EVERY DAY, TheJournal.ie brings you nine things you need to know with your morning cup of coffee.
1. #BLOODY SUNDAY: The British government is to pay compensation to the families of the victims of Bloody Sunday, when 13 nationalist demonstrators and bystanders were shot and killed by military forces. The BBC says the UK’s Ministry of Defence has written to family lawyers and hopes to resolve claims as quickly as possible.
2. #MEDICAL CERTS: The state is paying almost €29m a year to doctors for writing sick notes for social welfare purposes. Doctors are paid €8.25 for each certificate, though they do not charge patients for visits – but Labour TD Kevin Humphreys, who uncovered the payments in a parliamentary question, has demanded that the payments be cut.
3. #RACE FOR THE ARAS: Much of today’s presidential coverage seems to centre around Martin McGuinness – with Gay Byrne, once a frontrunner in the election race, describing the Sinn Féin candidate as a “trained liar” on TV3 last night. A McGuinness spokesperson has meanwhile told the Star that the Derry native wants Joe Duffy’s pay capped at €100,000 a year.
Elsewhere, the Irish Daily Mail says Dana supporters are still confident of securing enough county council nominations to get on the ballot paper – while David Norris has now secured the support of 15 Oireachtas members, five short of the threshold.
4. #TORCH: The Irish Times quotes Pat Hickey, the president of the Olympic Council of Ireland, as saying the Olympic Torch will visit Ireland during its procession to London next year. The torch will take a cross-border route, he told Johnny Watterson, with a number of high-profile areas in Dublin being included in the torch route.
5. #TROY DAVIS: The US state of Georgia has executed Troy Davis, after the US Supreme Court declined to give a last-minute stay on his execution. Davis, who insists he is innocent of a 1989 murder, is reported to have been denied a polygraph test – and is said to have declined a sedative before being put to death. Amnesty International has condemned his killing.
6. #GREECE: Greece is preparing for a day of full-blown national strikes in protest at the government’s latest austerity plans, after the cabinet yesterday said it would lay off 30,000 civil servants within a year, and also announced a new pensions levy. All public transport and air traffic has been hit by the strike.
7. #PALESTINE: Nicolas Sarkozy has upped the ante on the United States by warning that the Middle East peace process may be thrown off course if the United States vetoes Palestine’s request for full UN membership. Nonetheless, Sarkozy has suggested that Palestine be given some kind of “intermediate” membership, as a full non-member ‘state’. Obama has asserted that he will veto full Palestinian membership for the time being.
8. #MONEY MEN: Bill Gates has been named as the richest man in the United States by Forbes magazine for an amazing 18th year in a row. His fortune, of $59bn, a full $20bn clear of Warren Buffett. Mark Zuckerberg is one of the highest movers in the list, with an estimated wealth of $7bn.
9. #TO MARTHA!: You’re probably aware that it’s Arthur’s Day today, but you may not have realised that it’s really a worldwide occasion. Did you know that Jamaican reggae star I-Octane is “humbled” to be performing for “Sir Arthur’s Day” in Kingston? Or that Taio Cruz has known about Guinness since he was “a child”? (Or that Eddie Rockets is doing a special limited edition Guinness Milkshake for the day?)