February 15: Today’s top stories in 60 seconds
Your speedy summary of today's must-read stories.
Brianna Ghey: Two teenagers charged with murder
Two teenagers have been charged with murder over the death of 16-year-old Brianna Ghey. A 15-year-old girl from Warrington and a 15-year-old boy from Leigh had been arrested after the transgender teen’s death. Police have now confirmed they have both been charged, and will appear at Chester Magistrates’ Court later. Brianna was found with serious injuries on a pathway by members of the public in Linear Park in Culcheth, Cheshire, on Saturday afternoon. Emergency services were called but Brianna, from Birchwood in Warrington, died at the scene. On Tuesday evening people gathered for candlelit vigils at St George’s Hall in Liverpool and at College Green in Bristol. More vigils are due to be held across the country in the coming days.
GAA star at centre of €1m cancer fraud inquiry owed five-figure sum to Revenue
A GAA star currently under investigation for alleged fraud was hit with a debt judgment for a five-figure sum by the Revenue Commissioners, Independent.ie can reveal. The judgment was made in 2018 and its satisfaction status is described as “unknown”. The well-known sports figure is currently embroiled in an alleged fraud scandal after a number of people made complaints to gardaí after he approached them for donations to help him travel to the US for cancer treatment. The Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) is carrying out a full-scale investigation and is seeking to determine whether he was in fact diagnosed with cancer and what he used the money for. The value of the alleged fraud is running close to the €1m mark, with some individuals reported to have given him up to €200,000.
Eight arrested after gardaí raid drug distribution hub and seize €2.8 million of cocaine
Eight people have been arrested following a raid on a premises by gardaí in Dublin yesterday. Forty kilos of cocaine with a street value of around €2.8 million were seized by gardaí yesterday. It is understood the drugs and arrests relate to the Kinahan Organised Crime Gang’s Dublin distribution network. Officers attached to the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau carried out the raid. They intercepted two vehicles shortly after 11am in the Ballyfermot and Blanchardstown areas of Dublin.
Nearly two-thirds of retail workers earn below €451 per week – Mandate
New research from the Mandate trade union shows that nearly two-thirds of retail workers are earning less than €451 per week. The report, which is called ‘Smoke and Mirrors’, finds that the biggest challenge to improving incomes is the number of hours worked in the sector. Mandate says that legislative change is needed to allow employees to increase their working hours where extra hours are available so that they can get a decent weekly income. Mandate General Secretary Gerry Light said that the 2018 Employment Act helped retail workers by introducing “banded-hours” contracts which provide a minimum floor of hours and by getting rid of zero-hour contracts.
Rare video of 1986 dive through Titanic wreckage being released
Rare and in some cases never before publicly seen video of the 1986 dive through the wreckage of the Titanic is being released. The more than 80 minutes of footage on the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s (WHOI) YouTube channel chronicles some of the remarkable achievements of the dive led by Robert Ballard that marked the first time human eyes had seen the giant ocean liner since it struck an iceberg and sank in the frigid North Atlantic in April 1912. About 1,500 people died during the ship’s maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City. A team from the Massachusetts-based WHOI, in partnership with the French oceanographic exploration organisation Institut francais de recherche pour l’exploitation de la mer, discovered the final resting place of the ship in 12,400 feet (3,780 metres) of water on September 1 1985 using a towed underwater camera. The footage will premiere on YouTube at 00.30 on Thursday and can be watched here.
‘Game-changer’ male contraceptive drug shows promise, study suggests
Researchers say an on-demand male birth control pill is possible after a contraceptive drug that quickly and temporarily reduces fertility showed promise in mice. The study’s co-senior authors Dr Jochen Buck and Dr Lonny Levin, who are professors of pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medicine, say the discovery could be a “game-changer” for contraception. The findings show that mice given the drug inactivate an enzyme that produced sperm so it could not propel themselves forward. Scientists say that this suggests the inhibitors (sAC) can reduce the movement of the mouse and human sperm, which is a key function. The authors performed a series of experiments and found that while male mouse mating behaviour was normal, fertility was eliminated in the hours after the drug was given. The contraceptive effectiveness was found to be at 100% in the first two hours and 91% in the first three hours, before returning to normal levels in 24 hours. There were no found negative health impacts found when the drugs were continuously used for six weeks.
Largely dry for the rest of this morning with sunny spells and just isolated showers. During the afternoon, a spell of rain will edge into Atlantic counties, extending nationwide later this evening. Highest temperatures of 9 to 11 degrees in moderate to fresh southwesterly winds. A wet start to the night and breezy in parts, especially in southern and eastern areas. While the rain will ease off later tonight, some mist and fog will develop as winds ease mostly light variable. Lowest temperatures of 4 to 8 degrees, coolest in the northwest.