Tag Archives: Rejection

News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Saturday 10th October 2015

Could cigarettes price rise to €10.50 a packet?

Tax on cigarettes to help fund 2% cut in USC

    

A hike in the price of cigarettes will be used to help pay for a dramatic reduction of 2% in the Universal Social Charge (USC)

A hike in the price of cigarettes will be used to help pay for a dramatic reduction of 2% in the Universal Social Charge (USC).

The cut in the controversial USC is set to form the centrepiece of the Budget. Reducing the tax is part of a plan to cut the marginal rate to below 50%, it has been learned.

This country now has one of the highest marginal rates of income tax in Europe.

It is also understood that the entry point at which people begin paying will be raised in order to bring to more than 500,000 people out of the USC net, along with cutting the main 7% rate.

Have Your Say: Do you think smokers should be taxed extra to slash the USC?

The aim is to remove a further 90,000 from the USC by increasing the threshold in Budget 2016.

But big gains will be in store for middle-income earners from cutting the main 7% USC rate.

Around 1.28 million taxpayers will gain from a reduction in the USC’s main rate.

People earning up to €70,044 pay the main 7% rate. Dropping the main rate to 5% would see all these people make big gains.

A single earner on €36,000 would gain around €374 a year if the main rate comes down by two percentage points, according to calculations by the Irish Tax Institute.

Someone earning €75,000 a year would gain €1,049 a year.

This would meet Finance Minister Michael Noonan’s criteria to ensure that income tax changes only benefit what he considers to be middle earners – those earning less than €75,000.

In recent days, Children’s Minister Dr James Reilly has been pushing for an increase of at least 50c in the price of a pack of 20 cigarettes, coalition sources revealed. This would bring in an additional €63m in revenue.

It is expected that the extra revenue will used to part-fund the reduction in the USC rate, which is expected to cost around €150m.

“The revenue from more tax on cigarettes will help fund a cut in the USC of 2%, rather than the original plan for a 1.5% reduction,” a source familiar with the situation said.

Cutting the USC rate by two percentage points would bring the marginal tax rate to 50% from the 52% for PAYE (pay as you earn) workers now.

Bonus

The marginal rate is the amount of tax that people pay on what is regarded as higher rates of pay. However, in this country, it kicks in at €32,800 for single earners.

The Government is also seeking to increase the €12,012 USC entry point by €1,000, a move that would mean thousands of workers would no longer have to pay it.

Some 300 new teaching posts will be created in September as the Government moves to reduce the pupil-teacher ratio.

Senior government sources have indicated that the ratio, currently set at 28 pupils per every teacher, will be cut by one after next Tuesday’s Budget.

The cut, which has been secured by Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan, is due to come into effect from September of next year as around 300 new teaching posts are created.

Class sizes were increased during the crash but senior Government sources have confirmed that Ms O’Sullivan is set to deliver the good news of reduced class sizes.

Ms O’Sullivan has repeatedly said that reducing class sizes was a “major priority” for her and she has strong support from her Fine Gael colleagues to fund the additional posts.

Further details of Tánaiste Joan Burton’s welfare package for the elderly have also emerged.

It has been confirmed that there will be an increase in the Christmas bonus to €115 per pensioner and €220 per couple.

Fine Gael has lost the battle on getting a €5 increase to the old age pension. There was strong support for an increase, but Ms Burton and her officials have refused to accede to their demands, instead focusing on other measures for elderly people.

It is understood that the Tánaiste is prioritising the restoration of the Christmas bonus, which she sees as a major boost to pensioners.

She is also likely to increase the Living Alone allowance, but late last night it emerged that Ms Burton is seeking to increase the €1,375 respite care grant.

Nama highfliers to exit agency with Voluntary reduncies payoffs of €42k each

     

Thirty-six highfliers at Nama earning over €100,000 are to exit the agency door at the end of the year with an average payoff of €42,000 each.

According to Finance Minister Michael Noonan, 50 Nama employees have opted for the agency’s voluntary redundancy programme as the agency winds down its operations.

In a written Dáil reply to Fianna Fail’s Michael McGrath, Mr Noonan confirmed that 36 of the 50 to opt for voluntary redundancy earn €100,000 to €200,000, with the remaining 14 workers earning less than €100,000. Mr Noonan confirmed no employee earning over €200,000 at Nama has opted for the voluntary redundancy scheme.

According to Mr Noonan, the departure of the 50 employees will save the agency €5.3m annually.

“These costs include base salary, employer PRSI costs and employer pension costs,” said Mr Noonan.

He said the cost of the voluntary redundancy scheme for the 50 staff will be about €2.1m, which works out at an average redundancy payment of €42,000 each.

Yesterday was the deadline for acceptance forms to be lodged with Nama’s redundancy scheme and Mr Noonan said the figures were “indicative until agreements have been signed and returned”.

In response to the agency advertising the terms of voluntary redundancy programme to its workforce, almost a quarter of the workforce expressed an interest.

However, bosses at Nama put a halt to a third of those seeking to leave the agency by the end of this year.

Figures provided by Mr Noonan show the agency received 80 applications from staff seeking to avail of the scheme’s generous terms announced earlier this year.

The agency is seeking to reduce its workforce by 51 from 342 to 291 by the end of the year. In response to the scheme being over-subscribed, Nama rejected 26 of the applications to leave, with three staff changing their mind and opting to stay and one employee who had opted for the voluntary redundancy scheme deciding to leave now.

Nama is seeking to further reduce its workforce to 125 by the end of next year as it winds down its operations.

Based on the payments in the current redundancy plan, the agency will pay €6.97m for a further 166 employees to take the redundancy package in 2016 but save the Agency €17.5m in annualised savings.

The terms of the Nama redundancy scheme are in line with established public sector norms and grant two weeks’ statutory pay per year of service, capped at €600 per week, plus three additional weeks of base salary per year of service with an overall cap of two years base salary.

Average pay, including pension contributions, at Nama in 2014 was just over €110,000 a year or €2,115 a week. Mr Noonan has previously confirmed the overall cost of Nama’s redundancy scheme and appropriate staff retention measures agreed with Nama will not exceed €20m.

Nama was set up in 2009 to run for a fixed 10-year period. Staff working at the agency are employed by the National Treasury Management Agency on fixed-term contracts and seconded to Nama.

The decision to slash staff numbers relatively early in the proposed 10-year life of Nama follows last year’s decision to speed the selloff of Nama assets in order to repay 80% of its original €32bn of senior debt by the end of 2016.

“There is now a considerable degree of uncertainty about the future of Nama, with the minister for finance seemingly back-tracking on his plans for an early wind up in favour of it turning it in to a property development agency,” said Mr McGrath.

Plans for a public holiday to mark 1916 Rising are rejected

       

The Government has rejected Sinn Féin plans for an annual public holiday starting next year to mark the 1916 Rising, despite opposition claims coalition advisers backed the move two years ago.

Equality Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin turned down the proposed Lá na Poblachta — a national independence day — after it was raised by Sinn Féin’s Aengus Ó Snodaigh, and backed by Fianna Fáil.

Speaking during a Dáil debate on the issue yesterday, Mr Ó Snodaigh said the proposed legislative change would see April 24 become an annual national holiday.

Mr Ó Snodaigh also said the issue would address the gap between Ireland’s nine public holidays and the EU average of 11, and that when he raised it “in February 2013 at the all-party commemorations committee I received the backing of the Government’s advisers, albeit for a single year’s holiday next year”.

However, Mr Ó Ríordáin said the Coalition will not back the plan as “there was no demand” during previous 1916 Rising commemoration research, that it would “seriously dilute” existing Easter-based Rising celebrations, and that the plan has not been properly costed.

He said the Rising events next year must be a “time for reflection, celebration, and commemoration” and should not be based on a “singular narrative” from one group. The opposition plan is expected to be voted down by the Government on Tuesday.

Rural Crime is a problem? A series of break-ins In Co Sligo leaves residents terrified

    

A rural community is reeling following a spate of break-ins and acts of vandalism.

The Tubbercurry area in south Sligo was targeted by at least one gang last weekend and a number of homes, shops, private cars and the local national school were all damaged.

  Tubbercurry is the largest town in Co Sligo and its proximity to major routes makes it easy for travelling gangs to escape, according to local Councillor Jerry Lundy.

The spate of attacks over last weekend have yet again underlined the need for a full time garda presence in Tubbercurry, Cllr Lundy insisted..

The garda station in Tubbercurry is open only from 9.30am to 1pm Monday to Thursday and local public representatives have been repeatedly tried to have the opening hours extended.

“It’s the call of the community here in Tubbercurry and in south Sligo to have a full time garda station open 24 hours here in Tubbercurry. There has been a spate of break-ins, robberies and vandalism over the weekend.

“While Gardaí in Tubbercurry are doing their very best, they need more resources, better transport and the station in Tubbercurry needs to be open on a full-time basis”, Cllr Lundy said.

The blight of rural burglaries and break-ins has spread terror through many parts of the farming community across Ireland.

Speaking at a specially convened public meeting in Thurles on Thursday, Mary Morris from Knockmore, Tipperary, explained the personal toll the rising crime wave has had on her life.

Morris said she now keeps a licensed gun in her house for her protection. “Nearly four years ago we were visited by thieves,” she said.

“What they took were only material things, worth a couple of thousand euro. But for me they had great sentimental value; they belonged to my late husband.

Alarm bells.

“I live on my own now. I have an alarm in my house, and I have two dogs. But it’s not nice living on your own in rural Ireland any more,” she continued.

“I stay up at night time – I might go to bed around four o’clock.” She accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny of “failing to take action” to adequately tackle rural crime.

“I never thought I’d be going to bed at night with a gun in one corner and spare cartridges in the room next door,” she said.

“But I have a gun and I have a license.”

TCD and UCD in vanguard of ancient Africa migration study

Irish scientists take lead in DNA testing from man buried 4,500 years ago in Ethopian cave.

      

Mota Cave in the Ethiopian highlands (left) where the ancient skeleton was buried

Irish scientists were deeply involved in a study that has revealed surprising new findings about the migration of ancient farmersback into Africa.

The study was based on the analysis of ancient DNA recovered from the skull of a man buried 4,500 years ago in a cave in Ethiopia.

The study was led by the University of Cambridge but the DNA recovery and sequencing involved researchers based at Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin.

Most people are familiar with the idea that there was a migration of early humans who moved out of Africa to colonise Europe and Asia between 60,000 and 125,000 years ago.

What is less well known is the fact that a substantial number of these migrants returned to Africa much more recently between 3,000 and 3,500 years ago.

This migration and its timing has now been confirmed after the successful copying of a full genome from the skeleton in the Mota Cave in the Ethiopian highlands.

This is the first ancient DNA from Africa to be sequenced, said Ron Pinhasi, associate professor in UCD’s school of archeology and theEarth Institute. He was co-senior author of the study published on Thursday in the journalScience.

He developed the technique of extracting ancient DNA from the thick “petrous” bone located at the base of the skull behind the ear.

“This migration is new, it has been suggested but nobody before us actually had the capacity to get this DNA for analysis,” he said.

Why these migrants travelled back into Africa is a mystery but archaeological evidence links them to new crops developed in the Levant and brought to east Africa including wheat and barley.

African return.

The DNA confirms the migrants were from what is now the Middle East and were direct descendants of the Neolithic farmers who brought agriculture into Europe 7,000 years ago but then returned to Africa 4,000 years later.

“It’s quite remarkable that genetically speaking this is the same population that left the near east several millennia previously,” said PhD researcher in genetics at Trinity College Dublin Eppie Jones, who led the laboratory work to sequence the genome.

These western Eurasians mainly settled in the Horn of Africa but didn’t stay put, said Prof Marcos Gallego Llorente from Cambridge and first author.

These migrants “seeped right across the continent, way beyond east Africa”, from the west coast and south to the heart of the Congo, he said. People from these areas show this in their DNA with up to seven per cent of their genomes derived from the Levant migrants.

The genetic impact of the migrants was much greater in east Africa, where the DNA of today’s populations are up to 25 per cent derived from the migrants.

“What was surprising was the migrant DNA was distributed all over Africa and all modern Africans have this mixture,” said Prof Pinhasi.

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News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Sunday 23rd August 2015

“Coalition Government” working yet Irish voters want rid of them

 

Despite presiding over Europe’s fastest-growing economy, everything in the garden is not rosy for Enda Kenny and his inner circle,

‘For Enda Kenny and Fine Gael, being replaced as the leading party would feel like the equivalent of taking over as manager of a team that has just been relegated, winning promotion, and then being sacked the following year’

The Central Statistics Office recently confirmed that economic output in Ireland grew by a spectacular 6.5% in the first quarter of 2015, from a year earlier, as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP), making it by far and away the fastest-growing economy in Europe.

However, Eurostat’s ruling (issued one day before the CSO’s news) that Irish Water will have to remain on the State’s balance sheet, allied to concerns raised about the new utillity’s commercial status, stole the limelight – something that has become a feature of the current Government.

Positive developments at a macro level, the big-picture view of the economy over the last four years (resurgent economic growth, reduced unemployment, record low borrowing costs etc) have been continuously overshadowed by government mismanagement at a micro level on the provision of social services and the growing sense of inequality. The haphazard implementation of Irish Water is the classic example – a stream of negative headlines, distraction after distraction, all of which could have been avoided.

Irish Water was doomed from the outset when water charges were linked to the bailout deal with the Troika. In this context, instead of being viewed as a payment for the provision of public water and waste-water services, it came to be seen as a payment to bail out the bankers, the bondholders and the elite.

Of course, it was made worse by the Government’s lack of strategic direction and reports of excess when the utility was being set up. Hence, they were never going to be able to change opinion on the true agenda behind Irish Water, as much as a proper functioning national water utility makes sense.

I have no political bias, nor am I inspired by many of our political leaders. But it is worth remembering that when the Fine Gael-Labour coalition Government came to power in 2011, the economy was on the rocks, almost every economic indicator was flashing red and the outlook looked bleak. We were effectively on financial life support from the Troika.

After serving as Fine Gael leader since 2002, it is clear that handing Enda Kenny his debut as Taoiseach was not so much a reflection of the people’s confidence in his leadership skills, rather it was an indictment of the previous government’s failings. People had just had enough of Fianna Fáil.

Four years on, presiding over the fastest-growing economy in Europe, with GDP surpassing the pre-crisis peak, one could be forgiven for thinking the Government should be riding high.

The recovery we have seen in Dublin has not reached all parts of the country in the same way yet – but rebalancing an economy so skewed to the construction sector prior to the crash was always going to take time.

Of course, GDP has its flaws in measuring the health of an economy, but it is difficult to find one economic indicator that can encompass the inner complexities of all its stakeholders.

Looking from outside the country, the perception of Ireland as a place for doing business continues to be strong based on our ability to continue to attract multinational companies, albeit helped by our favourable corporate tax rate.

Certainly, the approval ratings from the international bond markets are high. The rate at which the State can borrow at over 10 years has fallen from near 15% in 2011 to 1.26%. The ECB has played its part – but as we saw in Greece, yields can rise sharply when a member state’s financial position deteriorates, even in an ECB-inspired low-rate environment.

Yet many people can’t wait to get rid of the current Government. What explains this disconnect between approval ratings at home and abroad? Domestically, the issue is the same issue that plagues all governments – their failure to efficiently allocate tax revenue for the provision of a sustainable and high-standard public service.

Pension levies, income levies, property taxes – and people are still wondering what is there to show for it. The healthcare system is still sub-standard, health insurance costs are soaring and public waiting lists are longer.

Private pensions were raided while our tax revenue is being used to fund massive public service pensions. Perhaps most galling of all was the recent announcement of pension increases for the likes of Brian Cowen and Bertie Ahern – the political leaders who failed in their duties leading up to the crisis.

Irish Water was just the tipping point. The explicit non-payment of water charges is simply the means by which the people of Ireland are expressing their loss of faith in the political establishment. It is not about paying for water. There is a feeling that not much has really changed under the current Government, the same old politics reign supreme: a system that bails out the banks and wealthy elite and where money and power are intertwined.

Economic utopia does not exist, but the current Government has missed a massive opportunity to set a new standard in terms of how the country is run. Can politics change? I am not convinced.

Still, if Fine Gael and Labour can shift the focus to the big picture, the improvement in the broad economy and away from the usual political shenanigans and the likes of Irish Water, they have a strong case for being given an opportunity to lead what should hopefully be the next stage of recovery.

For Enda Kenny and Fine Gael, being replaced as the leading party would feel like the equivalent of taking over as manager of a team that has just been relegated, winning promotion, and then being sacked the following year.

Think of Chris Hughton. He took over as caretaker manager of Newcastle United in 2009 following relegation, gained promotion to the Premier League by winning the Championship and was sacked the following December with the team sitting in 12th place.

However, in the case of Fine Gael, the leading replacement is Fianna Fáil – the party that led us into relegation.

Only five out of 13 homeless charities have applied for funding, says agency

   

Hundreds of millions of euros are lying unclaimed by homeless charities.

The Government’s Housing Finance Agency (HFA) claims that just five out of 13 charities registered as approved housing bodies, have applied to it for funding.

The current homeless problem has been labeled as a “national emergency” by Focus Ireland, but according to today’s Sunday Times the charity still has not sought funding from the HFA, despite qualifying as an applicant earlier this year.

Chair of the Housing Finance Agency Michelle Norris, said: “Some of the subsidies they get from Government are a bit too complicated and the Government have moved to address that.

“The rest of the problem is that some of the organisations are very go-ahead and entrepreneurial and keen to use new sources of funding. Questions need to be raised with the organisations that are not drawing down the source of funding, about what they are planning to do.

“We need a really pro-active approach and we need to ask hard questions.”

Ireland is becoming a haven of talent for Silicon Valley giants

  

As more and more of Silicon Valley’s tech giants open European operations in Ireland, one thing becomes more and more clear that Ireland is becoming a haven for tech talent.

Just last week, it was announced that Ireland is experiencing a huge surge in inbound tech talent.

And that talent is most definitely needed. In July alone, more than 2,200 tech jobs were announced, and the fact remains that there are more job vacancies than people to fill them.

It stands to reason, therefore, that Ireland would become a destination for tech talent seeking opportunities on new shores.

A vast number of those moving to Ireland for tech jobs are from countries in Eastern Europe.

And they clearly like it here.

Over the last few years, Siliconrepublic.com has been speaking to people who have moved to Ireland for work.

In those conversations, we have heard people from Eastern Europe describe Ireland as “the easiest country to emigrate to and still feel part of the community”, “a small cosy country with great opportunities”, and a country full of “charm and spirit”.

Others say “life is more simple here”, that it is full of warmth, and strangers who will greet you on the street, and that the Irish people are good and genuine.

Though there are some naysayers, if the worst that can be said about Ireland is that no one here distils their own whiskey (not publicly, at least), then maybe it’s not such a bad place.

Sweet chestnut tree leaves could be used to ‘disarm’ the MRSA superbug

   

Scientists are excited about the range of potential applications for the compound, and have already filed a patent.

As bacteria become more and more resistant to drugs, scientists are increasingly looking towards traditional remedies to help cure infections. Sweet chestnut tree leaves, traditionally used by rural people in southern Italy and other parts of the Mediterranean to treat skin infections, have been found to contain chemicals capable of taming the MRSA superbug.

The compounds “disarm” Staphylococcus aureus bacteria and stop them producing harmful toxins, say scientists – yet they do not appear to boost levels of drug resistance.

Traditional folk remedies based on chestnut leaves inspired the US team at Emory University.

Lead researcher Dr Cassandra Quave said: “We’ve identified a family of compounds from this plant that have an interesting medicinal mechanism.

“Rather than killing staph, this botanical extract works by taking away staph’s weapons, essentially shutting off the ability of the bacteria to create toxins that cause tissue damage. In other words, it takes the teeth out of the bacteria’s bite.”

The chestnut extract was even effective against the superbug Staphylococcus strain MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), healing mice with serious skin infections.

For years the Emory team had investigated the traditional remedies of rural people in southern Italy and other parts of the Mediterranean.

Detective work by the researchers led them to the European sweet chestnut tree, Castanea sativa.

“Local people and healers repeatedly told us how they would make a tea from the leaves of the chestnut tree and wash their skin with it to treat skin infections and inflammations,” said Dr Quave.

In the laboratory, the scientists steeped chestnut leaves in solvents to extract 94 chemicals including the anti-bacterial ursene and oleanene compounds.

A single 50 microgram dose of the extract cleared up MRSA skin infections in laboratory mice, halting damage to tissue and red blood cells.

Lab dish tests showed that the compounds did not harm skin cells or bacteria that live harmlessly on the skin, the researchers reported in the online journal Public Library of Science ONE.

The university’s Office of Technology Transfer has filed a patent on the extract’s unique properties. The scientists are now looking at its individual components to see if they work best in combination or alone.

Potential applications include a protective spray for athletic equipment, coatings for medical devices and personal products such as tampons, and as a treatment for MRSA.

Dr Quave said: “Many pharmaceutical companies are working on the development of monoclonal antibodies that target just one toxin. This is more exciting because we’ve shown that with this extract, we can turn off an entire cascade responsible for producing a variety of different toxins.

“It’s easy to dismiss traditional remedies as old wives’ tales, just because they don’t attack and kill pathogens, but there are many more ways to help cure infections, and we need to focus on them in the era of drug-resistant bacteria.”

It is now official as US confirms marijuana or cannabis does kill cancer cells

    

After a series of laboratory tests and speculations, scientists from the National Cancer Institute (US Department of Health) have confirmed that cannabis, or marijuana, does kill cancer cells.

In its website, the institute wrote, “cannabis and cannabinoids may have benefits in treating the symptoms of cancer or the side effects of cancer therapies” and also that “cannabis has been shown to kill cancer cells in the laboratory.”

The website also records that “cannabis and cannabinoids have been studied in the laboratory and the clinic for relief of pain, nausea and vomiting, anxiety, and loss of appetite.”

Having said that, the researchers also stressed that marijuana has only shown these effects on mice, and are not yet ready to recommend the drug for human use in fighting cancer.

Although Cancer Research pointed out that there is not yet enough evidence to determine whether cannabis can be effectively used for cancer treatment, but this could be a big moment in the battle against the disease.

This new development could also pave the path for a nationwide legalisation of marijuana!

Doomsday not near as NASA denies Asteroid impact with Earth report

NASA makes it absolutely clear that the world ending Asteroid impact will NOT take place next month

  

Recently various web postings as well as blogs were claiming that a huge asteroid will impact Earth somewhere around 15 till 28 September 2015.

The predictions had originated from the prophesy of the much famous Reverend Efrain Rodriguez, who also claimed that on the doomsday, the impact will take place near Puerto Rico which will result in causing “wanton destruction to the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States and Mexico, as well as Central and South America”.

Some blogs even blamed the U.S. government for covering up the news with an aim to prevent unnecessary panic in public.

Mid of this week, the U.S. space agency, NASA, was forced to make a statement denying the rumors that went viral on the social media predicting the occurrence of world-ending asteroid impact in September.

NASA made it quite clear that the rumors are totally baseless and they convinced public that there will NOT be any such occurrence of the world-ending asteroid impact next month. In addition NASA also provided some vital facts that supported the denial.

NASA said: “There is no scientific basis — not one shred of evidence — that an asteroid or any other celestial object will impact Earth on those dates,” said Paul Chodas, manager of Nasa’s Near-Earth Object office, in an official statement which seemed to be somewhat in anger.

He continued: “In fact, not a single one of the known objects has any credible chance of hitting our planet over the next century.”

NASA, accepted that asteroid impacts is a common thing; however it also noted that all the “Potentially Hazardous” rocks which are known to NASA have been classed and at least till next century there are rarest chances, mere 0.01 percent, that Earth should be hit by some such asteroid which would result in a ‘Doomsday’.

Chodas added: “If there were any object large enough to do that type of destruction in September, we would have seen something of it by now.”

He continued: “Again, there is no existing evidence that an asteroid or any other celestial object is on a trajectory that will impact Earth. In fact, not a single one of the known objects has any credible chance of hitting our planet over the next century.”

This is not the first time that NASA was forced to deny some such absurd rumor that indicated the “end of the world situation” which has gone viral in the world of social media. In its official website, NASA said that ‘Doomsday theorists’ had made similar predictions earlier also which were not backed by scientific facts and we can see that none of them turned out to be true.

Way back in 2011, there were rumors that Comet Elenin was going to hit Earth and NASA had to intervene and make a statement to deny this prediction.

Next, in  2012, there were various prophetic conspiracies for which NASA had to issue multiple denials and to be very frank, none of these prophesies occurred in reality including the Mayan calendar!

Chodas said: “Again, there is no existing evidence that an asteroid or any other celestial object is on a trajectory that will impact Earth.”

Some facts about asteroids:

Currently, NASA and other space agencies have confirmed that there are no such huge asteroids detected yet; however it is also a fact that the current methods and techniques which our present space agencies use to identify and track any such potentially dangerous objects in space is not enough.

It is a fact that the Nasa’s Near-Earth Object Observations Program (‘Spaceguard’) is able to track and detect the asteroids which are only within 30 million miles. Other agencies including ESA too have similar projects.

On the other hand, as per the ‘Asteroid Day project’, which was set up with an aim to increase the awareness of asteroid impacts, one can find huge asteroids which measure around one kilometer in their diameter, lying in the Asteroid Belt that falls between Jupiter and Mars. Besides, this belt also comprises of more than millions of smaller rocks and pieces of debris.

It has been estimated that there are around 1,00,000 asteroids which are large enough to cause the impact and destroy Earth on the scale of the Tunguska event.

Tunguska event is the 10-15 megaton explosion that occurred in Siberia in 1908 and destroyed the entire city. It seems with the current equipment available the space agencies all over the world can detect and track only 10,000 asteroids, so what about the rest 90,000 asteroids……is definitely a very BIG question!

It is also a fact that the 2013 major impact, which occurred above Chelyabinsk in Russia, which was accompanied with severe explosion with a kinetic force of 500 kilotons of TNT and injured about 1,500 was noticed only after it took place!

Right now, none of our space agencies have any methods to either deflect or destroy the hazardous asteroid which is coming towards Earth, nor are there any fool proof methods to track them.

For now, NASA has ensured the public that there will be NO asteroid impact between the specified dates next month. Well, that means for now people can definitely chalk out their plans for October and even beyond, smartphone lovers can wait the next release of their most favorite high tech phone while the Earth continues its existence?