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The 9 at 9 Nine things to know this morning…

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

1. #BETRAEUS: It’s the scandal that keeps on growing and now the top American and NATO commander in Afghanistan has been implicated in the Petraeus affair. It emerged this morning that General John Allen is under investigation over what has been described as “inappropriate communication” with Jill Kelley, the woman who has claimed to have received threatening emails from Paula Broadwell, who the CIA chief had an extramarital affair with.

2. #GREECE: The European Union and the International Monetary Fund are at odds with each other over Greece. The moneylenders have failed to agree on how fast the country needs to reduce its debt burden, RTÉ reports. In better news though, Greece has been told it can refinance €5 billion in Treasury Bills by Friday to ensure it doesn’t go broke.

3. #ARREARS: Following two tragic deaths of indebted homeowners, banks in Spain have decided to suspend mortgage-related evictions for 24 months in cases of  extreme need.

4. #CAESAREAN: A new report published by the ESRI has revealed a disparity between the percentage of women who have Caesarean sections depending on whether they hold private health insurance or not. Of the 72,231 women who gave birth last year, 27 per cent had C-sections.

5. #SMOKING: The ESRI research also found a possible link between childhood behavioural problems and maternal smoking during pregnancy.

6. #BILL CULLEN: TV star and car dealer Bill Cullen plans to sell his property portfolio to help pay off the €8.2 million debt he owes to Danske Bank, according to the Irish Sun.

7. #DOUBLE JOBBING: A sugar tax may be introduced on fizzy drinks in the upcoming budget as a measure seen to raise revenue and curb obesity, the Irish Independent reports.

8. #STUDENTS: The Joint Committee on Education and Social Protection is to meet with a SUSI representatives today over the grant applications backlog which has left as many as 50,000 students without their maintenance grants.

9.  #GIFTS: Ireland has spent just €1,759 on gifts for foreign visitors over the past two years. Our favourite? Rowan Gallagher in the Irish Examiner has revealed that five delegates from Abu Dhabi received a €6 keyring each.

  • Over on Kristen Stewart shows us her knickers, Brian McFadden is touch and go, and who’s preggers again? It’s The Dredge

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