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The 9 at 9 Nine things to know by 9am: Public sector pensions hit (a bit) by new levy, mixed news on the money front, how Dublin is better than Paris, and how often do men really think about naughty things?

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

1. #PENSIONS: Brendan Howlin has announced plans to increase levies on the pensions of former public servants – but already the measures have been criticised for their weakness. Under the new regime, former Taoisigh like Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen only lose around €80 a week – in a package that will only save around €400,000 a year.

2. #ESRI: The State’s economic think-tank has warned that Ireland could face another Great Depression – arguing that even though we’re complying with the Troika’s demands, problems elsewhere could ruin our export-led recovery. The ESRI says the economy will only grow by 0.9 per cent next year, with unemployment potentially rising to 20 per cent in the coming years.

3. #EUROZONE: There is some good economic news, though – late last night it was confirmed that eurozone finance ministers had signed off on the latest batch of bailout loans to Ireland, while Greece is also getting the long-awaited batch of its bailout loans, averting a catastrophic default. Leaders also agreed to ‘leverage’ the European bailout fund to give it a greater power to lend to struggling countries – but are looking to the IMF to play a larger role, featuring that their own efforts simply aren’t enough.

4. #ABUSE: Six different reports into clerical abuses in Irish Catholic dioceses are to be published today. Chief among them will be a report on abuse in the Diocese of Raphoe, which has garnered much publicity over complaints of how it has handled the reporting of abuse.

5. #HSE: Staff at the HSE have been told that they will not be reimbursed for their usual travel expenses and subsistence costs for the rest of the year – because it simply can’t afford to pay them. The HSE has been informed that it cannot run over Budget for the year but having already spent more than was originally intended, there isn’t enough cash to pay the usual allowances to staff, including carers who help vulnerable people in their homes in rural areas.

6. #STRIKES: The UK is preparing for a day of intense strike action, as millions go on strike in the largest display of industrial action since the 1970s. Those hoping to take public transport to Northern Ireland are warned that alternative transport arrangements are being put in place, as public transport workers in the North are taking part in the anti-austerity action.

7. #BETTER THAN PARIS: Yes, that’s right. Dublin is better than Paris. That’s the finding of a new global survey by Mercer, which has ranked Dublin as the 26th best place in the world to live. Vienna has topped the list; Baghdad, perhaps unsurprisingly, is ranked as the worst city of those involved.

8. #JUDGES PAY: The Dáil has passed legislation imposing a major pay cut in the wages of judges, following last month’s referendum which removed a Constitutional bar on doing so. The Bill now goes to the Seanad next week.

9. #EVERY SIX SECONDS: The old anecdote you know, about how often men think about naughty things? Turns out it’s not true, at all. While men do regularly find their minds straying into matters carnal – contemplating such things, on average, 19 times a day – they only think about it every 50 minutes or so.

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