Evening top 5: Kerry slams Israeli settlement building; Primary schools set to drop religion as core subject

The top stories of the day on Newstalk.com

Two-state solution the only road to "just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians" - Kerry

The US Secretary of State has warned that peace between Israelis and Palestinians can only be achieved through the two-state solution.

In his final speech on Middle Eastern policy in Washington, John Kerry warned the US could not stay silent as conditions worsened on the ground.

He said the US would have been guilty of a "dereliction of duty" if it had vetoed a recent UN resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement building on occupied territory.

Primary schools set to drop religion as core subject

New proposals could see religious education taken off the core curriculum for Irish primary schools.

Instead, schools will have the freedom to decide how much time should be spent teaching it as part of 'flexible time'.

Under proposals set to be launched next month, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) will state that 60% of the school day should be set aside for teaching core subjects, including English, Irish and maths.

Dublin City Council chief blasts Apollo House celebrities

Dublin City Council's chief executive Owen Keegan has questioned the motives of some of those supporting the Apollo House occupation.

The 'Home Sweet Home' group has vowed to continue its campaign against homelessness, and take it nationwide.

However, the High Court has ordered the 40 residents to vacate Apollo House by January 11th following action taken by the receivers.

Keegan is concerned that homeless people are not being given good quality accommodation at Apollo House, and stressed that there were better options available to them.

Turkey and Russia reportedly agree ceasefire plan for Syria

Turkey and Russia are reportedly close to agreeing terms for a ceasefire in Syria.

The two countries have been supporting opposing sides in the conflict and according to the Turkish Anadolu news agency; the deal could see weapons silenced from midnight tonight.

As yet there has been no comment from the Syrian government.

Several rebel groups told the Associated Press they are withholding their approval of any potential agreement until they see details on its terms.

Hospital workers to vote on strike action in New Year

Support staff in the major hospitals are to be balloted for strike action by their union.

SIPTU has said it is due to the HSE failing to implement parts of the Lansdowne Road agreement on public sector pay.

The ballot of over 25,000 is due to commence in January and will involve staff in emergency departments including in Dublin, Cork, Galway and the Midlands.