The 9 at 9 Nine things you need to know this morning…

EVERY MORNING, brings you nine things you need to know before 9am…

1. #PUBLIC SECTOR: The Government will today unveil its much-heralded plans to reform the public service, including a cut in staff numbers and the scrapping of decentralisation projects. However, reports suggest the cuts could be less radical than those set out in the Programme for Government.

2. #ENDA KENNY: Germany is “very impressed” with Ireland’s financial reforms – or at least that’s what chanceller Angela Merkel told Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Berlin yesterday, the Irish Times reports. Meanwhile Kenny warned Merkel that implementing another new EU treaty would be “very challenging”, according to the Financial Times.

3.#WEATHER: Met Eireann has said there will be no repeat of last month’s extreme flooding over the next two days – despite warnings that heavy rainfall may lead to spot floods in parts of the west. Downpours are expected across the country today.

4. #WHITE HOUSE: A man has been arrested after two bullets were found to have hit the White House. Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, 21, is a suspect in the shooting, with officials suggesting he had become obsessed with US president Barack Obama.

5. #CRASH: An Irish woman has been killed and her partner seriously injured after they were involved in a car crash in Australia this week. Kelly Meehan from Co Clare and Patrick Gibbs from Ballinacurra, Limerick had met in Trinity College and were travelling between Perth and Wyndham.

6. #POPE: Clothing firm Benetton has been forced to pull a controversial billboard with an image of Pope Benedict XVI kissing a Muslim imam on the mouth. A Vatican spokesman said the picture showed “a grave lack of respect”, according to Reuters.

7. #MOTORWAY: The controversial M3 motorway made its operators €19million in profits in its first seven months of operation alone, reports Gordon Deegan in the Irish Times. The revenues include payments from the National Roads Authority in support of the project.

8. #GOOGLE: Google has stepped up its war on rival tech giant Apple with the unveiling of a digital music outlet, selling songs and albums over the Android store, the Guardian reports. However, the service is not yet available outside the US.

9. #SPUDS: Irish people are turning their backs on the humble potato in favour of more cosmopolitan carbs such as pasta, rice and couscous – and this is worrying An Bord Bia, according to the Irish Independent. The food organisation is commissioning market research to discover why potato sales dropped by 10 per cent in a year.

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