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Dublin: 6 °C Saturday 20 December, 2014

The 9 at 9: Wednesday

Nine things to know this morning…

Image: Tanel Peets via Creative Commons

EVERY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you the nine things you need to know with your first cup of coffee…

1. #ULSTER BANK: Ulster Bank insists that no customer data has been lost in the computer glitch which caused a huge backlog in the bank’s transactions. Bill payments made in the bank’s branches have not been processed since 20 June and direct debits since 21 June. Meanwhile, Central Bank officials will face questioning about the ongoing Ulster Bank debacle when they appear before an Oireachtas committee today.

2. #EXPENSES: The government has released figures which show that the Department of Foreign Affairs paid almost €8 million last year on rent allowance for staff posted abroad and a further €1 million in allowances to offset the costs of their children’s education, the Irish Times reports. The figures were released in response to parliamentary questions from FF TD Sean Fleming.

3. #HIGGS BOSON: CERN scientists have begun a potentially groundbreaking presentation on their work in searching for the elusive ‘God particle’, or the Higgs boson. You can watch the announcement live here.

4. #ARAFAT: The widow of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has called for his body to be exhumed amid an investigation’s suggestions that he may have been poisoned by polonium, Al Jazeera reports.

5. #POLIO: New research published in medical journal The Lancet has found that not enough children have been receiving sufficient doses of polio vaccine to eradicate the disease in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

6. #FLIGHT SCHOOL: Dozens of Irish trainee pilots could be out as much as €80,000 in fees paid for a flight course in Florida after being told that their course has been cancelled, the Examiner reports this morning.

7. #ARAN ISLANDS: A 73-year-old man has died after sustaining head injuries in a fall from a ferry docks at the Aran Island of Inis Mór over the weekend.

8. #DRAW: GAA President Liam O’Neill has heavily criticised inter-country players who suggested on Twitter that Monday’s ALl-Ireland Senior Football Championship was rigged. ““What’s really hurtful is I have never ever criticised any player in my life as an administrator,” O’Neill said. “I have never said anything bad about any player and I find it outrageous that people would tweet what apparently was tweeted about us.”

9. #NO SPLASH: A US federal agency has confirmed that there is no sign that mermaids exist. “No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says in a statement. It adds that the question of why mermaids “occupy the collective unconscious of nearly all seafaring peoples” is best left to historians, philosophers and anthropologists.

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