Morning top 5: Donohoe defends stamp duty increase; Spanish Government holding emergency meeting; 17 dead in California wildfires

The stories this morning on Newstalk.com

The Minister for Finance has moved to defend one of the cornerstone calculations included in Budget 2018.

The Increase of commercial stamp duty from 2% to 6% is the single biggest tax raising measure from yesterday's budget.

Minister Paschal Donohoe has insisted the measure will raise €376m for the exchequer – however the opposition has questioned that calculation.

He said the figures came from the Revenue Commissioner, adding that he had also double checked them with his department.

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The Spanish Government is holding an emergency cabinet this morning to discuss Catalonia's bid for independence.

Last night the Catalan president signed a document declaring the region's independence from Spain.

However the implementation of the declaration has been delayed to allow for talks with Madrid.

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has insisted he is aiming to calm tensions following the disputed referendum.

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A woman who killed a man by driving into a County Wicklow harbour will find out today if she has won an appeal against her conviction for murder.

Marta Herda of Emoclew Road in Arklow is serving a life sentence for murdering Csaba Orsas in March 2013.

Her trial heard she knew he couldn’t swim and that she managed to swim to safety after scrambling out of the driver’s window.

Her appeal focused on the judge’s charge to the jury and the admissibility of certain evidence. The prosecution argues the conviction is safe and should stand.

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At least 17 people have died in California as ferocious wildfires continue to sweep across the US state's wine region.

Thousands have been made homeless and more than 200 reported missing, with a state of emergency declared in multiple counties.

The National Guard has been running fuel to fire trucks as so many petrol stations have lost power.

US President Donald Trump has approved a major disaster declaration to send money to the region, promising: "We will be there for you in this time of terrible tragedy and need."

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Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow have released statements saying they were forced to reject advances made by the film producer Harvey Weinstein.

The Hollywood actresses are the latest to add their names to the list of women who say the movie mogul sexually harassed them.

Separately, three others are accusing him of raping them in an article published in an American magazine – a claim he denies.

Following the latest revelations, his wife Georgina Chapman announced she is leaving him.