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Hamas says it has fired rockets at Jerusalem in retaliation for Israeli ‘aggression’ | World News

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A number of rockets have been fired at Jerusalem and the surrounding area, says Israel’s military.

It came minutes after an ultimatum from Hamas for Israel to withdraw forces from two flashpoints in the city.

The group claimed responsibility for the attack, calling it retaliation for Israeli “crimes and aggression”.

Israel carried out a missile strike in northern Gaza in response, causing injuries, according to Palestinian media.

Seven rockets had set off sirens in Jerusalem and the surrounding area and rocket fire from Gaza was continuing, said Israel’s military.

A civilian car was hit and one person injured by one of the rockets, it added.

Sky’s Mark Stone, in Jerusalem, said he understood a number of rockets were fired at an area 10-15km west of the city.

He said Israel’s Iron Dome defence system is believed to have destroyed most, but that a few landed.

Stone said the attack was almost certain to mean a “heavy night of bombardment” on Hamas base the Gaza Strip this evening.

It comes as clashes in Jerusalem between Palestinians and Israeli forces reportedly injured more than 300 people.

Police fired stun grenades and tear gas inside the Old City’s Al Aqsa Mosque during the violence this morning.

Israeli authorities said “extremists” had thrown stones and other objects at officers, and onto a road near the Western Wall where thousands of people had gathered to pray.

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COVID-19: Ireland getting back to normal as restrictions on gatherings, shopping and travel ease | World News

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Life in Ireland is returning to normal with the easing of some lockdown restrictions including rules affecting meeting people, travel and shopping.

From Monday, click-and-collect services and in-store shopping by appointment will be allowed as part of a phased reopening of non-essential retail.

The sector is scheduled to reopen fully in a week.

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Close contact services, such as hairdressers, can resume, while COVID restrictions on travel between counties have lifted and some of the limitations on indoor and outdoor social gatherings have eased.

From today, up to 50 people can attend religious services in Ireland, including weddings and funerals, although a maximum of six will be allowed at indoor wedding receptions and 15 at outdoor celebrations.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin with Brenda Dillon who administered his AstraZeneca jab in Cork on Sunday
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Taoiseach Micheal Martin with Brenda Dillon who administered his AstraZeneca jab in Cork on Sunday

Three households, or up to six people from individual households, can now meet outdoors, including in private gardens.

People from vaccinated households can also meet with an unvaccinated household indoors without masks or social distancing.

But it applies only if they are not at risk of severe illness and there are no more than three households present.

A vaccination centre has been opened at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin
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A vaccination centre has been opened at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin

This measure will enable grandparents to meet and hug other family members indoors.

Many museums, galleries and libraries are now able to reopen and groups, or pods, of up to 15 adults can get together for team sports training.

The maximum permitted capacity on public transport has also increased to 50%.

Next Monday retail will reopen fully, with a variety of other restrictions due to lift in June.

On Sunday, Ireland’s leader, Taoiseach Micheal Martin, said he hoped Ireland could look forward to a good summer.

An empty city centre shopping street during the coronavirus lockdown in Dublin
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An empty city centre shopping street during the coronavirus lockdown in Dublin

Speaking after he received an AstraZeneca vaccine in Cork, Mr Martin said: “I think we’re making great progress as a country.

“I think people have done extremely well in responding to the various guidelines over the last number of months and the results are that we are emerging from this pandemic.

“We’re set to have a good summer if we can keep this progress going and the vaccination is certainly helping in bring down severe illness and bringing down death and hospitalisation, so keep with it and we’re making progress.”

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Ireland’s vaccination programme continues to gather pace and on Friday the country achieved a record for the number of jabs administered in one day, 52,000.

Another two coronavirus-related deaths and 514 more cases were recorded by the country’s department of health, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to almost 253,000.

A total of 4,921 people have died after catching the illness.

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COVID-19: Meghan says women ‘disproportionally affected’ by pandemic in first TV appearance since Oprah interview | Ents & Arts News

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The Duchess of Sussex has appeared on TV for the first time since her and Prince Harry’s tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Meghan pre-recorded a video message for the Global Citizen VAX Live concert, where she said women had been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

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Meghan and Prince Harry are expecting a daughter
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Meghan appeared heavily pregnant in the video as she and Prince Harry are expecting a daughter

The event, televised on Saturday night in the US, was in aid of the international vaccination effort and also featured performances from Jennifer Lopez, Eddie Vedder, Foo Fighters, J Balvin and H.E.R.

In her message, the Duchess of Sussex said: “The past year has been defined by communities coming together tirelessly and heroically to tackle COVID-19.

“We’ve gathered tonight because the road ahead is getting brighter, but it’s going to take every one of us to find our way forward.

“As campaign chairs of Vax Live, my husband and I believe it’s critical that our recovery prioritises the health, safety and success of everyone – and particularly women, who have been disproportionately affected by this pandemic.”

The heavily pregnant duchess added: “Women, and especially women of colour, have seen a generation of economic gain wiped out.

“Since the pandemic began, nearly 5.5 million women have lost work in the US, and 47 million more women around the world are expected to slip into extreme poverty.”

Prince Harry appeared in person at the show
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Prince Harry appeared in person at the show

Meghan said: “My husband and I are thrilled to soon be welcoming a daughter.

“It’s a feeling of joy we share with millions of other families around the world. When we think of her, we think of all the young women and girls around the globe who must be given the ability and the support to lead us forward.”

Earlier this week, Harry and Meghan wrote an open letter to the chief executives of pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca urging them to redouble their support for the UN-sponsored Covax programme.

The couple have called on all firms to temporarily suspend intellectual property rights applied to COVID vaccines, and for a “global public-private collaboration” so production methods for the jabs can be shared.

The Sussexes’ intervention into the global debate about the vaccine rollout came on the second birthday of their son Archie, and separately they have asked those wanting to mark this to donate funds which will support Covax.

On their son Archie's birthday the couple called for vaccine equality
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On their son Archie’s birthday, the couple called for vaccine equity

Harry and Meghan’s interview with Winfrey left the royal family in crisis after they alleged that the monarchy was a racist and uncaring institution.

The couple claimed a member of the family, not the Queen or the late Duke of Edinburgh, made a comment about the colour of their son’s skin, and revealed that the duchess had suicidal thoughts during her time as a working royal, but that her approaches to the monarchy for help were turned down.

Harry returned to the UK for Prince Philip’s funeral last month, but Meghan stayed in the US as she is heavily pregnant with the couple’s second child.

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