News Ireland daily BLOG update

Wednesday 1st January 2014

Ireland and Limerick welcomes in & celebrates the New Year

Thousands attend star-studded New Year concerts


Rock star Dolores O’Riordan popped the cork on a night of dazzling celebrations in her native Limerick City to kick-start its honorary role as Ireland’s first ever National City of Culture.

The Cranberries star received a real Munster roar as she performed a gig in front of 2,500 lucky revellers in front of St Mary’s Cathedral, built in 1168 on the banks of the River Shannon where the Vikings once landed.

The New Year’s Eve night sky was set on fire with a fireworks extravaganza, and a movie written by local actor and playwright Mike Finn was beamed out across the facades of buildings along the banks of the River Shannon.

Irish rockers The Coronas, Derry star SOAK and local talent Leading Armies, warmed the spirits of the thousands who braved a cold and wet New Year’s Eve night.

It’s hoped the celebrations will set the tone for the next 365 days which Finance Minister and Limerick TD Michael Noonan said would leave a lasting positive legacy for the city.

Earlier in the evening, around 50 performers from Music Generation Limerick emerged on to a makeshift platform at Arthur’s Quay Park overlooking the raging River Shannon, to perform the City of Culture song.

The song, a mash-up of two classic hits, Bob Marley’s ‘Everything Is Gonna Be Alright’, and ‘Let It Be’ byThe Beatles sounded into the heavens to herald the city’s cultural year.

The streets were illuminated like a fairyland with hundreds of Chinese lanterns, glowing floats, and fairy lights.

The historic bells of St Mary’s Cathedral were rung at midnight, marking the New Year, and announcing Limerick’s new role as City of Culture 2014.

Meanwhile, thousands gathered in the capital for a dizzying fireworks show, a parade of lanterns, and a star-studded concert to welcome the New Year last night. Dublin‘s streets were illuminated yesterday afternoon as hundreds of dancers and street performers thrilled the crowds during the People’s Procession of Light to mark the closing of The Gathering 2013.

The procession wound from College Green to St Stephen’s Green with bands, aerial-acrobats and stilt-walkers entertaining the crowds.

The colourful parade ended with a jaw-dropping acrobatic show at the Green as two performers dangled from a crane high above the crowd.

The Three NYE Dublin Countdown Concert at College Green kicked off at 8.30pm headlined by British ska band Madness, and also featured girl-band MKS (Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan), formally known as the Sugababes.

The concert was presented by Irish MTV star Laura Whitmore together with TV personalities Daithi O Se and Sinead Kennedy.

Ahead of the celebrations, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar said he wanted the capital’s New Year’s Eve bash to rival those held in other major cities.

“Dublin is very much on the map in terms of tourism events. We have great sporting events and St Patrick’s Day Festival in March but we want to add to that and make New

Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Gilmore fall out over same-sex marriage


Taoiseach Enda Kenny has sharply disagreed with Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore’s claim that same-sex marriage is the “civil rights issue of our generation”, exposing a serious divide between the government parties over holding another hornets’ nest social issue referendum.

“I wouldn’t have the same opinion as the Tanaiste,” Mr Kenny said.

Mr Kenny’s comments expose a split between himself and Mr Gilmore, who lobbied hard to get government approval to hold a referendum on the issue in mid-2015.

The Tanaiste previously said that if Labour as a party was serious about building a new progressive society, same-sex marriage was an issue which had to be resolved — a stance that has provoked grave disquiet within Fine Gael.

The open disagreement between Mr Kenny and Mr Gilmore is the most public dispute between them since taking office.

And it also reflects the deep reluctance within FG to tackle such a controversial social issue within the lifetime of this administration.

“We have had enough of this sh***,” said one FG minister. “We are not going again. We did the abortion, we are not f****** doing this one. We got away with the abortion one, but this referendum is guaranteed to be defeated,” the minister added.

There is still rancour within FG in the wake of the deeply divisive Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill and the recent Seanad Referendum defeat.

Weary party members believe both defeats were self-inflicted and could have been avoided.

Mr Kenny was speaking at a briefing for political correspondents and acknowledged the difficulty this referendum posed for many conservatives in his party.

“It is a matter for debate and discussion. Obviously the Fine Gael party has a broad range on any piece of legislation. People are entitled to have their own views, of course,” Mr Kenny said.

In disagreeing with Mr Gilmore, Mr Kenny said for him the burning issue of the day was the creation of jobs, but said he would canvass in support of the proposal, despite acknowledged reluctance within his own parliamentary party.

“I wouldn’t have the same opinion as the Tanaiste. Don’t get me wrong, I support it and I will canvass for it,” he said.

Mr Kenny said for him the “the single-biggest issue is jobs and employment”.

“This is what politics is about. That is where the country thrives, that is where our economy will thrive. For me, my politics, the big thing is to get this country back to work. Everything flows from that,” he said.

Despite the stated commitment to hold the referendum in 2015, Mr Kenny said there was still no government decision as to when the question would be put to the people.

“It is not decided yet when that referendum will be or what series of referendums we will do.

“I want to take careful note of the report on the last two referendums, particularly the makeup of the ballot paper,” he said.

Mr Kenny said the government decision to hold the referendum came on foot of a constitutional convention report.

The Taoiseach also indicated that the same-sex referendum would be held on the same day as several other recommended referendums proposed by the convention.

“It is a matter for Government to decide whether we do a constitution day with three or four or five referenda on the one day as recommendations from the constitutional convention and allow that to happen,” he said.

Last month, a Red C Poll carried out for Paddy Power showed more than three-quarters of Irish voters backed the introduction of same-sex marriages.

The survey suggests 76 per cent of the electorate would vote in favour of allowing gay couples to legally wed in Ireland.

Less than a fifth, 18 per cent, of likely voters were opposed to its introduction with 6 per cent saying they didn’t yet know whether to back it or not, according to the RedC poll for Paddy Power.

A referendum is to be held on the issue in 2015.

Controversial Irish abortion law comes into effect


A new law allowing abortion in some circumstances when a woman’s life is considered to be in danger has come into force in Ireland today, despite clinical guidelines for doctors to follow not yet being in place.

The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act allows abortions where doctors believe there is a threat to the life of the mother.

The controversial law was passed in July after the death of Savita Halappanavar who was refused an abortion while miscarrying in October 2012.

The 31-year old Indian dentist was denied a termination because her life was not thought to be at risk but died a week later of septicemia.

Irish Health Minister James Reilly said that the Coalition government would not be taking any more measures and that the abortion issue is now dealt with. He added that the precise guidelines on the legislation will be worked out by the Medical Council.

“The one outstanding issue is the clinical guidelines, which are a matter for clinicians and totally out of our control.There will be clinical guidelines for obstetricians from the Institute of Obstetricians and for psychiatrists from the Royal College of Psychiatrists,” he told the Irish Independent.

Reilly insisted that abortions can be carried out without the guidelines being in place.

If a woman’s life is thought to be at risk, then one doctor can make the decision to allow her to have an abortion. However, if there is deemed to be a substantial risk to a woman’s life from suicide then the assessment involves three specialists including a gynecologist and two psychiatrists.

The abortion issue was a divisive one in Ireland, which is a staunchly Roman Catholic country.

“This is a hugely emotive issue that has divided Irish society and has been avoided by several governments. And I did undertake in the Dail (parliament) early on that we wouldn’t be the seventh government to leave it behind us,” he said.

The government has said that the new law does not weaken the general prohibition on abortion in the country, which sees many Irish women travel to the UK to terminate pregnancies. Abortion will still not be allowed when a woman has been raped or when the fetus has serious deformities.

Caroline Simons from the Pro Life Campaign said in July that the law will now make it possible to target the life of an innocent human being.

“Despite what the Taoiseach and others claim, the new law is life-ending, not life-saving. The government brought forward this law in the full knowledge that abortion is not a treatment for suicidal feelings and ignored all the peer reviewed evidence showing that abortion has adverse mental health consequences for women,” she said.

Mara Clarke, director of the London-based Abortion Support Network, which raises money to help Irish woman pay the costs of having an abortion in Britain told the Guardian in July that the law will only enable a tiny minority of women to have abortions and the vast majority will be in exactly the same position they were before the legislation was passed.

Latvia becomes 18th state to join the Eurozone


These people withdrew euros from a cash machine in Riga early on New Year’s Day

Latvia has begun the new year by joining the eurozone, becoming the 18th member of the group of EU states which uses the euro as its currency.

The former Soviet republic on the Baltic Sea recently emerged from the financial crisis to become the EU’s fastest-growing economy.

Correspondents report much scepticism in the country after recent bailouts for existing eurozone members.

But there is also hope that the euro will reduce dependency on Russia.

EU commissioner Olli Rehn said joining the eurozone marked “the completion of Latvia’s journey back to the political and economic heart of our continent, and that is something for all of us to celebrate”.

The government and most business owners also welcomed the single currency, saying it would improve Latvia’s credit rating and attract foreign investors.

However, some opinion polls suggested almost 60% of the population did not want the new currency.

Missing the lats

“It’s a big opportunity for Latvia’s economic development,” Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis said after symbolically withdrawing a 10-euro note as fireworks led celebrations in the capital Riga after midnight.

The governor of the Latvian central bank, Ilmars Rimsevics, said: “Euro brings stability and certainty, definitely attracting investment, so new jobs, new taxes and so on. So being in the second largest currency union I think will definitely mean more popularity.”

One of those reluctant to give up Latvia’s own currency, the lats, was Zaneta Smirnova.

“I am against the euro,” she told AFP news agency. “This isn’t a happy day. The lats is ours, the euro isn’t – we should have kept the lats.”

Leonora Timofeyeva, who earns the minimum wage of 200 lats (£237; 284 euros; $392) per month tending graves in a village north of the capital Riga, said: “Everyone expects prices will go up in January.”

But pensioner Maiga Majore believed euro adoption could “only be a good thing”.

“To be part of a huge European market is important,” she told AFP. “All this talk about price rises is just alarmist.”

Alf Vanags, director of the Baltic International Centre for Economic Policy Studies, told Bloomberg news agency he personally did not like giving up the familiar lats but it was an “entirely irrational sentiment”.

Euro adoption was good for Latvia “on balance”, he argued, since it provided a mutual insurance policy that countries could draw on when they got into trouble.

Latvia, with its large ethnic Russian minority, is often seen as having closer economic ties to Russia than its fellow Baltic states Lithuania and Estonia. Russia remains an important export market while its banking system attracts substantial deposits from clients in other ex-Soviet states.

‘If I wasn’t a diabetic, I would not be a pro cyclist says Stephen Clancy


Stephen Clancy tells how the same cruel twist of fate that dashed his dreams is now propelling him towards Le Tour

Limerick man Stephen Clancy thought his dream of becoming a professional was over when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes

Limerick cyclist Stephen Clancy was on a teaching placement last January when he got the phone call from his mother. “We got your blood tests back and the doctor wants you to go into hospital.”

Just a few months earlier, the then 19-year-old member of the U-23 national development squad had ended the 2011 season with a stage win and overall victory in the Charleville 2-Day and, having gone from third category to first category in his first year as a senior rider, was awarded Domestic Cyclist of the Year by Cycling Ireland.

“I was super motivated, training really well and was looking forward to some good results in 2012,” Clancy says as he sits at home in Dooradoyle. “I’d been on a training camp with the U-23 squad and (former international) Sean Lacey was there and he was saying ‘Jesus, you’re going better than me’ — and he’d be aiming for the Lacey Cup in Tralee at the start of the year.”

But shortly after, things began to go downhill. Advised to undergo a routine blood test by Cycling Ireland coach Paddy Doran as part of the U-23 set-up, Clancy went to his local GP. When his blood sugars came back high, the doctor advised him to look after his diet — which was already that of an athlete — for two weeks before doing another test. When the second set of results came back, the doctor phoned Stephen’s mother, told her to drive him to hospital. “It looks pretty much like he has diabetes.”

When the diagnosis was confirmed that night in Limerick Hospital, it was a bolt from the blue for the teenager who was used to racing up to 160km on his bike most Sundays.

“That was a shocker,” Clancy admits. “I really didn’t understand what was going on at the time. When I got my sugar levels tested at the doctors the first time I asked him, out of the blue, if it could be diabetes. He said: ‘Well maybe, we don’t know yet’. At the time, I thought diabetes was just for lads who ate too much sugary foods. I didn’t know that Type 1 isn’t self-inflicted. It’s an auto-immune condition. It was all confusion. How is this possible? Is this really happening?

“It’s not a case where you’re diagnosed with something and, over time, you gradually adapt to it. With diabetes, right from the gun, you have to start taking insulin jabs, testing your blood, straight away. That was a complete shock. From that night on, I was a type one diabetic, insulin-dependent for the rest of my life.”

One year later, hindsight means he can see the warning signs he missed back then. He was a classic example.

“At first I’d been losing a few kilos bit by bit,” he says of the early symptoms. “I was happy, thinking ‘I’ll be able to get up the hills a bit quicker,’ but then I was tired the whole time. I had no energy, my muscles were cramping. I was thirsty, hungry. I was using the toilet a lot during the day, throughout the night and everything.”

After his diagnosis, he experienced something all too many diabetics experience. He was immediately told what he couldn’t do.

“At that stage I was wondering if this was the end of my cycling,” Clancy recalls. “First of all, a nurse came in and the first thing she mentioned to me were the jobs I couldn’t do, because I had diabetes.

“You can’t be a pilot. You can’t be a bus driver.”

“That was really negative from the outset and it really upset me to be told ‘you can’t do this. People don’t want you in this job’. You’re being pushed away. That was upsetting. Then the consultant came in and, to make matters worse, he’d heard that I was a competitive cyclist. He asked me how much I trained and what was involved.”

“I’d recommend… maybe now… just to cycle a mile,” he advised.

“You’re joking! I’m used to doing 100 miles.”

“No. No. These extreme levels of exercise could complicate your condition. Diabetes is difficult enough to manage never mind going out and pushing your body to extreme limits.”

For a guy who never took a tablet for a headache and “wasn’t too fond of needles,” Clancy handled those first glucose monitoring finger pricks and insulin jabs pretty well, but taking away his cycling was a different story.

“I was just in tears,” he admits. “Cycling is my sport. I love it and to be told maybe it’s not the best idea was devastating.”

Allowed out of the hospital for a few hours the next day, however, Clancy defied doctor’s orders and mounted his bike on an indoor trainer at home.

“I hopped up on my bike and was checking my blood sugar levels every 10 or 15 minutes. I did an hour’s spin while they let me out of the hospital just to see what it did to my body, to my sugar levels, before I went back in for more monitoring.

“There were a couple of hours there where I thought ‘my cycling is in danger. It could be over. It’s time to move on’. But then I remembered watching this team of diabetics on TV, they were called Team Type1 at the time. I did a little bit more research. I ordered the team founder, Phil Southerland’s, autobiography ‘Not Dead Yet’ and immediately, my attitude completely turned around.

“That was the turning point. That negative feeling didn’t last too long. I was focused on getting back cycling. It was ‘right, this isn’t going to get in the way’ sort of thing. If they can do it, I can do it.”

After learning how to monitor his blood and use the insulin pen, Clancy set his targets on a return to racing on the domestic scene. But it was going to take time.

“Some people were worried I’d rush back and maybe something would go wrong in a race, so it took a few months,” he says. “In that time, all of my training was done alone, because every 15 or 20 minutes I was going to have to stop at the side of the road, take off my glove and prick my little finger to check the blood levels. I couldn’t ask someone to go out and train with me and do that.

“I did short spins, half an hour to an hour, and then built it up to two or three hours. At first, I was quite nervous. If I was three hours away from home and something negative happened, diabetes related, what was I going to do? It took a while to get some confidence in managing the condition,

Becoming aware of my body.”

While training was one thing, racing was a whole new ball game. How would he monitor his blood sugars in a two or three-hour race, in the middle of a heaving peloton?

“In the beginning, I perfected this technique of dropping to the back of the bunch, pulling out this monitor, riding no-handed for a few hundred metres and pricking my finger. Then I knew if I needed to eat, or needed insulin, or water, or whatever. It wasn’t ideal.

“Fellas were looking at me pulling out this monitor, thinking is that a mobile phone? Is he texting his girlfriend or something? It does take time to get used to how your body reacts, but you need to give it the effort it deserves. It’s your body you’re looking after at the end of the day. Every day you’re going to learn something new. You have to learn from your mistakes and don’t be afraid of trying new things.

“A lot of diabetics are afraid to exercise for fear of negative things happening, but you won’t know until you try. Even if something does go wrong then you can learn from that. You can ask ‘why did that happen? What can I do differently with my insulin, my food, my preparation?'”

Just six months after being diagnosed, Clancy was not only back racing in Ireland, but was invited to America to train with the Team Type1 professional squad.

“I came across another cyclist, Darragh Campbell, also a diabetic. He was giving me a few hints and tips and Team Type1 came up in conversation. He’d already been in contact with the team founder, Phil Southerland, and he passed on Phil’s email. For me, Phil was this absolute idol.

UNBELIEVABLE: “What he could do with diabetes was unbelievable in my eyes and every diabetic’s eyes. He was this diabetes and exercise god, a person of inspiration. I sent him an email. At the exact same time, Team Type1 was contacting national federations around the world to see if they had any diabetic riders and had emailed Cycling Ireland. The U-23 national coach Paddy Doran knew I was diabetic and we made contact that way. It was strange how it came about.”

After three weeks’ training with the team in Atlanta, Clancy got another shock, this time a pleasant one. Just six months after being told he would never race again because he had diabetes, he was offered a two-year professional contract with the world’s first all-diabetic team for exactly the same reason.

“Unexpected is an absolute understatement,” he admits. “To go over and be living with 10 or 12 guys, who all had type one diabetes, was a great experience. We all understood each other, all learned from each other. I thought at the time it was a two or three-week block and that was it. I’d taken time off work in a bike shop and had to be back for a certain day to start back in college. Let’s be fair. Let’s be honest. If I hadn’t been diabetic, I wouldn’t have turned pro. It opened up that opportunity for me.

“That’s what the team is all about. They’ve witnessed so many stories of people being diagnosed and then being told ‘you can’t do this. You can’t do that’. People getting depressed, viewing it so negatively. People still ask me if it’s fair that we have to race against guys who don’t have diabetes. The general attitude and opinion is ‘you poor fella, you’re restricted in some way’. We’re just trying to get the message out there that you’re not. Let’s show the world you can do this!”

Backed by the world leaders in diabetes control medicine, the squad is now known as Team Novo Nordisk and the multi-national outfit is now eligible for a wildcard entry to the Grand Tours of France, Spain and Italy. To have a team of diabetics ride the Tour de France in 2021, the centenary year of the invention of insulin, is their stated goal.

“It would be a nice way to celebrate the drug that keeps us alive by riding the Tour de France, but that’s a bit further down the line,” Clancy admits.

“We’ve a long way to go. We’re a young team, a new team, so the start of the Giro d’Italia in Belfast next year is probably not an option either. But the set-up is fantastic, with team buses, trucks, mechanics, equipment, everything.

“When I turned up at training camp, instead of having to prick my finger during the race, we got continuous glucose monitors. I wear a little sensor on my stomach. It’s like a little bristle under the skin that transfers wirelessly to a little receiver in my pocket and gives me a graph of my sugar levels. I can see if I’m on the way up or down and it warns you if it’s too high or low.

“That, for me, is an absolute game-changer. I won’t say I wouldn’t be able to race without it, but it certainly improves how you control it during races. You constantly adjust your body’s needs, levels of insulin and learning about the food you’re eating. For us, it’s all about carbohydrates.

Slow release, fast release, how much insulin to take and when to take it. My body’s needs are completely different to my team-mates’ needs. There’s no perfect formula to it. For me to be part of a pro continental team is just unbelievable. It’s a huge turnaround from heading down to Tralee at the start of the year with my bike in the boot of the car.”

As well as riding the world’s biggest bike races, the squad takes part in conferences and awareness programs relating to diabetes and their message is imprinted in bold blue letters across their bright white jerseys. They’re ‘Changing Diabetes’.

“The goal of the team is to spread this message of changing diabetes to as many people as possible and show them what you can achieve with diabetes,” says Clancy. “But the sense of satisfaction to be on a team that not only races bikes, but also has a positive impact on peoples lives, a dual purpose… it’s more rewarding.

“I get questions from rugby players or footballers who maybe have to control their glucose levels for an hour and a half. If we can complete something like the longest one-day classic, Milan-San Remo, and show the world, ‘look I’ve just ridden 300km and raced for six hours non-stop,’ that would have a huge impact.

“You’re often at a race and some young type one diabetic will come up to the team bus and they just seem to be inspired. You’d hear kids saying ‘look Mom, he has diabetes too,’ and they often end up in tears when they see they can do this. They know having diabetes is not the end of the world. It’s moments like that when you realise this team is about more than just racing your bike.”

‘Stuck in our own experiment’

Leader of trapped team insists polar ice is now melting

Antarctica Icebound Ship.jpg  

Dec. 27, 2013: In this image provided by Australasian Antarctic Expedition/Footloose Fotography the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy is trapped in thick Antarctic ice 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart, Australia. (AP)

The leader of a scientific expedition whose ship remains stranded in Antarctic ice says the team, which set out to prove climate change, is “stuck in our own experiment.”

But Chris Turney, a professor of climate change at Australia’s University of New South Wales, said it was “silly” to suggest he and 73 others aboard the MV Akademic Shokalskiy were trapped in ice they’d sought to prove had melted. He remained adamant that sea ice is melting, even as the boat remained trapped in frozen seas.

We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“We’re stuck in our own experiment,” the Australasian Antarctic Expedition said in a statement. We came to Antarctica to study how one of the biggest icebergs in the world has altered the system by trapping ice. We … are now ourselves trapped by ice surrounding our ship.

“Sea ice is disappearing due to climate change, but here ice is building up,” the Australasian Antarctic Expedition said in a statement.

Turney later told the ice surrounding his ship is old, rather than recently formed, and likely from a particular 75 mile-long  iceberg that broke apart three years ago. Climate change may have prompted the iceberg to shatter and float into the previously open sea where the mostly Australian team finds itself stranded, Turney said.

“The ice was swept across to this area by the South-East wind, its pieces creating a knock-on domino effect,” Turney told, speaking from a tent erected on the stranded ship’s top deck. “We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

But the situation has global warming skeptics poking fun at the scientists.

“Cute how these Warmists who hate fossil fuels take a trip to the Antarctic to show just how horrible fossil-fueled climate change is, then need rescue from their fossil-fueled trip by other fossil-fueled ships and helicopters, which still can’t rescue them,” wrote one blogger on Pirate’s Cove.

The website Newsbusters said much of the media has bent over backward to avoid linking the ship’s current fate with its mission.

“Somewhere far, far to the south where it is summer, a group of global warming scientists are trapped in the Antarctic ice,” read a post on the site. “If you missed the irony of that situation, it is because much of the mainstream media has glossed over that rather inconvenient bit of hilarity.”

So far, ice breakers have been unable to get closer than 10 miles from the stranded ship, which is surrounded by ice up to 10 feet thick. Stuck since Christmas Eve, it is about 100 nautical miles east of the French base Dumont D’Urville, and about 1,500 nautical miles south of Brisbane.

Turney‘s team is studying climate change, as well as how wildlife is adapting to it. He noted that numerous penguins have traipsed across the ice from the nearby mainland to curiously observe the explorers.

A Chinese ice breaker was unable to reach the ship, and another vessel, the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis, got to within 10 nautical miles of the stranded ship but couldn’t see it through a driving blizzard, and had to turn back to open water. Turney told his team is in good spirits, though it only has 10 days of food supplies.

Icebergs pose an even greater danger to the ship than the surface ice that now has the ship in its grip, because they can pierce the hull of a ship like the Akademic Shokalskiy, in a Titanic scenario . Lisa Martin, of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coordinating rescue attempts from their New South Wales headquarters told icebergs have been seen in the area.

‘There are icebergs around,” agreed Turney. “[The ship] is not a good position.”

The Aurora Australis is standing by in open water about 18 nautical miles east of the stranded ship, and could attempt another rescue once weather conditions improve, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

The best scenario for the scientists, agrees Turney, would be that the Aurora would be able to make a path through the ice, and somehow assist the Akademik Shokalskiy’s crew to turn their vessel around – not the easiest task when hemmed in by solid pack ice – so that it could follow the Australian icebreaker back into the safety of open water, and all the expedition’s passengers could stay comfortably on board.

But indications are that the 74 will have to be evacuated. Turney says that the captain of the Aurora has already offered specialized storage space for samples collected during the expedition. And a helicopter from a nearby Chinese ship is standing by to land on the ice next to the stranded ship and transfer the team, sources say, probably to the Aurora.


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