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Tuesday 7 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
The 9 at 9 Nine things you need to know by 9am: New bid to tackle hospital waiting lists, still no progress in the US debt crisis, and bad news if you think you’ve just won a Jaguar…

EVERY MORNING, brings you the nine things you really need to know as you start your day.

1. #WAITING LISTS: The health minister James Reilly has announced an ambitious new plan to tackle hospital waiting lists. Under the new plan, all hospital waiting lists should be cut to under 12 months by the end of the year – and says hospitals will risk sacrificing their funding if they don’t pick up the pace.

2. #HEALTH INSURANCE: Aviva has announced it will increase the cost of its most popular plan by over 9 per cent in September. The Irish Times says the hike will bring the annual cost for the Level 2 Hospital plan to over €1,000 a year.

3. #TEACHERS: Education minister Ruairí Quinn has waded into another row with the country’s teachers. The Irish Daily Mail (print only) reports how Quinn told one student he couldn’t understand how older teachers can remain “fresh and alive” – and called for older ones to step aside to create extra job openings.

4. #RONAN KERR: The woman arrested this week in connection with the investigation to the death of police constable Ronan Kerr has been released. Her release means all six people arrested in connection with the murder have now been released without charge.

5. #TRAVEL TAX: Airline passengers will still have to pay the €3 air travel tax until at least next year, with the government still not happy about the airlines’ promises to increase their passenger numbers.

6. #DEADLOCK: In the US, Republicans have postponed a vote on a draft budget plan amid concerns they did not have the numbers to ensure its passage through the House of Representatives. The country has about four days to pass a budget or risk breaching its debt ceiling. In case you missed it, here’s our bluffer’s guide to the debt ceiling, and to how a US budget crisis could affect Ireland.

7. #LIBYA: The military head of Libya’s rebel council – and a former second-in-command to Muammar Gaddafi – has been killed. There are some suspicions that Abdel Fatah Younes may have been shot by his own side, who feared he could be a high-level double-agent.

8. #POPULATION: It’s getting crowded, isn’t it? Ireland’s natural population is growing faster than that of any other EU country, a new survey has found. The Eurostat poll found that the ratio of births to deaths is higher here than anywhere else in the bloc. Separately, new estimates show that the population of Planet Earth is to surge past seven billion this year.

9. #IT COULD BE YOU: Or, more probably, it wasn’t. The National Lottery has apologised after its website accidentally promised a €150,000 Jaguar XK convertible to every prizewinner in Wednesday’s draw. The car was only being offered as a special prize for the jackpot winner – but the website led people to think that any winner, including those who won a mere €2 scratchcard, had also scooped the luxury motor. There were over 45,000 prizewinners on Wednesday – but only one of them, a €4.5m jackpot winner from Carlow, gets the car.

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