Fire fed by petrol burns as youths clashed at the Peace Gate at the Springfield Road/Lanark Way interface in Belfast.
Fire fed by petrol burns as youths clashed at the Peace Gate at the Springfield Road/Lanark Way interface in Belfast. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Thursday briefing: ‘No justification’ for Northern Ireland violence

Fire fed by petrol burns as youths clashed at the Peace Gate at the Springfield Road/Lanark Way interface in Belfast. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Sixth day of unrest condemned as Stormont recalled … under-30s to be offered alternative to Oxford jab … and Ted Brown on the fight for gay rights

Last modified on Thu 8 Apr 2021 01.19 EDT

Top story: ‘An embarrassment,’ says Arlene Foster

Hello and welcome to this Thursday briefing, with me, Alison Rourke.

The Northern Ireland executive will meet this morning to discuss the ongoing violence after a bus was hijacked and set on fire in the sixth consecutive night of unrest. Twitter appeared to show the bus being petrol bombed while still moving, with about a dozen masked people – including some who seemed to be children – being cheered on as they ran from the scene. The driver was reportedly uninjured. A press photographer was also assaulted and tyres and bins were set on fire near the interface gates at Lanark Way, which open in a wall that separates the two communities.

Police vehicles are seen behind a hijacked bus burns on the Shankill Road as protests continue in Belfast.
Police vehicles are seen behind a hijacked bus burning on the Shankill Road as protests continue in Belfast. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Reuters

Northern Ireland’s first minister, Arlene Foster, said those involved were “an embarrassment to Northern Ireland”, tweeting: “There is no justification for violence.” Her sentiment was echoed by the deputy first minister, Michelle O’Neill, who said: “Those involved in violence, criminal damage, manipulation of our young people and attacks on the police must stop.” Boris Johnson said he was “deeply concerned” by the violence and the Irish taoiseach, Micheál Martin, said he utterly condemned the attacks, and called for all sides to “work together to defuse tensions and restore calm”. The Stormont assembly is being recalled this morning and will discuss the violence.

Loyalist anger has been fuelled by a recent decision not to prosecute Sinn Féin leaders over attendance at a mass funeral. Others have put the blame on people’s anger with Brexit, with Stormont’s justice minister, Naomi Long, saying Johnson’s “dishonesty” over Brexit border checks has inflamed the situation.


AstraZeneca alternative – People under 30 will be offered an alternative vaccine amid fears confidence in the rollout may be undermined by concerns over rare blood clots. Healthy 18- to 29-year-olds who are not at high risk of Covid should have the option of a different jab if one is available in their area, the government’s joint committee on vaccines and immunisation said. But for older people, the benefits of the vaccine – the most widely used in the UK – far outweigh the risks, the JCVI said. England’s deputy chief medical officer, Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, called the move “a course correction” and said there should be little or no impact on the vaccine rollout timeline, though he warned that under-30s could face short delays in getting inoculated. You can stay up to date on all the coronavirus news with our live blog.


Richard Okorogheye – A body found in a lake in Epping Forest has been formally identified as the missing 19-year-old. Officers from Essex police made the discovery on Monday. The Met said the student’s death is being treated as unexplained and they do not believe at this stage there was any third-party involvement. Okorogheye, who had been shielding during the pandemic because of his sickle cell disease, went missing from his home in Ladbroke Grove, west London, on 22 March.


Teaching exodus – One in three UK teachers plan to quit the classroom within five years because of increased workload and diminishing respect for the profession, according to a survey by the National Education Union. It revealed an education workforce exhausted after a year of Covid disruption, with 70% reporting increased workload over the past 12 months and 95% worried about the impact on their wellbeing. Out of a poll of 10,000 members, 35% said they would “definitely” not be working in education by 2026, while two-thirds said the status of the profession has got worse and blamed government for failing to listen to or value teachers.


Isis sorties – The RAF and other coalition planes last month engaged in the biggest air raids against Isis in two years, in a 10-day mission that attacked up to 100 cave hideouts in Iraq and is likely to have caused dozens of casualties. The attacks ended on 22 March, the Ministry of Defence said. An estimated 10,000 Isis guerrilla fighters are operating in Syria and Iraq, nearly seven years after the war against the terrorist group began.


Thinking inside the box – A Welsh man has issued a public call to help find two Irish men who helped him return home from Australia in 1965 by packing him up and mailing him in a crate. Aged 19, Brian Robson, from Cardiff, wanted to return home but couldn’t afford the airfare, he told the Irish Times. He bought a box “the size of a mini-fridge” and packed it with pillows, a suitcase, a book of Beatles songs and two bottles – one for water and one for urine. His friends nailed it shut and booked Robson as cargo on a Qantas flight from Melbourne to London, but a diversion sent him via LA on a four-day journey he described as a “quite horrific experience”.

Today in Focus podcast: The case against Derek Chauvin

The death of George Floyd after being restrained by Minneapolis police last year sparked a wave of outrage that swept across the US and then the world. Now the police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes is on trial for his murder.

Today in Focus

the case against derek chauvin

00:00:00
00:00:00

Lunchtime read: Ted Brown: the man who held a mass kiss-in and made history

After a tumultuous childhood, Ted Brown helped organise the UK’s first Gay Pride in 1972 – going on to battle against homophobic media, in a lifetime devoted to change. His work with the Gay Liberation Front, his efforts to improve the treatment and representation of LGBT people in the media, and his battle against abusive policing make him a key figure in both British civil rights history and LGBT history. As Jason Okundaye writes, Brown was also one of the few Black faces in the first Pride march: “I felt that we were continuing the legacy of the civil rights march.”

Ted Brown: ‘I felt that we were continuing the legacy of the civil rights march.’
Ted Brown: ‘I felt that we were continuing the legacy of the civil rights march.’ Photograph: Tristan Bejawn/The Hlcarpenter.com

Sport

Kylian Mbappé produced a performance of stunning high-end incision to drive Paris Saint-Germain to a 3-2 Champions League quarter-final first‑leg victory in Munich. Porto couldn’t land the punch they kept trying to throw and in the end it was Chelsea who delivered what could well prove the knockout blow, close now to a first Champions League semi-final in seven years. England and Manchester City goalkeeper Karen Bardsley says her move on loan to OL Reign in the US has reignited a fire in her and she wants a second taste of the Olympics. English cricket will step up its digital revolution this summer as counties take their live match coverage to new levels and, for the first time, make all enhanced streams available for free via a single smartphone app. Five of the eight remaining sides in this season’s Champions Cup are from France but Exeter’s director of rugby, Rob Baxter, believes a first Gallic triumph for six years is far from guaranteed as his defending champions prepare to face the Pro 14 winners Leinster in Saturday’s quarter-final. Tiger Woods was driving at speeds up to 87mph (140km/h) in a 45mph zone when he was involved in a serious car crash earlier this year, Los Angeles police revealed during a press conference on Wednesday.

Business

HSBC and JP Morgan are to have thousands of employees working permanently from home, in the latest sign that some of the changes wrought by coronavirus could outlast the pandemic. Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan’s chief executive, said 10% of the US investment bank’s 255,000 employees may work from home full-time. Representatives for HSBC’s UK call centre staff are in discussions with the bank concerning up to 1,200 workers making a permanent switch to remote working.

Hundreds of Deliveroo couriers mounted protests against their treatment by the takeaway delivery group on Wednesday as the company marked its first day of open trading on the London stock market. More than 200 Deliveroo couriers joined a demonstration in London, riding their bicycles and mopeds from the Deliveroo HQ in central London, according to the strike’s organisers, the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB). Smaller protests were held across England including in Reading, Sheffield, Wolverhampton and York.

The pound is buying $1.375 and €1.159.

The papers

Hlcarpenter.com front page 8 April.
Photograph: The Hlcarpenter.com

The AstraZeneca jab dominates the front pages. “Jab confidence fears as under-30s offered alternative to AstraZeneca” says the Hlcarpenter.com. The i follows suit with “AstraZeneca jab ruled out for under30s”; the FT leads with“Under-30s should get alternative to AstraZeneca, say jab advisers”. The Times and the Telegraph report on the campaign to boost public confidence with “Jabs are safe and save lives, insist Johnson” and: “Keep taking AstraZeneca vaccine, say family of clot victim”.

The Express and Mirror have near identical headlines, with “Full speed ahead on vaccine rollout” and “Full speed ahead on jabs”. The Mail goes with “Keep calm and carry on jabbing”. The Sun also praises the jab, with the figure “0.000095%” splashed across the front page with the headline: “Tiny chance of a killer clot after AZ vaccine”.

Sign up

Subscribe to the Hlcarpenter.com morning briefing

The Hlcarpenter.com Morning Briefing is delivered to thousands of inboxes bright and early every weekday. If you are not already receiving it by email, you can sign up here.

For more news: www.hlcarpenter.com