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Wednesday 4 October 2023 Dublin: 16°C
The 9 at 9 The nine stories you need to know this morning.

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

1. #INTERVENTION: US president Barack Obama has warned Syria that there will be “enormous consequences” if Bashar Assad makes use of poison gas or biological weapons in a bid to crush the 17-month-long conflict. Obama said that any use or movement of chemical weapons would constitute a “red line” for US military intervention, the Guardian reports.

2. #ECOLI: Seven beaches in Cork are set to remain closed until at least Thursday after high levels of E.coli bacteria were found in the water. A spokesperson for Cork County Council said he was fairly confident that the levels of contamination will drop and that heavy rainfall had led to a spike in results when the water was tested and found to exceed safe EU limits for bacteria.

3. #DEATH: A 50-year-old woman is still in Garda custody this morning in connection with the death of 84-year-old Walter Plunkett, who was found outside his home near Enniscorthy in Wexford yesterday morning. Gardaí are treating his death as murder.

4. #ASSANGE: The president of Ecuador has said the UK would be committing diplomatic suicide if it attempted to enter his country’s embassy in London to retrieve Julian Assange. Rafael Correa reiterated that channels of negotiation with the UK are still open in the ongoing diplomatic row over the fate of the Wikileaks founder. Separately, the USA has accused Assange of trying to deflect attention from the allegations of sexual assault against him in Sweden with “wild assertions” about an alleged US vendetta against him.

5. #CHARITY: The charity Age Action Ireland says it has been forced to introduce cost-cutting measures, including a 5 per cent pay cut and two weeks’ unpaid leave for all staff, in a bid to save money, the Irish Independent reports. The move comes following similar moves by children’s charities Barnardos and the ISPCC.

6. #ECHINACEA: The Irish Medicines Board has advised against children under 12 using herbal product echinacea due to the lack of scientific data to support its use. The IMB carried out a review of available data on the safety and effectiveness of echinacea and concluded that it can be associated with rare side effects which can be severe in some cases. Adult echinacea products are not affected by the IMB advice.

7. #NORTHERN IRELAND: A loyalist paramilitary group in Northern Ireland has denied making death threats to a Belfast-based journalist and said that it respects the right of reporters to carry out their work. The National Union of Journalists, which revealed the threat by the Ulster Defence Association against the unnamed journalist yesterday, has given a guarded welcome to the denial.

8. #DISABILITY One third of all disability allowance refusals were overturned following appeals, the Irish Examiner reports. The Department of Social Protection said that the number of turned down application appeals rose from 2,622 to 5,472 between 2006 and 2011.

9. #JOKING AROUND: Need a smile this morning? This joke from comedian Stewart Francis has been chosen as the funniest joke from this year’s Edinburgh fringe festival: “You know who really gives kids a bad name? Posh and Becks”. The Guardian has the rest of the top 10 – including “I was raised as an only child, which really annoyed my sister” – here.

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