Top o' the mornin' to ya,
This Paddy's Day we have lots of important news for you - the taoiseach is isolating, Jussie Smollett is out of jail, Citigroup is stepping up, while Nazanin is finally home.
Click the screenshot below to access the podcast version of today's NewsFix.
HOME, AT LAST
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori arrived back on UK soil overnight after years being detained in Iran.
As many media outlets reported, the pair were freed after an historic debt to Iran - worth nearly £400 million - was paid by the UK government.
Below is a very helpful explainer about the geopolitics in all of this.
"This debt reaches back to the seventies. Iran bought over a thousand tanks from the UK, but after the Iranian revolution in 1979 Britain refused to deliver them, and Iran has always maintained it was owed its money back." - Ros Atkins
UKRAINE - WHAT'S THE LATEST?
It has now been three weeks since Russia crossed the border and invaded Ukraine.
A fourth Russian general has been killed in the fighting, according to President Zelensky.
According to The Times, Ukraine's military claims 13,800 Russian soldiers have been either captured or killed. As BBC News pointed out, it is understood that roughly 20 generals were leading Russia's invasion - meaning if true "one fifth of Russia's generals have been killed in action".
Meanwhile, reports of a Russian attack on a theatre sheltering civilians in Mariupol have emerged.
Sky News reported more than a thousand people - including children - were sheltering there, with a death toll "unknown" at this point. A Channel 4 News report said Russian officials claim it was a military target.
As you can see below, Mariupol is in the south east of the country.
President Biden reportedly called President Putin a "war criminal" for the first time. BBC News said the Kremlin responded by saying the comments were "unacceptable and unforgivable".
IF YOU WATCH ONE THING TODAY...
Please let it be the harrowing report on Ukraine by Channel 4 News.
It takes a very stark look at the human toll and suffering in war, and includes details of ten people shot dead while queueing for bread. We should warn you it does contain blurred images of dead bodies, but we felt it was very important to watch.
An app used to 'help' gay people "return to nature", which was funded by the Malaysian government, has been taken down by Google Play.
According to The Guardian, the app was first developed in 2016 but recently attracted attention when the country's Islamic development department tweeted about it.
Actor Jussie Smollett has been released from jail, pending appeal, a few days after his sentence.
Remember: The former Empire actor was sentenced to 150 days in jail after being found guilty of staging a hate crime in 2019. The actor has consistently maintained his innocence.
As mentioned earlier this week, Idaho has joined Texas in passing a ban on abortions after six weeks, or once cardiac activity has been detected.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court look set to uphold a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks - viewed as the most significant challenge to Roe v Wade in 30 years.
Okay, what's the latest? The Citigroup company has responded to the legal changes, telling staff they would be provided with travel benefits if they needed to have an abortion out of state.
CNN reported the move includes plane tickets and hotel bookings.
- BBC News: Nazanin arrives in UK after being freed from Iran
- The Guardian: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe returns to UK after six-year ordeal
- The Financial Times: Ukraine and Russia explore neutrality plan in peace talks
- Al Jazeera: Mariupol bomb shelters attacked; Biden slams 'war criminal' Putin
- The Irish Times: Murder accused barrister will be 'completely ruined' if not granted bail, court told
St Patrick's Day. Or Paddy's Day. Not 'Patty's'!
Ireland's Taoiseach Micheál Martin flew to Washington DC earlier this week for the annual moment of bringing some shamrock into the White House. Unfortunately for him, news broke he has tested positive for coronavirus.
RTÉ News said Martin is "feeling well", but the news was apparently delivered in dramatic fashion.
"Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi was about to make an award to the Taoiseach, but instead Irish Ambassador Dan Mulhall stepped onto the stage and explained to the 700 guests that the Taoiseach had tested positive for Covid-19." - RTÉ context
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ON A LIGHTER NOTE...
Shook just watching that.