News Blog

A rolling look at today's events

David Cochrane Fri, Jun 21
LIVE: News Blog

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  • 09:41
    Our man in London Mark Hennessy reports this morning for The Irish Times that reports of UFO sightings in the UK surged in 2009 after it was annoucement that the MoDs 'UFO desk' was to close.

    It comes as the UK's National Archives releases the final 25 files from the UFO files which revealed a rush of 600 alleged sightings. The closure, in November 2009, was because "no UFO sighting reported has ever revealed anything to suggest an extra-terrestrial presence or military threat to the UK".
  • 09:42
    I tried to fit a reference to extra-terrestrials and TOWIE there, but it's a bit early in the morning for that.
  • 09:43
    I'm David Cochrane and I'll be liveblogging away like the clappers until 5pm this afternoon.
  • 09:47
    UFOs of course aren't all extra-terrestrial craft (or any at all, if you're of that view). Sometimes they can be weather balloons, planes reflecting the sun, birds migrating, kites and according to this list, even pieces of paper.
  • 09:49
    But sometimes a flying saucer can actually be a flying saucer. This post on IOS9 (a really good sci-fi website run by the folks from Gawker) lists out the various military test craft, which includes, yes you guessed it, an actual flying saucer. Some of the craft listed were at one time top-secret and are absolutely fascinating.
  • 09:53
    This is a real-life flying saucer created for the US Air Force by Avro, a Canadian plane maker.
    This is a real-life flying saucer created for the US Air Force by Avro, a Canadian plane maker.
  • 09:58
    Meanwhile, our man in Washington, Simon Carswell reports for this morning's Irish Times on the Guántanamo military commissions, which this week has been hearing pre-trial motions on the death penalty cases against five men who have been charged with planning the hijacking of four commerical planes in the September 2001 attacks in New York.
  • 10:05
    Mark Hilliard reports this morning on that clumps of 'love locks' that have been placed on the Ha'penny Bridge are to be removed by Dublin City Council. It follows the highlighting of the issue by WorldIrish's Darragh Doyle who highlighted the issue yesterday on Reddit and WorldIrish.

    Dublin City Council has said they intend to remove the locks continuously, but from Darragh's pics of the bridge yesterday, they don't seem to be in any particular hurry. Which is a huge shame. Apart from being incredibly ugly, the locks appear to pose a real threat of damage to the bridge itself.
  • 10:07
    This is one of the many photos taken by Darragh Doyle of the Ha’penny Bridge yesterday - many thanks to him for allowing us to use the pics.
    This is one of the many photos taken by Darragh Doyle of the Ha’penny Bridge yesterday - many thanks to him for allowing us to use the pics.
  • 10:27
    It's estimated that over one million people took to the streets of towns and cities in Brazil last night, 300,000 of them in Rio de Janeiro, in the biggest demonstrations yet against the government.

    Reuters reports that the protests were sparked by a series of transport fare hikes, and were amplifed around reports that more than $26 billion of public money would be spent on the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

    You can read a report on the protests, as well as video (from Euronews) here.
  • 10:37
    Our lead story in The Irish Times today is Fiona Garland's report that a new code of conduct on mortgage arrears from the Central Bank of Ireland is removing the moratorium on legal action that would protect home owners who have fallen into arrears.

    The new code, described as "appalling" means that people who've fallen behind in their mortage repayments could find themselves before the Courts by Christmas. 

    The code is expected to be published next week. You can read Fiona's full report from The Irish Times here.
  • 10:58
    It's ten years since the staging of the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Ireland.

    Now, there's a sentence that's going to make us all feel o-l-d.

    There's a special supplement in today's print edition to mark the anniversary with writing by Carl O'Brien, Alison Healy, Fiona Gartland, Mary Hannigan. It also includes contributions from 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games Chairman Denis O'Brien, CEO Mary Davis and Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver.

    We asked a number of people for their thoughts and memories of the Special Olympics, it includes former President Mary McAleese, U2's The Edge, John Treacy of the Irish Sports Council, former Dublin footballer Jason Sherlock and the Irish Times' own Brenda Fitzsimons. 
  • 10:59
    This is the cover of the Special Olympics supplement in the print edition of today's Irish Times.
    This is the cover of the Special Olympics supplement in the print edition of today's Irish Times.
  • 11:00
    You can see The Irish Times' "Special Olympics - Ten Years On" supplement online too - the articles can be read in our special topic.

    > The Special Olympics - Ten Years On 
  • 11:18
    One Labour TD (Patrick Nulty - who'd previously lost the parliamentary party whip) and two County Councillors from Wicklow have resigned from the Labour party this morning, write Jason Kennedy and Genevieve Carbery...

    >  Three Labour politicians resign from Party over its loss of credibility and value
  • 11:45
    The most popular/trending story around the world right now is that Kanye West  and Kim Kardashian are going to name their child "North West".

    That child will officially be the most difficult person to go travelling with. Ever.

    > Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Daughter's Name Revealed: North West 
  • 12:01
    Irish Times' Political Correspondent Mary Minihan has filed an analysis piece on Patrick Nulty's resignation from the Labour Party:

    "Will he fade into obscurity as a back bench maverick, or will he and other former party figures band together to be part of a radical new “social movement” with a shared value system? Would the electorate share his “thirst” for such a movement?"

    Nulty feels Labour is now a ‘bad brand’
  • 12:17
    The most popular article on all morning has been Gerry Thornley on the Lions.

    > Lack of an Irish voice at the coaches’ table reflected in just four picks for Lions’ first Test
  • 12:33
    Here's the Martyn Turner cartoon from today's Irish Times
    Here's the Martyn Turner cartoon from today's Irish Times
  • 12:46

    Ukip leader and MEP Nigel Farage, who's been rather outspoken previously (as recently as last month) about those who evade tax, has admitted to making "a mistake" by setting up a trust-fund on an off-shore tax haven. The story was broken this morning on the front of the UK's Daily Mirror.

    > Farage admits tax haven ‘mistake’

  • 12:48
    And here's the Farage story as splashed by the Daily Mirror who broke the story.
    And here's the Farage story as splashed by the Daily Mirror who broke the story.
  • 13:02
    Research from RedC is showing that there is a belief that the economy is recovering. According to Jimmy Larsen on the RedC site Summer 2013 is being predicted as the 'turning point' for consumer confidence.

    > RED C Credit Crunch Tracking June 2013

    The research reveals that more people believe that the economy will improve over the next six months versus those who believe it will get worse.

    A deeper dive into the figures shows that it's actually 33% of people who think it'll get better, 36% think it'll stay the same, and 29% think it'll get worse.

    In total 71% think it won't get any worse.
  • 13:22
  • 13:52
  • 14:10
    Damian Mac Con Uladh, The Irish Times' man in Athens, has sent me a short update for the News Blog on what's happening in Greece right now...
    • "The smallest party in Greece's three-way coalition has voted to pull out of the government led by Antonis Samaras, in a dispute over the future of the national broadcaster ERT, which was shut down last week. Democratic Left, or Dimar, said it would be requesting its two cabinet ministers to resign. Led by Fotis Kouvelis, Dimar 14 MPs will now support the government on a case-by-case basis. Dimar's withdrawal leaves the government with a slim majority of three MPs, which may be boosted by support from a number of independent MPs." 
  • 14:26
  • 14:32
  • 14:54
    France to Amazon: "absolument pas!"

    > France seeks ban on Amazon bundled discounts and free delivery
    • France’s Socialist government aims to introduce a law preventing online retailer Amazon from offering both discounts and free delivery for books in France, the culture minister said, arguing this amounts to unfair competition. 
  • 15:20
    An advert by Melbourne Metro Trains has won it's third Grand Prix award this week at the Cannes Lions.

    The train safety campaign executed (there's a pun there, wait for it) by McCann Melbourne features a three-minute music video featuring animated characters dying in different ways.

    Entitled "Dumb Ways to Die" and with a tune that will keep you humming for the rest of the afternoon, it features a range of blobs dying in, well, obviously, dumb ways. The dumbest way to die, according to the music video is due to a lack of safety around, you guessed it, trains and train lines.

    The catchy-as-hell (pun #2) tune reached #6 on the iTunes global chart.

  • 16:19
    CNN reports that Michael Jackson was apparently the only human to have ever gone two months without REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, "vital to keep the brain and body alive". The reason he went with REM for so long was the sixty nights of propofol infusions that his doctor gave him to treat insomnia.

    > Expert: Michael Jackson went 60 days without real sleep
  • 16:23
    Propofol's nickmame is 'Milk of Amnesia', and Robin Williams has referenced the drug a few times in his routines, especially with regards to Michael Jackson.

    "Michael Jackson was taking propofol to sleep which is like doing chemotherapy because you're tired of shaving your head". 

  • 16:37
    This has got to be one of the strangest story developments in a while, and an exclusive from our friends in The Guardian...

  • 17:15
    Despite earlier claims by christian organisations, it may not in fact be possible to pray away the gay.

    Exodus International, an organisation which claims to be "the leading global outreach to churches, individuals and families offering a biblical message about same-sex attraction." has announced it's winding up. The reason? It's leader is a dude who's attracted to dudes.

    An apology on the organisation's website, published today, apologises to the gay community "for years of undue suffering and judgment at the hands of the organization and the Church as a whole".
    • “Please know that I am deeply sorry. I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents. I am sorry that there were times I didn’t stand up to people publicly “on my side” who called you names like sodomite—or worse."
  • 17:30
    Speaking of the gays, in tomorrow's Irish Times Weekend we mark twenty years since the law that made it OK to be gay in Ireland.

    Also this weekend:
    • Castle in the air - Ireland's tallest treehouse opens in the grounds of Birr Castle
    •  Al-Qaeda's day in court - Simon Carswell continues his reports from the 9/11 heading in Guantanamo

    With all the latest home, international business and sport news as well as the regular columns from Ross O'Carroll-Kelly, Shane Hegarty, Fintan O'Toole, Breda O'Brien, Michael Viney and Noel Whelan.

    That's it from me for the liveblog for Friday, have a great weekend, and be sure to keep up to date with the latest breaking news on