EVERY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you the nine stories you need to know as you kick off your day.
1. #EXPERT GROUP: The government is reportedly set to introduce legislation to allow for abortion in the circumstances permitted under the X Case, according to reports this morning. The Sunday Business Post and Sunday Independent both quote from the report, which will be presented to ministers on Tuesday – with the former paper saying a ‘legislation plus regulations’ model will be adopted to fill the 20-year-old legal vacuum.
2. #BUDGET 2013: Meanwhile, Budget 2013 is now only 10 days away – and the Cabinet is to hold a dedicated meeting on Wednesday to make final decisions on the €3.5 billion of adjustments. The Sunday Business Post says increases to PRSI look set to be introduced, alongside the increases to motor tax and excise duties which had been previously signalled.
3. #SOCIAL CHARGE: Staying with the Budget, there’s also a row brewing between the government parties over plans to increase the Universal Social Charge. The Sunday Times says Labour wants a three-per-cent increase on the charge for those earning over €100,000 a year – but Fine Gael, which opposes the idea, says it’ll only agree to a hike in exchange for flexibility from Labour on lowering social welfare rates.
4. #AIRPORTS: Cork Airport could be split off from the Dublin Airport Authority and become a standalone entity ready to compete with Dublin and Shannon for air traffic. The Sunday Times says the cabinet will discuss plans to split Cork from the DAA this week, with the idea to take effect from January.
5. #HOME HELP: The Taoiseach’s home town of Castlebar will this afternoon play host to a protest over cuts to home help services. RTÉ says workers and supporters will march on Enda Kenny’s constituency office over the HSE’s cutbacks to home help services, which have fallen victim to the agency’s significant budget overspend.
6. #BANGLADESH: At least 112 people have been killed after a major fire gulfed a seven-storey textile factory just outside Bangladesh’s capital of Dhaka. The building – owned by a company which supplies the likes of Tesco and Marks & Spencer – had three fire exits, but all of them led back to the ground floor where the fire first broke out.
7. #STORMS: One person has died after major overnight storms in south-west Britain. A 21-year-old woman, who lived in a tent sheltered against a wall, died after being trapped by a falling tree in Exeter. Sky News said 220 flood warnings were in place throughout Britain, as storm waters rose significantly overnight.
8. #CATALONIA: Voters in the Spanish region of Catalonia go to the polls today, in an election that could begin the process of seeing the region break from Spain and become an independent country. Regional nationalists are set to do well in the polls, with the regional president promising a referendum on independence if he wins. Any Catalan independence could pose problems for FC Barcelona, though – who may play in the French league if Catalonia leaves Spain.
9. #VIRAL: If you haven’t heard it already, then we welcome you back from your trip to Mars. ‘Gangnam Style’ – basically a South Korean musical version of the Ross O’Carroll-Kelly books – has become YouTube’s most-watched video of all time. The track by South Korean rapper Psy, which has become more legendary for its oddball dance than its music, beat the previous record of Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ yesterday – and now has almost 815 million views.