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The 9 at 9: Saturday

Nine things you should know this morning…

Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

EVERY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you the nine things you need to know with your morning coffee…

1. #DAY ONE: Michael D Higgins begins his first full day as the President of Ireland and well-wishes have been pouring in from across the world. The Irish Times reports that Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II sent her goodwill in a private message to the Áras. Higgins’s first official engagement will take place tomorrow when he attends a Remembrance Day service in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

2. #QUALIFICATION: Spirits are high this morning following Ireland’s comprehensive win over Estonia in the first leg of the Euro 2012 qualification play-off. The 0-4 scoreline should secure the team’s place in next summer’s competition. The boys-in-green now prepare for the second leg in Dublin on Tuesday (while we prepare for the party).

3. #EUROZONE: All eyes are on Italy today as its lower house votes on a package of austerity measures being demanded by European leaders in order for the country to tackle its massive debt pile – and avoid a bailout. Following the vote, the Government will meet and it is widely expected that Silvio Berlusconi will step aside to allow Mario Monti take over as Prime Minister.

4.  #PRIORY HALL: Dublin City Council will return to the High Court on Thursday as it moves to try and jail developer Thomas McFeely over his failure to carry out fire safety works at the hazardous Donaghmede complex, reports the Irish Examiner this morning.

5. #TURKEY: A man who hijacked a small passenger ferry in the port town of Silivri, near Istanbul, was shot dead by security forces and his 24 hostages freed unharmed this morning, according to CNN International.

6.  #WHITE HOUSE: Federal police in Washington are investigating gunshots that were heard just hundreds of yards from the White House last night. An abandoned car and an AK-47 were found in the area but it is understood the president’s residence was not the focus of the incident.

7. #PONY: The ISPCA has rescued a young pony in Cork city after the yearling colt was set on fire over Halloween weekend. Renamed Bert, the pony had been in pain for the past two weeks but is now being housed at a centre in Mallow after yesterday’s rescue.

8. #NOT SO WONDERFUL: The Cliffs of Moher have failed to be named as one of the New7Wonders of Nature. The county Clare attraction had made it to the final 28 of the contest but lost out to the Amazon, Halong Bay, the Iguazu Falls, Jeju Island, Komodo, Puerto Princesa Underground River and Table Mountain.

9. #MADGE: Madonna wants to play to a sold-out Croke Park, the Irish Daily Mirror has revealed this morning. The 53-year-old megastar has only ever performed one full concert in Ireland but will likely return in June.

Meanwhile, the 80,000 tickets for Westlife’s upcoming Croker gig sold out in just five minutes. The band has touted the tour as their farewell to fans after announcing their split.

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