EVERY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you the nine things you need to know with your morning coffee.
1. #BERLUSCONI: Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi faces a crucial vote on an austerity budget today, with his government apparently on the brink of collapse as Italy’s borrowing costs spiral. Berlusconi yesterday used Facebook to deny he would resign.
2. #PAPER MONEY: The Government will spend more than €2.2million on paper pay slips for staff this year, it has been revealed. RTÉ reports that the figure emerged despite a previous commitment to save money by using online services.
3. #COLLEGES: Student numbers at Ireland’s universities could be capped owing to a shortage of funding. The Irish Times reports that the potential measure – which would likely mean a significant rise in CAO points for many courses – is warned of in a Higher Education Authority study.
4. #JOE FRAZIER: Former heavyweight boxing champion Smokin’ Joe Frazier has died aged 67 after a battle with liver cancer. Frazier was best known for his epic bouts with Muhammad Ali, and we’ve got a video run-down of some highlights.
5. #MORTGAGES: National Irish Bank has said it will increase its variable home loan rates by one per cent from Friday, the Irish Independent reports – despite last week’s cut in ECB interest rates. So far just two banks have confirmed they will pass the cut on to homeowners.
6. #CONSTRUCTION WORKERS: Thousands of unemployed construction workers are set to benefit after the EU approved an Irish application for around €35million in financial aid. Fears had been raised that the money would not be released due to delays in the Government’s submission to the EU.
7. #IPHONE: Apple’s iPhone currently accounts for just four per cent of mobile phone sales – yet it generates an incredible 52 per cent of the whole industry’s profits, the Daily Mail reports. The company is expected to increase its profits even more in the coming months.
8. #DEVELOPMENT: Ireland has been ranked in the world’s top ten countries for aiding other nations with their development. We placed ninth out of 22 wealthier nations in the Center for Global Development study, which cited Ireland’s “high-quality” foreign aid programme and “minimal arms exports”.
9. #NEAR MISS: A giant asteroid will narrowly miss Earth today, skimming past us closer than the moon. The 400m space rock – the largest to pass since 1976 – won’t hit us, but if it did it would create a devastating 40m tsunami and block out the sun, the New Zealand Herald reports.