Systematic and coordinated response needed to tackle drug debt intimidation report

first_imgFOR EVERY EURO spent on intervening in intimidation of those who owe money to drug dealers, a further €10 can be saved.That is the finding of a new study into the subject of drug debt intimidation by Safer Blanchardstown, the policing forum in the West Dublin suburb.The report also says that intimidation relating to drug debts can be “mild, severe or ruthless”, and often leaves communities feeling “helpless, isolated and in fear”.The report breaks down the stages of intimidation into three stages: lower order, middle order and higher order.Although the ages in each stage are not fixed, ‘lower order’ intimidation mainly involves those aged between eight and 16, and can include behaviours such as bullying, vandalism and graffiti.So-called ‘middle order’ behaviours include drug debt intimidation and burglary, involving those aged between 13 and 20.Meanwhile, the ‘higher order’ stage tends to involve those aged 17 and over, engaged in behaviours such as gun crime and drug gang activity.Philip Jennings is the report’s author and co-ordinator of Safer Blanchardstown and says that the problem is a national one.“Drugs and drug debt intimidation are not just Dublin-wide issues, they have harmful effects on communities in every corner of Ireland and in every country across the globe.“We must start to look at drug debt intimidation as a behaviour that develops, like any behaviour, along a continuum. If we see these behaviours as occurring at different stages but having an interconnected affect between higher and lower orders, linked interventions could be developed to tackle particular behaviours.This will have the overall affect of reducing the number of individuals, and the attraction to become, involved in anti-social behaviour, drugs misuse, drug related crime and drug debt intimidation.The report calls for an inter-agency strategy to be adopted at local level, saying that money could be saved with earlier interventions.Read: €10,000 worth of cannabis, two sawn off shotguns and a pistol seized by gardaíRead: Pills, liquids and creams among 750,000 doses of illegal medicines seized last yearlast_img read more

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Dublin win 2013 AllIreland football final

first_imgDublin 2-12Mayo 1-14ON A SEPTEMBER Sunday that would not have been out of place in mid-July, Mayo’s six decade wait for All-Ireland football glory goes on after a one point loss to Dublin today.Both sides were guilty of squandering chances in the first half (Dublin had 10 wides to Mayo’s 9) but Dublin would have been the happier side going in at the break, Bernard Brogan and Robert Hennelly conspiring to gift the Leinster champions a goal.It was a strange first half, Mayo seemingly dominating possession but failing to make that count on the scoreboard. Hawk-Eye was called into action for the first time in All-Ireland football final history but Keith Higgins’ shot was ruled just wide.Andy Moran finally opened the scoring in the fourth minute after some scrappy play by both teams. A bad mistake in the Mayo defence a minute later gifted Dublin their first score, a short free out going straight into the hands of Diarmuid Connolly who tapped over with ease.The Connacht champions kicked on from that mistake, scoring three unanswered points in the next ten minutes and seeming to settle into the familiar pattern of free-flowing football that has been a trademark of their season.However, their good work was undone by an uncharacteristic error from goalkeeper Robert Hennelly to hand Dublin a lifeline; Bernard Brogan latching on to the end of a hit and hope ball from Paul Flynn. Hennelly would pull off three brilliant saves afterwards but it was a goal that gave much-needed momentum for the Dubs and they had to be happy to go in at half time just one point behind, 0-8 to 1-4. Bernard Brogan celebrates his first goal of the game.Image: INPHO/Morgan Treacy The Blues started the second half the better with Robert Hennelly pulling off a brilliant save from Eoghan O’Gara in the 37th minute but he couldn’t prevent his parry going over the bar to give Dublin their first lead of the game.They eased into a three point lead 15 minutes into the second half before Andy Moran broke a long ball to Michael Conroy who fed the ball back to the Ballaghaderreen clubman who sidestepped Stephen Cluxton before slotting home to level the game at 1-9 apiece.Four minutes later though and Dublin had their second goal of the game and, who else, it was Bernard Brogan who had the umpire waving the green flag. It was a beautifully worked goal by the Blues who created an overlap through Michael Darragh MacAuley and Denis Bastick before picking out Brogan who palmed the ball into the net. Scorers for Mayo: Cillian O’Connor 0-8 (0-8f), Andy Moran 1-2, Lee Keegan 0-2, Seamus O’Shea, Keith Higgins 0-1 each.Dublin: Stephen Cluxton (Parnells); Philly McMahon (Ballymun Kickhams), Rory O’Carroll (Kilmacud Crokes), Jonny Cooper (Na Fianna); James McCarthy (Ballymun Kickhams), Ger Brennan (St Vincents), Jack McCaffrey (Clontarf); Michael D MacAuley (Ballyboden St Enda’s), Cian O’Sullivan (Kilmacud Crokes); Paul Flynn (Fingallians), Ciaran Kilkenny (Castleknock), Diarmuid Connolly (St Vincents); Paul Mannion (Kilmacud Crokes), Paddy Andrews (St Brigid’s), Bernard Brogan (St Oliver Plunkett’s Eoghan Ruadh).Subs for Dublin: Eoghan O’Gara for Mannion (inj) (15), Darren Daly for McCaffrey (half-time), Dean Rock for Kilkenny (43), Kevin McManamon for Andrews (49), Denis Bastick for Cooper (inj) (53).Mayo: Robert Hennelly (Breaffy); Tom Cunniffe (Castlebar Mitchels), Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites), Chris Barrett (Belmullet); Lee Keegan (Westport), Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe), Colm Boyle (Davitts); Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy), Seamus O’Shea (Breaffy); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis), Alan Dillon (Ballintubber); Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber), Alan Freeman (Aghamore), Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen).Subs for Mayo: Michael Conroy for Freeman (27), Cathal Carolan for Cunniffe (half-time), Enda Varley for Dillon (56), Barry Moran for Seamus O’Shea (60), Jason Doherty for Moran (69).LIVE: Dublin v Mayo, All-Ireland senior football finalWhat it means to win an All-Ireland minor football title Scorers for Dublin: Bernard Brogan 2-3 (0-1f), Eoghan O’Gara, Stephen Cluxton (0-1 ’45, 0-1f) 0-2 each, Ger Brennan, Cian O’Sullivan, Paul Flynn, Diarmuid Connolly, Paddy Andrews 0-1 each.center_img Mayo fought back to be just two points down but were gifted a chance to win the game in injury time, Cillian O’Connor opting for a point from a close range free kick when there was a chance for a goal. Referee Joe McQuillan then blew up from Stephen Cluxton’s kick out and Dublin were crowned All-Ireland football champions for the second time in three years.last_img read more

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Townsend No offence caused by Hodgson monkey joke

first_imgENGLAND INTERNATIONAL ANDROS Townsend says he took no offence at Roy Hodgson’s “space monkey” gaffe.Hodgson’s dressing room joke made front page headlines in the UK this morning, overshadowing England’s win against Poland and World Cup qualification.The Sun and the Mirror report that at least one player was offended by the half-time team talk in which Hodgson told an old NASA joke, intended to illustrate Townsend’s importance to their game-plan. Wayne Rooney, who scored the opening goal in England’s 2-0 win, also defended Hodgson.“Seen the story on roy this morning. He done nothing wrong. This is ridiculous.”Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/Press Association ImagesIn a statement, Hodgson said: “I would like to apologise if any offence has been caused by what I said at half-time.“There was absolutely no intention on my part to say anything inappropriate. I made this clear straight away to Andros in the dressing room.I also spoke to Andros again on Wednesday. He has assured me and the FA he did not take any offence, and understood the point I was making in the manner I intended.The joke, which reportedly emerged at NASA in the 1960s and 1970s, is about a man being sent into space for the first time alongside a monkey.The astronaut becomes frustrated that the monkey is being asked to do all the work and radios mission control to ask what he should do.NASA replies: “Don’t touch anything — just feed the monkey.”– Additional reporting by AFPIreland drop to 60th in FIFA world rankings The joke finishes with the punchline “feed the monkey,” which could be interpreted as having racist connotations, but Spurs midfielder Townsend says there is no issue.“I don’t know what all this fuss is about,” he tweeted.No offence was meant and none was taken!It’s not even news worthy!last_img read more

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Column Were facing a housing crisis not just a mortgage crisis

first_imgLAST WEDNESDAY WAS not a good day for SAREB, the Spanish equivalent of our very own NAMA. The agency, which like NAMA was set up to manage ‘toxic’ real estate assets, was faced with the task of evicting 16 families from an apartment block in Girona, a small city near Barcelona. The families, like hundreds of others across Spain, had occupied the apartment block having been evicted from their previous homes due to mortgage arrears. At the time of the occupation, it had been empty for three years.What made this difficult for SAREB was not so much the human consequence of evicting homeless families (for a financial agency, that comes with the territory), but the thousands of people who turned up on the day to block the eviction in solidarity with the would-be evictees.This drama has been playing out across Spain since the beginning of the crisis, where a finance and property boom much like our own has come crashing down leading to over 350,000 evictions due to mortgage non-payment. Given the fact that there are between three and four million empty housing units in Spain, the housing crisis smacks of a society and economy dominated by an out-of-control financial sector. This troubling panorama is of particular relevance for Ireland, where there are approximately 100,000 households in mortgage arrears while upwards of 260,000 housing units lie vacant.But these scenes would not be unfamiliar in other European countries, such as Portugal, where banks are evicting 24 families every day. Likewise in Hungary, where Irish developers were particularly active, there are 90,000 people in mortgage arrears of 90 days or more (according to figures from 2010) while at the same time up to 25 per cent of the housing built between 2007 and 2012 has not been sold.Debt-driven owner occupancy sectorsIn all of the above cases, debt-driven owner occupancy sectors dominate the housing market. It is no coincidence that from Spain to Ireland and from Hungary to Latvia, property bubbles emerged after widespread privatisation of the social housing stock in the preceding decades. Nor is it by chance that these same countries typically feature over-priced, under-regulated private rented sectors, leaving families little option but to seek a stable home through home ownership. Conor McCabe, in his book Sins of the Father, describes Ireland as a place were the ‘need for a home has been replaced by the need for a mortgage’ – and the same could be said for many countries across Europe.But the unhappy marriage between housing and finance goes beyond the owner occupancy sector. Throughout the last decade social housing complexes in Dublin and Limerick were to be redeveloped under ‘public-private partnerships’ that relied on private finance. The local authority would give public land to developers for free, and the developer would build new social housing units while making a tidy profit from the construction of additional private housing.If redeveloped social housing at no cost to the Exchequer sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. City Councils didn’t stop to think what would happen if the bubble burst, or pause to consider the fact that developers such as MacNamara/Castlethorn, who were awarded three massive regeneration contracts, were among the most indebted in the country. In other words, no one stopped to think about the inherent contradictions of finance and property.But if you live by the sword, you die by the sword – once property prices dropped the redevelopments ran aground, leaving the communities of O’Devaney Gardens, Dominick Street, Croke Villas and St. Michael’ Estate (to name a few) with nothing but vacant lots and empty promises.Lessons have not been learnedThe private rented sector is likewise deeply enmeshed with the world of debt – a fact well-illustrated by the 30,000 buy-to-let mortgages in arrears of three months or more. And high mortgage payments for landlords, coupled with light-touch regulation, mean high rents for tenants. The private rented sector is also soaking up pressure from the mortgage crisis – uncertainty in the owner occupied sector and the scarcity of credit is driving would-be buyers into the rental market, and means finding a flat in Dublin today can be as difficult as it was during the boom.Most gallingly, the obvious lessons from Europe’s housing catastrophe don’t seem to have been learned. The UK, which had its own property bubble and subsequent bank bailouts, is leading the way with ‘help to buy’ incentives for first-time buyers that have sparked fears of over-heating the market. Social housing in Britain is also increasingly being transferred to Housing Associations – organisations which, crucially, can undertake privately-financed housing construction.Similarly, in Portugal the Troika have been pursuing more rather than less ‘liberalisation’ of housing. Approximately 200,000 Portuguese pensioners benefited from a rent cap which has been abolished – leaving them exposed to the whims of their landlords and greatly increased rents. Meanwhile on our own shores, in a troubling case of ‘back to the future’ thinking, we have been hearing from various media sources and ‘experts’ (remember those guys telling everyone to buy during the boom?) that we need more private housing and more mortgages.We’re facing a housing crisisAnd let’s be clear: what we’re facing in this country is a housing crisis, not just a mortgage crisis. The dreadful situation faced by those who know all too well the haranguing telephone calls and letters from their banks is one component of a wider emergency. There are over 100,000 households on the social housing waiting list nationwide, funding for traveller-specific accommodation has been slashed from €70m to €4m (leaving an incredible 11 per cent of traveller families homeless), and the housing conditions in some social housing estates, such as Dolphin House, are so bad that the Irish Human Rights Commission has found that residents’ human rights are being breached.At the same time, we have recently seen a long-delayed outpouring of disgust following recent reports on the conditions faced by the 4,600 asylum seekers confined to horrendous ‘direct provision centres’, where the most basic sense of personal integrity and dignity is undermined on a daily basis. Meanwhile, rent, particularly in Dublin, is on the increase, rent supplement is suffering ‘death by a thousand cuts’ and, according to Focus Ireland, the number of families becoming homeless every month in Dublin has recently doubled.But, as has been suggested throughout this piece, this is not just an Irish housing crisis – it’s a European one. And at its heart is the dominance of a model which has turned our need for a home into a casino for banks and developers. Up until now the debate in Ireland and across Europe has focused on taking limited action on mortgage arrears in a manner which won’t upset the economy (ie profits). It’s time we inverted our priorities – let’s start from the point of view of a non-negotiable right to housing and build a society and economy which works to make that possible.Tomorrow, Saturday 19 October, protests, assemblies and actions will take place simultaneously across Europe demanding the right to housing and the city. In Dublin, as we congregate outside the Custom House on Dublin’s North quay (home of the Department of the Environment – with responsibility for housing) at 2pm, we will know that those who are willing and able to take action to achieve the right to housing are not the politicians of Leinster house, or even the European Parliament, but those who gathered around an apartment block in Girona last Wednesday and those who will join us on the streets all across Europe this Saturday.Mick Byrne is an Irish Research Council Post-doctoral Scholar at the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis and participates in the European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and the City.Read: Over 75 per cent valued homes at less than €200,000 in property tax returnColumn: Our property market is dysfunctional but we’re hell bent on keeping up appearancesRead: Household savings primarily being used to pay down debtlast_img read more

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UK police use adorable Lego video to warn of Christmas burglars

first_imghttp://youtu.be/JGd-BmkOSok(Video: West Midlands Police/YouTube)WEST MIDLAND POLICE got creative this festive season to make people aware of Grinchy burglars sneaking into their houses in the middle of the night to steal presents.“Every year officers investigate heart-breaking cases where children literally have their Christmas taken away when crooks strike,” they said. “This year do your bit to beat the burglar.”The video warns people – with some appropriately sinister music at the end – to avoid putting presents under the tree until Christmas Day, keep windows and doors secure and to report any suspicious behaviour in their area.Read: Burglar busted after his mammy called the phone he left at crime scene>last_img

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Tobacco lobbying a trip to Brussels and everything else happening in Leinster

first_imgDáil: Leaders’ Questions — Enda Kenny will take part in this usually heated exchange at 12pm.Dáil: European Council statements — Parities will make statements at 12.51pm ahead of next week’s meeting of the Council in Brussels. What mood will they be in after the bailout exit?Seanad: Private Members Business — Senator John Crown will discuss his Protection of the Public Interest from Tobacco Lobbying Bill at 6pm for the first time. Minister James Reilly will be taking questions on his portfolio bright and early at 9.30am. It’s likely the HSE Service Plan will be brought up.The final stages of the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill begin at 10.45am. Some TDs think it is less than amazey-balls.What four issues will be raised today during Topical Issues? All will be revealed at 1.56pm.After discussion of both the Social Welfare and Water Services Bills continues in the afternoon, at 7.30pm the Technical Group’s bid to improve regulation of planning and development activities will be discussed again.Everything else that’s happening in the SeanadOur Senators start off the day in the usual fashion with Order of Business at 10.30am.After it was dropped from yesterday’s schedule, the lightning-fast Appropriation Bill is up again at 11.45am. Whet your appetite beforehand by seeing how some forty-three thousand, seven hundred and thirty six million, eight hundred and thirty five thousand euro outlined in the Bill would be spent.After that, the Public Service Management Bill, which would see a wide-ranging overhaul of the service, and the Companies Bill are both back from the Dáil with a few amendments.At 3pm, the ‘radical’ Local Government Bill will be scrutinised at committee stage.Everything else that’s happening in the CommitteesThe Education and Social Protection committee are meeting with Eddie Sullivan, the chairman designate of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Board. This board oversees financial donations used to provide supports to survivors of residential institutional child abuse. That’s at 1pm in Room 3.Four other committees are meeting today, although they are private sessions behind closed doors.Here’s how to watch what’s going on in Leinster House todayDáil ÉireannSeanad ÉireannCommittee Room 1Committee Room 2Committee Room 3Committee Room 4To access streams on iOS, click here Everything else that’s happening in the Dáil WHAT’S GOING ON in Leinster House?Every day the Dáil and Seanad are sitting, TheJournal.ie brings you the most comprehensive guide to what our lawmakers are getting up to in the Houses of the Oireachtas.So, here is what we can expect to be happening in the Dáil, Seanad and Committee rooms today…3 things we’ll be keeping an eye on Like politics? Then why not ‘Like’ TheJournal.ie’s Politics page?Explainer: How does a Bill become a law?last_img read more

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The TV slots every sports fan needs to pencil in this Christmas

first_imgPic: INPHO/Ryan ByrneSaturday, 28 DecemberWest Ham v West Brom, Premier League, Sky Sports, 1245pmCardiff v Sunderland, Premier League,, Sky Sports, 5.30pmLeinster v Ulster, Rabo, RTÉ Two, 6.45pmLive World Darts Championship, Sky Sports 1, 7pmDon’t forget to record: Making History – Ireland’s Grand Slam. Relive the highs and highs of Ireland’s women’s rugby team on the way to their first-ever 6 Nations shut-out. Bravo, ladies. (RTÉ Two)Sunday, 29 DecemberNewcastle v Arsenal, Premier League, Sky Sports 1.30pmChelsea v Liverpool, Premier League,, Sky Sports, 4pmLive NFL, Sky Sports 3, from 5.30pm2013 – A Summer In Blue, RTÉ Two, 6.30pmLive World Darts Championship, Sky Sports 1, 7pmMatch of the Day, BBC One, 10.30American Football Live, Channel 4, 1.05am (Monday morning)Don’t forget to record: Endeavour: Everest without Oxygen – – Two mountaineers make the first ascent of the world’s highest mountain without oxygen. Obviously. Friends reunited: Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho will resume hostilities. Pic: Nick Potts/PA WireMonday, 23 DecArsenal v Chelsea, Monday Night Football, Sky Sports 1, 7pmLive World Darts Championship, Sky Sports 2, 7pmSeo Spoirt, TG4, 8.30pmDodgeball – A True Underdog Story, TG4, 9.30pmMatch of the Day 2, BBC, 2230Live NFL: Atlantan Falcons at San Francisco 49ers, Sky Sports 2, 12am (Tuesday).Don’t forget to record: The Gunners’ title credentials will be tested with the visit of London rivals Chelsea to the Emirates Stadium. A proper Christmas cracker with a bit of luck. Also.. the last NFL game at Candlestick Park.Christmas EveGilette Soccer Christmas Special, Sky Sports 1, 8pmDon’t forget to record: take the day off, Sky box.Pic: INPHO/Billy SticklandChristmas DayPáidí Ó Sé – Rí an Pharóiste, TG4, 1015pmLive Ashes Cricket, 12am, Sky Sports 2Don’t forget to record: The TG4 documantery promises to sketch in the detail of the broad picture we already have of Páidí Ó Sé by talking to those who knew the real man: his neighbours, friends and family in Ventry.St Stephen’s DayRacing from Leopardstown, RTÉ Two, 1pmHull v Man Utd, Premier League, Sky Sports, 1245St Johnstone v Celtic, Scottish Premiership, Sky sports 1, 1pmWest Ham v Arsenal, Premier League, BT Sport, 3pmBlackpool v Leeds United, Championship, Sky Sports 1, 5.15pmMan City v Liverpool, Premier League, BT sports, 5.15pmNottingham Forest v QPR, Championship, Sky Sports 1, 7.15pmMatch of the Day, BBC, 10.25pmLive NBA, Houston Rockets v San Antonio Spurs followed by La Clippers v Golden State Warriors, BT Sport 1, 7pmDon’t forget to record: A midweek winter MOTD is one of life’s small joys.Friday, 27 DecemberLive World Darts Championship, Sky Sports 1, 7pm2013 – The Magic of Hurling, RTÉ Two, 7.50pmMunster v Connacht, Rabo, TG4, 7.15pmDon’t forget to record: The sun shone and the hurling championship delivered a summer to remember this year. Relieve Clare’s dramatic All-Ireland win with the documentary on what we used to know as Network Two. PA Wire/PA Archive/Press Association Images30 DecemberLive World Darts Championship, Sky Sports 1, 7pmDon’t forget to record: Maybe you should go for a walk.New Year’s EveLive World Darts Championship, Sky Sports 1, 7pmDon’t forget to record: Blades of Glory’s on RTÉ Two at tea-time. That’s sporty.New Year’s DaySwansea v Man City, Premier League, Sky Sports, 12.45pmSouthampton v Chelsea, Premier League, BT Sport, 3pmMan Utd v Spurs, Premier League, BT Sport, 530pmLive World Darts Championship, Sky Sports 1, 8pm – The Final.Match of the Day, BBC One, 10.50pmDon’t forget to record: The Karate Kid’s on but it’s Will Smith’s young lad rather than Ralph Macchio (Channel 4, 6.20pm).Thursday, 2 JanuaryDon’t forget to record: RO’G: The Ronan O’Gara documentaryHe hasn’t gone away, you know. RTÉ chart the career of Cork native O’Gara from kicking with Con to Grand Slams, Lions tours and now a new life in Paris. Potential to be class.Friday, 3 JanuaryUlster v Munster, Rabo, RTÉ Two, 7pmDon’t forget to record: MoneyballHollywood swings for the fences with this Aaron Sorkin-scripted take on Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s gaming the baseball system. Not quite a home run but very enjoyable.A coffin with an axe inside and 6 other gifts unlikely to be given this Christmas5 talking points ahead of tonight’s key Arsenal-Chelsea clashlast_img read more

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Twitter could soon let you buy goods directly from tweets

first_imgTWITTER’S PLANS TO move into eCommerce took another step forward after details of its new feature, Twitter Commerce, were leaked.The company will allow users to purchase products inside the Twitter app and website, and is expected to partner with at least one US eCommerce site Fancy.com, according to Re/Code.The company is also close to striking a deal with Stripe so it will process transactions, while sites like Fancy.com will advertise the products on the site.Leaked screenshots show the feature appearing inside Twitter users streams, similar to how Promoted Tweets are displayed. Expanding the tweet will provide you with a description of the item and the option to purchase it.Some Commerce tweets will appear on the Discover tab allowing you to see the type of items bought by people you follow. No date has been provided as to when it will launch, nor the number of companies that will sign up to the service when it launches.Facebook also played around with the idea of eCommerce through Gifts, a feature it launched near the end of 2012, but the lack of demand meant it retired it late last year.Twitter’s first quarterly earnings report since it went public in November is taking place on Wednesday. Before its IPO, the site had 232 million users and made $422.2 million during the first nine months of 2013. However, it made a loss of $133.9 million during the same period.Read: Stripe nears deal to bring online payments to Twitter >Read: Here’s how to unearth your first ever tweet >last_img read more

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US pharmacy chain to stop selling tobacco products in €15bn move

first_imgA MAJOR PHARMACY chain in the United States has announced today that it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products.CVS Caremark, a company with more than 7,600 stores, said it made in the step “in support of the health and well-being of its patients and customers”.The move will come into effect on the 1 October later this year.In a statement this afternoon, CEO Larry J. Merlo described the move as “significant”.“Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose,” he said.The move will cost the company an equivalent of €1.5 billion in revenue, but will not affect its 2014 earnings forecast.CVS Caremark Corp. and other major drugstore chains have been adding clinics to their stores and expanding their health care focus for several years now. Ageing populationThey’ve been preparing, in part, for an ageing U.S. population that will need more care and for the millions of people who are expected to gain health insurance coverage under the federal health care overhaul.The company’s tobacco plan drew praise from President Obama.“As one of the largest retailers and pharmacies in America, CVS Caremark sets a powerful example, and today’s decision will help advance my Administration’s efforts to reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer, and heart disease, as well as bring down health care costs – ultimately saving lives and protecting untold numbers of families from pain and heartbreak for years to come,” the president said.Awkward conversationsCVS Caremark has been working to team up with hospital groups and doctor practices to help deliver and monitor patient care, and the presence of tobacco in its stores has made for some awkward conversations, CVS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Troyen A. Brennan said.“One of the first questions they ask us is, ‘Well, if you’re going to be part of the health care system, how can you continue to sell tobacco products?’” he said. There’s really no good answer to that at all.Tobacco is responsible for about 480,000 deaths a year in the U.S., according to the Food and Drug Administration, which gained the authority to regulate tobacco products in 2009.Additional reporting by Nicky RyanIn Ireland: E-cigarettes banned for under-18s >Poll: Are repeated tax increases on tobacco fair? >More: Reilly wants Ireland tobacco-free by 2025 >last_img read more

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Crisis point Gordon DArcy ruled out of 6 Nations remainder

first_imgIRELAND’S INJURY CRISIS has worsened this afternoon with the news that Gordon D’Arcy has been ruled out of Ireland’s remaining three Six Nations fixtures.The veteran centre complained of some discomfort in his foot after the 6-12 loss to England last Sunday and scans yesterday revealed a stress fracture.A statement released by the IRFU indicates a six-week absence, putting his return date near the end of March – a fortnight after the Six Nations climaxes.D’Arcy joins Jonathan Sexton, Simon Zebo and Mike McCarthy on the casualty list from Sunday’s error-strewn defeat.His mis-fortune provides extra incentive for Ulster’s Luke Marshall and Darren Cave, along with Leinster’s Fergus McFadden, as they go into Pro12 action this evening.Ireland looking to land ‘Killer’ blow on Scots to salvage 6 Nations bidlast_img read more

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Greece arrests three neoNazis for attacks arms posession

first_imgGREEK POLICE HAVE arrested two neo-Nazi sympathisers for illegal arms possession and a third person suspected of involvement in an attack that left three Pakistani migrants hospitalised, a police source said Friday.The arrests come as Greece is increasingly coming under pressure by human rights groups and its European neighbours to fight its growing neo-Nazi tendencies and widespread xenophobic violence.In a public appeal to witnesses, police on Friday released the names and photographs of two of the men – arrested in an Athens suburb earlier this month after officers found a gun, switchblade knives and bats stashed in their car.The men, aged 19 and 27, are suspected of having taken part in recent anti-migrant raids linked to the violent Greek neo-Nazi group, Golden Dawn, which entered parliament in June after amassing seven percent of the votes. At least two people have been killed and about ten injured in the xenophobic crack-downs.Police arrested the third man, in his 30s and married to a Golden Dawn member, on the popular resort island of Crete. He is suspected of having taken part in Thursday’s violent attack on three Pakistanis who were hospitalised after being severely stabbed and beaten.Police are still searching for nine other suspects linked to that attack.- © AFP, 2013last_img read more

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Have you done a random act of kindness today like these people

first_img Yes, I’m sound like that (648) Poll Results: The happy diner posted the note to Reddit, and commented that the meal was a special occasion for he and his girlfriend, and that they left a generous tip for the waiter.So tell us, would you do what the note say and pay it forward? TWO COLLEGE STUDENTS got a nice surprise on Valentine’s Day when their special dinner was paid for by a “random couple” at restaurant in Pittsburg.The pair were dining out at Eleven on Smallman Street, and when they went to pay their $250 bill the waitress brought them a note instead… Yes, I’m sound like thatNo, couldn’t be botheredVoteHere are some other random acts of kindness to get you inspired: No, couldn’t be bothered (862) Image: AbundanceTapestry.comImage: MamaMia.comImage: The Press Register/Master CleanersYouTube/KmbctvColumn: Giving away money can lead to priceless experiences>last_img read more

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Damien Kiberd The real reason why Frank Flannerys head was served up

first_imgFrank Flannery, right, then director of elections for Fine Gael is pictured with Enda Kenny at a FG think-in in 2008. Flannery began advising FG in the 1980s. Pic: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland.This itself, assuming it is true, is remarkable and raises a further question. Is such an arrangement sensible? Should a political party permit itself to become dependent on a gifted individual like Flannery who moves seamlessly from one generation of politicians to another without ever contesting the elections in which he is an acknowledged expert?Flannery has arguably had more effect on the history of Fine Gael, and by extension on his country, than many of the most senior politicians of the post-Garret FitzGerald era.Yet he was at all relevant times no more than a consigliere, a handler.Ironically the Fine Gael that he leaves behind seems now composed of a network of highly resourced PR machines that do not intersect fully with each other and that – in some cases – are out of control.The Taoiseach’s life is now run according to the diktats of some elaborate PR circus. Last week alone saw that bizarre choreographed audible love-in with David Cameron at Downing Street, later broadcast on prime time news. It saw the literally incredible ‘please ring me’ speech in Washington, which followed the cringe-making self-serving double act with Bono at the EPP shindig in the Convention Centre. Meanwhile the real economy continues to contract. How much worse can this get?In Danish TV’s  political drama Borgen the moderate prime minister’s chief handler Kasper Juul is confronted by an elderly politician called Svend Aage Saltum who runs the rival Freedom Party. Frank Flannery and Angela Kerins at the time of the Nice referendum in 2002. Pic: Gareth Chaney/Photocall Ireland.Rehab’s current CEO Angela Kerins, who is paid more than Barack Obama, does not subscribe to such brutal logic. She shuns the table entirely.Angela Kerins’s splendid isolationConfronted by legitimate enquiries from parliament she sits in splendid isolation in Rehab HQ, revealing information to the Public Accounts Committee only at the last possible moment. Not surprisingly she may be about to be served up as a fairly substantial entrée, on a menu which now includes Flannery as one of the hors d’oeuvres.The latter apparently had, until very recently,  an ‘access all areas’ pass to Leinster House, having masterminded numerous famous electoral victories for Fine Gael since he became a backroom advisor to Garret FitzGerald in the three elections of 1981/2.At least one of the very few voices within FG which had the grace to thank him for his distinguished service last week suggested that all of his work for the party was ‘pro bono’, that he had never received a ‘red cent’ for delivering a stellar performance in areas like campaign management, candidate selection and political direction. TWO CENTRAL POINTS seem to have been lost in the controversy over Rehab and Frank Flannery.The first is that the argument was sparked quite gratuitously by a Fine Gael minister and thereafter made much more serious than it need have been by mishandling at the centre of Fine Gael.The second is that it is all about really big money. The money paid to Flannery in consultancy and lobbying fees, and in pensions, is important but is only of secondary importance.It was Justice Minister Alan Shatter who set Rehab up for a fall on 21 January last when he told Dail Eireann that an audit of Rehab’s bizarre scratch card lottery showed that it yielded a surplus of €10,000 a year for Rehab on sales of €4m, a net return of 1%.Six weeks later the head of Flannery, former CEO of Rehab, appeared on a plate like that of St John the Baptist.Shatter said that night that he intended to wind down the Charitable Lotteries Fund which had paid top-up revenue of €120m since 1997 in respect of lotteries operated by charities. These games operated without any profit incentive and could be largely impervious to considerations of cost control.BizarrePolitically, the timing of Shatter’s intervention was bizarre.Fianna Fail, that very day and for some days previously, was on the ropes. Micheal Martin’s attempts to reinvent FF as an alternative government were being slowly destroyed by the rolling crisis at the Central Remedial Clinic.Former Central Remedial Clinic CEO Paul Kiely, left, leaving a Public Accounts Committee meeting in December 2013 with acting CEO Jim Nugent. Pic: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland.There, some old friends of Bertie Ahern were under damaging scrutiny. The worst memories of the Ahern era were being revived before a shocked public.But in an instant Shatter took the CRC off the agenda.For good measure it was revealed that Rehab was also suing that State for an estimated €1.5bn in damages arising from its problems in competing against the National Lottery since the latter’s inception.Just why did Shatter shift the focus to Rehab?In the world of PR there is an old theory which advocates what’s called primary definition. This most innocent explanation is that Shatter saw the havoc caused by the CRC affair and realised that Rehab was like an unexploded bomb sitting on his own doorstep.Classic public relations theory suggests that instead of waiting for that bomb to explode in an uncontrolled way, you simply get in first with your own version of events, define the terms of the ensuing debate and limit the damage. Rehab does not appear to accept that Shatter’s motivation arose from this simple desire.For thirty or more years Flannery has been the conduit in the mutually beneficial relationship between Rehab and central government. A Rehab lifer, he became CEO in 1981.Who wrote that Rehab reply to Shatter?Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Justice Minister Alan Shatter on 30 January this year. Pic: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland.Nobody knows who penned Rehab’s reply to Shatter on 21/22 January though the rabid tone of it seems wholly at odds with Flannery’s public persona which is always urbane, thoughtful and courteous. The result of the contumelious bombast has proven professionally fatal for Flannery and may yet inflict massive damage on Rehab.Rehab said that Shatter’s speech was simply outrageous, that he should withdraw it and apologise.Shatter was engaged in “an abuse of his position”, he said. The cabinet’s foremost legal expert was accused of “undermining the judicial process”.And in a very odd and ominous parting shot Rehab said of the Minister’s conduct that “this was no accident”.What did this phrase mean?Was Flannery, or someone else in Rehab, accusing Shatter of operating to some hidden agenda?In PR terms, to launch such an abrasive attack on Shatter seems pointless, but the idiocy of the attack is compounded by Rehab’s complete reliance on the State for money. It is kept alive on an annual intravenous drip of public cash running to more than €80m.This is not an unusual situation in Ireland.  The State has offloaded its social obligations to third parties which have an altruistic mission and which purport to serve a public interest.The HSE pays €3.4bn a year to what are known as ‘Section 38 and Section 39 organisations.’But why did Rehab launch such a blistering attack on Shatter, the most senior minister with responsibility in its area? How could such overblown rhetoric serve its objective interests?Bad corporate PR and bad political PRThe fallout must rank as a case study in bad corporate PR and bad political PR, two subjects in which Flannery is one of the country’s acknowledged experts.Certainly the public behaviour of Rehab in recent times has been marked by an element of unproductive arrogance.European diplomats used to say that if you are not seated firmly at the (negotiating) table you may become part of the menu.center_img The Borgen characters Kasper Juul and Svend Aage Saltum. Still via Borgen/DRSvend, a bit like an old FG stalwart, is rather conservative and reveres strong farmers and pig processors.He asks Juul what he actually does for a living. The slick young man hesitates, unable to explain his role in government precisely.Eventually he stutters an answer. He serves as a “spin doctor”.“Spin doctor?” says Svend Age querulously, before adding: “but who the hell is sick?”Who is Frank Flannery and why is everyone talking about him?>Damien Kiberd: Why are the Irish not more critical of the EU?>last_img read more

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Dublin shooting was an armed robbery for online item

first_imgA MAN WHO had placed an ad online to sell an item was the victim of a targeted armed robbery last night.Gardaí in Dublin are investigating the incident which occurred at a house in Hazelbury Park in Clonee shortly after 8pm.Nobody was harmed during the robbery.According to local councillor David McGuinness, the victim was in contact with people who were interested in buying the item he was selling online.“When the people turned up at his home, they were armed with a gun and fired a number of shots into the air while trying to rob him.”The Fianna Fáil councillor said the victim was “shaken from the ordeal” but was uninjured.“This is a worrying and bizarre incident,” he added. “The shooter in this case should be pursued vigorously and brought to justice. Residents are in shock.”Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Blanchardstown gardaí on 01 6667000.Last night: Shootings reported in Dublin and Carlowlast_img read more

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Nothing on the table to provoke teachers strike says Minister

first_img(YouTube: Thejournalvideo)“This was, really, an attempt by us to reduce the overall public sector pay bill. It wasn’t, as such, about education or about nursing or about gardaí but they are all the people who are directly involved,” continued Quinn.“And our teachers are the third highest paid in Europe. They are worth the money in my view, in many respects. But the pay bill is too big. And we have to reduce the commencement pay for young teachers coming into the system. I would like to see that change, but I want to do it in negotiation with the public sector.”He also made comparisons with the hit taken by the private sector during the economic crisis.“The recognition is getting our books balanced again, which we have to do as any normal operational company, business or private individual has to do. You can’t live beyond your means.“Part and parcel of the adjustment was to get the public sector pay bill reduced. The private sector has already made the adjustment. Many people have either lost their jobs, some cases they’ve also lost their pensions. And many people who have kept their jobs have done so on the basis that they would take a significant reduction in their salaries.“We’re really making the same kind of ask to the public sector and it was negotiated by the unions. Croke Park is due to expire in 2014 but really, I’ll have to wait and hear what Brendan Howlin has to say.”-Camera and editing by Michelle HennesseyApplications open to determine patronage of four new primary schools THE MINISTER FOR Education has said that a teachers’ strike will not prove likely as there is “nothing on the table that would provoke such a reaction in reality”.In an interview with TheJournal.ie, Ruairí Quinn said he understands why teachers unions’ have balloted their members on the right to initiate industrial action in recent weeks.He described the move as “precautionary” as the school year is coming to an end “fairly soon”.Speaking about the rejection of Croke Park II, the Labour TD said it was “far too early to even contemplate” bringing legislation to impose pay cuts, adding that he wants to see change through negotiation.“We’re not entirely sure [what the next step is],” he said, noting that the government is meeting today to get a report and recommendations from Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin.last_img read more

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The postmortem Kenny and Gilmore will discuss the fallout from Election 2014

first_imgTAOISEACH ENDA KENNY and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore are due to meet later today to discuss the fallout from the local and European election results.The meeting, which is likely to take place this evening, follows a difficult election for Fine Gael and a disastrous poll for Labour which has lost all of its MEPs and has had its numbers at local government dramatically cut.With the junior coalition party polling at around 7 per cent in both the local and European elections, Labour will now begin to asses what it can do to boost its poll numbers ahead of the next general election.A Cabinet reshuffle is likely to happen within the next month and possibly as early as this week with a much wider ministerial shake-up than had previously been expected now likely to take place.While previous thinking had centred on Fine Gael and Labour moving ministers around the portfolios each party already holds it is now thought that the two parties could swap positions in Cabinet with Gilmore certain to move out of the Department of Foreign Affairs.One Labour TD, Clare-based Michael McNamara has said that the entire Labour frontbench needs to go with the exception of Brendan Howlin, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.However, Fine Gael backbenchers, speaking privately to TheJournal.ie yesterday, were also pushing for a much wider reshuffle.One went as far as to venture that Michael Noonan should be moved out of the Finance portfolio. Though this appears unlikely the positions of James Reilly in Health, Phil Hogan in Environment, and even Richard Bruton in Jobs could be up for discussion.Who is your new local councillor? Here’s a list of everyone elected so farAll our Election 2014 coverage in one place >last_img read more

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Back to the Future Delorean Now a 500GB Hard Drive

first_imgIt can fly, it can travel through time, its doors flip up when you open them–is there anything the Delorean can’t do? If you said “hold up to 500GB of data,” you, my friend, are sadly mistaken. Flash Rods is offering quite possibly the coolest external hard drive we’ve seen this year, just in time for the holidays. The Delorean Time Machine is a 1:18 scale model of the Back to the Future time machine with a built-in 500GB Seagate hard drive. The doors and the hood flip up, the wheels roll, and there’s a USB port located on the rear license plate. The stainless steel hard drive will run you $250.last_img

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Italian artist creates miniature cityscapes from old computers

first_imgWhat can you do with an old PC? Well besides donating it to someone that can use it or e-cycling the computer so the parts don’t end up in a landfill, here is another fanciful option. Turn it into art.We’ve seen printed circuit board art from other creators in the past, but Italian artist, Franco Recchia has a special eye for recreating the bold shapes of towering man-made urban landscapes out of retired computer components. At a distance Recchia’s art looks just like miniature cities, but when you get closer you slowly recognize the electronic components that were used to create the illusion.AdChoices广告If interested, you could have one of these special electronic component sculptures of your very own. But you better bring some serious coin. The sculpture pictured above, called “Central Park,” will set you back $4,600.Read more at Agora Gallery, via NeatoramaCentral ParkCentral ParkManhattan 2Manhattan 3Fifth AvenueMetropolislast_img read more

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PSPgo hacked to play UMD disc images

first_imgWith the release of the download-only PSPgo Sony managed to alienate just about everyone. Multiple Retailers didn’t want to stock it as they couldn’t sell any games for the new hardware. Gamers on the other hand didn’t like the high price and couldn’t do anything with the handfuls of UMD disc games they had previously bought.Now it seems hackers are solving the problem by modding the PSPgo to play UMD disc images. For someone with a PSPgo and lots of UMD disc games, that’s surely going to be a tempting proposition, even if it’s technically piracy.AdChoices广告Liquidzigong is the hacker who has made this possible. He found a way to get an ISO loader on to the PSPgo. What that means is a PSP UMD disc image can be loaded into the flash memory of the PSPgo and the ISO loader used to play it.The videos above show Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep being played, which is only available in UMD disc form at the moment. There’s also one of Wipeout Pulse using the loader.Read more at ars technica and Wololo.netMatthew’s OpinionIf the method for getting the ISO loader on to a PSPgo is simple, then it’s going to spread like wildfire to gamers annoyed that they have to buy games again if they want to play them on a PSPgo. We’ll then also get a growing catalog of UMD disc images appearing on file-sharing networks.All Sony can do is continue to play the firmware cat-and-mouse game. New firmware may block the ISO loader, but then a new patch will make it work again. Ultimately it’s a losing battle for Sony.I think Sony will have learned a lot from the release of the PSPgo. While digital downloads are desirable for Sony and developers, retailers are left out in the cold and gamers have a few issues too. With the PSP 2 Sony needs to figure out a new strategy that involves retailers being able to sell games, and gives gamers more choice in how to buy them.last_img read more

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Google offering 20000 for Chrome hack

first_imgIt’s ironic that on the one hand you have Sony who is trying desperately to combat hackers and yet on the other hand you have Google who is trying to encourage it.And by encouraging we really mean encouraging, as the search giant is offering a $20,000 cash prize for any would-be hacker that can successfully exploit the Cr-48 Chrome laptop via a vulnerability and sandbox escape (using the Chrome web browser).AdChoices广告This is all part of CanSecWest’s Pwn2Own competition, which sees some of the world’s best security researchers and hackers go up against popular web browsers in attempt to thwart their security.According to TippingPoint ZDI, which are the contest’s main sponsor, the successful hack must include a sandbox escape. Kernel bugs and other 3rd party plug-ins are also not allowed (other than the default built-in PDF support).Last year Google boasted that its Chrome browser was the only one left standing after a barrage of hacking attempts failed, but with an added cash prize up for grabs this year there will certainly be a frenzy of activity around the browser.To be honest, even if someone does hack the browser Google will have the ability to sort the problem before it goes public. So in some ways the $20,000 cash prize is a small price to pay for getting hundreds, if not thousands of hackers to test the software.Read more at ZDNetlast_img read more

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