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Dublin: 1 °C Sunday 20 April, 2014

The 5 at 5: Thursday

5 stories, 5 minutes, 5 o’clock.

Image: baranq via Shutterstock

EVERY WEEKDAY EVENING, TheJournal.ie brings you up to speed with the five things you should know as you head out the door.

1. #UH-OH: The Irish economy is back in recession, according to official State data from the CSO. The economy shrank by 0.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2013 – while the official data from the third and fourth quarters of 2012 was also revised downward. It now turns out Ireland’s economy has been shrinking since the middle of 2012.

2. #GAY RIGHTS: A landmark court ruling in Northern Ireland has paved the way for gay and lesbian couples to adopt children. The Court of Appeal in Belfast threw out an appeal by the health minister, the DUP’s Edwin Poots, against a previous ruling which found the existing adoption law was discriminatory against same-sex couples.

3. #ABORTION: Another Fine Gael TD has come out against the proposed abortion legislation. Wicklow TD Billy Timmins said he could not support the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill because it included a clause recognising suicide as grounds for a termination. If this was removed, he said, he would have “no difficulty” in supporting the bill.

4. #N PLATES: Irish roads will soon have another new feature: ‘N’ plates. The plates would be mandatory for two years after someone gets their driving licence, under draft laws published by transport minister Leo Varadkar today. The laws also allow Gardaí to take blood samples from an unconscious driver at the scene of an accident.

5. #MANDELA: The health concerns of Nelson Mandela have eased, according to the current South African president Jacob Zuma. Zuma said the 94-year-old was “much better today than he was when I saw him last night”. The former president has been in hospital for nearly three weeks with a lung infection.

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