EVERY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you the nine things you need to know as you begin your day.
1. #THALIDOMIDE: The German manufacturers of the drug thalidomide, which was given to pregnant women in the 1950s and caused serious congenital birth defects, has apologised for the first time to the victims. Chief executive of Gruenenthal Group Harald Stock said:” We ask for forgiveness that for nearly 50 years we didn’t find a way of reaching out to you from human being to human being,” reports the BBC.
2. #BAILOUT: A series of letters to the former Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan from the president of the European Central Bank Jean Claude Trichet, seen by the Irish Times newspaper, reveal the extent of the pressure Ireland was under in November 2010 to apply for a bailout.The ECB had expressed concerned over the strain that Irish banks were putting on the European system – which was then underwriting funding to Irish banks of more than €150 billion – reports political editor Stephen Collins. Lenihan was pressured to apply for a bailout or risk the country’s banks being cut off from the system, according to the letters.
3. #HSE: The new chief of the HSE has defended his €30,000 salary increase in the wake of the Health Minister James Reilly announcing the €130 million in cost-saving measures being implemented in the body to ensure it keeps budgetary promises made to the Government and its bailout partners earlier this year. Tony O’Brien earned €165,000 before taking over as director general designate – a role that will see him earn €195,000 – but has pointed out that he will be earning less than his predecessor, reports the Irish Independent.
4. #LOUTH: A 34-year-old man is due in court in Dundalk today charged in connection to the murder of Jacqueline McDonagh earlier in the week. McDonagh, a mother of three, was beaten to death at her home in the College Manor area in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
5. #EMERALD ISLE CLASSIC: The Taoiseach Enda Kenny has welcomed about 35,000 American football fans who have gathered in Dublin today to watch the Notre Dame vesus Navy Emerald Isle Classic. The game, which will kick off at the Aviva Stadium, is worth an estimated €100 million to the Irish economy.
6. #DRUGS: Herbal cannabis worth an estimated €250,000 has been seized in a joint operation between Revenue’s Customs Service and An Garda Síochána in the outskirts of Waterford city. Two men, aged 34 and 42, have been arrested and taken to Waterford Garda Station. Follow-up searches are now taking place in Waterford city and Kilkenny.
7. #CYSTIC FIBROSIS: The Health Minister has been called on to approve and supply a revolutionary new treatment for certain sufferers of cystic fibrosis. The drug, called Kalydeco, treats CF sufferers with the G551D mutation – nicknamed the ‘Celtic gene’ – has already been approved by regulators in Europe and the United States. Councillor David McGuinness said that it is now “time for Ireland to lead the way in treating this difficult illness”.
8. #YOSEMITE: Officials at Yosemite National Park park in California have advised anyone who visited the park from mid-June to immediately seek medical attention to determine whether they exhibit symptoms of the potentially fatal hantavirus. The rare airbourne virus has been recently been diagnosed in six park visitors – two of whom have died.
9. #SYRIA: The Syrian government says it has repelled a major rebel attack on an air base near Aleppo this morning – one of several bases that have come under attack in recent days. Battles are continuing in Aleppo and the suburbs of Damascus, with at least 100 people reported killed in fighting on Friday, reports the BBC.