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Saturday 9 December 2023 Dublin: 7°C

The 9 at 9 Nine things you need to know by 9am: Dept of Foreign Affairs puts crisis management team in Libya; the last day of campaigning sees party leader return closer to home and the government rushes through ‘three strikes’ legislation on illegal file sharing.

Every morning, tells you nine things you really need to know by 9am.

1. #LIBYA: The Department of Foreign Affairs is putting a crisis management team on the ground in Libya today, as the Irish rescue mission to makes a second attempt to get the remainder of the 40 stranded Irish citizens out. The mission had to be aborted last night when Libyan security prevented the aircraft from picking up any passengers. Less than half a dozen Irish people got out last night on flights operated by other countries. One passenger who arrived safely in Rome told RTE’s Morning Ireland he had to pay a bribe to get out. The British government has put an SAS unit on standby to help get its citizens out – 120 left last night on a plane chartered by oil companies, the BBC reports.

2. #NEW ZEALAND: The department of Foreign Affairs has serious concerns about two Irish people who are missing in New Zealand, where 98 are now known to have died in the earthquake. The New Zealand Herald reports that two babies, both less than a year old, are amongst the dead. Two hundred and twenty six people are still missing – 120 of them in one location alone. Hopes are fading of finding any more survivors under the rubble. Yesterday it was confirmed that one Irish person is among the dead.

3. #GE11: The last day of campaigning sees the party leaders return closer to home after criscrossing the country yesterday: Enda Kenny is in Donegal and Sligo; Eamonn Gilmore is in Dun Laoghaire; Michéal Martin is in Cork; the Greens are holding a final media event in Dublin, and Sinn Fein will be spending the day canvassing in Dublin city centre. The moratorium on broadcast coverage of the election begins at 2pm. Voting begins at 7am tomorrow, and polling stations will close at 10pm. The Indo’s Millward Brown poll shows that Fine Gael is the most trusted.

4. #MICHAELA: Two officers from the PSNI have travelled to Mauritius to meet detectives involved with the investigation into the murder of Michaela McAreavey, the Irish News reports. The PSNI confirmed to the newspaper that the detectives travelled in a “family liaison role”. Four people have been charged with the killing, while charges against a fifth were dropped.

5. #THREE STRIKES: Silicon Republic has reported that the government is “rushing through” a statutory instrument to be signed into law by Friday, which would enforce all internet providers in Ireland to operate a ‘three strikes’ policy for illegal downloading and peer-to-peer filesharing. The new rules would give judges the power to grant injunctions against ISPs. A statutory instrument is secondary legislation – and is the only way changes can be made to legislation in such a tight timeframe. According to the report, the nature in which the legislation is being pushed through “could be damaging for Ireland’s image in the eyes of the major internet giants that have located operations here”.

6. #TOURISTS: The recession has had one positive side effect: tourists believe that if they go to Ireland they will be able to bag a bargain, Tourism Ireland research reported in the Irish Times has shown. However, figures from the CSO have shown that, despite the fact there were 14 per cent more visitors from North America here in the last three months of 2010, the overall number of tourists declined by 12.9 per cent.

7. #MURDER TRIAL: Hazel Stewart broke down in court yesterday as her ‘confession tape’ was played to the jury. She admitted to investigators that she knew what her lover, the dentist Colin Howell, planned to do – and let it happen, the Irish News reports.

8. #BONUSES: The bonuses paid to Wall Street bankers fell to a third lower than before the financial crisis – to an average of a not-to-be-sniffed-at $128,530 (€93, 746).

9. #OOPS: The BBC’s One Show, which is presenter by Matt Baker and Alex Jones, was temporarily interrupted during its live broadcast yesterday – after someone set off the fire alarm while warming their tea in the microwave. And you thought the fire drills which interrupt your working day were a nuisance.