EVERY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you the nine stories you need to know by 9am.
1. #FRACKING: A major natural gas reserve under Fermanagh and Leitrim could lead to hundreds of jobs and a multi-billion investment, an exploration company with a licence for the area has said. Tamboran Resources has said the reserve could supply gas for decades and reduce imports. However campaigners say that “fracking” to extract the gas would harm the environment.
2. # USA 2012: Mitt Romney has edged closer to clinching the Republican party nomination to run in November’s presidential election after winning the Florida primary last night. The businessman got 46 per cent of the vote ahead of main rival Newt Gingrich who received 32 per cent and the remaining two other contenders Rick Santorum and Ron Paul.
3. #FACEBOOK: Facebook is set to announce today that it will be listing on the stock market, with analysts saying it could be the biggest market debut in US history. The website is valued at around $75 billion to $100 billion (up to €76 billion) and is targeting a sale of around $5 billion worth of shares – dwarfing Google’s IPO of $2 billion several years ago.
4. #HOUSE PRICES: House prices continued to decline in 2011 but the number of cash sales is increasing, according to new research. The Survey of Chartered Surveyors found that house prices declined across Ireland but at a slightly slower rate than in 2010.
5. #TEACHERS: Primary school teachers have condemned a government decision not to pay allowances to new teachers. The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation said in a statement that the allowances are part of salary and pensions and the move is discriminatory against new teachers who had already seen severe pay cuts.
6. #ECONOMY: The governor of the Central Bank has said that “vigorous upturn” in Ireland remains some time away but he has confidence in the Irish people to “recover the confidence and self-esteem that helped drive the Irish economy” in the 1990s. Speaking at a book launch last night, Patrick Honohan said that Ireland’s leaders should be aware that their counterparts in other countries have “their own set of interests, not always fully aligned with those of Ireland”.
7. #TALIBAN: The Taliban are set to take control of Afghanistan when NATO forces withdraw from the country, according to reports which cite a top secret assessment by US Forces. The BBC says that the documents were put together last month by the US military and were based on interrogations of more than 4,000 Taliban and al-Qaida detainees.
8.#FUEL: An Oireachtas committee will discuss the cost of fuel laundering to the state with the Revenue Commissioners and farming and retail groups later this morning. Committee chairman Ciarán Lynch TD said that illegal fuel laundering is costing jobs and causing a “massive environmental issue”.
9. #OLD SCHOOL: Steve Jobs preferred to listen to vinyl LPs rather than digital music in his home, legendary rocker Neil Young has said. Speaking a technology conference, the Canadian singer said that the Apple founder preferred the physical format which is known to have better sound.