Your speedy summary of today's must-read stories.
New bill on consent
The Minister for Justice will seek Cabinet approval for a bill to strengthen the law on consent, knowledge and belief in rape cases. The bill would change the current situation where a man is not guilty of rape if he believed that he had the consent of a woman. Under the new proposals, the accused’s defence that he believed she was consenting has to be objectively reasonable. This means juries should have regard to the steps the accused took to check whether the woman is consenting, as well as the accused’s decision-making capacity at that time. The bill would also include the provision that self-induced intoxication would not be a defence to a charge of rape in relation to an accused’s capacity to understand if he did have consent.
Covid origin studies point to Wuhan
Scientists say there is “compelling evidence” that Wuhan’s Huanan seafood and wildlife market was at the centre of the Covid-19 outbreak. Two peer-reviewed studies published on Tuesday re-examine information from the initial outbreak in the Chinese city. One of the studies shows that the earliest known cases were clustered around that market, while the other uses genetic information to track the timing of the outbreak. It suggests there were two variants introduced into humans in November or early December 2019. Together, the researchers say this evidence paints a picture that Sars-Cov-2 was present in live mammals that were sold at Huanan market in late 2019. They say it was transmitted into people who were working or shopping there in two separate “spillover events”, where a human contracted the virus from an animal.
Laura Whitmore remembers Caroline Flack
Laura Whitmore has shared a sweet tribute to her friend Caroline Flack after crowds of friends and fans flocked to Englefield Estate in Berkshire on Monday for Flackstock – a day festival that celebrated Caroline’s life with comedy, dance and musical acts while raising money for mental health charities.
The Irish Independent
Increased taxi fares
An increase in taxi fares weighted in favour of those working ‘unsocial hours’ is expected to entice drivers back into city centres during busy weekend evenings, an industry expert has said. Taxi fares are set to rise by 12% on average from September 1 following a review this year by the National Transport Authority (NTA). It is the first fare increase since 2018 when the average cost of a taxi journey rose by 4.5%.
Today will bring a few bright or sunny intervals at times, after early mist and fog patches clear, but cloud will gradually increase from the southwest bringing isolated light showers. Later in the day, it may brighten up in parts of Munster. Highest temperatures of 15°C to 18°C in a light southeasterly or variable breeze. Any isolated showers will clear early tonight to leave a mix of cloud and clear spells. Lowest temperatures of 7°C to 10°C in very light winds. A few short-lived mist patches may form around dawn