- US president Donald Trump has inflamed controversy over his handling of last weekend's far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, by claiming both sides were to blame for the clashes at the protest. In remarks at Trump Tower in New York yesterday he said protestors on the left violently attacked white nationalists.
- In its business section, the paper reports that Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has said capital expenditure -- on housing, transport, education and health -- is emerging as the clear focus of Budget 2018. He said that after studying departmental budget submissions in recent weeks, a common thread was big-ticket spending requests.
- Leading central banks own a fifth of their governments' total debt, a sign of the scale of the challenge they face in unwinding unprecedented stimulus measures deployed in the past decade. In total, the six central banks - the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan and the Bank of England along with the Swiss and Swedish central banks - now hold more than $15 trillion of assets.
- The paper also reports on British proposals for the Border post-Brexit, saying it wants it to remain free of physical customs posts although this raises the question of how Britain and the EU would control immigration and trade on either side of the land border, which has nearly 300 formal crossing points.
- In its Companies & Markets section, the paper says that Air Berlin will continue to fly despite filing for insolvency yesterday after the German government and Lufthansa stepped in to prevent the collapse of one of Europe's largest airlines. The move was triggered after Etihad, Air Berlin's biggest shareholder with a 29 per cent stake, decided not to invest any more money.
- Danone, the company behind brands such as Activia and Evian, rose three per cent yesterday on reports that US activist hedge fund Corvex had built up a roughly $400 million position. Corvex is though to be seeking to profit from rising demand for healthier products.
- The paper leads with the Leaving Cert results, reporting there was a leap in the number of students taking the honours exam papers, attracted by the first overhaul of grading and CAO points in 25 years. Almost all subjects saw an increase in the uptake of higher-level papers, where for the first time points are available for a grade of between 30 and 49 per cent.
- It also says that gardaí have uncovered a gun in the search of derelict land following a tip-off about the final resting place of Trevor Deely. The paper reports the firearm is believed to have been located yesterday by officers at the scrubland in Chapelizod, which is being searched following fresh information from an informant.
- Momentum for Michael D Higgins to get a second term as President is growing despite a decision by an independent senator to enter the race for Áras an Uachtaráin. A presidential election is not due until October next year but speculation is mounting in political circles that Higgins will go back on his promise to be a one-term office holder.
- In its business section, the paper reports that sterling slumped to a 10-month low against the euro yesterday, dealing a fresh blow to Irish exporters and prompting renewed calls for state aid to the agri-food sector.
- The paper reports that the UK has strongly dismissed the idea of a customs border in the Irish Sea, stating that such a border is "not constitutionally or economically viable". But it is also pushing for a "seamless and frictionless" border between North and South and the avoidance of any physical border posts.
- The Cork County Board has said it "outright condemns" the flying of the Confederate flag in support of the country's GAA teams. The use of the flag by some Cork fans has been the subject of criticism in the past but was again in the headlines this week after appearing during Cork's defeat in the All-Ireland hurling semi-final.
- Irish fuel retailers have said they need tax incentives to provide electric charging points if the government is to achieve its plan to encourage motorists to switch from petrol and diesel. Transport Minister Shane Ross has outlined plans to go electric by 2050 and aims to have 800,000 electric vehicles on the roads by 2030.