EVERY DAY, TheJournal.ie brings you nine things you really need to know with your morning cup of coffee.
1. #BAILOUT: The International Monetary Fund has confirmed that it will release a further €3.2 billion to Ireland following its fifth quarterly review of the country. In a statement, the IMF said Ireland had undergone “wide-ranging reforms to restore the health of the financial system”.
The latest €3.2 billion advance means Ireland will have drawn down €16.05 billion from the IMF so far – out of a total of just over €22.6 billion.
2. #RESEARCH: Scientists at Trinity College in Dublin and Cambridge, England, say they have discovered distinct and previously-unknown nuocytes (cell types linked to the exacerbation of asthma) arising in bone marrow, which have the potential to be used in new methods of treating asthma, atopic dermatitis and other allergic diseases.
3. #DOWNGRADE: The ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has downgraded Greece once again, saying that the country’s bond swap with private investors – in which it hopes to write off some €100 billion from its national debt – was “a selective default”.
The move will temporarily bar European banks from presenting Greek government bonds as collateral in transactions, according to the ECB.
4. #SYRIA: The Syrian Red Crescent says that government forces have launched a new offensive in Homs, thwarting its attempts to rescue two wounded western journalists stuck in the city – or retrieve the bodies of two other journalists killed there last week, reports the BBC.
Meanwhile, the Tániste Eamon Gilmore has reiterated his view that arming opposition activists in Syria would not help the situation.
5. #OCCUPY LONDON: Police and bailiffs have moved in to dismantle the Occupy protest camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London. The operation has been mostly peaceful, although about 20 people have reportedly been arrested, according to the Telegraph.
6. #COSTA ALLEGRA: A French fishing vessel has reached the Costa Allegra cruise ship, which has been drifting in the Indian Ocean following a fire in the engine room yesterday. All 1,000 people on board, including one Irish citizen, are said to be safe and well.
The Allegra is owned by the same company as the Costa Concordia cruise vessel, which ran aground of the Italian coast last month – killing 32 people.
7. #AER LINGUS: Operating profits at the airline were better than expected last year, rising by 6.5 per cent, while revenue totalled €1.28 billion (up 6 per cent). Passenger numbers also rose by up 1.8 per cent to 9 million people in 2011.
8. #SLEEPING TABLETS: Sleeping tablets have been linked to a significantly higher risk of cancer and death for users, with new research published in the BMJ Open journal today suggesting that they could be associated with a four-fold increase of cancer risk. The drugs have been linked to as many as 320,000 to 507,000 deaths in the United States alone.
9. #EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS: This year, Ireland is set to host the eight-day annual event for the first time since 1932. It’s expected to see about 25,000 people a day visiting Dublin, with about 12,000 international pilgrims from at least 95 different countries descending on the capital.
So, what will go down? Find out here.