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GOOD MORNING

The 9 at 9 US officials say Israel has carried out airstrikes on Iran, the Butterlys’ business dealings and Simon Harris in Brussels.

LAST UPDATE | 19 Apr

GOOD MORNING. 

Here’s all the news you need to know as you start your day. 

Middle East

1. Iran’s state media has reported explosions in the central province of Isfahan overnight, as US media quoted officials saying Israel had carried out retaliatory strikes on its arch-rival.

Air defence systems over several Iranian cities were activated, state media reported, after the country’s official broadcaster said explosions were heard near the city of Isfahan.

Stardust

2. In our main story this morning, Paul O’Donoghue reports on the business affairs of the Butterly family. While it has been reported multiple times over the years that former Stardust manager Eamon Butterly has (or had) a significant network of business interests, establishing details on it has proved more difficult.

Eamon, alongside his father Patrick, was the most prominent figure in the family business which owned the Stardust nightclub.

New kid on the block

3. Our Political Editor Christina Finn reports on Simon Harris’s first EU Council meeting in Brussels this week. 

Harris seemed prepared for questions about his experience at the special meeting, which was his first time on the European stage as Taoiseach. 

Fish kill

4. Inland Fisheries Ireland was notified of a significant fish kill this week in Co Tipperary by members of the public contacting its confidential phoneline.

IFI said it is “grateful” to those who informed officers of the issues and urged the public to continue to use the confidential service to report fish kills, water pollution, illegal fishing, and habitat destruction.

India

5. Millions of Indians are at the polls today, marking the beginning of a six-week election where Narendra Modi, the populist prime minister, is seeking rare third term.

The vote is a referendum on Modi’s third term. Voters began queuing up at polling stations in the early hours of the morning to vote on the future of the prime minister who championed an assertive brand of Hindu nationalist politics.

Vaccines

6. The HSE’s spring booster vaccination programme gets underway on Monday with the roll out of the free Covid-19 vaccine to recommended groups. 

Covid-19 vaccines will be available from participating GPs and pharmacists, while HSE vaccination teams will also provide the vaccine for people living in residential care facilities including nursing homes, and individuals who are housebound.

Palestine

7. Tánaiste Micheál Martin has said that he is “disappointed” at the outcome of a United Nations vote on Palestine’s membership, which failed due to a veto from the United States.

Speaking out on X, formerly known as Twitter last night, Martin said that it is “past time” for Palestine to take its “rightful place” amongst the “nations of the world”.

Podcast

8. In 2019, The Journal released an award-winning documentary series that delved into the Stardust disaster in detail over six podcast episodes, sharing first-hand experiences of the night and exploring the long, long fight for truth.

Yesterday, the inquests returned a verdict of unlawful killing in all 48 deaths, and – crucially – determined that the fire was caused by an electrical fault in a hot press.

A new episode of the podcast looks at what the verdict means for the Stardust story.

The Tortured Poets Department

9. Social media has exploded with excitement from Taylor Swift fans after the world-famous singer and songwriter released her latest album, ‘The Tortured Poets Department’.

Swift’s 11th studio album was released overnight and announced on the megastar’s Instagram page. “New album THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT. Out now,” she wrote on a post.

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