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Dublin: 16 °C Friday 19 September, 2014

The 9 at 9: Saturday

January is (finally!) over. Here are the nine things you need to know as your weekend – and February – begins.

Image: Number 9 via Shutterstock

EVERY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you the nine stories you need to know as you start your day.

1. #BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES: An orange alert weather warning has been issued by Met Éireann as storm-force winds and flooding hits large parts of the country today. Flooding has already affected parts of Galway, Cork and Kerry.

2. #INVESTIGATION: Police in Belgium are investigating the cause of the fire in Belgium which killed two Irish GMIT students. Reports this morning say Dace Zarina (22) and Sara Gibadlo (19) were found huddled together in a wardrobe where they had hidden in an attempt to escape the flames.

3. #PORTLAOISE: A helpline has been set up for families concerned about the deaths of babies at a maternity unit at the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise. Minister for Health James Reilly has apologised to families affected by failures at the hospital, RTE reports.

4. #FIRE: Two teenagers have been arrested by Gardaí after an extensive fire at a house in Limerick in the early hours of this morning. No-one was in the house at the time.

5. #CIVIL WAR: Ireland will accept 90 refugees from Syria this year, with many likely to come from over-populated camps in Lebanon and Jordan, the government has confirmed.

6. #CHILD ABUSE: Former Bishop of Ferns Brendan Comiskey has spoken for the first time about the clerical sex abuse which forced his resignation, the Irish Independent reports. Comiskey told the paper that there was no more sexual abuse in the Catholic Church than among the rest of the population.

7. #BUNREACHT: The Constitutional Convention will meet in Dublin today to discuss Dáil reform. Elected representatives from Yemen, Egypt and Tunisia will be observing the two-day meeting to learn from its work.

8. #LEGAL ACTION: Harry Potter author JK Rowling is suing the Daily Mail newspaper for libel, saying that an article about her time as a single mother which was published last September misrepresented her comments and damaged her reputation.

9. #CASTAWAY: An emaciated Mexican man with long hair and dressed only in ragged underpants has washed up on a remote Pacific island, claiming to have survived 16 months adrift at sea. AFP reports that the castaway told rescuers he had set sail from Mexico in September 2012 and has been floating on the ocean ever since.

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