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The 9 at 9: Thursday

Nine things to know this morning…

Image: Will Merydith via Creative Commons

EVERY MORNING brings you nine things you need to know with your morning coffee…

1. #EDUCATION: Children will not start school until five years of age and transition year will be abandoned, under new cost-saving proposals being considered by the government to reduce the €9 billion annual bill for the provision of education in Ireland. Meanwhile, secondary school teachers have vowed to oppose new measures proposed by the Education Minister, including unannounced inspections and continuous assessment.

2. #WELFARE: People on the dole feel ‘degraded and dehumanised’ by signing on, according to new research by UCD. The study found that participants felt there were few incentives to give up benefits, and also returned negative assessments of Fás – which they said used people as “cheap labour’”.

3. #ECONOMY: Measures being taken to fix the economy are paying off, according to the Irish Business and Employers’ Confederation (IBEC). However Director General Danny McCoy said that no further austerity should be heaped upon the €3.6 billion cuts already planned by the government, reports RTÉ.

4. #DEPORTATION: Gardaí have insisted that a woman who was detained for deportation despite claims she was suffering bleeding as a result of a recent miscarriage was medically assessed as being fit to be deported as new details of the case emerge. However, no explanation has yet been given as to why the flight scheduled to bring Olayinka Ijaware and several other asylum-seekers to Nigeria was cancelled.

5. #SYRIA: Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has told the UN that military operations against protesters have stopped and has expressed “alarm” at media reports of widespread human rights violations in the country. Meanwhile, the country’s former ally Turkey has compared Assad to Libya’s Col Muammar Gaddafi.

6. #SPAIN: Thousands of people have gathered in the Spanish capital to protest against a visit by Pope Benedict XVI, just hours before he is due to arrive, reports the BBC. Yesterday a Mexican chemistry student living in Madrid was arrested on suspicion of planning a gas attack on anti-Pope protesters.

7. #FRANCE: Credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has said that it is confident France will maintain its AAA credit rating, dismissing rumours that the country may be downgraded, RTÉ reports.

8. #BORED: People who are bored feel stronger connections to social groups, attach more importance to ‘belonging’ and are more hostile towards outsiders, according to a study from the University of Limerick. The study’s authors suggest that placing more emphasis on one’s own social group and ostracising outsiders help people to feel “in control”, reports the Irish Times.

9. #PINT-SIZED PREACHER: Mississippi toddler Kanon Tipton first showed a propensity to deliver sermons at just 21-months old. Now, at the ripe old age of four, Kanon has donned a suit and honed his Pentecostal preaching skills – although we suspect the Bible might just be for show…

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