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‘You ain’t seen nothing yet’ – Simon Harris declares sets out stall to be Taoiseach; Donohoe now offers his ba

The Minister for Higher Education, who looks set to be elected leader of his party and youngest ever Taoiseach unopposed, said that if given the honour of serving as leader he will give it his “all”. “I will work day and night. I believe politics is about delivery. It’s about people,” he told reporters. It came as Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe finally came out in support of Mr Harris for Fine Gael leader, having notably not backed any candidate on Thursday, while ruling himself out of the race. Mr Harris (37) emerged as the only remaining candidate to lead his party and by extension the next Taoiseach on Thursday after all other likely contenders bowed out, including Ministers Simon Coveney, Helen McEntee, Paschal Donohoe and Heather Humphreys, with more than two dozen Fine Gael TDs, senators and MEPs coming out behind Mr Harris. This leaves Enterprise Minister Simon Coveney as the only one of these not yet to publicly back any candidate. Mr Harris said he was humbled by the support he has received from colleagues, and spoke about the shock moment when Leo Varadkar announced he would be resigning. “The last couple of days have been quite a whirlwind if we’re being honest with each other. I don’t think that when anybody got out of bed and came into work this week they expected the Taoiseach of the country, the leader of our party, to make the decision that he did. I was in the room with Minister McEntee when he told us, and I think we’ll never forget that sense of collective shock and surprise. The air just went out of the room,” he said. “And I want to join with others in thanking Leo Varadkar for his leadership, for his leadership of our party for seven years, during which almost all of that time he’s either been the Taoiseach or Tanaiste of our country, and indeed for ministries that he held in advance of being Taoiseach and Tánaiste as well. “I want to thank him for how he’s represented our country at home and abroad. And I must say, I was so proud not just as a colleague of his but as a as a citizen of Ireland, so proud to listen to him, to watch him last week in the United States of America, espousing values that aren’t just Irish values, but I think are values founded in human rights and decency in terms of calling for a cessation of violence in the Middle East and for saying that in the Oval Office, and for having the president of the United States say the words ‘I agree’.” He added: “That tells you the ability of statecraft and the incredible talents that he has, and I thank him for that.” Speaking about the likelihood of him filling the vacancy, Minister Harris said politics is about “actually getting things done for people”. “In many ways, I’m an accidental politician. I ended up in politics when my brother was born with autism and as a moody teenager I started campaigning in Wicklow and saying there has to be a better way of providing educational supports for people with autism,” Mr Harris said. “I know how politics can deliver for people, and if given the honour of serving I want to take that kind of approach to getting things done to renewing our party to injecting a level of energy. And to anybody who thinks this party is tired, to anyone who thinks his party lacks energy: You ain’t seen nothing yet,” he said. Minister Harris would not be drawn on whether the Government would run its full term or if he would push for an early general election if made leader. “There is only one contest I’m involved in currently and that’s to be the leader of the Fine Gael party, which I’m not currently, and I’m conscious that nominations are still open and that process needs to play itself out in the coming hours, and I’m engaging with members, councillors, TDs, senators, colleagues here today, and indeed in other locations today, and listening to people. And let’s see how that process goes in the coming hours and days,” he said at a fundraiser for local election candidate Sharon Tolan in Co Meath. Programme for government Mr Harris added: “If given the opportunity to serve as Fine Gael leader, I will remain committed to the programme for government. I’ve heard the leaders of the other parties outline their support for the programme for government. This government was never one about personalities or individuals. This was a government about policy, and that shared policy is outlined in the programme for government. So yes, if given the opportunity to serve I remain fully committed to implementing the programme for government and to working with colleague in Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, and the Green Party to deliver for the people of this country,” he added. Mr Harris also said: “I don’t believe in ideological labels. I’m committed to the values of the Fine Gael party. This is a party that for me is about equality of opportunity. That is how I define my vision and approach. It’s the approach I’ve tried to bring to ministries that I’ve held, most particularly the one that I’ve had the honor of establishing from scratch, making sure that no matter who you are, where you come from, what your mother or father did before you, I want everyone in this country to be able to reach their full potential.” Justice Minister Helen McEntee acknowledged Leo Varadkar’s ‘significant contribution’ to Irish politics, and thanked him for his service and friendship over the years. She said she believes Mr Harris will be the next leader of the party. “I think he will be an excellent leader. I think he’s someone who brings energy. I think he’s someone who has a lot of ideas, a lot of ambition, and I think he’s someone who will not just reinvigorate our party, but as Taoiseach of this country I think he will do great things and I’m fully behind them and I look forward to working with him,” she added. Paschal Donohoe Separately, Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe has now backed Further and Higher Education Minister Simon Harris for Fine Gael leadership after notably failing to do so yesterday. Minister Donohoe was seen by some Fine Gael TDs as a possible leadership contender but he ruled himself out yesterday alongside other Cabinet colleagues. He said he “hopes” to continue as Public Expenditure Minister in any possible reshuffle but said it is an issue for the new Taoiseach. When asked by news agency Bloomberg if he supports Mr Harris he said: “Of course I do. “I have known Simon for many, many, many years. I believe he has all the qualities that will enable him to be a very, very successful leader for Fine Gael and also allow him to be an excellent Taoiseach. We’ve had a very dramatic week back home.” He said Mr Varadkar has done a “phenomenal” job. Mr Donohoe said he hopes to continue in his current Cabinet portfolio but said it is a “matter” for the new Taoiseach. “That’s very much a matter for whoever the new Taoiseach will be. I will very much hope to continue with my work, from being through many moments like this in the past, it’s a matter for the next Taoiseach. “Of course I want to continue with my work but I recognise that it is his decision and that it is his mandate.” Today’s News in 90 seconds – 22nd March 2024

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‘You ain’t seen nothing yet,’ declares Simon Harris as he sets out stall to be Taoiseach, Donohoe now offers h

The Minister for Higher Education, who looks set to be elected leader of his party and youngest ever Taoiseach unopposed, said that if given the honour of serving as leader he will give it his “all”. “I will work day and night. I believe politics is about delivery. It’s about people,” he told reporters. It came as Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe finally came out in support of Mr Harris for Fine Gael leader, having notably not backed any candidate on Thursday, while ruling himself out of the race. Mr Harris (37) emerged as the only remaining candidate to lead his party and by extension the next Taoiseach on Thursday after all other likely contenders bowed out, including Ministers Simon Coveney, Helen McEntee, Paschal Donohoe and Heather Humphreys, with more than two dozen Fine Gael TDs, senators and MEPs coming out behind Mr Harris. This leaves Enterprise Minister Simon Coveney as the only one of these not yet to publicly back any candidate. Mr Harris said he was humbled by the support he has received from colleagues, and spoke about the shock moment when Leo Varadkar announced he would be resigning. “The last couple of days have been quite a whirlwind if we’re being honest with each other. I don’t think that when anybody got out of bed and came into work this week they expected the Taoiseach of the country, the leader of our party, to make the decision that he did. I was in the room with Minister McEntee when he told us, and I think we’ll never forget that sense of collective shock and surprise. The air just went out of the room,” he said. “And I want to join with others in thanking Leo Varadkar for his leadership, for his leadership of our party for seven years, during which almost all of that time he’s either been the Taoiseach or Tanaiste of our country, and indeed for ministries that he held in advance of being Taoiseach and Tánaiste as well. “I want to thank him for how he’s represented our country at home and abroad. And I must say, I was so proud not just as a colleague of his but as a as a citizen of Ireland, so proud to listen to him, to watch him last week in the United States of America, espousing values that aren’t just Irish values, but I think are values founded in human rights and decency in terms of calling for a cessation of violence in the Middle East and for saying that in the Oval Office, and for having the president of the United States say the words ‘I agree’.” He added: “That tells you the ability of statecraft and the incredible talents that he has, and I thank him for that.” Speaking about the likelihood of him filling the vacancy, Minister Harris said politics is about “actually getting things done for people”. “In many ways, I’m an accidental politician. I ended up in politics when my brother was born with autism and as a moody teenager I started campaigning in Wicklow and saying there has to be a better way of providing educational supports for people with autism,” Mr Harris said. “I know how politics can deliver for people, and if given the honour of serving I want to take that kind of approach to getting things done to renewing our party to injecting a level of energy. And to anybody who thinks this party is tired, to anyone who thinks his party lacks energy: You ain’t seen nothing yet,” he said. Minister Harris would not be drawn on whether the Government would run its full term or if he would push for an early general election if made leader. “There is only one contest I’m involved in currently and that’s to be the leader of the Fine Gael party, which I’m not currently, and I’m conscious that nominations are still open and that process needs to play itself out in the coming hours, and I’m engaging with members, councillors, TDs, senators, colleagues here today, and indeed in other locations today, and listening to people. And let’s see how that process goes in the coming hours and days,” he said at a fundraiser for local election candidate Sharon Tolan in Co Meath. Programme for government Mr Harris added: “If given the opportunity to serve as Fine Gael leader, I will remain committed to the programme for government. I’ve heard the leaders of the other parties outline their support for the programme for government. This government was never one about personalities or individuals. This was a government about policy, and that shared policy is outlined in the programme for government. So yes, if given the opportunity to serve I remain fully committed to implementing the programme for government and to working with colleague in Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, and the Green Party to deliver for the people of this country,” he added. Mr Harris also said: “I don’t believe in ideological labels. I’m committed to the values of the Fine Gael party. This is a party that for me is about equality of opportunity. That is how I define my vision and approach. It’s the approach I’ve tried to bring to ministries that I’ve held, most particularly the one that I’ve had the honor of establishing from scratch, making sure that no matter who you are, where you come from, what your mother or father did before you, I want everyone in this country to be able to reach their full potential.” Justice Minister Helen McEntee acknowledged Leo Varadkar’s ‘significant contribution’ to Irish politics, and thanked him for his service and friendship over the years. She said she believes Mr Harris will be the next leader of the party. “I think he will be an excellent leader. I think he’s someone who brings energy. I think he’s someone who has a lot of ideas, a lot of ambition, and I think he’s someone who will not just reinvigorate our party, but as Taoiseach of this country I think he will do great things and I’m fully behind them and I look forward to working with him,” she added. Paschal Donohoe Separately, Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe has now backed Further and Higher Education Minister Simon Harris for Fine Gael leadership after notably failing to do so yesterday. Minister Donohoe was seen by some Fine Gael TDs as a possible leadership contender but he ruled himself out yesterday alongside other Cabinet colleagues. He said he “hopes” to continue as Public Expenditure Minister in any possible reshuffle but said it is an issue for the new Taoiseach. When asked by news agency Bloomberg if he supports Mr Harris he said: “Of course I do. “I have known Simon for many, many, many years. I believe he has all the qualities that will enable him to be a very, very successful leader for Fine Gael and also allow him to be an excellent Taoiseach. We’ve had a very dramatic week back home.” He said Mr Varadkar has done a “phenomenal” job. Mr Donohoe said he hopes to continue in his current Cabinet portfolio but said it is a “matter” for the new Taoiseach. “That’s very much a matter for whoever the new Taoiseach will be. I will very much hope to continue with my work, from being through many moments like this in the past, it’s a matter for the next Taoiseach. “Of course I want to continue with my work but I recognise that it is his decision and that it is his mandate.” Today’s News in 90 seconds – 22nd March 2024

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Russians abroad cast their votes for Putin, Kremlin spokesman notes

MOSCOW, March 22. /TASS/. Russian citizens, who voted abroad, have used their votes, and most of them voted for the head of state Vladimir Putin, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, commenting on Putin’s unequivocal victory after the counting of ballots abroad. “Our citizens live there, who decided to use their vote during this election, and most of them voted for President Putin,” the spokesman said. Meanwhile, Peskov refused to comment more specifically to explain the large number of votes, cast for Putin abroad. “There are many our citizens in many countries,” he noted. Previously, the Central Election Commission approved Putin’s victory in the election. The incumbent head of state received the record-high 87.28% of vote. According to the Central Election Commission, a total of 87,576,075 people took part in the election. Abroad, a total of 388,791 voters took part, counting the Baikonur Cosmodrome, while 7,910 Russians cast their vote at near-border stations, organized due to the attempts of Baltic States to obstruct the elections. A large percentage of spoiled ballots were registered at foreign voting states, especially in Poland and in countries with a high number of relocated citizens. Still, Putin won there also, including in non-friendly states: the incumbent president secured 56.82% of vote in Germany, 75.22% in Estonia, 70.6% in Latvia, 53.6% in Australia, 54.7% in Armenia and 42.23% in the US.

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Lisburn City Centre churches come together for the annual Good Friday Walk of Witness

The annual Walk of Witness is a public demonstration of the Christians coming together to remind everyone of the ultimate sacrifice that Christ made for all mankind to receive hope and new life. Everyone will gather in Bow Street at 12.30pm and the cross will be carried through Bow Street to Market Square at 12.45pm. A short service will then be held with an opening prayer by Dean Sam Wright from Lisburn Cathedral. Rev Dr David Bruce (1st Lisburn Presbyterian), Rev Gareth Campbell (Curate – Christ Church Parish), Rev Lee Boal. (Curate – Lisburn Cathedral), Pastor Brian Agnew (Lisburn City Church), Shirley Carrington (Seymour Street, Methodist), Father Dermot McCaughan (St Patrick’s Chapel), and Archdeacon Paul Dundas (Christ Church Parish) will all be involved with the service. Sarah, Abaana Choir Director, and the children from the Abaana New Life Choir will also be taking part in the 2024 Good Friday Walk of Witness in Lisburn City Centre, Sarah will be giving a talk during the service and the choir will be performing. The choir will also be performing at Lisburn Cathedral on Good Friday and Saturday afternoon. Tickets are free however booking is essential on www.lisburncathedral.org. There will be family Easter activities at Lisburn Cathedral on Good Friday afternoon and on Saturday morning from 11am – 1pm, including Easter Crafts and Planting ‘Seeds of Hope’, face painting, God’s Handiwork Puppets, football cage, and W5 Science and Fun. An Easter Morning Dawn Service at Wallace Park bandstand at 6.30am.

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Bianca Censori’s dad demands her to fly to Australia with Kanye West to address concerns over X-rated outfits: report

Bianca Censori’s worried father has once again expressed concerns over his daughter’s risqué outfits. Leo Censori, whose brother is a notorious gangland killer, has demanded his daughter and her controversial husband, rapper Kanye West, fly out to Australia to meet with him, Daily Mail reported. The architect’s dad last month said he wanted to confront the “Jesus Walks” hitmaker over fears he is tearing his daughter away from her family and turning her into a “trashy commodity.” Now, sources close to Leo say his daughter is “hesitant” to meet with him. “Kanye has been invited to go to Australia and Bianca is hesitant to allow this to happen because she knows how her father will react,” a source told the outlet. “Her dad still plans to have a sit down with Kanye, and Leo will not be intimidated by Kanye’s power or control. No one is expecting this to be all rainbows and family portraits.” It comes after insiders told the outlet that Bianca’s mother, Alexandra, flew out to the US to “save” her from her current situation, but seemingly failed to be heard once she arrived. “Bianca’s father was not necessarily pleased with his wife’s visit to see their daughter because he feels like she enabled Bianca to continue doing what she is doing,” a source said. “Yes, Bianca dressed provocatively while her mother was there, but it was nothing in comparison to some of the outfits she has worn prior to and since the visit.” Page Six has reached out to West’s reps for comment. For more Page Six you love… Listen to our weekly “We Hear” podcast Shop our exclusive merch In recent months, the 29-year-old former architect has been seen out and about while wearing little to no clothing, with outrageous outfits ranging from sheer tops and tights, to going completely commando in public. Leo’s concerns echo a similar sentiment expressed by Bianca’s pals in January, who claimed that the rapper had banned her from using social media for her own “protection.” The model’s worried pals claimed that the “strong” Bianca they once knew had “seemingly vanished once again.” An insider said Bianca’s friends had reportedly been able to make contact with her to express their opinions, but she was not interested in listening to them.

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How eating fish helps you build muscle

Can eating fish daily be harmonious with our workout routines? This question came up after the recent National Family Household Survey found that a growing number of Indians recognise the unique health benefits of fish consumption and are making a conscious effort to include it in their diets. FISH IS NUTRIENT-DENSE AND AIDS MUSCLE GROWTH Fish is a top-tier source of high-quality protein with a digestible indispensable amino acid score (DIAAS) of more than 100, containing all the essential amino acids for muscle growth and repair. This is particularly crucial in preventing the risk of musculoskeletal atrophy as we age, including conditions like sarcopenia (muscle tissue loss) and osteoporosis (bone tissue loss). Furthermore, fish is a treasure trove of Omega-3 fatty acids, especially EPA and DHA, renowned for their anti-inflammatory properties and role in promoting cardiovascular health. These nutrients also play a pivotal role in brain health and can help stave off cognitive decline as we age. As defined by the Dietary Guidelines Committee (DGC), fish is an excellent source of nutrients of concern, such as vitamins D and B2 (riboflavin) and minerals like iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium and potassium. This variety of nutrients makes fish a flexible and appealing choice for every health-conscious Indian. FISH AND EXERCISE COMPATIBILITY Integrating fish into your diet can significantly enhance your exercise regimen. The high-quality protein found in fish aids in the recovery and strengthening of muscles after a workout. Moreover, Omega-3 fatty acids in fish have been proven to reduce muscle soreness and inflammation, improve heart health, and boost the body’s ability to convert fat into energy during exercise. A 2012 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition had shown how fish oil supplementation enhances the effects of endurance and strength training exercises. HOW MUCH FISH IS GOOD FOR MUSCLE BUILDING? If you want to build muscle, consuming an appropriate amount of protein is essential. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day for the average adult. However, for muscle building and intensive training, this requirement increases to 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Including fish in one or two meals every other day can significantly contribute to meeting these elevated protein needs, as a 100-gram serving of fish contains about 17 grams of protein. It’s essential to choose a variety of fish to benefit from different nutrient profiles. Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout, are excellent sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. However, it’s also wise to include lean fish varieties like cod and haddock, which are high in quality protein but have a lower fat content. You must be aware of the levels of mercury in certain fish species for health reasons. In particular, pregnant women and young children should avoid high-mercury fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. By incorporating a variety of fish into their diet, people can meet their increased protein needs while enjoying broader health benefits.

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Cadbury fans spot Easter chocolate for just 79p in bargain shop

Cadbury fans have discovered Easter chocolate selling for less than £1. If you have a sweet tooth or want to stock up in time for Easter, this particular Cadbury treat might just be the one for you. Eagle-eyed shoppers were quick to spot a chocolate bargain and have shared it online. Chocolate lovers can now get their hands on Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Mini Eggs for only 79p. Heron Foods is stocking the bag of the Easter chocolate at the cheap price. The treat has been shared on the HotUKDeals website, with one user revealing how 77g bags of the chocolate are being sold in-store. READ MORE: Toddler needs surgery after ‘trying to climb on’ pet in XL Bully horror mauling Sign up to the BirminghamLive newsletter here to get the latest updates on the biggest and breaking stories. Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Mini Eggs are also on sale in other shops – but may be slightly more expensive at £1.50, Daily Star reports. Elsewhere, Cadbury released two new bars after pulling another product off shelves. The chocolate company launched a new line called ‘Cadbury Dairy Milk & More’. The two flavours will be the Nutty Praline Crisp and Caramel Nut Crunch.

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Three, Vodafone, Sky Mobile and Voxi roaming charges in full as Ofcom confirms new rules

New rules about roaming fees have been confirmed – so you need to be wary to do the right thing when you’re on holiday. UK mobile providers, such as Three, Vodafone, Sky Mobile and Voxi, will now have to tell customers when they start using their phones abroad, thanks to new rules from Ofcom. Lots of big telecom companies brought back roaming fees after Brexit. But the law that made mobile operators tell customers about any charges doesn’t apply anymore. Now, Ofcom has said that from 1st October 2024, network providers must give clear information to customers when they’re abroad. They’ll have to tell customers when they start roaming, including details about any “fair use” limits or time limits. “Fair use” means there’s a limit to how much of your UK data allowance you can use while you’re roaming in Europe. Read more: Parents hail ‘magic’ £8 balm Ofcom also said people should be told how to set a spending cap and where to get help if they’re confused about roaming costs, reports the Mirror. Ofcom noted that many operators have voluntarily continued to send their customers alerts, even after Brexit. But the watchdog found one in five (19%) holidaymakers are still unaware they could face extra charges when using their phone abroad. Before the Brexit transition was complete, you could use your existing call, text and data allowances in Europe at no extra cost. Cristina Luna-Esteban, Ofcom’s boss for mobile phone rules, shared: “The last thing holidaymakers want when returning from a trip abroad is an unexpected mobile phone bill. At the moment, some customers aren’t getting clear information from their provider to help them manage their mobile use and plan their spend. Our new protections will mean you’re told what it’ll cost when you start roaming, so you can be confident that there won’t be any surprises when it comes to your mobile bill while on holiday.” These are the charges on phones for roaming around Europe. Three For Three phone users, there is a £2 a day charge for contract customers, no charge for pay-as-you-go. You can buy a Data Passport for £5 for unlimited data in 89 countries. There’s a 12GB “fair use” limit. Vodafone Vodafone customers are charged £2.25 a day or you can get a European Roaming pass. It’s £10 for 8 days or £15 for 15 days, if you’re a contract customer. If you are pay-as-you-go it’s from £7 for eight days. The “fair use” limit is 25GB. Sky Mobile Sky mobile users get a charge of £2 a day. They don’t have a “fair use” limit. Voxi Voxi phone users are charged £2.25 for one day, £4 for two days, £10 for eight days, or £15 for 15 days. Their “fair use” limit is 20GB.

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Power outages reported in eight Ukrainian regions following blasts — Kiev

MOSCOW, March 22. /TASS/. Blackouts were reported in eight Ukrainian regions and the Kiev-controlled parts of the Zaporozhye Region on Friday, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said. “Electricity supply is currently being restored. Repairs have been ongoing since last night in [the city of] Kharkov and the [Kharkov] Region, Zaporozhye, the Sumy, Poltava, Dnepr (formerly Dnepropetrovsk – TASS) and Odessa regions, [the city of] Khmelnitsky and [the Khmelnitsky] Region, the Vinnitsa and Ivano-Frankovsk regions,” the Ukrainian leader wrote on his Telegram channel. In turn, Vladimir Kudritsky, CEO of the Ukrenergo national power company, said that energy facilities had been damaged in numerous regions, with Kharkov being hardest hit. Thermal and hydro power plants as well as transmission substations across Ukraine have been damaged, Kudritsky said. Earlier, air raid sirens rang out across Ukraine. In particular, explosions were reported in Dnepr, Ivano-Frankovsk, Kiev, Krivoy Rog, and Sumy as well as the Khmelnitsky region and the Kiev-controlled areas of the Zaporozhye Region. At least 15 blasts occurred in Kharkov, with almost the whole of the city showing power loss. In addition, Internet disruptions have been reported across the country.

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10 more underworld figures arrested within 24-hours

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