Your speedy summary of today's must-read stories.
New blood donation changes come into effect lifting blanket rules based on sexual orientation
New blood donation changes come into effect today which scraps blanket rules based on sexual orientation. Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men previously had to abstain from sexual contact for a minimum of 12 months before meeting the criteria for donating blood. In March of this year, that 12-month time limit was reduced to four months. But from today, the time limit has been lifted and the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) will move to a system of individualised risk-based assessment for all potential donors.
‘Awful’ – witnesses’ shock as boy seriously injured after pitbull attack while playing with friends in Wexford
A young boy is in a serious condition in hospital after he was viciously attacked by a pitbull in Co Wexford yesterday afternoon. It is understood the dog attacked the boy while he was playing with his friends in Enniscorthy. Gardaí and emergency services attended and the dog has since been destroyed. The Irish Coast Guard’s Rescue 117 helicopter transported the boy to Crumlin Children’s Hospital where he is “undergoing treatment for serious injuries”. Locals who witnessed the attack described it as “shocking” and “awful”. Gardaí say their enquiries are ongoing.
Coalition colleagues distance themselves from Varadkar’s comments on arming gardaí
Fianna Fáil and the Green Party have ruled out arming rank-and-file gardaí after Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said he would back an armed force if Garda Commissioner Drew Harris requested it. Weekend comments by Mr Varadkar have drawn opposition from his fellow Government leaders, coalition TDs, and Garda representative associations, who made it clear there is no appetite for such a move. In the wake of a spate of attacks on gardaí, including a vicious assault on two officers in Dublin, the Tánaiste was asked if he thought the State needs an armed force. He said he would say “absolutely yes” and would not block a move to arm gardaí if asked by Mr Harris. However, spokespersons for Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan extolled the virtues of a mainly unarmed force to the Irish Examiner.
The Irish Examiner
Plan to end direct provision by 2024 no longer possible, says expert
A Government commitment to end direct provision by 2024 looks set to be shelved in light of continuing accommodation pressures exacerbated by the war on Ukraine. Catherine Day, the head of an expert advisory group set up to report on the Government’s promise to scrap direct provision, said she believed the timelines set out by the Coalition would no longer be possible to meet. In an interview with The Irish Times as part of an in-depth look at immigration issues, Ms Day, the former secretary general of the European Commission, also urged the State to adjust the targets in the Housing for All plan to take account of the significant increase in the country’s population. In 2021, the Government said it would phase out the system of direct provision by 2024.
The Irish Times
Plastic bottle and can recycling scheme being launched today
A new scheme to encourage people to recycle their drinks bottles and cans is being launched today. Around 1.9 billion drinks in bottles and cans are consumed in Ireland every year. The Deposit Return Scheme works by charging anyone who buys a drink a small deposit for the plastic bottle or can container. Customers get their money back when they return the container to a retailer or other collection point to be recycled. Minister Ossian Smyth, who is responsible for the circular economy, said the scheme will pay for itself and each return will mean 15 cents back for the consumer for cans or bottles of up to 500ml and 25 cents above 500ml.
Body of girl found in Italy mudslide; death toll rises to 2
Search teams pulled the body of a young girl from her family home on Sunday as they dug through mud for a second day in the search for people still missing after an enormous landslide on the Italian resort island of Ischia. The Naples prefect confirmed that the death toll in the tragedy had risen to two, following also the recovery of the body of a 31-year-old woman from the island on Saturday. A further 10 people remained missing in the port town of Casamicciola, feared buried under mud and debris. “Mud and water tend to fill every space,’’ the spokesperson for Italian firefighters, Luca Cari, told RAI state TV. “Our teams are searching with hope, even if it is very difficult.” The risks of landslides remained in the highest part of the town, near where heavy rainfall loosened a chunk of mountainside, requiring search teams to enter by foot, he said. Small bulldozers focused on clearing roads overnight to allow rescue vehicles to pass, while dive teams were brought in to check cars that had been pushed into the sea. “We are continuing the search with our hearts broken, because among the missing are also minors,” Giacomo Pascale, the mayor of the neighbouring town of Lacco Ameno, told RAI.
The Washington Post
Teenager arrested over fatal stabbings of two 16-year-old boys in London
A teenager has been arrested after two 16-year-old boys were fatally stabbed one mile apart in London. The Metropolitan Police confirmed the deaths of Kearne Solanke and Charlie Bartolo were linked after they were found with stab wounds in Titmuss Avenue, Thamesmead, and Sewell Road, Abbey Wood, on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday evening, the force said another 16-year-old boy had been arrested on suspicion of their murders. Detective Chief Inspector Kate Blackburn, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “This is a positive development in what is a complex and fast-moving investigation. “Charlie and Kearne’s families have been informed.” Appealing for more information, DCI Blackburn added: “Our investigation is ongoing and we continue to appeal for the public’s help as we build a picture of what happened on Saturday night. “If you have information, no matter how insignificant you think it may be, please come forward.”
BBC accuses Chinese police of ‘beating and kicking’ journalist covering Covid protests
The BBC has accused Chinese police of assaulting one of its journalists while they were covering protests against the stringent Covid-19 measures in China. The broadcaster said on Monday that it was “concerned” over the arrest and treatment of camera operator Edward Lawrence, who it said was “beaten and kicked” in Shanghai on Sunday night. Mr Lawrence, a senior journalist and camera operator for the BBC’s China bureau, was seen being dragged by the police in videos on social media while he was live tweeting from the site. In one video, he could be heard saying: “Call the consulate now!” He was released after a few hours but the broadcaster claimed that he had received no official explanation or apology from Chinese authorities, adding officials said Mr Lawrence was arrested “for his own good” in case he caught Covid from the crowd.
“We do not consider this a credible explanation,” the BBC said.
The Independent UK
It’ll become mainly sunny today as showers gradually become isolated, there’ll be largely dry conditions by evening. Highest temperatures of 7°C to 11°C. Moderate west to northwest winds, easing light by evening. Cold and dry tonight with clear spells. Lowest temperatures of -1°C to 3°C bringing frost. Light variable winds will allow mist and fog to develop, which may become dense in places by dawn.