EVERY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you the nine stories you need to know as you kick off your day.
1. #GAZA: There are growing fears of an all-out ground offensive in Gaza as Israeli air strikes have targeted the headquarters of Gaza’s Hamas leaders on the fourth day of attacks. Israel has authorised the call-up of 75,000 reserve troops after attempts to broker a ceasefire between the two sides failed. At least 38 Palestinians and three Israelis have died since Wednesday.
2. #SAVITA: Protests and candlelit vigils are to be held in Ireland and abroad today in memory of Savita Halappanavar. In Dublin, demonstrators will march to the Dáil this afternoon where a candlelit vigil will take place, with similar events due to take place in Galway and London. Separately, the HSE has confirmed that it will finalise the membership of the inquiry team into the death of the 31-year-old within a matter of days.
3. #MICHAEL D: President Michael D Higgins has said he has witnessed “a great anger in the country” during his first year in office, as many Irish people have been forced into poverty by the disastrous consequences of the property bubble. In a wide-ranging interview with TheJournal.ie, the President said Irish people have been let down by some of the institutions and professions in which they had placed their trust, and described youth unemployment as the single biggest problem facing the EU.
4. #GRADUATE TAX: Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn is considering a new graduate tax plan which would see third-level students paying back the cost of their degree once they hit a certain income. The Irish Independent reports that under the plan proposed by the ESRI, fees would be scrapped and graduates would pay back the cost of their third-level education over a period of about 15 years.
5. #CRASH: At least 40 children have been killed after a train crashed with their bus in Egypt this morning. The children, all aged between four and six years old, were on a trip organised by their nursery when the accident happened, according to reports from AFP.
6. #WEEKEND VOTING: Student groups have been criticised for not campaigning to get out the vote in last weekend’s referendum on children’s rights. Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell said that the Union of Students in Ireland had done very little, despite advocating weekend voting to ensure students could vote.
7. #NORTHERN IRELAND: A 3-year-old boy has been seriously injured in Northern Ireland after accidentally setting himself on fire in his home. Neighbours rushed to help the toddler who was found on the street in Ballymena with his clothes and body on fire, the Irish News reports.
8. #ROBBERY: Three men are being held by Gardaí in connection with two separate armed robberies in Dublin yesterday evening. One man was arrested following an armed robbery at a financial institution in Portmarnock in which shots were fired at Gardaí who approached the scene. Separately two men were arrested following a robbery in Phibsboro.
9. # OPTIMISM: Irish people are among the healthiest people in Europe, eating more green vegetables and fruit than other countries – at least, according to ourselves. A new OECD report called Health at a Glance 2012 also found that alcohol consumption and obesity have both risen dramatically among Irish people over the last three decades.