News Blog

Updates from Cleveland and the Second Captains on Contact @IrishTimesLive

Conor Pope Tue, May 7
LIVE: News Blog

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  • 08:27
    Who wakes up one bright sunny morning and thinks to themselves: “Do you know what this world needs? More guns. But not just any old guns, oh no. What this world really needs are guns which you can print off at home.”

    Cody Wilson that’s who.

    On Saturday the first gun made with 3D printer technology was successfully fired.

    And the, um, honour, has gone to Cody, a 25-year-old law student at the University of Texas (whre else?) heads up Defense Distributed. He was interviewed on the merits of his gun on Morning Ireland today.

    He spoke a lot of guff about civil liberties and freeing people from the shackles of governments and the like and assured listeners that while there had been a massive spike in the number of downloads of his Gun Code, there wouldn’t be loads more fire arms on the streets because the printers are expensive – around €6,000. He concluded by saying that “the most important thing for us is to put the technology out there” so more flatpack self assembled guns can be made by people.

    Yes, yes that is indeed the most important thing Cody.
  • 08:34
    New research coming out of the West suggests that Irish fish are number one!

    Or  at least that's what whales think. 

    The study by a team of Irish scientists shows that fin and humpback whales are attracted to the Irish coast by our scad and herring. When they are elsewhere in Europe these giant beasts  feed on krill, tiny plankton-eating crustaceans, but when they arrive in the Celtic Sea, they gorgie on scad and herring, according to Dr Conor Ryan of Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT).

    “We now have clear evidence that sprat and herring are important species supporting whales in Irish waters, and we must manage our fisheries with this in mind,”Dr Ryan says. “We are very worried that sprat is being fished with an open quota, despite a huge gap in our knowledge about the life history of this important species in the Celtic Sea."
  • 08:36
    Oh, and yes, I did forget to tell you who was manning the live news blog this morning. 

    Conor Pope is my name.

  • 08:38
    Irish people spend 56 minutes of their working day on social media  The study found that even when companies impose work-time bans on websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, employees use  their mobiles to get around the restrictions.

    For shame. 

  • 08:42
    Veteran comedian Jimmy Tarbuck has been arrested in connection with a historic child sex abuse allegation. The 73 comic was questioned by North Yorkshire Police on April 26th in relation to an incident which allegedly occurred in the late 1970s when the victim was a young boy. The TV personality’s name had not been revealed until the Daily Mail named him last night.
  • 08:49
    An absolutely extraordinary story from Ohio overnight. 

    Three women believed to have been abducted years ago have been found alive at a house in Cleveland and a school bus driver has been arrested in connection with their disappearance.

    “Help me! I’m Amanda Berry. I’ve been kidnapped and I’ve been missing for 10 years and I’m here. I’m free now,”  one of the women is heard  telling a 911 emergency operator in a recording of the call, released by police and posted on the website of the (wonderfully titled) Cleveland Plain Dealer.

    During the call, she gave the name of her alleged abductor and said he was “out of the house.”

    All three women have since been taken to a hospital, where they were reported to be in good medical condition, police said.

    The three women were identified by police as Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight. Police said in a twitter posting that the three were “alive, talking, appeared to be OK.”

    Ms Berry vanished in 2003 and Ms DeJesus in 2004 when they were teenagers. Ms Knight disappeared in 2000 at the age of 20.

  • 08:54
    In news which will come as a surprise to absolutely no one, new figures from the Department of Education show that students who go to fee paying schools are more likely to go on to higher level education.  Two-thirds of such students continue their education after the Leaving Cert compared to about 40 per cent of students from other school types.

    It has also emerged that snow is white, Ireland  is quite rainy and a diet made up exclusively of breakfast rolls does not aid weight loss.
  • 09:38
  • 10:13
    From next month coffins will no longer be a legal requirement . It has been against the law  to bury a body in any cemetery unless it was enclosed in a coffin since 1888 but from June 1st cemeteries will be allowed accept “uncoffined bodies”. 
  • 10:20
    It has dropped off the news agenda but it is worth nothing that the death toll following the collapse of a building made up of garment factories in Bangladesh has reached 705. And the survivors have thus far got nothing by way of compensation. 

  • 10:21
  • 10:30
    Fine Gael TD Billy Timmins is finding it hard to understand why Viagra sales are rising across the State.  

    More than 115,000 prescriptions for the anti-impotence drug were filled in 2011,
    according to new figures from the Department of Health and the cost of prescribing the drug is now almost €3.5 million a year.
    Medical card holders are limited to four of the little blue pills each month and it has cost the taxpayer almost €28 million since it was introduced in 1999.

    Timmins said he would be contacting the Minister for Health, James Reilly, to ask why the amount of Viagra being dispensed to medical cardholders is on the increase. “I’m at a loss to understand this trend,” he says.

    Um, would you like us to draw you a picture Billy? 
  • 10:34
    Here's the transcript of the 911 call placed yesterday by an Ohio woman missing since 2003.
    Caller: Help me. I'm Amanda Berry.
    Dispatcher: You need police, fire, ambulance?
    Caller: I need police.
    Dispatcher: OK, and what's going on there?
    Caller: I've been kidnapped and I've been missing for 10 years, and I'm, I'm here, I'm free now.
    Dispatcher: OK, and what's your address?
    Caller: 2207 Seymour Avenue.
    Dispatcher: 2207 Seymour. Looks like you're calling me from 2210.
    Caller: Huh?
    Dispatcher: Looks like you're calling me from 2210.
    Caller: I can't hear you.
    Dispatcher: Looks like you're calling me from 2210 Seymour.
    Caller: I'm across the street; I'm using the phone.
    Dispatcher: OK, stay there with those neighbors. Talk to police when they get there.
    Caller: (Crying)
    Dispatcher: OK, talk to police when they get there.
    Caller: OK. Hello?
    Dispatcher: OK, talk to the police when they get there.
    Caller: OK (unintelligible).
    Dispatcher: We're going to send them as soon as we get a car open.
    Caller: No, I need them now before he gets back.
    Dispatcher: All right; we're sending them, OK?
    Caller: OK, I mean, like ...
    Dispatcher: Who's the guy you're trying -- who's the guy who went out?
    Caller: Um, his name is Ariel Castro.
    Dispatcher: OK. How old is he?
    Caller: He's like 52.
    Dispatcher: And, uh -
    Caller: I'm Amanda Berry. I've been on the news for the last 10 years.
    Dispatcher: I got, I got that, dear. (Unintelligible) And, you say, what was his name again?
    Caller: Uh, Ariel Castro.
    Dispatcher: And is he white, black or Hispanic?
    Caller: Uh, Hispanic.
    Dispatcher: What's he wearing?
    Caller (agitated): I don't know, 'cause he's not here right now. That's why I ran away.
    Dispatcher: When he left, what was he wearing?
    Caller: Who knows (unintelligible).
    Dispatcher: The police are on their way; talk to them when they get there.
    Caller: Huh? I - OK.
    Dispatcher: I told you they're on their way; talk to them when they get there, OK.
    Caller: All right, OK. Bye.
  • 10:46

    The Met Ball was on last night and had as its theme Punk: Chaos to Couture

    Vogue has the skinny.

    We have spent the last 10 minutes looking at the red carpet pics and without wanting to sound all Peig Sayers, the get up on some of the women was ridiculous.

    Sarah Jessica Parker appears to have got tangled in her curtains on her way to the ball as did a heavily pregnant Kim Kardashian.  Kristen Stewart thought a burgundy lace-panelled jumpsuit was good idea and Madonna went to the ball wearing a tartan belted blazer with stockings and hot pink heels.

    The reaction from the news room to her choice?




  • 10:57
    It looks like your clothes could do with a bit more material, girl.
    It looks like your clothes could do with a bit more material, girl.
  • 11:01
    And it's curtains for Kardashian. Literally.
    And it's curtains for Kardashian. Literally.
  • 11:27
    It has only taken three quarters of a century but this afternoon the State will formally apologise to around 5,000 members of the Defence Forces who deserted to join the fight against Nazi Germany. The apology will be made in the Dail by justice minister Alan Shatter and accompanies a Bill providing the men with a formal pardon. After the war the men were shunned by the  State and were a source of shame to their families while their contribution to the fight against Nazi tyranny was “airbrushed out of history”.
  • 11:35
  • 11:36
  • 11:37
  • 11:38
  • 11:43
    May 7th is an auspicious day in music history. Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky was born on May 7th 1840. Billy Haley and the Comets recorded Rock Around The Clock on this day in 1955 and, most importantly of all, Steve Perry left Journey 15 years ago today.
  • 11:45
  • 11:52
    While we are on the topic of anniversaries, today also marks the day Germany and Italy announced the military and political alliance which became known – unimaginatively – as the Rome-Berlin Axis. Exactly a year later, in 1940, Winston Churchill became British Prime Minister. On May 7th 1942 Japanese and American navies attacked each other with carrier planes and for the first time in the history of naval warfare two enemy fleets fought without seeing each other. It is also the anniversary of Germany signing the unconditional surrender which ended World War II.
  • 12:00
  • 12:01
  • 12:25
    Eoin McDevitt: “We’re delighted to be teaming up with The Irish Times. Our gardening leave ended a couple of days ago and being in the constant company of four other men has become extremely tiresome. For me getting back to work on Second Captains @ The Irish Times can’t come quick enough as I look forward to getting my relationship with the lads back on a strictly professional footing.”

    Exciting, wha?
  • 12:29
    "So the Catholic bishops have spoken on the heads of the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013. . . So? They are entitled to their opinion. Just as any other citizen or group of citizens. That’s democracy. However, what’s involved here is more than the expression of an opinion. The tone of the language in their statement last Friday was an echo of other days. Back when the Republic was a Catholic State for a Catholic people, where the beliefs of others were ignored in its laws". Strong piece by Patsy McGarry today.

  • 12:32
  • 13:14
    Sylvia Browne is a "psychic" who told the family of Amanda Berry that she was dead. That is no the only thing she has got wrong. Jon Ronson profiled her way back.
  • 13:19
    "The app provides news updates, photos and videos 365 days a year, and allows users to download their favorite songs of this year's contest. A highlight is the app's second-screen functionality, providing viewers with live updates during the shows about the contestants, their songs, opening- and interval acts, as well as the results."

    Yes, a Eurovision app has just gone live. It promises Eurovision updates 365 days a year.

    Who could not want that?

  • 13:40
  • 13:40
  • 14:03
    Everything you ever wanted to know about Tony Blackburn. And perhaps some stuff you never wanted to know...
  • 14:04
    The great and good of The Irish Times are being briefed by a very important person today. And I do mean A VERY IMPORTANT PERSON. That's all I can say right now... I stood outside the room and pawed at the window but they'd not let me in. I can't belive news of my barring order has spread so  far so quickly.
  • 14:08
    Good news for more than 600 B&Q staff today. The company has exited examinership after the High Court approved an investment plan which will see the company's parent group Kingfisher invest more than €2.4million in the business. The money will allow for eight stores around the country to continue trading - along with the retention of the 640 jobs.
  • 14:13
    Right, I have to go to a meeting. In the same room where THE VERY IMPORTANT PERSON has just been.

    They have left the building now.

    So I am allowed onto the third floor.
  • 14:48
    Back now... What have I missed? Oh, right, it's my job to tell you what you missed. Hang on there till I find out.
  • 14:50
  • 14:52
    "They needed a good meal and seemed in good health," Cleveland's deputy chief of police Ed Tomba of the three women.

    "We've got three suspects. "We are mandated to charge within 36 hours, which we will."

    Case likely be heard by a grand jury.

    Investigators quick to praise Amanda Berry for her bravery. "The real hero of this story is Amanda Berry," says Tomba. The six-year-old child found in the house with the three women is believed to be Amanda's daughter.
  • 14:56
    A gas tanker has exploded in a suburb of Mexico City. At least nine people have been killed. The Citizen Safety Department of Mexico State have warned that the figures are preliminary and could rise.

  • 15:04
    Lauryn Hill has just been sentenced to three months in prison, three months in home confinement and a $60,000 (€45,000) fine last year for federal tax evasion.

    The Grammy-winning hip hop artist pleaded guilty last year to three counts of failing to file tax returns on more than $1.8 million of income between 2005 and 2007 and faced up to three years in prison.

    She has attributed her failure to pay taxes to years of pressure she experienced as a recording star while raising six children, forcing her to go underground and stay out of the public eye.

    On the eve of her scheduled sentencing, Hill paid $504,000 in back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service and another $420,000 to the state of New Jersey, her attorney told the court.

    She still owes another $285,000 in interest and penalties.
  • 15:19
    Amanda Berry’s mother Louwana Miller died in March 2006, apparently of a broken heart. Some sad background to this morning's story.

  • 15:24
    The Plain Dealer has republished a story it first ran in 2004 about the mother of Amanda Berry and her response to being told by  "psychic" Sylvia Browne that her daughter was dead. 
  • 15:33
    379 million records sold. 
    A hit musical on stage and screen. 
    Beloved of hen parties the world over. 
    A place in the rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 
    And now the most insane sounding museum.

    Welcome to the word of Abba. 

    The museum  opened its doors in Stockholm this morning. The band’s instruments are on display as are the gold records and tassely costumes Unlike other museums you will be encourage to sing ABBA tunes onstage with a hologram version of the group, mix a song in  a pretend record studio and take on the roll of a dancing queen on an illuminated dance floor. And as if all that wasn’t mental enough there is also a self-playing piano which is linked to founding member Benny Andersson’s studio. When he plays bangs out a tune in his studio, the museum’s piano will play too.

    “The new museum will give a complete picture of the band, the music and the incredible success we experienced in the ‘70s and ‘80s, something that we haven’t been able to present until now. It will be like an experience-based music documentary that invites the visitor backstage as well as on and in front of the stage,” said Björn Ulvaeus - one of the two Bs in the band. 
  • 16:17
  • 16:19
    Four UN peacekeepers serving on the Syrian Golan Heights have been abducted. The Martyrs of Yarmouk have issued a statement saying it's  holding them. According to a  statement the group are  being held for its own safety because of clashes in the separation zone between Syria and the Israeli-occupied heights.
  • 16:23
  • 16:27
  • 16:44
    Hugh Lenihan has just told me that it is five years since Brian Cowen became taoiseach. 

  • 16:48
    "For Berry and the others to be rescued, in other words, two things had to happen: she had to never forget who she was, and that who she was mattered; and Ramsey needed to not care who she might be at all—to think that all that mattered was that a woman was trapped behind a door that wouldn’t open, and to walk onto the porch.". Good piece in the New Yorker
  • 17:22
    Hmmm, According to the good people at Uber Facts Men are three times as bad at multitasking than women. That is ridiculous. Here I am, live  blogging, deleting old emails and making some sou
  • 17:26
    Okay, that's it. The live blog is dead. For today. Tomorrow's another day.