APPROXIMATELY 9 MILLION cigarettes with a retail value of €4.3 million were seized by Gardaí and customs officials in Co. Louth this morning.The seizure was made when officers from the Revenue’s Customs Service, in conjunction with the Criminal Assest Bureau and An Garda Síochána, stopped a truck and a 4 x 4 vehicle at a service station on the M1 motorway near Castlebellingham.Officials believe the cigarettes had arrived into the state through Dublin Port from Malaysia and had a potential loss to the exchequer of €3.7 million.Four men aged between 36 and 44 were arrested at the scene and are currently detained at Drogheda and Dundalk garda stations.A number of business premises and private residences were searched following the seizure and officials say investigations are continuing.The Revenue Custom’s Service say ongoing invetigations have led to the seizure of 35 million cigarettes so far this year.Read: 1.2 million cigarettes seized in Dublin Port >Read: Cigarettes, tobacco and counterfeit vodka seized in €1.5 million sting operation >
THE DIVORCE REFERENDUM passed by the slimmest of margins in 1996, about a single vote per ballot box. It was a wrenching national argument of epic proportions. Family, the life of the nation and the rights of individuals all engaged in an orgy of vitriolic debate. Politicians have done well to avoid the issue ever since. As the abortion debate has reminded us, it’s difficult to talk about and get anything else done once one of these national social issues kicks off.This government is now looking seriously at two major proposals to liberalise our marriage laws: one reform on the way in, and another on the way out. We will vote on legalising gay marriage in 2015, and early polls show strong support. With less triumphal fanfare the government has also announced its intention to consider legislating for prenuptial agreements.At present prenups carry no real legal weight in Ireland. Depending on the judge you get there might be some consideration given to the existence of such an agreement, but no guarantees. Previous governments have looked at the topic of legislating to provide a basis on which the agreements would become enforceable, but very little progress has been made beyond the production of reports on which to store dust in the national archives.Marriage is nothing more than a contractAt the risk of having the women (and soon, men) beating down my door, I must say that marriage is nothing more than a contract between two people who decide to spend their lives together. Whatever religious connotations you want to add atop that is your own business, but as far as the State is concerned marriage is a convenient tax and inheritance arrangement.You can live with your significant other without marriage. You can have kids without marriage. If you break up, the kids will be provisioned for regardless of marital status. You can pretty much do as you wish with someone else without being married.The marriage itself is a formal contract binding one person to another. It is also one of the most heavily regulated types of contract: if you decide to dissolve it, you do so in a fashion at the whim of courts, you can’t have any binding say in the terms of dissolution at the time of entering the contract; and it takes half a decade by the time all is said and done to get out of it.Now, in general, divorce is a sad and a bad thing. Not many people get married to get divorced. Relationships matter, and a society that devalues them is a devalued society. But the fact is that breakups happen, and it seems that in Ireland we have laws designed to extract penance from the sinners who don’t stick it out.That goes back to the tumultuous arguments around divorce when we so narrowly passed it into our constitution. In a sense we have another of what Haughey called “An Irish solution to an Irish problem,” when he was referring to the now ridiculous provision of contraception by way of doctors’ prescription to married couples.Divorce in Ireland is a fudge. The lengthy period of time it takes to get a divorce exists in the hopes that after two or three years of separation a couple will see the light and get back together. Maybe that does happen. And when it does, a couple could always just get married again if they liked. They pay for their marriage license like everyone else.Prenups are not provisioned for despite it being wholly logical to do so when we introduced divorce, because it would be another offence to the idea that marriage is for life as mandated by society, God, the good book and whatever else you’re having yourself if you’d just vote Yes in the 1996 referendum.Big boys and girls should be able to make their own decisionsWhy exactly is it the business of society, 166 TDs and a number of judges to decide to how people can go about their marriage…? People are big boys and girls and should be able to make their own decisions and protect their own financial interests in divorce. This is not a one way street, with a rich woman being able to provision for a less well-off man in an equitable way at the outset of a marriage in the event it breaks down. After all, it takes two parties to sign the agreement and both spouses can negotiate for a better deal that, in the end, leaves them both with peace of mind.Or a prenup might help forestall a divorce, if one has to consider in financial terms just how far someone is willing to go for the other in the event things go sour in the relationship.Now, I’ve just been discussing married couples. What of kids, says you?A prenuptial agreement is between two parties who are getting married. Children are provisioned for by family courts regardless of any contracts or agreements as is, and that would remain the same. The beneficiary of, say, a house or monies provisioned for the care and welfare of children following a divorce is the children themselves. It so happens that one of the former spouses will likely become their primary carer, so benefitting indirectly from this in ways that might go beyond what a prenup provisions for strictly between the two parties.Prenups won’t be for everyone. Broaching the topic before marriage is certainly a gamey exercise. But there should be no reason that society prevents people from entering into an agreement that allows them to protect their respective assets that they’ve built over time or will build regardless of the marriage.I’ll start accepting proposals from fellow romantics immediately…Read: Laws recognising prenups to be considered by GovernmentRead: First poll finds large majority in favour of same sex marriage
A POLISH COUPLE who forced women into prostitution and ran a string of brothels across London are to be sentenced today.Polish nationals Kamil Niewiadomski, 31, and Ewa Nosal, 30, posted adverts for escorts on a Polish website.When applicants came to work for the pair, their photos were posted on adult services websites in the UK.The women were fined for being late and encouraged to engage in unprotected sex with customers.Bookings for the women were taken at a call centre based at a flat, with the £120 an hour sessions taking place at a number of brothels.Officers from the Metropolitan Police Service Human Trafficking Unit began investigating the pair after several victims rang the unit’s 24-hour helpline.This culminated in a series of search warrants being executed in January at the brothels and Niewiadomski and Nosal’s home address, which they shared with their child and Niewiadomski’s parents.Detectives seized around £24,000 in cash found beside Niewiadomski’s bed and within a safe hidden in his wardrobe. They also recovered almost 50 identity cards for Polish men and women, suggesting that all these had been exploited or worked for the defendants.Police believe the actual number of victims are far in excess of the numbers of cards found.Officers recovered 120 mobile phones used to take bookings for the different men at the call centre.Both have pleaded guilty and will be sentenced today.Read: France passes law to ban the purchase of sex, ICI calls on Ireland to follow suitColumn: We have glimpsed the human misery which fills the pockets of Europe’s pimps and traffickers
Read: Crumlin Children’s Hospital contacts families after contamination scare> A LITTLE GIRL in Dublin who has been diagnosed with a rare form of children’s cancer is getting support from some of Ireland’s best known actors and sportspeople.Colin Farrell, Peter Coogan and Katie Taylor have all wished Merryn Lacy well and donated prizes that are up for auction to raise funds for Merryn.At the end of July, Merryn and her family were in London for a few days visiting friends. Her parents said that Merryn “just wasn’t herself” and that she was unusually tired and was complaining of a sore tummy.Cancer When they returned home they went to the doctor and didn’t expect to end up in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin at 2am that Saturday morning.Following scans, Merryn was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma – an aggressive childhood cancer of the nervous system.So far, Merryn has had eight treatments and is currently undergoing front line treatment which will last approximately 18 months.However, her family say that the fight will not stop there, as there is a possibility of relapse. Their hope is to travel to Europe or the US where there are more treatment options, but this comes at a sizable cost.Just like any little girl her age, her parents said that Merryn loves her dolls and to dress up like a princess. “She knows she has a lump on her kidney and will ask questions and listen intently when doctors or nurses are talking to us. How do you explain these things to someone so young? Although it’s unfair and we’ve been angry, we know that we owe it to Merryn to give this battle everything we’ve got,” they said.Love/Hate’s Fran wished Merryn and her family well with this message while Colin Farrell said he was sending all his love to Merryn from a “chilly California” but said he knew that she was up for the fight ahead of her.Colin Farrell sends a video to Merryn to wish her all the best. (Via Robbie Doyle)A charity night was orgnanised by family friend, Robbie Doyle last week. However, fundraising is still ongoing and items are still up for auction which include Katie Taylor’s boxing gloves which are signed and a signed Leinster jersey.Last week, the Aer Lingus Regional Santa Express, operated by Aer Arann, departed Dublin Airport with Merryn and over 60 passengers including including children, parents and hospital staff from Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin to visit Santa.(Maxwell Photography)For more information on fundraising for Merryn, visit her Facebook page here and here is the online auction page.Read: Celebs bring Christmas cheer to sick kids at Crumlin hospital>
THE CHIEF OF Russia’s medical and biological agency says its probe into the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has found no indication of radioactive poisoning.Russia’s state news agencies quote Vladimir Uiba, the head of the Federal Medical and Biological Agency, saying that its research has found that Arafat’s death nine years ago was “natural and not caused by radiation”.ScientistsTeams of scientists from France, Switzerland and Russia were asked to determine whether polonium, a rare and extremely lethal substance, played a role in Arafat’s death in a French military hospital in 2004.French doctors were unable to say what killed him and an autopsy was never performed, at the request of his widow.Palestinians have long suspected Israel of poisoning him, which Israel denies.A Swiss lab report said that Arafat was probably poisoned by polonium, but a French study has ruled it out.However, the Palestinian authorities said they will press on with their probe into his death, despite the recent finding.“I can only say that there is already a decision to continue the investigation,” Faed Mustafa, the Palestinian ambassador to Russia told the state RIA Novosti news agency.“We respect their position, we highly value their work but there is a decision to continue work.”Additional reporting © AFP 2013Read: French experts rule out Arafat poisoning> Read: Palestinians say there’s only one suspect in Arafat death>
Kevin McPartlan works with Glenevin, an Irish consultancy which spent most of 2012 on a project with the Government of Uganda to improve the country’s international reputation. He was in charge of the communications team that coordinated Uganda’s official response to the Kony2012 viral video. He says:We were hired to help improve the global perception of Uganda. We began by analysing news and social media content and comment concerning the country. With the help of Irish media analysis firm O’Leary Analytics; we were able to identify the most common reasons for which the government was criticized. Then we looked at which were fair and which were not.Improving engagement by the authoritiesIt was clear the vast majority of negative coverage in the international media related to the Uganda Police Force (UPF) and, in particular, to failings in the way it managed public order situations. We told the government the only way to improve how the global press reported on UPF was to improve the behaviour and performance of its officers.We brought a team of police trainers out from Ireland and worked with the UPF’s public order units to give them the skills to de-escalate situations and to respond in a measured and restrained manner.To respond to unfair criticism, it was necessary to improve the way in which the government engaged with the media. We improved Ministers and officials’ interviews skills and trained press officers to operate in way that would be more effective with international audiences.A grave threat to Uganda’s reputationWe had been working on the project for about four months when Invisible Children launched Kony2012 on YouTube. It seemed to explode across social media but, in truth, our media monitoring alerted us to it well before the likes of Oprah Winfrey got involved. We had a bit of a head start but it was clear to us it was going to get very big, very quickly.We watched the video and realised immediately that it posed a grave threat to the reputation of Uganda. It suggested the government was ignoring Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA); that it was standing idly by while young boys were being forced to take up arms and girls were forced into sex-slavery. It also painted the country as war-torn and unstable. None of this is true.In fact, the Ugandan military (UPDF) has been fighting the LRA for many years and has reduced the fighting force from upwards of 30,000 to its current strength of about 200. Joseph Kony has not set foot in Uganda since 2006 because UPDF troops forced the LRA to flee across the border into what was then southern Sudan. Since then, they have commanded an African Union task force that has continued to pursue Kony across international borders. It was the current Prime Minister of Uganda, Amama Mbabazi who sought the indictment of Joseph Kony by the International Criminal Court.The enormous power of social mediaI alerted the Prime Minister to the Kony2012 campaign and advised him to use the same social media channels to respond. It was a tough sell initially. He considered the claims of Invisible Children to be so inaccurate as to be unworthy of response. I argued that this campaign had the potential to define the reputation of Uganda for an entire generation of people in Europe and North America. Ultimately, Mr Mbabazi agreed to reply through YouTube.The Prime Minister recorded a video in his Kampala office soon after Kony2012 went viral. He thanked the people who had watched Kony2012 for their interest in, and concern for, Uganda and corrected the false impression which it created.He recognised that many younger people receive “news” not through traditional print or broadcast media but on YouTube, Facebook and other social networks. He is very aware of the power of social media – regularly engaging critics and supporters through Twitter. Mr Mbabazi personally tweeted celebrities involved in Kony2012 including George Clooney, Angelina Jolie and Jay Z and invited them to visit Uganda and see the facts for themselves.Within a couple of days the Prime Minister’s video had been watched over 200,000 times. His decision to use social media to directly connect with young people was reported in more than 2,500 news reports across the world.The only real criticism of the video related to the poor production values. What people didn’t realise was that due to poor ICT infrastructure in Africa, it took over 27 hours to upload it even in such a compressed form and low resolution.Kony 2012: deeply racist and politically motivatedI found Kony 2012 deeply racist and very politically motivated. It was tied up in a particular branch of American right-wing Christian fundamentalism, and played on the negative ideas we often have of Africa and suggested Africans need the “good oul’ US of A” of to point out right from wrong.It was deeply patronising. Offensive, actually.The release of the Kony 2012 video was not the first time the Government of Uganda had heard about Kony. They didn’t need a slick, well-produced viral video to inform them this man was evil. They had been fighting the Lord’s Resistance Army for years in an effort to bring Kony and his lieutenants to justice. They have had remarkable successes and continue to be engaged in the long process of rebuilding the villages and communities the LRA decimated.The ‘West’ must be more respectfulIt is important African nations are represented accurately to the western world. I consider the way some people view African countries to be inherently racist. The different ways in which Africans communicate or behave are not in any way inferior. I believe we in “the West” must be more respectful and willing to compromise.There are issues in Uganda that need to be dealt with. But, while it is essential to address the fair criticisms by raising standards and addressing abuses of power, the Ugandan’s have a right to point out when criticism is unfair too.Many reports about Uganda are grossly distorted or simply not true. An excellent example is the way The Anti-Homosexuality Bill currently before the Ugandan parliament is being reported. It is widely described in very reputable news media as the Kill-the-Gays Bill. While it does outlaw homosexual acts, it does not make provision for the death penalty.Don’t get me wrong, I strongly oppose this Bill but surely our distaste for the proposed legislation does not excuse the media from its obligation to tell the truth?Cultural differences lead to misunderstanding and suspicionThe Government of Uganda hired Glenevin because there is a very different style of communicating in Africa. Africans can be extremely direct but the style of debate – especially in politics, is not what we are used to.Serious politicians often will not defend or argue their point of view if challenged. Rather they will personally attack their critic or question their bona fides. That looks shifty to us; as though the politician has something to hide, but it is simply a cultural difference.As the world changes, the key audiences for African leaders now include their international counterparts. We taught Ugandan Ministers and officials how to communicate with audiences in Europe and in the US more effectively and persuasively.Joseph Kony’s global profile may have waned over the last year, but the victims cannot forget the suffering caused by the LRA. In recent weeks the UPDF has made significant arrests of Kony’s lieutenants. His troops have diminished in number; a terrorist gang rather than an army, but they haven’t gone away. Some say Kony may be dead already, but the Government of Uganda will not stop fighting until the LRA has been entirely defeated and its leaders brought to justice.Kevin McPartlan works with Glenevin, an Irish risk and security consultancy which primarily works with governments and multinationals. He was in charge of the communications team that coordinated Uganda’s official response to the Kony2012 viral video. You can contact Kevin by email email@example.com or on Twitter @kevmcp.
THE COUNTY MANAGER of Roscommon County Council has ‘utterly rejected’ allegations that he ‘sorted out’ an incident where local TD Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan had two penalty points removed from his driving licence.Frank Dawson said he assumed he was the official to which Flanagan was referring to in the Dáil last night when he explained the circumstances under which two offences, for using his mobile phone while on Oireachtas business, including one occasion when he was travelling to a council meeting in December 2011.Flanagan said he had mentioned his incident to a ‘senior council official’, who later called him to say he had “sorted out my penalty points issue for me”.In a statement this afternoon, Dawson said he assumed he was the official involved “as he did mention in a conversation with me in December 2010 [sic] that he was stopped by An Garda Siochana for using a mobile phone whilst driving, outside the Council offices.”“I utterly reject his allegations that I ‘sorted out his penalty points issue for him’,” Dawson said, saying he would “take all necessary steps to protect my good name and reputation”.Today I am forwarding my account of this matter to the Assistant Commissioner of An Garda Siochana in charge of the investigation. In this context it would not be appropriate to comment any further at this time.Dawson had been due to travel to the United States for the St Patrick’s Day festivities, as part of a council delegation, but is understood to now be remaining in Ireland.Column: ‘Ming’ case demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of parliamentary privilegeRead: Ming: I want my penalty points backMore: Wallace: Ming should have accepted quashed penalty points
1. Source: Amazon.co.ukThe single glass of wine. Sob.2. Source: Amazon.co.uk Brings to mind this: Source: StrangePaul.com/Ben Cameron3. Source: ImgurRonery.4. Source: WordPressHow is she going to eat all that grub? And she doesn’t even have a glass of wine. SOB.5. Source: Amazon.co.ukThey’re just gone to a farm, right? RIGHT?6. Source: Amazon.co.ukJust one solitary egg.7. Source: Amazon.co.uk“Second edition” makes this somehow sadder.8. Source: Amazon.co.ukYes, it’s sad when they go to the farm. Grieve away.9. Source: TrendhunterstaticWell, that’s us told.7 ways your phone is making you sad>17 toys that might make you cry with nostalgia>
REMEMBER SENSIBLE SOCCER? If you like football and you owned an Amiga, chances are you will never forget it.It looked something like this:YouTube Credit: mingo870Call us nerds, but we’re big fans of retro computer games around here. So it’s no surprise that we fell in love with Pixel Replay.com, a new website set up to re-create classic goals as though they happened in Sensible Soccer.Cantona against Liverpool in the 1996 FA Cup Final? Bergkamp against Newcastle? Yeboah against Wimbledon? They’ve got them all — and more.The men behind the magic have specially designed three of Ireland’s most famous goals for us. There’s Liam Brady showing the Brazilians how to play in 1987:YouTube Credit: FatherTed2006(PixelReplay.com)Ray Houghton’s winner against Italy at the USA 1994 World Cup, complete with Pagliuca in no man’s land:YouTube Credit: illumin(PixelReplay.com)And Robbie Keane’s last-gasp equaliser against Germany in Ibaraki in 2002. Quinny’s header still looks every bit as good:YouTube Credit: Aodhancfc92(PixelReplay.com)If you’re desperate to see your favourite goal immortalised in all its pixellated glory — we’re thinking Dave Barry v Bayern Munich or Pat Sullivan v Partizan Belgrade — you’ll find more details on that here.VIDEO: Dubliner Graham Carey scored an absolute thronker for St Mirren last night
IT HAS NOT been an easy start to the All-Ireland football championship for Division 2 sides. Westmeath, Derry and Laois were the top 3 – and all three of them have been well beaten already in this championship season; Galway received a once-in-a-generation humiliation, and Armagh and Longford lost to Cavan and Wicklow, from the bottom half of Division 3.The only two teams to emerge in credit thus far are Louth, who beat Laois, and Wexford, who haven’t played yet – they are Louth’s next opponents this coming Sunday in their opening game of the championship.We have the teams in Division 1 competing for the All-Ireland championship, and the other 24 teams are liable to take a hiding from any of those in the top table. It used to be that you had two or three really good teams, and then a pretty well spaced out system of groups of ten or so counties, that you could pick out pretty plainly.Now the farther away the top teams move, the more the rest of the pack gets concertina-ed. I can say with authority that if Galway are drawn away to anyone (ANYONE!) in the qualifiers, I would really fear for them. That wasn’t always the case, but it surely is now.(London celebrate victory over Sligo – INPHO/Jim Keogh) Take for example the championship experiences of the two teams at opposite ends of Division 4. London were, according to the league tables, the worst team in the country, and yet they were able to go and beat Sligo, a team who stayed up in Division 3. Limerick moved through the league serenely, and won the Division 4 title, only to go out and get utterly trounced by Cork last weekend.The only trimmings now are being handed out by Division 1 teams. Everyone else has to fight for their lives for anything. This of course makes it all very interesting, but leads one to ask – could we not engineer a few more games between the top 6 or 8 teams, rather than leaving it all ‘til the start of August?There were quite a few people getting worried about championship mismatches this weekend. In fairness Kerry have been hammering Waterford since Pat Spillane bought the first of his many bad suits, and probably before then, if we care to look that far back. And Westmeath might have been quietly fancied to put it up to Dublin for a while, but no-one really believed they were going to cause a shock. What I’m trying to say is that Division 1 is a state of mind, not a furnace of white-hot competitive action where decent teams can be forged into something stronger. The fact was that this year, the best eight teams in the country were in the top division, and that meant the rest of the league was pretty much a turkey-shoot, where anyone could pretty much beat anyone else. Donegal will be in Division 2 next year, and they’ll probably lose a game or two, or forget to turn up for one more likely. It doesn’t mean Galway or Wexford or anyone else is capable of competing – it just means they won a league game.There’s every chance Mayo will get to an All-Ireland semi-final without having to play a Division 1 team. I don’t think that’s necessarily unfair, on the scale of things that are unfair with the GAA championship structure. I do, however, think that’s unfair on us – the paying public. If we have six or eight good teams, we should make them play each other as often as possible. And that’s what makes the league such a monumental waste of time – imagine what a great competition it would be if anyone actually CARED about it?This week Murph was – reminiscing on the first time I ever saw Down play in the flesh. It was 1991, and it was my first ever All-Ireland final. As a result of that day I’ve always held a soft spot for Down. I know there are counties that people just like to root for – and although it shouldn’t, it always annoys me that Galway appears to be one of those counties. I think I speak for both my own native county, and Down, when I say ‘if we won a bit more often, maybe people would be less inclined to like us.’3 reasons why Clare can be cheerful and Waterford can be fearful>Davy Fitz: My Clare side are the real deal> The really interesting game was on in the North, where Derry, as we’ve discussed, failed to strike a blow for the lower divisions against Down. To be honest, having seen Derry in the flesh in their first league game against Galway, I was surprised they’d managed to stay in Division 2, let alone win it. They were so bad that day it was untrue, but they regrouped expertly and had played some pretty good stuff on the way to winning that title against Westmeath at the start of May.But when it came down to it, Down were able to carve them apart for the key goals, two in seven minutes, in the second half. I’ve heard a few people saying that’s the difference between playing in Division 1 and not, but really, isn’t that assigning too much importance to the league?Do you think Derry would’ve learnt a lot from playing Cork, who finally got embarrassed of winning the damn thing; Donegal, who treated it with the level of disdain it deserves; or Kerry, who probably can’t even remember themselves how they got on in the accursed league, three months after the obituaries for their entire footballing culture were being written?
THE COUNTY MANAGERS of 34 local authorities in Ireland made a combined €4.6 million per year up until the end of 2009.The figures are laid out in a parliamentary question submitted by independent TD Stephen Donnelly, which shows that up until January 2010, the head of Dublin City Council was paid €202,461.In keeping with public sector pay cuts, all county managers took cuts at the start of 2010.This move saw the salary in Dublin City cut to €189,000 and the pay in Cork County, Fingal and South Dublin cut from €171,000 to €162,000.The County or City Manager performs the executive functions of the County or City Council.Appointed through the Public Appointments System, he or she supervises, co-ordinates, manages and pays the employees and officers of the council. He or she also makes contracts on behalf of the council and affixes the official seal of the council on documents.They generally have seven-year terms.From 1 June, the title changed to Chief Executive and there are now just 31 local authorities.In his response to Donnelly’s question, Environment Minister Phil Hogan outlined the other allowances paid to CEOs.“County and City Managers, Local Authority Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), formally are entitled to claim for travel and subsistence costs incurred as part of their official duties, in accordance with the relevant travel and subsistence circulars. All local authorities are obliged to ensure that only essential travel is undertaken and that related expenditure is critically appraised and monitored. A CEO may claim up to 7.5% of their salary in substitution of motor mileage rates contained in the travel and subsistence circulars, where a local authority considers that those allowances do not adequately recompense the CEO for the extent to which their car is used for official business.The response added that CEOs are paid between €2,095 and €6,858 in allowances for entertainment every year.Read: Retiring town councillors will be paid around €4.6 million
Naval Service responding to request for assistance in #SAR Operation near #Glandore #Cork Specialist Dive Team & LE Aisling en route— Óglaigh na hÉireann (@defenceforces) July 2, 2014 Bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn becomes emotional during a rally in support of Quinn and his family in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan in 2012. Source: Niall Carson/PA Archive/Press Association Images4. A huge search operation is underway off the south coast where one diver remains missing. A second diver was taken from the water earlier today and brought to a Cork hospital. 5. Broadband in 50 Irish towns is set to get much, much faster as ESB and Vodafone announce a joint investment of €450 million for its fibre network. [RTÉ News]6. A South African court has heard that Oscar Pistorius could be at risk of suicide if he doesn’t continue mental health treatment. However, psychologists said he did not suffer from any mental disorder or defect when he shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp. [The Guardian] Source: eNCAnews/YouTubeRead the rest of the day’s news> Source: Irish Defence Forces/Twitter WHAT’S THE STORY?1. Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn has resigned from Cabinet and will not be seeking re-election to the Dáil.He was emotional – but a little jovial – as he outlined his plans for the future at Leinster House in the last hour.http://vine.co/v/MUWIUHJIYtV2. It’s bad news today for young people in the workforce as new figures show there are 2,932 more of them on the Live Register. And loads of companies say they can’t find the talent they need. Source: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland3. Seán Quinn has said that Anglo is using his money to make them the most hated family in Ireland. He also revealed that local people in Derrylin were helping to finance his court actions.
British comedy fans and anyone who watched PBS during the 90s know what we’re talking about here. As if things weren’t already tough enough for Julian Assange. The resemblance is uncanny. Thanks BoingBoing.
Android fans, prepare yourself for a deal of epic proportions. Amazon Wireless, in an attempt to steer customers away from the iPhone 4S (which they don’t carry), is offering every single Verizon phone that they carry for a penny. Yep, just one copperhead is all they’re asking. We aren’t talking flip-phones from another era either. This includes the current “Best Android Phone (until the next one comes out),” the Droid Bionic.While the LTE-powered Bionic is obviously the big draw here, the HTC Thunderbolt and Droid Charge, which also pack LTE, are also up for grabs. The Droid Incredible 2, Droid 3, and Droid X2 are all options as well. Even the female-marketed HTC Rhyme and the (Windows Phone) HTC Trophy get in on the action. If it’s on Verizon, and it isn’t called “iPhone,” Amazon Wireless carries it, and will sell it for the price of one shiny penny.The aim is obviously to sway customers away from the iPhone. So, if you’ve been eyeing the iPhone 4S, is this Amazon deal a good idea? If you know you prefer Android, then of course it is. If you want the fastest 4G speeds (LTE), then add that Bionic to your cart and call it a day.There are a few things to think about before taking the plunge though. First, don’t put too much stock in the one penny up-front price. Sure, it’s $200 less than you will spend on an iPhone, but over the course of a two-year contract, your initial purchase price is a relatively small part of the total investment.Also, as great as the Droid Bionic is, the Ice Cream Sandwich-running Nexus Prime (or Galaxy Nexus?), is probably just around the corner. Though all we know about it comes from rumors, most expect it to soon take the title of “(current) Cream of the Android Crop” away from the Bionic.With all of that said, however, you rarely find a wireless deal as good as this.More at Amazon Wireless, via Slashgear
After learning that Apple was tying Siri exclusively to the iPhone 4S, we wondered whether the jailbreak community would be able to change that. Within a day or two, Siri’s user interface was successfully ported to the iPhone 4, but Apple’s servers weren’t responding, rendering it non-functional. The same developer now has Siri fully working on other devices. However, piracy will be required if the port is ever publicly available.The port, by developer Steven Troughton-Smith, is seen working 100% on both the iPhone 4 and on an iPod touch. As it required licensed files and a live validation token from a 4S in order to communicate with Apple’s servers, it’s considered to be pirated content. It was made possible because of a preliminary (not yet public) jailbreak for the iPhone 4S. The developer says he did it to understand the technology that makes it work, and has no intention of distributing the pirated content. He did add that he has no doubt that others will package and distribute it “quasi-legally.”Whatever your thoughts are on the eventual distribution of the port, this further narrows down the possible reasons for Apple’s keeping Siri off of other devices. As you can see in the video below, Siri appears to work just as well on the iPhone 4 as it does on the 4S. This rules out performance concerns as a reason for the exclusivity:The two most likely remaining motives for Apple’s snubbing of older devices are: wanting to spare the Siri servers from millions of older devices, and having a sexy ‘killer feature’ to help sell the 4S.So will Apple be able to identify and block the older devices from accessing their servers? I would imagine that they will do anything in their power, including sending lawyers after the distributors. But, as they haven’t exactly been able to squash the distribution of cracked App Store apps for jailbroken devices, we’ll see how successful they are in that. If nothing else, we may see jailbreak exploits patched quicker than ever by the Cupertino company.Below is one more video, showing the port working on an iPod touch:via 9to5Mac