EVERY DAY, TheJournal.ie brings you nine things we think you really ought to know with your morning cup of coffee.
1. #BAILOUT: Some good news to start the morning: Ireland could return to normal lending markets as soon as 2014 thanks to the bailout interest rate cut earlier this year, the ESRI has said. The reduction means our debt-to-GDP ratio is significantly lower than previously thought, and should hit the target of three per cent a year earlier than predicted.
2. #PAYMENT: The country’s former top civil servant, Dermot McCarthy, took home a retirement package worth more than €700,000 when he stepped down during the summer – including one-off payments of close to €6oo,000 and an annual pension of €142,670, RTÉ reports. The Government has said it is committed to reducing the largest public sector pension packages.
3. #DIVER: A search has been launched after a diver went missing while exploring flooded inland caves near Gort, Co Galway. The man is reported to have had enough oxygen to last until 9.30pm last night in the underground rock system, which is flooded to a depth of 52 metres.
4. #FACEBOOK: The social networking site is being sued by a man in the North over suggestive pictures his 12-year-old daughter had posted on her account, Suzanne Breen reports in the Irish Daily Mail. A writ filed in Belfast High Court by the man, who is seeking to have his daughter’s account shut down, alleges the girl received sexual text messages after posting the images.
5. #FINE GAEL: Taoiseach Enda Kenny is due to address the Fine Gael parliamentary party’s annual meeting in Galway later today. The Irish Times reports that the ‘think-in’ will focus on the economy, with finance minister Michael Noonan and jobs minister Richard Bruton also due to speak this afternoon.
6. #THREAT: Late finance minister Brian Lenihan was sent a bullet in the post among several other “serious threats” while he was managing Ireland’s economy, Ali Bracken reports in the Irish Daily Mail. Lenihan, who died in June from pancreatic cancer, was reportedly “singled out” among government ministers, although several others were also threatened.
7. #HOSTAGE: A tense stand-off is currently under way in Sydney, Australia, where a man is holed up in a building with his teenage daughter and claiming to have a bomb. Video clips have emerged of the man gesturing out of a window while wearing a lawyer’s wig, and negotiators are reportedly “working through” his demands.
8. #LIBYA: There are rumours that Colonel Gaddafi may have escaped to Niger, after “scores” of Libyan army vehicles crossed the desert border between the two countries yesterday, Reuters reports. Meanwhile, rebels surrounding the loyalist stronghold of Bani Walid are reported to have clinched a peaceful with occupiers that could see the town – where Gaddafi’s sons Saif and Saadi were recently reported to be hiding – handed over today.
9. #LAZY GENE: Not feeling that get-up-and-go this morning? Scientists may have found the answer: a ‘couch potato gene’. Mice who had the gene removed “didn’t want to run anymore”, one researcher told Science 2.0. It’s thought the discovery could lead to improvements in treatment for obesity and those who find it difficult to exercise, such as people in wheelchairs.