The top stories in Wednesday's newspapers:
THE IRISH TIMES
- The paper reports that the Trump administration was facing increased pressure last night over its links with Russia after emails showed that Donald Trump Junior enthusiastically welcomed an offer of information on Hillary Clinton linked to the Russian government.
- It also reports that proposals to automatically ban anyone found to be over the legal drink-driving limit from the roads were opposed by six ministers at yesterday's Cabinet meeting. The bill, brought forward by Transport Minister Shane Ross, will still proceed to the Dáil in the autumn despite the reservations of senior figures, including Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan.
- The National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street breached public service pay policy by making payments to some senior managers, a Health Service Executive internal audit report has found. It says the hospital "blurred boundaries" between the publicly-funded facility and a semi-private clinic on its site, which posed a risk of conflicts of interest.
- In its business section, the paper reports that Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe told MEPs yesterday that Ireland is a "strong supporter" of international efforts to reform the tax system. Addressing the European Parliament's Pana committee on tax avoidance and evasion, he said the state was one of the first to introduce "country by country" reporting to tax authorities.
- The FT also leads with the Trump administration's Russian links, reporting that emails between the US president's eldest son and Robert Goldstone, a PR executive and acquaintance, show Goldstone claiming to be in touch with Russian businessmen who were offering "high level and sensitive information" damaging to Hillary Clinton from Russian prosecutors.
- It also says that almost 1,000 solicitors registered in Ireland in the year since the EU referendum, at least 10 times the regular annual number, because they fear losing the right to represent clients in European courts after Brexit. The move has been spearheaded by competition lawyers who fear they might lose so-called rights of audience at the European Court of Justice.
- In its Companies & Markets section, the paper reports that Pearson is to raise just over $1 billion from the sale of a 22 per cent stake in Penguin Random House to co-owner Bertelsmann in a deal that reinforces the German media group's global dominance of the book publishing business.
- It also says that JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon has warned that US banks would have to uproot their London-based staff if the EU ordered them to do so after the UK leaves the political bloc, underscoring the potential impact of Brexit on the City of London. The bank currently plans to shift "several hundred" of its 16,000 UK staff to the EU after Brexit.
- Families are facing a triple whammy of charges as soon as summer ends with hikes in electricity charges, higher waste costs and back-to-school charges set to hit parents hard in the pocket, the paper says. It also reports that RTÉ boss Dee Forbes has asked the government for a sizeable increase in the €160 television licence fee.
- The paper reports that the surge in property prices has picked up pace as prices nationwide jumped by almost 12 per cent in the year to May, raising fears that another bubble may be forming. Dublin prices rose by 11.2 per cent in the year to May and recorded their biggest monthly increase in three years, it said.
- Fianna Fáil will effectively kill off the student loan idea today as it flags its concerns about the costs both to individuals and the state, the paper says. While not ruling out a 'study-now, pay later' income-contingent loan scheme, the party will offer a very negative view of the proposal during a Seanad debate.
- Prospective bidders for Danske Bank's €2 billion retail book have submitted offers for the portfolio as the Danish lender races to case of its last, largest-scale legacy asset by this autumn, the paper reports in its business section. It says AIB and Bank of Ireland have both submitted bids and are viewed as key contenders.
- A 'black hole' of more than €200 million to cover the cost of the ongoing suspension of water charges and other related water costs will have to be prioritised in October's budget ahead of other spending demands, the paper says. As a result, ministers have been warned to "dial down their expectations" in terms of new spending plans for the budget.
- The proposed M20 motorway between Cork and Limerick could trigger up to 5,400 jobs for the region and prevent almost 120 crashes every year, the paper reports. The 80-kilometre road would play a key role in creating an Atlantic Economic Corridor, incorporating a three-city region of Cork, Limerick and Galway, a new report says.
- Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan's failure to deliver an internal audit report into one million fake breath tests and fixed-charge notices has been blamed on "considerable difficulties" in gathering facts, several months after the scandal broke.
- In its business section, the paper reports that Google will find out if it owes over €1.1 billion in back taxes to France through using an Irish company, just days after it was slapped with a record competition fine by the EU. The case hinges on whether Google's European headquarters in Ireland should be taxed as if it also has a permanent base in France.