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Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 19 November, 2019
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The 9 at 9: Christmas Day

Good morning. Here are the nine things you need to know as you tear the wrapping from those gifts and contemplate whether it’s too early to have that first Baileys…

EVERY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you the nine stories you need to know as you kick off your day. This morning — chances are you’ll be reading it at around 11.45, but that’s okay…

1. #POWER At one point yesterday, there were over 13,000 households without power after strong winds and lightning storms swept the country. According to ESB Networks’ latest update, there’s now just over 100 homes still offline — mostly in Achill. Teams are out once again this morning trying to fix the problem.

2. #ROME Pope Francis is celebrating his first Christmas as leader of the world’s Catholics. He’s set to deliver his first Christmas “Urbi et orbi” blessing at 11am. At mass last night, the Pontiff called on believers to open their hearts and struggle against the “spirit of darkness,” the BBC reports.

3. #SYRIA The EU is to give an extra €30 million in aid for victims of the Syrian conflict, it’s been announced. The funds will be divided between those in need within Syria and refugees living in camps in Jordan and Lebanon.

4. #FLOODS The UK bore the brunt of the stormy weather over the last few days, and this morning thousands of people are waking up without electricity. There’s also severe flood warnings in place in Surrey and Dorset, according to the BBC.

5. #SOUTH SUDAN US Secretary of State John Kerry has urged South Sudan President Salva Kiir and his sacked vice president turned rebel leader Riek Machar to stop fighting and open talks. According to AFP, America’s top diplomat called on both men to “accept a cessation of hostilities and begin mediated political talks”.

6. #HOME A good news story, for the day that’s in it. Cork twins Zoe and Maya Murnane – both of whom have been fighting a rare condition – are are able to spend Christmas together, after Ryanair stepped in yesterday and offered to fly Maya and her mother Audrey back from London, where they’d been stranded since Sunday.

7. #FLY GUYS You couldn’t move for the guitars on Grafton Street last night. Once again, Bono, Glen Hansard and friends kept up the annual tradition and led Dublin in a massive busking sing-along in aid of the Simon Community.

8. #THE BIG MAN Santa’s almost done for another year. He was spotted in the skies over Canada’s Northwest Territories a short time ago, according to the official NORAD Santa Tracker. Gardaí, the Defence Forces, and Minister for Time Alan Shatter all confirmed to TheJournal.ie this morning that the Irish leg of his journey passed off without incident.

9. #THE BIG DIP Planning a Christmas Day swim? Be careful out there — the Irish Coastguard is warning of heavy swells in some areas, and you can also check out some handy tips from Irish Water Safety. If you insist on braving the waters (it’s pretty cold out there) we’d love to see your pics — send them along to pictures@thejournal.ie…

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