It has emerged that Edwin Poots has won the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) leadership contest by defeating Sir Jeffrey Donaldson. According to BBC, ‘Edwin Poots has been elected as the new leader of the DUP. He defeated Sir Jeffrey Donaldson by 19 votes to 17 in Friday’s ballot. Mr. Poots is NI agriculture minister and has represented Lagan Valley in the NI Assembly since 199. Meanwhile Paula Bradley MLA has been elected as the party’s new deputy leader’. ‘She succeeds Lord Dodds after beating East Londonderry MP, Gregory Campbell in Friday’s vote.
Videos and photos of ‘gangs’ have been circulating, particularly over the last few months of the third level 5 lock-down. In April, a video was shared on social media of a group of boys committing multiple assaults against multiple women at Howth-Junction train/dart station. One of the women fell between the train and the platform after being spat on and seemingly being hit by one of the boy’s bikes. The video has been circulating social media throughout April and May.
The worst violence between Israel and Palestinian groups since 2014 has been seen in recent days, with the conflict escalating over the final Ramadan weekend.
In recent days, an ESRI Report has revealed that deep intergenerational inequalities exist as the younger millennial generations are on lower living standards than ever existed for previous generations. According to The Irish Times, ‘ESRI study suggests millennials first generation with lower living standards than before… A combination of stagnant wages and higher housing costs have left young workers in Ireland financially worse off than their parents... The research found that earnings have flat-lined for young people entering the Irish labour market and that workers in their 20s are – in real terms – earning less than they did in the 1990s and 2000s.
Over a week ago, protests erupted in Colombia that have left hundreds of people injured and over 30 dead at the time of this article’s publication. The protests began on the 28th of April, initiated in opposition to a controversial fiscal reform introduced by President Iván Duque Márquez. The president claimed it to be a necessity to keep the social programmes alive, but people were dissatisfied with it as it would lead to tax hikes during an ongoing pandemic.
Last Thursday, Independent TD Thomas Pringle introduced a Private Members Bill calling for a referendum to amend the constitution to lower the voting age to sixteen. The bill was introduced by Pringle to coincide with the Scottish Welsh elections allowing sixteen and seventeen year olds to vote.
A Belgian farmer caused an international stir last week after he unknowingly shifted Belgium’s border with France by roughly seven and a half feet.
The election results in the UK of the past week may, whether all involved are aware of it or not, spell the end of the Union as we know it.
The first year of Keir Starmer’s leadership of the Labour Party has been disappointing. This was further underlined with the disastrous by-election results in Hartlepool as the Conservatives' Jill Mortimer won the seat with a landslide majority, the first time the Tories have ever won the seat since the constituency's creation.
Previous articles about Nord Stream 2 and on the rise of the German Greens have briefly mentioned the policies they support and pledge to implement if they come to power in Germany. Lately, the Greens have been ahead of the CDU/CSU in most polls as the Christian Democratic candidate for Chancellor, Armin Laschet, struggles to attract attention and bounce the bloc back from constant decline in support after a number of scandals which have rocked his party.
In the past week, there has been a strong reaction to the headline on the Daily Mail and Extra.ie on Monday, the 3rd of May, that students are practically ‘lying in bed’ picking up 125 million in the Pandemic Unemployment Payment loophole. According to Extra.ie, ‘thousands of students are raking in hundreds of euro a week in a Pandemic Unemployment Payment loophole that allows them to claim benefit… The cash – ranging from 203 to 350 euro a week – was meant to support people laid off due to pandemic disruption… But students realised they could claim the benefit and 47,000 third-level students make up the current 403,095 PUP recipients’. One senior Minister was angry at the prospect that students were receiving the PUP who said that ‘having 47,000 students lying in bed enjoying the PUP grant is an astonishing number’.
US space agency NASA has ordered Elon Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX to halt their work on developing a lunar spacecraft through a contract they won last month until a ruling is made by the Government Accountability Office. This project aims to put humans back on the moon as early as 2024, for the first time since 1972.
On Friday evening, the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine has received approval from the WHO. According to BBC News, ‘the World Health Organization (WHO) has granted emergency approval for the Covid vaccine made by Chinese company Sinopharm. It is the first vaccine developed by a non-Western country to get WHO backing… The vaccine has already been given to millions of people in China and elsewhere’.
Reports have surfaced this week that the British Government intends to introduce a statute of limitations to ban the prosecution of people who were involved in the conflict in Northern Ireland before 1998.
There is an increasing likelihood that the EMA could approve the Sinovac vaccine that was made in China imminently. According to The Irish Times, this comes after ‘the European Medicines Agency has begun a rolling review of evidence of the safety and efficacy of China’s Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine, after studies suggests it provides an immune response.
There is widespread support in Dáil Éireann for the introduction of minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol amongst the main political parties. The main Government parties, Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party all support the introduction of MUP, whilst opposition parties, Sinn Féin, the Labour Party and the Social Democrats support its introduction.
Yesterday Scottish and Welsh citizens went to the polls to elect their national parliament members for the first time since Brexit and since Tory Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP came into power. Throughout England many council elections took place, as well as a by-election for a Westminster seat in Hartlepool. A large quantity of different votes are taking place due to the coronavirus pandemic postponing elections in 2020.
Conservatives win Hartlepool bye-election.
The Biden administration announced that it will support the lifting of intellectual property protections on Covid-19 vaccines.
Earlier this week the decision was taken by Facebook and their Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg to address the current temporary ban on Former President of the United States Donald Trump. This decision was made after a chaotic start to the year and numerous years of usage of social media platforms to further his political aims. During the 2016 Presidential election and the following four years of the Trump administration, President Trump made use of twitter in particular in order to connect with his voter base and make sure that his supporters felt their needs were being addressed.
The federal courtroom in San Francisco is facing a monumental trial this week. Epic Games, an American video game and software company that created the global hit game Fortnite in 2017 has filed a lawsuit against Apple. Experts believe that this antitrust case against Apple is going to be one of the tech industry’s biggest legal battle in years, with the current and former executives of Epic and Apple being among the prime witnesses who are expected to testify in court.
Beef and dairy cattle are one of agriculture’s biggest emitters of GHG (greenhouse gases) and cutting down on consumption of both could reduce such emissions. Since the bovine accounts for 15% of global GHG, American foot site Epicurious has ceased publication of beef recipes. But is beef the easy target? Is using an international figure fair when most of the GHG from agriculture derives from developing countries?
When it first emerged that the Government was planning to end direct provision, which is contained in the Programme for Government, by December 2024, it was a move that was welcomed by many people, particularly those who are in direct provision and people who have been in direct provision in the past. But, at the same time, it is a move that will require significant work by the Government to pursue an alternative to the failed system of direct provision.
Bill and Melinda Gates announced their divorce on Monday in a joint statement stating that “we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.”.
Since the Far Right came to power in Poland in 2015 many of the local councils in the South-East of the country decided to pass motions which declared them ‘LGBT Free Zones’. Politicians who support them claim that they are not meant to discriminate against people but protect families and children from the ‘evil’ LGBT ‘ideology’.
There is a growing possibility that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe could be released from prison imminently after recently being sentenced to 12 months in prison in Iran in addition to the five years she has already been imprisoned. According to Sky News, ‘it comes just days after Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to another year in prison on charges of ‘propaganda activities against the regime’ in Iran… She was also banned from leaving the country for one year for participating in a protest in front of the Iranian embassy in London in 2009.
Twitter Inc. reported its first quarter earnings this Thursday, opening with an increase in revenue on the strength of ad sales, coming to a total of $1.04 billion for this quarter, a 28% increase from last year’s $808 million. The microblogging company also predicted their second quarter revenue to be in the range of $980 million and $1.08 billion.
This week, the United Kingdom will go to the polls for a raft of elections. In Scotland, the Holyrood elections are taking place to elect 129 MSPs to the Scottish National Parliament. In Wales, the Senedd elections are taking place with voters in Wales tasked with electing 60 members to the Welsh legislature. In England, the main focus will be on the several council elections taking place, as well as the London Mayoral and Assembly elections. This article will focus on the local elections in England, which will be the first election since the 2019 General Election in which the Conservative Party won a clear majority.
It is at this time of the year that traditionally bogs across the Midlands of Ireland come alive with the sound of machinery and digging as turf is cut for the summer. A time when families return to “the bog” to save the turf that will be burnt later in the year for heat. The writer of this article is from county Laois where such practice is widespread. However, many turf banks will stay silent this year following the announcement by Bord Na Móna in January that peat harvesting on all lands owned by them has ended.
Back in 11th Century Sichuan, China created the Jiaozi – a promissory note, considered by numismatists as the first ever paper currency in the world.
In a film which was fundamentally altered by the impact of a Director’s personal loss, a degree of transcendence is achieved by allowing that even the hardest points in our lives can be truly life-affirming if we allow them to be.
In the last few days, due to Eoghan Murphy resigning his seat, this means that there is a constitutional obligation on the Government to move a writ to hold a by-election within the next 6 months. It is likely that this by-election will take place in the autumn, around October/November. This depends on when the Government wants to move the writ for a by-election within 6 months.
Apple Charged Over EU Competition Laws
Minister for Justice and Meath East Fine Gael TD Helen McEntee gave birth to a baby boy on Wednesday night.
"In 50-60 years from now, I think we'll be doing amazing things that we're not able to predict with any accuracy whatsoever today. People have this curiosity: they want to know about the universe, they want to know more about how it works - how it affects their lives.” – Michael Collins
This evening, Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced the largest easing of Covid-19 restrictions in 2021 so far. According to RTÉ News, ‘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’.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been jailed for 12 months in prison in Iran. According to BBC News, Zaghari-Ratcliffe ‘has been sentenced to a further year in prison and a one-year travel ban after being found guilty of propaganda against the regime in Iran' Her lawyer said she was accused of taking part in a protest in London 12 years ago and speaking to the BBC Persian Service. The British-Iranian charity worker was first jailed in Tehran in 2016
As he addressed Congress for the first time since taking office, Joe Biden completed his 100th day in office as President of the United States this week. Unlike some previous presidents, there was to be no honeymoon period for Biden as he entered into office during an extraordinarily turbulent period in US history. Given the number of challenges which have arrived thick and fast in his first 100 days in office, how has this veteran of American politics performed so far?
It has been confirmed that DUP leader and First Minister, Arlene Foster will step down as DUP leader and First Minister of Northern Ireland.
Common Agricultural Policy or CAP is something that the majority of people know little or nothing about, but it shapes our lives nonetheless. In recent years the focus of CAP has moved from just supporting farm incomes to to also focusing on the environment. This has been seen as a step in the right direction, but the way this process must occur is complex and volatile.
After much fanfare, Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland took home 3 Oscars at this year’s ceremony. A contemplative piece on a forgotten part of American life, the film eschews traditional story narratives in favour of chronicling a series of meetings that its central character has on her journey. The effect is as beautiful as it is compelling.
After the selection of Armin Laschet as the CDU/CSU candidate for Chancellor by the CDU’s executive the bloc seems to be stalling in the polls, gaining roughly from 24-28% of support in the most recent surveys. The party that is gaining support at the moment is the Green party, its recording phenomenal support, one that was not seen in Germany for many years.
Former Housing Minister, Eoghan Murphy in the 32nd Dáil, has resigned as a TD. According to RTÉ News, ‘Eoghan Murphy has resigned as a TD for Dublin Bay South and is to pursue a career in international co-operation, human rights and democracy. According to Fine Gael, ‘the former Fine Gael TD, who has served in the Dáil since 2011 as a TD, Minister of State and as a Cabinet Minister, wrote to the Ceann Chomhairle of the Dáil this morning to confirm his resignation… Prior to entering Leinster House, he was elected a Dublin City Councillor in 2009 for the Pembroke-Rathmines constituency’.
In the last few days, it has emerged that having held the role of interim Secretary General to the Department of Health, Robert Watt will has been appointed the position on a permanent basis, a move which was approved by the Government. According to BreakingNews.ie, he ‘would receive an increased salary of €292,000 – more than any other civil servant and amounting to a pay increase of more than €80,000 for Mr. Watt’.
In recent years, the institutions and principles underpinning the 1998 Good Friday Agreement have come under strain. Varying flashpoints of strife have seen the first generation who has grown up under the agreement engage in unrest in different areas. Brexit has not helped matters as some sections of loyalist communities feel that their union with the United Kingdom comes under threat as a result of the provisions within that action. It is in front of this backdrop that the 2020 general election in the Republic of Ireland was fought.
Unsurprising results emerged from the Seanad by-election results on Tuesday: former Fine Gael Senator, Maria Byrne and former Fianna Fáil Senator, Gerry Horkan were elected in the Seanad by-elections on Tuesday this week. These by-elections were brought about due to the resignations of Sinn Féin Senator, Elisha McCallion, due to an expenses scandal and former Fine Gael Junior Minister and Senator, Michael D’Arcy, as he took on a new position in the banking lobby sector.
The EU has recently published their plans to regulate Artificial Intelligence (or AI), going so far as to propose a ban on some of the most concerning applications of the technology. Under the proposed legislation, firms in the EU will be banned from using AI for facial-recognition surveillance and human-behaviour manipulation. Furthermore, governments will not be able to maintain social-credit systems as seen in China. With the ‘Brussels effect’ (EU laws becoming de facto international laws) being so dominant in the tech industry, many non-EU countries may soon fall into step with similar regulation.
Cryptocurrencies as a medium of investment have greatly risen in popularity over the last year. People around the world used the free time available to them during quarantine to educate themselves on the matter of investing and got into cryptocurrency investments before the lockdowns ended. According to the BBC, Covid-19 has disrupted the traditional trade systems of stocks and gold, leading to many investors diversifying their assets by turning to Bitcoin (or BTC). PayPal has helped make it mainstream by enabling BTC purchases on their app. Many have also decided to invest in cryptocurrencies in an effort to negate the effects of the rising inflation rate on their assets.