News Blog

Live from Seattle for Microsoft's next generation Xbox console

Ciara O'Brien Tue, May 21
 
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  • 08:54
    Good morning, Genevieve Carbery here with the live news blog. Today we look at the aftermath of the mile-wide tornado in Oklahoma which has left at least 91 dead including children, we’ll have updates after another night of copious cups of coffee at the LRC as health and education unions try to cut a new pay deal, and tributes to founding member of the Doors and keyboardist Ray Manzarek who has died aged 74 from cancer
  • 08:59
    So Met Eireann has forecast temperatures of 19 degrees today but with temperatures currently hovering around nine or ten and the grey clouds firmly on place in Dublin, this feels like an apt song to pay tribute to keyboardist Ray Manzarek (Waiting for the Sun).
  • 08:59
  • 09:09
    This morning’s paper front pages:

    The Irish Daily Mail’s front page is all Alan Shatter as it compares his current difficulty to a February 2010 demand by Shatter for the resignation of then Defence Minister Willie O’Dea becasue he publicly discussed information furnished by the Garda to him about a political opponent. Sound familiar?

    The Herald has a different take on the Minister for Justice with a “50 Shades of Shatter” headline as it says a “raunchy novel” written by him has been referred to the Censorship office for being too “obscene” for Irish readers.

    The Irish Times lead stories are the Abortion Bill risks normalising suicide says psycvhiatrist, Nursing unions shown draft pay cut law and a shocking story from the Data Commissioners’ report by Elaine Edwards about how a nursing home used CCTV as a substitute for supervisory story

    The Star leads on the “Murder Dig in Rogue Cop’s Garden” as the search takes place in rural Cavan former home of the late John Kerins which the paper says is in connection with missing man Gerard Daly.

    Irish Independent leads with the Cavan body story and the US senators claiming apple is using its Irish arm to avoid tax.

    Irish Times Washington Correspondent Simon Carswell’s bite of the the Apple story can be read here The Examiner also leads on the Apple story, its Shatter angle is “TDs : Has Shatter got access to secret files” and a good day for Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary who benefited from the share boost after its annual results “O’Leary lands €23m in one day”
  • 09:22
    Some devastating pictures coming in from the US where the Oklahoma tornado is the deadliest in two years after 161 people died in Joplin, Missouri, two years ago.
    Crews are searching the wreckage of an elementary school that took a direct hit from the tornado. Among 91 people  there are at least 20 children among the dead.
    The twister has been ranked in the second most powerful category with winds up to 320km/h
  • 09:32
    National Guardsman and resident stand on what remains of a neighbourhood of Moore, Okla. Photo: Nick Oxford/ NYT
    National Guardsman and resident stand on what remains of a neighbourhood of Moore, Okla. Photo: Nick Oxford/ NYT
  • 09:36
  • 09:49
    One of the most disturbing aspects of the Oklahoma tornado story is the school which was directly hit. Some ariel footage of the school site to follow:
  • 09:49
  • 10:04
    In other news...there's  lots of chatter about Coleen and Wayne Rooney's baby and its name -  Klay. The best headline I've seen so far is from Entertainment.ie " Coleen Rooney gives birth to second son and names him after building material" .... is that my component of sports news covered for the day so?
  • 10:09
    Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore has backed Alan Shatter over the Wallace controversy .....well kind of .... "There is a desire that information which is available to the Gardai is not used in the course of political debate..however we do have to put that in the context of the cut and thrust of political debate" he told RTE's Tony Connolly
  • 10:17
    So the novel by our Minister for Justice described as "raunchy" in this morning's Herald is listed for just 1p from Amazon sellers. Get Laura: A Novel you will never forget  here before the censor does! Alternatively in slightly heavier offering his family law tome is available for £98!
  • 10:19
  • 10:21
  • 10:39

    The senate hearings on Apple will kick off in Washington DC about 2.30pm Irish time.  

    Among the accusations are a 2% tax rate negotiated with the Irish Government.

    In the detailed statement released by the subcommittee it says "A second Irish subsidiary claiming not to be a tax resident anywhere is Apple Sales International which, from 2009 to 2012, had sales revenue totaling $74 billion. The company appears to have paid taxes on only a tiny fraction of that income, resulting, for example, in an effective 2011 tax rate of only five hundreds of one percent"  

    Here’s a  link  to the statement released by the    Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on the matter.  

    This morning Eamon Gilmore told RTE that the Government was not to blame for the low rate of tax paid by Apple “They are not issues which arise from the Irish taxation system,” he said.

    By the way for us newbies to this wierd world  of creative accounting  - if you hear the term "double Irish" bandied about it's not two shots of whiskey. According to Wikipedia:  The double Irish arrangement is a tax avoidance strategy that US based multinational corporations use to lower their corporate tax liability.  The strategy uses payments between related entities in a corporate structure to shift income from a higher-tax country to a lower-tax country. It relies on the fact that Irish tax law does not include US transfer pricing rules  
     
  • 10:45
    In a saga running even longer than Shatter/Wallace, Justin Bieber’s monkey  has been “nationalised” in Germany.
    Mally the Monkey was seized by customs almost two months ago when the pop star failed to produce proper papers.
    Customs said it would formally transfer ownership of the animal to the German state today…..  and will rename the monkey Dieter Bieber ….(ok  that change of name bit is made up) 
  • 10:50
    Duncan Scott Nature at its most powerful and destructive. So sad, thoughts with all those affected.
  • 10:53
    Harrowing description of the Plaza Towers Elementary School rescue operation in Oklahoma has come in from AP
    “The storm tore off the roof, knocked down walls and turned the playground into a mass of twisted plastic and metal. Children from the school were among the dead, but several were pulled alive from the rubble. Rescue workers passed the survivors down a human chain. A man with a megaphone called out the names of surviving children. Parents waited nearby, hoping to hear their names.”
  • 10:57
  • 10:58
  • 11:03

    This CBS  video of a survior finding her dog under the rubble after the Oklahoma tornado in the middle of a TV news interview is getting a lot of attention  

  • 11:10
    Interesting case in the British High Court  today which will no doubt be closely watched here; it  will hear evidence  in a case where it is being asked to decide whether a  woman with a mental disorder is capable of making a decision about terminating her pregnancy. Read more here
  • 11:15
    The abortion hearings continue in the Seanad chamber here with legal experts giving evidence
  • 11:25
    Could this do more damage to Ireland’s image with Germans than all of our billions in bank debt and bailout combined? Anne Lucey writing in the Examiner reports that German TV station Spiegel is spending four days with Danny Healy-Rae to document his passion and support for rural dwellers. …....facepalm. More here:
  • 11:29
  • 11:37
    Some headline grabbing quotes from Conservative Lord Tebbit as UK PM Cameron faces party opposition to a gay marriage bill.
    Tebbit says the bill  opens up the possibility of a lesbian queen giving birth to a future monarch by artificial insemination and could allow him to marry his son to escape inheritance tax. More here
  • 11:50

    Our industry Correspondent Martin Wall has the latest details on revised Croke Park II  proposals for  teachers and nurses. Among the details are: 

    Teachers who lose supervision and substitution would receive the money back as part of their core pay within five years…also teachers would be entitled to a contract of indefinite duration after three years.

    Nurses would have to work a longer week of 39 hours (up from 37.5) but would retain their  double time premium Sunday payment...also a twilight shift allowance of time and one sixth would be suspended from July 1st

  • 11:52
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  • 12:07
  • 12:17
    Fintan O'Toole's article on emigration today and during the famine has just been published. He writes : "The old habit has reasserted itself: emigration substitutes for change and the lack of change reinforces emigration. Without a radical shift of direction, the Famine will continue into the next generation." The full article is here
  • 12:31

    The Wallace/Shatter controversy will finally be discussed inside the Dail chamber later today according to RTE.  What more is left to be said? We'll find out at 6.15pm when the justice minister will speak followed by statements from FF, SF, and technical group.    

  • 12:39
    There’s a paragraph from Mr Shatter’s novel darting around Twitter. It made me blush…a lot…. Not comfortable reading sitting at your desk (or anywhere really). The phrases "inexperienced hands"  “erupted” and “gasping for breath” are among those used.
  • 12:50
    So it looks like we can stop tutting about Met Eireann promising warm weather and sun which did not arrive. The sun is finally out in Dublin while temperatures have begun to shoot up across the country, according to the latest Met Eireann weather data. Midday temps of 14 were recorded in Galway, Cork, Phoenix Park Dublin with 15 degrees for the lucky folks at Roches Point! Really clutching at straws for a summer here.....hold off putting on your flip flops just yet.
  • 13:03
  • 13:10
    This is rather unusual.... – The Vatican has played down suggestions the pope may have performed an exorcism on a sick man.  …..Fuelling the speculation is the pontiff’s well-known obsession with the devil, a frequent subject of his homilies. More here
  • 13:21
    A plethora of concessions have come out of the public sector pay talks today. Contrary to how it may seem,  Brendan Howlin has just told RTE radio that he still intends to get the €300m saving this year. “We will certainly make cash savings we set out and have a better reform agenda than a couple of weeks ago”
  • 13:30
    Now that the sun's out I can begin to picture the possibility of a non-mud-covered Electric Picnic. A clatter of new acts have been announced today including Robert Plant, Ellie Goulding and Little Green Cars. Jim Carroll has more here
  • 13:45

    Retired Supreme Court judge Catherine McGuinness has just given evidence at the abortion hearings...saying parts of the Bill  very conservative ..she also said doctors would not kill viable babies.
    Earlier barrister Paul Brady told the hearing that allowing abortion for a suicidal woman marks a change in the law  .
    Meanwhile FF's Michael McGrath has called on his Micheal Martin to allow a free vote in the party on abortion legislation.     Hearings continue and can be viewed here.    

  • 13:50
    Aine McMahon has written about the resumed search in the garden of murdered ex-garda John Kerins where gardai believe missing man Gerard Daly may be buried.
    “Excavators have finished removing the large amount of concrete that was laid at the rear of Mr Kerins’ house shortly after a neighbour, disappeared two years ago” she writes. More here.
  • 14:21
    So earlier today I thought it would be Danny Healy Rae’s foray onto German TV that would damage our international reputation… but no it’s something rather more serious. Front page of NY Times, BBC to name but a few is Apple’s senate hearing on tax to begin in about ten minutes featuring among others Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook. We’ll have more as it comes in. 
  • 14:22
  • 14:41
    The Apple hearing in the US Senate subcommittee - including discussion of Irish tax regime - is being live streamed here 
  • 14:42
  • 14:43
  • 14:45
    Carl Levin of Senate subcommittee just used the word "alchemy" regarding Apple's Irish tax regime...and said company is "exploiting an absurdity" .
  • 14:47
  • 14:50
    Here's a video of that apparent exorcism by the pope - I can't really see anything happening but you may want to make up your own mind. It's here
  • 14:58
    Great analysis by Harry McGee ahead of this evening's penalty points statement in the Dail by Shatter.
    After referring to political spindoctors Karl Rove and Alastair Campbell he writes : " That said none of them reckoned for the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter. He doesn’t do apologies or climb-downs. Unlike virtually every other politician in Dáil Eireann he is not at all worried about what people think of him and so doesn’t do the hail-fellow-well-met act that most TDs and Senators do."  

    Read it in full here  
  • 15:00
    Carl Levin tells Senate subcommittee that Apple avoided one million dollars an hour - no typeo there $1m per  hour - in US taxes.
  • 15:04
  • 15:07
    Obama giving a statement on Oklahoma which is live here
  • 15:12
    Just one deftly crafted sentence says it all from Obama on Oklahoma:" There are empty spaces where there used to be living rooms, bedrooms and classrooms and in time we are going to need to refill these spaces with love laughter and community. "
  • 15:15
  • 15:18
    The 2nd of the Second Captains podcasts should be available by 4pm....but we'll let you know as soon as it is.
  • 15:22
    Stop what you’re doing, step away from your phone or computer, put on some sunglasses and flip flops and go enjoy the sunshine….it’s 17 degrees in Phoenix Park according to Met Eireann’s 3pm weather reports. 
  • 15:32
    A search of the Irish Times archive shows that Alan Shatter’s novel Laura reached number 3 in the bestseller charts October 1989. 
    It’s described on Amazon as a “this syrupy, heavy-handed first novel about a child-custody battle”.  About an Irish politician who  “is vocally pro-family and anti-abortion. But he doesn't practice what he preaches: having seduced his innocent secretary, Colette James, Brannigan suggests that she obtain an abortion when she finds herself pregnant”
  • 15:33
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  • 15:51
  • 15:54
    Time magazine thinks Silicon Valley has replaced Wall Street as the “new corporate bad guy”. More here  
  • 16:04
  • 16:04
  • 16:25
    One Direction gig just announced for Croke Park– more than a year ahead of the date in May 2014! Tickets on Sale May 25th 2013 for gig on May 24th 2014! How many teenie boppers will regret their purchasing decision by next May when their tastes have changed entirely?
  • 16:30
    The latest from our Dail team is that Taoiseach Enda Kenny has again defended Alan Shatter. Mr Kenny said it was outrageous for Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin to insinuate that Mr Shatter was collecting files on individuals and members of the House.
  • 16:39
    Great piece from Steven Carroll about the 900 looted Irish artefacts found by people using metal detectors ….who knew there was an  Amateur Metal Detectors Association of Ireland... but there is and  a spokesman says some criticism of the activity  “gung-ho” and unfair. “It’s the same as seeing a person use Ford  Transit to get away from a robbery and then saying everyone who has a Ford Transit is a criminal.” More here  
  • 16:39
  • 16:51
  • 16:51
  • 16:54
    The latest from Oklahoma –  - Emergency workers pulled more than 100 survivors from the rubble of homes, schools and a hospital , children have been rescued from the elementary school which took a direct hit but seven have died. However thunderstorm and lightning have been slowing the rescue effort.
  • 16:58

    Fanfare....and drumroll.....the second Second Captains podcast has arrived featuring Brian O'Driscoll. Enjoy it here

  • 16:58
    This photo of the interior of a home with the roof blown off from tornado damage in Moore, Okla is just in by Katherine Taylor/NYT
    This photo of the interior of a home with the roof blown off from tornado damage in Moore, Okla is just in by Katherine Taylor/NYT
  • 16:59
  • 17:01
  • 17:09
  • 17:15
    Senator McCain’s last question after some heavy grilling of Apple’s Tim Cook “Why the hell do I have to keep updating the apps on my iphone all the time”
  • 17:28
    The search at the home of murdered former Garda John Kerins has ended. Gardai were searching for missing man Gerard Daly but no body was found – Aine McMahon reports here 
  • 17:31
  • 17:36

    To end on a postiive note the mercury has hit 18 degrees at Phoenix Park as of 5pm! 

  • 17:37
    After a day which saw a saucier side of Shatter, a grilling of Apple’s CEO on Cook-ing the tax books, and glimpse of summer ….I’m  going to hand this Live Blog over to Ciara O’Brien in Seattle for Microsoft’s much anticipated launch of the new Xbox console...thanks for reading. 
  • 17:44
    It's a grey day in Seattle, where Microsoft is gearing up for its first console launch since 2005.
  • 17:46
    Two things: we're in a marquee on Microsoft's frankly massive campus; and it's a bit on the chilly side.
  • 17:47
    And the girl beside me is wearing Google Glass.
  • 17:47
    So what exactly can we expect from Microsoft's new console?
  • 17:49
    Some of the rumours that have been doing the rounds range from the sensible (a better Kinect) to the more sci-fi (illumiroom, anyone?).

    But one thing is for sure: Microsoft wants its console to be of your home entertainment,
  • 17:53
    Illumiroom looks interesting actually. It will project what's on the TV on to your room, making the game more immersive.
  • 17:56
    Another thing that's heavily rumoured is a redesign for the controllers, and more than likely the console itself. I'm not too sure on the controller redesign - I quite like them how they are to be honest - but a redesign of the console won't go amiss.

    The Xbox 360 has sold 77 million units since its launch in 2005.
  • 17:56
    And we're ready to go.
  • 18:02
  • 18:03
    Don Mattrick is on stage to give us the lowdown. He's very excited, apparently, promising a more intelligent TV, better looking games etc.
  • 18:04
  • 18:05
    The living room has changed radically with cloud, gesture and more devices, Mattrick says.That whole "Xbox as the entertainment hub" is looking pretty much spot on right now.
  • 18:06
    Xbox One is new console.
  • 18:07
  • 18:08
    Cloud powered, so if you haven't jumped on that particular bandwagon,you're about to.
  • 18:11
    Xbox One will instantly recognise users and send them to their own home screens. It remembers what you were doing last,can pick it up again. And there are "trending" activities, so you can see what everyone else is at.
  • 18:11
    Voice commands allow you to switch to TV just by telling the Xbox to turn to live TV.
  • 18:12
  • 18:13
    Gesture control for TV too - I can forsee some hilarious issues with this.
  • 18:14
  • 18:15
    Skype is integrated to the Xbox - that works in Snap mode too, so you can watch a movie and chat at the same time
  • 18:16
  • 18:16
  • 18:17
    Xbox One has its own TV guide. I wonder if it will make it this side of the Atlantic? It's all voice controlled, so no more hunting for the remote.
  • 18:19
    Marc Whitten is about to explain what's behind all this new technology. Intelligent TV, voice gestures etc need a lot of tech to back it up.
  • 18:20
    There's 8GB of Ram, as expected. And a BluRay drive. Apparently it's practically silent. It'll need to be if it's going to be a home entertainment hub.
  • 18:21
    Anyone remember the older consoles? They were noisy as hell. Totally distracted you.
  • 18:23
    The Kinect sensor is key to the whole system, redesigned with 1080p wide capture. They've also changed how it picks up movement, more joints in the tracking, it can read your heartbeat while you're exercising.
  • 18:25
  • 18:26
    There's a new version of Xbox live coming. More powerful and more intelligent. More than 300,000 servers will be behind it.
  • 18:27
  • 18:29
    Of course, if they don't get the games for the console, all this fancy hardware will be for nothing. EA is up now to explain a new partnership. Fifa, Madden, UFC and NBA Live will all come to the new console, powered by a new game engine - Ignite.
  • 18:30
  • 18:33
  • 18:35
    You'll never get d idea of what the games can do from blurry camera phone pics, but trust me, they look good. More than good.
  • 18:37
    Forza Motorsport 5 on Xbox One looks almost photorealistic. But we want to see gameplay.
  • 18:38
    It's going to be a launch title, but we have to wait til E3 to see more.
  • 18:39
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  • 18:50
    Xbox is partnering with the NFL too, with exclusive, interactive content. So if you're into that kind of thing, you can snap your fantasy team to the live broadcast,en ring your friends on Skype to taunt them. Probably less of a pull on this side of the water, unless they do a deal with the EPL.
  • 18:50
  • 18:52
    Xbox One will launch later this year globally. There isn't a firm date just yet though.More to come at E3, Mattrick says. We'd be interested in seeing some gameplay footage.
  • 18:54
    Call of Duty is doing another exclusive downloadable content deal, but with xbox one. Call of Duty Ghosts will be built for next gen consoles. New characters, new world, new next gen engine.
  • 18:56
  • 18:57
  • 18:59
    This had better live up to promises. Do not risk angering the CoD fans, Infinity Ward.
  • 19:00
  • 19:07
    That's our lot until E3. So to recap: better Kinect, intelligent TV and graphics that - at first glance - seem to be a massive step up from what we have now. And rightly so; it's been eight years since the Xbox 360 launched, and the new console has been four years in the development.

    It's not going to be an easy run for Microsoft. Sony is launching the Playstation 4 later this year too, and it's also pushing into the gesture control space too.
  • 19:11
    It's going to be an interesting year in the games industry, I think.
  • 19:45
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