Friday 9 December 2016

While you were sleeping: Stories you may have missed overnight

Published 08/01/2016 | 07:14

President Barack Obama tore into the nation's largest gun lobby accusing it of peddling an "imaginary fiction" that has distorted the debate about firearms violence.

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In a primetime, televised forum, the president dismissed what he called a "conspiracy" alleging that the government - and Mr Obama in particular - wants to seize all firearms as a precursor to imposing martial law.

He blamed the notion on the National Rifle Association (NRA) and like-minded groups that convince its members that "somebody's going to come grab your guns".

Mr Obama said: "Yes, that is a conspiracy. I'm only going to be here for another year. When would I have started on this enterprise?"

READ MORE: 'It's a conspiracy' - President Barack Obama tears into NRA over gun control

Meanwhile, South Korea retaliated for North Korea's nuclear test with broadcasts of anti-Pyongyang propaganda across the rival's border.

READ MORE: South Korea resumes anti-North broadcasts after H-bomb test

Today is believed to be the birthday of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who is thought to be in his early 30s, and the broadcasts will draw a furious response from North Korea, which considers them an act of psychological warfare.

Pyongyang is extremely sensitive to any outside criticism of his authoritarian leadership, and its reaction could be especially harsh because of the high emotions surrounding his likely birthday.

When South Korea briefly resumed propaganda broadcasts in August after an 11-year break, the two Koreas exchanged artillery fire, followed by threats of war.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel promised to respond decisively to assaults on women in Cologne on New Year's Eve which have stoked a fierce debate about her refugee policies after police said the attackers appeared to be of foreign origin.

Some 121 women are reported to have been robbed, threatened or sexually molested there by gangs of mostly drunk men between 18 and 35 years old while out celebrating. Police say they have identified 16 suspects.

READ MORE: Merkel hit by claims police hid migrants' link to sex assaults

Cologne's police chief, under pressure for the force's handling of the event, has said the perpetrators appeared to be of "Arab or North African" origin.

German magazine Focus and newspaper Die Welt said police had found registration papers on some of the suspects, suggesting they had only recently arrived in the country. But authorities have not confirmed that.

In the papers this morning, the Irish Independent is leading with a story on home loans with the headline 'Mortgage war heats up with banks' offer of cash to switch'. In the piece, Charlie Weston details how Permanent TSB have become the second bank to pay a cash lump sum to those who take out a home loan. The move will match Bank of Ireland's popular offer of 2pc cash-back on the value of the mortgage.

The Herald lead with further revelations from the Jason Corbett case as it is revealed that widow Molly Martens Corbett admitted killing her husband, a US court heard.

Mr Corbett's sister, Tracy Lynch, claimed Ms  martens Corbett (32) confessed to the killing.

The Irish Examiner leads with the story that Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy TD Catherine Murphy resorted to using "throwaway" mobile phones at the height of the Siteserv/IBRC saga.

The Star leads with teh story that gardai have launched a probe into a photo of UFC champ Conor McGregor wearing a balaclava and brandishing a replica gun.

READ MORE: Gardai investigating picture of UFC champion Conor McGregor appearing to hold gun

The Irish Sun also leads with shocking information from the Jason Corbetts trial and claims that the Limerick man was 'choking his wife Molly when he was beaten to death, according to claims in police documents.

In the Irish Mirror, model and TV star Vogue Williams reveals that he life is "falling apart" since she split with her husband, Brian McFadden.  The model (30) has claimed that she has struggled since their three-year marriage ended last July.

Finally, the Irish Times leads with a mortgage story. Its lead story claims that the Central Bank is to to review mortgage rules. The current regime, which have particular impacted upon first-time buyers, is to remain in place for thwe spring and summer of this year but then will be altered.

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