BelarusEHF EURO 2014serbia CROATIA – BELARUS 18CROATIAN GIANT LOOKING FOR A ROUTINE WINCroatia beat Belarus last January at TOP 16 stage of the World Championship in Spain. That was easy job for Slavko Goluza and his guys, so despite some small problems with some players as Blazenko Lackovic who will miss EHF EURO 2014, Croats believe that routine victory over Rutenka and his team-mates could be repeated.SWEDEN – MONTENEGRO (20.15)SWEDISH REVENGE TO BRAVE GUYSSweden has bad memory on Montenegro and their passion to the game since qualification matches in June 2012, when Zoran Kastratovic and his guys made unbelievable success and put Swedish team out of the World Championship 2013 in Spain! It is hard to say are Montenegrians ready to repeat that kind of performance, moreover because of lot of injuries which make them weaker than before, On the other side, Sweden without Kim Andersson certainly will have problem with TOP teams, but in front of almost “home fans” in Copenhagen, Montenegro could be good for “warm-up”… ← Previous Story Derby of Day 2 in Aarhus: Serbia VS Poland Next Story → HEROES OF THE DAY 1: Austrian “perfect” handball
saba hajnalSEHA GAZPROM South stream league SEHA Gazprom South Stream League 2014/2015 starts today in Novi Sad with match between Serbian and Hungarian best teams – RK Vojvodina and MVM MKB Veszprem (19.30 hrs). The biggest favorite to win the title in regional league which quality raising season by season are Hungarian champions, the only newcomers in 2014/2015 edition.League will have 10 teams, which will fight for the Final4 tournament in 18 matches. Six teams have been seen in the battle for the trophy – alongside Veszprem, Croatian best team RK C.O Zagreb, MAcedonian clubs RK Vardar and RK Metalurg, Slovakian Tatran Presov and Belarussian Meshkov Brest.– We are a little bit nervous before the start, but we are positive and want to play at Final 4 tournament – said Veszprem’s representative, Csaba Hajnal.Crew from the bottom making Serbian teams RK Vojvodina and RK Radnicki Kragujevac, Croatian RK Nexe and Bosnian RK Borac Banja Luka. ← Previous Story COME-BACK TO GERMANY AFTER 6 YEARS: Kasper Nielsen to Fuchse Berlin! Next Story → Ljubo Vranjes before IHF Super Globe: We are going for a win in every match
Struga handballStruga handball tournament The 44th edition of the traditional pre-season tournament in lovely Macedonian city of Struga, will be held between August 17 and 20 on the “old place” – “Women’s beach” court on Ohrid Lake.The honour of domestic handball will try to save vice-champions RK Metalurg Skopje while the international line-up starts from Swedish second best team Alingsas, Romanian Steaua and French team Chartres.The two last participants are coming from Africa (Afrikan – Tunisia) and Asia (Al Shabab – United Arab Emirates).The last season winners were French Cesson Rennes. ← Previous Story Spiler and Lorger sign at RK Nexe Nasice Next Story → EHF CL 2016/17 Draw: Veszprem and RNL in the first pot
AN OIREACHTAS COMMITTEE will this afternoon discuss the impact of the losses at Quinn Insurance – which could result in a levy being added to most Irish insurance policies for several decades.The High Court was told in August that the liabilities could exceed €1.6 billion – an amount which doubled the formal forecast of €738 million made in 2011.The losses at the insurer, combined with rules on the minimum cash on hand that insurers are required to keep on hand in order to deal with potential claims, means the insurer has to be bailed out by the State’s Insurance Compensation Fund.That fund, in turn, is funded by an extra levy added to non-life assurance policies – meaning the ordinary policy holder is forced to contribute towards Quinn Insurance’s losses.The administrators said earlier this summer that their estimate for the potential losses at the insurer had to be raised because of a “culture of suppressing estimates” which had been uncovered at the insurer.Thy added that the company’s inability to offer the necessary financial guarantees meant it could not adopt a currency hedging strategy, meaning any major moves in the value of euro or sterling could leave it further exposed.Seán Quinn himself as previously described the costs of administration at the insurer as “truly shocking”.Representatives from the Central Bank, the Department of Finance, and Grant Thornton will be present at the meeting to brief members at the meeting, which is set for 2pm.Read: Cost of Quinn Insurance administration may exceed €1.6bn
HEALTH MINISTER JAMES Reily is admitting the task of targeting €666 million in cuts and savings in his department next year is a “huge challenge”.The Minister’s been charged with overseeing a programme that will include €268 million in pay related savings and €113 million from a ‘probity drive’ aimed at medical card holders.Speaking to Pat Kenny on Newstalk this morning, the Minister said the task would be the “toughest challenge I’ve had to face yet as minister”.ProbityAs part of the process, those in receipt of medical cards will face scrutiny of their cases to see of they are entitled to retain them.The minister said the process was being undertaken as it appeared different qualifying criteria were being applied in different part of the country.Asked by the host whether qualifying standards would be brought down as a result, Reilly insisted that would not be the case, and said he initiative was aimed at reaching an “equitable situation” whereby all cards were assessed “on the basis of financial hardship and medical condition”.“Let me be clear about probity — if people are not legally entitled to have a medical card, then they should not have one.”And while he confirmed the target of €113 million, Reilly said he “couldn’t be forensic about the figure”.PayrollRegarding the payroll savings to be achieved, the Minister said they would be accomplished in a number of ways, and that it was sometimes the case that “where there’s extra hours to be worked, sometimes people will be willing to take a pay cut instead of working those extra hours”.He also talked up the establishment of a ‘nursing bank’: “We now have permission to create a nurse bank. That means we can have a group of nurses on our books that we can call on that we can use outside of agency nurses.”GP careThe Minister defended the big ticket ‘good news’ item in yesterday’s Budget, the much-flagged measure to provide free GP care to children aged five and under.The universality of the move (the fact that it’s free to the wealthy as well as the less well-off) has been criticised by some, but Reilly insisted that the programme had benefits for all of society, and not just parents of young children.“When it comes to children, think of something else that has universal benefits — the vaccination programme, for instance, that has benefits for the population as a whole.“You have to think not just of the few thousand who come form wealthy families but the hundreds of thousands who come from hard-pressed families.”He again said the measure was part of a wider “road-trip to universal health insurance”.PrescriptionsTouching on the hike in the prescription charge to €2.50, the Minister said the measure was helping target the problem of older people consistently getting repeat prescriptions even when they’re not needed.He said that since the fee was initially brought in, the practice of people amassing a large supply of drugs had lessened: “A lot of that has changed, people are saying ‘I don’t need that, I have two of them at home already’.”Finishing up the interview, Kenny asked Dr Reilly whether he would be insisted he stayed in the Department after the Cabinet reshuffle, which is expected sometime after next summer’s European and local elections:“Absolutely. This is the only reason I came into Irish politics. I came in because I saw my patients suffering on a daily basis.”Read: As it happened: Noonan and Howlin answer questions on Budget 2014 Column: Damien Kiberd: Budget 2014 arithmetic not just iffy – it’s scary
COCAINE WITH AN estimated street value of €175,000 was seized by customs officials at Dublin Port this morning.A 48-year-old man from the UK was arrested after 2.4kg of the drug was found in a car disembarking from a ferry.The discovery was made when the revenue’s sniffer dog gave a positive reaction on the BMW that had travelled on the early morning ferry from the UK. The vehicle was scanned by the custom’s x-ray scanner and officers discovered the drugs concealed behind panels.The vehicle was also seized with the man later arrested by gardaí.
THE RESULT OF a second vote by members of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland on the Haddington Road agreement is expected this evening.Teachers voting in the process had until yesterday evening to cast their vote with counting due to begin this morning.The ASTI rejected the Government pay deal in the first instance in a vote in September and led to subsequent industrial action by teachers when they refused to attend meetings that took place outside of normal school hours or take on any extra duties without additional pay.Discussions between ASTI representatives and Government officials led to some clarification being put in place but meeting of union’s central executive council recommended that the members reject the new proposals.Read: ASTI recommends members reject Haddington Road deal >Read: ASTI recommends ballot of members on new proposals >
RETAILERS HAVE SUFFERED a lacklustre Christmas period.Retail representative group Retail Excellence Ireland (REI) says that this year’s sales will be marginally down on last year’s.David Fitzsimons, chief executive of REI said “Having contacted over three hundred leading retailers nationwide over the past few days it is disappointing to confirm that retail sales are likely to be down marginally against Christmas 2012.“While consumers might have a little more discretionary income than this time last year, even with cash in our wallets we have become habitually frugal and discerning. It would seem that six years of cautious spending behaviour has become a hard habit to break.“The retail industry was bullish entering the festive season due to the rescheduling of Budget ’14 to October, a return to economic growth and the exit of the Troika. Unfortunately these positives did not impact on spending in the run up to Christmas 2013. Instead customers remained cautious and retailers responded with significant discounts.”The sluggish sales will mean good news for customers, however.REI is forecasting that post-Christmas sales will see retailers aggressively try to shift stock, with sales of up to 70 per cent.Read: Starbucks to open at former Anglo HQ on Stephen’s GreenPoll: How much have you spent on Christmas this year?
Updated 4.57pmTWO MEN HAVE been arrested after a ferry carrying 946 passengers and 127 crew had to return to England after a fire broke out in a passenger cabin.The DFDS Seaways cruise ferry King Seaways was en route from Newcastle to Amsterdam.Northumbria Police in England confirmed that a 26-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of arson and a 28-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of affray. The two are currently being questioned by police.Police received a report from the Coastguard just after midnight of suspected arson on board the ferry, which was in the North Sea at the time.HospitalIn their statement DFDS Operators said two passengers and four crew had been taken to hospital by helicopter with “smoke-related injuries” while a further 15 passengers and eight staff were checked on board by a doctor.They added that the crew acted quickly to contain the fire, which was extinguished within 15 minutes. The statement goes on to say that police have entered the ship to investigate the cause of the fire.“We will ensure that passengers and crew affected by the incident will be offered psychological assistance as well as other assistance that might be needed,” said the ferry operator.It is believed the fire broke out on board the boat at about 10.45pm last night. Helicopters from RAF Leconfield and RAF Boulmer were sent to the scene.Olivia Elliott told Sky News that she was in a nightclub when the alarm went off, adding:We were all sat upstairs when the alarm went off and the captain came on the tannoy and told us to evacuate to the outer deck because there was a fire.Additional reporting by Christine BohanOriginally published 7.44amRead: Express train fire in India kills at least 26 people>Read: Garda taken to hospital after Dublin house fire>
PEOPLE HAVE BEEN warned to stay away from the sea until the current bad weather passes as high tides and heavy winds combine to create dangerous conditions.The warning comes from the Coast Guard after one man was injured after being hit by a wave while walking on the pier at Howth in north county Dublin this afternoon.The man was knocked from the higher pier to the lower pier – a drop of 10 feet – by the wave and sustained an ankle injury just before 3pm. As the heavy waves continued to smash across the pier, the man was brought onto an inshore lifeboat and transported the short distance across the harbour to the Howth lifeboat station, where an ambulance was waiting to bring him to hospital.The Irish Coast Guard Rescue Team, Howth RNLI lifeboat, Dublin Fire Brigade, HSE paramedics and Gardáí all responded to the scene.Met Éireann has issued an orange alert weather warning for the country with winds of up to 120 km/h hitting some counties and some coastal flooding.Roads have been closed, some homes and businesses have lost power, and flooding has caused problems in some areas as the stormy weather has hit along the coast.The Coast Guard has appealed to the public to refrain from visiting piers, seafronts and cliffs until the current storm and high tides have passed, and to call emergency services if they see someone in danger.Read: Met Éireann extends weather warning as wind picks up across country > Read: Extra funding for flood-hit areas ‘inevitable’ – Hayes > Photos: More flooding in Galway, Cork & Waterford as stormy weather continues >
GET THOSE THERMALS out because Met Éireann is predicting a drop in temperatures tonight resulting in some serious frost and ice.The forecast predicts the showers experienced earlier this morning will become isolated and confined to western coast later today.Southerly winds will become increasingly ‘fresh’ and locally strong for a time but will veer southwest to west and moderate this afternoon with temperatures ranging from 6 to 9 degrees Celsius.Tonight there will be showers along the Atlantic seaboard, though everywhere else will remain dry and mostly clear. Temperatures will drop as southwesterly breezes move in with lowest temperatures reaching -3 degrees Celsius.Met Éireann said this will result in “sharp to severe ground frost and ice on untreated surfaces”.However much of this will clear soon after dawn tomorrow morning with rain and drizzle spreading countrywide by early afternoon.Read: Not again. More spot flooding warnings issued>Read: Clare coast worst hit by storms with repair works to cost over €23m>
CHIEF JUSTICE SUSAN Denham has said extra sittings are being arranged in the Court of Criminal Appeal so that final decisions can be made on cases previously heard by a High Court judge who is seriously ill.Denham said today that Justice Michael Hanna “will probably require a lengthy period of convalescence following on his illness” and there are a number of cases in the Court of Criminal Appeal where his judgement has been reserved and no final decision was determined.These will now be re-heard by the courts, as soon as possible and the Chief Justice said there will be extra sittings to “meet this situation”.“As all the preparatory papers in these appeals are ready and available to the court, it is anticipated that the appeals will be dealt with promptly,” she said today.Read: Firefighter group brings council to court over failed breathing apparatus sets>Read: Senior gardaí “looking closely” at drink-drive ‘loophole’ verdict>
Apartment towers and the International Commerce Centre, tower at center, are seen through a work of art entitled “Poetic Cosmos of the Breath” by Argentine artist Tomas Saraceno, which is part of an exhibition called “Mobile M+: Inflation!” at the waterfront of West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong today. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)HERE ARE THE things you need to know as we round off the day in three easy steps…THINGS WE LEARNED#ABORTION: The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald has told TheJournal.ie that women seeking abortions because of suicide ideation should not require “so many consultants that it becomes illusory”. Fitzgerald also said that six consultants would be “clearly too many” and that the upcoming legislation needed to be sensitive, reasonable and meaningful.#PUBLIC SECTOR: Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said that the rejection of the Croke Park 2 public pay deal means public sector workers no longer have any automatic protection against mandatory redundancies, saying that the protection had been “an inherent part” of the deal. His comments came as government continues its plans to cut €300 million from public sector pay this year.#CHILD SAFETY: The National Board of Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland has found that allegations of abuse were made against three priests that are currently on active duty in the Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora. The board also found that there were unacceptable delays and unsatisfactory responses to abuse concerns in Clogher.#WATER CHARGES: Government is set to seek approval to delay the introduction of water charges until October 2014, with the first bills not due to arrive in homes until 2015. Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin plan to ask the visiting Troika inspection team – who arrived in Dublin this week – for permission to push back the rollout.#MORTGAGE RATES: AIB’s variable rate mortgages rates are to increase by 0.4 per cent from 5 June this year. The bank also announced that EBS and Haven variable mortgages would increase by up to one quarter of one per cent, effective from 1 June. A spokesperson from the bank said that the increases were required in order for the bank to “make a return to profitability”. Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty has called on Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to block the rate increase.#KATE MIDDLETON: Two people have been charged over the publication of topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge last September, the publishing of which caused international scandal. The head of the publisher of France’s Closer magazine and a photographer have been charged in relation to the incident. THINGS WE LOVEDDublin photographer Conor Horgan spend a winter in New York City and fell in love in the process. Not with someone else, but with the place itself. Here are his pictures and thoughts on the city that never sleeps.Today we brought you irrefutable proof that men (or at least a certain part of them) are indeed from Mars. Don’t believe us? This pic should help change your mind.THINGS WE SHAREDWho would have thought that wearing a jacket with the American flag on the sleeves and your own name emblazoned down the front would be a good look? Well, probably nobody. Except for team Jedward, of course. They want to know your number, apparently. We wouldn’t give it them if we were you. They might return the favour by giving you your very own jacket.(Jedward Official Youtube/YouTube)‘Ireland’ and ‘optimism’ aren’t always two words you’d expect to find in the same sentence. Well, not since 2008 anyway. DailyEdge.ie has 12 reasons why the oul’ sod is still the most optimistic country IN THE WORLD, EVER! Reason number 5: Because even if you have a diabolical night, there’s always taco cheese chips at the end of it. (tlianza/Flickr/Creative Commons)
Don’t know (402) YesNoDon’t knowVoteRead: Taoiseach has ‘no intention of playing party politics’ over abortion issueRevealed: The three independent TDs voting against abortion proposalsMore No decision from Fianna Fáil on abortion voteRead: ‘No conscientious objection’ for Fine Gael TDs on abortion bill, says Kenny Poll Results: AHEAD OF THE Dáil vote on the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill in the coming weeks, the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party is reportedly set to allow TDs and senators a free vote on the law giving effect to the X Case ruling.The Irish Times says a decision will be made by the parliamentary party at its regular meeting today amid divisions between members on whether or not to support the legislation, which will allow for abortions in circumstances where a woman’s life is at risk – including from suicide.The legislation is the subject of much debate within political parties as well as within Irish society. Some Fine Gael TDs have previously called for their members to be allowed a free vote – which means they could vote against the government but retain the party whip – but Taoiseach Enda Kenny has firmly ruled this out.Today, we want to know what you think: Should TDs get a free vote on the abortion legislation? No (1288) Yes (1092)
Updated 1.05 PMAUTHORITIES AT DUBLIN Airport say they are aware of increased security at a number of airports, including the UK, but are continuing to operate as normal.US authorities have said they are bolstering security at some airports in Europe and the Middle East that have with direct flights to the US amid concern that terror groups are developing new explosives to circumvent airport security.US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced unspecified steps that would be carried out in “coming days,” without saying which airports would be affected.A spokesperson for the Dublin Airport Authority has said they note the comments but that passengers travelling through the airport will not notice any changes.Passengers flying to the US go through the usual security checks in Dublin but are also checked for a second time by US officials. It is here that passengers may experience tighter security but it is up to the US authorities to decide at what hubs they will implement them.After an assessment of security threats, Johnson said he had directed the Transportation Security Administration “to implement enhanced security measures in the coming days at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States.”Johnson said that “we will continue to adjust security measures to promote aviation security without unnecessary disruptions to the travelling public.”The airports were located in the Middle East and Europe, according to an official at the Department of Homeland Security, who spoke on condition of anonymity.The announcement came before the US Independence Day celebrations on Friday but officials would not say whether authorities had uncovered a specific threat or plot.“There will be enhanced security measures in certain airports that fly non-stop to the US,” the DHS official said.“We’re targeting certain airports abroad… based on real time intelligence,” the official added.The new measures would be designed in a way to avoid creating major hassles for travellers, without signaling to potential terrorists what those steps would be, officials said.“Information about specific enhancements is sensitive as we do not wish to divulge information about specific layers of security to those who would do harm,” said a second DHS official, who asked not to be named.The official said authorities “may require some additional screening of persons and their property, so travelers should always arrive at an airport with plenty of time for screening to be sure they do not miss their flights.”Media reports said the additional screening could apply to shoes worn by passengers and electronic devices. The extra security comes into place ahead of July 4th celebrations. Source: AP/Press Association Images In the UK, the Department for Transport (DfT) said late Wednesday that it would “step up some of our aviation security measures” following the warning from US security chiefs, the Guardian reported.“For obvious reasons we will not be commenting in detail on those changes. The majority of passengers should not experience significant disruption,” a spokesman told the BBC.US counter-terrorism experts in recent months have said there is cause for concern that extremists have come up with new tactics to avoid detection at airports.Just Sunday, US President Barack Obama warned that “battle-hardened” Europeans who embrace jihad in Syria and Iraq threaten the United States because their passports mean they can enter the country without a visa.“We have seen Europeans sympathetic to their (militants’) cause travelling into Syria and may now travel into Iraq, getting battle-hardened. Then they come back,” Obama warned in an interview that aired Sunday on the US broadcaster ABC. Obama has warned of battle-hardened European jihadists. Source: Charles DharapakThese combatants “have a European passport. They don’t need visas to get into the United States,” he told the program “This Week.”“Now, we are spending a lot of time, and we have been for years, making sure we are improving intelligence to respond to that.“We have to improve our surveillance, reconnaissance, intelligence there. Special forces are going to have a role. And there are going to be times where we take strikes against organizations that could do us harm.”- Additional reporting by Rónán Duffy© – AFP 2014Read: US policy change could shield Irish immigrants from deportation >Read: US warns of possible shoe bomb terror threat >
“PLEASE GOD HELP ME,” were the last words spoken by my father before he died. His name was Max Olorunda. He was 39 years old.I was just two, and his youngest daughter.My father was killed by a bomb which exploded prematurely whilst he was travelling on board a train bound for Belfast in January 1980. My father died alongside a young schoolboy and the member of the IRA who was carrying the bomb.I am told he was a kind and handsome man with a big smile. I don’t remember him, though, and for this I am glad. My mother kept his memory alive, however.She never allowed us to forget what happened to him. The IRA became a word synonymous with everything that was wrong in this world. The fate that befell my father has been like a virus in my family’s bloodstream; we could never purge it from our collective memories. It was always there. My mother could never let it go. She was haunted by her loss. In fact, my entire life has been shaped and affected by the legacy he left behind.The pain behind the headlinesMy book, Legacy, was difficult to write because I chose to confront my past with a view to explaining the trauma of those who were bereaved in the Troubles. You might say I wanted people to see that behind the political bickering, behind the headlines, the pain endured by the families of those who perished is very real. Those left behind, the families of those who died, usually found themselves overwhelmed by a profound type of grief that was hard to define.My family never visited my father’s grave, not because we didn’t care, but because I was always told that his grave was empty. You see nothing remained of my father when he died. The bomb which killed him didn’t just end his life; it destroyed his body. He disappeared.In the absence of any state memorial for the victims of the Northern Ireland conflict, I chose to write this book as a memorial to him.Racism in Northern IrelandBut Legacy isn’t just about the Troubles, or indeed Max Olorunda’s life, nor is it solely concerned with documenting the violence that engulfed Northern Ireland for 30 years; it is also about racism.You see my father was a Nigerian. My mother came from the West of Ireland, and so my two sisters and I are of mixed race. The colour of our skin, our facial features and hair had a dramatic impact on our lives. We were oddities back then. We were treated with suspicion and, on many occasions, contempt.People used to ask if we were adopted, or worse, didn’t ask anything, but simply shouted some choice words at us. My mother was treated as someone who had lowered herself in everyone’s standing by falling in love with the wrong person.Outcasts in a bitterly divided societyThis attitude became a catalyst for an all-consuming depression which in time gripped her. No amount of prescription pills, tablets and therapy could cure this and so her life, and those of her three daughters, fell apart. We lived in poverty. We became poor outcasts in a bitterly divided society.Legacy is our story. It’s the story of a family who had to cope with circumstances beyond our control. My book deals with many issues. It’s about loss, grief, depression and poverty, but it’s also about racism and bigotry.Racism has always flourished in Northern Ireland but it’s become more prevalent in recent times as we have got more cosmopolitan, ironic as it sounds.I wrote Legacy to record my father’s existence, but I also needed to record my mother’s illness and, most of all, I needed to record what Northern Ireland did to us and, by default, all the other innocent victims. I hope that someday the issues raised in Legacy will be a thing of the past.Jayne Olorunda is a Belfast woman whose Nigerian father, Max Olorunda, was killed by the IRA in a bombing in 1980. Her book, Legacy, outlines how his death caused her mother’s breakdown, but the title is primarily about the racism that Jayne and her sisters suffered in Northern Ireland. Legacy is available as a download on Kindle, iTunes, kobo and Nook. President Higgins: ‘There are no easy solutions to the sensitive questions in Northern Ireland’
“But the next step, which is going to be complicated logistically, is how do we give safe passage for people down from the mountain and where can we ultimately relocate them so that they are safe.”In a significant boost to efforts to help the civilians stranded on Mount Sinjar, the Obama said British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande have agreed to lend their support following telephone talks.Risk of genocide Obama has justified the US intervention by warning of the risk of genocide against the small Yazidi minority, many of whose members have been trapped on the mountain for a week in northern Iraq.But the president repeated assurances that no US combat troops would be deployed to Iraq in the first American offensive since Washington pulled out its forces in 2011 after nearly a decade of a brutal war that proved costly in both blood and treasure.“I’m not going to give a particular timetable, because as I’ve said from the start, wherever and whenever US personnel and facilities are threatened, it’s my obligation, my responsibility as commander in chief, to make sure they are protected,” Obama told reporters.The Islamic State’s march on Kurdistan is placing US diplomats, including at the American consulate, and business people at risk in a region that was relatively safe from the violence.Calling for unity government “The most important timetable I’m focused (on) now is the Iraqi government getting formed and finalized, because in the absence of an Iraqi government, it is very hard to get a unified effort by Iraqis against ISIL,” the president said.Stressing that Iraq’s deep divisions along ethnic and religious lines were undermining the effort to combat IS, Obama said that it would be easier to mobilize Iraqis against the threat and obtain international support once an inclusive government is in place.“Ultimately, only Iraqis can ensure the security and stability of Iraq, and the United States can’t do it for them, but we can and will be partners in that effort,” he said. The US President spoke before his departure on Marine One for a vacation in Martha’s Vineyard. Source: Pablo Martinez MonsivaisThe United States aims to deny a safe haven to the “barbaric terrorists” and help provide a humanitarian corridor to provide aid to thousands of refugees — most from religious minorities — trapped on a mountaintop.“We will continue to provide military assistance and advice to the Iraqi government and Kurdish forces as they battle these terrorists so that the terrorists cannot establish a permanent safe haven,” Obama said.He also acknowledged that the movement of the militants, who have captured swathes of the oil-rich country, was more rapid than intelligence estimates and the expectations of policymakers inside and outside Iraq.“Part of that is, I think, not a full appreciation of the degree to which the Iraqi security forces, when they’re far away from Baghdad, did not have the incentive or the capacity to hold ground against an aggressive adversary,” Obama said.Thousands of Yazidis, a Kurdish-speaking minority, fled their homes when militants attacked the town of Sinjar and many have since been stranded in the nearby mountain range with no food and water.The first US bombings struck Islamic State positions and at least one convoy of vehicles carrying militants west of Arbil.Earlier today, the US military air-dropped food and water for the second day in a row on Mount Sinjar.- © AFP, 2014Read: Over 28,000 meals and 5,600 litres of water dropped over northern Iraq amid continued air strikes >Read: US launches air strike against Islamic State militants in Iraq > US PRESIDENT BARACK Obama has warned that the US offensive in Iraq was a “long-term project” to rout out militants and deliver aid to beleaguered civilians.Recognizing there was no US military solution to reverse Islamic State fighters’ advances in Iraq, Obama called on Iraqi officials to urgently form a unity government.While US air strikes have destroyed the militants’ arms and equipment within striking distance of the autonomous region of Kurdistan, Obama said the operations that began this week could last “months.”He spoke as Iraqi forces prepared a US-backed counter-offensive.“We feel confident we can prevent ISIL from going up the mountain and slaughtering the people who are there,” Obama said, using the militant group’s former name of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
The Denny’s restaurant chain is testing out a new technology that could mean big savings and less energy use.Called Cool-N-Save, the tech comes from Greenway Design and is a system that’s mechanically added to existing air conditioners to help reduce energy consumption. Each system is custom made and Greenway claims it can reduce energy use by up to 30 percent.And for a company like Denny’s, that means financial savings as well. One Phoenix-area restaurant will be receiving an installation that’s expected to save around $10,000 in energy bills per year. As for the environmental impact, Greenway says that the restaurant will be able to reduce its carbon emissions by around 60 tons a year.“This is a first in what we hope will be many installations for the chain,” Greenway VP Darius Jakubik said.
Back in July, we reviewed the Toshiba Thrive tablet. Reviewer Russel Holly said the tablet was great for actually getting stuff done, instead of just using it for entertainment purposes like most other tablets. The tablet, thanks to features like a USB port and full-sized HDMI, is more like a keyboard-less computer than anything else. And, at just $480, it was priced well under the iPad 2.However, with any new product, most of us have the mindset of “we’ll wait for the second version to make sure they’ve got all the kinks ironed out.” According to Italian site Notebook Italia, the Thrive’s successor may be soon on its way with a thin, metal and glass body, unlike the rubber-clad Thrive. The successor, which has yet to be named, will also have a 10.1-inch display and microHDMI connectivity.Leaked images also show a microUSB and microSD card slot, a front-facing webcam, and a combination headphone/mic jack. The Thrive currently runs an NVIDIA Tegra 2 chipset, and since we have no details on what kind of hardware will be in the Thrive’s successor, we can only assume that it will house the same chipset.With IFA starting this week, Toshiba will most likely announce the new tablet if the rumors are true. Toshiba announced the Folio 100 Android 2.2 tablet, one of the first NVIDIA Tegra 2 tablets, at 2010’s IFA conference, but it was quickly removed from retailers’ shelves due to an overwhelmingly large amount of returns. In fact, UK retailers were overpricing it to keep customers from buying the tablet.Toshiba updated the Folio 100 with a new design and added Android Honeycomb, and named it the Toshiba Thrive. Though we gave the Thrive a good review, it’s rather thick, and the new model rumored to be announced at IFA this week will be ultra-thin. It appears that the tablet will have an edge-to-edge screen as well, and a brushed-metal finish on the cover.So, here’s hoping this tablet is nothing like the Folio and is just an improved, thinner version of the Thrive.Notebook Italia, via Slashgear
As expected, Google launched the latest iteration of the Android OS, Ice Cream Sandwich, alongside the Samsung announcement of the Galaxy Nexus. While Samsung certainly wowed the audience with a truly impressive phone, the real star of the show was Android 4.0.Andy Rubin, Matias Duarte, Hugo Barra, and many more iconic Googlers took to the stage to show off the many facets of the new Android OS. At the end of their presentation, they announced that the Android SDK was already online for developers and users to get a deeper look into the new features offered by this upcoming version of Android.While Google offered a terrific demonstration of many of the impressive features in Ice Cream Sandwich, I am somewhat concerned about the overall ability to deliver the Ice Cream Sandwich experience, and whether or not manufacturers will be willing to follow in Google’s vision for the future. We’ll tackle that in a separate post, for now, lets focus on the core features of the OS.Total UI OverhaulPlain and simple, if you have never used a Honeycomb tablet, Android 4 will be something of a jarring experience for you. In order to become comfortable with this brave new world, there’s a few things you should know.– The tiles move: Instead of removing all of your Notifications all at once with a clear button, you will have the option to remove individual notifications by simply brushing them off of your notification bar with the swipe of a finger. Additionally, when looking at your previously opened applications you will have the option to sweep individual applications away as well.– Your Notification bar has superpowers: Now called the Action Bar, your top drawer pull down sports a whole new list of features now. First of all, it’s available to you from the lockscreen so you don’t even have to unlock the phone to check incoming email, SMS, etc. Additionally, your Music controls are available from inside the Action bar, meaning not only is your music available to you on the lockscreen, but the developers of your favorite apps will be able to put goodies up there as well.– Your Launcher is customizeable: As a Google Voice user, I have zero need for the stock SMS app for Android, and yet so many phones force it to the dock assuming you want it there. Now, you can pick and choose what you want to go on your launcher dock. When you open the app drawer, you will have access not only to your apps, but also your widgets on a separate tab for quick and easy placement on your homescreen. Oh, and those widgets? All of the Google ones are resizeable, and the API’s are there for developers to be able to do the same to their widgets.Control your phoneWith Android 4.0, you have a lot more say in how your phone behaves, and how it performs. Instead of using your phone and seeing the results when you are finished, you have real-time access to many parts of your phone for better control.– Real time voice input: Instead of speaking a sentence and seeing how right/wrong Google got it, the results show up as you speak them. Additionally, you can double tap any word Google gets wrong and push the change back to Google in the hopes that they wont get it wrong next time.– Choose your own spell check: Maybe English isn’t your language of choice, or maybe you have been on the internet too long and you’d prefer Urban Dictionary to Mirriam-Webster. Google allows you to use any third party dictionary and language kit, and plug it right into their input and spell check system.– Network Data Control: In this day of limits, caps, and insane overage charges, Google has provided users with the tools necessary to control the data that passes over a mobile network. You can shut down mobile data on your phone when you reach a limit that you have set on yourself, or set a warning for when you have consumed a specific amount of mobile data. You can look at a detailed breakdown of which apps are using the most data and when, and you can even stop apps from using data in the background if you don’t want them to.Social ContactsYour contact manager has gotten a pretty serious visual update as well, but believe it or not that’s actually not the significant thing here. Google has seen fit to make your contact manager social in certain ways, in an attempt to unify your phone based communications with your social communications.– The “Me” profile: at the top of your contact manager now is the most important person in your phone, you! Not dissimilar from what you see now on any of Google’s desktop services (the black bar in Gmail, docs, etc) is the “Me” profile. Everything about you is in your Me profile. This includes contact information, social networks, birthday, anything Google has stored on or about you from other services is available to you here.– Unified contacts: Google doesn’t just read up on you, no sir. If your contacts have a Google+ profile, or if you two use the same app with data available to share (Latitude, for example) that information can be made available to you. Want to circle your new Boss on G+ now that your contact manager shows you he’s got one? You can circle him (or uncircle him) right from the contact screen.– Unified calendar: not only are all of your separate calendars glued together and color coded in a nice easy to use way, but apps that you have given permission to play will be able to stick things in your calendar as well.Huge New ThingsWhen iOS 5 came out, the Android fans shouted “Theif!” across the internet. Many of the Android UI changes were likely “inspired” by WebOS and Windows Phone, and to be honest, I hope Google bought licencing from Disney for all the Tron that’s baked into Android 4.0. But Google did see fit to add some really cool tricks that are new to the mobile experience.– Face Unlock: Still struggling to figure out what you are ever going to use that Front Facing Camera for? How about using it to unlock your phone? Unless you have an evil twin, what seems to be the most secure way to lock your phone ever is the ability to lock it to your big smiling mug. The demo for this at the Samsung event didn’t go so well, and I kind of doubt Matias Duarte’s crack about how much makeup he had on affecting the software, but the possibility of using this if it works seems really cool.– All new toys for NFC, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi: Google pulled out the stops on their support of third party toys and apps on Android phones, specifically how they interact with any of the three wireless technologies. Two Android phones with NFC chips inside can share links, photos, videos, whatever, just by setting the devices next to each other, kind of like Bump but way more stable. Support for the Bluetooth Health Device Profile or HDP enabled devices has been enabled, allowing third party medical or fitness devices to interact with your phone. WiFi Direct support was also added to Android 4, supporting peer to peer networks and third party apps that would use those networks for faster transmission of things like movies and music.– Support for Stylus input: in a push to support more education focused devices, Android 4.0 supports controls to distinguish between a finger, stylus, and eraser events. Taking notes in class, drawing on a digital canvas, or maybe just using your device behind thick gloves will be much better supported natively.DevelopersAll of this talk about new features is a ton of fun, but for developers the real shiny new toys are the tools provided to allow them to add the shiny new features to their apps. As expected, Google has delivered API’s for all of the goodies they announced, as well as quite a few other goodies.– All one framework: Tablets, phones, TV’s, and whatever else you can shoehorn Android onto now all function on the same framework. Complete with documentation to prepare your app to support Fragments, the new Action Bar, resizeable widgets, and a much smoother and more stable emulator to test your app on before pushing it to the Android Market.– Further Business support: on an Enterprise level, you can now completely encrypt an Android 4.0 device, offer VPN solutions through the phone, and offer management policies for the cameras on phones that are in secure areas. Managed devices can control both the VPN setting and the Camera policy remotely.Final ThoughtsAndroid 4.0 brings a lot of potential to the Android platform. At Google I/O, we were given to understand that Ice Cream Sandwich would mark the slowing of the release cycles for Google to two per year. If Google sticks with this, there’s a strong chance we will be greeted in the New Year with an impressive onslaught of new tablets, phones, and GoogleTV supported devices ready to take advantage of all this new software.As with all versions of Android, the critical component will be adoption. If OEM’s push ICS to their users in a timely manner, and if there are no huge problems come release time, Ice Cream Sandwich could be the sweetest version yet.