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The 5 at 5: Friday

5 minutes, 5 stories, 5 o’clock…

Image: Jag_cz via Shutterstock

EVERY WEEKDAY EVENING, TheJournal.ie brings you the five stories you need to know before you head out the door.

1. #GARDA STATIONS: Proposals for the closure of 80 Garda stations before the end of the year have been criticised by the Garda Representatives Association as being a “false economy” that will make it more difficult for Gardaí to conduct official business. Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Padraig Mac Lochlain also criticised the proposals, saying: “Attempts to spin this as some sort of new policing model are an insult to the communities affected”.

2. #AIB: State-owned bank AIB today permanently closed down 44 branches across the country as part of its plan to save about €350 million, with a total of 67 branches to be closed down or amalgamated by the bank by next year. Calling the decision “regrettable but necessary”, AIB has made arrangements with An Post for customers in the affected areas to carry out transactions in local post offices.

3. #JAILED: Italy’s former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has been sentenced to four years in prison for his role in a tax scheme at his Mediaset empire, which was found to have set up offshore companies to dodge tax when they bought the rights to air US movies on their TV channels. Once one of the country’s most powerful men, Berlusconi is now set to mark his 80th birthday behind bars.

4. #SPAIN: Unemployment in crisis-battered Spain has reached worrying levels, with one in four citizen now officially out of work. Figures released by the National Statistics Institute show that unemployment has now tipped 25 per cent, with 85,000 more people losing their jobs between July and September.

5. #US 2012: US president Barack Obama has directed some notably unparliamentary language towards his opponent Mitt Romney today – describing the Republican party’s nominee as a “bullshitter” during an interview with Rolling Stone. According to an advance report on the article from Mike Allen at Politico, Obama told the magazine’s editor that kids look at Mitt Romney and say, “Well, that’s a bullshitter, I can tell.”

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