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The 9 at 9: St. Stephen’s Day

Extremely treacherous road conditions conditions continue across the country today; Gardaí appeal for witnesses to a suspected Christmas Day hit-and-run in Wickow; and the Pope prays for peace in the Middle East.

Image: Paul Jospeh via Creative Commons

1. # BRRR: Mét Éireann warns of extremely treacherous roads and pavements, freezing rain and black ice across the country today.

Although it is expected to be dry across much of the eastern half of the country this morning, wet and windy weather in the west will gradually spread across the country during the day. Sleet and snow will continue to fall, particularly in the north and northwest – where it may snow throughout much of the day before turning back to rain. There will be some local spot flooding. The highest temperatures will reach 3 to 8 degrees.

2. # WICKLOW: Gardaí are appealing for witnesses following the death of a man in Wicklow in the early hours of Christmas morning.

The 41-year-old was struck on the N11 at Coyne’s Cross, near Ashford. Gardaí are treating the incident as a hit-and-run. A 21-year-old man was arrested and questioned, but was later released.

3. # BLATHNAID: Gardaí are appealing for information about missing woman Blathnaid Timothy, who disappeared almost two weeks ago.

As part of the investigation, gardaí have been checking on the whereabouts of men who are known to pose a threat to women, the Sunday Independent reports.

Despite appeals from investigators, the driver of the black Mercedes taxi – which CCTV showed Blathnaid getting into on St John Rogerson’s Quay on the day she disappeared – has not yet come forward. Gardaí  say that tracking down the taxi driver is their sole concern at present.

Thirty-three-year-old Blathnaid is described as being 5′ 6″ in height, with medium-length dark brown hair. She is of thin build and has a pale complexion. She was last seen wearing a black three-quarter length wool coat, grey jeans, dark shoes and a red-and-black-patterned scarf.

4. # NAMA: In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Independent, Fine Gael’s Brian Hayes has called whistleblowers to expose developers who are continuing to lead lavish lifestyles.

Following a Prime Time special that exposed the lifestyles of specific developers, Hayes told the newspaper that Nama was “five steps behind” certain developers – and said that the agency should employ an insider to “turn State’s evidence” on those still living the high life as the country’s economy crumbles.

5.# POPE: Pope Benedict XVI has called on Israelis and Palestinians to “strive for a just and peaceful co-existence” in his Christmas Day message.

Benedict prayed for those who have been hit by natural disasters in Latin America, and urged China’s Christians to remain hopeful in spite of limitations, the BBC reports. Speaking to a crowd of 100,00, who had gathered in the rain, Benedict also appealed for peace in Somalia, Darfur and Ivory Coast.

6. # TOURIST DEATHS: Eight US tourists have been killed in a bus crash in Egypt which occurred in Aswan, in the south of the country.

Nineteen other Americans and two Egyptians – the bus driver and a tour guide – were injured in the crash, CNN reports.

7. # NEW ZEALAND: A minor earthquake has hit Christchurch in New Zealand, damaging some buildings but causing no injuries.

The magnitude 4.9 quake caused masonry and glass to shatter as post-Christmas Day shoppers flooded the city, the Press Association reports.

8.# JOANNA YEATS: The family of  missing woman in the UK say they fear the worst after a body was discovered on Christmas day by a couple out walking their dog, although the remains have yet to be identified.

Bristol architect Joanna Yeats, 25, has been missing since an evening out with work colleagues ten days ago.

9. # BOWIE: He may be one of the world’s most famous musicians, but it seems that David Bowie has no problem in doting on his wife’s every need – and even ties her shoelaces in a bid to keep her happy.

Speaking on Nate Berkus’ US chat show, supermodel Iman gushed: “My marriage is exactly as fabulous as you all would think”, before adding “He still ties my shoes for me”.

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