EVERY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you nine things you really need to know with your morning cup of coffee or tea…
1. #PENSIONERS: The Revenue Commissioners has opened its telephone lines this morning so pensioners can obtain information about possible tax liabilities. There continues to be confusion over whether those with second pensions will have to pay arrears. The Irish Times reports that those with large private pensions will be pursued but those on smaller incomes will not be affected.
2. #CRASH: Eleven people – five couples and the pilot – have been killed in a hot air balloon crash in Carterton, New Zealand. Police said the balloon burst into flames after it hit power lines near the rural town.
3. #BREAST IMPLANTS: A plastic surgery clinic in Ireland failed to communicate with all of its patients implanted with the defective PIP breast implants, the Irish Medicines Board has warned. In a statement last night, the IMB said it was concerned as it was “misinformed” by the group which told them that all patients were contacted by letter.
4. #RETIREMENT: More than 6,500 State workers are expected to leave the public sector at the end of February under the Government’s early retirement scheme to ensure their pensions are not hit by cuts, the Irish Independent reports. Unions have warned of chaos across services as no contingency plans are in place to replace staff.
5. #HOUSEHOLD CHARGE: More than 18,000 homeowners have already registered to pay the new €100 household charge. The collectors said they were happy with the response so far as a total of 14,441 people have paid online, while 3,862 have set up a direct debit.
6. #SUDAN: The United Nations has launched a major aid effort in South Sudan after fierce inter-ethnic violence has broken out in the state of Jonglei. At least 3,141 villagers, mostly women and children, were killed in a tribal attack in the area over the past week, local reporters have said.
7. #AMERICA: The unemployment rate in the US has dropped to its lowest point in almost three years. New figures show unemployment down to 8.5 per cent after a surge of hiring in December. It is good news for the Obama administration which has been struggling with stubbornly high unemployment since the global economic downturn.
8. #MORE THAN A GAME: The editor of France’s best-selling travel guide has claimed that his countrymen are reluctant to visit Ireland. Why? Because they fear a backlash due to Thierry Henry’s infamous handball that kept Ireland out of the 2010 World Cup. However, the Irish Examiner reports that the travel writer is now urging French people back to Ireland, telling them not to worry about the footballing controversy.
9. #DOYLE DEAL: Bosses at TV3 are putting together a deal to try and entice newly-retired newsreader Anne Doyle to the station, according to reports in The Sun this morning. The newspaper says the former RTÉ darling will have her pick of programmes at the rival station.