The top stories in Wednesday's papers:
THE IRISH TIMES
- The paper leads with Syria, reporting that the battle for Aleppo has ended with Syrian forces poised to retake the key city after rebels were routed in what a UN official described as "a complete meltdown of humanity".
- Its front page also reports that Minister for Housing Simon Coveney will be forced to make changes to his rental strategy to have it passed by the Oireachtas this week after Fianna Fáil objected to aspects of the plan.
- In its business section, the paper reports that the state is to receive a €280 million payout from the IBRC liquidators in the next fortnight as they make their first payout to the unsecured creditors of the former Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide.
- It also reports that October's budget delivered modest gains to most Irish households with those on on lower incomes faring marginally better than others, according to an analysis by the Economic and Social Research Institute.
- Donald Trump attempted to head off a Republican rebellion against his nomination of Rex Tillerson as secretary of state by rolling out some of the party's most respected foreign policy hands to insist the Exxon Mobil chief's Russian ties did not disqualify him for the job.
- It also reports that Google, Facebook and other internet platforms face strict new privacy rules from Brussels over how they track people online to target advertising that the industry fears could wreck its business model.
- UK Chancellor Philip Hammond has defied Theresa May by setting out his vision of a business-friendly Brexit with increasing clarity, catching the prime minister off guard with his plain speaking and 'soft Brexit' push.
- The FT Big Read takes Japan and Russia as its subject, reporting that Shinzo Abe and Vladimir Putin are seeking to end a bitter 70-year old territorial dispute between their countries, a deal that could rewire the geopolitics of east Asia.
- The paper also leads with Syria, reporting that Syrian pro-government forces have been entering homes in eastern Aleppo and killing those inside, including women and children, according to UN reports.
- It also reports that the commuter belt has been ignored in the new rental strategy despite having high rent areas that would qualify as 'rent pressure zones'.
- The government has revealed that the gap between public and private wages is among the highest in Europe and the value of public sector pensions is at an all-time high.
- Management at Independent News & Media, which owns the paper, will now be invited to meet the Pensions Authority in an effort to resolve the dispute over the winding up of the company's defined benefit pension schemes, it says.
- Syria and the new plans for rent limits feature on the paper's front page, which also carries a story that an elite armed Garda unit for Dublin is being launched today without a dedicated boss at its helm because of persistent vacancies.
- It also says that Ireland's health system will be given a €14 billion budget next year that has been flagged by government as the largest in the service's history, despite HSE's fears it may still not be enough to meet existing needs.
- The Dáil committee on water charges has hit difficulties after just one meeting, the paper reports, as opposition TDs claimed they were blocked from questioning the author of a government-commissioned report on the issue.
- On its business pages, the paper reports that the EU Commission's plan to shake up the way corporate taxes are paid across the union is the greatest threat to Ireland's economy and could cost the country half of its corporation tax base.