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

EVERY MORNING, brings you nine things you should know with your morning cup of coffee.

1. #WATER CHARGES: Householders are facing a charge of around €40 per year over a 20 year period for the installation of water meters, it is being reported this morning. The Irish Times says that a loan from the National Pension Reserve Fund will pay for the installation of  the meters but some will have no meter and face ‘assessed charges’. The proposed water meters that will be discussed by the cabinet later today where the government is expected to sign-off on the new State body that will implement the system.

2. #TROIKA: Officials from the Troika are back in Dublin today to carry out their sixth quarterly review of Ireland’s bailout. With unemployment at 14.3 per cent, officials from the EU, IMF and ECB are expected to review the Pathways to Work programme as well as other developments on the loan agreement.

3. #BREIVIK: The trial of the Anders Behring Breivik, the man who admits killing 77 people in Norway last summer, continues today with Breivik expected to give evidence to the court. Unlike some proceedings, his testimony will not be televised. Already this morning the court has had to deal with the issue of one of its lay judges posting on their Facebook profile that Breivik deserved to be executed.

4. #DRINK DRIVING: Motorists who are convicted of drink-driving could reduce the amount of time they are disqualified by undergoing a training course at their own expense, the papers report this morning. The Irish Examiner, the Irish Times and the Irish Independent report that plans are being considered by the government which could see bans reduced by up to a quarter.

5. #FRACKING: The controversial process of extracting shale gas from the ground, fracking, has been given the green light in the UK with experts advising the government that it can be used despite concerns raised by environmentalists and others. The Guardian reports that it has been given the go ahead despite it known to have caused two earthquakes.

6. #BUILDING BOOM: An Taisce has said that flaws in buildings that were “thrown up” during the Celtic Tiger property building boom will become more apparent in years to come. In its report on Ireland’s planning sustem yesterday the heritage body expressed concern that there could be many more examples of buildings like Priory Hall in north Dublin.

7. #AUSTRALIA: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced that she plans to withdraw the country’s 1,500 troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2013 – an election year. The announcement came in a speech in Canberra overnight, BBC News reports. Most international troops are due to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, theoretically having handed over control of security operations to Afghan forces.

8. #BUSTED: Authorities in the US have said that they have uncovered a secret internet drugs markets where LSD, ecstasy and other illegal substances could be bought through an online ring known as The Farmer’s Market. BBC News reports that at least eight people are being held in the US, the Netherlands and Colombia on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering.

9. #BIG FELLA: The grand-niece of Michael Collins, Mary Banotti, has said that she finds the auctioning off of a lock of the revolutionary’s hair and a cotton swab used to clean his corpse “really appalling”. The former Fine Gael presidential candidate told RTÉ Radio this morning that many of her family were upset by the auctioning of such items tomorrow.

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