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Good morning. Here’s everything you need to know before you start your day.

IRELAND

Concerns have been raised about the awarding of a €50m contract to run Irish Water’s call centreAmid claims of favouritism, Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy revealed how then-environment minister Phil Hogan was directly lobbied months before the four-year contract was handed out to the company involved.

Motorists have been warned to watch out for fallen trees and debris after Storm Gertrude brought strong winds and heavy rain to all areas overnight. Gusts of up to 130 kilometres per hour have been battering the country with the north, west and parts of the east coast worst affected.

Gardai have briefed the partner of a father of two who has been missing for over a month after a man’s body was recovered from a slurry pit last night close to where he was last seen.

Gardaí have been in contact with associates of murder victim Kenneth O’Brien in Australia and are expected to travel there in the coming weeks.

Primary school principals say they are increasingly concerned about their pupils' mental health. Taoiseach Enda Kenny is due to address the Irish Primary Principals Network conference on emotional well-being this afternoon.

WORLD 

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Declaring that the zika virus is “spreading explosively,” the chief of the World Health Organisation announced that it will hold an emergency meeting of independent experts on Monday to decide if the virus outbreak should be declared an international health emergency.

Republican presidential candidates lost no time in taking advantage of a rare opportunity to step out of front-runner Donald Trump's shadow in the party's last debate before the Iowa caucuses.

SPORT

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Joe Schmidt insists omitting rising stars Garry Ringrose and Jack O’Donoghue from his Six Nations squad will be to theirs and Ireland’s long-term benefit.

Louis van Gaal is determined to fight on at Manchester United but claims the club’s backing for him increases the pressure on his shouldersThe Dutch manager has denied reports he offered to resign last weekend.

BUSINESS

Wide-ranging tax rules designed to recoup much of the estimated €70bn multinationals underpay in the EU each year will not adversely affect Ireland’s attractiveness to foreign direct investment, according to state and private tax experts.

Former department of finance secretary general John Moran has questioned the Government’s capital spending plans and suggested more should be done to counter-balance Dublin’s position as the country’s main economic driver.

ANALYSIS

Yes, the next minister for health needs a budget, and he needs authority, but he also needs the support of his government colleagueswrites Alison O’Connor.

LIFESTYLE

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Our agony aunt Audrey has been sorting out Cork people for years with her brilliant satirical advice.

VIDEO

As the wrecking ball hits Cork’s Capitol Cineplex, Ellie O’Byrne gets nostalgic with people from the world of film, music, and theatre and hears about some of their visits to the flicks on the Grand Parade

VIRAL

Meet Donal O’Cathain - Donal has emigrated from Cork to the United States. And like all expats, he experiences homesickness from time to time, so what does he do? Instead of moving home to Ireland, he moved a little bit of Ireland into his home - with the help of US TV show, Man Cave.

Catch-up with what you've missed with our morning briefing

A Redditor, who was sick of her car being stolen, decided as a last resort to write a note for the next carjacker in the hope that they would bring it back.

TECHNOW

GAMING: PlayStation Plus players get free games every month, and there's a real classic in the mix this time around.

MOVIES: The festival once known as JDIFF (previously sponsored by Jameson) is now ADIFF, thanks to the involvement of Audi. But it's still the same celebration of cinema which we know as the Dublin International Film Festival.

TECH: Now you can just pop online and order a OnePlus X without having to worry about the silly invite nonsense from OnePlus

SHOWBIZ

Catch-up with what you've missed with our morning briefing

Hold on to your hats Directioners! Zayn Malik’s first solo single is finally here and it is accompanied by a smoking hot video. Pillowtalk is Zayn’s first offering since leaving One Direction in March 2015 and it is clear he has gone in a very different musical direction.

MOST READ RIGHT NOW

Concerns have been raised about the awarding of a €50m contract to run Irish Water’s call centre. Amid claims of favouritism, Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy revealed how then-environment minister Phil Hogan was directly lobbied months before the four-year contract was handed out to the company involved.


Lifestyle

It turns out 40 is no longer the new 30 – a new study says 47 is the age of peak unhappiness. The mid-life crisis is all too real, writes Antoinette Tyrrell.A midlife revolution: A new study says 47 is the age of peak unhappiness

Dr Irwin Gill, consultant paediatrician with special interest in neurodisability, Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) at Temple StreetWorking Life: Dr Irwin Gill, consultant paediatrician at Temple Street

THE temperature of your baking ingredients can affect the outcome.Michelle Darmody bakes espresso and pecan cake and chocolate lime mousse

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