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Column Operation Emigration – is the Government trying to give us the

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first_imgFIRSTLY, A CAVEAT: this is one side of a many-sided argument, a quadruple dodecahedron. Everyone has been hit hard by the recession – well almost everyone – however I am not everyone, only a tiny percentage of a generation. A mere little fingernail of the country.So, youth unemployment is over 24%, the national average is 14%, we’re in a puddle and it’s not full of water. Basically there are no jobs for new graduates, school leavers and the under-30s. But it’s not just lack of employment affecting this age group, of which I am one. I am becoming convinced the Government is trying to get rid of us: it’s Operation Emigration.GrantsThe first sign was last year, when students waited for college grants. They waited and they waited. Angry colleges full of angry students up and down the country waited for the non-existent cash to come like a deluded contestant on Deal or No Deal.Third level maintenance grants were first on his list when Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn was faced with cutting €44 million from his departmental budget last year. While college is undoubtedly a privilege, it is, we are told, the way to employment. Yet we’re sabotaged from the beginning by creating our own piles of debt before we even get to an interview.The Jetsons, the old Hanna Barbera space family on the telly used to fly around in personal spaceships in a vision of the future. Now though, owning a car has become a distant dream let alone a house or a 3D HD telly. A debt pile is about the only sizeable thing we will ever own.JobBridgeThen there was the introduction of the JobBridge scheme, the answer to our unemployed prayers, which offered menial jobs in return for minimal pay and the promise you would have something to put on your CV even if you didn’t actually have a job at the end of it. Joan Burton’s labour of love was reported to have a 75% dropout rate in 2012. The figures showed that of those remaining in the system, 38% got jobs, but that wasn’t to say they were with the companies for which they had been interns.It’s fair to say McDonald’s has better employment policies than our Minister for Social Protection. They are willing to train their workers with City of Guilds qualifications while actually paying them to work, because the corporate monster realises you have to invest in people. Of course not investing in people is the perfect way to wave them off; ‘Sorry about that, we could have tried harder, but you know, we couldn’t really be bothered. See you, off you go, go on, BUGGER OFF!’Cuts, cuts, cutsThen budget cuts were announced. What joy, a blow to anyone in receipt of benefits and particularly hard on the young. From 14 January all new Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants under 25 with no kids will receive no more than €100, whilst those already on the allowance will see no increase in their rate. Yet, according to the bigwigs in Leinster House, the economy is on the up. The ministers must have mistaken their giant holiday fund a s a thermometer for the economy. It’s an easy mistake to make.Joan Burton hoped cuts to the social welfare system would reduce the “culture of dependency” that had apparently appeared. Poor Joan must live in some dole-youth ghetto, afraid to peek past her curtains. The only dependency our generation has is an inherited one.Dear Joan, my problem is my country has no respect for me or my ideas. I’m constantly battered down by some misplaced perception that I skip to the dole queue and then skip into the off-licence to buy vast amounts of nuclear coloured spirits before hurling abuse at buses full of commuters who do something so silly as work when they could get the dole! What can I do?To which the reply would be: leave.‘If I were young, I would leave’And so the only things that could possibly brighten our darkening days are the glowing posters of distant shores. Australia and Canada have been marketed like cake to a Weight Watchers meeting. It’s just there, you can take it, go on. GET OUT. “If I were young, I would leave” I often hear as I walk down the street like the condemned. But what if I don’t want to? What if I love this country? It’s where my family are and where, I hope, one day things will be better. In fact I hear these whispers so frequently I’m beginning to fear government spies have been tasked to follow me.What’s most ironic really is that in stripping the country of its young, willing, educated and able they are actually removing the government leaders of the future. Perhaps that’s the point, Enda’s committing a Herod-like cull of anyone that might challenge him and his healthy pension.Maybe it’s just me – perhaps I’m paranoid – but budgets, bridges and Burton all together, it does look a bit like the Government is trying to give us the shove. Doesn’t it?Kate Bellamy is a TV and features writer online and in print in Ireland and the UK writing on contemporary women’s issues and television – where possible combining the two. Kate was shortlisted for the Vogue Young Writers Talent Contest this year. She can found tweeting @_KateMate.Read: Ireland has the highest birth, lowest death and greatest emigration rates in EuropeRead: Tánaiste says taxation is not the reason for emigration ‘brain drain’last_img read more

Sellafield says there is no risk to public because of elevated radiation

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first_imgSTAFF AT THE nuclear power site at Sellafield in the UK have been asked not to report to work today because of elevated radiation levels.The operator of the plant said it was operating at “reduced manning levels” with all non-essential workers asked to stay at home.The firm described it as a “conservative and prudent decision”.“This follows the detection of elevated levels of radioactivity at one of the on-site radiation monitors at the north end of the site,” it said in a statement.Levels of radioactivity detected are above naturally occurring radiation but well below that which would call for any actions to be taken by the workforce on or off the site.“We have taken this decision to focus on investigation and avoid disruption on and off the site (such as traffic disruption in the West Cumbria region).If this had happened during the working day we would just allow people to go home as normal. There is no risk to the general public or workforce.The nuclear sites is located about 180km from Ireland’s coastline. Recent studies have found that an incident at the facility would result in no observable health effects here.The British energy ministry said it has no reason to believe that the elevated levels of radioactivity were any more serious than the plant has outlined.“We are in constant contact with Sellafield, but we have no reason to believe that it is any more serious than they’ve said,” a spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said.Read: Two students unaccounted for in blaze at Irish college residence in BelgiumRelated: Sellafield facilities “do not meet modern standards” – UK nuclear watchdoglast_img read more

20 killed as bomb blasts hit Indias Hyderabad

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first_imgTWIN BOMBINGS KILLED at least 20 people outside a popular cinema and bus stand in the Indian city of Hyderabad earlier today, provoking safety fears among Australia’s touring cricket team.Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the perpetrators of the “dastardly act” would be punished. It came with the nation on alert after the recent hanging of a separatist unleashed protests in the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir.The evening bombings targeted a mainly Hindu district in Hyderabad, a hub of India’s computing industry in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh which hosts local offices of Google and Microsoft among other Western IT companies.Busy area Witnesses said one of the crude devices went off around 15 yards from the entrance to the Venkatadri Cinema in the popular retail district of Dilsukh Nagar and the second exploded next to a nearby bus stop.The first explosion went off just as movie-goers were making their way out of the cinema at the end of a show. Some had stopped at food stalls when the deafening blast went off.A government minister said the bombs, which went off in quick succession, were planted on bicycles. The charred wreckage of parked scooters lay on the ground, mingled with the blood and footwear of victims who included two women.Doctors struggled to treat a stream of wounded victims as bloodied patients lay on stretchers at city hospitals and anguished relatives clamoured for news of their loved ones, an AFP photographer saw.Hyderabad is due to host a Test match between Australia and India from March 2 but a statement from the Australian side said it was now in talks with Indian authorities and stressed that the safety of its players was “paramount”.Hyderabad deputy inspector of police Shiv Kumar said there was no doubt that “this is a terror attack” while adding there had been no claim of responsibility.At least 20 killed Twenty people died in the attack, said Kumar, while an officer in the police control room said 82 people had been wounded.Sreekanth Rao, a doctor at the city’s Yashoda hospital, said several of those injured were in a life-threatening condition.“Five people are being operated on. We had to amputate a 22-year-old woman’s leg because that was the only way we could save her,” he told AFP.“This is a dastardly act and the guilty will not go unpunished,” Prime Minister Singh said of the attacks, the most serious to hit India since 13 people died in a 2011 bombing outside the High Court in the capital New Delhi.But Singh also appealed for “calm” in the aftermath of the Hyderabad blasts, as police struggled to keep order with large crowds massing at the scene.N. Kiran Reddy, the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, told reporters in Hyderabad that the blasts were intended to incite communal violence in the city, which has a large Muslim population.“This attack is only to disturb all communities living in the city. I request people to maintain calm and they should not visit the blast site.”Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, the top civil servant in India’s external affairs ministry, did not rule out foreign involvement.“I am not sure there is any evidence it could be homegrown terrorism. We have had a number of attacks which have been traced to inspiration or leadership outside the country,” he said at a Washington think-tank.But Mathai avoided direct criticism of nuclear-armed rival Pakistan, which New Delhi blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which 166 people were killed when Pakistani-born gunmen laid siege to the city.Devices close to each other Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said the two devices that exploded were planted close to each other.“The two bombs were placed on two different bicycles and the distance between them was about 100 to 150 metres (yards),” he told reporters.While Hindus form the majority of the population in Hyderabad, one of India’s largest and most historic cities, there is a sizeable community of Muslims living in the old quarter.In May 2007, at least 11 people were killed in a blast at a mosque in Hyderabad and five more died when police fired at Muslim protesters.Months later in August, at least 40 people were killed in Hyderabad when two blasts hit an auditorium and an outdoor restaurant.It remains unclear who carried out the 2007 attacks.The latest explosions came on the same day as India’s parliament opened for its key budget session, amid tensions following the hanging earlier this month of the Kashmiri separatist, Mohammed Afzal Guru.The execution of Guru, who had been convicted of helping to plot a 2001 attack on the Indian parliament that left 10 people dead, has driven up tensions in the Himalayan region of Kashmir, which India disputes with Pakistan.- © AFP, 2013last_img read more

Chocolate giant Cadbury accused of tax evasion

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first_imgINDIAN TAX AUTHORITIES have accused the local unit of chocolate giant Cadbury of evading $46 million (approximately €35 million) in taxes by pretending to produce sweets at a factory that did not exist, a report said today.Cadbury India manipulated invoices and other documents to get a tax exemption for companies that began production in new plants in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh by 31 March, 2010, the Wall Street Journal reported.But the Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence, which conducted the investigation, concluded that the plant could not have existed by 2010 as the company had not received the necessary government approvals, the WSJ said.Cadbury India, controlled by international snacks maker Mondelez International, said it was “reviewing” the notice from the tax authorities and will respond within the 30-day period granted to it.“We have been fully cooperating with the authorities on this inquiry. Since the process is currently under way, it will be inappropriate on our part to discuss the details at this time,” the firm said in a statement to AFP.India has aggressively stepped up its tax collection drive against multinational firms operating in the country, in a bid to raise revenue and reduce a ballooning fiscal deficit.Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell’s Indian unit faces a local tax claim on a share sale in 2009.British mobile network firm Vodafone is fighting a multi-billion dollar tax bill from Indian tax authorities over its 2007 purchase of a stake in a domestic telecommunications company.Vodafone maintains it is not liable to pay any tax on the transaction.- © AFP, 2013Read: You can’t use this colour to sell chocolate in Britain any more >last_img read more

FLAC says Jury Service report should include deaf and blind people

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first_imgFREE LEGAL ADVICE CENTRES (FLAC) have said that it is “regrettable” that proposed jury service changes that have been proposed by the Law Reform Commission do not include deaf and blind people.The legal human rights body, which has previously taken cases on behalf of deaf persons wanting to serve on juries, said that those currently eligible for jury duty would not be truly representative for as long as it continued to exclude both deaf and blind people.While the report, which was published by the LRC today, expressed concern at the presence of interpreters during jury discussions, FLAC said that deaf and blind people could still serve on inquest juries and in civil cases like defamation, which do not raise the same concerns as criminal trials.Senior solicitor with FLAC, Michael Farrell, said that if deaf and blind people were “allowed to serve on inquest and civil juries, the concerns that have been expressed about criminal cases would soon be dispelled”.Progress to dateIn November 2010 Mr Justice Carney in the Central Criminal Court had ruled that a deaf person could serve on a jury with the assistance of an interpreter who had taken an additional oath of secrecy about the jury deliberations.While the LRC has now called for a further study of safeguards for the use of sign language interpreters with jurors, especially in criminal trials, FLAC said that they believed that this study should be accompanied by practical experience.Read: LRC report recommends non-Irish citizens for jury duty >last_img read more

Extract Im in massive negative equity and I may lose my home

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first_imgDEBT NEVER SLEEPS. It paces the floor at night and peeps into dark corners looking for trouble, it searches down the back of sofas for misplaced coins and rummages through the rubbish bin, pulling out old chicken wrappers, empty crisp packets and spent tea bags.It is the constant harrier and no more so than at night. Debt pushes into bed and takes the uneasy sleeper to the edge of madness. Debt is never absent. The jerking body on the bed, twists and turns, counting mythical sheep.The grip of debtIt’s like a face at the window in the dark of the night. Before the dawn is even a whisper. While the silent, dank hours pass away slow as a hearse walks through a country town. Schemes and plans and begging letters have currency in the night, have a purpose and a pulse. Debt comes sneaking in at first. Like love, its arrival is slow and unexpected. It was not wished for or lusted after. By degrees it grows and it stalks the corridors of shame.I sat with a wise woman once. She spoke about people who lose hope. It might only be transitory but it can prove fatal. It might be continuous, unrelenting, pernicious and prove fatal. It can be intermittent but still fatal. For the loss of hope to become permanent only requires that the person cannot see beyond that loss. But there is an expression often used in such hopeless situations. This too will pass.Losing hopeKnowing that things are transitory is our biggest defense against the loss of hope, ironically. It makes the darkest hour bearable. The hour before the dawn is the most dark but it is followed by the light, if we but stay.Do not underestimate the devastation wrought by the loss of hope. Hanging about is very brave and much misunderstood. Just ‘being’ can be tough.People say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I agree. But I say back to them, you have to take into account the collateral damage. It is not as though anyone can walk through life without getting a few scars, but really serious injuries, the kind that will not kill you, can leave you maimed and changed.Surviving the unexpectedWhat doesn’t kill you may make you stronger. However, it may also kill a part of you. We need to embrace the changes that befall us, that we create, that our friends and family wrought upon us. We need to know that our beauty lies in our accepting those changes and calling them our own, living through them, and naming them as who we are.I think we need to know that this too will pass, when hope is in very short supply, that staying a little bit longer, just hanging around can make a difference. And then in the greatest triumph that humankind can offer, we can live despite all this, love in the midst of it, and comfort and support others in the same way. It is called the human condition and it is to be shared.I believe I am more beautiful now for my scars than before, more beautiful for the changes in my body and mind than before. More courageous in my beliefs, more passionate in my views and more compassionate in my attempt to understand this world than before.This is why I stay. This is why I know things will pass, good, bad and indifferent. This is why I know my love is only growing and my right to life on this planet is secured. And if I hit a loss of hope, then I know, this too will pass.Jillian Godsil is a writer living in Wicklow, Ireland. She has her own blog, which can be viewed here. These extracts are taken from her book, Does my Debt look big in this? The profits of which are pledged to Pieta House. It is a collection of essays which documents Jillian’s own personal slide into insolvency, the closing of her business and looking into a future to what looks like no financial way out at all. The paperback version can be bought here or the Kindle version here.Read: Mortgage holders in arrears are older and more likely to have children – report>Column: Government needs to impose proper rules and regulations on lenders>last_img read more

Oireachtas agenda Generic drugs selling the Lotto and Budget 2014

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first_imgWHAT ARE OUR politicians doing in the halls of Leinster House?TheJournal.ie lets you know with our guide to what’s coming up to the Dáil, Seanad and various Oireachtas committees today.DÁILThe usual high-octane spectacle of Leaders’ Questions begins the day at 10:30am, before a more sedate discussion on the rest of the day’s agenda and an update on the government’s plans for legislation.The rest of the morning will be occupied with the final debate on the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Bill 2012, which introduces reference pricing for drug acquisitions and makes it legal for pharmacists to substitute a generic drug in place of a branded alternative.If there’s time before 1:30pm, there’ll also be discussion on the Companies Bill – a mammoth, 1,200+ page bill which consolidates all existing company law into a single piece of legislation and also hopes to make it easier to set up a new company. (If there isn’t time before lunch, it’ll be discussed afterwards.)Lunch at 1:30pm will be followed by questions to Joan Burton, the Minister for Social Protection, at 2:30pm and discussion on four topical issues at 3:45pm. There’ll be more discussion on the Companies Bill between 4:33pm and 5:30pm.At 5:30pm it’s time for the first airing of the Non-Use of Motor Vehicles Bill 2013 – laws which would reform the motor tax system and require motorists to declare in advance if their car will be off the road, instead of doing so retrospectively and hoping to dodge a few months’ tax.That comes to an end at 7:30pm, when debate resumes on a Fianna Fáil motion calling on the government not to implement unilateral pay cuts in the aftermath of Croke Park 2 collapse. A vote will be called at 9pm.The day’s Dáil business can all be viewed here.SEANADThe opening 75-minute discussion on anything and everything will begin at 10:30pm, after which thoughts turn to the National Lottery Bill – which creates a new independent lottery regulator and paves the way for the sale of the lottery licence to an outside operator.At 3pm Alan Shatter pops in to guide two hours of discussion implementing the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) (Amendment) Bill 2013, which gives effect to new EU rules on human trafficking and extends criminal charges for pornography rings related to this purpose.5pm will see two hours of debate on a bill from TCD senator Sean Barrett – whose Financial Stability and Reform Bill 2013 is modelled on similar legislation already in place in the US and UK. It would, in short, hope to reduce the prospect of the state having to step in and bail out a financial institution that has gotten too big. It’s not clear whether the legislation will be accepted by the government – but it will offer a two-hour debate on how this can be managed in future anyway.The day’s Seanad business can all be viewed here.COMMITTEESThere are five committees meeting today – but more than five meetings. The Justice committee meets no fewer than three times today – with two hearings to discuss a value-for-money report on the Reserve Defence Force, and one to discuss the World War II deserters’ amnesty. Alan Shatter will be present to discuss the RDF (9:30am) and the World War II amnesty (11:15am); representatives from the Reserve Defence Forces members will discuss the former at 2pm. (Watch here.)The Transport and Communications committee also meets at 9:30am, where it again discusses the possibility of banning alcohol sponsorship for sporting events. This time there’ll be representatives from the Federation of Irish Sport, the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland, and Horse Racing Ireland – which would be particularly badly hit by a ban on alcohol sponsorship. (Watch here.)The Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform assembles at 2pm to meet the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council and discuss its most recent report – which found that there is wiggle room in the Irish economy, but tells the government not to use it. (Watch here.)A former junior minister returns to Leinster House at 2:30pm, when Barry Andrews – now the chief executive of GOAL – meets the Foreign Affairs committee. He will discuss Goal’s work, while the work of the Centre for Global Development will also be discussed. (Watch here.)It’s a late meeting for the Finance sub-commmittee, which has to wait until 7pm to see Michael Noonan and discuss amendments to the Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Bill 2011, which beefs up the powers of the Financial Regulator‘s arm of the Central Bank. (Watch here.)Explainer: How does a Bill become a law?last_img read more

Head of 2fm steps down to take up new RTÉ Radio role

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first_imgTHE HEAD OF RTÉ 2fm, John McMahon, is stepping down to take up a new role within the State broadcaster’s radio division.RTÉ has confirmed this evening that McMahon has not sought a renewal of his contract having worked as head of the music station since 2009. He had previously been RTÉ’s first ever webmaster, setting up rte.ie in 1996.“Running 2fm has been both challenging and rewarding. Working with the great 2fm presenters and production teams during my time as station head has made every day an entertaining one,” McMahon said in a statement today.He is set to take role within RTÉ radio overseeing the introduction of a multi-channel audio production project which the broadcaster said will “centralise station sound and imaging on RTÉ Radio’s four fm and six digital radio stations”.He will also be engaging in a number of programme projects on Radio 1 in a “senior production capacity”.The station added that it would be appointing a new head of 2fm in the coming weeks.Read: Anyone remember the Beat on the Street?“The Ryanline is open”- Some of Gerry’s best radio moments, 25 years onlast_img read more

Two men charged over filling station robbery

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first_imgTWO MEN APPEARED in court this morning charged in relation to a robbery at a filling station in Cork City on Thursday evening.Two masked men armed to knives had held up staff at the service station on Leitrim Street at around 8.20pm. They stole a quantity of cash and left in a car driven by a man with a female passenger.Gardaí later stopped a car and arrested three people – a woman and two men. Another man escaped on foot.A 27-year-old man and 33-year-old man both appeared at Cork City District Court today charged in connection with the robbery.Related: Armed robbery at Cork filling station, three people arrested but a fourth escaped>last_img read more

An honour to represent Munster and Paul OConnell at Donal Walsh funeral

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first_imgMUNSTER FORWARD MARCUS HORAN has spoken to TheScore.ie about the “inspirational” Kerry teenager Donal Walsh, who passed away on 12 May after a long battle with cancer.Horan was part of the Munster squad that flanked six teammates acting as coffin bearers at Walsh’s funeral on 15 May. Paul O’Connell, who had a close and long-standing friendship with the Blennerville native, could not make the service but has since visited with the Walsh family.Horan said, “Donal was great friends with Paul for the last number of years. Paul was close to the family.Unfortunately for Paul, he was on Lions duty and couldn’t get over for the funeral but he has been back subsequently and visited the family. We represented him on the day and were proud to do so.”Horan added, “It was Donal’s request to have us there. We were only too delighted to contribute on the day and do something for the family. It was a special moment for everyone involved. It was a very sad occasion but, at the same time, very uplifting to remember all he did. How he spoke was inspirational.“He had organised everything about the funeral and had even named all his favourite players to carry the coffin. It was an honour to represent Munster and Paul O’Connell on the day.” Donal Walsh, proudly wearing his Munster jersey, in 2009 when Leinster’s Sean O’Brien and Girvan Dempsey visited Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin. (©INPHO/Morgan Treacy)Horan says Munster were a team the 16-year-old really cherished and paid tribute to his stance against suicide and public speaking, such as an appearance on the Saturday Night Show, that urged young people to discuss issues they may be having with friends or family members.He said, “To see the bravery of a boy of 16 years of age was amazing. He spoke like a grown man that was around for 60 years.“The kind of honesty, and saying how you feel, is a testament to a lot of young people out there. His story on suicide had a huge impact of people across the country. His family have stated that they have got a load of letters and continue to do so since Donal passed away.”Walsh has been nominated for Rehab People of the Year. The nominations for the annual awards ceremony close on 14 June with a ceremony on 14 September.Thousands pay tribute to teen ‘warrior and inspiration’ Donal WalshO’Connell calling for greater effort to unite young Lionslast_img read more

The largest cigarette seizure in Europe happened in Drogheda this morning

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first_imgThis intelligence-led seizure represents a significant potential loss to the Exchequer and is a significant blow to the criminals involved in this illicit trade.The seizure represents a potential loss to the Exchequer of nearly €13 million, assuming it would have displaced the equivalent full tax paid quantity of cigarettes and tobacco.Main Destination Retailers Against Smuggling (RAS) says Ireland is the main destination in Europe for international smugglers.RAS spokesman Benny Gilsenan said, “the fact that this seizure is the biggest in Europe so far this year shows that we have become the number one target for international crime gangs and smugglers, who are attracted here by low fines and high prices.We hope that it will act as a wake-up call to the Government. There is clearly an enormous problem with smugglers targeting Ireland and there’s an urgent need for Revenue to get whatever resources they need to tackle this problem.Follow up search of premises are underway and investigations are continuing both nationally and internationally.If businesses or members of the public have any information regarding the smuggling or sale of illegal cigarettes or tobacco, they can contact Revenue in confidence on free phone number 1800 295 295.Read: Almost 25,000 cigarettes seized by customs officers in Cork> REVENUE SEIZED CIGARETTES with an estimated street value of €32 million in Drogheda Port this morning.This is the largest seizure in Europe so far this year.The cigarettes were seized along with 4,500 kgs of water pipe tobacco with a total retail value of approximately €14 million.The operation targeted the criminal activities of an international organised crime group headed up by Irish and UK nationals and based in Europe.The cargo vessel transporting the cigarettes and tobacco, the MV Shingle, which was loaded in Slovenia and arrived into Drogheda Port via Lisbon – was also seized.The Finance Minister, Michael Noonan, congratulated Revenue on the seizures:last_img read more

NPH to Host Video Game Awards

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first_imgIf you need any proof that video games are now mainstream, consider this. Spike TV will air its 8th annual Video Game Awards live on Saturday, December 11, and the host will be Neil Patrick Harris. Besides NPH, the show will play host to big names from Hollywood and gaming: presenters and attendees will include “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” cast members Danny Devito, Kaitlin Olson, and Rob McElhenney; Guillermo Del Toro; Nathan Fillion; Olivia Munn; Annalynne McCord; Nick Swardson; Dane Cook; and Tony Hawk.Besides awards, the star-studded event will feature 13 world premieres of games for 2011, including “Batman: Arkham City,” “Resistance 3” and “Thor: God of Thunder.” But will NPH bring a song and dance number to the show? I’m hoping for a splashy number dedicated to Angry Birds. AdChoices广告last_img read more

Adonit Writer A professional keyboard case for the iPad

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first_imgiPad keyboard cases are beginning to grow in popularity due to their ability to give the iPad the look-and-feel of a laptop which allows some users to make it their primary computer. Like many Apple accessories recently, the creators of the Adonit Writer iPad keyboard are seeking funding for startup capital on Kickstarter to allow production of this accessory to begin. Writer is the brainchild of Seattle-based Adonit founded by Kris Perpich and Zach Zeliff.The Writer’s case comes with an aluminum body keyboard with scissor action keys which glide along a magnetic strip to give the user the ability to view the iPad’s display in an unlimited number of screen angles while still providing the appropriate amount of stability. To conserve battery life, an auto wake and sleep function is supported which is accompanied by an LED battery indicator so users can quickly see whether they are powered up or when their battery is running low. If users are concerned about being able to quickly return their iPad to tablet mode for gaming they will be happy to hear that the Writer offers a quick eject as well.AdChoices广告The Adonit Writer’s Kickstarter project has been well received and there is little doubt it will reach its goal of $10,000. Based on comments posted on the Kickstarter site, Kris Perpich believes the company will be ready to begin shipping the device during “the first part of February.” In regards to how an iPad 2 would effect the current model, Perpich says that Adonit is already designing another version of the Writer for the iPad 2, but the current 15 million users of the original iPad still offer a healthy market to sell to now.The Writer is expected to retail for $99.99, but you can get your hands on one at a discount if you help fund the Kickstart project with a pledge of $89 or more.  International orders will need to add an additional $25 while those in Canada will have to pay an extra $15 for shipping.Read more at Kickstarter and Wiredlast_img read more

Nokia and Windows Phone 7 One Sinking Ship to Another

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first_imgWhen Motorola announced its dedication to Android relatively early on, people called the company crazy. Why would the handset manufacturer devote its line to that go nowhere mobile OS? The gamble paid off, of course, snatching Motorola from what looked like inevitable collapse.Nokia’s position in 2011 is, of course, a bit than Motorola’s in, say, late 2009. Nokia, after all, is still the world’s leading phone manufacturer. When people speak about the company’s failures, it’s all relative–Nokia is failure, perhaps, but it’s the number one failure. The company has surrendered much of its market share to the likes of the iPhone and Android in all its various incarnations.Nokia’s continued support of Symbian has largely been regarded as a sign that the company just can’t adapt to the new smartphone world. Ovi was, perhaps, a nice shot, but has paled in comparison to what the iPhone App Store has delivered.Now the mobile world is all atwitter with buzz that the company might dump Symbian for Windows Phone 7. The company’s stock got a bit of a bump after an analyst suggested that an alliance between the two corporations would be mutual beneficial. Certainly such a move would be a kick in the pants for Nokia, but while Windows Phone 7 has definitely resuscitated Microsoft’s sickly mobile team, the operating system is hardly a runaway success. The software giant, after all, is talking customer satisfaction instead of sales figure for a reason–WP7 isn’t really selling all that great.last_img read more

Xperia X10 to get unexpected Android 23 update

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first_imgSony Ericsson has confirmed today that it intends to offer a new update not previously planned for the Xperia X10 smartphone. Originally, the X10 was only going to receive Android updates to version 2.1. This obviously upset X10 owners who have been calling for further updates ever since.Today, Sony Ericsson decided to respond to those calls, and the Xperia X10 will now be getting an update to Gingerbread (2.3), bypassing 2.2 completely. According to the company, the decision is based purely on the fact so many owners wanted it, showing that if you complain enough sometimes you get what you want.Sony Ericsson always intended to launch 2011 Xperia products with Android 2.3, but now X10 owners should get it as early as Q2 this year or possibly Q3 at the latest. However, the update will be limited to geenric trade versions of the smartphone, so no X10 handsets that have been customized for an operator will get it unless by some luck it happens to work.While the update will be welcomed by most, it does mean that some previous functionality will be lost from handsets applying the update. This includes the loss of face recognition and smile shutter for the camera, the DRM keys will be lost for protected content on your device, Sony Ericsson Backup & Restore will no longer be supported or work, Mediascape is being replaced, and bi-directional language support is being reduced. It’s also worth noting that once the update is applied you cannot go back to Android 2.1.If you intend to update your X10 to Android 2.3 then make sure you have all your content backed up as it will be lost during the process. The X10 is also the only older phone in the range to be getting this treatment. X10 mini, mini pro, and X8 owners are out of luck.Read more at the Sony Ericsson Product Bloglast_img read more

RIM promises 7 new BlackBerry models in the next few months

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first_imgResearch in Motion, the company that makes the BlackBerry smartphone, say they have at least seven new models up their sleeves and ready to hit the market in the next couple of months. Whether you think it’s the last gasp of a formerly great smartphone manufacturer or a breath of fresh air for RIM, it’s clear they’re not going to give up on their remaining market share.The announcements came during RIM’s annual shareholders meeting – RIM happily announced that mobile phone consumers would see a significantly refreshed BlackBerry lineup in the coming months, including new BlackBerry Torch, Curve, and Bold models on various carriers.AdChoices广告For example, the upcoming Bold 9900 is scheduled for release before the summer is over, and there’s rumor that a completely touch-screen Curve “Touch” is on the way to compete with other smartphones with touch-screens as their primary interfaces.At the same time though, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie got on stage and noted that while RIM is doing well, they’re “not perfect,” which is as much acknowledgement as investors would get at the meeting of RIM’s sliding market share and customer abandonment. At the same time, Balsillie went out of his way to let investors know that he’s committed to the success of the company, and said that if there was anything he could do to help investors “sleep better at night,” he would do it.Some of the things he’s already planning to do is leap-frog the current generation of smartphones with new hardware that, according to Intomobile, will at the very least catch BlackBerry smartphones up to their high-end Android and Windows Phone competitors. RIM is also planning to “streamline” their operations, which usually translates into layoffs. RIM says that they have no plans to cut development activities, but current operations staff may be cut in order to help RIM get into a more strategic position.We’ll see before the end of the year what those new RIM handsets look like and whether they’ll put up enough of a competition to steal some customers back from Android and iOS. RIM will need to start making progress if they don’t want to slide back into the “niche business phone” category.via Intomobilelast_img read more

How to remove ads from your Kindle

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first_imgDid you get a new Kindle as a holiday gift, only to find that it’s the ad-supported Special Offers version? The advertisements aren’t too annoying, but we could see why you might want to get rid of them. If that’s the case it’s actually easy to remove the ads from your Kindle with just a little messing around with the device’s file system.If you’ve ever jailbroken a smartphone, you’re more than prepared to free your Kindle from those pesky little ads. Here’s our guide in four easy steps.This guide is for Windows and assumes you have Windows 7. Most of the steps will still be the same in Windows Vista or older versions but will have some occasional twists. Let’s get down to it!Step 1: Show hidden files and foldersIf you already show hidden files and folders in Windows, skip on to Step 2.In Windows, click Start, then go to the Control Panel. Click Appearance and Personalization then  Folder Options. Click over to the View tab, and under Advanced Settings make sure “Show hidden files, folders and drives” is checked.Once that box is checked, click OK and close the Control Panel window.Step 2: Connect the KindleUsing the USB cable included, plug your Kindle into your computer.Step 3: Delete .assets on KindleOpen Windows Explorer. Under your Computer, you’ll see the Kindle appear like an additional hard drive. Open that.On the Kindle, double-click the system folder to open it. In that folder, delete the folder called .assets. If you don’t see .assets, repeat Step 1.Step 4: Create a replacement .assets folderWe want to make a new folder called .assets to replace the old one, but Windows won’t let you make a folder with a period at the start. We’ll do it in a roundabout way.Right-click inside the system folder and choose New > Text Document. Leave the name alone and just let it be called New Text Document.txt.Now comes the tricky part. While holding Shift, right-click inside the system folder and choose Open Command Window Here. At the command prompt, enter rename “New Text Document.txt” .assets and hit Enter. Close the Command Window, and back inside the system folder you should see that the New Text Document.txt file from before is gone.And we’re done! Your new Kindle should now fail to connect wirelessly to grab new ads. You may occasionally see an error message like the one in the image below, but only when the device is in its sleeping screensaver mode.Be warned that this workaround could be removed in a future Kindle device update. As our guide shows, it’s a pretty simple hack to remove ads. That means that it’s also a simple fix for the computer-whiz programmers who work for Amazon.In the meantime, however, enjoy your ad-free Kindle bought on the cheap! And if you don’t like this work-around you can pay Amazon $30 to do it their way.Read more Geek.com Kindle coverage hereMore at Y42Klast_img read more

Flexible robot can camouflage itself like a chameleon in just 30 seconds

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first_imgNature seems to be the best inspiration for researchers at Harvard. They’re working on a robot for DARPA, specifically a soft, flexible robot that can blend into its surrounding environment.It may not be as fast as a chameleon but the octopus-like robot can change from one color to the next within seconds, leaving it virtually invisible to the naked eye. Microfluid networks run through the thin silicone sheets of the robot so an ink-like substance made up of dyes, chemiluminescent, fluorescent solutions, and water can be pumped through the robots veins the make it change color.The robot is connected to a network of wires, these are attached to a control system which pumps pressurized liquids and gases into the robot. Not only does that mean the robot changes color in 30 seconds or less, it also means it can be soft, small, and light because it’s power source and pump are handle externally.This project has been in development for just over a year and takes direct inspiration from soft organisms such as octopi. Not only would this robot be good at hide and seek, the researchers say it could be filled with glow in the dark fluid and be used by rescue teams to light the way to find trapped people. The video above demonstrates just how fast the robot is at changing it’s pattern and it’s accuracy is pretty incredible. Perhaps we are one step closer to having an Octocamo suit like Snake has in Metal Gear Solid 4… we can only dream.More at DesignBoom, via Stufflast_img read more

Apples Lightning AV adapter contains a tiny ARM computer

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first_imgThere’s been a lot of speculation about why Apple decided to start using the Lightning port in every part of their current generation of hardware. A teardown of Apple’s Lightning AV adapter reveals some insight into why, and how Apple and their users will benefit from it as the platform moves forward.Apple’s got a sordid past when it comes to how they have handled what cables you can and can’t use with their hardware. Previous generations of iDevices have had pages of apps that allowed jailbroken iDevices to use whatever cable they chose to transmit video to second screens after Apple locked things down in software. With third party cables sometimes being significantly less expensive than the ones being sold officially, Apple could either do something about it or look to a solution that addressed the problem from a mutually beneficial perspective. Lightning was Apple’s solution to both the third party cable market and an elegant solution to how video output is handled on iOS.Recently the guys at Panic discovered that the Apple Lightning AV adapter was less than honest about what it was capable of. When trying to output a video to a 1080p television over HDMI, it was discovered that the output was actually a scaled 1600×900 video feed that lead to odd visual artifacting and an overall decrease in quality. Since Apple’s website pretty clearly states that Lightning iDevices with the AV adapter can output at 1080p, this is pretty bad form on Apple’s part. One of the guys performing the tests noticed that the feed looked very similar to that of an AirPlay feed, and decided to cut open the AV adapter to satisfy the urge to know what they thought initially was an AirPlay receiver of some kind.Underneath the Lightning AV adapter’s soft white plastic casing was a nondescript ARM processor and 2GB of RAM. Basically, the AV adapter has a small computer onboard, designed to handle the raw feed from the Lightning port and translate it into something the HDMI cable can use. This means that the actual iDevice doesn’t have to be responsible for this processing, which is great for the overall performance of the hardware.A comment left on the original Panic post, who hinted very heavily that he or she might work for Apple, explained that this method of handling the video means an adapter for any video format could be made. While this certainly lends to the idea that Lightning is “future-proof,” it’s important to remember the first part of this, where an adapter will only exist if Apple approves it moving forward.The bad news is that Apple is unlikely to be able to fix the problems with this Lightning adapter with software. You’ll probably need the next version of the hardware, and it’s unclear whether or not Apple will ever publicly address the fact that the current hardware is essentially false advertising. The good news is that Apple can fix it, and its more than likely they already are.last_img read more

Why the NYPD is moving to Android

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first_imgIt’s easy enough to look at any smartphone and call it a tiny computer, but in many ways the joke is on whoever doesn’t think these pocket machines are capable of replacing computers. In the case of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), it makes all the sense in the world to switch from laptops to Android phones.Mounted in the front passenger seat of most of NYPD patrol cars is a laptop, often a Panasonic Toughbook. This is not just any laptop, it’s a rugged machine built to survive the demanding scenarios that happen while in the line of duty. These machines are bulky and can only be used from the driver’s side of the vehicle, unless you remove the laptop entirely. Given the limitations, news that NYPD is looking to equip their officers with Android phones complete with a special app to replace the laptop makes all the sense in the world.When you purchase a ruggedized computer, you’re usually not getting the top of the line. In order to keep costs down, the laptop itself is usually a little underpowered when compared to the current generation of technology. On top of this, managing the more than 2,500 laptops deployed by the NYPD requires management tools that often require a per license subscription. The costs of keeping these machines connected to a secure network, and keeping them safe to use are expenses that grow exponentially as well. At the end of the day you’ve got 2500 or more machines that cost a lot more than top-of-the-line laptops and don’t always last as long.Moving the NYPD to Android would make the initial hardware purchase significantly less expensive. Ruggedized Android phones are certainly nothing new, and the portability of a phone versus a mounted laptop would give officers faster access to important information. Managing large numbers of Android phones doesn’t require costly software, and the existing IT staff responsible for the laptops would be able to quickly shift between the two platforms. There’s also far less to worry about when it comes to keeping an Android phone free of viruses and malware.When looking at this from a purely hardware and management standpoint, smartphones are clearly the better option. When it comes to the custom software needed to provide officers with information and keep the phones safe, Android makes a lot more sense. The same hardened kernels used by the military to keep their Android products safe can be deployed on phones issued to officers to keep them being being easily hacked if the phone winds up in the wrong hands. On top of this, Android’s native side loading allows the NYPD to tightly control their own software deployment for their phones.The special app for the NYPD grants the user access to internal databases, which are used by the NYPD for a number of different situations. As PCMag reported, the software can be used to search for registered gun owners, protection orders attached to citizens, or a quick glance at how many parolees are in a building with a simple search. On the current laptops, this requires an officer in a vehicle to log in to several different services and assemble this information themselves. A dedicated app to help with this information would make any officer significantly more efficient.Given that data retrieval and documentation are some of the tasks that currently force an officer to sit in his car and work, an app-driven service that allows an Android phone to replace a bulky laptop is a huge step forward. It’s not hard to see similar deployments becoming very common over the next couple of years.last_img read more