The top stories in Wednesday's newspapers:
THE IRISH TIMES
- The paper leads with British prime minister Theresa May's decision to call a snap election, reporting that she has promised to put Brexit at the heart of her campaign for a fresh electoral mandate on June 8, less than a year after Britain voted in a referendum to leave the European Union.
- It also reports that Chinese and other foreign languages are to be added to the Leaving Cert curriculum to help students prepare for the economic threat posed by Brexit and the rise of non-western countries.
- Australia is to scrap its skilled 457 visa programme which has allowed thousands of Irish workers to arrive in the country in recent years. Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said he was "putting Australians first" by giving them priority for jobs currently open to overseas workers.
- In its business supplement, the paper reports that sterling climbed to a four-month high against the euro as Theresa May's call for a snap general election prompted speculation that her move will weaken the hand of members of her party pushing for a hard Brexit.
- The paper also leads with the UK general election, reporting that Theresa May stunned colleagues by announcing in Downing Street yesterday that she had changed her mind on calling an election and would seek a direct mandate for her plan to deliver a smooth exit from the EU.
- Goldman Sachs punctured some of the optimism surrounding US bank stocks in the wake of the election of Donald Trump, revealing a poor quarter for bond trading that fell well short of market expectations.
- Vijay Mallya, the flamboyant Kingfisher tycoon who came to symbolise elite excess in India, was arrested in London yesterday as proceedings began for his extradition to stand trial for alleged fraud.
- Marine Le Pen has stepped up her anti-immigration and anti-Islam rhetoric as she seeks to mobilise her far-right party's base in the final days of campaigning before the first round of voting in a French presidential election which is on a knife-edge.
- The paper reports that May's surprise election is a political gamble that will define the nature of Brexit but it had raised fears that it could dash hopes of an end to the crisis in the North.
- Survivors of the Magdalene Laundries are appalled that the controversial Sisters of Charity order that ran the notorious workhouses will still own the new National Maternity Hospital, even if it is independently run.
- Welfare cheats are resorting to wearing fake beards and make-up in a bid to claim benefits, Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar has said, as he called on people to blow the whistle on friends and neighbours who they suspect are taking state money which they are not entitled to.
- International economic relations are under severe strain and the outcome of the French election threatens the stability of the euro zone, the International Monetary Fund has warned. Nonetheless, it revised up its forecasts for global growth this year to 3.5 per cent from 3.4 per cent in the autumn.
- The government's ability to meet teacher demands for pay restoration will be limited by other demands in the sector and by economic circumstances, Education Minister Richard Bruton has warned. He did not give any commitment to returning to the common salaries enjoyed by all teachers up to 2011.
- US president Donald Trump's executive order to clamp down on temporary highly-skilled worker visas could impact Irish graduates. The H-1B visa has been in use since 1990, allowing foreign students to work with a sponsor company for three years with the option of an extension.
- Thirty-three million people travelled through Irish airports last year, a 10 per cent increase on 2015, as passenger numbers increased in all airports except Waterford, new CSO figures show.
- Construction has begun on a 100,000 square foot office development in Limerick city centre, kickstarting the €500 million Limerick 2030 economic plan which sets out a strategy embracing three city-centre sites and will create 5,000 jobs within five year.