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The emigration 'brain drain', Arthur's Day afters and when giant hornets attack . . .

Dan Griffin Fri, Sep 27
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  • 08:59
    Good morning, it's the day after Black Christmas and a nation is wiping the sleep from its eyes, the drool from its mouth, and the make-up from its pillow case.

    And as thousands stumble wearily into work, brains pickled in stout, news reaches us this morning that the finest minds of a generation are leaving the country en masse. 

    Researchers at UCC have confirmed the hordes of young people emigrating from Ireland are more likely to have a higher level of education than the general population.

    A report to be published today reveals that 62 per cent of emigrants aged 25 to 34 have a third-level qualification, compared to 47 per cent of Irish people in that age group overall.

    Ciara Kenny has more.
  • 09:12
    Our other top stories this morning:

    An international report on climate science to be published today by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will say--with 95 per cent certainty--that human activity is causing global warming.

    The National Asset Management Agency expects to be left with a “rump” of €900 million of assets and land that it will not be able to shift by its target wind-down date in 2020. This is from a total portfolio of nearly €32 billion of loans purchased three years ago.
  • 09:27
    The always enjoyable How to Spend It magazine comes with today's Financial Times. For those not in the know, How to Spend It is like a poor man's version of the Gloss magazine, offering spending and lifestyle advice for the modern billionaire.

    So, if you've got it, why not spend €4,935 on a Timorous Beasties for Ercol Blotch Studio couch. While you're at it you might as well go for a set of 18 carat gold Longmire cuff links for €4,644.
  • 09:30
    martyb Is arthurs day something to celebrate or should Guinness stop hijacking our love affair with drink with smart marketing ?
  • 09:33
    The readers of How to Spend It magazine are probably unperturbed by the gripes of Ryanair pilots. But regular users of the low cost airline might be interested to read Colm Keena's article in today's business supplement.
  • 09:36
    I suppose it depends on who you ask, martyb. It's easy to point the finger and blame Diageo but these naked marketing events would never get off the ground if they didn't enjoy significant public buy-in.
  • 09:41
    Jim I had a great night thanks to Arthur last night, didn't end up in hospital and I'm in work this morning. Good clean fun. So it turns out all those articles were for nothing!
  • 09:53
    The third-level education grant award body Susi says it is two months ahead of where it was in the processing of grants last year, Dick Ahlstrom reports.

    So it seems then that like many a feckless fresher before it who spent their first year dossing about, missing deadlines and failing basic tests, Susi has finally pulled up its socks in second year.

    Two months ahead at this stage is good because not long ago it was about 10 months behind for a number of students. Earlier this week it emerged that the Ombudsman had been asked to intervene in disputes wit Susi, with 55 complaints accepted.
  • 09:59
  • 10:15
    Gardaí have reported no serious incidents in the wake of the Arthur's Day celebrations, although emergency services say callouts were above average.

    Pamela Duncan was out on the town last night.
  • 10:35
    The British government said today it expected the Royal Mail postal service to be valued at as much as £3.3 billion when it makes its London stock market debut next month.

    Interesting how the success of and eBay and sites like them led to a large increase in the amount of parcel mail being sent, which had the knock-on effect of buttressing postal services like the Royal Mail against the decline in letter mail.  

    A bit like the way the rise of digital readers like the Kindle led to an explosion in erotic literature because the other passengers on the train couldn't see that you were reading The Forbidden Pleasures of Desdemona on your way to work.
  • 10:52
    Staying with the UK now where the Guardian reports Tesco has joined Asda in apologising for selling a fancy dress constume that stigmatises those with mental health issues.

    The supermarket decided to withdraw a bright orange adult Psycho Ward costume from its website after a flurry of complaints.

    In a statement, Tesco said they were "really sorry for any offence this has caused". When I was in school in Oranmore, Co. Galway, Psycho Ward was a nickname, certainly not a Hollowe'en costume.
  • 10:54
  • 11:06
    "I should be in favour of abolishing the Seanad – I railed against it long enough. A decade ago, I debated the elitism of its electoral system on radio with David Norris, who declared me “jealous” because I hadn’t been to Trinity and thereby wasn’t entitled to vote for him."

    John Waters gets his spake in on the Seanad.

     You'll also notice in the comments section that Mongo Smellybeard has a thing or two to say as well, over and over again.
  • 11:09
    The five permanent members of the deeply divided United Nations Security Council have agreed on a resolution to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons.
  • 11:15
    Micheál Martin is talking to Sean O'Rourke on Radio 1 now.

    It's five years since the bank guarantee and Martin holds the view that it was "the least worse option at the time".
  • 11:16
    The ECB bank post Lehmans was not supporting any bank failing, Martin says, adding that such a policy was a mistake. He says that in hindsight the Irish bank guarantee could have been narrower.
  • 11:18
  • 11:22

    Micheál Martin on Bertie:

    As a leader of Government and cabinet he achieved a lot (Peace Process)

    In terms of the economy the greatest mistake made was the unquestioning faith in social partnership.  

    Previous leaders of FF don't embarrass Martin, he says, but he adds that he would be "very annoyed" about some of the scandals that have beset the party over the years.  

  • 11:33
  • 11:44
    Micheál Martin is outlining his argument for a reformed Seanad instead of an abolished Seanad.

    Previously I (me, that is, not the Fianna Fáil leader) have argued for a cephalopodic bicameral system inspired by Paul the Octopus's oustandingly successful performance during the the 2010 World Cup.

    It would see the second chamber replaced by an an aquarium containing a popularly elected octopus and two perspex boxes marked 'Yes' and 'No'. If the octopus takes its food from the 'Yes' box, the Bill goes through, from the 'No' box, the Bill is delayed.

    The octopus's term would last two years, in line with an average life-cycle.
  • 11:48
  • 11:56
    A press release landed into the news inbox a short while ago: "News diary notice Rosanna Davison and Jedward to launch 'My Dog Ate It.'" We'll leave that one be for the time being.
  • 12:08
    Twenty-eight people have died and hundreds have been injured in a wave of attacks by giant hornets in central China, according to reports.

    Victims described being chased for hundreds of metres and stung as many as 200 times.
  • 12:18
    The Immigrant council of Ireland has called on the Government to act on growing evidence that sex-trafficking is going undetected.

    The Council was responding to new figures showing 48 people were identified as victims of trafficking in 2012, of which 23 were children and 39 were sexually exploited.

    The warning came at the Annual Mothers and Daughters Fundraising lunch in Dublin today where the guest speaker was former Tanaiste Mary Harney.
  • 12:34
  • 12:57
    David Cameron seems to be taking a leaf from his chum Enda Kenny's book by refusing to take part in a TV debate with the leader of the Scottish National Party Alex Salmond over a referendum on Scottish independence.

    Taoiseach Enda Kenny has steadfastly refused to face Micheál Martin in a televised debate on the Seanad referendum, saying he doesn't want to "embarrass" the Fianna Fáil leader.

     Now the British prime minister has written to the Scottish first minister declining and invitation for a head-to-head showdown, the BBC reports.

     In his letter to Salmond, Cameron did agree there should be a televised debate on the subject but said it would be more appropriate for former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling--who is heading pro-Union campaign group Better Together--to go toe-to-toe with the charismatic Scottish leader.

     The prime minister said: "It is a well understood and reasonable principle that you get to pick your own team's captain, but not your opponent's as well."

    That's probably a wise move from the PM. Darling is Labour and has a strong Scottish background. Furthermore, given the widespread disdain for the Tories in Scotland and their leader's reputation as being something of a southern toff, Cameron would probably alienate Scottish voters no matter how well he performed in a televised debate.
  • 13:07
  • 13:22
    Willie Frazer, how did we ever doubt your sincerity? Earlier this month the loyalist campaigner said he would dress up as radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza for a court appearance. Frazer was charged with six offences relating to the Union flag protests in Belfast.

    One of the charges was for offences in contravention of the 2007 Serious Crime Act and marked the first time that act had been used in Northern Ireland (it was originally introduced to deal with radical fundamentalists, you see).

    "It's so ridiculous that I might as well go as a Muslim," he told the Belfast Telegraph earlier this month. And so he did.

  • 13:34
    Pass the marmalade.

  • 13:39

    The tenacious Pat McQuaid was finally ousted from his position as president of the  International Cycling Union. Britain's Brian Cookson will be the next head of the cycling body after winning the election by 24 votes to 18.

    The Irish Times sports team are working on the full story at the moment. Expect it to be on the site shortly.

  • 13:42
  • 13:43
    GTM Only Arthur's Day trauma I encountered was people being forced to switch from Murphy's to Guinness for one night, Saw 3 bands and had a blast. 10E a ticket too. Pricewatch would be impressed with that!
  • 13:48
    Brian Cookson will become the next president of the International Cycling Union after defeating incumbent Pat McQuaid in a vote on Friday. Cookson, president of British Cycling, won by 24 votes to 18 following a controversial election during which McQuaid’s eligibility to stand was queried by some. Read more

    In other sport news, Rory McIlroy has confirmed that he has left Horizon Sports and set up his own management company, which will be called Rory McIlroy Incorporated.
  • 14:05
    Dubbed the three-finger salute by computer geeks, the Ctrl+Alt+Del command was always a bit of an odd combination of key strokes for such a basic function, writes Eoin Burke-Kennedy.
  • 14:10
    Meanwhile, in eastern China, the city of Yangzhong has spent 70 million yuan (€8.4 million) building a giant bronze statue of a puffer fish. It's strangely beautiful.
  • 14:21
    A lawyer for the family of a man whose body was pulled from Newry canal two years after he went missing has hit out after he was told they faced another delay in holding an inquest into his death.
  • 14:28
    Why is it that whenever Google turns its homepage logo into doodle it makes international news? TIME, the Guardian, Forbes and plenty of others have stories about today's doodle. CNET has a retrospective of their favourite doodles through the years. It's like running news stories whenever McDonald's change their Happy Meal toys.
  • 14:31
    The Kenyan authorities are holding eight people in connection with the major weekend attack on a Nairobi shopping mall, while three others who had been held have now been released, the interior minister said today.
  • 14:40
    Kevin But the Google Doodle today is a game! Slowly stopping everyone work on a Friday afternoon.
  • 14:42
    What's your high score, Kevin?
  • 14:42
    Pat Cannon They found water on Mars! Water! On Mars! And no, somebody hasn't spilled a drink on their mid-afternoon snack!
  • 14:47
    That's right, Pat.

    The Irish Times via Reuters
    : Analysis of Martian soil by Nasa's ongoing Mars Curiosity rover has turned up a surprising amount of water, as well as a chemical that will make a search for life more complicated, scientists have said.

    Now, never mind that second part, the water means there's almost certainly life on the red planet, great herds of Martian antelope roaming the plains of Utopia, probably.
  • 14:48
    Kevin At the moment 169, though a colleague here has 172!
  • 14:55
    I wonder can anyone beat that? There's an Irish Times pen for the highest Google doodle score of the day (as long as a certain quorum of entries is reached). You have until 5pm people.
  • 14:56
    Cormac Google doodle office best is 179
  • 14:58
    Right, moving away from that for a while. Tiger Woods has been voted player of the year on the US PGA tour.
  • 15:12
    The most read story of the day on has been  Ctrl+Alt+Del command was a mistake, admits Gates. The fact that it's the most read is troubling its writer, Eoin Burke-Kennedy, who's sitting here beside me. "It is," he sighs, "a nothing story", centring on the slightly cumbersome combination of keystrokes as opposed to a shortcoming in the command itself.

    Besides, Burke-Kennedy and I agree that's it's not even all that cumbersome a combination. It would be much more awkward to perform, for instance, Ctrl+F7+Num Lock.

    Anyway, readers, we want your input. Tell us the most awkward three-key-stroke combination for the most asinine command you can think of. The best one wins an Irish Times pen.
  • 15:13
    Jim The Arthur's day blues have kicked in and sadly it's not the good clean fun it seemed to be when I rolled into work this morning (I cycled in)
  • 15:17
    Ah Jim, we did detect a certain residual giddiness in your earlier comment. This update comes as no surprise. If only you had paid more heed to those articles you so dismissed so flippantly this morning.
  • 15:25
    Declan I couldn't understand what you were on about. Here in Kenya, on we don't have a doodle. We have a black ribbon in memorial of the dead at Westgate. I tried and found that my score is so feeble that I have no chance of a pen
  • 15:41
    The four-year backlog at the Supreme Court is an “unsustainable situation” with untold costs for society and the economy, Chief Justice Susan Denham has said, writes Ruadhan Mac Cormaic.
  • 15:48
    Jim Spectacular scenes here as I rack up a 177 on the Google Doodle
  • 15:48
    179 is the score to beat, Jim.
  • 15:51
    More here on Loyalist campaigner Willie Frazer who turned up to face charges at a Belfast court today wearing a flowing black robe, skullcap, fake beard, an eye-patch and hooked hand.
  • 16:04
    Something for the weekend? Some hanking maybe:

    "This year’s Kilkenny Trails Festival will come to a conclusion with this Sunday’s Harvest Picnic at Highbank Orchard, when a series of events will take place including Ireland's first ever National Onion hanking championship!

    "Hanking is the artisan skill of plaiting onions to hang and store them over the winter (still practiced on Irish farms but also commonplace in Normandy). A good hank is one where the lowest hanging onion can be taken from the plait without disturbing the rest; it should be substantial (lots of onions!), durable (doesn’t fall apart) and visually appealing ( extra points for creativity here!)."
  • 16:13
    Last weekend the Sunday Times reported Dublin City Council wanted to impose a charge of €500 per production on film-makers shooting in the capital. But today the Herald reports the council has ditched the plan following discussions with the Irish Film Board. 

  • 16:13
    Feargal In work using Internet Explorer 8. The play icon doesn't even appear on the Google Doodle. Otherwise I am sure I would rack up a high score. Fairly sure. Probably. Maybe ..
  • 16:16
  • 16:18
    GTM Ah Jim. You'll be giving Diageo a bad name with this post-Arthur's Day blues syndrome. I wonder if they'll contribute to offset this phenomenon?
  • 16:27
    At his final company meeting, departing Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer danced to Michael Jackson's Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' and cried, the BBC reports.
  • 16:46
    The Financial Times  today carries a nice elegy to the Volkswagen camper van, which will be discontinued in December after 63 years of production.  

    "A sad fate for a vehicle cool enough to feature on the cover of the album Freewheelin' Bob Dylan while also being sufficently rough and ready to be the workhorse of South American postal services," notes Henry Foy.

    In the end it was "the irrepressible march of health and safety that did for the camper". Looming regulation in Brazil, the last country where the van is built, mandate airbags and other safety features on all new vehicles and Volkswagen says it isn't feasible to adapt the van and the factory to cater for these.

    Ten million of the campers were built across six decades. Production in Brazil will stop on December 31, years after European safety regulstions curtailed production in Germany.
  • 16:48
    The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has appealed for assistance from  people who may have information in relation to a recent shooting of a Sparrowhawk (Accipter nisus) in the Rathkenny area of Navan Co Meath. 

    The bird was found hanging dead from a gate post to a field along a public road.  The Sparrowhawk is a small bird of prey common in the Irish countryside.  It hunts small birds along hedgerows and in woodland.  It is a very fast and agile hunter and it is often only seen as a quick flash in flight. This beautiful small bird of prey poses no threat to livestock or crops and it is protected under the Wildlife Act.

    National Parks and Wildlife Service are appealing to anyone with information to contact the local Navan office on 0761002636.
  • 17:00
    Okay folks, we'll leave it on that rather unfortunate note about the sparrow hawk. Have a nice weekend, enjoy the hurling--here's hoping the Banner make it second time lucky.
  • 17:05
    Oh yeah, Cormac, you, or whoever got that score, win the pen. If you want it send me an email,