“We don’t have evidence of this ourselves but certainly all of the patients organisations have examples of that,” she said. “I think it’s very much the case for people paying for their prescriptions.”“It’s an unsavoury element of the recession and the economic climate we’re in,” she added.The report recommended the establishment of a specific body to be formed to address the issue of medication and treatment requirement. There was also an agreement that specific and detailed Irish research was needed examining issues behind compliance failure as well as a focus on improving patient understanding.Read: Irish people warming up to generic medicines>Read: People more likely to take preventive medications combined in a single pill> IT IS ESTIMATED that up to 30 per cent of patients are not finishing their prescriptions, or even taking enough of the drug to relieve symptoms and cure them and drug prices are a key factor.Up to 40 per cent of people fail to follow a proper medication regime to prevent health problems. This data was highlighted in a report published by the IPPOSI yesterday.The report was put together after a roundtable discussion over the summer with the Secretary General, key stakeholders, patients and patients groups.Eibhlin Mulroe, CEO of IPPOSI told TheJournal.ie that worrying data shows failure to take medication for Irish patients with osteoporosis or those in remission for breast cancer is actually worse with up to 50 per cent of people with long-term illnesses failing to adhere to treatment.There is a number of reasons for this and psychology becomes a part of it – it’s a reminder that they have cancer to take that pill, for example or there are side effects. Cost can be a factor and we had people with asthma telling us they wanted their inhaler to last them a month and that’s just not good for them.
NAMA EXPECTS TO TAKE ON on “substantial proportion” of loans from IBRC as a result of the bank’s liquidation according to its chief executive.CEO Brendan McDonagh told the Oireachtas public accounts committee that the transfer of these assets is expected late this year or early next year and represents a “major challenge for NAMA”.McDonagh put the scale of the challenge in context by saying that the agency currently deals directly or indirectly with about 800 debtors, this could increase to over 3,000 if it takes on the loans it expects from IBRC. McDonagh says that NAMA expects to hire an additional 220 staff to deal with this increased workload.McDonagh also stated that 28 staff members, or more than 10 per cent of all NAMA staff, have left the agency so far this year. This is in addition to 22 staff members who departed in 2012.McDonagh said that NAMA is ‘doing its best to keep people’ but the reality is that NAMA’s finite remit until 2020 discourages people form staying.Under questioning from Labour TD Derek Nolan about whether those leaving NAMA to go to the private sector have an unfair commercial advantage, McDonagh said that only a few senior people have access to NAMA’s long-term strategies.In any event, he says, NTMA employees are subject to the Official Secrets Act, “You can’t stop people making a living, but if we feel there is an issue there are mechanisms to deal with that.”Sales concentrated outside of IrelandNAMA has made more than 85 per cent of its sales outside of Ireland according to McDonagh.Of the €9.2 billion generated in sales so far by the agency, just €1.2 billion was made through sales in Ireland.In total NAMA has generated €13.7 billion in cash for the taxpayer since it began operating with the extra €4.5 billion coming from rental and other non-disposal income.McDonagh said that the agency was “very fortunate” that such a large portion, 44 per cent, of the properties it took over in 2009 were outside of Ireland. This, he said, has allowed NAMA be selective in releasing properties into the Irish market, only releasing properties “in terms of the Irish market’s ability to absorb them”.Sales in Ireland have been governed by two key principles according to McDonagh, “no firesales and no hoarding”.NAMA also says that it has been luck that most of the Irish properties it owns have been based in the urban areas of Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick.The agency currently has €1.5 billion worth of properties on the Irish market with a further €300-400 million due to come on the market in current weeks. These will be mostly office spaces and McDonagh says NAMA has been working closely with the IDA to provide accommodation for major global businesses with plans to create jobs in Ireland.Earlier this year NAMA reported a profit of €228 million profit for 2012. McDonagh says that the agency has also recorded a profit for the first half of 2013 but was not in a position to give details of the figures as yet.Read: NAMA to invest a minimum of €2 billion in Irish property market >Read: Land at South Docks to be developed for ‘world-class’ office facilities >
GARDAÍ HAVE ISSUED a renewed appeal for information as part of their investigation into the suspected murder of Michael Gannon at his home in Skerries last night.The 55-year-old man, originally from Finglas, had been babysitting his two grandchildren at his home in Mourne Park when he answered the front door and was attacked and stabbed to death.A post mortem examination was carried out and completed this afternoon but gardaí said they will not be releasing the results for operational reasons.A man in his 20s is being questioned in connection with the investigation following his arrest earlier.In a renewed appeal for information tonight, gardaí in Balbriggan are seeking information from anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity in the area between 5pm and 6pm yesterday to contact them.Gardaí can be reached on 01 802 0511, the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.Read: Man in his 20s questioned over Skerries death
NELSON MANDELA’S LONG walk from apartheid prisoner to South African president remade a country and inspired the world.Mandela died peacefully at home in Johannesburg aged 95 after spending months in critical condition following treatment for a lung infection.Thirteen years earlier, on February 11, 1990, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela emerged, greying but unbowed, from 27 years detention for opposing the white-minority apartheid regime.It was a defining moment of the 20th century.ApartheidIn freeing the world’s most famous political prisoner, President FW de Klerk sent an unequivocal message: after centuries of subjugation, millions of other black South Africans would soon be free too.Apartheid was over.“I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all,” a 71-year-old Mandela said in his first public speech in 27 years.“I stand here before you not as a prophet, but as a humble servant of you, the people.”Devoid of self-pity, he reached out the same people who jailed him and who brutalised fellow blacks to preach “true reconciliation” in what was, and remains, a deeply scared country.“He came out a far greater person than the man who went in,” said former archbishop Desmond Tutu.“He had learned to understand the foibles and weaknesses of human beings and to be more generous in his judgement of others.”Four years after his release — and just a year after he received the Nobel Peace Prize — South Africans would vote in droves to elect Mandela the country’s first black president.Politician As that rarest of politicians, a leader imbued with moral force, Mandela was never likely to lose. A once-in-a-lifetime leader. But his task in office was immense, nothing less than preventing a civil war.When sworn in he said:We enter into a covenant that we shall build a society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity — a Rainbow Nation at peace with itself and the world,” he declared on being sworn in.He succeeded in preventing serious racial violence in part through his easy manner and mastery of symbolism.Perhaps two of his finest moments as a reconciler came when he had tea with the widow of apartheid architect Hendrik Verwoerd and when he donned the Springbok rugby jersey to congratulate the mainly white team’s victory in the 1995 Rugby World Cup.Mandela remains a unifying symbol in a country still riven by racial tensions and deep inequality.Obama“His life tells a story that stands in direct opposition to the cynicism and hopelessness that so often afflict our word,” US President Barack Obama wrote in the foreword toMandela’s most recent autobiography.U.S. President Barack Obama U.S. peers out from Section B, prison cell No. 5, on Robben Island, South Africa. This was former South African president Nelson Mandela’s cell, where spent 18 years of his 27-year prison term on the island locked up by the former apartheid government. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)But crime, grinding poverty and corruption scandals have effectively ended the honeymoon enjoyed after Mandela ushered in the “Rainbow Nation”.“Mandela, in a sense, was a once-in-a-hundred-year phenomenon,” said Frans Cronje of the Institute for Race Relations.“Thinking that South Africa would maintain that level or that standard of governance, of attitude, of role in international politics, I think was expecting too much.”South AfricaBorn in the village of Mvezo in one of South Africa’s poorest regions, the Transkei, on the 18 July 1918, Rolihlahla Dalibhunga Mandela was the great-grandson of a Tembu king.He was given his English name “Nelson” by a teacher at his school.An activist since his student days at the University of Fort Hare, Mandela opened the first black law firm in Johannesburg in 1952, along with fellow activist Oliver Tambo.He became commander-in-chief of Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), the armed underground wing of the African National Congress, in 1961, and the following year underwent military training in Algeria and Ethiopia. He said:An ideal for which I am prepared to die.After more than a year underground, he was arrested and in 1964 sentenced to life in prison during the Rivonia trial where he delivered a speech that was to become the manifesto of the anti-apartheid movement.African people“During my lifetime, I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society. … It is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”Mandela was jailed on Robben Island for 18 years before being transferred in 1982 to Pollsmoor prison in Cape Town and later to Victor Verster prison in nearby Paarl.Throughout his incarceration international pressure increased on South Africa.Then, in 1989 hardline President P.W. Botha was replaced by the more conciliatory F.W. De Klerk.A year later, De Klerk ordered Mandela’s release.“I wish to put it plainly that the government has taken a firm decision to release Mr Mandela unconditionally,” he told a shocked parliament.“The time for negotiation has arrived.” he said, adding: “The alternative is growing violence, tension and conflict.”A member of the crowd at London’s Wembley Stadium holds up a banner saying “Free Mandela”. Reference to Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment in Robben Island. (PA Archive)Mandela’s presidency, like that of US president Abraham Lincoln or British prime minister Winston Churchill, will not be remembered for legislative achievements.He served only one five-year term, and after his retirement in 1999 he devoted his considerable energy — despite increasing physical frailty — to mediating conflicts, especially the war in Burundi.80th birthdayIn 1998, on his 80th birthday, Mandela, after having divorced his second wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, married Graca Machel, the widow of Mozambican president Samora Machel.Anti-Apartheid activist Winnie Mandela, carrying her 2-year-old grandaughter Zondwa, arrives at Jan Smuts airport in Johannesburg, South Africa on December 30, 1985. (PA Image)Having been deprived of seeing his own children grow up while he was incarcerated, Mandela dedicated much time to improving the lives of youngsters, drumming up money from businesses to build schools in remote areas.At age 83, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and successfully underwent treatment. Throughout his life he suffered from respiratory ailments.He was diagnosed with early-stage tuberculosis while in prison in 1988.In May 2004, Mandela announced that he was scaling back his public schedule to enjoy “a much quieter life” with his family and friends.Eight months later, Mandela convened the press at his home to announce that his only surviving son had died of AIDS in a bid to encourage more openness about the disease.In January 2011 he suffered a lung infection, which recurred in late 2012 and again in late March.Mandela is survived by his wife Graca and daughters Maki, Zindzi and Zenani and dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.One of Mandela’s last forays on the world stage was to help bring the World Cup to South Africa in 2010, the first time the tournament was held in Africa. He delighted the crowds at the final with a surprise appearance on the back of a golf buggy.After the World Cup, President Jacob Zuma said the surge of national pride around the tournament had brought the country close to realising Mandela’s vision.“We came very close if we did not fully achieve your dream, Tata (grandfather), of one nation united in its diversity, celebrating its achievements and working together.”(YouTube/recentblackhistory)-Additional reporting Christina Finn © – AFP 2013Read: South African Government confirms death of Nelson Mandela>More: Nelson Mandela: A life in pictures>
IT WAS A week when Ireland saw the end of its bailout programme.The entire board of the Central Remedial Clinic resigned following controversy surrounding top-up payments, and it looked like more TDs might join Fianna Fáil.All that, and more, it’s the week in quotes:
(Image Credit: Oireachtas.ie)A short time later, the Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett described it as an “act of vandalism” which he had “never before” seen in the chamber.He said he would be addressing the “outrageous and unacceptable behaviour” at an immediate meeting of the Dáil’s Committee on Procedures of Privilege later this afternoon. He dismissed complaints from the opposition benches that it was “a peaceful gesture” saying it was not appropriate in the houses of parliament.In a statement issued a short time later: “Whilst I fully appreciate the need for Members to attract publicity and inform their constituents of the work that they do in Leinster House but when a Member decides to pull a stunt such as this, it does nothing other than denigrate our National Parliament.” Opposition deputies have been complaining about the lack of debate being given to the Water Services Bill which provides for the transfer of powers for water provision from local authorities to Irish Water which will be implementing water charges from late next year.The bill is due to pass all stages of the Oireachtas before the end of this week when the Dáil and Seanad rise for Christmas.WATCH: Dáil falls silent to highlight plight of children in need of cochlear implantsDáil rejects Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan’s cannabis regulation motion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9ampk0TQSYINDEPENDENT TD LUKE Ming Flanagan could be in trouble with Oireachtas authorities after he gave a Minister a glass of dirty water which he described as “glorified piss”, during a debate on the Water Services Bill this morning.The Roscommon-South Leitrim deputy was criticising the decision to charge for water provision pointing out that constituents of his in Castlerea are being “forced” to use tap water which is contaminated with cryptosporidium.“The people in my area are expected to drink glorified piss and you’re going to charge them for it, but the reality is we’re not going to pay for it,” he said.Flanagan then challenged the Minister of State Fergus O’Dowd to drink the water before marching across the chamber and placing it beside him and walking out.(Watch in the video above from about 1 minute 20 seconds in)
PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ, the fiery populist who declared a socialist revolution in Venezuela, crusaded against US influence and championed a leftist revival across Latin America, died Tuesday at age 58 after a nearly two-year bout with cancer.Vice President Nicolas Maduro, surrounded by other government officials, announced the death in a national television broadcast. He said Chavez died at 4.25 pm local time.A postcard of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez with his daughters; Maria Gabriela, left, and Rosa Virginia, is pinned together with prayer cards to the altar cloth in the military hospital’s chapel, in Caracas, Venezuela. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)ChallengeDuring more than 14 years in office, Chavez routinely challenged the status quo at home and internationally. He polarised Venezuelans with his confrontational and domineering style, yet was also a masterful communicator and strategist who tapped into Venezuelan nationalism to win broad support, particularly among the poor.Chavez repeatedly proved himself a political survivor. As an army paratroop commander, he led a failed coup in 1992, then was pardoned and elected president in 1998. He survived a coup against his own presidency in 2002 and won re-election two more times.The burly president electrified crowds with his booming voice, often wearing the bright red of his United Socialist Party of Venezuela or the fatigues and red beret of his army days. Before his struggle with cancer, he appeared on television almost daily, talking for hours at a time and often breaking into song of philosophical discourse.Chavez used his country’s vast oil wealth to launch social programs that include state-run food markets, new public housing, free health clinics and education programs. Poverty declined during Chavez’s presidency amid a historic boom in oil earnings, but critics said he failed to use the windfall of hundreds of billions of dollars to develop the country’s economy.Inflation soared and the homicide rate rose to among the highest in the world.A supporter of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez holds photos of Chavez in Bolivar square in Caracas, Venezuela, today. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)Chavez underwent surgery in Cuba in June 2011 to remove what he said was a baseball-size tumour from his pelvic region, and the cancer returned repeatedly over the next 18 months despite more surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments. He kept secret key details of his illness, including the type of cancer and the precise location of the tumours.“El Comandante,” as he was known, stayed in touch with the Venezuelan people during his treatment via Twitter and phone calls broadcast on television, but even those messages dropped off as his health deteriorated.Two months after his last re-election in October, Chavez returned to Cuba again for cancer surgery, blowing a kiss to his country as he boarded the plane. He was never seen again in public.After a 10-week absence marked by opposition protests over the lack of information about the president’s health and growing unease among the president’s “Chavista” supporters, the government released photographs of Chavez on Feb. 15 and three days later announced that the president had returned to Venezuela to be treated at a military hospital in Caracas.Throughout his presidency, Chavez said he hoped to fulfill Bolivar’s unrealized dream of uniting South America.He was also inspired by Cuban leader Fidel Castro and took on the aging revolutionary’s role as Washington’s chief antagonist in the Western Hemisphere after Castro relinquished the presidency to his brother Raul in 2006.Supporters saw Chavez as the latest in a colorful line of revolutionary legends, from Castro to Argentine-born Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Chavez nurtured that cult of personality, and even as he stayed out of sight for long stretches fighting cancer, his out-sized image appeared on buildings and billboard throughout Venezuela. The airwaves boomed with his baritone mantra: “I am a nation.”Supporters carried posters and wore masks of his eyes, chanting, “I am Chavez.”Pedestrians walks past graffiti that reads in Spanish; “Chavez lives and will prevail,” outside the military hospital in Caracas, Venezuela, today. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)Chavez saw himself as a revolutionary and saviour of the poor. His social programs won him enduring support: Poverty rates declined from 50 percent at the beginning of his term in 1999 to 32 percent in the second half of 2011. But he also charmed his audience with sheer charisma and a flair for drama that played well for the cameras.He ordered the sword of South American independence leader Simon Bolivar removed from Argentina’s Central Bank to unsheathe at key moments. On television, he would lambast his opponents as “oligarchs,” announce expropriations of companies and lecture Venezuelans about the glories of socialism. His performances included renditions of folk songs and impromptu odes to Chinese revolutionary Mao Zedong and 19th century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.Chavez carried his in-your-face style to the world stage as well. In a 2006 speech to the UN General Assembly, he called President George W. Bush the devil, saying the podium reeked of sulphur after Bush’s address.Critics saw Chavez as a typical Latin American caudillo, a strongman who ruled through force of personality and showed disdain for democratic rules. Chavez concentrated power in his hands with allies who dominated the congress and justices who controlled the Supreme Court.He insisted all the while that Venezuela remained a vibrant democracy and denied trying to restrict free speech. But some opponents faced criminal charges and were driven into exile.While Chavez trumpeted plans for communes and an egalitarian society, his soaring rhetoric regularly conflicted with reality. Despite government seizures of companies and farmland, the balance between Venezuela’s public and private sectors changed little during his presidency.And even as the poor saw their incomes rise, those gains were blunted while the country’s currency weakened amid economic controls.Nonetheless, Chavez maintained a core of supporters who stayed loyal to their “comandante” until the end.VenezuelaHugo Rafael Chavez Frias was born on July 28, 1954, in the rural town of Sabaneta in Venezuela’s western plains. He was the son of schoolteacher parents and the second of six brothers.Chavez was a fine baseball player and hoped he might one day pitch in the US major leagues. When he joined the military at age 17, he aimed to keep honing his baseball skills in the capital.But the young soldier immersed himself in the history of Bolivar and other Venezuelan heroes who had overthrown Spanish rule, and his political ideas began to take shape.Chavez burst into public view in 1992 as a paratroop commander leading a military rebellion that brought tanks to the presidential palace. When the coup collapsed, Chavez was allowed to make a televised statement in which he declared that his movement had failed “for now.” The speech, and those two defiant words, launched his career, searing his image into the memory of Venezuelans.He and other coup prisoners were released in 1994, and President Rafael Caldera dropped the charges against them.A woman holds a candle along with a poster of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez at a candlelight vigil to pray for his health earlier today. Pic: Ariana Cubillos/AP/Press Association ImagesChavez then organized a new political party and ran for president four years later, vowing to shatter Venezuela’s traditional two-party system. At age 44, he became the country’s youngest president in four decades of democracy with 56 percent of the vote.Chavez was re-elected in 2000 in an election called under a new constitution drafted by his allies. His increasingly confrontational style and close ties to Cuba, however, disenchanted many of the middle-class supporters who had voted for him. The next several years saw bold but failed attempts by opponents to dislodge him from power.In 2002, he survived a short-lived coup, which began after a large anti-Chavez street protest ended in deadly shootings. Dissident military officers detained the president and announced he had resigned. But within two days, he returned to power with the help of military loyalists while his supporters rallied in the streets.Stronger presidentChavez emerged a stronger president. He defeated a subsequent opposition-led strike that paralyzed the country’s oil industry, and he fired thousands of state oil company employees.The coup also turned Chavez more decidedly against the US government, which had swiftly recognized the provisional leader who had briefly replaced him. He created political and trade alliances that excluded the US, and he cozied up to Iran and Syria in large part, it seemed, due to their shared antagonism toward the U.S. government.Despite the souring relationship, Chavez sold the bulk of Venezuela’s oil to the United States.He easily won re-election in 2006, and then said it was his destiny to lead Venezuela until 2021 or even 2031.“I’m still a subversive,” Chavez said in a 2007 interview with The Associated Press. “I think the entire world has to be subverted.”Playing such a larger-than-life public figure ultimately left little time for a personal life.His second marriage, to journalist Marisabel Rodriguez, deteriorated in the early years of his presidency, and they divorced in 2004. In addition to their one daughter, Rosines, Chavez had three children from his first marriage, which ended before Chavez ran for office.He often said he believed Venezuela was on its way down a long road toward socialism, and that there was no turning back. After winning re-election in 2012, he vowed to deepen his push to transform Venezuela.His political movement, however, was mostly a one-man show. Only three days before his final surgery, Chavez named Maduro as his chosen successor.Now, it will be up to Venezuelans to determine whether the Chavismo movement can survive, and how it will evolve, without the leader who inspired it.
IRISH PEOPLE ARE better than other Europeans at buying and selling online with other countries according to new EU-wide research on digital habits.Ireland exhibited much better rates of cross border e-commerce than the rest of the union, with 24 per cent of the population having bought online from other EU countries in the previous year, compared to an EU average of 12 per cent.The initiative being shown extends to Irish businesses, with both SMEs and larger companies also comfortably ahead of the EU average for drumming up business form abroad. Source: European CommissionOverall in many of the areas monitored Irish people were bang on the EU average in terms of digital skills. For example, those identified as having low or no digital skills make up about 46 per cent of the population in Ireland, just one point below the EU average of 47 per cent.Broadband usage in Ireland is also roundabout on the European average according to the European Commission research, with 96 per cent of the total population having access to it compared to 97 per cent of Europeans. Subscriptions with high speed connections over 30 Mbps and 100 Mbsp were also above the EU average.The main area where Ireland is lagging behind in broadband speeds is in the availability of 4G coverage. The figures for 2013 show that 35 per cent of Irish people had access to 4G compared to 59 per cent of EuropeansIrish providers Meteor, eMobile, Vodafone and Three have all introduced 4G services over the past 9 months meaning that the figure has increased. Source: European CommissionRead: In 2016 there’ll be a new place for 500 students to live: Dublin’s Digital Hub >Column: Digital innovation and enterprise needs to be nurtured at an EU level >
CONNACHT’S YOUNG STAR Robbie Henshaw has withdrawn from the Ireland squad which will tour Argentina next month.The Athlone native sustained a hand ligament injury earlier in the season which he ‘exacerbated’ in training this week, the IRFU say.Henshaw will undergo surgery immediately, the union confirmed.Joe Schmidt has not yet made a decision on who will replace the 20-year-old.‘Imitation is the best form of flattery’ – Kearney ready for Leinster-esque WarriorsDream senior debut plans turned into ‘a disaster’ for Tipperary’s Jason Forde last year
THOUSANDS OF TURKISH police mobilised today in central Istanbul ahead of demonstrations to mark the first anniversary of last year’s protests that mushroomed into a revolt against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rule.Erdogan’s government deployed thousands of riot police and police in civilian clothes to enforce a ban on protests at Taksim Square, the epicentre of last year’s demonstrations, an AFP reporter said.Erdogan on Friday urged young Turks to ignore the call to stage a protest to mark the anniversary of a movement that began last year as a neighbourhood bid to save Gezi Park, adjacent to Taksim Square, from real estate developers.Following a deadly police crackdown, the protests swelled into an outpouring of anger against the perceived authoritarian tendencies of the Islamic-rooted government.“One year later, people, including so-called artists, are calling for demonstrations, but you, Turkey’s youth, you will not respond to the call,” Erdogan told a crowd of a thousand young people in Istanbul.“These terrorist organisations manipulated our morally and financially weak youth to attack our unity and put our economy under threat,” Erdogan said.Urge to allow peaceful protest Turkish media reported that around 25,000 police officers as well as dozens of water cannon trucks and armoured vehicles would be deployed to Istanbul on Saturday to prevent demonstrators from reaching the square.The opposition leader urged the authorities to let people peacefully protest.“Let the young people protest as they want. They are peaceful, they can’t harm anyone. What will you achieve with all these bans,?” said Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP).Tensions grew when a 64-year-old woman who fell into a coma after inhaling tear gas during last year’s protests died this week at an Istanbul hospital.A total of eight people died and thousands were wounded as a result of the crackdown on the protests, which turned into the largest challenge to Erdogan since his party came to power in 2002.- © AFP, 2014Read: Turkish government heavily criticised after passing “Orwellian” internet lawsRead: Turkish authorities accused of sexual abuse and severe beating of protestersPICS: Turkish police storm Gezi Park with tear gas and water cannons
EVERY WEEKDAY EVENING, TheJournal.ie brings you up to speed with the five things you should know as you head out the door.1. #ROW: Taoiseach Enda Kenny has mounted a loyal defence of Alan Shatter, insisting that his justice minister has no reason to consider resigning announcing on RTÉ’s Prime Time that TD Mick Wallace benefited from garda discretion after he was found driving while using his mobile phone. Shatter will make a statement in the Dáil at about 6pm tonight on the issue and then answer questions from the opposition benches.2. #PAY TALKS: Unions have drafted pay proposals for consideration following talks at the Labour Relations Commission, after three teacher unions which had rejected the Croke Park II deal met with the LRC this morning. Minister Brendan Howlin briefed his cabinet colleagues this morning on the outcome, saying that “following intensive negotiations, the unions have now draft proposals for agreement for consideration under their own rules and procedures”.3. #ABORTION: The final day of the Joint Committee for Health and Children’s hearings on the proposed abortion legislation is taking place in the Seanad this afternoon. TDs and Senator will hear from a number of legal experts throughout the day, including barristers and solicitors, as well as the Minister of State, Alex White. To catch up on all the proceedings, check out TheJournal.ie’s liveblog.4. #CORPORATION TAX: The Office of the Revenue Commissioner and the Department of Finance have denied a special tax deal was negotiated with technology corporation Apple, after a US Senate investigation reported the company had made an arrangement with Irish authorities in the early 1990s which allowed it pay two per cent corporation tax on profits.5. #FRANCE: A man has shot himself dead in front of the altar of Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral, forcing the evacuation of the French capital’s famed tourist spot. The man, in his 70s, died by suicide some time after 2pm, investigators said. It was not immediately clear how many people were inside the building at the time.
Is “Bear Gall Bladder” today’s “Why Won’t My Parakeet Eat My Diarrhea?” That seems to be the case, from the looks of today’s Google search trends. So, how does such a bizarre phrase make it to the top of Google search?Good question. It can be traced back to the last night’s debut of the National Geographic Channel’s new show, Wild Justice. The episode tackled the world ofbear poaching, where buyers will shell out thousands of dollars for a bear carcasses, thanks in large part to the gall bladder–a valued ingredient in Chinese medicine, which is thought to cure a number of ailments, including liver disease and simple fevers.Such hunting–outside of simple search engine queries–is illegal, however.
Who want’s to go to space!? Me too! Too bad the cost of experiencing even a few minutes of spaciness via the new breed of space tourism companies is prohibitively expensive for most of us. Thankfully, one enterprising company has a makeshift solution to sate your extraterrestrial wanderlust: send your picture into space! And they will be able to do it for the price of a foot-long at Subway.AdChoices广告 For a mere $4.95, Photos To Space will secure a spot for your image on board SpaceX‘s upcoming Falcon 9 rocket launch scheduled for April 12, 2011.There is of course, a slight caveat you should be aware of. You see, sending actual photos along for the ride would be too heavy. It cost $70,000 to get a piece of cargo onto the Falcon 9 and physical photographs can add up to a few grams a piece. So, it would be way too heavy to send the thousands of photos you would need to still turn a profit. So, for now, the only way to get your face into space is to send up a digital version which will be stored on “a device” on board the rocket. Basically, Photos to Space allows you to send your Facebook profile pic to where no profile pic has gone before. But $4.95 doesn’t just get your photo on a flash drive stored in a rocket ship’s glove compartment (probably an exaggeration?), you will also receive a certificate and “launch image.” So, if you’re still holiday shopping for the geek in your life, this would probably make a lousy present, but a wonderful stocking stuffer.
According to non-profit spam-tracking outfit Spamhaus, visits to the original WikiLeaks address, wikileaks.org, now redirects traffic to a site operated by an organization it has dubbed “Russian cybercriminals.” When visitors go to wikileaks.org they are forwarded to mirror.wikilleaks.info, which is operated by the Russian Webalta (or sometimes Wahome) host who Spamhaus regards as a “blackhat” organization–a launching pad for spamming, malware/virus hosting, phishing, and other sketchy activities.AdChoices广告According to a story on CNET, wikileaks.info has “strenuously objected” to this classification, going on to say “We find it very disturbing that Spamhaus labels a site as dangerous without even checking if there is any malware on it. We monitor the wikileaks.info site and we can guarantee that there is no malware on it.” The site even go on to say that they weren’t even aware that wikileaks.org was being forwarded to their site. As a representative tells CNET “In fact, we were caught [by] surprise on last Saturday as we all of a sudden had 1 million hits per day on our Web site. The switch [when wikileaks.org site visitors began being forwarded to wikileaks.info] was not discussed with us.”So, that might just be the cold denial of a lying criminal enterprise OR it’s all a government conspiracy to get people to stop downloading leaked files–a big chess game with varying levels of pawns and kings.Have at it, conspiracy theorists!In the meantime, WikiLeaks is being mirrored on many undisputed sites around the web including wikileaks.ch, wikileaks.nl, and wikileaks.de.
For anyone who likes to make sure the person on the other end of an instant message knows their true feelings by using emoticons, you’ll be happy to know that a prototype of a special emoticon keypad was shown at ces earlier this month. Displayed at the Lavatelli booth, the keypad has a 4×4 grid of bubble buttons that make it easy for you to hit the right emoticon. No more accidentally typing the wrong letters or symbols to create a nonsensical emoticon.The keypad looks more like a Boggle game, and this device will surely end up on gadget gag Web sites, rather than serious retailers. You must know someone in your life that overuses emoticons. Send that person a hint by buying him or her the emoticon keypad when it’s eventually released. We’ll keep you posted on the date. :-D[Via Geek.com]AdChoices广告
Google has today released a new extension for the Chrome browser a lot of people may find surprising. The purpose of the extension, called Personal Blocklist, is to allow a user to block search results from sites they don’t want to visit.Google has done this to allow low-quality content to be blocked. The search giant will also use the information gathered by user decisions to help improve page ranking in the future. This is described as follows on the Chrome web store:The personal blocklist extension will transmit to Google the patterns that you choose to block. When you choose to block or unblock a pattern, the extension will also transmit to Google the URL of the web page on which the blocked or unblocked search results are displayed. The extension allows for instant blocking, but those results you do block will still be visisble by clicking a “show” link at the bottom of a Google search page. That way, any accidental blocks can easily be undone. All blocked sites are also listed in the extension’s about window.Google clearly states Personal Blocker is just an experiment at the moment, so it may not work exactly as advertised at this early stage. If you want to try it, though, just head on over to the Chrome web store.Read more at The Official Google BlogMatthew’s OpinionI don’t doubt that this extension is going to be very popular with Chrome users. How many times have you searched for a product to buy only to be presented with a long list of shopping websites just working off of affiliate links? Now you can block them all and help yourself get better results.The install procedure couldn’t be easier and no browser restart is required. Do a Google search afterwards and it’s hard to spot the difference, but a link does appear after every result offering to block it, and a red circle icon appears on the upper-right toolbar of your browser. With some forethought you could block all the sites that don’t appeal to you with a few simple test searches.I’m sure a lot of sites will not be happy about this extension, though. Page ranking means nothing if users are blocking your site, so why pay all that advertising money? At the moment it isn’t an issue as only a small percentage of users will install the extension. But if it gets popular there will be growing complaints directed at Google from businesses.
Apple has done a good job of pushing SSDs out to consumers, including making them standard on the new MacBook Air models, but a fundamental problem still exists: OS X lacks support for TRIM. This isn’t the time to get into a full explanation, but the TRIM command is an important SSD function that helps with SSD maintenance and, eventually, in keeping one operating at the highest possible speeds. Windows 7 has support for this built in, but Snow Leopard does not. The good news is that it’s looking like Lion will.French Apple site Macgeneration must have been digging around in OS X 10.7 (Lion) developer release because they noticed that the new version of the OS is packing support for TRIM. See the image below for their proof–it clearly states “Prise en charge de TRIM: Oui” or roughly, “Support for TRIM: Yes”. Above that line the system confirms that is running an SSD, which is in keeping with the computer description–it’s a MacBook Air.AdChoices广告Macgeneration (French) via Hardmac
Such a deal: By year’s end, you can lease an electric BMW 1 Series, the ActiveE, for $499 a month if you’re part of a trial that kicks off in six major urban areas: San Diego, LA, San Franciso, Sacramento, Boston, and New York. Range should be about 100 miles using lithium-ion batteries. You’ll be able to impress neighbors with the usual electric car party tricks such as showing everyone the state of charge of your smartphone (photo below), and a couple new-with-BMW tricks such as pre-heating or pre-cooling the car while it’s still plugged in (to extend range). And of course it’s going to handle like a BMW, something the Nissan Leaf can’t claim. BMW kicked off electric car-prototype testing 2-1/2 years ago with 600 Mini E vehicles. Monday in New York it announced details on the ActiveE. The ActiveE fleet of 1,000 cars, all produced in Leipzig, Germany, incorporates feedback from the Mini E. One piece of feedback was, “Hey, what happened to my back seat and trunk [on the Mini E]?” so the battery pack is no longer the back seat; instead they’re underunder the hood and in place of the fuel tank, so the Active E has more or less the same back seat and trunk capacity as its gasoline-engine siblings. news from the Mini E and ActiveE will help shape a production vehicle due in 2013 as part of a new BMW i sub-brand. Also unlike the Mini E, when you take your foot off the throttle, it won’t feel like somebody threw out an anchor. Instead, BMW programmed in a glide setting that lets the car coast without any drag. With the Mini E, when your foot came off the throttle, the car immediately began regenerating electricity and the resistance of the generator acted like somebody applied the brakes lightly. The BMW ActiveE electric motor produces 170 hp and 184 pound-feet of torque. Torque not horsepower is what makes a car feel like it’s accelerating hard and on electric cars, maximum torque comes on at 0 rpm. BMW says acceleration should be slightly under 9 seconds 0-60 mph, which is more than adequate as well as something most every gasoline-engine car (not just sports sedan) manages today. By using lithium-ion technology, the battery pack weighs just 200 pounds. The batteries are from SB LiMotive, a Samsung-Bosch joint venture. Eco Mode for Even More RangeIf you’re into maximizing your range, you can activate an Eco setting that remaps the throttle and climate control systems for gentler power usage. You also get eco driving tips. BMW announced the BMW ActiveE, pricing and availability ahead of the New York International Auto Show, which starts Wednesday for the press and Friday for the public. Where auto shows and ces have an active press day one day before the show, a couple automakers are now doing presentatons two days in advance. It certainly worked for BMW, drawing a crowd of almost 100 to BMW Manhattan, a dealership that BMW owns directly. BMW set up a website, www.BMWActivateTheFuture.com, for more details on is electric vehicles and to “create a broader conversation about the future of mobility.”Start there if you think you should be one of the 700 U.S. lessees. You’ll pay $2,250 up front plus $499 for 24 months. Since this is a test car, BMW gets them back at the end. There’s no buyout option. * BMW Evolve Smartphone App Tells If You’re an Electric-Car Candidate * PCMag.com: BMW Announces New Electric Coupe
When the 3Ds was released it had a decent launch line-up of games, but was lacking that other key feature that served the DS so well in its later life: online access and a store for digital games. Come June 6, that wrong is set to be put right when Nintendo launches the first system update for the device.The update is a free download that will unlock three new features on the device. The first is a web browser making it possible to use your 3DS to access your favorite websites. You can even pause a game and load the browser for those moments when you need access to a FAQ or guide.The screen may be small, but as the DS has shown, the browser can work as a mobile surfing device. As the 3DS can display 3D, Nintendo has also implemented a feature that allows a website with 3D content to take advantage of the 3DS screen and show it in 3D as intended.Secondly, and for many the most important part of the update, Nintendo is launching its online store for the 3DS known as the eShop. Not only will this allow access to 3D digital download games, but unlocks the new Virtual Console containing Game Boy and Game Boy Color games.As an added bonus, and a way for Nintendo to get us all using the store, it is offering the Pokedex 3D app for free. All it does is allow you to view the Pokemon caught in Pokemon Black and Pokemon White in 3D along with animations and sound. For Pokemon fans it’s sure to be a hit, especially as there are features allowing you to share information between Pokedex.We are still waiting to hear what content will be offered through the eShop at launch for U.S. gamers. Nintendo has revealed the Japanese eShop line-up, though, which includes six Virtual Console games, two 3D Classics titles, which are classic games re-made for 3D, and two original games. What we do know is Excitebike is being offered for free until July 7 for everyone.U.S. gamers do get the system update first on June 6. European and Japanese gamers have to wait an extra day for their update to appear.Read more at the Nintendo press release
Last week we got a little more excited about E3 this year as MCV had it on good authority from a “100% solid” source that both the PS4 and next Xbox would make an appearance. In so doing, it would be the first time in the show’s history that three new consoles were on display.Unfortunately, it looks like that isn’t going to happen. Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Kazuo Hirai has made it clear during CES that when E3 begins in June you won’t be seeing any console announcement from the company. Hirai has restated that the PS3 is following a 10-year lifecycle, meaning the PS4 won’t arrive until 2014/15 accounting for a year or so of overlap between the old and new machines.So MCV’s source was anything but solid, however, they may still be correct in thinking Microsoft has something to announce. A 10-year lifecycle for the Xbox 360 would end in 2015, but Microsoft isn’t afraid to launch a console early. Saying that though, the 360 is doing well alongside 18 million Kinects being sold over the last year. Would Microsoft really want to refocus gamer’s attentions on a next-gen console right now?The only thing that is definite at the moment is the fact Nintendo will be showing off the Wii U at E3. With news recently that the company is positioning the Wii U controller as a media tablet as well as a console, gamers around the world are eager to see exactly what the new machine is going to offer when it launches before the end of the year.via ShopTo