EVERY DAY, TheJournal.ie brings you nine things you need to know with your morning cup of coffee.
1. #WEATHER WARNING: Further periods of persistent rain have been forecast for today, with the western seaboard expected to bear the brunt. There is also a possibility strong gale-force westerly and north-westerly winds across the southern and western coast – however there is an end in sight, with a slightly better outlook expected for the weekend.
2. #SYRIA: The UN has stepped up its criticism of the Syrian regime, with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon saying that the country is heading toward an “imminent” full-scale civil war; warning of crimes against humanity being committed; and highlighting growing attacks on UN observers. Meanwhile, the UN envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, has told the Security Council that the country’s crisis will quickly “spiral out of control” unless substantial pressure is put on President Bashar al-Assad.
3. #WALLACE: Independent TD Mick Wallace said yesterday that he did not intend to resign from the Dáil after admitting that his construction company MJ Wallace had under-declared its VAT by around €1.4 million. However, Wallace could nevertheless either face bankruptcy action or a criminal prosecution over the matter – both of which would see him lose his Dáil seat.
Yesterday, Wallace reached a €2.13 million settlement with the Revenue but said that it was “unlikely” that he would be able to repay the amount.
4. #PREMATURE BIRTHS: The number of premature births has fallen in only three countries worldwide over the past two decades, according to a new report published in leading medical journal The Lancet.
Only Croatia, Ecuador and Estonia showed a reduction in the preterm birth rate from 1990 to 2010, while Ireland showed a 2.1 per cent increase in premature births during that period – the sixth-highest European increase. Birth before 37 weeks gestation is the single biggest cause of neonatal deaths in the world.
5. #LIVING WILLS: Legislation in relation to ‘living wills’ will be introduced to the Dáil later today by Fine Gael TD Liam Twomey. The Advanced Healthcare Decisions Bill would introduce a process for a competent person to establish their wishes regarding the medical treatment they would like to receive in the case of becoming terminally ill or incapacitated and unable to communicate their views.
6. #SELLAFIELD: The controversial Thorp reprocessing plant at Sellafield is to close in 2018 – once all reprocessing contracts have been completed, the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has announced. Last year, the Mox nuclear plant at Sellafield was also shut down.
7. #INM: The board of newspaper publisher Independent News & Media has asked shareholders not to support the reinstatement of Paul Conolly, a representative of tycoon Denis O’Brien, as director ahead of the company’s annual general meeting today.
8. #MISSING: A helicopter carrying 14 people, including three Europeans, has gone missing in the highlands of Peru. Citizens from Sweden, Czech Republic and the Netherlands were on board the craft, which was also carrying South Korean and Peruvian citizens, according to the Associated Press.
9. #MOVEMENT: A special musical event being held at the National Concert Hall later this month will explore the relationship between movement and music. The RTÉ Concert Orchestra and the Movement Disorder Society will see guest speaker US neurology professor Steven Frucht discuss the origins of musical talent and how the brain is ‘remoulded’ through the process of learning to play a musical instrument.