Saturday 24 March 2018

While you were sleeping: Stories you missed overnight and what it says in the papers

Distraught relatives of inmates gather outside Topo Chico prison in Monterrey, Mexico, scene of a battle between drug gangs
Distraught relatives of inmates gather outside Topo Chico prison in Monterrey, Mexico, scene of a battle between drug gangs Newsdesk Newsdesk

Here are the stories you may have missed overnight and what is hitting the headlines on this morning's papers:

Mexican prison battle leaves 52 dead

A battle between rival drug gangs at a prison in the northeastern Mexican city of Monterrey has left 52 people, days ahead of a planned visit by Pope Francis to another jail in Mexico's far north.

Fighting broke out before midnight in two areas of the Topo Chico prison between a faction of the brutal Zetas gang and another group.

It was not immediately clear how the victims died but there were no reports of gunfire during the fighting.

The incident was one of the worst in a series of deadly riots in recent years to rock the country's overpopulated prisons, which often house inmates from different drug cartels.

Read More: 52 people killed in Mexican prison battle between rival drugs cartels

Two on trial over deaths of Aylan Kurdi (3) and family

Two alleged people-smugglers have gone on trial in Turkey accused of causing the death of three-year-old Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi, after his family's ill-fated crossing of the Mediterranean last year.

An image of the boy, in red t-shirt and shorts, lying lifeless on a beach in Bodrum, shone a spotlight on the suffering and perils facing migrants travelling to Europe when it appeared on newspaper front-pages across the world.

The trial against Syrian nationals Muwafaka Alabash and Asem Alfrhad opened in the Aegean resort of Bodrum yesterday, and the pair face upwards of 35 years in prison each if convicted.

Aylan's father, Abdullah Kurdi, who survived the sinking of the boat, is also on trial in absentia over his role in the disaster.

Read More: Two on trial over deaths of migrant Aylan (3) and family

NATO steps in to end migrant smuggling

NATO is to send a naval flotilla "without delay" to help stop people smugglers in the Aegean Sea, following a request from Germany, Greece and Turkey, the alliance's chief said yesterday.

The move comes as Turkey warns it is unable to cope following the latest upsurge in migrants streaming from Aleppo following days of bombardment by Russian warplanes in support of forces loyal to the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The multinational task force, under German command, is composed of a German flagship, the 20,000 tonne supply vessel FGS Bonn, the 3,000-tonne multi-purpose frigate TCG Barbaros from Turkey and the HMCS Fredericton, a 5,000-tonne Halifax class frigate from Canada.

A British Ministry of Defence spokesman said UK forces would not be part of the current deployment but welcomed the decision, saying it would save lives and was "firmly aimed at breaking the business model of criminal gangs who operate in the region".

Read More: Nato targets people smugglers in Aegean Sea

What it says in the papers

“Why we won’t be intimidated’ reads the front page of the Irish Independent. The newspaper reports several reporters have been threaten by feuding crime gangs after INM’s coverage of two deaths in Dublin less than 80 hours apart.

The sinister warnings bring back memories of the murder of the journalists' colleague, Veronica Guerin, 20 years ago, says an editorial in the paper.

The fearless 'Sunday Independent' investigative reporter was shot dead by members of the drug trafficking gang, led by John Gilligan, in June 1996.

The latest threats were formally notified by the Gardaí to INM, and security for those named journalists is now being strengthened, reports the newspaper.

Read More: Taoiseach leads condemnation of threats to INM journalists

Elsewhere The Herald splashes with the headline “Net Closes on Gangs”, and reports that Gardaí have identified the gunmen behind the shocking murders that took place at the Regency Hotel and North Stand.

The Irish Sun leads with a similar story, and says Gardaí are in a race against time to catch the killers before their gang rivals do.

The Irish Daily Mirror leads with the headline ‘Killer In Drag Probed Over Second Murder’.

It reports that the gunmen who murdered Baiba Saulite are suspected to have been behind the brutal slaying of Eddie Hutch Sr.

The mother-of-two was shot dead nine years ago in November 2006 at the front door of her home in north Dublin.

Read More: Gunmen who killed mum Baiba suspected of gang hit on The Monk's brother

The Irish Daily Mail reports that Ex-Anglo boss David Drumm is set to return to Ireland alone as his family wishes to remain in the United States during his trial.

Read More: Drumm abandons his fight against extradition from US

The Irish Times carries the same story, leading the news that Mr Drumm faces 33 charges in relation to transactions carried out while he ran Anglo.

It also leads with a political angle, saying that Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin put in a “forceful performance” in the first televised leader’s debate of the general election campaign.

Finally, the Irish Examiner reports Mr Martin will not rule out doing a deal with election rivals Fine Gael.

Read More: Report cards: How the leaders scored in TV3 showdown

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