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Staff and shoppers had to be evacuated after a fire broke out on the 5th floor of the historic Primark Bank Buildings in the Castle Street/Royal Avenue area of Belfast.
Currently 14 fire appliances and 80 firefighters are attending the blaze which is believed to have started shortly after 11am.
In videos shared on social media, flames can be seen bellowing from lower parts of the building.
A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue service tweeted saying the incident is likely to continue throughout the day also advising residents and businesses in the City Centre to keep windows and doors closed.
It’s understood the high street store was seeking to hire 100 new employees following an 30,000 sq ft extension to the rear of the property at a cost of £30m.
Motorists are asked not to use Bridge Street, High Street, Castle Street, Queens Street, Royal Avenue and North Street to allow fire crews to deal with the blaze.
Irelands first Super Budget easyHotel has opened it’s doors to welcome guests this week, With an investment of £5 million, 60 jobs have been created during construction work which began on the 200 year old building Dax House over 18 month ago.
David Crowe and Kevin Baird, the two men behind this first super budget hotel in Belfast, are keen to point out that although a low cost option it won’t skimp on quality. The easyHotel model is designed to cater for the increasing number of travellers who want simple comfort, a central location and great value to allow them to get out to explore all the experiences cities have to offer.
Speaking about the hotel during construction, David said; “We believe Belfast is ready for this hotel and this brand. As a super budget hotel I’m very proud of the quality of this hotel, which will offer rooms at a reasonable price.
easyHotel Belfast has 81 bedrooms across four floors, free WIFI throughout, with the option of family rooms, double rooms, superior rooms and wheelchair accessible rooms. All bedrooms are air-conditioned, fully heated and have en-suite showers. TV, luggage storage, early check-in and late check-out are available at an additional cost.
The easyHotels brand is already well established across the UK and Europe with hotels in London, Manchester and Barcelona.
The easyHotel model follows easyJet where transactions are online or via mobile app. Book online easyhotel Belfast or booking.com
Hollywood Actor Liam Neeson has been spotted in a Belfast shopping centre, filming scenes from upcoming romantic drama ‘Normal People’.
The Northern Ireland born actor spent the morning filming inside a coffee shop at the Forestside retail complex with fans taking to social media in excitement.
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‘Normal People’ It is written by award-winning Northern Irish playwright Owen McCafferty, making his feature-writing debut.
Other Hollywood superstars including Jude Law, Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Blake Lively, Ruth Wilson, Michael Cain, Bill Nighy, Adrian Dunbar and Jonathan Rhys Myers are all allegedly in the Republic or North Ireland working on different projects.
Thousands of people took to the streets of Belfast support the LGBT+ in the largest cross-community event in Northern Ireland. Belfast Pride parade, now in it’s 27th year the theme for this years parade was ‘Come Out For Change’.
While unlike the Republic of Ireland, Here in Northern Ireland there has been little or no progress on the issues that affect the LGBT community including Homophobia, Transphobia, Bullying, Gender Recognition Rights, Fertility Rights, Mental Health and Marriage Equality.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland director of Amnesty International, said the march is still very much a protest in Belfast.
"Pride is always the most colourful day of the year in Belfast. This year it is bigger and brighter than ever," he said.
Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where same-sex marriage is not recognised.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) also took part in Belfast Pride for second time in uniform joining cross-border counterparts from Garda Síochána.
A serving police officer, said Pride 2017 was a highlight for many of his colleagues;
"Many of the PSNI LGBT Network have said that the public's reaction was one of the stand-out moments of their careers within the PSNI, and some of those officers are quite senior."
Thousands of same-sex marriage supporters have taken to the streets of Belfast to demonstrate their support for equal marriage rights in Northern Ireland.
The rally marks three years since the Republic of Ireland voted overwhelmingly in favour of equal marriage rights.
Northern Ireland is currently the only part of the British Isles which still denies same-sex couples the right to marry. LGBT rights in NI are currently in limo despite overwhelming public support and in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
During the most recent vote in November 2015, MLAs supported same-sex marriage, with a slim majority of 53 votes to 52.
However, it was blocked by the DUP using a measure known as a petition of concern.
Posting on social media ahead of the Love Equality NI rally, Labour MP Conor McGinn who is originally from South Armagh said: “I’m looking forward to traveling from sunny St Helens across to Belfast for the Love Equality rally this Saturday.
“We can’t guarantee the weather but we can guarantee a great day, a really important cause championing the rights of LGBT people in Northern Ireland.”
Earlier this month the St Helens Member of Parliament urged Theresa May’s Conservative, DUP backed government to “get of the fence” and support change ahead of the second reading of a private members bill calling for introduction of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.
Marches also took place in Northern Ireland’s second largest city Derry/Londonderry.
Stellify Media, the makers of Can't Touch This and Blind Date, need people to be part of the studio audience this week for a show called Chicken.
Filming dates are Wednesday, April 11 to Saturday April 21, except Sunday, April 15.
Attendees must be able to stand for periods of time during filming
In order to register people need to email firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be in touch to confirm the details.
Filming of the show is outside Belfast with return coach travel from Belfast City Centre will be provided. It will collect in Belfast at 12.30pm and return to the City Centre by 7pm.
You will be provided with a light lunch, glass of wine or beer, and a warm up show by Micky Bartlett.
Sainsbury’s has announced that it plans to boost the base rate of hourly pay across its stores from £8 to £9.20 as part of a £100m investment plan.
The retailer on Tuesday said that in London, it will increase the hourly rate of compensation to £9.80. The pay rises will mean that Sainsbury’s has increased the base rate of pay by 30 per cent, from £7.08 per hour back in 2015.
“The retail sector has never been more competitive and we know that our customers really value our colleagues and the excellent service they provide in our shops,” Sainsbury’s retail and operations director Simon Roberts said. “We believe the proposed changes will set us up to run the best shops in the industry, delivering the best possible service for our customers.”
As part of the investment, Sainsbury’s said that it would offer all of its 130,000 store staff new contracts with the aim of ensuring “consistency and fairness across all stores, regardless of age or length of service”.
It said that it would streamline operations, by reducing the number of role types from 22 to five: trading assistant; food services assistant; online assistant; general merchandise and clothing assistant; and services assistant. I will also get rid of a discretionary bonus scheme for hourly paid workers, and paid breaks.
Some workers currently get a discretionary bonus that’s performance linked, though not all. Breaks had up until now been paid and while workers will still be entitled to take breaks in compliance with the law, those will no longer be paid. A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said that many other UK retailers already don’t pay staff for breaks.
The company said that “a small proportion of colleagues may be adversely impacted by these proposals” and that to support these it “plans to make top-up payments for 18 months to ensure that no colleague earns less than they do today during this time”.
A consultation on the proposed changes begins on Tuesday and will last over the coming months. If the plans are approved, staff will get the new rate of pay from September onwards, Sainsbury’s said.
Trade union Unite responded by saying that, for workers, the proposal does not look attractive.
“Our members will have to make a number of 'sacrifices' to secure this rate of pay which includes the removal of paid breaks and Sunday premium pay, as well as a number of changes to the attendance policy,” Bev Clarkson, the union’s acting national officer for food and drinks, said.
“Unite believes these ‘strings’ will offset any rise in basic pay. We will be holding a consultative ballot of our members at the end of the month,” she added.
“We are recommending rejection and will decide on the next steps after our members have expressed their views in the consultative ballot, which should be known by the end of April.”
Hollywood blockbuster Titanic turns 20 years old this year - and the Titanic Belfast is doing something incredible to celebrate.
The tourist attraction is holding a Movie Month, with a lineup of incredible events to mark the special occasion.
They're also offering free entry to anyone who shares the same name as the film's two lead characters.
So from November 19 to December 19, anyone who has the name Jack or Rose can enter the tourist attraction for free.
And different variants of the names, like Jacques and Rozycka, can also nab the offer.
See if your name is on the list here:
People hoping to get in on the deal should bring a birth certificate, passport or driving license to ensure their entry.
Titanic told the epic story between Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet) on the ill-fated ship.
It went on to win 11 Oscars after its release, including best film.
The rest of the location's Movie Month programme kicks off with a red-carpet movie-themed Titanic Afternoon Tea and Movie Experience on November 19 and again on December 19.
They're also hosting the Titanic Drive-In Movie Experience on November 29, where fans will get the chance to watch the movie under the stars at the exact spot where the original ship was designed, built, and launched.
For a full programme of events, and for full Terms and Conditions visit www.titanicbelfast.com
One of Europe’s leading airlines, easyJet has confirmed a milestone for expansion at its Belfast base, with the introduction of an A320 aircraft- the sixth aircraft to be positioned at the airline’s Northern Ireland base.
From summer 2018, easyJet say they will operate more than 32 flights per day between Belfast and London.
An additional 6,000 seats has also been added for routes this winter.
The airline company will introduce a new A320 aircraft which is scheduled for delivery in June 2018, this new aircraft will remain based in Belfast throughout the year.
UK Commercial manager for easyJet, Ali Gayward said: "We are absolutely delighted to be celebrating further expansion at Belfast Airport. The addition of another aircraft will help us to deliver long term, sustainable growth at the base providing passengers with a greater range of destinations, all with low fares and great service.
"easyJet is the largest airline in Northern Ireland and we have been committed to Belfast airport for over 19 years. We are proud to have carried over 50 million passengers in that time."
Graham Keddie, Managing Director at Belfast International Airport, said: "We are pleased once again to acknowledge easyJet's strong focus on developing the UK market by adding a sixth aircraft to their Belfast base.
"As Northern Ireland's leading airline they continue to be a strong supporter of the local economy creating even more capacity and choice for Northern Ireland consumers.
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