EVERY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you nine things you need to know before 9am…
1. #TRAGEDY: At least 22 children have been killed after their bus crashed into a wall in a tunnel in Switzerland. Six adults also died in the accident, which came as the Belgian school party travelled home from a ski trip.
2. #PROPERTY: Residential property prices have now plunged by two-thirds from their peak – considerably further than official figures from the CSO suggest, according to a new report.
3. #BODY: A body was pulled from the water in Dublin Port last night after being discovered in one of the ferry docks. It’s feared the remains could belong to missing 19-year-old man Paul Bunbury, who was last seen near the O2 in February.
4. #SYRIA: Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has called parliamentary elections for May, earlier than previously planned. His move comes as security forces launched a bloody assault on the northern rebel stronghold of Idlib, the Guardian reports.
5. #ST PATRICK’S DAY: Most shops are breaking with tradition to stay open on St Patrick’s Day this Saturday. In Dublin more than 70 per cent of stores have said they plan to open their doors in the hope of attracting business from the crowds.
6. #US 2012: Rick Santorum has won convincing victories in Alabama and Mississippi in the battle for the Republican presidential nomination, reports CBS News, giving him a boost in his bid to defeat frontrunner Mitt Romney.
7. #INKGATE: Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has said he has no plans to repay the Oireachtas for the €50,000 worth of printer cartridges he used in just two years – although he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that the usage was “excessive”.
8. #MAN ON THE MOON: Russia will finally send a team of cosmonauts to set foot on the Moon – up to 60 years after the Soviet regime lost the ‘space race’ with Neil Armstrong’s Apollo mission. Leaked documents show the mission is planned by 2030, the Telegraph reports.
9. #TUBRIDY: Is Ryan Tubridy launching an assault on the US telly market? The Late Late host has appeared on a major breakfast show, to be probed on his fame in Ireland and how he got the name “Tubs”. Check out the interview…