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Dublin: 6 °C Saturday 29 February, 2020

The 9 at 9: Wednesday

Good morning. Here are the nine stories you need to know as you start your day.

Image: Shutterstock

EVERY MORNING, brings you the nine stories you need to know as you kick off your day.

1. #BELFAST The Union flag has been raised for the first time this year at Belfast City Hall, to mark the birthday of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. Last night saw a sixth night of violence in Belfast, which was quelled by police. The violence centres on the decision to fly the Union flag for 17 days a year.

2. #ABORTION The Oireachtas Health Committee is to meet for a second day today to discuss the proposed legislation and regulations on abortion in Ireland. Today, the legal aspects will be discussed with a number of experts. Here is our run down of 10 interesting moments that occurred during yesterday’s meetings.

3. #HOUSE PRICES Ratings agency Fitch says that house prices could fall another 20 per cent in Ireland - but it is possible that they could stabilise. Since the peak of the boom, house prices have fallen 50 per cent.

4. #AUSTRALIA Cooler weather is helping firefighters tackle fierce blazes across Australia today, as up to 30 rage out of control around the country. Temperatures dropped to 25 degrees in Sydney, down from 42, but they are expected to rise again as the week progresses.

5. #SYRIA The UN’s World Food Program says that 1 million Syrians are going hungry – and it can’t help them because of a lack of security in the war-stricken country. The agency has also temporarily pulled its staff out of some offices due to the rising dangers.

6. #EU PRESIDENCY Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, is in Ireland today to meet with the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore to discuss the programme and priorities of the Irish Presidency of the EU. His visit precedes that of the EU college of commissioners, who will visit tomorrow

7. #SOCIAL MEDIA Junior Minister Ciarán Cannon has said there should be no additional regulation of social media – and claimed that some politicians fear the ‘transfer of power’ being created by new technology. Writing for today, Cannon says that existing laws and regulation are enough, and that politicians have to be open to fair criticism.

8. #HORSE OUTSIDE A woman pleaded guilty in Athy Court to driving without due care and attention – after being found driving while her husband was in the car boot, leading a horse. Heather Josiah (29), of Andrew Court, Athy, was was fined €600 for this and for driving without her children properly restrained on another occasion.

9. #FOOTBALLS Prisons in Ireland have spent around €40,000 a year on footballs for the past three years – because of razor wire security nets, the Irish Examiner says today. Government documents show that the Department of Justice asked the Irish Prison Service to explain why expenditure on footballs was so high. A Limerick prison said that razor wire destroys footballs.

Over on Miley Cyrus drops the lámh on Harry Styles in bed, Brian McFadden hangs out with the Ah Here woman, and is Jessie J taking the piss out of Rihanna? It’s The Dredge

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