THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY Fund has published its twelfth and final review of Ireland’s bailout.The report describes the programme as being “completed successfully”, but stresses a number of challenges still facing the economy.Criticisms include a high level of public debt, an ‘unacceptably’ high level of unemployment, and banks being ‘weighed down by low-yielding mortgages’ and non-performing loans.Writing in the report, IMF Chair Christine Lagarde praised Budget 2014, saying it put public debt on a declining trajectory.However, her advice includes a focus on the mortgage arrears: To help revive lending and sustain a recovery in demand, efforts to resolve mortgages in arrears should be intensifiedShe stressed the need to tackle unemployment and offer more “training for jobseekers, together with steps to promote credit for SMEs”.‘Strengthened position’The report praises Ireland’s efforts during the bailout programme, such as bank “support, restructuring and downsizing” and intense fiscal consolidation efforts, resulting in a ‘suggestion’ of a recovery seen this year:Ireland has pulled back from an exceptionally deep banking crisis, significantly improved its fiscal position, and regained its access to the international financial marketsLagarde said the programme’s success was down to “steadfast policy implementation” by the government, and we leave the programme with a range of positive indicators.Read the review hereRead: What will life be like on Monday? The same, but families may benefit >Noonan: ‘The Irish people are the real heroes’ >
IF YOU’RE VERY lucky, last night saw Santa delivering tablets, phones, games consoles and all kinds of fancy gadgets and toys under your tree.But cast your mind back to a simpler time, when plastic soldiers, pastel ponies and Fisher Price reigned supreme.This Christmas Day we present an homage to great toys we’ve known and loved…1. The Fisher Price garage Source: ebay Source: ThrasherDave2. Green soldiers Source: supernova36883. Monchichi Source: Squarespace4. Scalextric Source: SlotForum 5. My Little Pony Source: ebay6. The Fisher Price tape recorder Source: WordPress7. Stretch Armstrong Source: Alex Beattie8. Perfection Source: Baby Source: © 2011 J. Ronald Lee9. The Fisher Price record player Source: Joe Shlabotnik 10. Subbuteo Source: ebay 11. Glow worm Source: ebay 12. Tin Can Alley Source: ebay13. Rainbow Brite Source: ebay14. Battleship Source: ebay15. Talking ALF Source: ebay16. Pac Man Source: splittyhead17. Play mat Source: etsy11 amazing things you used to get in cereal boxes>9 of the best Christmas ads from years gone by
QUENTIN TARANTINO HAS opened legal proceedings against the news and gossip website Gawker over a post that directed readers to a leaked copy of the Oscar-winning screenwriter’s latest movie.Tarantino’s lawsuit accuses Gawker Media LLC of copyright infringement for posting a link to the 146-page script for a planned film titled “The Hateful Eight” last week.A link to the script was posted on Gawker’s Defamer blog and remained active on this evening, despite demands from Tarantino’s lawyers to take it down, the lawsuit states.“There was nothing newsworthy or journalistic about Gawker Media facilitating and encouraging the public’s violation of (Tarantino’s) copyright in the Screenplay, and it’s conduct will not shield Gawker Media from liability for their unlawful activity,” the lawsuit states.An email sent to Gawker seeking comment was not immediately returned.Tarantino blasted the leak last week in an interview with Deadline.com and said he would abandon the project as a film. His lawsuit states he planned to publish the screenplay and that practice in the past has earned him hefty royalties and advances.His lawsuit states his damages as a result of the Gawker post will be more than $1 million.The leak of Tarantino’s script was initially limited to a few people, his lawsuit states, and “The Hateful Eight” script did not appear online until after Gawker posted an item encouraging anyone who had a copy to leak it to them.Tarantino has won screenwriting two Academy Awards for his films “Pulp Fiction” and “Django Unchained.” He also received best director Oscar nominations for “Pulp Fiction” and “Inglourious Basterds.”In October 2012, former wrestler and reality TV star Hulk Hogan sued Gawker after it posted a video of him having sex with the wife of his best friend. The site complied with a judge’s order in April to remove the video, but left a story and reader comments on its site.Read: VIDEO: Pulp Fiction Kerry Schtyle 2
I realise that not much can be done between now and the Estimates for 2014 but at least a process could be put in place and the services could be nailed down. Then we could go ahead with the sequential implantation and simultaneous implantation for those who are born from here on.Minister Reilly said that there are approximately 200 children in Ireland today who may be suitable for a second implant, and that the HSE is working closely with Beaumont Hospital to progress plans for both simultaneous and sequential bilateral implantation.He said that representatives from Beaumont Hospital, HSE management and the HSE’s audiology clinical care programme have met recently to discuss a joint process to identify the options for developing and resourcing a programme of simultaneous and sequential cochlear implantation.An important element of this process will be the development of clear clinical criteria to prioritise clients for assessment and follow-on implantation. Each child must be assessed to determine if he or she is suitable for a bilateral implant. The development of the service will require additional resources for Beaumont Hospital. I am pleased to report that these plans will be progressed through the HSE 2014 Estimates process.He said that “high priority” is being given to this matter and the department will have provision to undertake the bilateral implantations next year. “I do not want any child to miss out on the opportunity to have bilateral hearing and the same chances as other children,” said the Minister.The Estimates for this year do not allow us to immediately engage in bilateral implantations, although some have been carried out. It is a priority for me to start providing them next year and we will enter into negotiations with Beaumont Hospital in this regard.Read: “We are hopeful”: Cochlear implants campaign gets boost>Read: “It’s a shame”: Parents appeal for funding for cochlear implants> HEALTH MINISTER JAMES Reilly has said that providing children with bilateral cochlear implants in 2014 is “a high priority” for the government.Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams and Fianna Fáil TD Billy Kelleher both raised the issue of cochlear implants for children in the Dáil this week.Currently, children in Ireland who receive cochlear implants receive one, rather than two as is best practice in other countries.Deanna Cairns, whose son Billy has an implant, is part of the Happy New Ear campaign, which is run by parents seeking to have two cochlear implants set as standard in Ireland.HopefulShe told TheJournal.ie that they were very pleased with the mention of their campaign in the Dáil. She said the parents are hopeful that the Minister won’t go back on anything he said, and that they are not going to back down on their campaign.The Happy New Ear campaign met with Deputy Kelleher last week and had previously met Deputy Adams. They are hoping to hold a meeting with all of the TDs on 27 March, as they hope to “keep the pressure on”. “Until this is pushed through the door we can’t get excited,” said Cairns.A report on the situation is due in June. “We’re definitely making good progress,” said Cairns.Deputy Kelleher told the Health Minister he realises the budgetary position that Reilly is faced with, “but we must act if we are to allow children to reach their full potential”.
FOLLOWING THE SENTENCING of a boiler installer for manslaughter, the organisation which represents the domestic oil heating and cooking industry in Ireland has urged customers to be vigilant about using registered gas fitters.Brown who pleaded guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence of two school friends has been sentenced to four years in prison, with two years suspended.George Brown was also fined £19,000 at Belfast Magistrates Court today.Tragic incidentOFTEC Ireland Manager, David Blevings today issued important advice for householders to prevent tragic incidents like this happening again, stating:It was clear from this devastating case, that the very sad and untimely deaths of Neil and Aaron may have been prevented if the installation of the boiler had been carried out by a fully qualified and competence technician.He said “the best way to protect yourself from incidents like this is to make sure that any fuel burning appliance, whether it runs on gas, as was the case in Castlerock, oil or solid fuel, is installed by a fully registered installer”.CustomersBlevings said they should also be serviced regularly by a registered technician – for oil consumers, this is an OFTEC Registered Technician as they carry a flue gas analyser that can specifically check for carbon monoxide spillage.The sentencing of George Brown followed a large and complex two year investigation by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) and the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Criminal Investigation Department.The judge found Brown to have carried overall responsibility for the deaths of the two teenagers, explaining he was guilty of deploying workmen on boiler installation jobs who were not adequately qualified or trained to carry them out.Read: Gas fitter to spend two years in jail over deaths of two school friends>
Passengers are now being advised to come to the airport as normal and check with their airline.“We’re effectively as normal again with minor impact from the earlier incident,” a spokesperson said.The small aircraft did not crash as had been reported earlier.The Metroliner aircraft landed normally at Dublin Airport this morning before there was an issue with the nosewheel.Emergency services were on the scene almost immediately.Image of the scene at Dublin Airport this morning. Pic: Tony KinlanNiall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association ImagesNiall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association ImagesNiall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association ImagesUpdated 12.55pm DUBLIN AIRPORT IS operating as normal this afternoon after its main runway closed for a period earlier today following an incident involving a small cargo aircraft in which its nosewheel collapsed on the runway after landing.While the aircraft – which had two crew members on board – was disabled on the runway there were no injuries reported. You’ll never guess what cargo the plane was carrying… Read more here>
ITALIAN PROSECUTORS PRESENT their final arguments today at the close of Silvio Berlusconi’s trial for having sex with an underage prostitute and abuse of office in a legal storm that is shaking the government.The hearing is one of the last in a trial that began two years ago and relates to alleged crimes in 2010 when Berlusconi was still prime minister and revolves around alleged raunchy “bunga bunga” parties at his luxury residence outside Milan.Prosecutor Ilda Boccassini said in a live feed from the courtroom broadcast by news channel Sky TG 2:The women invited to the then prime minister’s private residence were part of a prostitution system set up for the personal sexual satisfaction of the defendant Silvio Berlusconi.Prosecutors are expected to request a sentence of at least five years in prison for the flamboyant billionaire tycoon, who was not present for the hearing, Italian media reported.A verdict could come later this month.AccusationsBerlusconi is accused of paying for sex on several occasions with Moroccan-born Karima El-Mahroug, a then 17-year-old exotic dancer nicknamed as “Ruby the Heart Stealer”.Boccassini said El-Mahroug, a teenage runaway who was initially spotted by a Berlusconi associate at a beauty contest in Sicily when she was 16, had become the prime minister’s “favourite”.It is also alleged that Berlusconi called a police station to pressure for her release from custody when she was arrested for petty theft. According to prosecutors, he did so because he was fearful she could reveal their liaison.Berlusconi, 76, denies all charges and says the trial is only the latest example of “judicial persecution” by left-wing prosecutors in Milan.The legal woes are straining relations within Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s grand coalition government in which Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party is a crucial coalition partner.Moderate leftist Letta reacted angrily over the weekend when Deputy Prime Minister Angelino Alfano attended a rally against the judiciary in which Berlusconi also took part on Saturday.Berlusconi has been under investigation or on trial since entering politics in the 1990s after a successful career in construction and media.Berlusconi says the gatherings at his home were elegant dinner parties followed by “burlesque contests” in a discotheque in the basement.Prosecutors and some of the attendees say the gatherings were hardcore strip shows and were followed by sex for money with some of the girls.They referred to the parties as “bunga bunga”.El-Mahroug has repeatedly denied sleeping with Berlusconi and complains she was not asked to testify by either the prosecution or the defence.But she boasted of their liaison to friends and telephone intercepts leaked in Italian media appear to show she had wanted a pay-off from him.Three of Berlusconi’s friends – a showbusiness agent, a former network anchor and a former regional assemblywoman – are on trial on pimping charges in a separate trial linked to the case.- © AFP, 2013Read: Thousands attend rally for Berlusconi – despite his conviction for tax fraud>
IT HAS BEEN just over 24 hours since Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine.Already there have been big moves at a diplomatic level, with pro-Russian separatists, Ukraine and Russia blaming each other and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon calling for a “full and transparent investigation”.Here we fill you in on what exactly has happened since yesterday: The German Chancellor has called for resolution on conflict in the region Source: Michael Sohn/Press Association09.15 GMT Friday – German Chancellor Angela Merkel urges an immediate ceasefire to the conflict in the Ukraine.09.34 GMT Friday – News emerges from Russia that the Ukraine missile system was active on the day of Malaysian jet flight.09.38 GMT Friday – Malaysia’s transport minister Liow Tiong Lai tells reporters that if flight MH17 was shot down, it is “an outrage against human decency”. A candlelit vigil is held outside the Dutch Embassy in Kiev last night Source: Nikita Yurenev/Press Association10.20 GMT Friday – Dutch flags are being flown at half mast today as the investigation into what happened continues. Source: AP/Press Association ImagesFriday morning – Reports emerge that 100 Aids experts were on the flight, heading to a conference in Sydney, Australia.https://twitter.com/WHO/status/490053995642511361A team of monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe are dispatched to the crash site, and rebel militants reportedly agree to allow them access.15.00 GMT Friday – The UN Security Council holds an emergency meeting on the disaster and calls for a “full, thorough and independent international investigation” into the crash.15.50 GMT Friday – Amnesty International calls for all sides in the Ukraine conflict “to cooperate in establishing the causes of the tragic incident”. A watch and a part of bracelet lie on a plastic cover at the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane crash site near the village of Rozsypne, Ukraine Source: AP/Press Association Images17.15 GMT Friday – An Irish-born woman has been confirmed among the passengers of Flight MH17.17.30 GMT Friday – US President Barack Obama says there was evidence that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile fired from rebel-held territory in Ukraine.18.20 GMT Friday – The AFP reports that America’s National Transportation Safety Board and FBI are preparing to send investigators to Ukraine.20.20 GMT Friday – Interpol says it will send a team to Ukraine within the next 48 hours to help identify the victims of MH17.20.45 GMT Friday – Buzzfeed’s Max Seddon has been tweeting details from the OSCE’s press conference on the crash, saying that the monitoring team had trouble accessing the site and questioning the whereabouts of the black boxes earlier reported recovered: A quick look on @flightradar24 and you can see the move away from Ukraine airspace pic.twitter.com/lS3OI5O8Ug— PLANEtalking (@PLANE_talking) July 17, 2014 10.15 GMT Thursday – The Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 departs from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport carrying 298 people to Kuala Lumpar.Thursday midday – Speculation begins online that a passenger plane may have crashed in Eastern Ukraine. Source: NDTV14.15 GMT Thursday – Ukraine aviation authorities inform Malaysian Airlines that they lost contact with the flight at about 30 miles from the Russia – Ukraine border. The flight was at 33,000 feet when it was shot down, 1000 feet above restricted airspace.Around 16.20 GMT Thursday – News comes through that passenger flight MH17 has crashed in East Ukraine. We are aware of reports on MH17. We’re gathering more information.— Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) July 17, 2014 Source: President of Russia/Twitter 22.52 GMT Thursday – Malaysian Airlines vice president Huib Gorter tells a press conference the nationalities of those on board the flight.Of the 283 passengers and 15 crew:154 were Dutch;27 were Australian;23 were Malaysian;Six were British;Four were German;Four were Belgian;Three were from the PhilippinesOne was from CanadaAround 50 passengers remain unidentified.01.00 GMT Friday – Malaysian Airlines System shares begin trading, falling by 17.8%.06.00 GMT Friday – A second recorder is recovered at the scene of the crash, according to a Reuters report. Pro-Russian separatists claimed to have found the Boeing 777′s black box on Thursday.Rebels controlling the area have pledged to allow international investigators into the site. Alexander Hug, deputy head of the OSCE mission, centre, gestures as he stands with mission representatives at the crash site today. Source: AP/Press Association Images- Additional reporting by Susan Ryan Follow all the developments on flight MH17 as they happen> OSCE have no idea who is controlling #MH17 crash site. Appears to be several small rebel groups with no leader. Fate of black boxes unknown.— max seddon (@maxseddon) July 18, 2014 One of the world’s most important flight path cuts over Eastern Ukraine. Hundreds of flights are expected to be affected by the incident. Malaysia Airlines has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow.— Malaysia Airlines (@MAS) July 17, 2014 Source: max seddon/Twitter Source: Boeing Airplanes/Twitter Moment of silence in honour of victims of plane crash over Ukrainian territory http://t.co/khkR3supaQ pic.twitter.com/qqHkn7hELL— President of Russia (@KremlinRussia_E) July 17, 2014 Source: Malaysia Airlines/Twitter Source: PlaneTalking/Twitter 18.14 GMT Thursday – French junior transport minister Frederic Cuvillier makes a statement that he has advised:French airlines to avoid Ukraine’s air space as long as the reasons behind this catastrophe are not known.
As far aw whales go, the Twitter Fail Whale is pretty well known. Now even Google wants some of the whale action of its own. The new Google eBooks‘ error page takes a literary spin on the Fail Whale with its “Whale Fail,” featuring the classic Captain Ahab and infamous Moby Dick.Poor Ahab can relate to the frustration and anger you feel when a error page pops-up, which you can clearly see from his disappointed, down-turned head and frustrated shoulders. With this little error page graphic,Google was clearly trying to appeal to both techies and bookworms. And I think it works. Call me Ish-fail.Via The New York Observer
That lovable vacant-eyed monkey, Julius, is back, and he wants to hold your iPod. Paul Frank and SpeakerCraft have just announced the Julius Dance Machine, an iPod docking station that promises high audio quality combined with creative packaging. It’s built so that Julius holds your iPod in his lap. It offers a rechargeable NiMH battery and is compatible with all iPod models. You’ll get up to six hours of playing time between chargings. It looks like the little guy’s ears are volume buttons.If you want to snap up this dock–and you might just want to, if you can’t find a good Hello Kitty model at an affordable price–check for it at Paul Frank retail shops or at PaulFrank.com. It lists for $99.95.
A new report claims that we could dramatically decrease our energy consumption by simply being a lot more efficient.The study, which was led by Julian Allwood from the University of Cambridge, looked at buildings and transportation and applied numerous efficiency improving techniques, including triple-glazed windows to keep the heat in, covering pans with lids while cooking, and even lowering the weight of cars to under 300 kilograms. The results showed that around 73 percent of global energy use could be eliminated simply by implementing these types of changes.“We think it’s pretty unlikely that we’ll find a good response to the threat of global warming on the supply side alone,” Allwood told New Scientist. “But if we can make a serious reduction in our demand for energy, then all the options [for changing the energy supply] look more realistic.”
Scareware came by its name honestly (or perhaps dishonestly). The particular strain of malware we are looking at here (distributed as UltraDefragger and SystemRecovery) attempts to ensnare unwary users by displaying sensational and frightening alerts.As Symantec recently discovered, the bad guys have added a new twist to their fake disk defragmentation tools: falsely notifying users that a hard drive is about to fail. Like so many other rogue applications, this “recovery tool” is designed to trick users into purchasing a paid application which can fix the problems that were detected. In truth, of course, there were no problems and there is no fix.AdChoices广告This malware goes beyond mere sensational alerts, however. Symantec notes that it moves files from All Users and the current Windows user’s profile into a temporary location, making it appear as though problems with the hard drive are causing files to disappear. It also disables a user’s ability to change wallpaper images and sets registry keys to hide certain icons — giving the impression that programs are going missing as well (check out the video to see it in action).If there’s one thing which incites panic in the average computer user, it’s the thought of losing important files. When a rogue application does as convincing a job as this one does, it’s really not surprising that the panic button gets pushed and purchases are made. So just how much would you have to shell out to undo the damage caused by this phantom hard drive crash? $79.50.Hang on to your money, people. This malware doesn’t remove any files, and it’s not going to “recover” anything if you pay for it. Instead, point your browser to www.malwarebytes.org or www.superantispyware.com and download a good, free malware removal tool and perform a full scan on your system. You’ll still be able to get your files back with a little bit of digging (just fire up the Windows search tool or open Windows Explorer and browse to %temp%\smtemp) and the malicious program will be uprooted with minimal fuss.More at Symantec
Today’s a big day at Verizon Wireless: the company is launching four new smartphones, all on the same day. The Droid X2 by Motorola, the LG Revolution, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, and the HTC Trophy all arrived today, each offering different features at different price points. The LG Revolution is the only 4G phone of the bunch, but the Droid X2 is the only one with a dual-core processor. The HTC Trophy is Verizon Wireless’ first Windows Phone 7 device, and the Xperia Play carries the exclusive PlayStation badge.The LG Revolution is the third 4G LTE device to arrive at Verizon Wireless. It has a 1GHz single-core Snapdragon processor under the hood, and a large 4.3 inch touch screen. The Revolution ships with Netflix for Android pre-installed, for all of your streaming video needs. It also ships with Bing Maps and Bing Search instead of Google Maps and Google Search, although you can install them from the Market. It’s available now for $249, with a two-year contract.AdChoices广告The Droid X2 represents an upgrade over the original Droid X by Motorola, which was Verizon’s flagship Android phone up until the HTC Thunderbolt was released. It carries a $199 price tag with a two-year contract. The X2 sports a dual-core processor based on Nvidia’s Tegra 2 chipset, and bumps up the screen resolution. Aside from that, the Droid X2 oddly lacks a 4G radio, meaning it’s a great upgrade option for people without 4G coverage or who aren’t interested n Verizon’s 4G LTE network, but everyone else will probably look elsewhere.The HTC Trophy is Verizon Wireless’ first Windows Phone 7 device. It’s been a long time coming, especially since Verizon Wireless has been teasing WP7 devices since the beginning of the year. The Trophy will feature a 3.8 inch screen and a 1GHz single-core Snapdragon processor under the hood. The Trophy is a global phone, and includes editing tools for Microsoft Office documents. The Trophy will set you back $149 with a two-year contract.Finally, the Xperia Play comes from Sony Ericsson, and Verizon is the first carrier to get it in the United States. The phone is an Android device, but is also a certified PlayStation device, meaning Sony’s shipping it packed with games like Madden NFL 11, The Sims 3, and Crash Bandicoot. The phone has a slide-out gamepad, a 1GHz single-core Scorpion processor, and a 4-inch screen. It’s available now for $199 with a two-year contract.At first blush, it looks like Verizon Wireless is offering three new Android phones and a Windows Phone, but all four devices are aimed at different buyers. Customers with 4G data coverage will naturally be drawn to the LG Revolution, while those without or who are looking for more horsepower in their phones will be more interested in the Droid X2. Mobile gaming fans will be more interested in the Xperia Play. Buyers interested in Windows Phone 7 but who don’t want to leave Verizon Wireless to get it will find a reprieve in the HTC Trophy.Even with a wide variety of options, Verizon still lacks the secret sauce: a dual-core 4G LTE Android phone – the one promised by Motorola in the form of the Droid Bionic, which we won’t see for another month at least.Read more at Engadget
E3 2011 was meant to be a big event for Nintendo. It was, after all, unveiling the successor to the highly-successful Wii console, and with it showing the world what the company would be focusing on for the next several years.But things did not go to plan. The Wii U was received with a lot of misunderstanding, head-scratching, and questions as to what exactly it was. The market didn’t like the Wii U either as Nintendo’s share price fell 5.7% on Wednesday then a further 4.6% yesterday.Nintendo president Satoru Iwata thinks he knows why: they put all the focus on the Wii U controller and only showed the actual console for a brief moment with not much detail attached about its innards.If you read any of the live blogs of the event you can see the confusion clearly. At first it looked like the controller was the console and Nintendo was lanuching a tablet for your TV. Although that was cleared up when a shot of the console was shown, the focus was all on that controller. This was a mistake Iwata has realized in hindsight, although he still thinks the Wii U was presented well.Iwata also believes a lot of coverage in the press got the console all wrong. He argues anyone who hasn’t played with the device can’t see how good it is. He believes Wii U, just like the Wii, has the potential to change people’s perception of what gaming can be.Read more at the London Evening Standard and IBTMatthew’s OpinionIwata can argue those that haven’t played the Wii U don’t understand it, but I see that as a failing of the presentation. If you can’t explain your device properly on stage, then something is wrong. Either the idea is too complicated or your presentation is flawed. In this case I’m hoping the presentation was poor as Nintendo engineers aren’t known for getting hardware wrong (although there was that incident with no backlight on the original GameBoy Advance).I have yet to be convinced by the potential of the Wii U. I just see a big and expensive controller attached to updated hardware that may be as good as the Xbox 360 and PS3. I should be excited about that controller, but I really can’t “get” how it works to enhance a gaming experience yet beyond what a normal controller offers.I would suggest Iwata plans a mini re-launch at the next big gaming event (Tokyo Game Show?) and this time make sure we all get it right off the bat.
When you’re paying for a capped data plan, why do you need to pay more to share that data with another device? The question baffles smartphone owners every day, but wireless carriers continue the illogical — but profitable — practice of requiring a tethering plan. For a brief window of time, iPhone owners were able to bypass that without jailbreaking their phones. A USB tethering app, iTether, was available in the App Store, but it has since been pulled.iTether shares an iPhone’s (or 3G iPad’s) data with a Mac or PC; it allows this without buying a tethering plan from your carrier. iOS users could download the app, install the corresponding PC/Mac software, and share their data. The app doesn’t have wireless hotspot functionality though, just USB.After barely 12 hours of making headlines, the $14.99 app was the second highest grossing iPhone app. Thousands of iPhone owners quickly grabbed it, anticipating its departure.How did iTether make it into the App Store? Wireless carriers prohibit such apps from being made easily available. Much like last week when a game subscription app briefly appeared, Apple let iTether slip through accidentally.One could speculate that some perceived slight by the carriers infuriated Apple and this was an intentional attack. It’s obviously a tethering app: the App Store description clearly described it as such. In order to miss it, an Apple employee must have been doped up on a considerable amount of tryptophan.But as much as we can hope that Apple is going to war over data rights, that isn’t the case. Apple has no love for the carriers, but it also has to play ball with them. Now it’s back to business as usual.via 9to5Mac
Though we live in a world where we have tiny little computers in our pockets that, depending on the type, can project images to a wall that feature a woman telling you that you’re her only hope, we don’t yet live in a world where we can attach light to a hilt and cut things in half with it. The world we do live in, though, contains handheld lasers that are so powerful that they can instantly set various objects ablaze. YouTube user styropyro took one of those very lasers, attached it to a lightsaber hilt, and burned some things like a true Sith Master would.The blue laser packs 3000mW, quite a bit more than the standard red laser pointer you use to bug people at the movies. It uses two lithium-ion batteries to maintain its worrying burning power. Styropyro, who is known as the DIY Laser Guy, said he doesn’t normally enjoy owning or operating a laser this powerful, but took one for the team so he could entertain his fans by setting a few things on fire.As demonstrated in the above video, the laser doesn’t vwinggg around as it moves through the air like a true lightsaber, nor does it start instantly or cleanly slice everything in half. However, the laser saber does quickly burn a hole through and set fire to most things put into its path, including paper, electrical tape, cardboard, a ping pong ball, and a thin wooden splint.The laser even pushes along a little toy car that runs on solar power, which won’t strike fear into the hearts of Jedi across the universe, but will maybe distract them long enough to sneak in some Force lightning.Depending on which Star Wars lore to which you adhere, the button on this laser saber might not sit well with you, but it’s one of the only consumer-grade products we currently have that comes close to simulating the Jedi’s favorite toy.For more terrifying-but-cool lasers, check out Styropyro’s YouTube channel.
By Sinead O’Carroll While Deputy Pearse Doherty of Sinn Féin was mostly concerned about why the fault was being laid on every single foot soldier, others were curious about the Medical Bureau for Road Safety’s contacts with gardaí about nonsensical data all the way back in 2014. Senator Frances Black floated the idea that the creators of the Phantom Breath Tests may – or at least could – have clocked up some overtime hours (and pay). Mick Wallace went straight for the person, asking, ‘Who is going to hold you to account?’The trio, as a team, batted the questions away.“Collective responsibility.”“Major programme of reform.”“We are turning over a lot of stones.”“If you look at the staggering figures that are there… I can tell you that they feel collectively embarrassed and sorry.”“The  conversation was about procurement, not at management level.”“I was almost single-handedly with five Assistant Commissioners running an organisation of 14,500.”“We have been brought up as police men and women – we want to get the facts before going public.”“It’s a very interesting question. We hold each other accountable in the first instance. There is a statutory framework there that can hold me to account.”Another repeated query: Why wasn’t the Policing Authority told about this?“An administrative error.”“It was a complete oversight that it wasn’t done. It was notified to the department, and to the Authority and we apologised.”There were a couple of bright spark moments for the non-uniformed in the room. Fianna Fáil’s Jack Chambers landed a couple of questions as he sought information on whether An Garda Síochána’s performance and bonus structures (roundly criticised by AGSI when they existed) could have encouraged some massaging of figures on behalf of the higher-ups.“What were the performance-related targets linked with bonuses paid to senior people? Could that have been the potential trigger for driving data upwards? Was that the trigger… to have maximised data outcomes?”Deputy, I’m not aware of the bonus payment scheme in relation to the members of the force but we can certainly check that out for you.“You were the Assistant Commissioner for Human Resource Management at the time.”Yes, I was. But I wasn’t aware of the bonus payment scheme… One of the deficits we have as an organisation is performance management and performance issues.The commissioners finally came up blank, telling the Castleknock deputy that they’d have to find out for him if there were any links between data and performance-related bonuses.A win of sorts for Chambers. His fierce questioning on cultural triggers paid off too and we got an hypothesis of sorts on why of this may have happened.“Can you give us an hypothesis about why, in your opinion, this may have happened? I understand you’re continuing an audit but surely as senior people in An Garda Síochána, you have some indication about how this happened in every part of this country, in every station.He pushed again.“Do you have any hypothesis at all about how this happened on such a systematic level?… What was the specific trigger within the force that drove this systematic failure? In your opinion, right now. And again.“Do you have an opinion? Do you have one? I asked for a hypothesis. Surely you have some hypothesis about what triggered this systemic failure. Surely you have some answer to that question.“I can’t give you a specific answer to be honest… I have a range of ideas,” responded Finn.“I’d like to hear some of them… Could you refer to some of your ideas?”“There may well have been individual locations…”“We know they weren’t individual locations, because we know it happened everywhere. I don’t want to hear about individualisation or specific divisions… What is your overarching hypothesis as an experienced member of the force on why this happened on such a systematic level…?”O’Sullivan swiftly stepped in to aid her Deputy, clarifying that she wanted to be careful because of the Assistant Commissioner’s impending inquiry.A hypothesis may well be… MAT checkpoints are a preventative measure. They are actually not designed to catch people. They are designed to encourage compliant behaviour… Perhaps, it wasn’t as valued as important as it was in terms of detections.“If you take it – and I would not like to detract from the really really good, diligent, professional, ethical work that is done by the men and women of An Garda Síochána every single day…“But a hypothesis may well be that the fact that this was a preventative measure, the accuracy and the importance of reporting the accurate numbers – be it 24 or 48 hours after a very busy period of time – it doesn’t lessen it, it doesn’t diminish it – but a hypothesis may well be that it wasn’t seen as important as being accurate in terms of the detection of offences.”There were even stickier questions to come as Clare Daly got the calculator out.400,000 doesn’t go into 1,000,000 too many times, she discovered.“You expect us to believe – and have stated repeatedly here – that there were 400,000 checkpoints carried out during that time. I put it to you Commissioner, ‘How in God’s name could that be possible?’ That would mean, in effect, that every checkpoint tested about 2.5 people.”Finn said he could stand over that particular number, saying all the checkpoints were validated.“I have no indication to say our checkpoint data is wrong. I have presented the data in relation to our breath test. I have verified that externally,” he added.Twomey confirmed that there are no set guidelines about how many drivers should be tested at any given site. Finn explained that MATs are often carried out at night and in rural locations. And not everybody is breathalised, either.O’Sullivan moved quickly away from numbers.“It is important to focus on the outcome and the purpose of the MAT checkpoints,” she said. “The purpose is to reduce road deaths and fatal collisions and that’s what we’re achieving.”It’s true but those in Leinster House weren’t enamoured.Daly said she felt “like the parent who finds the child with the biscuit jar and chocolate all over his mouth, sitting there saying, ‘It wasn’t me’”.Colm Brophy of Fine Gael wasn’t “interested in the excuses used four times already”.And his party colleague, Senator Martin Conway, summed up his opinion on whether O’Sullivan can restore the public’s confidence in just one succinct sentence.“If you do, you will have put Lazarus in the ha’penny place.”Read: Nóirin O’Sullivan calls country’s top officers to garda HQ and urges them to support her Friday 31 Mar 2017, 7:53 AM Want our daily report from the Disclosures Tribunal straight to your inbox? Sign up here: HOW DID GARDAÍ record 1,000,000 imaginary breathalyser tests on their official systems?Why did it take three years for the scale of the Phantom Breath Testing to become known?Who out of 14,500 officers is responsible for this game of make-believe?According to the most senior of garda management, the wizardry that magicked up the non-existent has been eradicated.So, what was the problem, you ask?Well, that’s the thing. They’re not quite sure just yet.But it is fixed.That’s why they took so long to tell us.“The initial action was to address the problem,” Deputy Commissioner John Twomey explained yesterday.“In April 2016, new measures were brought in to make sure the problem couldn’t occur,” he assured the numerous deputies and senators lined up at the Justice Committee, eager to be enlightened.The motley crew of cross-party members invited the Commissioner to the hearing to uncover more details around what happened within An Garda Síochána which led to almost one million alcohol breath tests that never happened being recorded. There was also the second controversy, which saw more than 14,000 drivers convicted without proper process, to deal with.Fresh and armed with questions at 9am, they faced an embattled Garda Commissioner, Twomey and – the man who can be credited for putting all these details in front of us – Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn yesterday.Cut to four hours later with only the one toilet break (and not a coffee in sight), it was the politicians who were battered, bruised, frustrated and frantically repeating words while, presumably, refraining from banging heads on tables. (Clare Daly might still be in Committee Room 1 asking, ‘What is the figure? What is the figure? What is the figure?’)Although they had the right questions, few were answered.“We haven’t got to the bottom of exactly what [happened],” O’Sullivan explained to Deputy Jim O’Callaghan, who wondered what ‘grave mistakes and wrongdoing’ the witness had earlier apologised for.“But what we do know is that the numbers do not match. Therefore the Assistant Commissioner [Michael O’Sullivan] has to establish how exactly this was done.She pondered out loud:Was it entered erroneously? Was it entered in error? What was it?Later, she conceded that these two controversies highlight ‘at best, incompetence and, at worst, deception’.And in a pre-prepared opening statement said, “Those mistakes and wrongdoings are unacceptable in policing terms, unacceptable in ethical terms, unacceptable in terms of public trust, and, most critically, unacceptable to the advocacy and support groups involved in road safety and to those who were wrongly brought to court.They have raised serious issues about how we managed the service, how certain Gardaí operated on the ground and their supervision. Given the scale of these issues, they can’t simply be blamed on one individual or one area. It is a collective failure. From top down to bottom up. Short URL 52 Comments Share291 Tweet Email3 http://jrnl.ie/3314545 Questions, unanswered: Scandals are ‘at best, incompetence and, at worst, deception’ Although many questions were asked, few were answered. Mar 31st 2017, 7:53 AM 16,037 Views Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article
By Fora Staff 10,453 Views https://jrnl.ie/3321211 16 Comments THE EU IS introducing new rules to cut down on ‘food fraud’ and prevent a repeat of the horsemeat scandal, which was first uncovered by Irish authorities four years ago.However there are concerns the regulations don’t go far enough, and that a scheme similar to the Republic’s country-of-origin labelling system should be rolled out across Europe.Earlier this month, the European Parliament voted in favour of introducing new food safety rules to help tackle so-called food fraud.The rules, which have already been approved by the bloc’s 28 member states, aim to improve food traceability, combat fraud and restore consumer trust in the food chain.They were a direct response to the 2013 horsemeat scandal, which saw meat products being pulled from supermarket shelves across several countries, including Ireland and the UK.The issue first came to light when the Food Safety Authority of Ireland said that beefburgers with traces of equine DNA were being supplied to supermarkets by a subsidiary of ABP Food, an Irish company owned by well-known businessman Larry Goodman.Under the new initiative, over a dozen separate sets of EU rules have been revamped and consolidated into a single EU regulation governing food and feed safety, and animal and plant health. Horsemeat was found in beef burgers Source: ShutterstockThis was due to the view that many national rules were overlapping and left too much leeway for member states to implement them in different ways.InspectionsThe new rules will result in more independent inspections, and a single EU-wide framework will apply to all official controls along the entire food chain, at all stages of production, processing and distribution.Member states will be obliged to introduce stricter penalties for fraudsters. The new law also includes better protection for whistleblowers. The new rules will come into effect from late 2019.Speaking to Fora, Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan said that food fraud is still “rampant” in certain products in the EU, such as fish.She said that the new inspections are a welcome development and will help Irish authorities tackle food fraud. However, she said she was concerned about how the new rules will be enforced.The EU Parliament recently approved a new trade deal with Canada, named CETA. This deal will allow Canada to sell large amounts of meat, including horsemeat, to the EU.Boylan said that Canadian food checks are not as stringent as those in the EU, and she added that the bloc has to be careful that poor-quality meat does not end up on shop shelves. “I think that the rules will help, and tighter inspections are always welcome (but) Canada has made cutbacks to inspections and to their food regulatory authority,” she said.“It is all well and good bringing in new EU rules, but is the EU capable of monitoring food coming in from third countries?” Lynn Boylan Source: Niall Carson/PA WireLabellingShe said that other countries should look to replicate Ireland’s food country-of-origin labelling system. Bord Bia has introduced a quality mark that certifies products were produced in Ireland and meet a high standard.Although voluntary, over 42,000 farmers and 150 food processors have signed up to the scheme. Thousands of farmers signed up for the scheme after companies like McDonald’s demanded Bord Bia-approved beef after the horsemeat scandal.“The industry has argued against country-of-origin labelling because they say that the cost to the manufacturer would be prohibitive,” Boylan said.“We can use Ireland as an example to show that farmers will opt into it voluntarily because consumers like to know where their food is coming from. Large retailers look for food with the Bord Bia logo now.“Country-of-origin labelling could be applied across the EU; it would tighten up the food chain.”Written by Paul O’Donoghue and posted on Fora.ie Take me to Fora Share26 Tweet Email1 Apr 3rd 2017, 10:58 AM Monday 3 Apr 2017, 10:58 AM Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire Get Fora’s NEW daily digest of the morning’s key business news: Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire Read: Ireland’s biggest business group is predicting an ‘exceptional job surge’ this yearRead: Why travel firms say consumer protection rules need to be brought ‘into the 21st century’ New laws are coming in to cut ‘food fraud’ and prevent another horsemeat scandal But the EU plan stops short of replicating Ireland’s country-of-origin labelling system. Short URL Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article
ONLY VHI CUSTOMERS will have access to VHI SwiftCare Clinics from 1 September.The health insurance provider says the decision was made to ensure its customers had speedy access to the facilities.VHI SwiftCare Clinics are Ireland’s first walk-in, urgent care clinics that provide treatment and advice for patients with minor injuries and illnesses.Director of Marketing and Business Development with VHI, Declan Moran, said “The VHI SwiftCare Clinics introduced to the Irish marketplace 12 years ago have become increasingly popular, to the point where VHI customers have sometimes struggled to access them.“The number of people availing of the service has grown year on year and this has caused us to evaluate how best to deliver services through these popular facilities.In order to ensure that our customers can continue to have speed of access to the VHI Clinics, we has taken the decision to operate the VHI Swiftcare Clinics for our customers only from 1 September 2017.As it stands over 100,000 VHI customers don’t have any cover for its swiftcare clinics but the insurance provider plans to introduce new benefits across all its health plans.Moran said, “In addition we have taken the decision to broaden cover so that all of our private health insurance customers have some cover when they visit a VHI Swiftcare Clinic.”The clinics in Dundrum, Swords and Cork are open 365 days a year from 8am to 10pm.The clinics are now fully owned by VHI Group following the clearance by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) of the acquisition of the 50% of the VHI Swiftcare Clinics previously owned by Centric Health in May.Read: There are 79 unemployment blackspots in Ireland, with Limerick worst affected> Jun 15th 2017, 12:46 PM 35,378 Views From September only VHI customers will be able to use VHI SwiftCare Clinics The health insurance provider wants to ensure its customers have speedy access to the facilities. By Cliodhna Russell 55 Comments http://jrnl.ie/3445536 Share515 Tweet Email11 Short URL Thursday 15 Jun 2017, 12:46 PM Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article
https://jrnl.ie/4534195 Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Deadlock Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement was rejected by the House of Commons by 230 votes in January this year – the largest defeat for a modern British government. After this defeat, which MPs said was based on an opposition to the backstop, May pledged that she would return to the European Union and ask for the changes needed to get her deal passed. Among the suggestions requested by the British side was a time limit on the backstop, or the power to withdraw from the backstop without the EU’s approval.However, despite numerous talks with the EU since then, little has changed in the withdrawal agreement with the Irish government and Brussels refusing to back down on the backstop.Downing Street has said that talks between the EU and UK are still deadlocked, the BBC has reported. It said that May spoke with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker last night after a weekend of negotiations failed to find a breakthrough.While there were reports that there would be delays, it is understood that MPs will tomorrow vote again on May’s Withdrawal Agreement. There are a number of different ways the vote could go. We’ve laid out all the possibilities here: Explainer: What on earth is going to happen in Westminster next week?‘Dreadful’Yesterday, the former Brexit secretary David Davis said Prime Minister Theresa May’s draft Brexit deal is “dreadful” and, in a way, worse than the UK’s current EU membership.“Frankly this deal is worse than current membership in one sense because we can’t get out of it,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. He said that it was “a dreadful deal on many, many counts”, but added that if the UK could leave the backstop whenever it chooses, that it might be “rescuable”. “I would love to be able to vote for it, if she gets the ability to pull out,” he said.Throughout this whole process, I’ve been trying to get the Prime Minister to keep the thing rescuable, and at one point in July decided it wasn’t. Davis said that EU leaders were “shocked” after the deal was rejected, and “that the language changed”.“The tenor of the language changed. Mr Varadkar’s language changed, Mr Juncker’s language changed, Mr Tusk’s… and then all of a sudden, three Cabinet ministers said ‘You’ve got to take no-deal off the table’, ‘You’ve got to have an extension’, and then it went back to being hard again.”Davis also said that he’s not hoping for a no-deal Brexit, but that it needs to be kept as a viable option “because it’s what keeps bringing the European Union back”.EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier repeated on Friday that the bloc could offer a legally binding statement confirming the backstop was only meant to be temporary.But this offer from Barnier is unlikely to be enough.“It is inevitable this unchanged withdrawal agreement will be voted down again,” two senior Brexit-supporting MPs, Steve Baker and Nigel Dodds, warned yesterday.With reporting by Christina Finn, Sean Murray, Gráinne Ní Aodha and AFP. The withdrawal agreement requires a compromise and this withdrawal agreement is already a compromise. 28,644 Views Share92 Tweet Email Short URL Image: Sam Boal via Rollingnews.ie Updated Mar 11th 2019, 2:30 PM “WE ARE APPROACHING the position of a hard Brexit,” according to Finance and Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe, following today’s Cabinet meeting which focused on Brexit. This morning, Donohoe said he met heads of Revenue, NTMA, Central Bank and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland to discuss their Brexit preparations this morning.He told reporters that a no deal will have a “sudden, immediate and negative effect”, but added that the economy is prepared and able to withstand a “sudden adverse shock”.“We are ready to act,” he added in a defiant tone, stating that preparations have been long underway. His comments come as Brexit talks between the UK and the EU are still deadlocked just a day before a crucial meaningful vote in the House of Commons.Yet again, this week will see the spotlight squarely on Westminster with MPs set to determine the course of the UK’s future with a series of crucial votes on Brexit. 67 Comments Simon Coveney confirms that Theresa May is travelling to Strasbourg this evening pic.twitter.com/mL9Y0NNhbQ— Christina Finn (@christinafinn8) March 11, 2019 Source: Christina Finn/Twitter Image: Sam Boal via Rollingnews.ie There are less than three weeks to go until the UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March, so the stakes couldn’t be higher.Tánaiste Simon Coveney appeared to confirm today that British Prime Minister Theresa May will travel to Strasbourg this evening, however others state that her travel plans have not been locked down as of yet. He said he hoped May and Jean Claude Juncker could reach agreement, though he said there are obstacles that still need to be overcome.Coveney added that this is not a case of the UK versus Europe, stating that “nobody is looking to trap anybody anywhere”.While the message about the impacts on Ireland were stark, Coveney remains hopeful that a no-deal Brexit can be avoided, though he admits, no one knows what may come. “We can’t be sure, of course, of anything in Westminster these days,” he said, adding that it is about putting together a package of measures that can give reassurances to the UK. Minister Paschal Donohoe says U.K. withdrawal from EU with no agreement would have a ‘sudden, immediate negative impact’ on the Irish economy pic.twitter.com/IDQS3ExAZz— Christina Finn (@christinafinn8) March 11, 2019 As the clock ticks down, get all the best Brexit news and analysis in your inbox: Speaking to reporters in Dublin earlier today, Varadkar said: “As I’ve always said, no deal is not a threat that the European Union or Ireland is making. The 29 March is a self-imposed deadline. The UK parliament can take the threat of no-deal off the table at any time.“If there is going to be an extension though, it has to be an extension with a purpose, and nobody across the European Union wants to see a rolling cliff edge where tough decisions get put off until the end of April, then until the end of May and then maybe until the end of July,” he said. Varadkar added that the prospect of the House of Commons vote being called off in favour of a new one “misses the point”. “I do hear some suggestion that the vote may be called off in favour of a new vote as a result of which the House of Commons would tell the EU what they want, that really misses the point. It’s far too late for the UK to tell us what they want. Monday 11 Mar 2019, 2:30 PM Mar 11th 2019, 8:21 AM By Hayley Halpin ‘We are approaching the position of a hard Brexit’ says Donohoe, as clock ticks down to crucial meaningful vote MPs will tomorrow vote again on British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement. Source: Christina Finn/Twitter