I OFTEN GET asked what I do for a living. The question is usually followed by an awkward pause. How best to answer it? Do they mean what did I used to do or what am I doing now?I suppose there is no right or wrong answer. Perhaps the two are inextricably entwined as the way that I derive the majority of my income is through talking about my experiences at the bank many years ago and those since in recovering and rebuilding.Over the years, since my return, I have become a competent after dinner and keynote speaker. I hate to use the words accomplished or good as that is not for me to decide. I speak around the world and have shared the stage with some very famous people and, equally, so many ‘normal’ people who have had fascinating experiences.The words motivational and inspirational are often used when describing a speaker; I am neither. There are many business gurus who are included in this genre, I’ve spoken with and to them and to be honest I just don’t get it. Yes, they’ve had fantastic success and are business people to be admired but most have the personality of a dead fish. I just don’t get how they inspire and motivate.There was a speaker recently though that I did find truly inspirational. I may have had some difficulties in my time but nothing compared to what this man had to endure and eventually overcome.His name meant nothing to me before I met him, although it should have. Our paths would never have crossed other than both being in Gothenburg in Sweden to talk at a conference last month. We were introduced on the 50th floor restaurant of a fairly palatial hotel in the City. He was quiet, very unassuming but the first thing that you notice is that part of his right arm is missing.“The subject of the movie 127 Hours”I suppose that’s not totally unusual but the circumstances in which he lost his arm most definitely are. The gentleman’s name was Aron Ralston; author of the book Between a Rock and a Hard Place and also the subject of the movie 127 Hours. I’d seen the movie. I watched it with my wife but as she persevered I had to give up half way through. I am a complete wimp when it comes to watching movies; I think the PG certification on movies was introduced solely for me. I don’t watch anything that’s scary, has too much suspense or is overly squeamish. This movie had me beat well within the first 30 minutes. I joked with Aron that at least now I might be able to finish the story, listening to him the following day as he addressed the audience.Aron is a fantastic story teller; he graphically recounts how when he was out hiking and descending a slot canyon, a suspended boulder got dislodged, crushing his right hand and pinning him to the wall. As he hadn’t told anybody about his hiking plans he was painfully aware that nobody would be searching for him.As he tells the story, he relives every single moment of it; the pain is clearly etched on his face. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as he recalled the thought processes that he went through, wondering how he would survive on the small amount of water and food that he had on him that day.As he runs out of water on the fifth day he has to start drinking his own urine and use that same urine to soften up the last remaining morsel of burrito that was his only nourishment. He tried and failed to amputate his arm on a number of occasions. He made videos of himself saying goodbye to his family and apologising for things that he had done in the past.On the fifth day, he realised that he may succeed in breaking his radius and ulna bones and continuing the amputation from there. His description of cutting through the nerves in his arm will never leave me. This gruesome act performed, Aron still needed to rappel down a 65-foot sheer wall, one-handed and hike out of the canyon in the hot midday sun before he was truly saved.“This reminds me a lot of the Irish nation”Aron Ralston is a truly inspirational man. In my own way before I have described how we all have the power to survive. Aron is far more proof than I will ever be. As a number of people fainted in the audience I was struck at how easily he moves from the obvious pain that he remembers from those times to how his wit and humour could have people laughing in the aisles.Laughter and humour are very important coping strategies and this reminds me a lot of the Irish nation. With many difficulties to face and the situation getting tougher, I think of the oft-quoted phrase ‘It’ll be grand’.In 2009, Aron got married and his wife gave birth to their first child in February 2010. If you ever have the chance to meet Aron, you will see that the love and affection that he has for his family and especially for that young boy is completely overpowering. I don’t shed a tear often but there are times when we should, this was one of those.Read other columns by Nick Leeson>
HENRIETTA ST IN Dublin was once home to the rich, the playground of people who could afford to live in grand redbrick Georgian houses that showed off their wealth and high standard of living.But as the newly-built suburbs became the preferred stomping ground of the elite, the homeowners left and the price of the buildings dropped.They soon went into the hands of landlords, who tried to fit as many residents as they possible could into the homes.Number 14 Henrietta St is an example of a home that was changed considerably so that more people could live there. What is now a front room once was a space that held a grand, wooden staircase, which led upstairs to the main rooms, as Dublin City Council’s Heritage Officer Charles Duggan explained:(Video TheJournal.ie/YouTube)The ceilings and walls still bear the traces of their salubrious past, with ceiling cornices and the remnants of wall hangings still visible.There are pockmarks from where people hammered in nails, and even some pieces of wallpaper still stuck to the walls.Visting Henrietta St today is like stepping into a portal to the Ireland of the past, but a place that isn’t so far removed from where we are now.It’s a look at two contrasting parts of society, the rich and the poor, and a reminder of the decades of social change that have taken place in Ireland.(Video TheJournal.ie/YouTube)Phyllis Radburn was one of the people who lived on Henrietta St. Click here to hear her story. Read: “The street was my playground”: A journey back to the tenement days>Read: Georgian cellars to be filled in during Luas Cross City construction>
PROJECT EVERGREEN, Project Stone, Project Sand. Three of the operational names give to portfolios of loans grouped together by the special liquidators of IBRC as it seeks to sell them as part of the wind-up of the nationalised bank.Project Evergreen, which is made of the the main Irish corporate loans and is valued at €2.5 billion, completed a bidding process last Friday.As part of the bidding process, Evergreen was divided into 13 separate ‘borrower connections’ and one remaining portfolio and sold as part of an open auction process.The process has now been concluded and represents the first portfolio of loans by the former Anglo Irish Bank brought to the market.The special liquidators say they received bids exceeding the independent valuations of the loans in 10 of the 13 borrower connections and for the portfolio.Contracts have been completed in a number of these with other successful bidders also contacted.The remaining three connections are expected to be transferred to NAMA and comprise about 16 per cent of the value of overall portfolio.Among the loans sold was corporate debt of broadcaster TV3 whose IBRC loans were bought TV3’s long term shareholder Doughty Hanson.A spokesperson for the special liquidators said that there was “strong market interest” in the process which was “designed to maximize value and resulted in competition among bidders”: The special liquidators are pleased with the outcome thus far which reflects the market interest that has been evident since the commencement of the special liquidation. Other portfoliosA second group of loans have already been brought to the market with ‘Project Sand’, comprising mostly mortgage loans with a value of approximately €1.8 billion, this process commenced at the start of this week.‘Project Rock & Salt’, comprising mostly commercial real estate loans written through IBRC’s UK branch and subsidiaries, valued about €7.3 billion, will commence bidding on 10 January.Irish commercial real estate loans valued at €9.3 billion and grouped under ‘Project Stone’, concluded indicative offers yesterday. A smaller portfolio of similar loans named ‘Project Pebble’ will concluded next week.Read: NAMA meets ‘major milestone’ with redemption of €500m in senior bonds >Read: High Court dismisses TD’s challenge to Anglo promissory note deal >
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPhIkl6GOdkTHE WHITE HOUSE undergoes a transformation at Christmas time thanks to the help of US army veterans and military families.The above video released by the White House today gives an insight into the huge task of decorating 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC.This year a total of 83 volunteers gathered just after Thanksgiving with the tinsel and ornaments for the various trees around the White House.Some 70,000 people visit the historic building over the holiday season so it’s important to make a bit of a fuss.They’ll also get a glimpse of a magnificent 300-pound gingerbread version of the White House, including mini versions of the Obama dogs Bo and Sunny.Check out how it was made: Read: Obama pardons Popcorn, the National Thanksgiving turkey
ROMANS DINED ON an intriguing list of food stuffs, including giraffe legs, pink flamingos, sea urchins and exotic Indonesian spices, a new study has claimed.Teams of archaeologists from the University of Cincinnati have spent more than 10 years at excavations in Pompeii, near Naples in southern Italy, finding deposits which date as far back as the fourth century.The researchers believe their discoveries in the famed city, which was buried under a volcano in 79AD, “wipe out the historic perceptions of how the Romans dined”.They now say that the lower classes did not scrounge for soup and gruel while those with wealth ate lavishly and luxuriously. However, lines can still be drawn between socioeconomic classes by examining their diets.Lead researcher Steven Ellis presented his findings at the joint annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) and American Philological Association (APA) in Chicago earlier this month.“The traditional vision of some mass of hapless lemmings – scrounging for whatever they can pinch from the side of a street, or huddled around a bowl of gruel – needs to be replaced by a higher fare and standard of living, at least for the urbanites in Pompeii,” he said.Ellis and his team have worked on the excavation of two city blocks within a non-elite district of the city, producing a complete archaeological analysis of homes, shops and businesses at a once-forgotten area inside one of the busiest gates of Pompeii, the Porta Stabia.The area covers 10 separate building plots and a total of 20 shop fronts, most of which served food and drink. The waste that was examined included collections from drains as well as 10 latrines and cesspits, which yielded mineralised and charred food waste coming from kitchens and excrement. The discoveries in the drains was an abundance of the remains of fully-processed foods, especially grains.“The material from the drains revealed a range and quantity of materials to suggest a rather clear socio-economic distinction between the activities and consumption habits of each property, which were otherwise indistinguishable hospitality businesses,” says Ellis.Findings revealed foods that would have been inexpensive and widely available, such as grains, fruits, nuts, olives, lentils, local fish and chicken eggs, as well as minimal cuts of more expensive meat and salted fish from Spain. Waste from neighbouring drains would also turn up less of a variety of foods, revealing a socio-economic distinction between neighbors.And further down the street, there were even more upmarket items to be discovered.A drain from a central property revealed a richer variety of foods as well as imports from outside Italy, such as shellfish, sea urchin and even delicacies including the butchered leg joint of a giraffe.“That the bone represents the height of exotic food is underscored by the fact that this is thought to be the only giraffe bone ever recorded from an archaeological excavation in Roman Italy,” continued Ellis.“How part of the animal, butchered, came to be a kitchen scrap in a seemingly standard Pompeian restaurant not only speaks to long-distance trade in exotic and wild animals, but also something of the richness, variety and range of a non-elite diet.”Read: Here’s a museum that tells blind visitors: Please touch!Hidden Ireland: Ready to meet Ireland’s very first farmers?
GAY SWITCHBOARD IRELAND is now in its 4oth year of operation and a new website has been launched to mark the anniversary.The phoneline, which began as Tel-A-Friend in 1974, offers support and a listening ear to members of the LGBT community.Gay Switchboard Ireland say that LGBT people regularly face stigma and isolation and point to a 2013 study by the Royal College of Surgeons which said that they are more than seven times more likely to have experienced suicidal ideation.They also say that a recent UK report showed that over 40 per cent of young gay people have considered suicide.Minister for Communications Pat Rabbittee will tomorrow visit the Outhouse LGBT Community Centre on Capel Street in Dublin to launch the new website.“The fact that Gay Switchboard has existed for 40 years demonstrates a need that clearly remains valid today,” Rabbitte said after meeting staff of the phoneline in Leinster House this afternoon.The service runs seven days a week and the volunteers who staff it answer about 2,700 calls each year.Director of Gay Switchboard Tony Cooney said that they have recently expanded their service with a weekly face-to-face drop-in service.“We will shortly commence a series of personal development courses for gay and bisexual men in partnership with the Gay Health Network,” he added.Gay Switchboard Ireland is open seven days a week on 01-872 1055 -and provides confidential listening and support service for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community as well as their friends and family. Read: ‘Legal clarity for surrogate and LGBT parents by year end’ – Shatter >Read: ‘Gay marriage caused floods’ councillor suspended in Britain >
ARGENTINE FOOTBALL LEGEND Diego Maradona says the fabled “hand of God” was at work once more in delivering the papacy to his country.“What joy,” Maradona wrote to Italian daily Il Messaggero. “In my country the ‘hand of God’ has now brought about an Argentine pope.”Maradona, whose handball goal helped Argentina to beat England and pave the way to World Cup glory in 1986, described himself as a “fervent Catholic”.“Having a pope from our country is a great honour for all of Argentina,” he wrote in the letter published today.Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the first Latin American pontiff, defied expert predictions with his election last night, becoming Pope Francis.- © AFP, 2013Look who’s on the back of buses in Hollywood…Photoshop: Diego Maradona gives new Pope his blessing*
A MAN HAS died after a serious two car collision in Thurles, Co Tipperary on Friday night.At approximately 10.40pm the 22-year-old was seriously injured when the car he was driving collided with a second car on the N75 at Rathmanna, Thurles.He was taken by ambulance to South Tipperary General Hospital with serious injuries and later transferred to Cork University Hospital where he was pronounced dead late last night.The driver of the second car, who was also aged 22 years, was taken to hospital with minor injures and later discharged.Forensic collisions investigators carried out a full technical examination at the scene and Gardai in Thurles are appealing for witnesses to contact them.Anyone with information is asked to contact Thurles Garda Station 0504 25100, or the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111.
Updated, 18:30IT’S NOW VIRTUALLY certain that national bus services will be disrupted tomorrow, as a result of strike action of members of a union which represents nearly half of its entire workforce.Bus Éireann said this evening it was “highly unlikely” that it would be able to enter meaningful talks with the National Bus and Rail Union before its members begin an all-out strike at midnight.Members of that union, which represents around 1,100 of Bus Éireann’s 2,500 staff, are disputing plans to increase working hours and refuse some shift payments – measures recommended by the Labour Court and aimed at saving €5 million this year at the loss-making bus operator.While Bus Éireann said it remained available for talks, to date it had “not received any credible and viable alternatives from the trade unions that will provide the same level of savings as outlined in the Labour Court recommendation.”The operator said it could not predict how many services would be disrupted, as it was prepared for the prospect of members of other unions refusing to pass picket lines mounted by their colleagues.“Bus Éireann will do its upmost to maintain as many services as it can on Sunday as long as it is safe to do so,” it said, advising passengers intending to travel tomorrow to check its website in the morning for updates, and apologising for any inconvenience caused.While the operator lost €6 million last year, and continues to lose €500,000 a month, workers have argued that the plans would see them lose between €3,000 and €4,000 each every year – though Bus Éireann itself claims the measures would protect jobs and core pay.SIPTU organiser Willie Noone had not responded to requests for comment on whether SIPTU workers, who represent the bulk of the remaining staff, would present for work tomorrow.Additional reporting by Hugh O’ConnellRead: Bus Éireann workers to strike from SundayBus Éireann warns: Bring in pay cuts or we could end up breaking the law
A TEAM OF SCHOOLBOYS from Dublin have won a European award for building a robot and app to remind people to take vital medicines at regular intervals throughout the day.The boys from Jobstown in Tallaght took a top award at the First Lego League robotics tournament in Paderborn in Germany, beating 52 teams from 34 countries to win an award specifically recognising their team spirit.The team of seven boys – aged between 11 and 16 – designed and built a Lego robot, which worked with a smartphone app which alerted elderly people that it was the appropriate time to take their daily medication.The app, which works through voice recognition, also reminds users of their appointments and other daily tasks.The boys clubbed together at the Citywise after-school robotics club in Jobstown, and went forward to the European title having won the Irish title in January.“What really impressed the judges was the way the lads worked together, their continual good spirit and their good humour despite the pressure of competition,” said team-co-ordinator Christopher Smyth.“They were a real team,” he added.Team member 16-year-old Himanshu Singh, from Ard Mór, said the standard of robots at the competition had been very high – but that the team had learned a lot from the experience and hoped to use its new knowledge in next year’s contest.The team was sponsored by software firm SAP Ireland, which employs 1,200 people across Ireland, and whose staff helped to train the team.Read: Disney has a creepy new robot you can play catch with
Twitter/VeeHeartrush_ox5. Duke and Allie in The NotebookSeriously. Not able.videogum.com6. Marley in Marley and MeSo *sob* faithful *weep, slobber*.Twitter/hilaryduffelbag7. Bambi’s mother“We made it, mum!” Oh no. Oh no you didn’t.fanpop.com8. Jack Dawson in TitanicOK, so he’s a little annoying in retrospect. But if this didn’t make you weep like a garden hose as a teenager, your heart is a shard of Arctic iceberg.Twitter/ThingsIGrewUpOn9. Carl’s wife Ellie in UpOfficially the most heart-rending montage of all time.Hold us.Twitter/abbie_yuleCheck out the real life Moe’s Tavern, Kwik-E-Mart and Krusty Burger!>The 38 best rollercoaster poses of all time> WE SHOULD PROBABLY warn you that this contains spoilers. Death-related spoilers.But not for Game of Thrones. Anyway, here are the most traumatic on-screen deaths:1. Mufasa in The Lion KingDad. We gotta go home.*BAWL*Twitter/Renzo_Soprano2. Littlefoot’s mother in The Land Before TimeI mean, come on.Twitter/TheScottyAdams3. Jenny in Forrest GumpDAMN YOU, UNKNOWN VIRUS.Twitter/KurtYourDa4. Johnny in The OutsidersStay gold, Ponyboy.*WEEP*
THREE STUDENTS FROM NUI Maynooth will be competing in one of the world’s largest student technology competitions.The team behind Access Earth, an app which provides information on buildings’ accessibility for those with mobility impairments, will be competing in the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2014 World Finals later at the end of July.The team, which consists of three computer science students from the university, is one of 35 teams to be selected from a total of 170 finalists from 72 different countries to compete in the finals.The team has been nominated for the ‘global citizenship’ category, which focuses on applications that benefit as many people as possible.The app allows people to find out whether a building is wheelchair accessible or not. It provides information on its facilities such as ramps, and wheelchair accessible toilets alongside an overall building accessibility rating.It relies on the public to provide information on buildings and shows where each relevant access point is.This is the team’s second time competing in the competition, having finished runners-up in Ireland in 2013. This is the fourth time in eight years students from NUI Maynooth have been selected to compete in the event.The World Finals will take place in Seattle from 28 July to 1 August.Read: Your next smartphone could have security features built into the glass >Read: Amazon enters the mobile market by launching head-tracking smartphone >
LAST OCTOBER, two children were taken from their families. Who stole them? Was it Gypsies?The Taoiseach, Minister for Justice and Acting Garda Commissioner this week apologised to two Roma families whose children were taken from them last year. With the Children’s Ombudsman saying there were clear elements of ethnic profiling to the case, we should ask how such a thing could happen.Against the backdrop of international media hysteria over a Greek case where a blonde four-year-old girl “Maria” (eventually proven to be herself Roma) was found living in a Roma camp, one member of the public emailed the Garda missing person bureau using the subject line: “Suspected child abduction”. They recounted having seen a Roma woman with a “very blond” baby with “the bluest eyes”. An hour later, a Facebook “tip-off” told TV3′s Paul ‘Ireland’s Bogus Beggars’ Connolly that a similar case might exist in Tallaght. Naturally, he called the Garda Press Office.Utterly unfounded claimsThese two “tip-offs” were utterly unfounded but they led to Garda taking both children from their families and placing them in the overnight care of the HSE. DNA tests eventually proved that both children were exactly who their parents said they were. It is hard to imagine the depth of the trauma felt by both families.The Children’s Ombudsman, Emily Logan, has spoken of “a widespread belief that the Roma are ‘child-abductors’” informing the readiness to believe that “Maria” was abducted. She expressed the belief that Garda “were not sufficiently sensitive to the possibility that stereotypes could play a role in their decision-making and this triggered a chain of events that caused enormous distress to the children and families”.The Roma are, to many Irish people, despised outcasts who are seen as being up to every scam in the book. “Gypsies, tramps and thieves”, to quote an old song. I know some Roma. I can’t claim any particular insight beyond the staggeringly-original observation that, for all our cultural differences, people are just people, as ordinary and extraordinary as everyone else.Our dark historiesI used to sell broadband and made some friends amongst Cork’s Roma families. I was welcomed with a look which perhaps recognised a fellow chancer.I’ve eaten and drank in Roma homes and have been on the receiving end of a sardonic humour which makes the worst excesses of the Irish “I’m only slagging” seem like a wry smile by comparison. We native Irish have a dark sense of humour. History will do that to you. When I was small, my Granny told me about the experiences of her grandmother, who lived through the Famine.The Irish have the Famine and the British and the Catholicism and the rain. The Roma, though, have been on the wrong side of polite society since, their legends say, a Roma blacksmith forged the nails for the Crucifixion and Jesus condemned them to wander the Earth landless.If the Famine, 170 years ago, has had a scarring effect on the Irish psyche, then we should remember that in living memory Adolf Hitler tried to wipe out the Roma. As many as 1.5 million Roma were murdered in the Holocaust – or as the Roma know it, the Porajmas.Existing on the margins of societyThe Roma I knew didn’t mix with the wider community, instead existing very much on the margins of society. Most were young, to my eyes terribly young to be parents, but they clearly loved their children, boisterous and cheeky children who seemed both happy and healthy. The men sold second-hand cars and scrap metal, the women went into the city, mostly to beg.For many Roma, begging is a way of life. Some venture further into criminality. I have Garda friends who would tar the entire Roma community as criminals and who would be baffled at accusations of racism.I once met a Roma kid I recognised, begging outside Eason’s. He had a sign saying “I DEAF DUMB PLEASE HELP” and a single tear rolling down his cheek. He was good. Suddenly, though, technology betrayed him with a Nokia ringtone. He smiled at me, embarrassed, and shrugged. “Sorry about this, pal,” he said, pulling out the phone, “HELLO?!”He got €2.In the interests of honesty (which I may not always have had as a sales rep) at least some of my friendship with Cork’s Roma was founded on the high incidence of fellas who looked remarkably similar to guys who’d had their broadband cut for non-payment but who now had completely different names. Identification, even identity, could be multiple-choice.Can any good come of this?I have no doubt Garda and HSE staff acted in what they believed to be the best interests of those two children but I suspect that when they became aware of the suggestion that a Roma family was involved in abduction, there would have been no benefit of the doubt applied. At the time, Alan Shatter said there was a degree of “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” but I would imagine that two plus two added up to eight straight away.We think the Roma secretive, alien and apart, outsiders who live among us, damned because they do not integrate… but are we equally damned because we probably wouldn’t want them to integrate anyway?Will any good come from the fact that prejudice, ignorance and hysteria caused two frightened children to be snatched from their families, not by the Roma of monstrous stereotype, but by well-meaning and misled agents of the Irish State?The road to understanding“I am committed to ensuring that this results in a more dynamic and effective approach to Roma integration in Ireland,” said Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald. “We need a new culture of understanding of the distinct challenges and needs facing the Roma Community”.Emily Logan said “The apology should be just the beginning of the process of building trust with the Roma community”. She’s absolutely right. So is Frances Fitzgerald.But, as my friend asked me in the wake of this, is there any room in Irish society, or even in Irish minds, for Roma?I hope so. We are a nation which knows trauma and abuse. I think the very best thing we could do to help ourselves would be to help others and to be the nation of generous welcomes we have for so long pretended to be. It’s past time we reached out, for our own good, to our new neighbours.And if that seems hopelessly naive, well, just look how far prejudice, ignorance and hysteria have got us.Donal O’Keeffe is a writer, artist and columnist for TheJournal.ie. He tweets as @Donal_OKeeffeRead: “Ethnic profiling” a factor in removal of Roma children, report findsRead: ‘A wake up call’: Where to now after the Logan Report?
THE DOWNING OF a Malaysia Airlines jet over rebel-held eastern Ukraine has raised questions over why the company persisted in flying in conflict-zone airspace that many other Asian carriers had abandoned months ago.The air corridor over Ukraine has always been a crowded one for flights between Europe and Asia – particularly Southeast Asia – and re-routing around the airspace would mean an increase in flight time and fuel costs.Nevertheless, a number of major Asian airlines, including South Korea’s Korean Air and Asiana, Australia’s Qantas and Taiwan’s China Airlines, said Friday that they had started avoiding the area as much as four months ago, when Russian troops moved into Crimea. Timeline: Here’s everything we know so far about the MH17 crash >Read: Irish-born woman among those killed in MH17 crash >“We stopped flying over Ukraine because of safety concerns,” Asiana spokeswoman Lee Hyo-Min said.Korean Air moved its flight paths 250 kilometres (160 miles) south of Ukraine from March 3 “due to the political unrest in the region”, an official for the carrier told AFP.A Qantas spokeswoman said its London to Dubai service used to fly over Ukraine, but the route was changed “several months ago”, while Taiwan’s China Airlines diverted its flights from April 3.Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific and Pakistan International Airlines said their flight paths had changed “some time” ago.‘Safe’ flight path?Asked why Malaysia Airlines had not taken similar precautions, Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai stressed that international air authorities had deemed the flight path secure.“The flight path taken by MH17 was approved by the International Civil Aviation Organization, and by the countries whose airspace the route passed through,” the minister told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.“In the hours before the incident, a number of other passenger aircraft from different carriers used the same route,” he noted. Flowers and candles brought to the Embassy of the Netherlands in Kiev to commemorate victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. Source: Nikita Yurenev/PA WiredBut ICAO spokesman Anthony Philbin said the UN agency, which is headquartered in Montreal, “does not establish routes” for airlines to follow.Tyler said an airline’s choice of flight route was “very similar to driving a car – if the road is open, you assume it is safe. If it’s closed, you find an alternate route”.According to the European flight safety body Eurocontrol, the doomed plane was flying at a level known as “330″, or approximately 10,000 metres or 33,000 feet.The route had been closed to level “320″ but was cleared for those flying at the Malaysian plane’s altitude.In a statement late Friday, the airline said MH17 had filed a flight plan requesting to fly at 35,000 feet which was “close to the ‘optimum’ altitude”.“However, an aircraft’s altitude in flight is determined by air traffic control on the ground. Upon entering Ukrainian airspace, MH17 was instructed by Ukrainian air traffic control to fly at 33,000ft,” it said.European and US airlines re-routed their flights as Kiev said flight MH17 was shot down in a “terrorist” attack, and a US official said intelligence analysts “strongly believe” it was downed by a surface-to-air missile.Analysts were divided on whether carriers like Malaysia Airlines had been negligent in opting to continue flying over Ukraine.“I just find it astonishing. I am absolutely flabbergasted,” said Geoff Dell, an air safety expert from the University of Central Queensland in Australia, told Sky News.“If there’s trouble spots on the globe, then you take a decision to avoid that area,” Dell told Sky News.“You don’t put your primary assets – your passengers, your crew, your airplane – at risk unnecessarily,” he added. Off-duty Ukrainian coal miners wade through a field of sunflowers as they search the crash site today. Source: Dmitry LovetskyAssessing riskMalaysia Airlines was certainly not alone in persisting with the corridor over Ukraine.A host of Asian carriers, including Singapore Airlines, Air India, Thai Airways, Air China, China Eastern Airways and Vietnam Airlines, had used the same airspace up until Thursday’s crash.And European airlines such as Lufthansa and Air France, as well as US carrier Delta, said they were only now taking the decision to avoid Ukraine entirely.Gerry Soejatman, a consultant with the Jakarta-based Whitesky Aviation chartered flight provider, said every airline had its own level of risk assessment.Flying above 30,000 feet is generally considered secure given the level of training and sophisticated weaponry required to shoot down a plane at that height, Soejatman said.“Ten years ago you’d be an idiot to fly over Iraq below 15,000 feet, but over 30,000 feet was very safe, so it’s about the level of risk.“I think this will send a message to airlines to have a closer look at conflict zones when they choose to fly over them and gain a better understanding of what equipment is on the ground,” he said.- © AFP, 2014More: One of the most crucial air routes in the world cuts through Ukrainian airspace >Follow all of our MH17 reporing here >
A GROUP OF 15 to 20 protesters conducted “die-ins” at several stores in and around the Jervis Centre in Dublin city centre this evening.The group, which is organised through the Act for Palestine Facebook page, carried Palestinian flags and banners calling for a boycott of Israeli goods and held demonstrations at Marks and Spencer on Mary Street.From there, they moved to Smyths Toys on Jervis Street, before entering the Jervis Centre, holding a “die-in” protest on the second floor.Their demonstration at Smyths comes a day after the company ordered staff at the Jervis Street branch to remove a sign from the door which stated that Israeli products had been taken off the shelves. Protestors hold a die-in at the Jervis Shopping Centre in Dublin Source: TheJournal.ieThe demonstrators then continued downstairs to Tesco in the Jervis Centre, where they collected a number of goods, purportedly Israeli, and piled them on the floor next to the entrance of the store.Gardaí and security guards kept a close watch over the protests, but there were no disturbances and no arrests were made.Bernie Hughes, a protester from Finglas in North Dublin, told TheJournal.ie that demonstrations like this afternoon’s would be become regular events. Even though it took a long time, it did work – it was effective.Although today’s “die-ins” were led by a relatively small group, some shoppers at Tesco in the Jervis Centre appeared to be sympathetic to their cause.Andy from Dublin told TheJournal.ie that after seeing the die-in next to the store’s entrance, he had made a point of checking which products on display were made in Israel. I think it would be a positive move for a company to stop stocking Israeli goods, and if one of them announced they were doing it, I would definitely make a point of shopping there. Bernie Hughes protests inside Marks and Spencer on Mary Street in Dublin Source: Mark StedmanShe drew comparisons between the ongoing campaign to boycott Israeli goods, with the actions of Dunnes Stores workers against South African apartheid in the 1980s. This will be happening on an ongoing basis – I personally will be escalating this. A protester takes part in a die-in outside Smyths on Jervis Street in Dublin Source: Photocall IrelandAnna from Waterford, meanwhile, said she would be consciously looking at the country of origin on her products. Holding up a bag of limes from Mexico, she said she was particularly cautious while shopping for avocados, herbs and potatoes.Management at Smyths, Marks and Spencer and Tesco refused to comment on today’s protests, and spokespersons for all three companies were unavailable for comment this evening.Read: ‘I just don’t agree with what’s happening’ – Gordon D’Arcy’s support for Gaza>Thousands turn up at demonstrations around Ireland for Gaza>
If you didn’t get enough Zuck in the The Social Network, don’t worry, there’s more Zuck where that came from. The Zuckerberg biography comic book “Mark Zuckerberg: Creator of Facebook” should be hitting shelves today.Bluewater Productions, claims the comic shows a “more balanced portrayal” of Zuckerberg than The Social Network. Jerome Maida, the author, says he tried to give context to a complex figure. Expect more Zuckerberg drama about his bad reputation, aloof public persona, and the people he left hurt on his way to stardom.This 48-page giant-sized has even been optioned for an animated film, so be on the look out for that next. Check out you local comic book stores and online for your very own Zuckerberg comic book for $6.99. By the way, Bluewater Productions also recently created the graphic novel “Fame: Justin Bieber,” but you can only get it at Walmart.AdChoices广告
Do you remember all of those complaints we heard a couple of months ago about iOS 5 battery life? Things have been (mostly) quiet on that front for a while. Apple’s iOS 5.0.1 update helped some users’ handsets to last longer, but not everyone was satisfied.Fast forward to last weekend, when the iPhone 4S finally got its first jailbreak. News spread of a jailbreak tweak that was promising a dramatic improvement in battery life for all who installed it. All that was asked of you was a one-time payment of $4.99 for “beta access” to the insanelyi Cydia repo.If you think this sounds sketchy, you aren’t alone. Two trusted iOS developers, Dustin Howett and Sam Bingner, took matters into their own hands to find out if the app had any credibility. Their conclusion? It’s nothing but meaningless code designed to sell VIP memberships. They said that all the app does is replace some code in one file (if this were actually a fix, anyone with iFile or SSH access could fix it without paying a dime). After doing some testing, the developers said that they couldn’t find any possible effect that changing this code would have on battery life.Yet many users in the insanelyi forum were posting messages saying that they were seeing improved battery life after installing the tweak. Is it possible that Howett and Bingner were wrong? You never know, because battery life is a tricky spec to nail down, but it’s possible the forum users could have been experiencing a placebo effect. Another possibility is that the forum was being trolled with fake posts to promote the app.We haven’t tested the app, so it’s basically the word of two developers vs. the claims of a promotion and some users in a third-party Cydia repo. Use your own discretion, but we wouldn’t advise you to leap into this one with open arms.via iDownloadBlog
If you were looking forward to getting your Raspberry Pi $25 (or $35) PC soon, it looks like you have a little bit longer to wait. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has just announced that the production of their boards has hit a slight delay and that the first set of units will not be ready until February 20th. Once they are done they will be shipped (via air transit) to the UK where they will undergo the final stages before being sold and shipped out. Details about the delay were sparse, but the announcement noted that the quartz crystal package the Raspberry Pi board uses has been replaced by a different model in China — where the RasPi is produced — so inventory for that specific part is low. The good news is that while there was a delay new inventory has been found and production has resumed (or at least will resume). That wasn’t the only announcement from the Foundation today — they also have presented followers of the project with Broadcom’s datasheet for the BCM2835 SoC. This is, as you’ll recall, the heart of the Raspberry Pi board and the part that allows it to do all the great feats we’ve seen it do so far, like play CD-quality audio, run Quake III, and playback HD video. The BCM2835’s datasheet (PDF) is quite dense, so don’t expect to hop right in unless you are IEEE-certified. This abbreviated datasheet is 205 pages long, so while it probably has a lot of great information in it, it’s a bit hard to parse. (We’ll report back if we see anything notable!)via Raspberry Pi
As each version of Windows is released, Microsoft has done a better job putting all of the advanced tasks in a centralized location. Windows 8 is no exception, but this time Microsoft has seen fit to add a number of steps in order to access some features that advanced users will undoubtedly want to access right away.Any time you feel the need to force the computer into Safe Mode, or disable driver signature enforcement in Windows 8, you will need to access the Advanced Startup. This is now also where you handle things like system failure controls, debugging mode, and boot logging. If you’re looking for the place to go for a system restore, image recover, or just to repair Windows 8, you’ll now find that in the Advanced Startup as well. Microsoft has done a great job rounding all of the tasks up that typically come with their own instruction manual and sticking them far away from the average user. In order to get to any of these features now, you need to find the option in the Control Panel that allows you to reboot into the Advanced Startup.Once you have rebooted into Advanced Startup, you will be walking through a series of Modern UI-like screens that all have very basic user interfaces. You will use a mouse or your finger if you have a touchscreen. There are some option panels in this menu that require the use of a keyboard, so if you are using a hybrid laptop or a Surface you will need to make sure your keyboard is nearby otherwise you will need to try this again later. You start off by selecting Troubleshoot, unless you have entered this menu by mistake.The Troubleshoot menu gives you several options for different tasks. If you need to wipe your PC and start with a fresh installation of Windows 8, you can do that here. If you want to keep all of your personal information, but would like to get rid of any apps or files that may be causing your Windows 8 install to run slower than expected, the refresh tool will remove all but your personal data and allow you to restore if you choose later on. Anything else you might want to do is hidden under the next menu layer, so hit Advanced options to move forward.The Advanced options is what you more than likely came to Advanced Startup for. Here you can perform a system restore using a recovery point you created earlier, or use a system image file to recover your PC if you back up your PC with image files. You can access the command prompt with the advanced controls enabled if you know what you are looking for, or you can go with the automatic repair if you think Microsoft knows best when it comes to repairing your PC.If you are interested in things like driver controls, boot logging, or debugger tools, you will need to enable them in the Startup Settings menu.In order to get to the Startup Settings menu, you will need to restart your PC. (Repeatedly pressing F8 while restarting won’t do it! Microsoft says Windows 8 is too fast for that.) When you click the icon, you will be asked if you are sure you would like to reboot your PC to access this menu. When you select restart you will be taken to a lower resolution blue screen that requires the keyboard to use. Your mouse and touch screen won’t work on this menu at all. This menu will allow you to make changes to Windows 8 that will be reflected immediately after the computer boots back into Windows 8. If you need specific kinds of Safe Mode, or if you would like to disable some of the features Microsoft has enable for the safety of basic users, this screen will get you what you need. Once you have made the changes you would like to make, the PC will reboot and you’ll be back at your lock screen.It’s something of an understatement to say that Microsoft hid some of these features — considering you have to go through no less than two reboots and five menu layers just to get to the options. The placement of some of these features makes some power users concerned that Microsoft will use this to make it easy to dispose of these features in the future, forcing users to do things the Modern UI way. While we’re still a long way away from Microsoft being able to remove most of these features, they have certainly accomplished their goal of hiding them from users who might accidentally do harm to their PCs.
Source: Daily Express/Twitter Guardian front page, Tuesday 26 March 2019: MPs vote to seize control of Brexit from May pic.twitter.com/w1sQZHer6J— The Guardian (@guardian) March 25, 2019 In his resignation letter, Harrington said the government’s approach was “playing roulette with the lives and livelihoods of the vast majority of people in this country”.The Brexit ministry said in a statement it was “disappointed” by the vote, adding that it “upends the balance between our democratic institutions and sets a dangerous, unpredictable precedent”.Almost three years after Britain voted to leave the European Union, last night’s vote sets up a potentially crucial clash between government and parliament on the best way to end the political crisis.MPs will now have the chance to vote on various options such as revoking Article 50 and cancelling Brexit, holding another referendum, a deal including a customs union and single market membership or leaving the EU without a deal.But even if MPs decide a majority course of action, it won’t be legally binding so the government could ignore it. “The government will continue to call for realism — any options considered must be deliverable in negotiations with the EU,” the Brexit ministry said.Prime Minister Theresa May said she was “sceptical” about the process and that similar efforts in the past “produced contradictory outcomes or no outcomes at all”.May yesterday admitted she had still not secured the votes needed to get her twice-rejected Brexit deal through parliament, raising again the prospect that Britain could crash out of the EU in just over two weeks’ time.Front pages ‘Back me and sack me’, ‘MPs seize control’, ‘Stuck in the Middle with EU’ and ‘They’ve stolen what’s left of Brexit’ are some of the phrases on the front pages of British newspapers today. By Órla Ryan ‘National embarrassment’ The European Council last week agreed to delay Brexit until 22 May if MPs back May’s deal this week.If the UK parliament doesn’t vote in favour of the Withdrawal Agreement, the new deadline would be 12 April and Britain will be expected to indicate a way forward before that date.The UK would then face the choice of participating in the European Parliament elections at the end of May or exiting the European Union without a deal.Britain was due to officially leave the EU this Friday, 29 March. May had wanted to delay Brexit until 30 June but last week welcomed the extension, insisting Brexit will still happen.Some Brexiteers have suggested the delay is part of a wider attempt to stop Britain from leaving the EU.The European Commission yesterday said it has completed preparations for a no-deal Brexit, noting “it is increasingly likely that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union without a deal on 12 April”.Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the government was a “national embarrassment”, adding: “We will still face the prospect of a disastrous no-deal Brexit.”Contains reporting from © AFP 2019 Source: Kate Lyons/Twitter Short URL Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Tuesday 26 Mar 2019, 7:36 AM This evening I wrote to the PM to offer her my resignation pic.twitter.com/Z0QU5lbeJ1— Richard Harrington (@Richard4Watford) March 25, 2019 Share4 Tweet Email As the clock ticks down, get all the best Brexit news and analysis in your inbox: Sun front page Tuesday 26 March 2019. pic.twitter.com/sm4ImOJggp— Kate Lyons (@MsKateLyons) March 26, 2019 13 Comments ‘Back me and sack me’: How the British papers covered MPs ‘taking control’ of House MPs have voted to seize control of parliamentary business in an unprecedented move that the government called “dangerous”. Mar 26th 2019, 7:36 AM The front page of tomorrow’s Daily Telegraph ‘MPs vote to take control’ #tomorrowspaperstoday pic.twitter.com/jTwVSZN7oj— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) March 25, 2019 Source: The Telegraph/Twitter Tuesday’s TIMES: “MPs seize control of Brexit” #bbcpapers #tomorrowspaperstoday pic.twitter.com/m5sjERLC1C— Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews) March 25, 2019 Source: The Guardian/Twitter Tuesday’s front page (second edition)STUCK IN THE MUDDLE WITH EU #tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers #skypapers pic.twitter.com/gMFVwMA71s— Metro Newspaper UK (@MetroUKNews) March 25, 2019 Source: Metro Newspaper UK/Twitter Just published: latest UK edition of the Financial Times, Tuesday 26 March https://t.co/buuKYXPCKL pic.twitter.com/3wDcvixTZY— Financial Times (@FinancialTimes) March 25, 2019 Source: Allie Hodgkins-Brown/Twitter Tomorrow’s @Daily_Express frontpage #tomorrowsfrontpagetoday – Theresa May warned Remainers have ‘stolen’ Brexit back- Prince Charles enjoys time at Cuban barber- Heatwave set to hit Britain pic.twitter.com/qaH3duX2d0— Daily Express (@Daily_Express) March 25, 2019 THE HOUSE OF Commons has backed a proposal to hold a series of votes tomorrow which will indicate their Brexit preferences.MPs last night voted by 329 to 302 to seize control of parliamentary business tomorrow in an unprecedented move that the British government called “dangerous”.Three junior ministers quit the Conservative Party after voting against the government.Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt, Health Minister Steve Brine and Business Minister Richard Harrington all resigned. 17,278 Views Source: Richard Harrington/Twitter Source: Financial Times/Twitter https://jrnl.ie/4561031