February 08: Today’s top stories in 60 seconds
Your speedy summary of today's must-read stories.
Death toll rises above 9,500 in Turkey, Syria quake
The death toll from a massive earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria has risen above 9,500 with rescue workers still searching for trapped survivors. Officials and medics said 7,108 people have died in Turkey and 2,547 in Syria, bringing the total to 9,655. Heartrending scenes of a newborn baby being plucked alive from the rubble and a father clutching his dead daughter’s hand have laid bare the human cost of the earthquakes. Since the 7.8 magnitude quake struck in the early hours of Monday morning, an impromptu army of rescuers have worked in freezing temperatures to find those still trapped among ruins that pockmark several cities either side of the border. World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned that time is running out for the thousands injured and those still feared trapped.
Zelensky to visit UK today as Sunak promises Ukraine extra military aid
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky will today make his first visit to the UK since the Russian invasion of his country. Zelensky is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and address parliament, Sunak’s office said, adding that the UK was planning “to train fighter jet pilots and marines” from the Ukrainian armed forces.
Record January passenger numbers at Dublin and Cork Airports
Both Dublin and Cork airports saw record passenger numbers for January, according to the airports’ operator daa. Dublin Airport enjoyed its busiest opening month of the year ever with just over 2.1 million customers flying through Dublin. The number of passengers who used Dublin Airport in January was 2% higher than January 2019 – the previous record for January – and more than double (113%) the figures seen in January 2022. Daa said the early part of January saw some “very busy days” at Dublin Airport as thousands of people travelled home after the Christmas break.
Vandalism of Hill of Tara standing stone a ‘desecration’
Vandalism at the ancient Lia Fáil standing stone on the Hill of Tara in Co Meath is under investigation by gardaí. The word “fake” was painted on to the 5,000-year-old granite stone, which is one of the main attractions at the former seat of the High Kings of Ireland. A Garda spokesman confirmed they were investigating criminal damage to the monument, reported on Tuesday. The spokesman said it was understood the stone was sprayed with graffiti sometime between Monday evening and Tuesday morning. Gardaí in Navan have opened an investigation and are appealing for information.
The Irish Times
Cocaine with street value of £261 million found floating in ocean
Cocaine with a street value of about 500 million New Zealand dollars (£261 million) has been found floating in a remote area of the Pacific Ocean. It is thought to have been dropped there by an international drug-smuggling syndicate. While no arrests have been made, police in New Zealand say the country’s largest drugs seizure has dealt a financial blow to everyone from the South American producers of the drug through to the distributors. New Zealand police commissioner Andrew Coster said the cocaine was dropped at a floating transit point in 81 bales before being intercepted by a navy ship deployed to the area last week. The ship then made a six-day trip back to New Zealand, where the drugs were being documented and destroyed. Mr Coster said the 3.2 tonnes of cocaine were likely destined for Australia.
Fawlty Towers: John Cleese to revive series with daughter Camilla
Comedy series Fawlty Towers is set to be revived after more than 40 years. John Cleese, who played Basil Fawlty, will be returning to write and star alongside his daughter Camilla Cleese. The two-series show, which featured on BBC2 in 1975 and 1979, followed the lives of Torquay hotelier Basil and his wife Sybil as they tried to keep their business and marriage afloat. The new series will explore how the cynical and sarcastic Basil navigates the modern world. Castle Rock Entertainment announced on Tuesday it had closed a deal with Cleese to bring back the television series. The revival will also see Basil and his daughter, who he has just discovered is his, team up to run a boutique hotel.
State of the Union: Biden says he’s willing to work with political rivals – but Republicans say he is ‘unfit’ to be president
Joe Biden has vowed to work with political rivals in his latest State of the Union address. The US president was speaking before Congress for the first time since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives last month. While he acknowledged that America’s democracy is bruised, Mr Biden stressed it is “unbowed and unbroken”. The Democrat said “there is no reason we can’t work together in this new Congress” – and Americans crave unity. He added: “The people sent us a clear message. Fighting for the sake of fighting, power for the sake of power, conflict for the sake of conflict, gets us nowhere… We’ve been sent here to finish the job!”
Many areas dry for much of today with just the odd spot of light rain or drizzle, and the best of the sunshine in the east and south. Windy near west and north coasts and becoming breezy everywhere this afternoon as southwesterly winds increase fresh to strong and gusty. Highs of 8 to 10 degrees. Rain will push in from the northwest later today and will sweep southeastwards over the country this evening, becoming patchier as it does so. Becoming dry, clear and cold tonight with any remaining rain in the south and southwest soon dying out. Winds will have become mostly light to moderate westerly with the passage of the rain, fresher near west and northwest coasts. Cloud will build in the parts of the west and northwest overnight with an isolated shower possible there. Lows of -3 to +2 degrees, with frost developing and some icy stretches possible.