Morning top 5: China passes controversial national security law for Hong Kong

China has passed new controversial national security legislation for Hong Kong.

Officials in Beijing insist it is aimed at combating treason and terrorism, but pro-democracy campaigners are worried they’ll lose freedoms.

It’s been brought in following widespread protests across the territory last year.

The exact details of the new law are still unclear, and Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam has said it’s too early for her to comment.

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Hotel owners say a massive cut to the VAT rate and ongoing wage subsidies are needed to save up to 180,000 jobs in tourism.

Their trade group will speak to the Oireachtas Committee on COVID-19 this afternoon.

The Irish Hotels Federation says business this year is going to be down 74% on last year, and the sector needs a targeted bailout.

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The National Public Health Emergency Team says it is noticing a “worrying trend” of COVID-19 cases increasing and new clusters emerging.

Some cases last week resulted in the need to test over 20 people as close contacts of individual cases.

No new deaths linked to the virus were reported last evening – but 24 more cases have been confirmed, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 25,462.

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An English city is being kept on a more restrictive lockdown regime than the rest of the UK after a spike in COVID-19 cases there.

Schools are being shut down again in Leicester, along with bars and some non-essential shops.

It’s the first time a localised lockdown’s been imposed in Britain – a measure that hasn’t been ruled out in Ireland for a regional cluster.

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Green Party councillor Hazel Chu has been elected as Dublin’s Lord Mayor, becoming the ninth woman to hold the post.

She takes over from Fianna Fáil’s Tom Brabazone.

Hazel said clean air, transport and homelessness would be her priorities.

Main image: A government staff walks past a big banner featuring the Hong Kong National Security Law at the government headquarters in Hong Kong. Picture by: Vincent Yu/AP/Press Association Images

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