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Sunday 26 February 2017

While you were sleeping: Stories you may have missed

Republican U.S. presidential candidates (L-R) U.S. Senator Rand Paul, Governor Chris Christie, Dr. Ben Carson, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Marco Rubio, former Governor Jeb Bush and Governor John Kasich pose together onstage at the start of the debate held by Fox News for the top 2016 U.S. Republican presidential candidates in Des Moines, Iowa January 28, 2016
Republican U.S. presidential candidates (L-R) U.S. Senator Rand Paul, Governor Chris Christie, Dr. Ben Carson, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Marco Rubio, former Governor Jeb Bush and Governor John Kasich pose together onstage at the start of the debate held by Fox News for the top 2016 U.S. Republican presidential candidates in Des Moines, Iowa January 28, 2016

Donald Trump is in the news - even when he's doing nothing.

Republican presidential candidates lost no time in taking advantage of a rare opportunity to step out of front-runner Donald Trump's shadow in the party's last debate before the Iowa caucuses.

The policy-heavy event in Des Moines offered a glimpse of what the Republican contest might have been without the unpredictable billionaire businessman - but the candidates could not resist lampooning Mr Trump for boycotting the final debate before voting kicks off in the 2016 campaign on Monday.

Iowa residents will choose among the Republican and Democratic candidates in the first of a series of state-by-state contests to choose delegates to each party's convention.

READ MORE: 'I'm a maniac and everyone on this stage is stupid, fat and ugly' - rivals mock Donald Trump's absence at key debate

The Zika virus is "spreading explosively" and could affect as many as four million people in the Americas, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said yesterday.

After almost 4,000 infections were recorded in Brazil, Dr Margaret Chan, WHO director-general, said the virus posed a threat of "alarming proportions", with new cases reported in 23 countries in South America and elsewhere. "It is now spreading explosively," she said. "The level of alarm is extremely high."

The Zika virus was discovered in 1947 in a rhesus monkey in Uganda. For decades, it lay dormant or infected only primates in the equatorial belt of Africa. However, the virus now is evolving rapidly.

READ MORE: Zika could infect four million with 'explosive' spread through Americas

Ever fancy having a plane to yourself? Most people hold their breath for an empty seat next to them on the aeroplane.

One man had only empty seats however, when he was the sole passenger on a domestic Philippines Airlines flight from Manila to beach island Boracay.

Austrian travel blogger Alex Simon, 28, had a private jet for the price of one ticket, with the aircraft’s two flight attendants and two pilots the only other people on board.

READ MORE: Passenger has entire plane to himself on Philippines Airlines flight

The Irish Independent has an exclusive interview with the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, conducted by Editor Fionnan Sheahan. In the interview, the MInister reveals he is planning to set aside billions from the resources available to the next Government to create a 'rainy day' fund.

The move means Fine Gael will not be promising to put all the predicted proceeds of economic growth - not windfall gains - into tax cuts and spending.

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The Herald leads with a shocking story that a thug set a pitbull on three gardai. The vicious attack - which happened on May 22 last year in Termonfeckin, Co Louth - saw the dog bite a garda's arm "to the bone" after the man shouted "Attack Chico!"

The Irish Times reports that there are no new homes for sale in the city centre. Only 15 developments across Dublin have properties for less than €300,000. Residential construction rose by 15pc nationally last year but fell by 12pc in the capital, according to the paper.

The Star covers the remarkable story of Vera O'Donnell, the mother whose daughter, Georgina, was shot dead in a Limerick nightclub in 1998.

Tragic Georgina O'Donnnell died after she was shot in the head on the dance floor of the Henry Cecil disco bar by Mark Cronin, a father-of-three,

However, Vera has forgiven the man who killed her daughter and said she hopes he comes out of jail a better man.

The Irish Mirror leads with a story that Irish men are being targeted in a Facebook sex scam. Two men have already contacted gardai over the Eastern European scam where women lure the men into having webcam sex but record them performing sex acts.

The Sun features the Brian McFadden row with a Twitter follower where he responded furiously to a tweet. The former Westlife singer promised to hunt down a girl who poked fun at his career and throttle her.

The Irish Daily Mail reports on the family of a GAA hero who was gunned down by a convicted criminal are 'heartbroken all over again' after his killer's family received a €50,000 payout.

James Hughes was shot dead by Shane Rodgers with a gun he shouldn't have been licensed to use given that he had five previous criminal convictions.

Finally, the Irish Examiner leads with concern over Irish Water contract award as the body comes under fire for the awarding of a €50m contract to run Irish Water's call centre

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