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The 9 at 9 Good morning. Here are nine things to know as you start your day.

EVERY MORNING, brings you nine things you need to know as you kick off your day.

1. #TRAGIC: As South African model Reeva Steenkamp is laid to rest this morning, the man accused of killing her is in court for a bail hearing. Prosecutors have already made their case for pre-meditated murder, while Oscar Pistorius’s lawyer has argued his client did not commit murder. Reporters inside the courtroom are tweeting about the athlete’s exhausted state and constant ‘sobbing’.

2. #HORSEMEAT: Food giant Nestlé is the latest company to become entangled in the horsemeat scandal. The Swiss firm withdrew two pasta products from supermarket shelves in Italy and Spain because of equine DNA contamination.

3. #MAGDALENES: The Taoiseach is expected to make a formal State apology to survivors of the Magdalene Laundries later today. The Dáil will discuss the McAleese Report into State involvement in the system from 6pm, with Enda Kenny’s address expected first.

4. #RACISM: A report compiled by the European Commission on Racism and Intolerance has recommended gardaí ban any form of racial profiling, which it claimed still occurs despite a High Court ruling declaring the practice unconstitutional.

5. #ARREARS CRISIS: According to the Irish Independent, AIB is set to offer debt deals to 33,000 homeowners who have fallen behind with their mortgage repayments. CEO David Duffy did not rule out write-downs in some cases while speaking to staff and customers in Galway.

6. #CATHOLIC CHURCH: A number of Irish scholars are among the 160 signatories of a declaration urging change in the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. The petition calls for leaders to be chosen in a fair, transparent and democratic fashion.

7. #ROAD DEATHS: A 40-year-old man has died in Enniscorthy, county Wexford after the bicycle he was travelling on was struck by a car on the N30 at Moneytucker yesterday afternoon.

8. #AFGHANISTAN: The number of civilians killed in the Afghanistan conflict decreased for the first time in six years during 2012, the UN has said. However, casualties continue to mount with 2,754 ordinary residents losing their lives as a direct result of the war.

9. #PLASTIC PRINCESS: In a scathing attack, Hilary Mantel has directed some rare-but-harsh criticism at royal darling, the Duchess of Cambridge (formerly Kate Middleton). The award-winning author didn’t hold back during a lecture at the British Museum, dubbing the pregnant 31-year-old a “shop-window mannequin” with a “perfect plastic smile” who was “designed by committee”. Ouch.

  • Over on What is Justin Bieber doing in this Wicklow hotel? Which star is pregnant? And has David Cameron joined One Direction? So many answers in The Dredge

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