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Summary

  1. Updates for Thursday 5 February 2015
  2. More news, sport, travel and weather from 07:00 on Friday

Live Reporting

By Ciaran McCauley and Grania McFadden

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Goodnight!

Ciaran Daly

BBC News NI

That's all from BBC News NI Live for another day. We'll be back again, bright and early (well, early anyway) on Friday at 07:00.

Until then, you can keep up to date with all of the latest news, sport, travel and weather in your area on the

BBC News NI website.

University cuts criticised

The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) of Northern Ireland has hit out at Ulster University's decision to cut its housing management degree, the only one of its kind on the island of Ireland.

Jordanstown campus
BBC

CIH's Director Nicola McCrudden said: "We are struggling to understand why the university has decided to end what is a very viable undergraduate degree."

Narrow Water Bridge pledge:

The Republic of Ireland's minister for transport says that Ireland will use its influence to try to help secure EU funding for the Narrow Water Bridge project.

Narrow Water Bridge
An Bord Pleanála

European funding for the bridge to connect County Louth and County Down was

withdrawn in November 2013 because additional funding had not been found.

Irish teen shared cell with Greste

An Irish teenager who has spent over a year in jail in Egypt shared a cell with

freed Australian journalist Peter Greste, according to his family.

Ibrihim, Fatima, Omaima and Somaia Halawa
PA

Ibrahim Halawa was detained with three of his sisters when they were caught up in the Al-Fath mosque siege in Cairo in July 2013.

US corp tax 'interest'

The prospect of a cut in corporation tax in Northern Ireland is generating significant interest in the United States, the Secretary of State has said.

Theresa Villiers
BBC

Theresa Villiers is in the middle of a three-day visit to Washington and New York.

Thinking positive!

When an East Belfast voter tweeted that they'd rather have their "body dipped repeatedly in mild but painful acid than ever vote for the DUP", the official DUP twitter account responded with this tweet:

DUP
Twitter

Showjumper cleared

A top

Irish showjumper has been cleared of having underage sex with a 15-year-old former pony club student both here and in hotels in the Republic of Ireland.

Belfast Crown Court
BBC

It took the jury several hours over the course of two days to acquit County Fermanagh showjumping professional Gabriel Tunney, by a majority, of all six charges he faced.

Report required by next week:

Gareth Gordon

BBC News NI Political Correspondent

Executive minister Mervyn Storey has been given a week to produce

a report on alleged political interference in the Housing Executive or risk being taken to court.

Stephen Brimstone
BBC

The head of the civil service ordered the report into the conduct of

DUP special adviser Stephen Brimstone.

Conscience and cake:

BBC News NI political correspondent Chris Page recaps just

how a cake become a matter of conscience for some in Northern Ireland.

The cake was ordered for a civic event in Bangor Castle Town Hall, County Down, to mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia
Alliance

Brett Lee to coach Ireland:

BBC Sport NI

Former Australian cricket star

Brett Lee will be Ireland's bowling coach during their pre-World Cup warm-up period in Sydney.

Former Australian star Brett Lee
Getty Images

The recently-retired 38-year-old knows what it's like to win. He has been a World Cup winner twice.

Alliance resignation:

BBC News NI political correspondent Gareth Gordon

tweets that Alliance councillor in Down Patrick Clarke has resigned from the party.

Over 10% of courses cut:

Maggie Taggart

BBC News NI Education Correspondent

The

53 courses to be cut from the University of Ulster account for 11.5% of all of those currently available at the university.

The University of Ulster campus at Jordanstown
BBC

A university statement said: "As per our online prospectus, there are around 400 undergraduate courses currently available for the 2015-16 academic year."

Security alert over:

PSNI

Police say the security alert at Friendly Street in Belfast city centre has ended.

PSNI crest
BBC

Army bomb officers made a viable pipe bomb safe. The device has now been taken away for forensic examination.

Allen progresses:

Mark Allen is

through to the second round of the German Masters snooker championship after beating Wales' Mark Williams 5-2.

Mark Allen
Getty Images

Allen will face Shaun Murphy in the second round. Murphy beat Allen in the semi-finals of the Masters last month.

Danske bank sale

Danske Bank has sold 540m euros worth of commercial loans in the Republic of Ireland to Bank of Ireland and Goldman Sachs.

Danske Bank
PAcemaker

Larry Broderick, General Secretary of IBOA, the finance union, said that the sale marks another significant step in Danske Bank's departure from the Republic of Ireland.

Warrenpoint player eligible:

BBC Sport NI

The Irish Football Association has ruled that Darren Forsyth

was eligible to play for Warrenpoint Town in the Irish Cup.

Darren Forsyth in action for Glenavon
Press Eye

It had been alleged that

the player had played in official matches for three different clubs this season in contravention of both Fifa and IFA player regulations.

50 courses cut:

Maggie Taggart

BBC News NI Education Correspondent

The University of Ulster has reacted to the threat of a large budget cut by the assembly by

cutting more than 50 of its undergraduate courses.

Magee campus
BBC

Twenty are linked to film studies, 11 are history combinations and six will go from computing courses.

Replacement sculpture considered:

Londonderry Sentinel

The Londonderry Sentinel

reports that
the Manánnan Mac Lír statue that was stolen by apparent religious extremists last month could be replaced by a new sculpture three times as large.

The Manannán Mac Lir statue at the viewing point on Binevenagh Mountain has been stolen
Owen Anderson

Limavady Borough Council is considering a replacement that would be made of mild steel and would stand two-to-three times as tall as the original.

Car bomb condemnation

Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey has condemned those responsible for

placing a bomb under a car in the St James' area of west Belfast.

St James
BBC

Mr Maskey said: "Those behind this incident have nothing to offer society and are not reflective of the local community."

Petition to save Rock Pool:

Down Recorder

The Down Recorder

reports that an online petition has been launched to saved an iconic outdoor sea water pool in Newcastle.

Rock Pool
BBC

Newry, Mourne and Down Council is suggesting closing the Rock Pool at South Promenade as part of a raft of cost cutting measures.

Scrabo sunset

It's a bit milder today which goes some way to proving the old adage, red sky at night, shepherd's delight.

Scrabo
Linda Hutchinson

This picturesque photo near Scrabo tower last night was sent in to us by Linda Hutchinson.

Courts warning

The chairman of a Stormont committee has said "we're for the courts" unless Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey produces a report by next Thursday,

Sinn Féin's Alex Maskey gave the warning after MLAs agreed to Mr Storey's request for an extension for the production of a report into allegations of political interference in Housing Executive contracts.

Belfast near top for tech

A tech nation report says that Belfast is home to the second top UK tech cluster, after Greater Manchester.

Science Park
NI Science Park

The rankings are based on the growth in average company turnover in the past five years.

Lurgan security alert over:

PSNI

Police have confirmed that the security operation in Lurgan has now ended.

Bomb disposal robot at alert
PAcemaker

Nothing suspicious in the Bells Row railway crossing area was discovered.

Domestic abuse

Chief Constable of the PSNI George Hamilton has told the Policing Board that 90 reports of domestic abuse are received every day.

Domestic Violence laws will now take into account emotional and psychological abuse
Thinkstock

Witch way to honour the occult?:

A call to honour

the last women found guilty of witchcraft in Ireland over 300 years ago has been made by author Martina Devlin.

witches
Getty Images

But there may be toil and trouble over plans to calls to put a plaque up at a new visitor centre in Islandmagee.

Queen's thrown out:

BBC Sport NI

Queen's University Belfast and Sligo IT have both been thrown out of the Sigerson Cup.

Sigerson
BBC

Both sides are accused of fielding ineligible players and both have three days to appeal the decision.

Allen aims to become German champ:

BBC Sport NI

Northern Ireland snooker player Mark Allen is beginning his first round match against Mark Williams

at the German Masters now.

Mark Allen
Getty Images

Last month, Allen reached the semi-finals of the Masters before being beaten by eventual winner Shaun Murphy.

Investigating links to Belfast alerts:

Police say they're investigating the possibility of a link between the planting of

three objects under cars in different parts of Belfast in the last 24 hours.

An Army bomb team was sent to the scene
BBC

A senior officer told the Policing Board that the investigations were at an early stage.

Railway line re-opened:

Trafficwatch NI

tweets:

Railway
Twitter

55 new jobs to be created:

Julian O'Neill

BBC News NI Business Correspondent

BBC News NI business correspondent Julian O'Neill

tweets:

Julian O'Neill
Twitter

'No one is above the law':

Chief Constable George Hamilton tells the Policing Board that "no one is above the law".

George Hamilton
PAcemaker

His comments were made after reports that

police are protecting the killers of a GAA official in Bellaghy.

Policing Board meeting:

The February Policing Board meeting will be taking place in the next few minutes.

A recent public meeting of the Northern Ireland Policing Board
BBC

You can follow it live by following

this link.

Explosion was a pipe bomb

Police say the explosion that damaged a car at St James Road in west Belfast was caused by a suspected pipe bomb type device.

west belfast pipe bomb
PAcemaker

The remnants of the device and the car have been taken for further forensic examination.

Reassurance call

DUP MLA Tom Buchanan has expressed concern that

95 pupils at Omagh Academy were administered an incorrect vaccine.

The DUP's Thomas Buchanan
BBC

Mr Buchanan said: "The trust must ensure that parents receive full information about what has happened and can properly reassure them that no-one has been placed at risk."

Tourism challenge

Chairman of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board Howard Hastings says that keeping tourism on its upward trajectory could become a lot more challenging.

Tourism NI will promote such attractions as the world famous Giant's Causeway in County Antrim
BBC

Northern Ireland Tourist Board's spending power will be reduced by over 60% due to a loss of EU funding and 15.12% savings.

Falklands veteran weapons charges

A former soldier has appeared in court on charges linked to the alleged seizure of improvised explosive devices and guns at his home in Whitehead.

John Rankin, from Edwards Street was charged with a total of five offences. The 52-year-old, who served in the Falklands War, admitted one charge but denied the other four.

Irish League suggestion:

Londonderry Sentinel

Londonderry Sentinel

reports on a suggestion that Derry City could rejoin the Irish League in Northern Ireland.

Tom Elliott
bbc

UUP MLA Tom Elliott asked Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín if funds were available for such a move.

Lurgan security alert latest:

PSNI

PSNI Craigavon

tweets:

Craigavon PSNI
Twitter