Ireland ceased funding for Iran antidrug programme over death penalty concerns

first_imgCONCERNS OVER AN increase in use of the death penalty in Iran led the Government to cut off aid to an anti-drug programme in the Middle Eastern country, it has emerged this morning.Ireland began donating money to the scheme — overseen by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime — in 2005, and gave approximately €600,000 over the next seven years. Some of the funds were used to assist anti-drugs police and the customs serviceA decision was made to end the country’s involvement due to concerns that drug dealers arrested were being put to death in large numbers.Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Minister of State in the Department of Foreign Affairs Joe Costello said Ireland had been one of a number of countries, alongside the UK, Belgium, Denmark and others who decided to contribute to the scheme through the UN.He confirmed a decision was made to end donations following reports from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch detailing a “very steep increase” in death penalty use.According to the Minister: “It was being used almost exclusively for drug traffickers. Over 80 per cent of death penalties were for drug traffickers.”Asked why the Government hadn’t pulled out earlier, he said that death penalty had not been used to target those committing drug offences in the early years of the programme, and that the human rights charities’ reports had only shown “a sharp rise” in the practise “in the latter years”.Costello said the state had registered its “deep concern” over the issue with the UNODC, and said Iran’s position on the death penalty wasn’t “compatible with Ireland’s commitment to human rights”.Read: Garda operations in Dublin lead to seizures of drugs, a handgun and ammunitionRead: Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine. Am I an addict? No.’ – Toronto Mayorlast_img read more

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People are now paying to have snakes slither all over their body

first_imgSpeaking to AFP,  Paulus Abraham of the Bali Heritage Spa said people are travelling from all over the world just to experience the snake massage.Of the treatment, he said:We want the people to try to experience the adrenaline that comes out from their fear…Riiiight, adrenaline.  Of course!Will you be travelling to Bali to experience a snake massage?  We’re going to give it a miss for the moment.Via AFPLet’s all take a moment to be grateful that there are no snakes in Ireland>Oh, just a huge snake OPENING A DOOR> SOMETIMES WHEN YOU’RE stressed out, all you want is a massage.  Something to relax you, remove the tension from your back and send you out into the world a peaceful, happy person.It may come as a surprise to you, so, to learn that the latest spa craze in Indonesia is a snake massage.  As in lying down virtually unclothed as giant snakes slither all over you.Don’t worry, their mouths are taped shut so you can totally relax as their reptilian skin slithers against yours.  Heh heh…heh… *shudder*last_img read more

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Court appearance for Wexford drug accused

first_imgA MAN IN his 50s, arrested on Friday in connection with a €700,000 cannabis seizure, will appear in court this morning.The man was one of two men arrested in the seizure of cannabis herb with an estimated street value of €700,000 (pending analysis) at Ballymurn, in Co Wexford.As part the investigation gardaí seized further quantities of Cannabis when they carried out a search operation yesterday. Cannabis herb and resin with an estimated street value of €300,000 (pending analysis) was discovered during a search of land near Enniscorthy.A second man, in his 30s, has been released without charge pending a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions.last_img read more

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Mrs Browns Boys the most watched programme in the UK on Christmas

first_imgBRENDAN O’CAROLL’S Mrs Brown’s Boys has beaten Downton Abbey, Dr Who and the soaps to top the UK’s Christmas TV ratings.The sitcom, based around O’Carroll’s character Agnes Brown, pulled in an average audience of 9.4 million viewers on BBC One last night.The Christmas special, which is being broadcast in two parts was filmed in May of this year, in order to free the cast and crew up for a Mrs Brown film, due to be released next summer.Dr Who came second in the ratings with an average of 8.3 million viewers, although it did win the biggest peak audience with 10.2 million tuning in at one point.Last year Mrs Brown’s Boys topped the Irish Christmas Day ratings, pulling in almost a million viewers.An RTÉ spokesperson has told DailyEdge.ie that viewership figures for the Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas Special in Ireland will be available tomorrow.Every episiode of Mrs Brown’s Boys perfectly summed up>7 Irish people who lost the ‘Bridesmaids v The Dark Knight’ battle last night>last_img read more

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Donegal County Council on verge of collapse after failure to agree budget

first_imgDONEGAL COUNTY COUNCIL failed to agree on a budget last night following a full three days of discussion on it, leaving the future of the council uncertain this morning.The votes were 13 in favour and 15 against with a number of the councillors expressing opposition to the introduction of water charges.While this result would generally mean a dissolution of the council and the appointment of a special administrator to run it, a decision was made to adjourn the meeting until next week.Speaking after the vote yesterday, Sinn Féin councillor Mick Quinn, who voted against the budget, said his party would “not be involved in any process that will further increase taxes and reduce services for families across Donegal.“We were not given a mandate to introduce water charges and we will not be doing Minister Hogan’s dirty work for him,” he said.As a result of last night’s vote, all councillors lose their salaries but Quinn said they did not seek election for a salary or for personal gain.Donegal has been devastated by unemployment and emigration. Donegal has worst infrastructure in Ireland. Our roads are crumbling. We have the highest rate of unemployment in Ireland and the lowest disposable income and youth unemployment is at almost 50 per cent. Fianna Fáil Dublin City Councillor Paul McAuliffe took the opportunity to call on his Labour colleagues in the council to also vote against a budget proposed for next Monday.This budget would see a 14 per cent increase in council rents, a €6 million reduction in the homeless budget and a move that would see the central government hold all local property tax raised.“The failure of government to allow the property tax fund local services is a broken promise made only months ago,” he commented. “In March 2013 Minister Phil Hogan said in an explicit promise that the tax would assist the funding of new service.”He said that instead, the council had seen a reduction in the local government fund and the money is being diverted to create the new entity Irish Water which will meter water from next year.However one constituency rival, Fine Gael candidate Noel Rock, accused McAuliffe of “pump and dump”, saying his comments were “classic Bertie-esque pump and dump: pump up the populism, then dump the decision making”.Explainer: Donegal councillors have to agree a budget next Monday – or they’ll be removed Independent councillors John Campbell and  Seamus O’Domhnaill also voiced their opposition to the budget last night on Twitter:last_img read more

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The 5 at 5 Monday

first_imgEVERY WEEKDAY EVENING, TheJournal.ie brings you the five stories you need to know before you head out the door.1.#ISOLATION ROOMS: Children with autism, some as young as eight-years-old, are being locked in rooms for hours without supervision, TheJournal.ie has revealed. The rooms are intended to be used as a last resort, but some children are being locked in a room that is 1.8 by 2.5 metres repeatedly for hours.2.#CASTLEKNOCK: A man has appeared in court charged with the killing of 39-year-old Tom O’Gorman. 34-year-old Saverio Bellante appeared in Blanchardstown District Court charged with the killing and was remanded in custody for a week.3.#DONEGAL: The county council in Donegal is close to collapse today, as councillors have failed to agree a budget for the coming year. Fianna Fáil councillor Liam Blaney told TheJournal.ie that Irish Water was among the reasons he was voting against the budget. 4.#BANK DOCUMENTS: The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee has said he is “appalled” that the Department of Finance has lost documents related to the bank guarantee. Reacting to TheJournal.ie story from last Friday, John McGuinness said that the letters ‘need to be found’. 5.#SENTENCED: Four dissident Republicans have been sentenced to jail terms of between seven and 12 years. The four men were found with guns and ammunition in a Ford Fiesta car in Omagh in 2010. Police believe the seizure “undoubtedly saved lives”.last_img read more

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Biden urges action on gun control in conference attended by Sandy Hook

first_imgUNITED STATES VICE President Joe Biden sought to rally support for the Obama administration’s gun control proposals as he spoke yesterday at a conference on gun violence held not far from the scene of December’s school massacre, saying it fundamentally altered the debate.Biden acknowledged gun control has traditionally been viewed as the third rail of American politics, recalling that when President Barack Obama asked him to take the lead, the president told him he didn’t have to do it if he didn’t want to.“America has changed on this issue,” Biden said at the conference at Western Connecticut State University, which the gunman once attended. “There is a moral price to be paid for inaction.”Noting the courage of the families of the victims at Sandy Hook Elementary in nearby Newtown, Biden said elected officials should show political courage.“We have to speak for those 20 beautiful children who died 69 days ago, 12 miles from here,” Biden said. “We have to speak for the voice of those six adults who died trying to save the children in their care that day who can’t speak for themselves. You have to speak for the 1,900 people who have died at the other end of a gun just since Sandy Hook in this country.”David and Francine Wheeler, parents of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Benjamin Wheeler (Jessica Hill/AP).Biden advocated a series of proposals, including universal background checks for gun owners, a ban on many military-style weapons and a limit on the size of magazines. He said the measures would save lives even though there was no guarantee they would prevent all mass shootings.“Fewer children will die,” Biden said.US Senator Richard Blumenthal, who organized the conference with two other members of the state’s congressional delegation, said those measures are achievable. He said the Newtown shooting dramatically changed the prospects for gun control.“Newtown has transformed America, and we need to build on that sense of urgency going forward,” Blumenthal said. “Preventing gun violence was thought to be untouchable politically two months ago. That unspeakable horror has given us unstoppable momentum.”Connecticut Governor Dannel P Malloy, attending the conference, announced that he wants to immediately ban high-capacity ammunition magazines, require background checks for the transfer of firearms and expand the state’s assault weapons ban. He has expressed frustration that the state legislature has not acted more quickly to form a response to the Newtown tragedy.Neil Heslin, father of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Jesse Lewis (Jessica Hill/AP).The gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, killed his mother at their Newtown home before going to Sandy Hook and slaughtering 20 children and six adults. He committed suicide as police arrived.Other speakers at the conference, designed to give momentum to Obama’s gun control proposals, urged Congress to honor the memories of the victims with strong action, including Chris and Lynn McDonnell, whose 7-year-old daughter Grace was among the 26 people killed.“We ask our representatives to look into their hearts and remember the 26 beautiful lives we lost and pass meaningful laws to help prevent this from happening again,” Lynn McDonnell said, leading to a standing ovation.Malloy, Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra, state police Capt. Dale Hourigan and the mayors of Bridgeport and Hartford participated, along with other experts in the fields of mental health, law enforcement and education.Gun makers and lobbyists weren’t invited to participate in the conference, but Blumenthal said gun rights advocates will have opportunities in hearings and other forums to express their points of view.Read:White House issues photo of Obama with gun>More: Sandy Hook children to pay tribute to classmates by singing at the Super Bowl>last_img read more

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Body of Georgina McGarr discovered in Naas

first_imgUpdated 21/03/2014GARDAÍ HAVE CONFIRMED that the body of missing Kildare woman Georgina McGarr has been found.It is understood that the 39-year-old’s body was found in the Naas area this afternoon.Yesterday gardaí launched an appeal for help tracing the whereabouts of the woman, who had been missing from her home in Clane since Wednesday morning.A garda spokesperson said the incident is being treated as a personal tragedy.last_img

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Plan to turn 5 Fiat vans into mobile garda offices criticised as

first_imgA TENDER HAS been put out to turn five Fiat vans into mobile garda offices – but the move has been criticised as ‘farcical’.The tender from An Garda Síochána was published on 23 February and has a deadline date of 19 March at 3pm. It is for the fit-out of the five Fiat Ducato panel vans to be used as mobile garda offices, and comes following the closure of 100 garda stations around the country.Responding to the news, Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn described the initative as “farcical” and a “sticking plaster rather than a real solution”.Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:This is just farcical. 143 garda stations have closed across the state. Policing is being decimated in rural communities. Garda numbers are being reduced dramatically. The numbers of garda vehicles have been reduced and many of the existing vehicles are not up to scratch due to heavy mileage. We do not need a sticking plaster solution. We need real leadership and a real solution to a growing crisis.He repeated his call for Justice Minister Alan Shatter to engage with the Garda representative organisations and to hear their concerns directly and find a real solution.Read: Closure of 95 garda stations to go ahead today> And what is the solution? Five vans.last_img read more

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Charred bodies of Canadian mafiosi found in Sicily

first_imgPARAMILITARY POLICE HAVE found two charred bodies in Sicily of Italian-Canadian gangsters suspected of drug trafficking to Canada who were being sought in a raid that netted 21 alleged mafiosi.The two bodies, discovered at a garbage tip, were that of Juan Ramon Fernandez, 57, known as “Joe Bravo”, and Fernando Pimentel, 36, said the Carabinieri police in a statement on Thursday.They were suspected of trafficking in heroin and oxycodone from Sicily to Canada together with a mafia clan based in Bagheria near Palermo, which was targeted in an operation on Wednesday.The operation, dubbed “Argo”, was carried out jointly by Italian and Canadian police.The bodies were riddled with around 30 gunshots.The Carabinieri police said two mafia “men of honour”, the Bagheria-born Scaduto brothers, had already been arrested as suspects in the murders and said they were searching for others in the case.Police think the order to kill Fernandez and Pimentel had come from Canada and was part of a turf war between two rival mafia bosses in Canada — the Vito Rizzuto mafia family and a new rebel faction led by Quebecois Raynald Desjardin.Fernandez — an alleged member of the Toronto-based Rizzuto family — was deported from Canada and moved to Bagheria after serving a 10-year prison sentence for extortion, drug trafficking and illegal possession of firearms.Pimentel was also involved in organised crime in Toronto and had arrived in Sicily in March.Their bodies were found near a farmhouse outside the town of Casteldaccia near Bagheria.The ANSA news agency said police were tipped off to the location by an anonymous phone-call.- © AFP, 2013Read: Italian court confirms Berlusconi ally guilty in mafia case > Read: Random theft ends with notorious mobster behind bars >last_img read more

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Body of Padre Pio to be put on permanent display

first_imgA SHRINE IN southern Italy will put the body of popular saint Padre Pio on permanent display for the millions of pilgrims who visit the remote site every year, organisers said today.The bearded friar, who died in 1968, is the object of a cult that has concerned the upper echelons of the Catholic Church and his claims that he suffered the same wounds as Jesus Christ are treated sceptically by the scientific community.The body, which is covered with a layer of silicone, will be displayed in a church designed by award-winning architect Renzo Piano at the San Giovanni Rotondo sanctuary in the Puglia region where the saint lived his final years.Padre Pio’s body previously went on temporary display in 2008 and 2009 and the Capuchin friars in charge of the sanctuary said they were inundated with requests for a permanent exhibit.Born near Naples in 1887, Padre Pio is Italy’s most venerated saint after St Francis of Assisi. He was canonised by late pope John Paul II in 2002.The permanent display is open from 1 June.- © AFP, 2013Read: Modern churches aren’t up to scratch, says Vatican museum chief > Read: Fake pope held in Rome for looking like John Paul II >last_img read more

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Opinion The undocumented Irish in the US need and deserve our help

first_imgTHIS WEEK, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore, has been in Washington, DC. He’s met with congressional leaders and advocates for immigration reform in the interests of regularising the situation of 50,000 Irish citizens in the US without legal status and creating a pathway to living and working there for future generations of Irish men and women. A picture of the Tánaiste walking the famed corridors of Capitol Hill with the Republican congressional leader and 2012 vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, even appeared on Twitter.The picture, as the old maxim goes, says a thousand words. It is further proof positive of the extraordinary access that this small and strategically unimportant country enjoys in the US.Indeed, Congressman Ryan, whose positions on economic and social issues place him firmly on his party’s right wing, was moved by the persistent entreaties of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform. He is now a firm supporter of immigration reform legislation – passed by the US Senate and stalled in the US House of Representatives – which would benefit the undocumented Irish. Congressman Ryan, who is proud of his Kilkenny ancestry, has affirmed that the efforts of Irish people based in the US, such as Billy Lawless and Ciaran Staunton, and Irish politicians, like Senator Mark Daly, played a significant part in persuading him.Assertions about the undocumented IrishWhat’s so disappointing to next consider are the assertions made by some on both sides of the Atlantic about the undocumented Irish. In the past, these commentators have opined both that the undocumented are not worthy of the assistance of the Irish Government or of Irish-American politicians and that a “special deal” benefiting solely the Irish is an impossibility because of the changing demographics in the US and the allegedly declining power of Irish America.Most recently, Colm Quinn, an Irishman living in Washington, DC, wrote in an Irish Times opinion piece earlier this month that what the Tánaiste has been doing this week and similar exercises “are at best missed opportunities and at worst a waste of time”. This and other pronouncements in Quinn’s piece angered me and many others I know on both sides of the Atlantic. To us, it’s profoundly sad that so many Irish people, whose forebears helped make America what it is, now live in limbo, in fear and in the shadows.How is it a missed opportunity or a waste of time to press the case for fellow Irish people mired in the most unenviable of circumstances? Did they cease to be Irish when they left these shores? The answers to these questions are, in my view, self-evident. Irish political leaders don’t just have the option to bring up the undocumented at every opportunity; they have a moral duty to do so. Yet there remains a vocal minority who at times sneeringly disagree and for whom the undocumented Irish in the US are not a priority at any level.Their sentiments are very difficult for me to accept when I encounter them either in person or in the media. They have equally enraged and surprised me since I moved here more than a decade ago.A special kinshipAnyone who grew up in the Boston area in the 1980s and early 1990s could be forgiven for thinking that all Irish people want to move to America. From our own ethnic backgrounds and families to incessant interaction with young Irish people on the streets, in the pubs, on the building sites and on the playing fields, every corner of Ireland was in every corner of Boston. I got to know some Irish who had overstayed their visas back then through my family’s political work on their behalf; I came to know more later as my own social circle grew; and there are countless others I don’t know who have arrived in the years since I’ve been away.To me, those I know, those I know to see and those I don’t know at all are not just a number – 10,000 or whatever the most recent estimate of undocumented Irish living in Boston and its environs might be. They are people with whom I share a special kinship. They have settled in my native county as I have settled in theirs. This is not to lionise them; they did break the law and many are far from saints. But every time I hear dispatches from Boston about someone having to miss either a sorrowful or joyous event over here, my heart sinks.A setback or the death knell?Their hearts, too, have sunk on past occasions when immigration reform looked as if it would finally happen, only to be forestalled as a consequence of some unexpected event. It is with them in mind that I read in the middle of one night last week of another unexpected event: Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s defeat by a Tea Party primary challenger who attacked Cantor’s position on granting “amnesty for illegals.”My immediate reaction, echoed by prominent observers, was that this outcome would frighten incumbent Republicans and effectively keep House Speaker John Boehner from allowing there to be a vote on immigration reform legislation before this year’s mid-term elections and even thereafter. On the other hand, since then, measured analysis of Cantor’s defeat suggests that immigration was not the decisive factor. As the Tánaiste has noted, it’s more likely a setback than the death knell.Additionally, the long-term demographic shifts in the US and resulting harsh political realities for the Republican Party haven’t changed. Its leaders recognise that they must change the perception that they’re anti-immigrant – and fast. Paul Ryan’s embrace of a pro-reform stance demonstrates the unique role Ireland can play on this front. Accordingly, it is to be welcomed that the Tánaiste has been on Capitol Hill at this critical juncture.And as for those who take issue with how he’s used his time there this week or with the Irish government’s advocacy for its undocumented in the US? I think I’ll fall back on some sound motherly advice: if you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.Larry Donnelly is a Boston attorney, Law Lecturer at NUI Galway and columnist with TheJournal.ie and IrishCentral.com.Read: Gilmore in Washington to ‘highlight plight’ of undocumented Irishlast_img read more

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57yearold man charged with attempted murder after early morning assault

first_imgA 57-YEAR-OLD MAN has been charged with attempted murder following an assault at a house in Newry two days ago.A 27-year-old man was found with serious stab wounds to his chest just before 3am in the early hours of Thursday morning.He was brought to hospital to be treated where his condition was described as stable.The 57-year-old man who was arrested over the incident was also treated for stab injuries to his leg.The PSNI confirmed this morning that the man had been charged to appear at Newry Magistrates Court later today.last_img read more

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BlackBerry Playbook SDK video gives us a brief look at the tablet

first_imgRIM’s Developer Relations team put out a video designed to show developers how easy it is to work the the PlayBook tablet’s SDK. The video isn’t particularly exciting (unless you are curious about porting an app over to the tablet) but it does give us some insight into the underpinnings of the PlayBook as well as a few quick looks at the device in action.We also get to see a fantasy football app loaded up. Who said that BlackBerry products were only for working?AdChoices广告BlackBerry’s YouTube channel via Slashgearlast_img read more

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Intels new SSD is the 6Gbps 510 series

first_imgWe knew that Intel was going to have to release some new SSDs sooner or later and it turns out that today was the today. The company unveiled the SSD 510 series which will use a speedy 6Gbps interface in order to allow for maximum throughput to today’s newest motherboards, like those packing Intel’s own Cougar Point chipsets.In their release Intel noted that the 510 series is capable of reading data at over 500MBps and writing it at over 315MBps, making for greatly increased speeds compared to their older products. The 510 does not appear to be as fast as what we’ve heard from early reports of the second generation Sandforce-based SSDs (using chipsets like the SandForce SF-2200), but Intel is only lagging in the write speeds. Intel has focused more on reliability and brand recognition with their SSDs though, so it shouldn’t be a major problem if (once again) they aren’t offering the fastest products on the market.Intel’s new drives are built on the company’s 34nm, MLC NAND architecture. The big change with the 510 though is that they use a Marvell controller as opposed to one designed in-house by Intel.The move to the 6Gbps SATA III interface will remove a considerable bottleneck from the SSD throughput, though users will need a new motherboard to take advantage of it. Even so, people that upgrade (and they’ll need new, non-faulty Sandy Bridge motherboards for this) should see serious gains in transfer speeds compared to older products. Intel’s older consumer SSD, X25-M topped out at sequential read/write speeds of 250MBps and 100MBps.The 510 SSDs will ship in capacities of 120GB and 250GB with 1000-unit bulk pricing of $284 and $584. Each will carry a three-year warranty.Read more from Intel.comSal’s ThoughtsThis isn’t the exciting release I would have expected a year or so ago. Back then SSDs seemed wildly unpredictable, with prices dropping rapidly, low quality first gen drives still in the market, serious firmware problems, and so on. Things calmed down as time went on, but we were told to expect 1) increased capacities, 2) better reliability and 3) much lower prices. Well, reliability is up and capacities have grown to some extent, but prices haven’t dropped as much as you might have expected. 120GB at $284 is far from the $-per-gigabyte price where picking up an SSD is a no-brainer for anyone (especially without sub-100GB offerings).A lot of people, myself included, spent parts of 2010 expecting a really interesting Intel SSD launch in Q4 2010. There was talk about 25nm products, which would mean better pricing and great capacities (some people said up to 600GB), but that didn’t play out as expected. It’s not clear if some overly ambitious roadmaps were leaked or if Intel scaled back plans, but what we have now is the 510 series.The 510 is looking like a minor evolutionary step for Intel and something that’s competitive with the second-gen Sandforce products. It turns out that the biggest news is the change to the Marvell controller, but that’s not part of the price/capacity updates people want. I’m sure the 510s will sell but if you were waiting for Intel’s next release to get a hot new SSD in your computer then there isn’t much for you here aside from the 6Gbps interface. And even that will only benefit people with the newest possible computers.last_img read more

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Android Developers Worried About Fragmentation

first_imgIn the war between iOS and Android, Apple has repeated three words over and over again: “fragmentation, fragmentation, fragmentation.” The threat of fragmentation is certainly a big point in favor of Apple’s limited device strategy. And, at least to some degree, the company has been vindicated. Things over on the Android side are a bit of a mess these days, as a new survey of Android developers can attest.The William Powers study spoke to 250 develops and found that the majority are worried about Android fragmentation. Thirty-three percent of those surveyed considered fragmentation a “meaningful problem” and 24 percent consider it a “huge problem.” “Somewhat of a problem” and simply “a problem” are at 13 and 17 percent, respectively. We’ve certainly see the issue manifest itself from a user’s perspective, with applications proving more buggy on different devices and manufacturers rolling out OS updates at their own staggered paces.The survey also found, perhaps unsurprisingly, that developers find both iOS and BlackBerry easier to develop for than Android.last_img read more

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Google Doodle marks George Gilbert Scotts 200th birthday

first_imgYesterday’s Google Doodle celebrated the 450th anniversary of St Basil’s Cathedral in Russia, so it’s kind of fitting that the day after is the birthday of a man renowned for building them.Sir George Gilbert Scott would have been 200 today. The English architect was born on July 13th 1811 and over his 67 year life somehow managed to design and alter more than 800 buildings. That included work on 55 new churches, 16 church restorations, and 25 cathedrals.There are just too many of his buildings to list, but ones you may recognize include the Albert Memorial, St Pancras railway station, St Mary’s Cathedral, St John’s College, and Lichfield Cathedral. Thankfully Wikipedia comes to our aid and offers up a full list of his building achievements.Scott’s good work didn’t just extend to the buildings he created. Through his life he took many students under his wing who later made a name for themselves. Examples include his assistant William Bonython Moffat as well as pupils Charles Buckeridge, William Henry Crossland, and William White to name but a few.Architecture also ran in the family. Although Scott was the son of a clergyman, two of his sons (George and John) became well-known architects as did his grandson Giles Gilbert Scott.Scott was awarded the Royal Gold Medal for architecture in 1859 and then five years before his death in 1878 he was knighted. As a final honor his body was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey.We continue to enjoy the Google Doodles here at Geek.com, but Google has spoiled us with its animated and interactive doodles of late. We hope to see a return to them soon thrown in every so often between the celebratory pictures.last_img read more

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Android 23 for Intel Atom will arrive in January 2012

first_imgMuch ado has been made about Intel and mobile platforms. Following massive sales of the first iPad, Intel wasn’t entirely convinced about bringing its processors to the mobile computing space. Yet, the chip manufacturer had its eye on Android. With plans for Honeycomb, Intel will bring Gingerbread to Atom E6xx series processors.Since its inception, Android has run on ARM-based chips. Yet, this didn’t sit well with people who wanted to port Android to Intel processors and Intel seems to have heard the clamor. In June 2010, Intel announced that it was working to port Android 2.2 Froyo to x86 processors for netbooks, and that it would be sent to developers later that summer. Earlier this year, Intel announced that it would partner with Google to bring Android 3.0 Honeycomb to its processors.Now the spotlight is on Gingerbread for Intel’s processors. With Android steadily eating up market space, it’s no surprise the Intel would move towards Gingerbread. Android 2.3 has support across a wide swath of phones which is a prime opportunity for Intel to extend its reach.The expected release date is January 2012. Gingerbread 2.3 will run on Intel Atom E6xx series processors. These processors, part of the family formerly known by the codename Queens Bay, were designed for use in embedded devices and were first introduced at the 2010 IDF where Intel touted them as being their first generation of processor-based S0C. Don’t expect to see the E6xx/Android running on a smartphone though, this solution will be used in embedded systems, such as digital signage and fitness equipment.This is a solid move for Intel as it has been mostly absent from the mobile computing space (even if this isn’t a mobile play specifically). With such a huge presence in desktop computing, it’s no surprise that Intel would want to double its efforts, and therefore increase its market share. The surpise seems to be Intel’s talk of the aging Gingerbread, as opposed to Ice Cream Sandwich.Carrypad via Liliputinglast_img read more

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Sega delays Anarchy Reigns again GTA V to blame

first_imgCreated by the makers of Bayonetta and Vanquish, Anarchy Reigns is an over the top online multiplayer fighter set in a post-apocolyptic future in a huge open world. Fans have been waiting months for the game to release, but much to their disappointment, Sega has delayed it yet again, this time pushing it back into 2013 for Europe and the US.Gamers aren’t the only ones annoyed, as developer Platinum games expressed their anger over Twitter, stating they have finished every single regional version of Anarchy Reigns. The delay is purely Sega’s decision, but why?Anarchy Reigns was first delayed back in May, despite the game being already finished. And Japan will still get the game on July 5th. I’m guessing here, but it’s possible the reason Sega has pushed Anarchy Reigns into Q1 2013 is the very same reason why lots of other publishers have decided to adjust their new release schedules: Grand Theft Auto V.Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, Ni No Kuni and, The Last of Us are just some of the games that will be arriving early next year rather than in time for the holidays. If GTA V does come out this autumn, it will probably easily out-sell any other game that’s released during the holiday period in the US and Europe. Whereas it’s unlikely the Japanese market will remain unaffected.There is still no official release date for GTA V, but understandably publishers are obviously wary about what is likely to happen and won’t risk lost sales on key titles.It’s not all bad news, though. After recieving all that money at Christmas you’ll have a lot of choice on which games to spend it on in the usual post-New Year lull.via MCVlast_img read more

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What on earth is Project Black And why are Irish unions so

first_img 97 Comments By Cianan Brennan Source: Mark Stedman/Rollingnews.ieAMID A CLIMATE of intense industrial unrest nationally, Tesco employees at 16 stores have joined the ranks of the discontented and announced “indefinite” strikes, to begin today, 14 February.Eight stores are to strike initially, with another eight due to hit the pickets on Friday. Nine of those 16 stores are in Dublin, while two in Wicklow and one each in Kerry, Longford, Meath, Offaly, and Monaghan are also set to strike.The reason for the strike is that workers who have been employed since prior to 1996 are to be moved to inferior contracts and have their pay greatly reduced, according to unions. Tesco categorically denies this.This particular issue has been at play for over 12 months now, with plans to move those long-term workers to new ‘modern’ contracts first revealed in January 2016.Prior to the announcement of strike action two weeks ago, the ongoing situation at Tesco was raised in Dáil Éireann by Independents4Change TD Joan Collins.Under Dáil privilege, she brought up the existence of Project Black, which Tesco was allegedly using as a means to shed employees.Hitherto, details of Project Black have been scarce. That has now changed, with the existence of the initiative being officially acknowledged by Tesco management in a leaflet recently distributed to stores.The company claims that the ominous-sounding title actually refers to “keeping Tesco Ireland in the black”, ie financially sustainable. The company further says that the project refers to “changes to the pre-1996 terms and conditions, no more, no less”.Unions say it is a “sophisticated and calculated” attempt at union busting, that is, a move designed to render Tesco’s workforce “fully compliant”, the first step of which was the encouragement of longer-term employees to take voluntary redundancy. 700 of those pre-1996 workers have taken such redundancy in the last 12 months (Mandate argues that the figure is much higher). Roughly 250 remain.A Mandate to strikeOnly about 40% of Ireland’s 50 Tesco stores are due to strike this week. Votes by Mandate members in favour of action have been taken in solidarity with the 250 workers still on the payroll who are working on contracts agreed pre-1996. Mandate general secretary John Douglas Source: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ieThose remaining say they are facing pay cuts of at least 15% together with the restructuring of their terms and conditions. Tesco says it is merely applying a recommendation of the Labour Court from April last year and has at all times obeyed all industrial rules.The company has repeatedly called for Mandate to call off its strike and accept that Labour Court recommendation. Last week, it declared itself “shocked” at the suggestion that Mandate was encouraging its members to “shop with their conscience” in other stores.TheJournal.ie spoke to two Tesco employees (one of whom has 21 years with the company, the other 27, both wished to remain anonymous for fear of jeopardising the coming strike action) who are currently on pre-1996 contracts. They give an impression of a culture of fear and hostility that has sprung up in the past year.“We were always a closed shop with full union membership, always achieved via collective bargaining. That all changed last January when we were told that all contracts would be changed,” says one.They said we were going onto new contracts with less favourable rates and full flexibility. It was either take that or take redundancy.The two claim that Tesco approached them directly, rather than the union. “They targeted us personally. As the year went on they talked to the union but they were quite standoffish. Just not forthcoming, they were there so they were obeying rules, but they weren’t engaging.”Both workers describe life at work now as “dreadful, hostile”.Our lives have been made very difficult. In the run up to the strike vote recently the people on other contracts were brought up and asked ‘how could you go on strike with people like this?’. People who’ve been getting €105,000 in redundancy. Well we were never offered that money I can tell you.“We’ve been told that we’re selfish, unreasonable, immoral. We’ve been told that if we’re heard talking about this at work ‘it’ll be stamped out’. People who cross the pickets have been told they will lose all benefits (Tesco denies this saying “it is standard that if someone doesn’t come into work then they don’t get paid”). These are people we used to work fine with before this all started.”The two say that “looking back, you can see the approach being phased in”. “Like when our health committee was phased out three years ago. It was all gradual.”They are convinced that a Project Purple also exists, and that it is the next phase for Tesco once Project Black, assumed to be the elimination of long-term contracts, is completed.“They have to get rid of the pre-96ers in order to move to Project Purple. And it’s all working towards having a ‘fully compliant’ workforce’,” one worker says. Source: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ieBut there are people post-96 who have similar set hours and contracts to us. The same manager said to us “we’ll deal with them later”.The crux of the matter, according to these employees, is: ‘if the company won’t honour these contracts, who’s to say they’ll honour others going forward’.Right now it’s us being victimised. But if we give in, who’ll be next?What is Project Black?Roughly two years ago, Tesco engaged the services of law firm Eversheds (now Eversheds Sutherland in Ireland) to advise on the company’s industrial relations, according to Collins. Regarding Eversheds, Tesco says: “Eversheds have never given Tesco Ireland advice on changes to pre-1996 terms and conditions.” The company has also categorically stated that Project Black is not the result of Eversheds’ consultancy.Unions meanwhile say the end goal of that consultancy is to “probably deunionise” the company’s Irish workforce.“The advice started two years ago and has been ramped up significantly in the last 12 months,” a source told TheJournal.ie.We’ve never come across this kind of sophisticated derecognition of trade unions. We are being consistently undermined, and weakened by the company’s approach.Union sources say that Tesco sees the approach taken by Dunnes Stores (where unions are not recognised, and the media is ignored completely) as the way forward, and that what is happening is consistent with the approach taken by the company in the UK in the past five years.“So now they’re still sitting down with us, but not faithfully, there’s no effort to engage,” our source says.The template is not a new one: “It’s all behaviour we’ve seen, and that’s been documented by our sister unions, abroad, particularly in the UK.”This is the strategy advised by these professional consultants. If they’re brought in to get rid of 1,200 from the workforce, and 900 are already gone, then it becomes about what Tesco says is flexibility – so out of every 100 workers one will need to be flexible regarding hours. But it’s never been about that, it’s about undermining contracts, and what happens is a lot of people end up on precarious part-time contracts. Tuesday 14 Feb 2017, 12:01 AM http://jrnl.ie/3231513 Share607 Tweet Email2 Feb 14th 2017, 12:01 AM center_img Keeping something along these lines a secret is naturally quite difficult to do.The existence of Project Black was for a long time ignored by Tesco, and first came to the unions’ notice via an employee who was tipped off by a friendly manager.“Tesco were aware that we knew about it. And let’s put it this way, they weren’t denying it,” says our source. Project Black is now (relatively) out in the open. Recently, the following flyer has been posted in staffrooms across the country, finally acknowledging the controversial project. And denying the existence of Project Purple, saying it is a concoction on the part of the unions.Click here to view a larger imageMandate see it as being more likely the next step in the company’s new industrial approach to its staff.“This is a very sophisticated, calculated approach to staff relations. You can take something totally inferior to what you already have, or you can take redundancy. And if you don’t you can take your union with you. Our members are feeling very isolated right now,” our source says.Union bustersIt may not be a household name, but Eversheds, first established in 1988, itself is one of the largest legal firms in the UK, and was one of the 50 largest in the world in 2009.It employs more than 4,000 people across the globe.The firm has been through countless corporate tie-ups in the last 30 years, the most recent involving its Irish affiliate in the opening weeks of 2017 – the company’s new name here is Evershed Sutherland following a merger made with US firm Sutherland Asbill & Brennan.A corporate consulting behemoth, Eversheds is not a firm to be taken lightly. It operates offices in at least 55 countries, including one each in Dublin and Belfast.Its so-called ‘union busting’ strategy for clients can be traced back 17 years to when the UK government reintroduced compulsory procedures for union recognition for the first time since the 1980s, though ‘union busting’ itself is possibly an unfair description – the strategy put in place could be more accurately referred to as union-resistance.“UK employers should view a union organisational effort as an economic heart attack,” Alan Lips of US firm Taft Stettinius & Hollister warned at the time. Source: Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews.ieEversheds itself seems to have been particularly well-prepared for the then new legislation – it embarked on a nationwide ‘trade union roadshow’ at the time to sell its new union resistance practice.Its clients have included Mercedes, upmarket grocery chain Sainsbury’s, and, interestingly, Ryanair.In 2007, the firm, contracted by Michael O’Leary’s budget carrier, was instrumental in arguing successfully in front of a European court that the only employment law that should apply in the case of aircraft employees is that of an airline’s home country – in Ryanair’s case, Ireland.That decision saw the case of three Belgium-based cabin crew who were dismissed by the airline five years previously overturned after a Belgian labour court ruled that they had been unfairly dismissed.Eversheds Sutherland did not respond to a request for comment from TheJournal.ie.When asked to confirm that Eversheds had been retained by Tesco to assist in its approach to industrial relations, the company’s response was:“Eversheds have never given Tesco Ireland advice on changes to pre-1996 terms and conditions.”Tesco’s side of thingsThe company has, for its part, rejected all the Irish unions’ claims in the last two weeks.Since the announcement of the impending strike action, Tesco has repeatedly released statements calling for Mandate, which represents over 10,000 of the company’s 14,000 Irish workforce, to accept last year’s Labour Court recommendation and to call off its proposed industrial action.Its approach has been to consistently call for Mandate to call off the strike, most recently on Sunday when the union suggested it would cancel the pickets if the company agreed to not change any pre-96 contracts without prior agreement.“All Tesco stores will be open today, Tuesday 14 February for business as usual,” the company said in a statement.Tesco calls on Mandate to accept the Labour Court recommendation which affect 250 of the 14,500 colleagues in Tesco.  It remains as the means to resolving the dispute which affects only a small number of staff and the indefinite strike is disproportionate action for Mandate’s other members in the company.The company likewise underlines that “in the stores that have been balloted less than half of colleagues working in those stores actually voted in favour of strike action”.Regarding Project Black itself:“Project Black is the internal working name for changes to the pre-1996 terms and conditions, no more no less,” the company told TheJournal.ie.1,000 people were in scope at the start of this process and 700 colleagues have opted to take voluntary redundancy with the average payout of €105,000.Tesco says categorically that Project Black is not the result of Eversheds’ consultancy, and that “there is no such project” as Project Purple.The company added that a recent pay increase granted to employees, which had been delayed for 10 months, is the fourth successive annual 2% pay increase it has made.Read: There’s a scheme to save struggling Irish companies from going under, but it’s never been used. Here’s whyRead: Ireland’s biggest movie studio is up for sale, but developers won’t be allowed build houses there Short URL Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article What on earth is Project Black? And why are Irish unions so worried about it? Ahead of today’s projected strike in eight stores, Tesco’s controversial Project Black has the unions’ hackles up. 50,897 Views last_img read more

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