Week 16 - 30/04/2021

Published on 30 April 2021 at 17:19

Apple Charged Over EU Competition Laws 

Apple has been charged with breaking EU competition rules over the way it runs its App Store.


European Commission anti-trust regulator Margrethe Vestager tweeted that "consumers are losing out".


It relates to charges brought two years ago by music streaming app Spotify which claimed that Apple was stifling innovation in that industry.


Apple faces a large fine and may be forced to change its policies if its arguments do not convince regulators.


Previously it has denied any wrongdoing.


The case is looking specifically at how its App Store policies affect music streaming. The charge was initially filed in 2019 by co-founder of Spotify Daniel Ek, who said that Apple was "limiting choice and stifling innovation".


Foster Steps Down as NI First Secretary 

It has been confirmed that DUP leader and First Minister, Arlene Foster will step down as DUP leader and First Minister of Northern Ireland.


8 of the party’s 18 constituency associations submitted letters of concern over the leadership’s handling of the Northern Ireland Protocol and other issues’. According to TheJournal.ie, ‘there has been growing discontentment with Foster’s handling of Brexit negotiations and the Northern Ireland Protocol’.


In a statement, she said she has informed the party chairman that she will step down as leader of the DUP on 28 May and as First Minister at the end of June.


She said it is important to "give space" over the next few weeks for arrangements to be made for the election of a new leader.


The statement said: "It has been the privilege of my life to serve the people of Northern Ireland as their First Minister and to represent my home constituency of Fermanagh/South Tyrone.


"I first entered the Assembly in 2003 and undoubtedly the journey of the last eighteen years has been memorable.”


"There are many people who have helped and supported me throughout that period and I will always be grateful for the kindness and support shown to me by them."


The statement went on to say that while she prepares to depart politics, it is her view that Northern Ireland will only prosper if it is built on the foundations of successful and durable devolution.

Read more here


Netanyahu vows to investigate Israel crush

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to investigate a crush at a crowded religious festival that left at least 45 people dead.


Visiting the scene near Mount Meron, he said it was one of the worst disasters the country had known and an inquiry would ensure it did not happen again.


Some 150 people were also injured at the all-night Lag B'Omer festival.


It seems a crush began when some people leaving the Orthodox Jewish event slipped in an overcrowded passageway.


One man who gave his name as David told Ynet news it had felt like a human wave had broken: "Our bodies were swept along by themselves. People were thrown up in the air - others were crushed on the ground."


Medics struggled to reach the injured in the ensuing chaos.

Sunday has been declared a national day of mourning.


Astronaut Michael Collins Dies Aged 90

American astronaut Michael Collins, who stayed behind in the command module of Apollo 11 on 20 July 1969, while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin travelled to the lunar surface to become the first humans to walk on the moon, has died at the age of 90.


A statement released by his family said Collins died of cancer.


Often described as the "forgotten" third astronaut on the historic mission, Collins remained alone for more than 21 hours until his two colleagues returned in the lunar module.


He lost contact with mission control in Houston each time the spacecraft circled the dark side of the moon.


"Not since Adam has any human known such solitude as Mike Collins," the mission log said, referring to the biblical figure.


He wrote an account of his experiences in his 1974 autobiography, "Carrying the Fire," but largely shunned publicity.


"I know that I would be a liar or a fool if I said that I have the best of the three Apollo 11 seats, but I can say with truth and equanimity that I am perfectly satisfied with the one I have," Collins said in comments released by NASA in 2009.


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Government Announce Plan to Reopen the Country

Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced the largest easing of Covid-19 restrictions in 2021. 


In announcing an easing of Covid-19 restrictions, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said the strategy is working, with the national vaccination programme working well… ‘Because of your hard work, we are now in a better place’.


Inter-county travel can resume from 10th May, whilst hairdressers will open on the same day, along with libraries, museums and galleries and team sports training in pods of 15’. 


Up to 50 people will be allowed to attend religious services including weddings, funerals and masses. Despite this, ‘indoor weddings will remain capped at six guests and 15 for outdoor celebrations.

From the 10 May, three households can meet outdoors in gardens and a vaccinated household can meet an unvaccinated one indoors. 


On 17th May, all shops will be able to reopen, and on 2nd June hotels and guesthouses will be open again.

Outdoor hospitality, including restaurants and all pubs, will open on 7 June, along with gyms and swimming pools. 


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