While you were sleeping - the stories you missed overnight
We take a look at the main stories from overnight and what it says in today’s papers.
A Palestinian detainee has entered uncharted medical territory with a hunger strike of 89 days - longer than protest fasts by other Palestinians or by prisoners in Northern Ireland in 1981, an advocacy group has said. Mohammed al-Qeq, 33, a long-time activist in the Islamic militant Hamas group, is under observation at an Israeli hospital, but has refused all treatment unless he is released. A doctor who visited him earlier this month described his condition as "extremely grave" and said he could barely speak or hear.
The US and Russia have agreed on a new ceasefire for Syria that will take effect on Saturday. Syria's warring government and rebels still need to accept the deal. The timeline for a hoped-for breakthrough comes after the former Cold War foes, backing opposing sides in the conflict, said they had finalised the details of a "cessation of hostilities" between President Bashar Assad's government and armed opposition groups after five years of violence that has killed more than 250,000 people.
A Sinn Féin candidate has demanded an apology by 3pm today from a sitting TD or he will press charges against a canvasser for the alleged theft of election leaflets. Gardaí were called to a housing estate in Ballymahon, Co Longford last night after a heated dispute between Sinn Féin's Paul Hogan and Fine Gael's James Bannon. Mr Hogan told the Irish Independent he has five witnesses who saw someone they believed to be a canvasser for the TD remove the Sinn Féiner's literature from post boxes in the Creevaghbeg estate.
Jobs will be lost if the result of the General Election leads to “political instability” or gives a greater sway to fringe elements, the country’s top business leaders have warned in a letter to the Irish Independent. Executives working with a range of national and international companies have joined forces to ask voters to look at the global economic situation. With polls suggesting the country could be heading for a hung Dáil, they warn: “Ireland needs a stable government capable of making the right policy choices for the future”. In the letter, the senior business people write that the recovery is at a “critical point”.
The Herald reports that the AK-47 assault rifles used in the Regency Hotel attack may have been stolen from an IRA arms dump over a decade ago. The high-powered weapons were used by associates of slain gangster Gary Hutch in the brutal attack in which rival mobster David Byrne (34) was murdered and two of his pals were shot. Sources have revealed that the use of the AK-47s in the attack has increased tension among senior dissident Republicans in the capital. reports indicated that a long-time close associate of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch is now being blamed for stealing the weapons more than 10 years ago.
Both The Herald and the Irish Daily Star lead with the story that a Dublin man who poses a "dangerous and substantial risk" to women and children has been jailed for life for raping a woman in front of her child. Trevor Lawlor (32) was only prevented from raping a second woman when he was disturbed by her boyfriend. Lawlor, originally from Blanchardstown in Dublin, carried out the horror attacks in Manchester on July 10 last year. He was previously jailed for six years at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin in 2004 after sneaking into a woman's house and raping her. Lawlor, who was just 18 at the time, pleaded guilty to raping the 39-year-old woman on August 29, 2002.