THE DECISION ON the man to lead Ireland through, and beyond, the November Tests may rest on a Tuesday morning training session.Most roads appear to be leading to the door of Paul O’Connell. The Munster lock may be bestowed the honour of once again leading his country if he proves his fitness after being held back, this week, by a calf strain.Ireland coach Joe Schmidt confirmed yesterday that all will be revealed on Tuesday… or Thursday. If O’Connell is fighting fit, he should get the nod. If he is held in reserve for the Australia and New Zealand tests, Peter O’Mahony or Rory Best may be asked to hold the fort against Samoa. Brian O’Driscoll and Jamie Heaslip, the other candidates, have trained fully all week.Gordon D’Arcy does not believe any disruption has been caused by the delay in publicly naming the man to lead the team out against a trio of southern hemisphere opponents.“There’s a good core, leadership group,” he told TheScore.ie. ”Without naming names, everybody here could be pretty sure that it will be one of five guys. Everybody up in the room realises it is going to be one of the five guys. Luke Marshall looked a natural on his Ireland debut, against Scotland, and Stuart Olding came in for his debut at inside centre over the summer. D’Arcy’s defensive contribution is his trump card but Marshall is an enticing gamble and one who, in recent weeks, hit provincial form at the right time. The elder statesman explains that direct competition between himself and Marshall has not been forthcoming this week but adds that both a training ‘very, very well’.He commented, “Watching his performances for Ulster, he’s been very good; doing all the things he’s meant to do. He’s a big, solid lad, carries the ball well and he’s been in good form for Ulster.”Like rugby? Follow TheScore.ie’s dedicated Twitter account @rugby_ie >Jonny Sexton flying back to France for Racing Metro duty Whoever it is, it’s irrelevant to everyone else as the core group is already there. That will be crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s. It doesn’t make a massive difference.”D’Arcy is happy for the debate to rage away from Ireland’s training camp while players try to impress, and learn new plays under, a new coaching ticket. The Wexford native is a 73-cap veteran and training under a coach, in Schmidt, who trusted him for just about every big game he ever lead Leinster into. And yet there are now genuine challengers for the 12 jersey.
“I think it’s part of a work in progress. Obviously, there’s lots of different playing cultures here, the language barrier and it’s a new team. It’s probably just a little bit slower than we would have thought as a management team. It’s constant work and we’re just trying to find a bit of rhythm in our play.”Two rounds of European action in the next two weeks provide Racing with an opportunity to do exactly that, but O’Gara freely admits that their sights are already set on the resumption of the Top 14. Lying eight in the table, but just nine points off second-placed Stade Français, league targets are the real concern now.“Essentially the focus now is on the Top 14, so whoever plays well in the next two games is going to be playing against Toulouse.”O’Gara is a pitch-side presence at every Racing game. ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan.That clash with Guy Novès’ side on the 25th of January has taken on a sudden and genuine importance for the entire set-up at Racing, from reserve players right up to multi-millionaire president Jacky Lorenzetti. The fixture against the team from the ‘real’ home of French rugby in the southwest is seen as a potential turning point in Racing’s season.There are 10 games left in the regular schedule of the Top 14, with five of those coming at home for Racing [Toulouse, Bayonne, Castres, Biarritz and Clermont]. On the road, fixtures in Perpignan, Bordeaux and Grenoble will also be targeted. A Parisian derby against Stade Français in March could be crucial.The point is that Racing can still save this season. Presently just three points off the play-off spots [and qualification for the Heineken Cup next season], there is much to be played for if the form can be turned around. For O’Gara, that successful league run could actually be sparked against the Scarlets tomorrow night.I think it’s the case of it being a home game; we need to win this home game. We need to find some way of achieving more consistency in our performances and I think the best way of preparing for the Toulouse game is by winning the next two games.“We just need to try and play in the Top 14 games with more intensity, although weather conditions are difficult at the minute.”You wouldn’t expect it any other way, but O’Gara believes Racing can salvage their campaign. Castres showed last season that any team in the play-offs can emerge as Top 14 champions, no matter how little they are fancied.O’Gara is maintaining the faith, as ever.“Absolutely, that’s the realistic goal – to get into the top six. Then everything is open. That’s the reality; if you get into the top six, it’s all to play for. If you don’t, it’s going to be hugely depressing.”Like rugby? Follow TheScore.ie’s dedicated Twitter account @rugby_ie >Toby Flood omitted from England’s Six Nations squadMontpellier name second-string team for Ulster visit As a coach, all your work is done Monday to Friday,” the Cork native said. “Saturday is game day, it’s player time. You see where they are, you have a little window at half time to change things, but you have all your preparation and work done really. “Hopefully the players take on board what’s gone on during the week and it comes to fruition on the pitch.”Unfortunately, it hasn’t been apparent at times this season that the Racing players have adopted the ideas of O’Gara and head coaching duo Laurent Labit and Laurent Travers. The back-to-back losses to Harlequins in Pool 4 featured a very poor performance at home, although there was some improvement at the Stoop.Back-to-back defeats to Harlequins have cost Racing Métro dearly in Europe. ©INPHO/Andrew Fosker.The fact that the domestic league is held in such high regard in France means that for many supporters, the Heineken Cup is merely a sideshow, sometimes even an annoyance. However, O’Gara rejects the idea that this attitude sometimes extends to the French coaches and players.The all-time leading Heineken Cup points scorer [1,365] admits that the Top 14 is king in French eyes, but points out that Racing made a determined start in Europe this season.“It is yeah, but I think to be fair they do [care about the Heineken Cup]. At the start, we beat Clermont at home and then had a draw with Scarlets away. The goal was to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup for this first time in Racing’s history.“That unfortunately is gone, so it’s a case now of making sure we get into the top six in the Top 14.”O’Gara, speaking from Paris, stresses that one of the true reasons for the club’s unconvincing displays in Europe has been the difficulty in stepping up from the French league. The Top 14 is a dour, turgid affair much of the time in the winter months, and the 36-year-old feels that has played a role.When you go from the Top 14, which is a slow game, to the European Cup it’s hard sometimes. I think the pace of the games shocked some of our players. We couldn’t deal with it in the first game against Harlequins, although the performance away wasn’t too bad. So it’s a case now of trying to deal with the speed of the European game. FOR A MAN who became a legend in the Heineken Cup, this season’s version of the marquee European club competition has been an utter frustration.Now working as an assistant coach at Racing Métro, Ronan O’Gara has seen his side win just once in their four pool games to date. As a result, the Paris-based club have little to play for heading into the closing two rounds of group games against the Scarlets and Clermont.Ahead of the clash with the Welsh region tomorrow night at Stade Yves du Manoir, the former Munster and Ireland out-half admitted to the TheScore.ie that it has been difficult watching Racing play their way out of the Heineken Cup.“Of course, yeah but sure it’s equally as frustrating for the players. So, it’s a collective effort. We’re just not a cohesive unit at the minute and players and management are trying to achieve that. It is frustrating, but that’s sport.”O’Gara knows a thing or two about sport, having amassed 128 caps for Ireland as well as winning two Heineken Cups with Munster. In his first season as a coach, the adaptation process has been testing for such a determined character.Dealing with frustration as a player was easier; simply get onto the pitch on match day and leave everything out there. There was a satisfying physical aspect to ending a bad run of form; be that slotting a place kick or releasing an outside back to score. O’Gara has had to accept that he simply doesn’t have that outlet anymore.
I can see lots of demonstrations, I can see lots of other action taking place.He said there has been “no move” in the talks between unions and the Department of Education.“We meet [the] officials almost once a week, sometimes twice a week. We set out our position at every single meeting. There can be no doubt as to where we stand,” said Craughwell.Read: “The anger is palpable”: Teachers to hold lunchtime protests over Junior Cycle>Read: Teachers to hold “symbolic” lunchtime protests over new Junior Cycle> THE RESULTS OF a ballot of teachers over the new Junior Cycle programme will be known this Wednesday.Gerard Craughwell, president of the TUI, told TheJournal.ie that he is expecting a “resounding rejection” of the Education Minister Ruairi Quinn’s plan for the Junior Cycle.“If this nonsense continues then we will have no alternative,” said Craughwell of potential strike action. “I haven’t met a teacher yet who will accept the proposal the minister has on the table.”The ASTI and TUI are still in the middle of ballotting their members on the new Junior Cycle Student Award.It is due to be introduced from this September, and negotiations have been underway between teachers’ unions and the Department of Education.BallotsA spokesperson from the ASTI told TheJournal.ie that their ballots will close on Tuesday evening and will be counted the next day, Wednesday 26 March. The result is expected that evening.The results of the TUI ballot are also expected that day.The unions’ ballot papers differ slightly, with both of them calling for action including withdrawal from cooperation with the new Junior Cycle framework.That would include non-attendance at training and non-cooperation with assessment of their own pupils.In addition, the TUI ballot asks members if they would take industrial action up to and including strike action “at an appropriate time”.Strike actionTeachers recently held lunchtime protests, and Craughwell said that while none are planned right now, they are “highly likely to happen” again.“Strike action is the most significant tool in our armour,” commented Craughwell.
Updated, 16:48CATHOLIC CARDINALS will begin their conclave to decide the next pope of the Roman Catholic Church next Tuesday, March 12.The decision to begin the conclave on Tuesday was made at a meeting of the 115 voting-age Cardinals this afternoon.The decision affirms the cardinals’ wishes to hold the conclave earlier than usual, in accordance in with one of the final acts of the previous pontiff.Church law previously dictated that the conclave had to begin 15 days after the papacy became vacant, but one of Benedict XVI’s last acts in office was to change this so that the conclave could be held earlier if all of the voting cardinals were already in Rome.Today’s vote follows days of meetings between cardinals which have actually doubled as informal pre-conclave talks on the problems of the church, and who might best address those problems if appointed to the papacy.Explainer: How is a new Pope chosen?Glossary: Some of the terms you’ll hear during the Papal election
GARDAÍ ARE APPEALING for witnesses to an assault on a taxi driver and another man at a rank on Lower Sheriff Street in Dublin last month.The incident occurred at around 10pm on 8 June. Gardaí said a male taxi driver in a black VW Passat was involved in an altercation with two males.These two males were they joined by a large number of youths. Another man jumped in to help the taxi driver and both sustained injuries. They were taken to hospital and later discharged.Gardaí said two taxis at the rank were also “extensively damaged”.They appealed for any witnesses who may have been in the Lower Sheriff Street or Amiens Street area at the time or anyone who can assist with the investigaiton to call Store Street Garda Station on 01- 6668000, The Garda Confidential Telephone Line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.Read: Taxi drivers to discuss new security options following recent attacks>Read: Clampdown on rogue taxi drivers reportedly resulted in no arrests>
Yesterday was supposed to be a big day for Verizon Wireless customers: the Samsung Droid Charge was supposed to hit store shelves, giving customers two options when it came to handsets that used Big Red’s new 4G LTE network (the other being the ThunderBolt). Unfortunately, Verizon Wireless’ entire 4G LTE network went down earlier this week, and even though it came back into service yesterday, Samsung and Verizon Wireless decided to postpone the launch of the Droid Charge until everything’s stable again.Customers who ordered the Droid Charge will still be able to get their devices, but they won’t be much good – as part of the troubleshooting effort, Verizon Wireless cut off new activations on their 4G network until they could pinpoint the problem. Since the network was down, it’s not as though any new devices could have been successfully activated anyway. Even if the devices could have been activated over 3G, they wouldn’t have seen the drastic speed that Samsung and Verizon Wireless have been promising users would enjoy.At the same time, it also means that customers who want to stop by a Verizon Wireless store to pick up a Droid Charge won’t be able to buy one either, even though the devices are clearly in stores. Even though the network is back up Samsung and Verizon Wireless aren’t commenting just yet on when customers will be able to buy the Charge, and only say they’ll notify us with a new date when it’s available.It’s unfortunate, since Samsung had just wrapped up a pretty large marketing campaign around the launch of the Droid Charge. The campaign, for its part, is still on-going, and the Droid Charge scavenger hunt is in-progress. Verizon Wireless is apparently activating the Droid Charges that are being uncovered by contest participants around the country, so a formal release date can’t be far off.Read more at Business Insider and Twitter (@DroidLanding)
NASA is about to launch the Juno spacecraft and begin its journey to Jupiter. You can watch the live stream of the launch right here.NASA’s latest mission involves sending a spacecraft on a long journey to the hostile planet of Jupiter. The aim is for Juno to go into orbit so we can learn more about what is below the clouds on the planet, which could help answer a few questions about our solar system and its formation.Getting Juno to Jupiter is no easy task. The distance to the planet is nearly 900 million kilometers, and it takes a radio wave travelling at the speed of light 34 minutes to reach us from Jupiter. NASA has worked out it has a 22 day window in which to launch Juno. If they miss the window, they have to wait another 13 months to try again. Even then, Earth will be required to act as a slingshot to get Juno up to speed and on its way. If all goes to plan Juno will reach Jupiter in 2016.Here’s an additional video explaining more about the purpose of Juno and what’s involved in the launch.More at NASA and Space.com
There are all sorts of geeks — electronics geeks, mobile geeks, math geeks, so I guess it makes sense that there are calendar geeks as well. Of course to be a calendar expert you have to be a history and math geek too, but there is nothing wrong with some multidisciplinary geekiness.So, back to February 29th. The biggest question most people will have concerns its mere existence. Any child could tell you that the calendar year is composed of 365 days, each of which are 24 hours long, so the most basic of logic would tell you that the time it takes the Earth to go around the Sun isn’t exactly 8760 hours. What does this mean in real life? After one year our calendar is off by a few minutes, after a few years it’s off by a few days, and after enough time we’d be skiing in July and going to the beach in January.The video explains all this, and reveals the single most important fact concerning the entire situation: the 24-hour day/night cycle is not related to what we’re talking about here, the Earth’s yearly cycle. So the 24 hours it takes for the planet to rotate on its axis is an easy to measure period for us, thanks to our circadian rhythms and our diurnal nature, but that rotation has no bearing on the Earth making its way around our star. Basically: 24 hours does not a day make.So, as it turns out, a year is 365.x days long. So long as that x is a non-trivial number then over a certain amount of time we’re going to have to add time to the calendar to catch up. Since it doesn’t make sense to make a certain month an hour longer or any hour a few minutes longer, we add a day every four years. But that is too much, so we need to pull back some time — 1 day every 100 years to be precise. So 1900 was not a leap year, it was just a boring old, “common” year.Interestingly that isn’t accurate enough for our beloved calendar geeks: every year that is divisible by 400, such as 2000, is a leap year. Of course this isn’t perfect either, so the resulting calendar is off one day every 8000 (or so) years, but that’s a long enough span of time that even the most curmudgeonly of calendar geeks isn’t worried about it.So, that’s the leap year for you, but you probably already knew that.via stellar
For those of you who have been planning a trip to the lunar surface, but have been haggling over which computer-driven landing system to make use of — your search is over. A man by the name of John Pultorak has done all the development work for you in the form of his project to recreate the original Apollo landing computer that was used in all of the moon missions NASA sent up into space. A faithful reproduction right down to the original software that MIT developed for the device, Pultorak’s accomplishment is an extraordinary testament to what a motivated geek can accomplish!Working on the project during his free time on the weekends, Pultorak started to build his piece of computer history back in 2000. Getting help from his son and other friend, it took him 4 years and $3000 to complete the working system. During that time he made not one but three working versions of the computer, with the first two being prototypes that he built upon to get the third where he wanted it to be.Unlike modern computers, which are modular in nature, the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) had to be wired together by hand, a tedious task that is rife with the opportunity for mistakes to be made.As you can see from the picture above, the amount of wiring that goes into an AGC unit is extensive, with Pultorak’s version showing his incredible attention to detail and cord management. What makes the AGC so interesting to both space and computer buffs is that it was the first computer to make use of integrated circuits, or microchips which ran at 1Mhz (blindingly fast for its time) .Originally built by MIT scientists in the 1960’s, each Apollo mission carried two AGC’s to complete the landing procedure on the moon. One was in the orbiter, and a second inside the landing capsule. The most famous mention of the AGC is when Neil Armstrong and his crew became the first humans to land on the moon. The AGC kept giving an alarm that almost caused the astronauts to have to abort the mission as they were down to just thirty seconds of fuel.What’s interesting is that the AGC itself wasn’t broken or giving an error, as the alarm was caused by Buzz Aldrin covering his bases and leaving the guidance system running in case of a catastrophe. At the same time the landing radar was running, causing both systems to be feeding information to the AGC at the same time. With a maximum multi-tasking capability of 8 jobs at one time, the AGC was telling the astronauts that it simply had too much information being thrown at it.Nowadays you could use your smartphone to power your trip to the moon, but if you want to be as authentic as possible you can build your own AGC by following the incredibly well documented build process that Pultorak went through. Do us a favor, if you do end up creating your own rocket, lunar lander and mission to the moon, take a picture of the US flag that Armstrong planted up there so the conspiracy theorists can be silenced!Read more at Galaxiki.org and the New York Times.
A little less than one year ago, The Pirate Bay announced a new campaign where the site’s iconic logo would be replaced by an ad for some form of media — usually music. Dubbed The Promo Bay, the promotional campaign aimed to help artists promote their work — no doubt an effort by The Pirate Bay to show that it isn’t just a platform for piracy. Those of you that have visited the site frequently enough may have wondered how well the promotion platform is working, and luckily for us, the developer of the indie game — Sean Hogan — Anodyne broke down just how much the promotion helped.The Promo Bay isn’t simply a free promotion, as the catch is that the featured artist must provide a free torrent to the promoted work. Hogan said that the promotion was a success, and fueled sales to far exceed the projected numbers.Over the three days that Anodyne was promoted on The Pirate Bay, Sean experienced traffic of over 240,000 unique visitors, with the largest referral being from The Pirate Bay. The total cost of the promotion was $7, but that was simply web-hosting costs. The release trailer of the game broke 100,000 views, and the Facebook page gained around 200 to 300 Likes.To compare to how the game was doing before The Promo Bay, the developers only experienced traffic of around 40,000 unique visitors, which resulted in around 800 to 900 sales at an average of $8 a pop, which results in around $6,400 to $7,200. The sale resulted in around 6,700 purchases of the game, and though the average price paid was much lower than $8 — at around $1.50 to $2.76 depending on game-only or bundle purchases — the developers doubled their revenue from the sale, generating around $12,000.So, at least for one developer, The Promo Bay actually worked, showing that more sales come with more exposure, even if the product is sitting right there available for free.
When Apple announced the new iOS 7 at WWDC earlier this week, the company showed off radically redesigned mobile operating system. Gone are the skeuomorphic textures that Apple held so dear for the life of its iPhone. Apple showed off a number of new features coming to the OS, but one you may have missed is actually one of the operating system’s prettiest — dynamic, panoramic wallpapers.The new mobile OS will allow you to set your phone’s wallpaper to a panoramic image in your Camera Roll, but you may be wondering how a vertical rectangle of a phone can display a panoramic image. Through use of the iPhone’s gyroscope, if you spin around with your phone, the background will scroll through the panoramic image. It’s quite attractive. Check out the wallpaper in action, and a tutorial on how to set it up…The new feature looks lovely, and gives your standard, now-boring wallpaper a classy upgrade. Here it is in action again, thanks to a Vine from Jeff Shin.While the new effect will surely provide some class — or inappropriate humor, which some of us may already planning — to our iPhone’s wallpaper, we shudder in fear to think of what this feature might do to battery life. Apple’s iOS 7 will likely drop sometime during fall of this year, which is when the next iPhone is expected.
As one of the big publishers preparing for the next generation of game consoles, EA’s press conference at Gamescom 2013 looks to be full of new information about the games we can’t wait to get our hands on.Whether you’re drooling into the floor for Titanfall, strangely curious about Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare, or eager to hear about what’s new in FIFA 14, the chances are good EA has something for you today.EA Games is at Gamescom this week with promises to deliver some new information about their upcoming games, as well as offer new demos for unreleased titles on the show floor. As we get closer to the launch windows for the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, information like this is just enough to keep a firm grip on our wallets for the launch games.EA has already teased that FIFA 14 is going to be one of the big topics at the conference, but given the massive Titanfall logo plastered across the front of their booth it’d be difficult to imagine there won’t be some new info on that front, too.EA’s Gamescom press conference starts at 10AM EDT and is expected to last an hour. We’ll be following up the press conference with our thoughts on whatever gets discussed.
TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY and British Prime Minister Theresa May have had a phone call this evening to discuss the Northern Ireland election.Earlier today, the British secretary for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire called an snap election for the 2 March – putting an official end to the powersharing government between Sinn Féin and the DUP.Tonight, May and Kenny discussed the current situation in Northern Ireland, and their hopes for an election campaign would be respectful, and that they would return to a partnership under the Good Friday Agreement as soon as possible.If the to-be elected officials of the Stormont Assembly can’t form a government – Sinn Féin have promised they won’t return to the ‘status quo’ – it’s been suggested that direct rule between London and Dublin might be put in place.“No one should underestimate the challenge faced to the political institutions here in Northern Ireland and what is at stake,” Brokenshire said today in Belfast.“I would strongly encourage the political parties to conduct this election with a view to the future of Northern Ireland and re-establishing a partnership government at the earliest opportunity.”An austere Brexit Source: PA Wire/PA ImagesMay also spoke about the Brexit speech that she plans to give tomorrow where she’s expected to outline her plan to negotiate for an austere or ‘hard’ Brexit.Kenny repeated the concerns Ireland have if a ‘hard’ Brexit were to come about, covering the economic and trading relationship, the common travel area, and the Northern Ireland Peace Process including border issues.Read: Enda Kenny had a 10-minute phone call with Donald Trump last nightRead: Snap election for Northern Ireland to be held on 2 March 9,997 Views Image: AP/Press Association Images Enda Kenny and Theresa May have had a phone call about Northern Ireland The also spoke about May’s much anticipated speech on Brexit scheduled for tomorrow. Jan 16th 2017, 9:00 PM 36 Comments Monday 16 Jan 2017, 9:00 PM Short URL By Gráinne Ní Aodha Image: AP/Press Association Images http://jrnl.ie/3190115 As the clock ticks down, get all the best Brexit news and analysis in your inbox: Share99 Tweet Email1 Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article
Thursday 2 Feb 2017, 1:13 PM http://jrnl.ie/3218929 By Cianan Brennan Short URL Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Feb 2nd 2017, 1:13 PM Gardaí appeal for cyclist, who may have witnessed jewellery store robbery, to come forward The robbery happened just after 5pm on 21 January at Bouchon Jewellery in Malahide. Share16 Tweet Email 6 Comments A still from the CCTV footage of the incidentGARDAÍ INVESTIGATING THE robbery of a jewellery store in Malahide, Co Dublin, have appealed for a male cyclist, who may have witnessed the incident, to come forward.Two men who were involved in the robbery of Bouchon Jewellery at the Diamond in Malahide on 21 January last are currently being sought for questioning.The incident left the female owner of the premises injured and hospitalised. It’s understood that it was the second such robbery of the premises in just three days.Having reviewed CCTV footage of the area at the time of the robbery, gardaí are now asking that a cyclist who was in the vicinity come forward. They have confirmed that they believe he is only a potential witness, and was not involved in the crime.A short time after the incident a black-coloured hatchback car was observed driving in a dangerous manner in the Yellow Walls Road area of the north Dublin town. It is believed the cyclist may have seen that car or the two suspects.The man cycling was wearing white runners, blue jeans and an anorak-type jacket.The robbers threatened staff and stole a number of items, including watches, during the incident. In the aftermath both suspects ran in the direction of St Margaret’s Avenue, Malahide.The first suspect is described as being 5’9″, around 50 years of age, and wearing glasses and a yellow jacketThe second was wearing a black jacket and a white hat and was much younger than the firstInvestigating gardaí have asked that the cyclist, or anyone who may have been cycling or walking in the Yellow Walls Road area at the time, or who may have observed the black hatchback car, contact them at Malahide Garda Station on 01 6664600, on the Garda Confidential Line, 1800 666111 or at any Garda station.Read: ‘Battle Royale’ between Today FM and 2FM as latest listener figures are releasedRead: Stephen Donnelly is joining Fianna Fáil but he hasn’t always been the party’s biggest fan 16,078 Views
Here’s What Happened Today: Sunday Fianna Fáil to abstain on no-confidence vote, and two die in morning road collisions – it’s your Evening Fix. Feb 12th 2017, 8:07 PM Sunday 12 Feb 2017, 8:07 PM 1 Comment 14,883 Views Short URL http://jrnl.ie/3236652 By Cianan Brennan Get our daily news round up: Fianna Fáil is to abstain from a vote of no confidence in the Government due to take place this week.Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald endured a torrid afternoon on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics.The body of a man in his 60s was discovered by the side of the N17 road in Galway.Seven drink drivers were arrested in the Kildare area in just 24 hours.A lack of dental care at Irish nursing homes is seeing some patients needing up to 20 teeth extracted at once.The union representing Tesco workers says it will call off this Tuesday’s strike if the company commits to not altering the contracts of long-term workers.Two women died in separate road collisions this morning.You’ll now be able to access your Netflix account from every country in the EU.Gambian people are using the Irish Credit Union system to get themselves out of poverty.Bertie Ahern says Theresa May’s Brexit strategy is putting peace in the North at risk.Grave doubts have been expressed that Irish hospitals could cope with a massive disaster. Pedestrians doing their best to hold off the rain on Grafton Street in Dublin Source: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ieNEED TO CATCH up? TheJournal.ie brings you a round-up of today’s news.IRELAND Source: RTÉ INTERNATIONAL A man watches a TV news programme reporting about North Korea’s missile-launch at Seoul Train Station in the South Korean city this morning Source: Lee Jin-man#NORTH KOREA: The hermit nation has fired a ballistic missile, drawing a tough response from Donald Trump.#GERMANY: Over 50 people were injured as a ‘strange smell’ shut down Hamburg airport.PARTING SHOTIn case you missed it, Melissa McCarthy’s take on White House Press Secretary Seán ‘Spicey’ Spicer on last night’s Saturday Night Live is a bit of a treat: Source: Saturday Night Live/YouTube Share88 Tweet Email Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article
Apr 16th 2017, 7:00 PM Share Tweet Email 24,574 Views “So we keep on working.”This article was supported by the Simon Cumbers Media Fund. All photographs by Michael Sheils McNameeRead more from Michael’s reporting in Nicaragua:‘Even going to the gynaecologist might be seen as cheating’: Changing how one country views its women “Well, in our factory, if a woman is good looking she gets treated differently” A generation of women in Nicaragua are working to improve their lives in a society that isn’t always friendly to women. Short URL http://jrnl.ie/3339084 12 Comments By Michael Sheils McNamee Michael Sheils McNamee reports from Nicaragua on some of the difficulties facing women there – and what they’re doing about them. THE CONFERENCE HALL and adjoining courtyard of the Holiday Inn in the Nicaraguan capital of Managua is teeming with 700 women who have travelled to the city to attend a gathering of factory workers.The attendees are waiting for the evening session of talks and discussions to begin, and in a departure from anything you might see at a union event in Ireland, a band playing traditional Nicaraguan music takes to the stage and some conference attendees launch into impromptu dancing.The event has been organised by women’s rights group Maria Elena Cuadra (MEC), which although not strictly a workers’ union, hosts this event to bring together female workers from the country’s maquilas (the word used to describe the foreign-owned factories based in Central America that often exist in areas with tax exemptions) on the first Sunday of March each year. Source: The Maria Elena Cuadra conference in Managua’s Holiday InnNicaragua’s government seeks out foreign direct investment and promotes the large amounts of unskilled or semi-skilled workers available in the country – but once these factories are established, the country’s officialdom is much less concerned with the treatment of these workers.During the morning sessions the workers attended workshops and shared their experiences of the conditions they have to endure, including having phones confiscated, only being allowed to use the toilet during prescribed times and even being given a limited amount of toilet paper by their managers.With a lack of support from the Nicaraguan government, groups like Maria Elena Cuadra have taken on a responsibility for the empowerment and advancement of female workers, who – in a country where a third of all children are raised by single-parent families – find themselves facing a unique set of challenges.‘If a woman is good looking she gets treated differently’Gathered in the courtyard next to the conference hall during the break for lunch, the women are keen to share their experiences.“They want the same amount of production, but a production line that might have had 14 women working on it previously now only has seven. They’ve gotten rid of a lot of staff,” says Katie, a factory worker in her 30s from the Tipitapa region in the north of the country. She says that some of her coworkers have fallen sick from stress and that in her factory they also had issues with using the toilets.“Well in our factory, if a woman is good looking she gets treated differently. They’re allowed to do different things. They’re not equal to everyone else,” says Ivania, who works in a factory in Managua. One of the discussion groups at the conferenceNext a middle-aged woman called Olga explains that the South Korean company that owns the factory she works in outmanoeuvred staff when a change in legislation meant it would have had to give them an increase of 200 cordobas a month (around €6).“So in January of this year there was a change that meant that we should receive the increase in pay,” she says, “So what happened was, we used to receive an allowance that we would use for transport and things like that for about the same amount.“So they put the extra money into the salary – and got rid of the allowance.”On average, most women said they were earning between 5,000 and 7,000 cordobas a month (€160 – €220).The majority of workers in the maquila factories are female, and three years ago at the same conference organised by Maria Elena Cuadra a document endorsed by 11 women’s organisations and two national trade unions outlined a list of demands that included the right of a woman not to lose her job for taking time off for maternity leave; companies to be prevented from forcing women to take a pregnancy or HIV test as a condition of employment; and the establishment of better mechanisms for reporting sexual harassment and violence.‘What’s the social result of all of this?’The mistreatment of the maquiladoras that staff the internationally-owned factories is happening against a backdrop of an economic upsurge for Nicaragua. In 2005 the country’s GDP was $6.3 billion, a figure that more than doubled to $12.7 billion by 2015.“But what is the social result of all of this? A lot of cheap labour,” says Sandra Ramos, the founder and director of Maria Elena Cuadra. Sandra Ramos at Maria Elena Cuadra’s offices in Managua“A lot of women are working like slaves for transnational textiles companies. And that is the thing that we want to change. The economy base in this country is the thing that we have to change.”More than 20 years ago Ramos was involved with the trade union affiliated with the government Sandinista party, but these days she has no faith that the party – led since the 1970s by Daniel Ortega, whose second spell as president started in 2007 – will make any meaningful advances for women.Nowhere is Ramos’s pessimism more justifiable than with the case of Law 779.This piece of legislation was the result of campaigning by her organisation and came into effect in June 2012. For the first time, the law criminalised violence against women – something that had previously been legislated for in other parts of Nicaraguan law – while simplifying and strengthening the process for a woman to report violence.Sensing a threat to the traditional family unit, conservative religious and political groups fought back, and in September 2013 the country’s legislature stripped key protections out of the law – meaning that mediation between victim and attacker was a possibility for crimes that included psychological violence, sexual harassment and assault either at home or in the workplace.Although participation in mediation is voluntary, financial pressure – like that piled on maquila workers struggling to cover basic living costs – could push women towards accepting mediation.In 2012, the year that Law 779 was introduced, there were 85 women killed in cases of femicide, which is defined as the murder of a woman when the motivation is gender based.Of these, 13 had agreed to mediation with the men who eventually murdered them.‘It is not something you can achieve in two or three years’“The life in Managua is more difficult, more than here,” says Fatima Ismael, the head of SOPPEXCCA, an group of coffee cooperatives based around the rural outpost of Jinotega in the north of the country.Like Maria Elena Cuadra, SOPPEXCCA is a female-headed organisation that is pushing for gender equality and has policies that aim to empower women. Fatima Ismael“Life in Managua is getting harder and there is more risk – in the rural community things are quieter,” she says.Sitting in the coffee shop next door to her organisation’s offices, she explains that the baristas working behind the counter are the sons and daughters of the farmers that grow the coffee in the surrounding areas.SOPPEXCCA was the first coffee organisation in the country to introduce a gender policy where members attended workshops on the subject, and currently 195 of the 650 farmers involved are women. It even funds primary schools in the local area, and children in these schools go through their education learning about gender equality.“The gender programme started because the coffee-growing sector in Nicaragua was in the hands of men. The land was in the hands of men. And there were so many problems with violence and discrimination against women,” explains Ismael.Coffee is Nicaragua’s biggest agricultural export, generating more than $400 million a year, (€376 million) and while women do around 70% of the labour involved in its harvest and cultivation, they only own 23% of the land, facilities and products.“The work to have gender equality is a long road. It is not something that you can achieve in two or three years,” says Ismael.“Really you are talking about a life’s work. We’ve had two centuries of oppression against women and it is not something that we can get rid of in 20 years. It’s a process.”‘Sometimes with this gender-based work with the co-op that focuses on gender there can be a lot of pain’The clearest example of SOPPEXCCA going beyond its remit of helping coffee farmers and working to empower women is with the health centre that it provided the funding for that serves the local community.“Up to this point we’ve had 4,000 women who have had smear tests with the doctor, but to put it that way it sounds so cold. It is more than just that. It is the story that we have with these women. We have have to advise them, we have to accompany them,” says Ismael.“Even when some of them are sitting outside of the office of the doctor, some of them get so nervous that they start crying.”Ismael tells us that once they started to administer the tests there were five women they found with cancer at too advanced a stage to be prevented; she pauses and tears come into her eyes.“Sometimes with this gender-based work with the co-op that focuses on gender there can be a lot of pain. Sometimes we feel a lot of pain when we think that we started so late with this programme.”‘So we keep on working’ Most of what the SOPPEXCCA leader had to say reflected on the big strides that her organisations had made for farmers, and with 32 other cooperatives around Nicaragua following their example and implementing similar gender policies, it seems that their message is spreading.This attitude of self-empowerment was also evident at the San Expedito Cooperative, a group of female entrepreneurs who produce a type of black pottery distinct to the region that is sold in SOPPEXCCA’s coffee shop in Jinotega.Situated around thirty minutes outside of the town, the facility has two pottery wheels, an oven where they can fire the products, and an area where they process the clay brought down from the surrounding mountains.A style of pottery production unique to the area means that the products have a distinctive glossy black colour that is achieved without chemicals or paint.Sazayda Kania Herra and Ana Herrera are two of the co-op’s 11 female members, and Herrera explains that most of the women have kilns in their homes so they are able to alternate the days that they come in and do work on the wheels. Ana Herrera (left) demonstrating how their pottery is madeThe idea of making pottery for a living in such an idyllic setting seems quite appealing, and both women find it amusing when asked if they think the men in the local area are jealous.“Probably! But they keep it to themselves,” says Kania Herra.She explains that her husband is a farm worker, and works in the field all day while she is responsible for the domestic chores.“No, my husband doesn’t help in the house because he is out working in the field all day and I don’t want to bother him doing domestic chores,” she says, “but he helps me with the other things, like with the pottery.”This didn’t seem to bother her, explaining that it worked well with them only having one child, and her having free time during the day.Herrera’s situation is different. She’s a single mother that lives with her parents. She has a pretty simple explanation about where the father of her child is.“I only have his child, he went away with another woman,” she says.“Everybody here has their own experience and different experiences. So, she is married,” she says, pointing to her colleague, “but I am a single parent and I live with my parents. My father works in agriculture in the field and my mother does domestic chores. Everybody has their role. My role is doing domestic chores, working here and also spending time with my kids.”“I am a single mother, but it’s up to me to continue to raise my children doing dignified work. Sunday 16 Apr 2017, 7:00 PM Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article
Two men due in court over international money laundering investigation The men, aged 39 and 48 years of age, were arrested this morning in the Ratoath and Blanchardstown areas. Image: RollingNews.ie Share1 Tweet Email 13,983 Views Mar 9th 2017, 10:30 AM TWO MEN WHO have been charged in connection with an international money laundering investigation are due in court today.The men, aged 39 and 48 years of age, were arrested this morning in the Ratoath and Blanchardstown areas.They’re due to appear before Blanchardstown District Court this morning at 10.30am.Gardaí of the Money Laundering Investigation Unit, Garda National Economic Crime Bureau were involved in the arrest and the charges against the men.Read: Man (20s) in serious condition after being hit by a van while jogging Image: RollingNews.ie Thursday 9 Mar 2017, 10:30 AM By Gráinne Ní Aodha Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Short URL http://jrnl.ie/3278461 No Comments
The promise of a $1 million grant for Victoria’s ethnic media, under a re-elected Labor government, is a positive step in recognising the important role community organisations play in disseminating information to their constituents, according to the director of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria (GOCMV), Theo Markos. Victorians come from more than 200 nations, speak over 200 languages and follow more than 120 faiths – our State is one of the great multicultural communities of the world.“The most important thing is the government is acknowledging the strong role community organisations play in the Victorian general population,” Mr Markos told Neos Kosmos, adding the GOCMV could use the money to assist with its infrastructure and also the monthly newsletter that it produces. “We can use some of that money to make sure we come up with a better quality paper or we can improve our website. We currently send a newsletter out to members once a month or every two months, but with some assistance we could make it more regular and keep the lines of communication open to our members,” he said. Mr Markos believes ethnic media has always been supported within the community. “In the past there’s been support, I think this is an acknowledgment of the significance we play and basically sending the message out there,” he said. Last week Victorian Premier John Brumby announced that a re-elected Labor Government would invest in a new grants program allowing ethnic and multicultural media organisations in Victoria to upgrade their facilities and purchase new technology and other equipment needed to fulfil their important roles. “We understand Victorians are proud of our rich cultural diversity and heritage,” Mr Brumby said. “Victorians come from more than 200 nations, speak over 200 languages and follow more than 120 faiths – our State is one of the great multicultural communities of the world,” he said. “Our government has a proud record of supporting our great multicultural society and our support for ethnic and multicultural organisations continues to grow.” Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram
Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Confidence in an economy is an important factor, and confidence always thrives on consistency. In the past two weeks we’ve had some strange news that is not making much sense. First was an inflation figure for the March quarter, which was more than twice what is usually announced. A week later, this inflation bubble – which suggests we’re all spending too much – burst with the announcement that in the March quarter, national house prices fell 1.7 percent, the biggest fall since the September quarter of 2008. The housing information service, RP Data-Rismark, actually had more drastic figures than the Australian Bureau of Statistics: they had March quarter houses prices falling 2.1 percent, the biggest fall since it started collecting its house data in June 1999. Auction clearance rates in Melbourne and Sydney fell by about a third of where they were a year before. So how does inflation blow-out in March while Australians are pulling back from property, keeping their cash to themselves? What does it mean? The first one is interest rates: following the GFC Australians have experienced a steady rise in interest rate rises, eroding the comfort margins in many households. Business credit rate rises have been larger and given that most of our large business owner community are ‘mums and dads’, that pain ends up in the household. So potential home buyers are holding back their cash. The second big factor that holds people back is the cost of living: interest rates are going up, inflation is on the rise (according to the Reserve Bank), and electricity price rises are ridiculous. And on top of that you have a constant threat of a ‘carbon tax’ which hangs over everything. You don’t have to have a political outlook or be an environmentalist to understand what a carbon tax will do. Most Australians I talk to see it as something that raises the prices of everything, which causes inflation. And when inflation rises, the Reserve Bank raises interest rates. Householders can see a power bill and they can read in the papers what the interest rates are on their mortgage or business loan. But they can’t see the carbon tax. This eats away at confidence. The current economic system is confusing people: they see governments raising the price of electricity while also taxing the coal that produces it; they see mining companies and banks making huge profits while their own household becomes more constrained by the rising cost of living. It’s no wonder Australians put their cash in a bank account and wait for a more consistent picture. What do you think? Please send me an email. Mark Bouris is the Executive Chairman of Yellow Brick Road, a financial services company offering home loans, financial planning, accounting & tax and insurance. Email Mark on firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries you may have or check www.ybr.com.au for your nearest branch.
One in four Greeks gets prescription medicines over the counter from pharmacies, bypassing their doctors, while three in 10 claim to have been unable to find the medicines they need due to shortages, a new study has shown. According to the study carried out by the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine last month, 25 percent of respondents take medicines without first obtaining a prescription. Most (67 percent) of those who went straight to the pharmacy said they were not asked whether they had any allergies or physical ailments that would rule out certain drugs. Many doctors complain that it is illegal for pharmacists to issue prescription drugs. But the Health Ministry is reportedly planning to combat drug shortages by allowing pharmacists to sell substitute medicines. Yiannis Tountas, head of the National Pharmaceutical Organization (EOF), said such a move could be a solution. “Offering substitute drugs will help EOF to tackle shortages in the market,” he said. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram