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The 9 at 9 Nine things you need to know this morning…

EVERY DAY, brings you nine things you need to know with your morning cup of coffee.

1. #COST OF LIVING: The government levy on insurance policies may stay in place longer than the 12 years that was originally forecast meaning consumers are likely to continue paying more for home, motor and commercial insurance, the Irish Times reports today. Ciarán Hancock and Martin Wall write that the spiralling cost of the Quinn Insurance administration is the reason for the rise. Meanwhile, the paper also says that CIE has indicated fare increases for bus and rail passengers of about 6 per cent are on the cards next year.

2. #TAXES: Environment Minister Phil Hogan has more bad news with the Irish Examiner’s Juno McEnroe reporting that the Minister indicated that workers will have to pay more tax next year if the over 600,000 people who have boycotted the household charge also refuse to pay the forthcoming property tax. The boycott of the household charge has already seen budget cuts for local authorities around the country.

3. #SCHOOL’S OUT: Over 100,000 pupils in primary and post-primary schools in Ireland miss more than 20 days in school each year, an Oireachtas Committee has heard. Nuala Doherty, chair of the National Educational Welfare Board, said that the rate of pupil absence in the 2009-2010 school year “was lower that the average rate for the previous five years”. Doherty also said that there were ten expulsions from primary schools and 148 from post-primary schools in the 2009-201o school year.

4. #NICOLA FURLONG: The family of Nicola Furlong, the Irish student who was killed in a hotel room in Japan in May, are to attend a preliminary juvenile court hearing in Tokyo today where a 19-year-old US musician is due before the court, charged with strangling the 21-year-old DCU student.

5. #GREECE: The president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, is due in Athens today to discuss matters eurozone with Greek government officials. It is Barroso’s first visit to Greece since 2009, AFP reports, and comes amid continuing speculation about the troubled nation’s ability to remain within the single currency.

6. #SYRIA: The United States says that two more Syrian diplomats have defected from the regime of president Bashar Assad. The country’s representatives in the United Arab Emirates and Cyprus – who are said to be husband and wife – have fled to Qatar, BBC News reports. Battles continue to rage in Aleppo, the country’s second city, where rebels have made gains in recent days with Assad’s forces drafting in air support in a bid to turn the conflict in their favour.

7. #OLYMPICS: We haven’t even had the opening ceremony and already organisers of London’s Olympics Games have been left reeling by the embarrassing debacle in Glasgow’s Hampden Park last night where the flag of South Korea appeared beside the names of players from North Korea’s women’s football team. Organisers have apologised but it is fair to say that the North Koreans were not happy. Meanwhile, ahead of tomorrow’s opening ceremony movie director Danny Boyle has spoken about his task of devising and overseeing the extravagant ceremony.

8. #TWITTER: The microblogging site Twitter has warned the owner of an account which spoofs a newspaper executive that it is to reveal his identity to the company, Northcliffe Media. It comes after the UK-based newspaper group issued a subpoena through a court in California which will force Twitter to disclose the details of the person behind the @UnSteveDorkland account, BBC News reports.

9. #SORRY: The star of the Twilight movie series, Kristen Stewart has issued a public apology following her public display of affection with the director of the movie Snow White and the Huntsman, Rupert Sanders. The 22-year-old star had apparently shared a public kiss with the movie director which will not have gone down well with her longtime boyfriend and Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson. Sanders was also cheating, on his wife of seven years, AFP reports.

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