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2 people drown as boat capsizes in Kyrösjärvi lake

Two people were drowned after a boat capsized in a lake at Ikaalinen, a municipality in Pirkanmaa region early Sunday morning, police said in a press release. The accident took place at about 4:50 am when the boat with three people onboard capsized in the Kyrösjärvi lake at the area. Although one of them was able to swim to the shore, the rest two went missing in the water. Responding to an alarm, the rescue service personnel together with police rushed to the spot and conducted extensive search but failed to recover them. The rescue service people stopped the search in the afternoon and will resume the operation to find out the missing persons on Monday. Police suspected that the missing two people were drowned. The police, however, did not divulge the identities of the deceased and the reason behind the incident could not be known immediately.

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Contractors servicing sites earmarked for refugees 'targeted online to stop work'

In one instance, a hire company’s owner was identified, their home address posted to social media along with descriptions of their house by an anonymous account. This mounting pressure has led to some taxi drivers to alter their behaviour, one source told the Irish Examiner. Some drivers were reluctant to accept offers of jobs transporting refugees after the clearing of a “tent city” in Dublin last week, the source said. It comes amid renewed focus on the methods being employed by anti-migrant protesters who on Thursday showed up at Taoiseach Simon Harris’s house. While Mr Harris has said that new laws are not required to deal with such events, a bill from Fianna Fáil senators Malcolm Byrne and Fiona O’Loughlin, the Protection of Private Residences (Against Targeted Picketing) Bill, would make protesting at a private home illegal. Last week a man in his 30s was arrested and released without charge after protestors attended the site of the Lawless Heron Hotel, which is currently not open for business, in Aughrim, Co Wicklow. In a video posted to social media, a man tells the workers to “pack up and get the fuck out”, giving them an hour to do so. DAC Construction, a family-run business, was tasked with carrying out work on the site for the hotel’s owners, and said the work was not related to international protection but rather the building of a beer garden. Gardaí said in a statement that “workers contracted to carry out lawful employment on the site were allegedly subjected to abuse by individuals present. Gardaí attended the scene and were also subjected to abuse.” On Friday, gardaí said the man had been released without charge but that the investigation is ongoing and a file will be prepared for the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Threats were also made by a small number of accounts against those in tents along the Grand Canal following the removal of an encampment outside munt Street last week. A protest against the Government’s asylum policy will be held in Dublin on Monday, with a counter-protest also due to be held. Garda sources said there will likely be a “heavy” presence in the capital during the bank holiday. Around 70 tents have now been erected along the Grand Canal, just 200 metres from the International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS) offices where a makeshift tent city was removed last Wednesday. A number of homeless migrants subsequently pitched tents in a private park in south Dublin on Thursday. However, those men left the area on Friday. Tents have now been erected along the Grand Canal between Mount Street Bridge and Huband Bridge.

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'Allow us search for Annie McCarrick remains', plead forensic experts

The men are offering to search the site for free, at their own expense, and with their own ground penetrating radar, thermal imaging drones, and cadaver dogs in the presence of gardaí. Their offer however, has not even been acknowledged. “Not a word. The silence has been deafening,” said former European Central Bank counterfeit and forensic expert Mr Kenny. “I might have expected [an acknowledgement] as a matter of professional courtesy,” said Prof Cassella. “Even if it was to say they were conducting ongoing enquiries or something.” The group first notified gardaí in 2017 about their discovery of documentary evidence dating from 1948 of an unmapped underground cave or souterrain in dense woodland in Wicklow. The souterrain, which is an underground passage formerly used to store food in the Bronze Age, is believed to be located within 1.6km of where convicted rapist Larry Murphy was interrupted by hunters in his attempted murder of his only proven victim in 2000. It is also less than 4km from his former home and he is believed to have had hunting rights in the same area. The experts believe that by bringing his rape victim 40km from Carlow to that area of Wicklow, Murphy proved his intention of “availing of a victim disposal location in the vicinity of his home”. “The suspect’s behaviour on the night of his only proven crimes indicated a strong preference for locations which offered ‘deep cover’ and with which he was intimately acquainted,” they wrote. “It’s in smack in the middle of where he went hunting. “We know that the place he stopped on that evening was another place where he had hunting rights. Also deep in woodland. “What wasn’t published is the fact that it was less than a kilometre from his in-laws home at the time,” Mr Kenny told the Irish Examiner. “It’s a ready-made hiding place.” They also know of an elderly local man still alive who claims the entrance was visibly blocked off 60 years ago. In the intervening years, three cadaver dogs have been brought to the site on eight separate occasions, all reacting positively within metres of each other. “We’re scientists, not psychics. There’s only one way to find out what those dogs are responding to,” says Mr Kenny. The group requested a search of the site in October 2021 but their intelligence was dismissed as “speculative” by a member of the Garda investigation team. Nothing has happened in the intervening years and in their view, the “matter continues to be wholly and unnecessarily protracted”. “There’s been no real follow up,” Mr Kenny says. “They seem to pass this case from one guard to the next and seem to have done so over the decades. “And you end up with a scenario where each time it’s passed on, somebody has a mountain of paper to read. “And you lose that continuity. When you start talking about individual places and you hear something like, ‘well, I don’t really know that place’, or ‘’I have to talk to the previous guy’ and so on. So, it doesn’t flow,” he says. Prof Cassella said his message to Mr Harris is clear: “I would firstly say to the guards, thank you for the sterling work that they are doing. “There are people out there, members of the public, scientists, who want to assist them. “The problem is people sometimes forget that the police do a job, but we also have a job. “A public duty is to support them and to find bad people who want to do bad things to our families and our friends and help put them away,” he says. “Criminal justice involves all of us, and so none of us can sit back and go, ‘oh, well, that’s the police’s problem.’ No, it’s not. It’s a problem for us all. Because when it comes knocking on your door, it really is a problem for you. “This is not about one upmanship. This is not about making a public statement for one’s own benefit. “This is about helping to move forward. So, if we’re right, then we’ve helped. If we’re wrong, then we’ve helped.” A Garda spokesperson said they do “not comment on correspondence from third parties” and “does not discuss potential site searches or investigative strategies”.

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Tech giants 'aware' of consequences of failure to stop election disinformation

The Electoral Commission, which has primary responsibility for combating disinformation affecting the electoral system, is gearing up preparations for the local and European Parliament elections on 7 June. Garda Security & Intelligence and broadcasting regulator Coimisiún na Meán, which is charged with dealing with disinformation and online harm more generally, are increasing their level of cooperation to investigate disinformation from the far-right, which is expected to ramp up in the next few weeks. The developments come as various far-right groups and individuals, including candidates in the elections, plan a large protest today in Dublin city centre. A counter-protest by United Against Racism is also expected. A major policing plan has been put in place to deal with various contingencies, including different levels of potential violence or clashes. In a lengthy interview with the Irish Examiner, Mr O’ Leary said: Changing the current moratorium on press and broadcasting media on election coverage “might be worthy of consideration” as it does not include online media; The rise of fake online videos and imagery, particularly with advances in artificial intelligence (AI), is a concern for the coming elections; There is “no real evidence” of malign foreign interference to date, but the global environment has “moved on considerably” since the last elections four years ago. Mr O’Leary accepted that the Electoral Commission still does not have legal powers to direct social media companies to take down online material that could damage the electoral process or to properly label political advertising. However, he said the commission had built up “positive” relations with the firms, including mechanisms to ensure disinformation is taken down quickly. The interview forms part of a two-day Irish Examiner special report on Election Security — with Day One focusing on online security, disinformation and cyber threats, and Day Two focusing on the physical threat to politicians and the electoral system. Mr O’Leary said: “They [social media companies] are very conscious that their platforms are a place where quite serious damage can be done to democracy.” He said he knows politicians are very sceptical that social media companies would cut down on the very thing — online disinformation and division — that makes them money. “I am not naïve,” he said. The proof will be in the pudding. The implications for social media companies [if they fail to act on disinformation] aren’t good. To be accused after the event of having impacted on the outcome of an election is huge. Mr O’Leary noted that the UK Electoral Commission had been compromised by a Chinese-based cyber group and that they had to “guard against the risk that this might happen here”. He said their website has been regularly tested by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). Also speaking to the Irish Examiner, NCSC director Richard Browne said they worked very closely with the Electoral Commission and the country’s 28 returning officers. He said that while there are “hundreds of cyber incidents of significance every year” in Ireland that there has not been any significant attacks on the electoral system. But he stressed that a first successful attack would be enough and “could be very bad news” if it did happen. He said that “probably the most pressing issue” was the security of IT systems of political parties and the security of the various digital devices that politicians and candidates use. Mr Browne said: “We have issued advice and guidance and done information sessions in the Oireachtas and with politicians on cyber security. This is something we particularly worry about.”

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US$400 million boost in federal funds for security at US places of worship

A US$400 million increase in federal funding is available for security in places of worship, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced on Sunday. The boost in money comes as concerns rise over threats against Jewish and Muslim communities, fuelled in part by the Israel-Gaza war. Places like synagogues and mosques could apply to use the money to hire security personnel or install cameras under the new increase in funding to the existing federal Nonprofit Security Grant Programme, Schumer, a Democrat, said from New York City. “We’re going to keep funding so that no synagogue or other religious institution is going to have to live in the fear that they now live with,” Schumer said. The programme allocated US$305 million last year to non-profit to help protect their facilities from potential attacks. Houses of worship will need to apply by May 21 to tap into the first round of funds. At least three synagogues and a museum in New York received bomb threats on Saturday but none were deemed credible by the New York Police Department, a city official and police said. Manhattan Borough President Mark D Levine said on X, formerly Twitter, the synagogue bomb threats were “a clear hate crime, and part of a growing trend of ‘swatting’ incidents targeting Jewish institutions”. “This is a clear effort to sow fear in the Jewish community. Cannot be accepted,” he said. Antisemitic incidents of assault, vandalism and harassment in the US more than doubled last year to a record high as anti-Jewish sentiment spiked after the start of the Israel-Gaza war in October, the Anti-Defamation League said in a report last month. A police spokesperson said a number of threats were received on Saturday, including an emailed bomb threat to the Brooklyn Museum and one to a synagogue in Brooklyn Heights, with no evidence of any explosive device detected. Two synagogues in Manhattan also received bomb threats, including a West Side synagogue that prompted police to evacuate about 250 people, police said, with nothing found. New York state Governor Kathy Hochul said on X state officials were “actively monitoring a number of bomb threats at synagogues in New York. Threats have been determined not to be credible”. “We will not tolerate individuals sowing fear & antisemitism. Those responsible must be held accountable for their despicable actions,” Hochul said. Additional reporting by Associated Press

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‘Work to do’ after local election losses – Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak has dismissed calls to change course after poor local election results, arguing he can make “progress” with voters before a general election. Speaking for the first time since the full scale of Tory losses was revealed, the prime minister called losing 470 councillors “bitterly disappointing”. Tory critics have called on Mr Sunak to shift the party to the right. But Mr Sunak told The Times newspaper he was “determined to show people that we are delivering for them”. The Conservatives are licking their wounds after a string of local election defeats. After the final votes were counted on Sunday, the Tories had lost control of 10 councils, more than 470 council seats and a totemic loss of West Midland mayor Andy Street. The party also lost 10 Police and Crime Commissioners to Labour, marking a potentially significant blow for the Conservatives if they aim to centre their next general election campaign on law and order. Appearing to concede for the first time that his party could be on course to lose its majority, Mr Sunak said the local election results “suggest we are heading for a hung parliament with Labour as the largest party”. His comments reflect analysis by leading psephologist Professor Michael Thrasher for Sky News – which suggested Labour would win 294 seats at a general election. The projection, which has been dismissed by some polling experts, used the local election results to project a nationwide estimate of vote share at a general election. Mr Sunak told The Times: “Keir Starmer propped up in Downing Street by the SNP, Liberal Democrats and the Greens would be a disaster for Britain. “The country does not need more political horse trading, but action. We are the only party that has a plan to deliver on the priorities of the people. “I know the last few years have been tough, and I understand why people are frustrated. “Losing good Conservative councillors and a mayor as fantastic as Andy Street who has done so much good for the West Midlands is of course bitterly disappointing. “There is work to do and more progress to be made and I am determined that we will come together as a party and show the British people we are delivering for them.” Labour has denied it is planning alliances with other parties in order to form a government at the next general election, expected in the second half of this year. Speaking on BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Labour’s election co-ordination Pat McFadden said there was now a “sense of belief” that his party could win. He hailed the “tremendous” election results for the party, especially winning the West Midlands mayoral race which was “beyond our expectations”. “When people look at the Labour Party now, they can see a changed Labour Party compared to a few years ago,” Mr McFadden said. “A Labour Party that is passing the essential tests of trust that the voters look for.” Speaking on Sunday, ex-home secretary Suella Braverman said Mr Sunak’s plan was “not working”. “There is no disguising the fact these have been terrible election results for the Conservatives,” Ms Braverman told the BBC. Mr Sunak must “change course” towards more right-wing policies in order to win back Tory voters who are “on strike”, she added. Although a frequent critic of the prime minister, Ms Braverman did not call for Mr Sunak’s replacement, arguing it would be “impossible” to change leaders so close to a general election. Ms Braverman is among several conservative voices who have come out to advocate for a rightward policy shift in light of the bleak local election results. Miriam Cates, co-chair of the New Conservatives group mostly made up of “red wall” MPs, from the party’s 2019 intake, said her party must offer “patriotism and national security” to avoid falling into the “abyss”. Writing in the Telegraph, Mr Cates called on Mr Sunak to ignore policies that “serve an international elite” and instead focus on drastically reducing immigration and reforming planning laws to boost house-building. Former lead Brexit negotiator Lord David Frost said he believed it was “too late” to save the Conservative Party from “electoral defeat at the next general election”. To save the party Mr Sunak must produce “more tax cuts, more spending cuts” and a “serious assault on the burden of net zero”, Lord Frost argued. Damian Green, chair of the influential One Nation Group of Conservative MPs, said “suggesting that what we need to do is to move to the right is irrational in the face of the electorate”. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour, the former first secretary said: “I would just observe the seats that we have lost in the past few days – we lost to parties to the left of us.” The Chair of the Conservative Party, Richard Holden, told the same programme that voters wanted the party to put forward a “clear vision for the country”. “I want to see lower taxes but they are going to be delivered in a sustainable way,” he said. “I think it is self-indulgent for us to be talking to ourselves and talking about ourselves at the moment. Whenever I go on the doorstep, I would agree with some others who have spoken, what people want to see, is [the Conservative Party] putting forward a clear vision for the country. I think we have seen a lot of that from the prime minister in the last few days: further welfare reform, building up on those universal credit changes which have fundamentally changed the way that welfare works in this county, and encouraging people into work – that has happened in the last 14 years, but we have to go further.”

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Labor Minister wants career mentorship for students

Emmanuel K. Barnes says student career mentorship should be prioritized because they are the next generation of leaders. By Lewis S. Teh Monrovia, May 6, 2024: Assistant Labor Minister for Planning and Manpower Development Emmanuel K. Barnes has pleaded for career mentorship for students to save Liberia’s future. Speaking recently in Logan Town on Bushrod Island, Mr. Barnes urged the St. Matthew United Methodist High School Alumni Association (ASMUMSA) to save the future of Liberia. He pleaded with ASMUMSA to prioritize career mentorship for the institution’s students, whom he said are the next generation of leaders. “Today, as you celebrate your 17th homecoming anniversary as alumni of this school, I urge you to save the future of Liberia and prioritize career mentorship for the younger ones who are next in line to leaders of Liberia,” said Mr. Barnes. He stated that it is incumbent upon the alumni to provide career mentorship for the younger ones who are the country’s emerging leaders rather than just celebrating homecoming every year. He delivered a keynote address on the theme: Progress In Unity” and encouraged ASMUMSA members to do away with hosting mere events every year and be more programmatic for the association’s growth. “If you must contribute to the growth of this country, it’s incumbent upon you to be more robust in organizing programs that will lead to development rather than just events,” he continued. He suggested that the school’s alumni association can only move forward and hold together when the members take ownership of the association and do not see it as an obligation of those spearheading it. He indicated that the first step in progressing through unity is for the ASMUMSA leadership to take ownership and make the institution vibrant. For his part, ASMUMSA president J. Rudy Fanciah said the association was established in 2006 to give back to the institution that set the pace for its students to become useful citizens in the country. Fanciah explained that the significance of the homecoming celebration was to reflect on the gains made by the association. “We’re celebrating this event today to evaluate our progress, to determine what is right and what is wrong, and to find solutions to correct the wrong,” he said. The celebration began with a grand parade throughout the streets of Logan Town and later ended with a fundraising program during the indoor event. The program included basketball, kickball, and football between the association members and current students.

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