The Daily Wire

Ryanair's hunt for digital dissenters, the world's ugliest animal and more on the FAI's vacancy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy Thu, Sep 12
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  • 09:11
    Winston Churchill once famouly described watching Soviet politics from the outside as "like watching two dogs fighting under a carpet". It's clear that something is happening, but it's hard to tell what.

    Vladimir Putin has lobbed something of a grenade into the high-stakes diplomacy over Syria with an opinion article in the New York Times, calling on America not to take military action against Syria, and sharply criticising US foreign policy.

    “Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan 'you’re either with us or against us',” he said.

    He then goes on to claim that the chemical weapons attack on August 21st on a suburb of Damascus was not the work of the Syrian army but rebel forces seeking to draw a foreign power into Syria’s civil war.

    Despite Russia blocking every move by the UN security council against Syria over the past two years, Putin urged that the security council be used to solve the crisis. I mean, really?

    After scoring such a diplomatic coup, in getting the White House to abide by a chemical weapons decommissioning plan in Syria, what is Putin up to? Was this latest fusillade intended more for a Russian audience? Will it not antagonise America, rallying resolve for a military strike, or generally increasing tensions? Was he serious about using the UN after frustrating every possible UN option up until now?

    I need one of those crusty old Oxford dons that used to parse Soviet politics to tell me what's going on. Goddammit, I'm off to see what Robert Fisk says.

    BTW, I forgot to say, Good Morning. I'm Eoin Burke-Kennedy and I'll be steering the live blog today.
  • 09:26
    Our friends in Paddy Power have installed Martin O'Neill as 4/9 favourite to become the next Irish manager. According to our soccer correspondent Emmet Malone, O'Neill 'is interested' and keen to speak to the FAI about the vacancy. Read it here.

    I think the job should be jointly awarded to Mick McCarthy and Roy Keane, on the grounds that if we're not going to qualify for anything we might as well enjoy some touchline bust-ups.
  • 09:30
  • 09:54
    The US government may have a digital surveillance rival in the form of Ryanair. The airline is apparently taking steps to identify people who are making anonymous critical comments on the internet about its attitude towards safety. A report by Colm Keena is currently the most read piece on our site. Read it here.

    I'd just like to say that I have no issue with Ryanair's safety record. I find the service - the website, the baggage allowance, the tasty inflight food and the delightful on-time jingle, to be top-notch.
  • 10:08
    Breaking news: Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villers says there will be no public inquiry into Omagh bombing. The bomb was one of the worst atrocities of the conflict and relatives have fought long and hard for a public enquiry into whether the authorities - North and South - could have done more to prevent it. Ms Villiers said: “I do not believe that there are sufficient grounds to justify a further review or inquiry above and beyond those that have already taken place or are ongoing.”
  • 10:25
    More on the Omagh decision: Ms Villiers said it was not an easy decision to make and all views were carefully considered. “I believe that the ongoing investigation by the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland is the best way to address any outstanding issues relating to the police investigation into the Omagh attack.

    “The fact remains that the Real IRA carried out the bombing in Omagh on 15 August 1998, murdering 29 people and injuring many more. Responsibility is theirs alone. I sincerely hope that the ongoing police investigation will bring to justice those responsible for this brutal crime.

    “I have met representatives of the Omagh Support and Self Help Group, as have a number of my predecessors as Secretary of State. I have offered to meet them again to explain my decision further if they wish.”
  • 10:27
  • 10:31
  • 10:40
    Reaction to Omagh decision: Michael Gallagher, whose 21-year-old son Aiden, was among the Omagh victims, condemned the decision, describing the reasons given by Ms Villiers for ruling out a public inquiry as “trivial”.

    He told Sky News: “Should we be denied truth and justice because other people don’t want it?” Referring to his belief that the bomb attack could have been prevented, he said: “The reality is that Aiden need not have died.”

    He added: “Both the British and Irish governments failed to protect the human rights of those people.” And he said that victims’ families would be mounting a legal challenge to the decision by Ms Villiers.
  • 11:00
    Evoluntionary biologist and author Richard Dawkins on Newstalk's Pat Kenny show, talking about child abuse and his experience of "mild paedophilia" while at boarding school.  

    He described his experience as a form of "mild touching up" and not abuse, or anything like the horrible stories of habitual abuse suffered by some children. He also said the experience did not do him any lasting harm.

    One listener called him weird for labelling parents who forced their children to accept their religious beliefs as abusers, while declining to label "mild paedophilia" as abuse.
  • 11:17
    The OECD says Ireland's economy is definitely turning a corner, with economic activity and employment slowly recovering.

    In its biennial survey of the country, the Paris-based organisation says Ireland’s national debt should peak this year, and the Government's budgetary policy was putting the national debt on a sustained downward path.

    Despite some progress, however, it noted unemployment was still high, emigration had returned and poverty was increased, adding to heavy debts and financial distress.

    The latter point is very pressing. The fear is that the next five years of positive growth and "corner turning" will do little to erode unemployment, dent emigration and tackle household debt levels.
  • 11:22
  • 11:45
    Presenting the world's ugliest creature: the blobfish
    Presenting the world's ugliest creature: the blobfish
  • 11:46
    Perhaps it's unfair to judge it out of water, but the blobfish looks more like a slimy mass that's been surgically removed from some-one's gut. Nonetheless, the grumpy-looking blob of pinky/grey flesh, which lives in deep water off Australia, has been crowned the world's ugliest animal by the Ugly Animal Preservation Society.

    The society ran an online vote to draw attention to "aesthetically challenged" threatened species. The winner was announced at the British Science Festival in Newcastle just moments ago.
  • 13:03
    Ryanair's hunt for digital dissenters remains the most read story on the site.  

    Our Cantillon column today wonders whether its campaign to out people who have been making anonymous postings about its safety is being driven by business concerns or a heretofore undetected sensitivity on the part of its long-serving boss, Michael O'Leary.

    As I write this, the Daily Mail and Irish Daily Mail have just settled a libel action with the airline over reports based on Channel 4's Dispatches documentary, which raised safety concerns about the airline's fuel load policy.

    O'Leary said the settlement vindicated its standing as one of the safest airlines in Europe. He also vowed to press ahead with separate legal action in the Irish courts against Channel 4 over its   documentary. “Those matters will continue against other parties who have also questioned our safety record,” he insisted.

    After being told today that the action had been settled, Mr Justice Gillen today approved a statement to be read out in court by Michael Kealey, the defendants’ legal manager, which detailed how the article referred to claims made by a body describing itself as a Ryanair Pilot Group and other allegations broadcast in the programme.

    “Ryanair does not accept the results of the survey conducted by the interim council of this group, whose chairman is a KLM pilot, or that the group represents the views of the majority of Ryanair’s pilots,” Mr Kealey said.

    Apart from these defamation cases,   Ryanair is in dispute with the UK's competition authority over its Aer Lingus stake, and is also fighting an unfair dismissal case in Norway, concerning a flight attendant who compared her work agreement to a 'slave contract'.

    Regardless of what you think about Europe's most successful budget airline, it doesn't shy away from a fight.
  • 13:25
    More on the blobfish: It lives at depths of  up to 1,200 metres where the pressure is significantly higher than at sea level. According to marine biologists, the pressure at such depths make 'gas bladders' inefficient for maintaining buoyancy.

    To combat this, the slimy mass of flesh that is the blobfish has a density slightly less than water which allows it to float above the ocean floor without expending energy swimming. Our science editor Dick Ahlstrom has a full report.
  • 13:25
    Gavin Collins The BLOBFISH is the deep sea's "ultimate couch potato". No oil painting and zero muscle tone, it's a ball of slime. But it won the vote and is in danger!
  • 14:05
    Ryanair's digital witch-hunt just got real. The airline has initiated nine cases against individuals who posted negative sentiment about its safety record on the website, which is used by people in the airline industry to discuss matters of professional interest.

    Three cases have been settled with apologies being published on and contributions being made to charity. A further six cases are still pending in the High Court in Dublin. Colm Keena has the full report.

    If I'm mysteriously disappeared while writing this blog, and flown to a disused hangar in Stansted for reprogramming, please don't be alarmed... 
  • 14:09
  • 14:16
    An aerial view shows the ill-fated Costa Concordia as it lies on its side next to Giglio Island taken from an Italian navy helicopter.
    An aerial view shows the ill-fated Costa Concordia as it lies on its side next to Giglio Island taken from an Italian navy helicopter.
  • 14:56
    I've just been informed by our in-house soccer gurus, Carl O'Malley and Emmet Malone, that the FAI will almost certainly want to have a new manager in place for the home game against Kazakhstan on October 15th, to generate a bit of interest in what is, for all intents and purposes, a dead rubber.

    Despite a buzz of speculation around Martin O'Neill, [he's 4/9 favourite with the bookies] FAI chief John Delaney told Sky Sports News that the search for Trap’s successor would not be rushed. Apparently, there was a 107-day interregnum between Staunton's departure and Trap's appointment.

    There are also rumours about Mick McCarthy, Roy Keane and Chris Hughton while Leeds boss Brian McDermott earlier ruled himself out of the equation.
  • 15:08
     Dublin Zoo's latest arrivals - red panda twins. Cute or what?
    Dublin Zoo's latest arrivals - red panda twins. Cute or what?
  • 15:32
    Hollywood hasn't finish with the Harry Potter brand just yet, it seems. After splitting the final Rowling book into two blockbuster movies, generating billions in revenue, Warner Bros has now tasked the author with writing a screenplay for a spin-off film based on the fictional Hogwarts textbook 'Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them'. It's the equivalent of quantitive easing Hollywood-style. I don't know why I said that, it doesn't really make sense. Anyway, the film will be the first in a planned series inspired by the book.
  • 15:37
    Breaking news: Norwich boss Chris Hughton has ruled himself out of the Irish manager's job, according to a report.
  • 16:21
    Something we haven't really touched on today is the European Commission's investigation into Ireland's, Luxembourg's and Holland's tax deals with multi-nationals.The Commission's competition arm is seeking information on whether selective advantages were granted, Antoine Colombani, spokesman for EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, said today.

    "It's too early to say whether formal state aid investigations will be opened," he said.
  • 16:37
    I missed this earlier. Anti-Islam pastor Terry Jones was arrested in Florida yesterday after announcing plans to burn nearly 3,000 copies of the Koran on a barbecue grill.

    Jones was towing the grill and the kerosene-soaked holy books in the back of his pickup truck to a park in Mulberry, Florida, according to follower Stephanie Sapp, whose husband, Marvin Wayne Sapp, was also arrested.

    Sapp said Jones's group, Stand Up America Now, had earlier announced plans on Facebook to torch the Korans on the anniversary of 9/11.

    I was trying to think of some witty cultural analogy between Jones and the blobfish but I couldn't come up with anything that wasn't insulting to the fish.
  • 16:40
    Pastor Terry Jones escorted by police after attempting to burn 3,000 Korans
    Pastor Terry Jones escorted by police after attempting to burn 3,000 Korans
  • 16:56
    Lisa Re. blobfish & Terry Jones? How about "one adapted to its environment, the other wants to adapt his environment to himself" or "they're both ugly, but *in their own way*"?
  • 17:10
    Combative words from Syria's president:

    Syria's Assad  says he will fulfil the initiative to hand over country's chemical weapons only when US stops threatening to strike Syria.

    The Syrian leader also says that Damascus will begin handing over information on its chemical weapons stockpiles one month after it joins a anti-chemical weapons convention.

    "When we see the United States really wants stability in our region and stops threatening, striving to attack, and also ceases arms deliveries to terrorists, then we will believe that the necessary processes can be finalised," he was quoted as saying in an interview with Russian state television.

    This is apparently the first time the regime has acknowledged its chemical weapons stockpile, and comes just hours before Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, and US secretary of state, John Kerry, meet for talks.
  • 17:25
    Here's a cheery one to end with. A group of leading academics have come together to identify a doomsday list of “existential risks” that threaten the planet.

    Rampant climate change, bioterrorism and intelligent computers are some of the dangers being investigated by the group, which includes British Astronomer Royal Lord Rees and physicist Professor Stephen Hawking.

    In a speech to the British Science Festival earlier today, Lord Rees said: “In future decades, events with low probability but catastrophic consequences may loom high on the political agenda. “That’s why some of us in Cambridge — both natural and social scientists — plan, with colleagues at Oxford and elsewhere, to inaugurate a research programme to compile a more complete register of these existential risks and to assess how to enhance resilience against the more credible ones.”

    “We fret too much about minor hazards of everyday life: improbable air crashes, carcinogens in food, low radiation doses, and so forth,” said Lord Rees. “But the wide public is in denial about two kinds of threats: those that we’re causing collectively to the biosphere, and those that stem from the greater vulnerability of our interconnected world to error or terror induced by individuals or small groups.
  • 17:27
    Ok folks, that's me done for the day. We'll be back in the morning.