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The 9 at 9 Good morning. Here are the nine stories you need to know as you start your day.

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

1. #NICOLA FURLONG: The judges in the trial of Richard Hinds who is accused of killing 21-year-old Wexford student Nicola Furlong in Tokya have retired to deliberate on their verdict. RTE reports that Hinds broke down in court and said that he did not kill the DCU student before the trial concluded.

2. #PENALTY POINTS: Independent TD Mick Wallace has said Luke Ming Flanagan should have accepted the penalty points he was given for using a mobile phone while driving – but said Flanagan’s actions do not undermine the broader campaign by TDs to highlight alleged Garda malpractice over penalty points.

3. #CONCLAVE: A new round of voting to choose the next Pope will begin this morning after the first round failed to reach a decision last night. Black smoke signalling that the first vote had been inconclusive was greeted with cheers by crowds of people in St Peter’s Square in Vatican City.

4. #MORTGAGES: The government is expected to unveil its plan to tackle the mortgage arrears later today after Finance Minister Michael Noonan gave the details to the Cabinet on Tuesday. Almost 1 in 8 residential mortgages are currently in arrears, according to the latest figures from the Central Bank.

5. #ASLAN: Christy Dignam, the lead singer with Aslan, has been diagnosed with cancer. The band has cancelled a number of concerts and asked for support from fans and privacy for Dignam and his family.

6. #ILLEGAL FUEL: The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) is leading a major search into the profits generated by illegal fuel factories in Cavan this morning in a bid to search and seize evidence relating to criminal activity by an organised crime group. The search operation is being carried out by Gardaí, the Revenue Commissioners and the UK revenue service.

7. #CHARGED: A homeless man who set fire to himself in a Cork Garda station has been charged with causing criminal damage to his cell, the Irish Examiner reports. The 50-year-old man was also charged at Cork District Court for being drunk in public and a source of danger. He was fined a total of €400.

8. #SEXUAL ABUSE: The Los Angeles Archdiocese is to pay $10 million (around €7.7 million) to four people who were abused by a Catholic priest accused of molesting children over the course of three decades, the LA Times reports.

9. #LIFE ON MARS: NASA has said life could potentially have existed on Mars in the past, following an analysis of rock samples collected by the Curiosity Rover on the red planet. The data suggests that a river existed at one time on the planet, NASA scientists have said.

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