Morning top 5: Fine Gael's next leader, homelessness fears; and US Senate blocks Obama gun law

The top stories this Thursday morning on Newstalk.com...

The first moves to replace Taoiseach Enda Kenny as Fine Gael leader were launched last night - hours before the Government won a vote of confidence in itself.

Ministers Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar called for the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party to begin preparations as early as next week for a general election in the wake of the Garda whistleblower scandal.

Hours later the Government won a motion of confidence in itself by 57 to 52, with Fianna Fáil abstaining.

Government ministers criticised Sinn Féin for the motion of no confidence which resulted in the vote.

****

One in every nine people is worried that they will lose their home, according to a new survey from Focus Ireland.

The report reveals there is a growing national crisis, with the charity's Director of Advocacy, Mike Allen, saying t should be a wake up call for the government.

"These are much higher figures than we've seen before", he said. "They show the way in which the housing and homeless crisis isn't just affecting people in the margins but it's affecting people right across our society.

****

In the US, the Senate voted to block legislation originally brought in by Barack Obama that tightened gun checks on mentally-ill buyers.

The law stopped people who receive disability benefits from buying guns, affecting an estimated 75,000 people.

But Republicans, who control the Senate, argued it stigmatised the disabled and voted it down 57 to 43.

President Donald Trump is set to approve revoking the rule, his first action on guns since taking power.

****

A second woman has been arrested in connection with the killing of Kim Jong-Un's half-brother.

Police said the suspect was found with an Indonesian passport that names her as Siti Aishah, age 25.

She was identified from CCTV footage recorded at Kuala Lumpur airport.

Kim Jong-Nam, 45, was killed at the airport on Monday as he waited to catch a flight - two women are believed to be responsible.

They are thought to have used poisoned needles, a poisoned spray or a poison-laced cloth.

South Korean officials have said it was an assassination ordered by the North Korean regime.

Another female suspect, holding Vietnam travel papers, was detained on Wednesday. CCTV images show her wearing a sweatshirt with "LOL" on the front.

****

A wildfire has destroyed at least 11 homes and forced hundreds of residents to evacuate in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.

Civil defence officials declared a state of emergency in the South Island city late last night as two blazes that had been smouldering for days merged into a single giant fire-front.

Christchurch City Council said more than 1,800 hectares of land had been torched in the Port Hills.

With winds forecast to pick up and fan the flames, authorities warned residents to flee at the first sign of danger.