News Blog

Rolling coverage of the day's news events. Contact us @IrishTimesLive

Conor Pope Thu, Apr 25
 
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  • 08:10
    Stop the presses: it has emerged that there is a link between high-sugar fizzy drinks or minerals as they should still be called and Type 2 Diabetes. And scientists have found that people who want to stay healthy should, generally speaking, avoid these sugar laden sparkling drinks which have absolutely nothing by way of nutritional value. A crack team of European scientists have found that a person who drinks just one mineral a day is 20 per cent more likely to get diabetes compared their cousin who drinks just one can a month.

    And snow is white.
  • 08:11
    It's the rolling blog of news. I'm Conor Pope. And the weather in Dublin this morning is only gorgeous!
  • 08:12

    NO. No it is not. The weather in Dublin is miserable. We hope it's nicer where you are. 

  • 08:31
    Three Irish candidates are on the shortlist for what is apparently the “best jobs in the world”.

    And what are these jobs?

    Outback adventurer, taste master, lifestyle photographer, park ranger and wildlife caretaker.

    And chief funster.

    That’s the one I'm applying for.

    The jobs were announced by Tourism Australia earlier this year as part of a $4 million youth tourism campaign and since then poor unfortunate officials had to watch more than 45,000 videos before paring down the applications to 25 finalists in each of the six job categories.

    Seriously, can you imagine anything worse than having to watch hundreds of videos submitted by people applying for a job as a “funster”

    More than 300,000 people applied for the six jobs and three Irishmen Allan Dixon, Richard Cullen and Heber Hanley are all on the shortlist. Good luck to them.

  • 08:39
    The death toll from a building collapse in Bangladesh has climbed to over 160 with many more people feared dead.

    The building housed garment factories supplying retailers in Europe and North America including Penneys.

    Last night the retailer said it was “shocked and saddened” to hear of the deaths.

    Most of those killed and injured were women and many of them had brought their children to work with them with many makeshift crèches operating in the complex. As many as 2,000 people were on the site at the time of the collapse.

    Hospitals in Savar, 30 km outside the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, are struggling to cope with the scale of the disaster.


  • 09:33
    Around 70,000 people unfortunate enough to have a standard variable rate mortgage with AIB will be worse off come the summer because of the bank’s decision to increase its interest rates. Again. It will add 0.4 per cent to its SVRs. Its subsidiary EBS and its broker-led arm Haven will also increase their rates by 0.25 per cent. Someone with a €300,000 mortgage with AIB will now have to find an extra €80 a month or nearly a grand a year to cover the rate increase.
  • 09:42

    Six months ago I wrote a piece which ran under the title Eight Reasons Our Banks Hate Us. This week's events would appear to indicate they still hate us what with news breaking of interest rate hikes and, frankly, obscene rates of pay for some senior executives. 

  • 09:43
  • 09:46
    It's an exciting morning. Details of the tenth Electric Picnic will be announced presently.  Jim Carroll already knows the score.
  • 09:47
  • 09:51
  • 10:11
    Bill Clinton joined Twitter last night. The only two people he follows are his daugher and Stephen Colbert.
  • 10:13
  • 10:14

    Watching the clip below will make many people's day that little bit better. 

  • 10:21
    There was some very good news for former Waterford Crystal workers this morning when the European Court of Justice ruled in their favour in a landmark case taken over losses in their pensions.

    The workers took the case against the State over what they said was its failure to establish a pension protection system which would have protected them in the event of the insolvency of their employer.

    The once iconic glass company went into receivership in January 2009 and the company’s pension schemes were wound up two months later with a deficit of some €110 million. Each of the 10 plaintiffs who took the action was offered payments of between 18 per cent and 28 per cent of their entitlements.

    They argued that a 2007 European court decision said people in such a position were entitled to at least 49 per cent of what was due to them.   In its judgement today the court agreed and said measures taken by Ireland subsequent to its 2007 ruling “have not brought about the result that the plaintiffs would receive in execess of 49 per cent of the value of their acfcrued old age pension” .  

    The court said it was a “serious breach” of Ireland’s obligations. It  ruled that offering retirees half of what they had been promised under a defined benefit scheme does not amount to protection by the state and said Ireland’s economic situation did not constitute an exceptional situation capable of justifying a lower level.  
  • 10:24
    "While the Government does not hold a majority stake in the BoI, it poured a substantial chunk of taxpayers’ money into saving the institution. The least Michael Noonan could have done was put it on the record that the remuneration package of Richie Boucher and other bigwigs at the bank is too big. Instead, the Government held its nose and looked the other way when the time came to rubber-stamp the deal."  Miriam Lord is always worth reading. Her column today is great though.
  • 10:40
    Phew. Britain has avoided a "triple dip recession". GDP  rose by a massive  0.3 per cent in the first quarter.  Okay, okay, okay, it is not THAT massive but we're taking this from a  news agency and they are very excited. 
     
    Incidentally, that news agency (we're looking at you Bloomberg) had a wonderfully Freudian typo in their copy. They referred to George Osborne as the Chancellor of the axchequer.
     
     Cutting. 
  • 11:03
    Electric Picnic line-up has been released. 

    Oh. My. God.

  • 11:05
    David Bowie.

    Radiohead.

    Portishead.

    Nine Inch Nails.

    The Flaming Lips. 

    David Bowie. 

    David Bowie. 

    David Bowie. 



  • 11:14
    Right so. David Bowie is NOT playing Electric Picnic. 

    That was a joke .

    And we were suckered by it.

    We're going off into a corner now to cry.

     Bitter tears of disappointment and shame.
  • 11:18
    If someone would like to send us a release announcing that Kurt Cobin has been found living in a commune in South America and has six new Nirvana albums ready to go we'll probably believe that too. 

    Seriously.

    We are that gullible.
  • 11:20
    We could take down that so not remotely true Bowie-to-play-EP post but we won't. We are going to leave there as an enduring reminder not to jump the gun. Ever. The Electric Picnic line-up will be released at 12:15pm.

     Sigh.
  • 11:36
  • 11:36
  • 11:41
    Dave McGinley Conor, not sure how real that poster is and it disappears as I send!
  • 11:41
    Niamh Byrne grrrrrr I got excited until I saw the picture. That was floating around twitter all day yesterday :(
  • 11:41
    Hazel Nolan If nothing else it will be an interesting and humourous example for your digital content talks :)
  • 11:42
  • 11:50
    "People shouldn’t bite people, but in a world where billionaire members of hereditary monarchies that have abysmal human rights records use soccer clubs as hobbies, there is something decidedly odd about using footballers’ follies as proxies for political debate." Very good piece by Colm Keena on ethics and morality in sport
     
  • 12:08
    “ L’austérité ne marche pas ,” reads the headline in Aktuell , the monthly magazine of Luxembourg’s biggest trade union. The simple catchphrase – “Austerity does not work” – is emerging as something of a rallying cry across Europe, amid public disaffection with Europe’s response to the economic crisis."  Suzanne Lynch is writing us a Letter from Europe today (and every Thursday). 
  • 12:20
  • 12:33
  • 12:33
  • 12:45
    The average price of a house across the State fell by 0.5 per cent last month while the year on year price decline was 3 per cent. Sounds bad, right? Well, it’s not. In the same 12-month from March 2011 to March 2012 property prices fell by 16.3 per cent. There are also clear signs that the Dublin/Not-Dublin divide is becoming more pronounced. While prices in the capital fell by 0.8 per cent in March year on year, residential property prices in Dublin are, on average, up by 1.4 per cent.

    Yes. Up.
  • 13:01
    I see that there has been a call for the Government to impose price freezes on our supermarkets if the supermarkets themselves don't act. It has come from independent TD John Halligan. That may sound like a great idea John but I'm not entirely sure we should be giving our politicians that level of control over prices.
  • 13:13
    Former Fianna Fail junior minister Ivor Callely is to stand trial accused of making a series of bogus mobile phone expense claims when he was a member of the Seanad. A book of evidence was served him by a fraud squad detective at Dublin District Court this morning. He will be tried on six counts of making false expense claims using invoices from three phone companies as “false instruments” at Leinster House for receipt of expenses for handsets


  • 13:14
    Tom Great new for all Irish Workers.Well done to the Waterford workers and their union UNITE
  • 13:24
    "Ocean Color Scene are surely the worst band that have ever existed". Feelings are running high in the comments section of Jim Carroll's On The Record blog. Worst band that ever existed? That's a bit harsh. Does that poster not remember Racey?

    Some girls do.

    (Yes, that is an old, sad person's joke).
  • 13:25
  • 13:25
  • 13:29
    Una Mullaly has just put up a good post on the importance of  accuracy in an online world.  

    *Whistles while  walking away with hands in pockets*
  • 13:40
    A series of vigils and protest marches are being planned by campaigners in Tullamore to try and get a  new footbridge in the town which spans  the Grand Canal named after missing Offaly woman Fiona Pender. Around 100 neighbours and friends of the 25-year-old went to a public meeting in the town last night and more then 11,000 people have signed a petition calling for the footbridge  to be named in her memory. The town council is saying no and recently adopted a policy whcih stops  infrastructure  being named after individuals.
  • 13:45
    New Beginning has just issued a release warning that the AIB decision to increase its interest rate “will kill the economy”.

    “On the one hand they say they are committed to solving the mortgage crisis and then they go and do the very opposite,” says New Beginning co-founder Ross Maguire. “The Bank needs to realise the simple reality: By increasing the amount people who can’t pay must pay, they are just making the problem worse.”

    He points out that while the bank has cited the need to lend at long-term sustainable pricing levels there is “nothing sustainable about increasing interest rates at a time of such distress” and he concludes by saying the bank “must recognise, or be made to recognise, that by serving its own ends it will kill the economy which will ultimately be to its own detriment”.
  • 14:14

    Ah look! There's Jeremy Paxman grilling Louise Mensch about her facelift last night. The BBC is running this earth shattering news it as a standalone story today.

    Why? Who knows. 

     

     

  • 14:21
    On his 26th birthday a man called José Matada set out for a new life in England. He stowed away inside the landing gear of a British Airways flight bound for London from Angola and hung on for dear life. He didn’t make it. When the undercarriage opened for the plane’s descent into Heathrow airport his frozen body fell to the ground. An inquest heard today that hypothermia had almost certainly killed him rather than the fall. He was found on the street with a solitary pound in his pocket. While he is thought to have originally come from Mozambique authorities in te UK have been unable to trace any family or officially confirm his identity.


  • 14:21
  • 14:22
  • 14:32
    BBSLP Great post from Una Mullaly. Shame she wasn't in charge of the website downgrade. Did the developers have big windows? From Bring Back the Single Letters Page
  • 14:36
    The trial of Liam Adams in Belfast has collapsed.
  • 14:52
    Enda Kenny said this afternoon that “no new rights” will be put in place when the Government legislates for limited abortion.
    Speaking in Dundalk the Taoiseach said the clarification that would be introduced would not change the law and would confirm existing rights ensuring that the lives of the mother and the unborn were given the equal status they had under the Constitution.
    “The law is not being changed on abortion. The law is being codified and the law when clarified will deal strictly with the Constitution...will deal with the X case and will do so without bringing any new rights here,” he said.
  • 14:54
  • 14:54
  • 15:00
    The big Lewandowski move is on, says his agent. And agents never lie.  
  • 15:01
    Yes, the main reason we linked to that sports story just there was because we wanted to use the phrase "The big Lewandowski".
  • 15:38
  • 15:44
    Oh no. Drugs have been found on Justin Bieber’s tour bus in Stockholm.

    Swedish police said  an officer on crowd duty smelled marijuana on the  empty tour bus which was parked outside the hotel where Bieber and his entourage were staying.

    The bus was searched and a small amount of as yet unidentified drugs were found. “We don’t know who had the drugs or who smoked them, so it will be hard to link them with any individual,” a police spokesman said and it now looks  unlikely that the case will be  pursued.

    Phew.  
  • 16:02
    Anzor Tsarnaev, father of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev - the two men suspected of carrying out the Boston bombings, gave a news conference today at which he denied his sons had planted the bombs and claimed they had been framed.
    Anzor Tsarnaev, father of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev - the two men suspected of carrying out the Boston bombings, gave a news conference today at which he denied his sons had planted the bombs and claimed they had been framed.
  • 16:11
    33,000 people have already applied to a Dutch-based organisation for a one-way ticket to Mars ten years from now. Yes. 33,000 since last Monday. Alarmingly 246 of these people are from Ireland, according to Nina Aziz, Chief Commercial Officer at Mars One, the organisation behind the mission.

    Irish applicants paid €25 to apply.

    40 per cent of the Irish applicants are from Dublin, they are most male (who woulda thunk it) and most of them are in their 20s. Someone from Mars One spoke to Ray Darcy this morning.

    Now, we're not going to say this is a scam.

    No, we're not.

    So far €825,000 have been collected.

    No, it is not a scam. No.
  • 16:12
  • 16:12
  • 16:15
    Okay, can you guess who owns that shoe? There will be no prize for the right answer.

  • 16:25
    The owner was online editor Shoe Lenihan. 

    Ha!  

    Sorry.