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The 9 at 9: Saturday

Birth registration delays continue and Toy Show catch-up.

Image: Shutterstock/Oksana Mizina

GOOD MORNING.

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

Birth registration delays

1. In our main story this morning, Órla Ryan reports that parents are paying private companies more than twice the going rate to get birth certificates for their children due to huge delays in registering their births in Dublin and nearby counties.

As previously reported by The Journal, the Eastern Registration Area of the Civil Registration Service – which serves Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow – lost all access to all of its operating systems from mid-May to the end of July as a result of the cyber attack on the HSE.

The ongoing effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on services is also having an impact. As a result, some parents are forced to wait two to three months before they can register the birth of their child.

Late Late Toy Show 

2. The 2021 Toy Show was on last night and, in case you missed it or want to relive it, here’s a rundown of the top 11 moments.

From child DJs to an appearance from Ed Sheeran, this year’s show had something for everyone.   

Variant of concern

3. The World Health Organization has officially designated a Covid-19 strain with some concerning mutations as a “variant of concern”.

It will be known as the Omicron variant.

The first known confirmed Omicron infection was from a specimen collected on November 9. In recent weeks, infections in South Africa have increased steeply, coinciding with the detection.

Broadway composer

4. Legendary Broadway songwriter Stephen Sondheim has died at the age of 91.

Sondheim – a US lyricist and composer best known for works including West Side Story and Sweeney Todd – died suddenly in his home yesterday.

Musical celebrities have paid tribute to Sondheim, who was described as having “fundamentally shifted an entire art form”.

Storm Arwen

5. A man died after his car was hit by a falling tree in Northern Ireland, amid weather warnings issued in Ireland and the UK.

The incident happened on the Dublin Road in Co Antrim. Warnings have been issued for strong winds as Storm Arwen arrived yesterday.

Europe cases 

6. Countries in Europe are scrambling to regain control over rising Covid-19 cases through the escalation of booster programmes and the reintroduction of restrictions. 

Berlin, Paris and Lisbon were among capitals weighing tighter Covid restrictions and broader vaccination campaigns as Europe’s Covid-19 death toll passed 1.5 million this week.

Here’s a rundown of the current situation for a number of European countries.  

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Netherlands

7. Taking a closer look at the Netherlands, the country will be “effectively closed” in the evenings from tomorrow with bars, restaurants and many shops shutting early to curb a spike in Covid cases.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said yesterday that from tomorrow “the whole of the Netherlands is effectively closed between 5pm and 5am”.

“We have to be realistic, the daily figures are still too high,” Rutte added, referring to Covid-19 cases surpassing 20,000 a day. Around 85% of adults are vaccinated in the Netherlands. 

Appeal dismissed

8. Former school principal Patrick Harte failed in a bid to have his convictions for sexually abusing schoolboys in classrooms over 50 years ago overturned on appeal.

In dismissing the appeal, the Court of Appeal rejected what was described as an “extraordinary” submission by Harte that he was prejudiced after it emerged during the trial that he had not sought the blessing of a priest before entering a teacher training course.

Garda seizure

9. Gardaí have seized cash, designer bags, and documents after 24 searches across counties Meath and Dublin.

Among the items seized was €35,000 in cash, a 162 Hyundai Tucson, three high-value watches (Rolex and Chopard), designer handbags, electronic storage devices, and documentation in relation to financial and property transactions.

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