Friday 30th May 2014
Phil Hogan suing TV3 over alleged defamation on Vincent Browne Tonight programme
Minister hogan claims remarks made on tv broadcast damaged his reputation
Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan claims comments made on Tonight with Vincent Browne damaged his reputation and caused him extreme stress.
The Minister for the Environment and Local Government, Phil Hogan, is suing TV3 alleging defamation arising out of comments made by the broadcaster Vincent Browne, the High Court has heard.
The Minister claims he was defamed on the Tonight with Vincent Browne on May 20th 2013 in an exchange between Mr Browne and Fine Gael TD, now Minister for Children, Charlie Flanagan, who was a panelist on the show.
It is alleged Mr Browne described Minister Hogan as a “bigoted racist” arising out of representations made by Mr Hogan on behalf of a constituent relating to the suitability of housing for a Traveller family in a vacant council property in Co Kilkenny.
The Minister claims the remarks had meanings including he was prejudiced towards Travellers, had sought to prevent the housing of members of the Travelling community, had breached the Incitement to Hatred Act and was not suitable for his role as Minister or a TD.
He claims the allegedly defamatory remarks have damaged his reputation and caused him extreme stress. He is seeking damages and a correction order and an order directing TV3 remove the broadcast from its website.
TV3 denies the Minister’s claims on grounds including that Mr Browne’s statements consisted of an opinion honestly held by him. This opinion was based on grounds including the Minister made a number of public statements, including that he had contacted Kilkenny County Council about the matter, it claims.
In a pre-trial application yesterday, Mr Hogan, represented by Rossa Fanning BL, asked the High Court for an order amending his original statement of claim.
A hearing date for the action has yet to be fixed.
Number of deaths in Ireland by suicide fell by 32 last year on previous year
CSO figures indicate a significant increase of 45 to 54-year-olds taking own lives
The charity Console said significant changes and investment in research were required to properly understand and respond to the tragedy of suicide in a timely fashion.
Suicide among young people dropped by more than 20% last year, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show.
And overall deaths by suicide fell by more than 6%. But among older people, suicides have increased by more than a quarter.
The CSO vital statistics show there were 475 suicides registered in 2013 compared with 507 in 2012.
The number of deaths by suicide in people aged 15-24 was 57 last year, down by more than 20% on 2012, when there were 74 such deaths.
But the suicide figures for people aged 45 to 54 years increased from 86 in 2012, to 108 last year. This age group had the highest number of registered suicides for both men and women, with male deaths making up 80% of the total.
People living in some areas of the country also seemed more vulnerable to suicide than others, according to the statistics.
While the average rate across the State was 10.3 per 100,000 people, Cavan had a 20.4 rate, the figure was 20 for Carlow and 19.4 for Kerry. The lowest rate of recorded suicide was nil in Leitrim and 2.1 in Waterford City. However, there may also be variations in how suicides are registered.
The national suicide prevention and bereavement charity Console said it was concerned at the rise in suicides in the older age group.
Director of services Ciarán Austin said it mirrored a rise in calls to the charity’s helpline from people in the 45-54 age category.
“In particular, we saw a huge increase in calls to our rural helpline in 2013 due to the fodder crisis,” he said.
He described the regional data as alarming and said the charity also examines deaths categorised as of undetermined intent when looking at suicide. These have shown a drop from 82 in 2012 to 65 in 2013.
“However, we need significant changes and investment in research as the lack of accurate up-to-date information is impeding our ability to understand and respond to the awful tragedy of suicide in a timely fashion,” he said.
The charity welcomed the drop in suicides in the 15-24 age group but said Ireland still had the fourth highest suicide rate in the EU in that category.
“Console is calling for a real-time register of suicide data so that resources can be targeted at areas to prevent clustering,” Mr Austin said.
The console 24-hour helpline is 1800 247 247.
In other data released by the CSO today, the number of births to teenagers continued to decline, down from 1,639 in 2012 to 1,381 last year. Since 2001, the rate of teenage births has almost halved.
Many low-fat foods ‘have same amount of calories as their regular equivalents
- Study shows one in ten low-fat foods has more or same calories as regular
- Manufacturers often use sugar to boost the taste of lower-fat foodstuffs
- Rotherham Institute for Obesity gives findings to European obesity congress
- Institute’s Dr Matthew Capehorn says dieters should read nutritional info
Dieters choosing low-fat foods in the hope of cutting calories should beware: they can contain even more calories than regular foods, research has found.
A new study found that while most low-fat supermarket products contain a third fewer calories than their regular fat version, ten per cent actually have more or the same calories, mainly due to added sugars.
Obesity specialist Dr Matthew Capehorn said weight-conscious shoppers should realise that choosing low-fat products made by brands including Weight Watchers could hamper their efforts to cut calories.
Low-fat bread and other foods can contain more calories than their regular counterparts, research shows
The study by the Rotherham Institute for Obesity, where Dr Capehorn is clinical director, found that Weight Watchers wholemeal thick slice bread had more calories than any own label, regular fat equivalent, while Weight Watchers sliced cheese also had more calories than own label equivalents.
Weight Watchers wholemeal thick slice bread had more calories than any own label, regular fat equivalent.
Weight Watchers sliced cheese also had more calories than own label equivalents.
Asda natural low-fat yoghurt had more calories than Asda natural yoghurt.
Birdseye light and crunchy breaded chicken had more calories than Birdseye crispy chicken.
Sainsbury’s low fat custard had the same calories as Sainsbury’s custard.
Asda own brand low fat Italian dressing had more fat than the regular fat alternative.
It also found that Asda natural low-fat yoghurt had more calories than Asda natural yoghurt, Birdseye light and crunchy breaded chicken had more calories than Birdseye crispy chicken, and Sainsbury’s low fat custard had the same calories as Sainsbury’s custard.
Often, extra sugar was added to boost the taste of the lower-fat foods.
Dr Capehorn said: ‘Low-fat foods do appear on average to help reduce calorie intake…however appropriate food choices may still require reading nutritional information on the food labels, as ten per cent of low fat foods still have more calories, and 40 per cent have more sugar, than their regular fat counterparts.’
He began the study to establish whether low-fat versions of products were nutritionally healthier than their regular counterparts, mainly in terms of sugar and overall calories.
Of the ten most popular UK supermarkets, four provided enough information online for researchers to complete the study in November: Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose and Tesco.
Fat, sugar and calorie content for any low fat food that had a directly comparable regular fat product made by the same brand were recorded.
Of 62 products that matched these criteria found in the four supermarkets, 56 low-fat products had fewer calories, and on average overall the low-fat products had 31 per cent less calories.
However, ten per cent of low fat foods analysed still had more or the same calories than the regular fat version, while 37 of the 62 products (60 per cent) had less sugar than the regular fat alternatives.
One low-fat product, Asda own brand low fat Italian dressing, had more fat than the regular fat alternative.
An example of where there was an obvious calorie saving with the lower fat version was Benecol light spread, which saved 216 kcals/100g compared with Benecol buttery spread.
Weight Watchers said it was redeveloping its wholemeal thick sliced bread after research found it had more calories than any ‘own label’ supermarket brand.
A spokesperson said: ‘Weight Watchers continues to strive to provide customers with high quality Weight Watchers Foods and we are constantly evolving our products to ensure this.
‘As such, we are redeveloping the Weight Watchers Thick Sliced Wholemeal Bread to ensure it is the best choice for our consumers.’
The findings by the Rotherham Institute for Obesity were presented at the European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Sofia, Bulgaria, yesterday.
Lost in space, 3 decades-old probe brought back into action with crowd funding
Three decades after it drifted away, millions of kilometres from Earth, a vintage space probe has returned and is being revived, to be put back in service through a crowdfunded initiative by space science enthusiasts.
It is the latest chapter in the remarkable story of the ISEE-3 scientific spacecraft. It was launched nearly 36 years ago, was reconfigured into a comet-chasing platform, then sailed out of radio contact with Earth for a decade until it re-emerged in 2008, when its orbital path dragged it back towards our planet.
On Thursday, a group of scientists gathered at their own initiative at the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico re-established two-way communications with the spacecraft and started to command it to send data about the state of its onboard systems.
“SUCCESS! We are now in command of the ISEE-3 spacecraft!” the team tweeted at 4 p.m.before confirming by Thursday evening that ISEE-3 was transmitting telemetry again.
To resurrect ISEE-3, they had raised nearly $160,000 from 2,238 online donors, pored over old NASA documents and programmed software-defined radio devices to link up with a spacecraft whose communications hardware had long been retired from service on Earth.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration had agreed to let the private group – which calls itself the ISEE-3 Reboot Project – take control of its wayward spacecraft.
“We have a chance to engage a new generation of citizen scientists through this creative effort,” astrophysicist John Grunsfeld, a former astronaut who is now associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said in a communiqué announcing the agreement.
The ranks of the ISEE-3 Reboot Project include Dennis Wingo, president of the aerospace engineering company SkyCorp, and Keith Cowing, a former NASA astrobiologist.
The group has engineering students in their 20s and a space guru, 81-year-old retired NASA mission designer Bob Farquhar.
Dr. Farquhar, an expert in orbital mechanics, has been a key character in ISEE-3’s storied life.
The ISEE (International Sun-Earth Explorer) program was an international 1970’s project to study solar wind and the Earth’s magnetosphere.
The ISEE-3 spacecraft was launched on Aug. 12, 1978, in the days when disco still dominated the airwaves and the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup every spring.
It travelled to the Lagrangian 1 libration point – a stable spot where the gravitational pull of the sun is balanced by that of the Earth and its moon – about 1.5 million to 1.6 million kilometres from our planet.
By 1982, with ISEE-3 having completed its prime observation mission, Dr. Farquhar came up with a new goal for the spacecraft.
The famous Halley’s Comet, which revisits the solar system every 75 to 76 years, was expected back in 1986. The Soviet Union, the European Space Agency and Japan had readied missions to study Halley but a cash-strapped NASA had no planned flights to the comet.
Dr. Farquhar devised a way to steer ISEE-3 through a complex trajectory (on a graphic it looks like a tangle of noodles) towards another approaching comet, Giacobini-Zinner.
During an 18-minute pass in 1985, ISEE-3, which had been renamed ICE (International Cometary Explorer), crossed the Giacobini-Zinner comet’s tail, collecting data that could be used as a benchmark for the Halley missions of the following year.
After being directed upstream of Halley to gather more observations, ISEE-3 moved increasingly far away and eventually drifted out of reach for reliable radio reception. The last contact was in 1999.
Nearly a decade later, in the fall of 2008, one of the antennas of NASA’s Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex, in California’s Mojave Desert, picked up a signal from ISEE-3.
The spacecraft’s orbit was taking it closer to Earth again and now Dr. Farquhar suggested that, in the summer of 2014, when the probe would be close to the moon, it could be redirected back to its original mission, observing the sun from the Lagrangian 1 libration point.
However, in a case of history repeating itself, NASA is again going through budgetary hard times. In April, senior NASA officials decided they could not fund a revival of the ISEE-3 project. Four days later, a private initiative began.
It wasn’t the first time outsiders came to rescue a NASA deep-space project. In 1980-81, a grassroots campaign called the Viking Fund collected $100,000 to make sure NASA would have enough money to keep analyzing the data from its Viking 1 Mars lander.
This time, it was even more challenging because the project only had a month to start raising money and try to find a way to recontact ISEE-3.
Earlier this month, they reached their initial $125,000 fundraising target. Ten days ago, they started getting beacon signals from the approaching spacecraft.
Now, they will test its systems so that later this summer they will refire its thrusters, swing it by the moon and send it on to a new mission.