EVERY DAY, TheJournal.ie brings you nine things you need to know with your morning cup of coffee.
1. #PROPERTY TAX: The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has said that the forthcoming property tax should include exemptions for people on low incomes and pensioners who rely on the State. In a report today, the government funded think tank criticised the current household charge which imposes a €100 flat tax on every homeowner in the country.
2. #WATER CHARGES: Opposition parties have criticised the government for keeping people in the dark over water charges. Though the government gave details on the installation of water meters in homes over the next two years, there is little detail on how much householders will have to pay. Sinn Féin said it was an “unacceptable stealth charge” while Fianna Fáil has raised concerns about job security for those employed in water services.
3. #DÁIL: The Dáil returns today with a debate on a Private Members’ Bill put forward by United Left Alliance TDs to legislate on the X-case ruling on abortion set to take centre-stage later this evening. Leaders’ Questions will also take place this morning with Enda Kenny being quizzed by opposition parties and independent TDs.
4. #BURGLARIES: A new Garda operation has been set up to target so-called mobile criminal gangs involved in burglaries across the country. Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has announced Operation Fiacla which aims to respond to the rise in burglaries over the past year, RTÉ reports. Instances of burglary rose by as much as 40 per cent in some areas last year.
5. #BREIVIK: The trial of the man who has admitted killing 77 people in Norway last summer continues in Oslo today. Anders Behring Breivik’s testimony will continue to take place without the cameras in court. He is expected to face further questions about his motivation for the bomb attack in Oslo and the shootings on the island of Utoya in July of last year.
6. #MEDIA: There is more to the internet than “puppies, porn and piracy”, Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte has said. Writing for TheJournal.ie today the Minister says that the future of media in Ireland will be poorer, more democratic and online. His comments come as a new study has found that online advertising in Ireland grew by nearly 20 per spent in 2011.
7. #BURMA: In some breaking news this morning, democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi will leave Burma for the first time in 24 years to visit the UK and Norway in June, Reuters reports. The general secretary of the opposition NLD party, which recently won seats in a reformed Burmese parliament, had been kept in prison for two decades by the country’s military leaders before she was released in 2010.
8. #TECH WARS SUMMIT: The chief executives of Apple and Samsung have been ordered by a federal judge in California to attend a settlement conference in their ongoing patent dispute, Bloomberg reports. Both companies are in dispute in various jurisdictions - filing over 30 lawsuits against each other – with Apple claiming that Samsung products like its Galaxy Tablet are infringing on its patents.
9. #FROZEN COWS: Authorities in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado face an unusual conundrum: How to dislodge a group of frozen cows from an old ranger cabin high up in the mountains. AP reports that the cows are thought to have wandered up to the cabin to seek shelter during a snowstorm but then were not smart enough to find their way out. “Time is of the essence because we don’t want them defrosting,” a Forest Service spokesman said with suggestions that explosives could be used to dislodge the dead animals.