EVERY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you the nine stories you need to know as you start your day.
1. #MORTAGES: The Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield has called on banks to stop increasing the standard variable rate on mortgages and warned he would seek a public policy response supporting his call if the banks do not comply, RTÉ reports.
2. #DOWNGRADED: The ratings agencies have been busy: Spain has been downgraded by Standard & Poor’s over weak growth prospects and the risks facing its banks, while Fitch has downgraded British banks RBS and Lloyds, as well as Switzerland’s UBS.
3. #GOING DIGITAL: You have just over a year to get your TV set ready for the switchover to digital television. Minister Pat Rabbittee has announced 24 October 2012 as the official date of completion for the change and the analogue television network in Ireland will be turned off that day. Here’s what you need to know about going digital.
4. #RACE FOR THE ÁRAS: This week’s RTÉ Prime Time presidential debate has generated over 100 complaints, with many regarding the questioning of Martin McGuinness, the Irish Times reports. The Sinn Féin-nominated candidate has described the event as “trial by television” and out of order. If you want to follow today’s campaign trail, check out TheJournal.ie‘s #Áras11 diary.
5. #CANCER CLINIC: A new prostate cancer clinic is to open at Letterkenny General Hospital early next month, meaning local patients will not have to travel to Galway for diagnosis.
6. #OCCUPY WALL STREET: New York officials have warned protesters at the Occupy Wall Street movement that they want them to move out of the park they are camped in for a clean-up of the area. However, protesters say that the move is a covert means of kicking them out of the park and that a number of people “are going to vigorously resist eviction”.
7. #ABDUCTED: Two Spanish aid workers with Medécins Sans Frontieres have been abducted from a refugee camp in Kenya by gunmen thought to be part of the al-Shabab militant group. The organisation said in a statement that it is “in contact will all the relevant authorities and is doing all it can to ensure the swift and safe return of our colleagues”.
8. #WIG OUT: From today, judges are no longer required to wear wigs of horsehair in court after a change in court rules which could see the state save €2,200 for every new judge appointed.
9. #UNMASKED: A ‘superhero’ who calls himself Phoenix Jones appeared in court yesterday to fight allegations he (real name Benjamin John Francis Fodor) broke up a fight using pepper spray. The Seattle Times reports that Jones/Fodor left court yesterday vowing to continue fighting crime. Here he is leaving court yesterday:
(AP Photo/Ted S Warren/PA Images)