The 5 at 5 5 minutes, 5 stories, 5 o’clock.

Every weekday evening, brings you the five things you really need to know by 5pm.

1. #ECONOMY: The preliminary figures from the CSO on the state of the Irish economy in the last quarter of 2010 make for worrying reading. GDP fell by 1.6 per cent – and 2010 recorded an overall decline.

2. #SEANAD ELECTIONS: Candidates running in the two university constituencies in the Seanad elections are claiming that the voting registers are so badly out of date that the taxpayer is wasting hundreds of thousands of euro posting election material to non-valid addresses.

3. #COURTS: A retired teacher has won €88,000 in damages after the High Court ruled she had been harrassed and bullied by her former school principal. RTE News reports that the principal even hired a private detective to follow Bridget Corcoran, 55, from Donnybrook, Dublin.

4. #BURMA: Two earthquakes measuring 7.0-magnitude have hit an area of Burma/Myanmar, close to the border with Laos and Thailand. Although the tremors were severe, it is hoped casualties will be low because the focus of the quakes was in a rural, sparsely populated region.

5. #POTTY: The Department of Health spent almost €20,000 on renting potted plants over a two-year period to 2009. However, they only spent €3,309.12 on potted plants last year. This is just one of the intriguing set of figures uncovered in this month’s investigations by the Medical Independent.