The top stories in Wednesday's newspapers:
THE IRISH TIMES
- Private finance houses will be able to bulk-buy the mortgages of struggling families and lease the properties back to the state under a new plan to be rolled out by the government. The move by the Minister for Housing Simon Coveney marks an expansion of the 'mortgage-to-rent' scheme.
- The paper also reports that the government will not ask Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan to stand aside from her position despite being the subject of a statutory inquiry into allegations that, along with her predecessor Martin Callinan, she engaged in a campaign of harassment against whistleblower Maurice McCabe.
- The head of the Health Service Executive Tony O'Brien has said that it cannot afford to build the €1 billion new children's hospital "within the current capital envelope" and is not even in a position to sign contracts on the project at present.
- US president Donald Trump's nominee for education secretary Betsy DeVos was confirmed by the narrowest of margins yesterday in an illustration of the deepening tensions between Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill over Trump's policies.
- Deutsche Boerse and the London Stock Exchange have gambled on winning approval from Brussels for their €29 billion tie-up with only limited concessions, indicating the two are confident of overcoming antitrust concerns.
- Japan's government is pushing companies to hand over details of their US investment plans so prime minister Shinzo Abe can deliver a "tweetable" figure to US president Donald Trump when they meet this week, the paper reports.
- The FT Big Read is on investment, reporting that banks and brokerages are shedding research analysts as the industry, under pressure to cut costs and meet new regulations, wakes up to the fact that the vast majority of what is produced is never read.
- Britain's vote to leave the EU will prevent General Motors' European operations from returning to profit this year with the US car maker predicting $300 million in Brexit-related losses in the region in 2017 after a similar amount in 2016.
- A total of 500 jobs are on the line at Hewlett-Packard in Leixlip, Co Kildare, as senior management are expected to address staff at the plant, which makes ink jet cartridges and printers, later this morning.
- A state-of-the-art operating theatre will remain semi-idle for months to come despite the desperate need of over 380 children for spinal surgery. The €5 million orthopaedic theatre at Our Lady's Children Hospital in Crumlin has not been able to function properly for nearly a year due to a lack of staff, the paper says.
- Disputes involving banks and receivers have left as many as 15,000 homes lying vacant across the state despite the chronic housing shortage which is fuelling rents and price hikes.
- Irish mobile phone customers are paying €20 per week more than other European consumers for making calls when abroad as new figures from the telecoms regulator show that surcharges of up to 30 cent per minute are being applied to Irish customers when they phone home from places like the US and Australia.
- The papers reports that there is "fear and loathing" in the cabinet over where required budget cuts will be inflicted to pay for public sector pay rises.
- Tesco workers are to go on strike from next Tuesday after talks on a year-long dispute over planned contract changes failed. Nine of the supermarket's 149 Irish shops will take part in the Valentine's Day stoppage which will continue indefinitely.
- US president Donald Trump has accused the media of deliberately minimising coverage of the threat posed by Islamic State, saying news outlets have their reasons for not reporting what he called a "genocide" by the terror group.
- A clash between the Data Protection Commissioner and the US government over the adequacy of US legal safeguards for the data privacy rights of EU citizens has emerged at the Commercial Court.