Daily Archives: May 24, 2015

News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Saturday/Sunday 23rd & 24th May

IAG steps closer to Aer Lingus takeover

Irish government said to have received report from steering committee into proposed £1bn takeover


International Airlines Group (IAG), the owner of British Airways, is taking a step closer to its £1bn takeover of Aer Lingus after the Irish government received a report by its steering committee into the deal.

The potential takeover has already been dragging on for five months after IAG initially made its approach, which was accepted by Aer Lingus in January.

However, the deal is entirely conditional on the Irish airline’s two major shareholders, rival Ryanair and the Irish government, agreeing to sell.

The Irish government, which owns a 25% stake, has delayed making a decision for months and set up a dedicated committee to review the arguments round the sale.

The state has now received the report by the expert group, which could pave the way to the Irish government announcing its backing for the deal as soon as the next cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

Paschal Donohoe, the Irish transport minister, has said that the government would “take great care and exercise great caution in examining the pros and cons to Ireland” of any offer.

Dublin has previously demanded that IAG extend its guarantee to keep Aer Lingus’s 23 Heathrow landing slots focused on Irish routes for ten years.

However, Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, had told an Irish parliamentary committee that he could not offer more than five years.

The Irish government has also said that routes from Cork and Shannon must be protected. There are also concerns that guarantees could fall foul of the European Commission’s competition directorate.

Mr Walsh said last week that IAG was in “no rush” to complete the deal. “I’m perfectly relaxed about the timing. My board is very happy. Consistently I have said that this is a deal we would like to do,” he said.

Unlike UK takeover rules, there is no time limit for a bidder to make a formal offer. Ryanair has said that it will wait for a formal offer before making a decision but is widely believed to be a willing seller of its Aer Lingus stake.

Fianna Fáil claims Gerry Adams has serious questions to answers


Micheál Martin (above picture with Gerry Adams & right pic wih Mairia Cahill) says report directly contradicts Sinn Féin claims that case had no basis

Labour TD for Dublin Mid-West Joanna Tuffy said Mairia Cahill had to “go through the horror of abuse and a crude investigation and cover-up by the IRA. Her decision to highlight her case in public and lead a campaign for justice for her and other victims was inspiring

Micheál Martin said: “It’s time for Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin to own up and come clean on the scale of cover-ups and kangaroo courts.”

The independent review into how sex-abuse cases had been prosecuted in the North of Ireland has raised serious questions for Gerry Adams and the Sinn Féin leadership, Fianna Fáil has said.

Reacting to the review by Sir Keir Starmer of the manner in which the cases has been handled by the prosecution service, party leader Micheál Martin also said the report fully vindicated Belfast woman Maíria Cahill.

“Over 14 findings, the report found unacceptable delays, inadequate communication and insufficient consideration of the sequencing of the cases involved,” he said. “The report vindicates Maíria Cahill, who bravely stood up to ongoing abuse and spin by Sinn Féin.

“Consistent claims by Sinn Féin that the court case had found all suspects not guilty have been given their proper context by this report. The unacceptable delays and weakening of the case led to the withdrawal of the three women from the process.”

He said it directly contradicted Sinn Féin claims that the case had no basis. “I welcome the apology by Barra McGrory, the head of the prosecuting service inNorthern Ireland, in accepting the serious failings that let down these vulnerable women,” Mr Martin added.

Turning to Mr Adams, the Fianna Fáil leader claimed he needed to answer questions about the “cover-up of sexual abuse in the Provisional movement. It’s time for Gerry Adams to own up and come clean on the scale of cover-ups and kangaroo courts.”

The Labour Party also said the findings of the review by Sir Keir, the former DPP forEngland and Wales, justified Ms Cahill’s decision to waive her anonymity and go public about her claims of abuse by a senior member of the IRA.

Labour TD for Dublin Mid-West Joanna Tuffy said Ms Cahill had to “go through the horror of abuse and a crude investigation and cover-up by the IRA. Her decision to highlight her case in public and lead a campaign for justice for her and other victims was inspiring. “In doing so the DPP agreed to review her case, which has backed up her position that there were serious flaws in the legal investigation,” she said.

France bans Supermarket’s wasting good food


French supermarkets will no longer be able to destroy or dispose of unused edible food, after the French National Assembly unanimously passed a new amendment to a green energy law yesterday on Thursday last the 21 May.

The amendment to theproposed energy transition to green growth law (due to voted on on 26 May) will require supermarkets over 400 square metres in size to enter into formal agreements with food redistribution charities by July 2016. Any food past its sell by date should also be sent for composting, anaerobic digestion or for use as animal feed – rather than disposal.

Those who do not comply will be liable for penalties including fines of up to €75,000 (£53,000) or two years imprisonment.

It is hoped that the amendment will reduce food waste arisings and prevent supermarkets from destroying edible food. It is reported to be common practice for supermarkets to pour bleach into their bins to destroy the food and prevent its illegal removal, a practice that Guillaume Garot, the former Minister for Food who sponsored the bill in government, called “scandalous”.

As part of the amendment, companies will also be able to contribute to their social and environmental responsibility by providing lessons to school children and smaller businesses on fighting food waste.

Much more to do’ in combating food waste in France

The amendment passed by the National Assembly is the most recent to be added to the bill, as France continues to increase it focus on food waste.

In February, senators voted to add an amendment removing best before dates on non-perishable foods.

However, Garot said that “there remains much to do” following the vote, including the mobilisation of local communities, the training of professionals and consumer awareness.

It is hoped that these actions will help the country achieve the government’s target of halving the nation’s food waste by 2025.

Official figures suggest that the average French person throws away 20-30 kg of food per year, which adds up to a total cost of up to €20 billion to the national economy.

Law focusing on the wrong people?

Although the amendment has been welcomed by many, the French Federation of Commerce and Distribution (FCD), however, has criticised the plan.

Jacques Creyssel, head of the group, said: “The law is wrong in both target and intent.

“The big stores represent only five per cent of food waste but now have these new obligations.

“They are already the pre-eminent food donors, with more than 4,500 stores having signed agreements with aid groups.

“We will meet in emergency meetings to examine the consequences of these provisions.”

In the UK, food redistribution charity FareShare has said that the move is an “interesting development in the debate around food waste”, especially as the “majority of surplus food is further up the supply chain”.

A spokesperson for the charity added: “The French food industry, government and associated charities have already made huge inroads in tapping food further up the supply chain, amongst manufacturers, where the majority of surplus occurs.

“While government intervention can be a positive step in trying to achieve waste minimisation and a fairer system that promotes surplus redistribution in the food industry, we believe that the best results are obtained when food companies realise the potential and the benefits linked to redistribution. In order to successfully divert surplus food from waste, food companies across the whole supply chain must establish processes and systems that anticipate and identify surplus food within their operations and make it available for charities such as FareShare. This approach brings about significant environmental, social and economic benefits.”

A 65-year-old German mother give birth to quads “now has 17 children”


Annegret Raunigk, middle picture with Lelia in 2005, has had quadruplets.

A 65-year-old German woman has given birth to quadruplets after undergoing an artificial insemination procedure in Ukraine.

The woman, Annegret Raunigk, already has 13 children.

The quadruplets – three boys and a girl – were born prematurely at 26 weeks in a Berlin hospital but have “good chances of surviving”, according to the entertainment channel RTL, which has negotiated exclusive rights to the woman’s story.

Raunigk lives in Berlin and is an English and Russian teacher who is close to retirement.

In addition to her children, she has seven grandchildren.

RTL said the new arrivals make her the world’s oldest mother of quadruplets. The boys have been named Dries, Bence and Fjonn and the girl Neeta.

Raunigk made headlines 10 years ago when she gave birth to her 13th child, Lelia, at the age of 55.

“At first, I only wanted one child,” she said then. “Not all were planned. But then things happen. I’m not a planner but rather spontaneous. And children keep me young.”

Raunigk again made headlines in April when the German press reported that her latest artificial insemination attempt had resulted in a quadruple pregnancy.

At the time, she said she decided to try to have another child because her youngest daughter, who is 9, wanted a little brother or sister, according to RTL.

The tabloid Bild am Sonntag quoted Raunigk, whose oldest daughter is reportedly 44, recalling that it was “a shock” when the doctors first broke the news to her of a quadruple pregnancy.

“After the doctor discovered there were four, I had to give it some thought to begin with.”

But she did not consider reducing the number of embryos and said she had no reservations about the challenge facing her.

“I’m not actually afraid. I simply assume I’ll remain healthy and fit. In matters of organisation I have enough experience, that’s not new for me,” she told Bild.

Asked about moral doubts, RTL quoted her as asking: “How does one have to be at 65? One must apparently always fit some cliches which I find rather tiring.

“I think one must decide that for oneself.”

Your Facebook updates can reveal a lot more than you think


Sharing news on Facebook can drive greater involvement with news and information

(A team of researchers has revealed what Facebook updates say about the users.)

The Brunel University study, which analysed 555 online surveys taken by regular Facebook users, found people with certain personality types like extroversion, openness, narcissism, neuroticism and conscientiousness, updated their walls in specific ways, the Independent reported.

Extroverts were found to post frequently about social events and neurotic personalities, while the ones who are motivated by a need for validation were likelier to post personal status updates. Open individuals were found not to share personal information but instead primarily share updates about events, research, or their political views.

Researchers found that conscientiousness individuals mostly posted about their children, with the studying suggesting perhaps such updates reflect an indirect form of competitive parenting.

Those with low self-esteem frequently posted about their romantic partner but were not as likely as neurotic types to use the network as a means of validation.

The study hypothesised that people are more likely to post relationship-relevant information on Facebook on days when they feel insecure, adding it was reasonable to assume they did so as a way to claim their relationship.

Finally, narcissistic personalities were found to broadcast their diet and exercise routine to express the personal importance they place on physical appearance above the control variables that researchers placed on the study.

Nasty star an Cannibalistic star coined nasty lives up to its name


Hubble names star Nasty and with a name like that you expect there to be some type of strange story to go along with it. It seems this Nasty is living up to its name!

When the folks monitoring the Hubble Space Telescope name a star “Nasty,” you just know there has to be a good reason for that. Stars are usually considered magical and there’s even songs penned about how they twinkle and make you feel good. These bright spots in the sky have been coupled with happy endings in religious stories, so why name a star Nasty? It appears this twinkling ball of light fits that bill!

According to The Washington Post on May 23, the star nicknamed Nasty by the folks operating the Hubble Telescope has a pancake-shaped disc around it which they believe is one huge disk of gas. Nasty is a Wolf-Rayet star, which is a star that appears as “twin lobes of gas flowing from opposite sides of the star.”

This was explained in a new paper on Nasty published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society last week. This disk is no tiny cloud, as it’s estimated to cover about 3 trillion miles with Nasty smack dab in the middle.

Nasty is a “rapidly aging star,” reports MSN News, and it is also a massive star that is demonstrating a “strange appearance and an unprecedented behavior,” according to the new study.

Wolf-Rayet stars originate as big stars, but their outer layers are soon lost leaving a helium-burning core exposed in space. In Nasty’s case they think that outer layer of gas is cannibalized by a companion star.

That’s what we think is happening in Nasty 1,” explains Jon Mauerhan, of the University of California, Berkeley, who is the lead author in this study. “We think there is a Wolf-Rayet star buried inside the nebula, and we think the nebula is being created by this mass-transfer process. So this type of sloppy stellar cannibalism actually makes Nasty 1 a rather fitting nickname.”

This is the first time a disc is seen surrounding a Wolf-Rayet star making Nasty very unusual. It is young in the scope of the age of other stars, as the experts believe it is only a few thousand years old. As far as the distance Nasty is from Earth, that would be 3,000 light years away.

The cannibalistic star hypothesis is the leading theory when it comes to what is going on with Nasty. Another hypothesis offers the possibility of a stellar wind taking that layer of gas away. Scientists have taken the stellar wind hypothesis and put it to work with a model, which indicated the winds weren’t strong enough to “push it to Wolf-Rayet status,” according to MSN. This leaves the cannibal-like scenario their best theory to go on today.