Finance Committee tells Central Bank legal letters to crisis mortgages arent sustainable

first_img…rejects the Central Bank’s general acceptance of legal solutions as “sustainable” and requests the Minister to step in in line with his own comments that legal letters are not satisfactory solutions.The issuing of a legal letter to a borrower has been accepted by Dame Street as proof that the loan is being sustainably managed, and has allowed banks to shift large amounts of non-performing loans into the category.Honohan defenceAppearing at the Finance Committee in April, Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan said that he sympathises with borrowers that have received letters from banks threatening legal action, but said it showed banks were deploying solutions.At the time Honohan said: “Most of us agree that getting to grips with the problem is essential, even if the process of getting to grips with the problem is initially unpleasant.”The report states that the Committee is “clear in calling for renewed vigour and purpose in accelerating the resolution of the mortgage appears crisis”.RecommendationsAside from rejecting the Central Bank’s acceptance of legal solutions as “sustainable”, the Committee recommends several further measures, including:Every bank in the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Target (MART) process should offer the same solutions to lenders in difficultyThe Central Bank should analyse whether pressure to hit MART targets and avoid financial penalties is hindering the processSolutions for borrowers in arrears whose properties are in positive equity should be consideredAn urgent review of the Mortgage-to-Rent scheme is required, as it is not fit for purpose in its current incarnationIn “almost all cases” a borrower that has agreed to sell their home should not continue to be burdened with debtConsideration should be given to a debt-for-equity solution, with the Central Bank responsible for cooking up an analysis of this strategy and potentially implementing a pilot studyAn expanded role for the Financial Services OmbudsmanThe draft report also casts a critical eye over the effectiveness of the MART process at keeping people in their homes, stating: THE JOINT OIREACHTAS Committee on Finance has strongly criticised the approach to mortgage arrears employed by the Central Bank.In a draft copy of the Committee’s report into the mortgage arrears crisis, which will be published this afternoon, the Committee rejects the Central Bank’s acceptance of legal solutions as “sustainable”.In the draft report, a copy of which has been seen by, the committee states that it: The Committee notes with regret the increasing number of people losing their family homes since the MARTs began and believes that the banks have failed to grasp the full potential of the process to reach fair and sustainable solutions which keep families in their homes.Read: Honohan “not happy” about mortgage sales to vulture funds>Read: ‘The entire system is rubbish’: Just 40 houses bought through mortgage-to-rent scheme>last_img read more

iPod Classic Still a Top Media Player

first_imgI still have an iPod classic. Not sitting in a desk drawer back in my apartment–I’ve got the thing on my person at pretty much all times. It’s my primary media player, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Hey, I’m the kind of person who likes to have 120GB of music on him at all times. I honestly never know when I’m going to need to listen to some Norwegian black metal or Nigerian electric highlife. It’s my cross the bear.It’s nice to hear that I’m not alone in this. According to new numbers from the analysts at NPD, the iPod classic is still one of the most popular music players. The hard drive-based player was the fifth best-selling media player for 2010–following four different iterations of the iPod touch (not surprisingly, all but one of the players–a 4GB Sandisk model–were iPods).The 160GB classic was the only hard drive based player to make the list. Apple has been long rumored to be canceling the product–but such a move would likely require the introduction of an iPod touch with similar capacities–or, perhaps, the introduction of the long-rumored cloud-based version of iTunes (a result of the company’s Lala purchase), which would relieve some of the need for a massive amount of storage on the portable device.Apple has certainly taken nearly all focus away from the player, which has, admittedly, lost a little bit of its luster in the face of shiny new touch and nano models, but the classic line has quietly carried on. As long as it continues to be a leader in the space, it’s likely not going away any time soon.last_img read more

Microsoft Prepping Xbox 720

first_imgIs Microsoft readying its next generation console? Well, yes. Of course it is. Why wouldn’t it be? The company’s plans have gotten a little more real, thanks to a series of LinkedIn job postings that went up this week. The software giant’s Interactive Entertainment Business is looking for a number of positions, including an Audio/Video Hardware Architect, Audio Architect, and a Graphics Architect.Microsoft is looking for folks who will be “responsible for defining and delivering next generation console architectures from conception through implementation,” according to the postings. AdChoices广告Another recent listing for a Wireless DC Engineer called for someone who would play “a key role in the development and verification of the Xbox and future platforms.” So go ahead, apply. Just remember who tipped you off to the gig, when you’re making video games and sipping on that delicious Seattle coffee.last_img read more

Future multicore processors could be selfrepairable nearly invulnerable

first_imgComputer chips continue to get smaller and that’s a good thing. A smaller chip is faster and more energy-efficient than a larger chip, while also being more affordable to produce. More to the point, as gadgets become smaller, chipmakers have to try to keep up. The problem is that while shrinking a chip has all sorts of benefits, the tinier they are, the more fragile and easily broken they become. What to do?A team of four companies and two universities are now trying to figure out that very question. Anticipating a point when chips will become too small and thin to be resilient, they’ve created a chip that can not only gauge its own performance and reroute tasks around damaged portions of its own architecture… much like a man who learns to write left handed after he breaks his right arm.The group of minds behind this technology is called the Cutting-Edge Reconfigurable ICs for Stream Processing, known by their handier acronym, CRISP. The consortium came up with their technology by looking in closer detail at what chips need to stay running well, and what it all comes down to is multiple cores to which it can delegate tasks.The trick? Architecture that can degrade gracefully over time. A damaged chip shouldn’t just stop working. Graceful degradation is accomplished with a chip that can assign different tasks to different cores, test the connections to the cores, and reroute tasks when a connection becomes faulty. The result? Damaged chips that still work at full capacity when part of it are damaged.The possibilities here are obvious. Not only could architectures like Intel’s Arrendale be made more resilient by adopting CRISP’s new system, but gadgets would become more green-friendly as the CPU stopped being one of the most vulnerable and irreplaceable parts. Read more at Gizmag (via Treehugger)last_img read more

Receipt printer racing game is DIY awesomeness

first_imgNot too many people have old dot-matrix printers these days – most of the ones left are usually used to print receipts on long strips of paper that are then ripped off and handed to a customer. Now, a group of artists and makers have managed to cobble one of those receipt printers together with a PlayStation 2 controller and a digital sensor to make a pretty impressive racing game.The receipt printing game was built for the OFFF art and digital culture festival in Barcelona, Spain. The team behind the game chose an old thermal receipt printer because they’re common, throwaway devices and the paper for one can be obtained for about $0.80 per 50 meter roll.AdChoices广告The game itself is a single-player survival-style racer. When the game starts, your “car” is a blue light projected on the paper. You use the PS2 controller to move your car left and right on the “track,” which is actually printed on the paper. The real challenge of the game is to manage your digital car and how it moves on a physical medium that’s in motion.As the roll of paper is printed out, the track moves toward you and you have to move your car around obstacles and stay on the road. If you hit an obstacle or veer off the printed road, the game ends, the printer stops, and your total distance and time is printed at the bottom of the paper. The developers note that you’re bound to die anyway – even if you manage to survive, the game will end when the paper roll runs out.Don’t expect this to wind up in your local game shop anytime soon. The game is entirely an art project, but it’s a fun look at what’s possible with some normally old and castoff items and a little talent.Read more at CrackJack (German) via This is My Nextlast_img read more

Hitachis new CinemaStar 7mm drive offers 500GB on one platter

first_imgSSDs are starting to invade small form-factor PCs and media devices as prices fall, but Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, now a part of Western Digital, is fighting back with a new range of 2.5-inch hard drives for the consumer electronics category. Three new CinemaStar drives have been announced to offer up cheap, quiet storage for a range of devices.The top of the line drive is the new CinemaStar Z7K500. It combines a 7mm drive height with a 6Gb/s SATA connection, 32MB cache, and spins at 7200RPM. Even so, it manages to keep audible sound below 2.4 Bels and power use is typically 1.7W. Storage capacities available include 250GB, 320GB, and 500GB. That may not be a lot of storage space today, but it’s still impressive when you consider Hitachi is only using a single platter inside the drive.Next is the CinemaStar Z5K500, which offers the same 7mm drive height, up to 500GB capacity and an 8MB cache, but only spins at 5400RPM. The advantage of that being it’s a quieter drive (2.0 Bels) with lower power use (1.5W), making it perfect for a DVR solution where you really don’t want any noise coming from the device.HGST has also catered for those devices that need more storage, but can also cope with larger drive dimensions. The CinemaStar C5K1000 is a 9.5mm drive offering between 640GB and 1TB of storage with an 8MB cache and spinning at 5400RPM. It’s not as quiet as the Z5K500 or Z7K500 (2.5 Bels), but still offers up a decent solution if a 3.5-inch drive is just too big to consider.Typically the CinemaStar range is for use in consumer electronics products, but there’s nothing to stop you sourcing one for an upgrade. For example, the C5K1000 would probably work well as a PS3 hard drive replacement.via HGSTlast_img read more

Hacked billboard displays Pirate Bay ad in Belgrade

first_imgAs far as technology has come in 2013, advertising hasn’t made too many noticeable advances. It has made leaps to different platforms, but aside from being able to scrape your browser history to see which category of products you’re most interested in, ads tend to stick to videos, product placement, or still imagery.Perhaps the biggest technological advancement an old advertising staple, the billboard, has made is that LED and LCD units can change ads on a timer. Even though this doesn’t seem like the most futuristic advancement, it allows billboards to be tampered with in such a way that isn’t simply spray painting some graffiti over the ad. Case in point, an electronic billboard in Serbia was hacked to display The Pirate Bay logo.The billboard was located in a prominent location, Republic Square in the center of Belgrade, which is not only Serbia’s capital, but also the country’s largest city. The hacked billboard displayed The Pirate Bay logo alongside Ghandi’s quote, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”A group of computer science students performed the hack simply to show that people should pay more attention to IT security. They said that in a world like ours where information is so readily available, one can easily learn simple hacking protocols, so higher security should be a focus. They said they feel that The Pirate Bay is the closest thing we have to an “apolitical independent worldwide organization” that believes in free speech and is against any kind of censorship.Aside from The Pirate Bay advertisement, the students also played some Space Invaders on the billboard (using a smartphone as the controller), as well as displaying a banner that read “hacking4fun.”Amusingly, Serbian media said Anonymous was responsible for the hack, but the students denied they were part of the collective. Check out a video of the team doing work, below. You might want to turn down the volume, unless you’re a big fan of aggressive electronic music that would stereotypically be associated with hackers.last_img read more

Research team permanently traps carbon dioxide by turning it into bricks

first_imgAn increasing amount of research is being done into how to capture and store carbon dioxide rather than continuing to pump it into the Earth’s atmosphere. Lowering levels by somehow storing it for long periods of time could limit any predicted climate change, but how do you go about doing that cost effectively?A research team comprised of members from the University of Newcastle in Australia, the Orica chemical company, and carbon innovation company GreenMag Group, believe they have a solution that not only stores carbon emissions, but turns them into a useful product.The team have spent six years researching carbon dioxide storage, and have come up with a way to turn it into a solid, permanent rock-like product that is then used to create building materials. Using a new $9 million manufacturing plant built in Newcastle, the team expect to start producing bricks as well as a range of other green building industry products.The reason to get excited about such a process is it gives companies an incentive to capture carbon dioxide in the first place. By doing so they can manufacture a new base material and products that can then be sold on for a profit. In the process they are permanently trapping carbon emissions.The process has already been proven on a small scale in a lab, with the experimental plant being the next stage in the process to move into mass production. The carbon dioxide is captured and then combined with low grade minerals, examples of which include magnesium and calcium silicate. This forms inert carbonates and turns the CO2 into a solid that forms the basis for a new building material.Depending on how well the system works on a large scale, any and all carbon-producing plants, e.g. coal-fired power stations, could be upgraded to capture and store their carbon emissions for manufacturing purposes. It also means new techniques for capturing carbon dioxide now have a way to reuse what they capture rather than figuring out how to store it instead.[Image credit: ecotist]last_img read more

Halo Spartan Assault gets DLC update adds Xbox controller support

first_imgMicrosoft has released their first DLC for Halo: Spartan Assault with five new levels, new vehicles, and better support for Windows 8 and older Windows Phone devices.Re-imagining Halo for the mobile landscape was a daunting task, but 343 Studios pulled it off and made Halo: Spartan Assault something great. To take something like Halo and translate it to a touch environment without losing the excitement and action that users expect from a Halo game took a lot of work, but it’s clear with the release of an update so soon after launch that the company has no plans to stop optimizing this experience for new audiences.Operation Hydra is a chapter update to Spartan Assault that adds five new levels focused around a new mission. The screenshots provided by Microsoft show you’ll have access to new vehicles and be expected to continue fighting large scale combat sequences on the small screen.This update is more than just gameplay, support has been added for Windows Phone hardware with only 512MB of RAM, which opens the total list of mobile devices up a bit. If you’re playing Spartan Assault on a desktop or non-touch laptop with Windows 8, Microsoft has something special for you as well: the Xbox 360 controller is now supported by Spartan Assault on Windows 8, so you’ll be able to plug in and play using the same controller you’d use on your television.Halo: Spartan Assault is still one of the more expensive Windows Phones and Windows 8 games out there at $6.99, but the experience is unlike anything else you’ll play on mobile for the price. The update is free, and rolling out to both Windows marketplaces today.last_img read more

Hutches one of at least three gangs flooding Belfast with highlypotent heroin

first_imgI would warn people to be careful before taking any substance if they are unsure of what it contains… Our community has lost too many people to drugs. If anyone experiences any unusual symptoms after taking drugs, they should not hesitate to seek medical attention. It could mean the difference between life and death.Belfast DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly also issued a warning. She said: “There is a seriously dangerous batch of heroin doing the rounds in the Lisburn and Belfast areas – warnings have been issued, including through needle exchanges.”The Hutch gang’s links to the North, and Belfast especially, are well-established. Senior members of the criminal group have used safehouses in the city. At least one senior member of the gang is still living in Belfast. That man has survived at least two separate attempts on his life.The PSNI is investigating if that man is helping direct a portion of the heroin trade in Belfast.The Hutch gang moved into the drug trade – from armed robbery – relatively recently. However, the feud with the Kinahan cartel has meant the gang needs the cash available from moving drugs.Read: Gardaí seize cash, designer watches and cars in raids targeting Kinahan crime gang >Read: Two Hutch gang members told to leave Dublin after spate of shootings > Short URL 24,707 Views Image: 5 Comments Image: Share2 Tweet Email center_img Monday 26 Feb 2018, 6:00 AM Feb 26th 2018, 6:01 AM By Garreth MacNamee A SPIKE IN heroin overdoses in Belfast is being blamed on the Hutch gang which has been moving more of its drug supply north of the border due to heightened garda attention in understands that pressure on the Dublin drug scene by gardaí has resulted in the Hutch gang moving their product north of the border by using contacts near the border region.The Hutch gang, knowing that a new market had opened up following the imprisonment of a well-known heroin dealer and with problems of their own in Dublin, struck a deal with low-level drug pushers in the city.It is understood that the supply of heroin is coming from a number of bases – including Dundalk and Balbriggan.While the latest increase in drug overdoses is anecdotal, the most up-to-date statistics available showed that there were more than 1,ooo patients admitted to hospital in Belfast last year for drug overdoses.At least three other groups, most with links to loyalist paramilitary organisations, are also involved in the supply of heroin across the city.The increase in the number of heroin overdoses has resulted in local politicians warning users of a potentially fatal batch doing the rounds.Belfast councillor Malachaí O’Hara said that a report from the Drug and Alcohol Monitoring and Information System (DAMIS) suggested that a strong batch of heroin was in circulation around Lisburn and Belfast. Hutches one of at least three gangs flooding Belfast with highly-potent heroin The increase in the number of heroin overdoses has resulted in local politicians warning users of a potentially fatal batch doing the rounds. Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

Iceland the country sues aggressive Iceland the frozen food shop over name

first_img Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article By AFP THE ICELANDIC FOREIGN ministry confirmed it had filed a lawsuit against supermarket chain Iceland Foods to ensure that companies in the Nordic nation can use the country’s name.“Iceland Foods has aggressively pursued and won multiple cases against Icelandic companies which use ‘ICELAND’ in their representation or as part of their trademark, even in cases when the products and services do not compete,” its foreign ministry said in a statement today.The Nordic country has taken the case to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EU-IPO) in a bid to reverse the UK company’s exclusive Europe-wide trademark registration for the word mark “Iceland”.The island nation deems the word mark “exceptionally broad and ambiguous in definition, often rendering the country’s firms unable to describe their products as Icelandic.”‘Never caused confusion’Based in Wales, Iceland Foods was not immediately available for comment but was cited by the British press in September as saying: “We are not aware that our use of the Iceland name has ever caused any confusion with Iceland the country.”Recovering from the financial crisis of 2008, which caused Iceland’s banking system to collapse, the nation is concerned its companies “are unable to promote themselves across Europe in association with their place of origin”.“This untenable situation has caused harm to Icelandic businesses, especially its small and growing companies,” the Icelandic foreign ministry said.“A company or product made in Iceland or by an Icelandic company should be able to represent itself using the name of the country,” it added.Iceland said it has tried to reach an agreement with Iceland Foods without any success, prompting the country to take legal action.The announcement came a day after Iceland’s Left-Green movement on Wednesday said it had failed in its bid to form a new coalition government, three weeks after snap elections triggered by the Panama Papers scandal.- © AFP, 2016Read: ‘Left to die alone’: Premature baby spent final two hours in hospital sluice room >Read: Over $2.5 million raised for a US election recount in three swing states > Short URL Iceland (the country) sues ‘aggressive’ Iceland (the frozen food shop) over name The Nordic country has taken the case to the European Union Intellectual Property Office. Image: PA 34 Comments Nov 24th 2016, 8:38 PM Thursday 24 Nov 2016, 8:38 PM 18,957 Views Share167 Tweet Email Image: PAlast_img read more

Your crash course in Whether a controversial EUUS free trade deal will

first_img Jan 28th 2017, 9:30 AM Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Take me to Fora Get the top business news from Fora delivered to your inbox: Share Tweet Email 11,818 Views Short URL By Fora Staff US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump was only in the Oval Office a few hours when he formally abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership.TPP, as it was commonly known, was an ambitious trade deal between the US and 11 other Pacific-rim countries, including Japan, Canada and Australia.Sold as a means to boost trade across the region, it had taken seven years to negotiate and was a key policy for the Obama administration.Trump’s decision to scrap TPP came as little surprise. On his road to the White House, the property mogul pushed protectionist trade policies and promised to withdraw from the agreement, claiming it would hurt American workers and manufacturing if it were to go ahead.The move has also spelled the likely death knell for a similar trade deal with Europe – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, although Trump has been notably more quiet on that agreement’s fate.Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes, one of TTIP’s most vocal supporters from Ireland, told Fora that he is certain the EU-US deal will follow the same fate as the Pacific agreement. However, he suggested that it might not be completely dead – merely “in cold storage”.With that in mind, let’s look at what will likely become of TTIP over the next four years. Donald Trump withdrawing the US from TPP Source: Evan Vucci/AP/Press Association ImagesWhat’s the deal with TTIP?First, a quick recap of what exactly TTIP entails – and why it is loathed in many circles.Years in the making, TTIP would see a relaxation of trade barriers between the European Union and the US.It would see a reduction in tariffs between the two regions, as well as a consolidation of regulations covering a wide range of sectors, from food to pharmaceuticals and textiles.The stated point is to standardise cumbersome rules and make it easier for the world’s two largest economies trade with each other.However, much like a similar and troubled free-trade deal between Europe and Canada called CETA, TTIP has been met with fierce opposition.The rise in anti-establishment rhetoric on both sides of the Atlantic makes TTIP – which is strongly supported by big business – a natural enemy. Anti-TTIP protests Source: Markus Schreiber/AP/Press Association ImagesSceptics are concerned that the deal could lead to the privatisation of public services like healthcare, education and transport.Critics have said the secretive deal is too favourable to corporations and are worried about a provision that would give businesses the power to sue governments for lost profits over unfavourable laws.A high-profile case where tobacco behemoth Philip Morris attempted to bring a claim against Australia over plain-packaging laws did little to ease those concerns.There was also alarm late last year when MEPs were not permitted to take notes when they were given access to TTIP documents. A major leak from Greenpeace poured more fuel on the fire with claims that the deal is “a huge transfer of power from people to big business”.What’s next for TTIP?The collapse of TPP is largely seen as curtains for TTIP – although some would argue its demise has been in the making for some time.The controversial deal was dealt a big blow a few months ago when Germany’s vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said it had “de facto failed”.His comments were in sharp contrast with those of chancellor Angela Merkel, who said TTIP was “absolutely in Europe’s interest”.The European Commission scrambled to dismiss Gabriel’s claims and said talks had entered “a crucial stage” and would be ready to close by the end of 2016.However, it failed to finalise the agreement while Barack Obama was still US president, leaving it exposed to the full force of the incoming administration.Nevertheless, Trump’s decision not to tear up the deal immediately after entering office means there remain a few scenarios in which it could live on.One possibility is that the Republican will simply renegotiate and rebrand TTIP – the term Trump Trade and Investment Partnership would have an obvious appeal – and claim full credit for the move.When asked for his take on TTIP’s future, Brian Hayes, who is also a member of the European committee on economics and monetary affairs, said there is no indication that Trump is going to reverse his position on free-trade deals. Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes Source: Leah Farrell/“I think for the short- to medium-term, or as long as the Trump presidency exists, it’s not likely to be resuscitated,” he said.“It’s quite clear that his rhetoric in the campaign will follow through in the presidency. It will be a presidency built on economic nationalism and protectionism and that is his modus operandi. Why would he advance TTIP?”That said, Hayes believes that there is a chance the trade deal is not completely dead and could be revived at some point in the future.“There was a lot of potential,” he said. “You could argue Europe needed this more than the US given our economic cycle right now.”He warned that the Trump administration “will rue the day that they have decided to look in top of themselves and not look out”.Written by Conor McMahon and posted on Saturday 28 Jan 2017, 9:30 AM 21 Comments Your crash course in… Whether a controversial EU-US free trade deal will soon be trumped A similar plan for Pacific nations has already felt the wrath of the presidential pen. Image: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais Image: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivaislast_img read more

Real men pay their taxes dozens arrested amid violent scenes during antiTrump

first_img‘Real men pay their taxes’ – dozens arrested amid violent scenes during anti-Trump tax protests At least 21 people were arrested in Berkeley, California, as pro- and anti-Trump protesters clashed. Short URL Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Apr 16th 2017, 12:40 PM Police officers clash with protesters during pro- and anti-Trump demonstrations in Berkeley Source: Bay Area News Group/TNS/ABACATHOUSANDS OF PROTESTERS gathered yesterday in cities across the United States to pressure President Donald Trump to release his tax returns, a move of transparency he has repeatedly refused.The demonstrations were timed to coincide with the traditional 15 April deadline for annual tax filings, a massive date on the calendar for US households, and resulted in dozens of arrests.For decades, US presidents and presidential candidates have released their returns voluntarily, although there is no legal obligation to do so. US law requires only the publication of a financial statement that estimates assets, including debt and revenue, but does not give details on the amount of taxes paid.Trump, a billionaire property tycoon, released a financial statement but has kept his tax returns private, both during the election campaign and since taking office in January.Protesters and political rivals have said he should make a fuller disclosure to remove any inkling of potential conflicts of interest between his business interests and his political decisions.“Until he does, we’ll never know what he’s hiding or who his policies are designed to benefit,” said organisers of the “Tax March” demonstrations on its website. Source: Bay Area News Group/TNS/ABACA“We need a president who works for all Americans – and a tax system that does, too,” it added.At least 21 demonstrators were arrested after Trump opponents and supporters clashed at a march in Berkeley, California, US media said.‘Real men pay their taxes’In Washington, several thousand protesters of all ages gathered in front of the Capitol building housing Congress, holding signs such as “What is he hiding?” and “Real men pay their taxes”.A huge inflatable chicken with an orange-gold beak and a swirl of hair resembling Trump’s mane was displayed on the sidelines of the Washington protest, and at other venues.It was seen by some as the unofficial mascot for the protest – to suggest that the Republican president was afraid, or chicken, to publish his records.“If he’s got nothing to hide, he should release his tax returns,” said protester Liz Turner (31). Anti-Trump supporters spraying pepper spray at pro-Trump supporters in Berkeley Source: Paul KurodaAsked what she suspected was in them, Turner replied: “Maybe something to do with Russia?”67-year-old Ellen Lodwick, a retired corporate researcher from Maryland who has participated in anti-Trump demonstrations since his 8 November election, cast doubt on the president’s businesses.“There are probably many illegal or questionable investments in things that could affect how he looks at government and legislation, because he’s too connected,” she said.The protesters then marched along Pennsylvania Avenue towards the White House, shouting “shame” as they passed by the Trump International Hotel.Trump again at Mar-a-LagoIn New York, thousands also marched, and demonstrations were held from Boston and Philadelphia on the East Coast to Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles out West, and cities and towns in between.The Berkeley protests saw hundreds gather at a park, including Trump supporters who held a free speech rally, while opponents of the president’s policies shouted and chanted. Several fights broke out, according to the East Bay Times newspaper.Activists waved signs reading: “No! Pussy-Grabbing! No! Patriarchy! No! Fascist USA! Drive out Trump-Pence regime!” and “Fascist scum your time is done”.Trump has justified his refusal to publish tax returns by noting they are being audited. Federal tax authorities say that does not bar him from releasing the documents. Trump has repeatedly said he has used legal loopholes to minimise his tax burden.“Disclosing tax returns is the very lowest ethical bar for a president, and we are going to insist that he clear it,” Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, told the Washington crowd.Trump was not in the capital during the demonstration; he is again spending the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, where several hundred “Tax March” protesters also demonstrated outside yesterday.“Pay your taxes!” several shouted One young girl held a small sign that read “Trump is a tax e-VADER” and showed an image of Darth Vader wearing a blond hairpiece.© – AFP, 2017Read: Turkey is at a crossroads as millions turn out at referendum vote – but what is actually happening?Read: Kim Jong Un left red-faced as North Korean ‘missile test fails’ one day after military parade 88 Comments Share Tweet Email Sunday 16 Apr 2017, 12:40 PM By AFP 17,897 Views last_img read more

Tourists locked inside London Eye pods amid major security alert

first_imgTourists locked inside London Eye pods amid major security alert The attraction says it is in constant contact with its guests. Source: The London Eye/Twitter Short URL Source: The London Eye/Twitter There are a number of other tourist attractions in the area, including the London Dungeon and the National Gallery.Parliament was put on lockdown immediately after the incident, with politicians and staff ordered to remain inside.Television pictures showed a red air ambulance landing on the grass square opposite the parliament building and other emergency vehicles swarming nearby roads.Westminster Bridge and the Westminster Underground station which serves parliament and the surrounding political district, have been closed off.The Department of Foreign Affairs here has said it is aware of an incident and is monitoring developments closely through the Irish Embassy in London.Anyone with serious concerns may contact:The Department of Foreign Affairs Consular Assistance Unit on 01-4082527For those in London, the Consular Unit of the Irish Embassy can be reached on on +44 207 2352171- With reporting from AFP Updates: Man shot by police, up to 10 people injured outside British House of Commons >Read: Theresa May ‘bundled into car’ by police with firearms drawn > Share135 Tweet Email Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article 38,439 Views Wednesday 22 Mar 2017, 4:42 PM Image: Sky News – screengrab center_img Image: Sky News – screengrab 1/3 We can confirm that the London Eye is temporarily holding our guests on board following the incident on Westminster Bridge— The London Eye (@TheLondonEye) March 22, 2017 17 Comments By Daragh Brophy Mar 22nd 2017, 4:42 PM A NUMBER OF tourists have been stuck in pods in the London Eye, amid a major security lockdown in the centre of the city.Police shot a suspected attacker outside the Houses of Parliament after an officer was stabbed in what police said was a “terrorist” incident earlier.The building in the heart of the British capital was immediately sealed off and MPs and staff ordered to remain inside. Prime Minister Theresa May was rushed to safety.The London Eye confirmed that all guest were being held within the attraction, in line with procedure – issuing a statement on Twitter: 2/3 We are following our tried and tested procedures and are in constant contact with all guests inside.— The London Eye (@TheLondonEye) March 22, 2017last_img read more

US threw away golden opportunity at Hanoi summit North Korean official says

first_img US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during at Hanoi summit Image: Shealah Craighead via PA Images I’m not sure why the US came out with this different description. We never asked for the removal of sanctions in their entirety.“This time we understood very clearly that the United States has a very different calculation to ours,” she added.‘We just had to walk’Speaking after the Hanoi summit breakdown, Trump said “sometimes you have to walk”.“We just left chairman Kim with a really, I think a very productive time. We thought and I thought and Secretary Pompeo felt that it wasn’t a good thing to be signing anything,” Trump said, speaking to the media shortly after leaving the summit.“We spent pretty all day with Kim Jong Un who is… he’s quite a guy and quite a character and I think our relationship is very strong. At this time we had some options and at this time we decided not to do any of the options and we’ll see where that goes. It was a very interesting two days and I think actually it was a very productive two days but sometimes you have to walk and this was just one of those times. Choe refused to comment directly when asked by one of the ambassadors about news reports the North may be preparing for another missile launch or satellite launch.“Whether to maintain this moratorium or not is the decision of our chairman of the state affairs commission,” she said, using one of Kim’s titles. “He will make his decision in a short period of time.”Includes reporting by Associated Press Friday 15 Mar 2019, 7:39 AM 19 Comments North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui (centre) Source: AP/PA ImagesChoe has now questioned the claim by Trump that the North was seeking the lifting of all sanctions against it, and said it was seeking only the ones that are directed at its civilian economy. Choe said it was the US that was being too demanding and inflexible and called the demand that denuclearisation come before sanctions are eased “an absurd sophism”.She added that while South Korean President Moon Jae-in has tried to help bring the US and North Korea together to talk, the South is “a player, not an arbiter” because it is an ally of Washington.She said even though the people, military and officials of the munitions industry have sent Kim thousands of petitions to never give up the nuclear program, he went to Hanoi to build trust and carry out mutually agreed commitments “one by try and step by step”. US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during at Hanoi summit US threw away ‘golden opportunity’ at Hanoi summit, North Korean official says A nuclear summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, between Kim and Trump ended without agreement on 28 February. Image: Shealah Craighead via PA Images What is clear is that the U.S. has thrown away a golden opportunity this time. Share5 Tweet Email THE US THREW away a “golden opportunity” at the recent summit between President Donald Trump and leader Kim Jong Un, a North Korean official has said. Addressing a meeting of diplomats and foreign media in Pyongyang, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said the North was deeply disappointed by the failure of the two sides to reach any agreements at the Hanoi summit.She said Pyongyang now has no intention of compromising or continuing talks unless the US takes measures that are commensurate to the changes it has taken — such as the 15-month moratorium on launches and tests — and changes its “political calculation”.A nuclear summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, between Kim and Trump ended without agreement on 28 February.Kim, Choe said, was puzzled by what she called the “eccentric” negotiation position of the US.She suggested that while Trump was more willing to talk, an atmosphere of hostility and mistrust was created by the uncompromising demands of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton.She said statements by senior Trump advisers since the summit have further worsened the climate.Despite this, Choe said personal relations between the two leaders are still good and “the chemistry is mysteriously wonderful”.‘Thrown away a golden opportunity’Following the breakdown of talks, each side sought to blame the other for the deadlock, with Trump saying Pyongyang wanted the US to lift all sanctions imposed on it over its banned weapons programmes.But in a late-night press conference after the summit ended, the North Korean foreign minister said that Kim only wanted some of the measures eased, and that its offer to close all nuclear production facilities at its Yongbyon complex was the best it could ever offer. Mar 15th 2019, 7:39 AM Short URL 9,921 Views By Hayley Halpin Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

The Dubs are beatable and 4 more things we learned from the

first_img Share Tweet Email 1. Dublin are not infallibleDUBLIN WON THE All-Ireland title last year without so much as a glove being laid on them, but they’re set for an altogether sterner test this summer.  Dublin failed to reach the league decider for the first time since 2012. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHOWhile they remain the outright favourites to claim Sam in 2019 and complete a historic five-in-a-row, three league defeats indicate some chinks are beginning to appear in their armour.Kerry and Tyrone both defeated Jim Gavin’s side with well-thought-out game-plans which saw both counties target Dublin’s full-back line with aerial ball. Gavin insists the panel remains open and his coaching team will be closely monitoring the club championship over the coming weeks for potential additions to the squad. The two obvious candidates for call-ups, should they be interested, are Kilamcud Crokes defender Rory O’Carroll and St Vincent’s star Diarmuid Connolly.The addition of either or both men could restore some of Dublin’s aura, but there’s no doubting their performance levels have dipped from recent seasons. There’s also a good chance Dublin have little physical work done so far in an attempt to keep fresh for the ‘drive for five’. Time will tell.  Kevin McLoughlin and Conor Diskin celebrate with the Division 1 trophy. Source: James Crombie/INPHO2. All-Ireland contenders improving2018 was a rare off-year for both Kerry and Mayo, with both sides enduring early exits in the championship. Mayo’s season ended in round 3 of the qualifiers while Kerry were dumped out in the Super 8s. Both regrouped under new management and have freshened up their squads with the introduction of several talented youngsters from successful underage sides. The confidence Mayo will take from lifting national silverware in Croke Park yesterday cannot be underestimated.Having reached the All-Ireland final last September, Tyrone have stepped things up a couple of notches too. They’ve added debutants Ben McDonnell, Michael Cassidy and Brian Kennedy as genuine contenders to break into the starting 15 and brought in a more varied style that’s heavy on kick-passing. Just like Tommy Walsh in Kerry, Cathal McShane’s presence at full-forward appears to be a ploy designed specifically with the Dubs in mind. Then you have Galway, who finished two points off a league final despite playing virtually the entire league without Damien Comer, Ian Burke and the Corofin contingent. Dublin’s competition is growing stronger.  Andy McEntee has led the Royals back to the top flight for the first time since 2006. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO3. Leinster counties on the rise while Munster fallThe much-maligned Leinster championship may be making a comeback – of sorts. Next year, five counties from the province will occupy the top two divisions of the league: Dublin, Meath, Kildare, Laois and Westmeath.That’s not to say Dublin’s dominance of the Delaney Cup is not going to end anytime soon. But it is heartening to see the Royals, with their enormous population base, begin to play near their potential.Laois have achieved back-to-back promotions and are constantly improving under John Sugrue, while Westmeath look the move too under new boss Jack Cooney.In contrast, there’s cause for concern in Munster after Tipperary and Cork both suffered the drop to Division 3. Clare are the only side outside of Kerry who’ll feature in the top two tiers in 2020 – and they just about avoided relegation themselves. Galway stopper Ruairi Lavelle. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO4. Goalkeepers taking more responsibilityFor the first time this year we witnessed a goalkeeper scoring from open play in a competitive game. Niall Morgan managed that feat twice for Tyrone in their Division 1 campaign and it’s a sign of the times. Inter-county goalkeepers are becoming more confident in bringing the ball way outfield, with Galway’s Ruairi Lavelle and Monaghan’s Rory Beggan no strangers to forays beyond the 45m line. Many will argue that goalkeepers wandering too far away from their goals puts their team at unnecessary risk, as showcased when Lavelle was caught out on a couple of occasions against Tyrone a fortnight ago. The majority of netminders are happy to go short with a kick-out and receive the ball back immediately, a move pulled off a number of times by Kerry’s Shane Ryan in yesterday’s Division 1 decider. Banning the back-pass to the goalkeeper has been mooted as a potential rule change down the line, but for the moment shot-stoppers are more than happy to become an extra outfield when their teams have possession. Dean McGovern after Leitrim’s Division 4 final loss to Derry on Saturday. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO5. League still mattersIt didn’t matter to the Leitrim support that their first appearance at Croke Park in 13 years came in a league match, it was still a big occasion for the county. Supporters travelled home from all over the world for the game, including a significant number from New York.Despite their defeat to Derry, promotion to the third tier is a major boost for football in the county. It showed that for many counties, the league still holds enormous importance. The lengthy period of time Mayo spent on the Croke Park turf with the Division 1 title displayed that winning a national title is something worth celebrating. Laois and Westmeath will do battle for the Division 3 crown next weekend and it may well turn out to be the highlight of the season for the victors. Or contrast that with Carlow’s dismay at their immediate return to the basement tier. For many sides, the league remains their most important competition.Subscribe to our new podcast, The42 Rugby Weekly, here: The Dubs are beatable and 4 more things we learned from the football league campaign The Dubs are beatable, their rivals are growing in confidence and Leinster counties are on the rise. Subscribe Apr 1st 2019, 5:42 PM 39 Comments 24,875 Views center_img Monday 1 Apr 2019, 8:00 PM By Kevin O’Brien Short URL Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

Fifth man charged with conspiracy to murder Dublin man

first_img Updated May 15th 2019, 11:20 AM A FIFTH MAN has been charged with conspiracy to murder a Dublin man.Dean Howe was remanded in custody today after he was accused of conspiracy to murder Gary Hanley, from Dublin’s north inner city.Howe, 34, with an address at Oakfield Place, Dublin 8 was arrested by detectives from the Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.He was charged at Irishtown Garda station on last night and brought before Judge Bryan Smyth at Dublin District Court on this morning.He was charged with an offence under Section 71 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006. He was accused of conspiring with others murder Hanley at a location within the State between 15 September and 6 November 2017.Dressed in a light green striped tracksuit and runners, he stood silently throughout the brief hearing. He has not yet indicated how he will plead.Detective Garda Brian McDermott told Judge Smyth the defendant made no reply when charged. There was an application for a remand in custody.Defence solicitor Edward Bradbury told the court there was no application for bail at this stage and his client was consenting to a remand in custody for one week.In a legal aid application, the solicitor said Howe was unemployed. There was no garda objection to legal aid which was then granted.Fifth man Judge Smyth remanded Howe in custody to appear via video-link on 22 May at Cloverhill District Court.He was the fifth person to be charged with the offence.In November last year Luke Wilson (23), from Cremona Road in Ballyfermot, Dublin 10, was jailed by the Special Criminal Court for 11 years.He admitted conspiring to murder HanleyAlan Wilson (39) of New Street Gardens, Dublin 8, Liam Brannigan (37) from Bride Street, Dublin 8 and Joseph Kelly (35) of Kilworth Road, Drimnagh, Dublin 12 were also charged previously with conspiring to murder Hanley.Kelly is also facing charges of the possession of a Beretta handgun and fifteen rounds of ammunition with intent to endanger life at Philipsburgh Avenue, Fairview, Dublin 3 on 6 November 2017.A trial date for Alan Wilson, Brannigan and Kelly has been set for 7 October  2019. By Tom Tuite May 15th 2019, 8:14 AM Image: Photocall Ireland Fifth man charged with conspiracy to murder Dublin man Dean Howe was remanded in custody today after he was accused of conspiracy to murder Gary Hanley. Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Wednesday 15 May 2019, 11:20 AM Share2 Tweet Email Short URL Image: Photocall Ireland No Comments 22,174 Views last_img read more

The 5 at 5 Tuesday

first_img Tuesday 3 Sep 2019, 4:55 PM Image: Shutterstock/Gary Perkin EVERY WEEKDAY EVENING, brings you the five biggest stories of the day.1. #BREXIT: It’s all go today in the House of Commons. Keep an eye on Liveblog and our coverage throughout the evening. 2. #DORIAN: The catastrophic storm has killed at least five people and spurred mass evacuations on the US east coast after hovering over the Bahamas for hours yesterday.3. #WEAPON: A man is set to appear in court after gardaí caught him with a weapon while leaving a car park at Electric Picnic in Co Laois.4. #VEEP: US Vice President Mike Pence has urged Ireland and the EU to negotiate “in good faith” with British Prime Minister Johnson to reach a resolution in relation to Brexit.5. #MURAL: Dublin City Council has ordered that a mural of David Attenborough on the side of a property in south Dublin should be removed. Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article No Comments 7,729 Views Share Tweet Email Sep 3rd 2019, 4:56 PM Image: Shutterstock/Gary Perkin The 5 at 5: Tuesday Five minutes, five stories, five o’clock… Short URL By Cónal Thomaslast_img read more

Radicals film showing

first_imgKostas Bakkas’ film Greek American Radicals: the untold story (2013) will be shown as a part of research seminar in Modern Greek studies in Sydney. The film tells the story of Greek American radicalism from the era of mass migration till the McCarthy period in the 50s. Focusing from the Great Depression to the demise of ethnic radicalism in the 50s the documentary challenges the preconceived notion that the story of Greek Americans was all about success. The movie will be introduced by Professor Vrasidas Karalis, and the documentary goes for one hour. The session is on Thursday, August 22, from 6:00pm to 7:30pm in the Refectory Room, Main quad of the University of Sydney. The event is free. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Boost for Greek startups

first_imgThe economic crisis has surprisingly played a very important role in the growth of the tech start-up sector, explains George Spanoudakis, whose Pinnatta app allows smartphone users to send each other unique, interactive and personalised greeting cards and messages.Have you ever thought of starting your own business? The crisis may be rumbling on for most of us, but the Greek startup scene is showing signs of life. A new survey by Endeavour Greece, a non-profit organisation supporting entrepreneurship, has revealed that the number of new startup companies in the country increased tenfold between 2010 and 2013, while the capital invested in them shot from €500,000 to €42 million.It’s the technology industry which seems to be driving the sector’s growth. Fully half of the new companies work on smartphone applications, or apps, and are looking to emulate the success of Taxibeat, a Greek taxi-booking app which has now expanded its operations across seven cities worldwide. Such is the interest in the growing tech industry that last autumn the government invited out Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, to discuss how it might harness the sector’s potential. Speaking at Athens’ Megaro concert hall, Schmidt expressed his hope that Athens might become a “high-tech Mecca”. And more recently, the SXSW Interactive Conference, which ran from March 7-11 in Austin, Texas, saw a turnout of 16 Greek high-tech startups – the first time so many newly-founded Greek companies have appeared abroad together.One of the companies appearing the Austin conference was Pinnatta, whose same-named app which hopes to transform mobile communication. Based in California and Greece, Pinnatta allows smartphone users to send each other unique, interactive and personalised greeting cards and messages. We asked their CEO George Spanoudakis for his thoughts on their app and on the growth of the Greek tech industry:There are now so many apps that let smartphone users communicate with one other. What is it that makes Pinnatta special?There’s obviously a huge demand out there for apps that let you communicate, whether by text, voice or video – in fact, there are more than 10 such platforms, with over 100 million users. What they have in common is that they’re free, quick and direct.Pinnatta isn’t trying to compete with any of them, but to work with them. We give you a way to add emotion to your communication, enhancing your messages, making them interactive and giving you predesigned templates to save you time. If you look at a Facebook wall, most users are struggling to create interesting content – instead, they’re just reposting what they find online. Pinnatta lets you create your own original content and unique messages. From a business perspective, the huge communication platforms (such as Skype or Facebook chat) are now looking for ways to monetise their service via premium, paid-for packages, with emoticons, mini-games and so on. That puts us in an ideal position and makes us a potential partner for all of them. Right now, it seems like momentum is building up behind the Greek start-up industry. What do you feel explains the growth of start-ups here since the crisis hit?The startups scene has really exploded here over the last couple of years, and it’s been a real pleasure to watch. Things were very different when we launched in 2010: there were no funds, almost no events, and only two or three other tech start-ups. It was quite a lonely business.It may seem odd, but we feel the crisis has played a very important role in the sector’s growth. A lot of very talented and skilful people were suddenly unable to find work, and the success of apps such as BugSense [which gives users detailed crash reports for their smartphone, allowing them to fix and improve their apps themselves] and Taxibeat in 2010-11, along with the establishment of the EU’s Jeremie fund to channel investment to small businesses, gave them to courage to take a chance. And once the initial difficulties of setting up a company had been overcome, the lack of competition and relatively low wages have made it very easy to attract talent.So something of an “ecosystem” for our industry developed. The truth is that we haven’t achieved that much yet. Bugsense is the only major success story, and while some of us seem to be on the right track it’s still early days. But we’ve taken some huge steps forwards, and it won’t be long before some serious successes come our way.It’s looking like the tech industry will be central to Greece’s economic recovery. What challenges do you face, and what could be done to make your work easier?The Greek economy has always been based around small family businesses, and it seems pretty clear to us that startups like ours will form the new backbone of the Greek economy in much the same way. We need a similar amount of capital and a similar amount of staff to old-style family businesses – the big difference is that we do business on a global rather than a local scale.It’s obviously a problem that Greece is a long way away from the major international tech hubs, like Silicon Valley, Berlin or Tel Aviv, but most of the Greek companies seem to be able to work around that. What’s more troubling are the constant changes to the country’s financial, legal and political framework. It’s extremely difficult to plan for the future in an unstable environment like this. The current framework may be very unfriendly to new start-ups, but a guarantee that it won’t be tinkered with for a few years would at least give us a chance to work around it. Source: enetenglish Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more