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GOOD MORNING

The 9 at 9 Concerns over ChatGPT, icy conditions, and Ukrainian Minister and two children among those killed in helicopter crash.

LAST UPDATE | 18 Jan 2023

GOOD MORNING.

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

Ukrainian Minister and two children among 17 killed in Helicopter crash

1. A helicopter  in a Kyiv suburb has killed 17 people this morning, including Ukraine’s interior minister and two children, authorities said.

Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi, his deputy Yevhen Yenin, and State Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Yurii Lubkovych were among those killed, according to Ihor Klymenko, chief of Ukraine’s National Police.

Nine of those killed were on board the emergency services helicopter which crashed in Brovary, an eastern suburb of the capital, Mr Klymenko said.

 Higher Education 

2. Higher education stakeholders have said that colleges have to face up to emerging AI software such as ChatGPT, which has caused a storm on social media in recent weeks due to its ability to respond to almost any writing prompt.

The open-access software takes the form of a chatbot which responds to commands and prompts such as explaining scientific concepts, writing scenes for a play, summarising lengthy articles or even writing lines of computer code.

The bot’s abilities go so far as to be capable of mimicking the writing styles of various newspapers and poets, which has startled educators. 

Wintry weather

3. Widespread icy conditions this morning may lead to school closures across the country as a Status Yellow snow and ice warning has been issued for most counties. 

Scattered sleet, snow showers and icy stretches are forecasted for most of the country today as temperatures are to fall to -4 degrees in some places tonight.

Schools in the affected counties will have the option to close for the day, depending on whether school buses in their locality are running and whether parents and children can safely make it to the school. 

Defective apartments 

4. Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien will today seek Cabinet approval for the drafting of a scheme to support the rectification of defective apartments.

It’s understood that the memo to Cabinet this morning will outline supports for the remediation of fire safety, structural safety and water ingress defects in purpose-built apartment buildings, including duplexes, constructed between 1991 and 2013.

It’s expected that the scheme will be administered by the Housing Agency on a nationwide basis and that Owners’ Management Companies (OMCs) will be funded to carry out the necessary remediation works.

Ukraine

5. Rescuers have called off the search for victims of the Russian missile strike on an apartment building in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro, with 20 people still missing and funerals being held in the grief-stricken community.

After the carnage, Ukrainians pressed ahead with talks to obtain more Western weapons.

Ukrainian authorities said the Russian strike in the eastern city of Dnipro at the weekend killed at least 45 people including six children.

Dublin Airport

6. Price caps on airline passengers will prevent the hiring of 240 new staff at Dublin Airport, the new DAA CEO is set to tell TDs.

Kenny Jacobs, the DAA’s new Chief Executive Officer, is set to appear before the Joint Oireachtas Transport Committee later today and will tell TDs and Senators that newly imposed price caps will be detrimental to Dublin Airport.

In his opening statement to the Committee, Jacobs will criticise the recent decision of the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) to not increase price caps on passenger charges more significantly.

Child grooming

7. New measures to introduce a penalty of five years imprisonment on conviction of grooming children into a life of crime are set to be approved by Cabinet today. 

Minister for Justice Simon Harris will today seek approval for a new Bill which will, for the first time, create specific offences where an adult compels, coerces, induces or invites a child to engage in criminal activity.

It will give gardaí additional powers and make it a separate, prosecutable offence, on top of provisions in current law where an adult who causes or uses a child to commit a crime can generally be found guilty as the principal offender.

Microsoft job cuts 

8. Microsoft is readying to cut more positions from its global workforce as tech giants continue paring headcount to ride out rough economic conditions, according to media reports.

The company employs 3,500 staff in its Dublin office. 

The computer industry stalwart could announce layoffs in its engineering divisions as early as today, Bloomberg News has reported.

A Microsoft spokesperson told AFP that the company would not comment on what it referred to as “rumour.”

Davos 

9. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will attend the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering in the Swiss town of Davos this week. 

Varadkar will attend the forum for three days – Wednesday, Thursday and Friday – missing the first week of the Dáil’s return after the Christmas break.

During his visit, the Taoiseach is expected to hold bilateral meetings with a number of political leaders, as well as senior executives from multinational companies with significant operations and employment in Ireland.

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