Tag Archives: Silicon Valley

News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Saturday/Sunday 7 & 8th June 2014

Top US politician launches assault on Irish tax laws 


The Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Silicon Valley’s best young whizz kids were left embarrassed as California Governor Jerry Brown took a sledgehammer to the Irish tax laws that lure US corporations here.

The Enterprise Ireland event in San Francisco was held to celebrate Irish-American links and the new wave of Irish entrepreneurs heading to the west coast in search of a fortune in new technologies.

Instead there was barely concealed hostility as California’s most senior politician gave a withering attack on our tax system and the US corporations who benefit.

He said his state of California would become an “independent country” if it had the same tax regime as Ireland.

It was one of several jibes about Irish taxation made after Taoiseach Mr Kenny had heralded the relationship between Ireland and the US.

And Mr Brown said that Apple was now an “Irish company” that benefited from what he described as “creative accounting”.

“I don’t know how you got to have Apple to have so much of their business in Ireland, we thought they were a Californian company, when you look at their tax returns they’re really an Irish company… it’s called creative accounting,” Governor Brown said.

The no-holds barred assault on fiscal policy caused deep unease among the Irish contingent in the boardroom.

His speech was met with gasps after he remarked about the relationship between Ireland and Britain.

After stating that both the Irish and Californians swim “against the stream”, he added: “The Irish have had to live next door to the English for all these centuries.”

Governor Brown then alluded to the number of Irish barmen working on the very street where he was making his controversial remarks.

“We have a lot of your countrymen that come to San Francisco, they run a lot of establishments here, on Geary Street you see a number of them,” he said, to polite laughter. But it was his continued focus on Irish tax laws that raised most eyebrows, even among the officials from the Government, the IDA and Enterprise Ireland.

The event – designed to assist Irish start-up firms seeking to break into the US market – was also attended by Irish ambassador to the US, Anne Anderson, several IDA officials including chief executive Barry O’Leary and dozens of Irish business people.

Governor Brown’s outspoken remarks come as the European Commission is poised to launch a formal probe into allegations that the Revenue Commissioners have offered special deals to multi-national companies.

The probe, which may begin as early as Wednesday, could result in businesses being asked to repay money.

When asked about the matter during his visit to Silicon Valley, Mr Kenny said: “Clearly when the Commission decide to make a statement on the matter, Ireland will react to it.

“We believe our legislation is robust, that the application of that legislation is ethical and obviously we will be prepared to defend that very strongly in the event of any further statement or requirement from the European Commission.”

In his own speech at the Enterprise Ireland event on Saturday, Mr Kenny spoke about his aims for Ireland to become “the greatest small nation on Earth”. He added that Dublin was “becoming a magnetic attraction for young people from all over the world”.

The Taoiseach said these young people were “changing the frontiers up ahead”.

Galway cancer survivor’s medical card withdrawn without any notice


A Galway carpenter who had a bone marrow transplant and aggressive chemotherapy treatment for a rare cancer nearly 22 years ago that left a legacy of side effects, was among those whose medical card was withdrawn out of the blue.

Now James Mullen, 59, is among tens of thousands hoping they will get their medical card back after the Government’s U-turn forced by their humiliation at the ballot box in last month’s local and European elections.

In 1993, James, from Clifden, Co Galway, underwent a bone marrow transplant that saved his life.

Back then, the chemotherapy regime that accompanied his successful cancer treatment was extremely aggressive – unlike the carefully targeted therapy available today.

It left James with a legacy of medical issues. At one stage he was on 22 tablets a day to treat blood pressure, stomach problems and other side-effects of his cancer treatment.

He told the Sunday Independent: “It’s a small price to pay. I’m glad to be rid of the cancer. Without the bone marrow transplant and the treatments I was told in 1993 that I would be dead within five years.”

Since then James has had a discretionary medical card – until about eight weeks ago.

He received no official notification. He found out that his medical card had been withdrawn by the HSE when he went to his pharmacist to pick up his prescription.

“I had to pay €140 for my medicines,” James added.

It is a large monthly bill the married father of four can ill afford.

“I rang the HSE and was talking to someone in there. I told them I was a cancer patient on twice yearly check-ups in Galway and Dublin. The chap said to me that back in the Nineties it was easy to give out medical cards because cancer patients didn’t live that long, but that has changed now,” James said. He has still not got his medical card back and has written to the HSE stating his case.

“They did send me a GP visit card to replace the medical card but that is not worth anything to me, I never go near a GP,” he said. “If I have a problem I have to see the specialist in hospital. What I need is help meeting the bill for medicines and drugs.”

The Irish Cancer Society (ICS) and other groups representing patients who had medical cards withdrawn in the latest health fiasco have been promised by Minister James Reilly that the mess will be sorted out before the Dail rises for Summer.

An emotional Dr Reilly was joined by Junior Minister Alex White for meetings with a number of groups on Friday, including Down Syndrome Ireland, the Jack & Jill Foundation, ICS and the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association.

The Our Children’s Health group, which has been campaigning for the return of cards and also met the Minister said: “We would like to acknowledge Minister Reilly’s sincerity and commitment to expedite the introduction of the new framework while also moving quickly to deal with those that have lost their medical cards.”

The group said the minister had “committed to identify and reinstate medical cards for all those affected” and added that this would be undertaken by the time the Dail breaks for the summer recess on July 17.

A spokesman for the group said Dr Reilly became “quite emotional” as he spoke to them.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “On the issue of those persons who lost a discretionary medical card through the review process, the groups were advised that the goal of the Government is to resolve that issue before the summer.”

It has now emerged that both Dr Reilly and the HSE furiously opposed the “medical cards probity” savings of €113m in 2014 advocated by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Eventually, after that battle, the savings sought under the heading “Medical Card Probity” were reduced to €23m and approved by cabinet.

On Wednesday, Dr Reilly apologised to his Fine Gael colleagues for the way the medical card issue had been handled, but appeared to cast some blame on cabinet colleagues for forcing unrealistic savings on his department.

A range of options to treat prostate problems

Half of men over 60 have symptoms of enlarged gland


As they age, an undeniable aspect of men’s health involves beginning to think the prostate.

According to Men’s Health Network, more than 50 percent of men in their 60s and as many as 90 percent of men age 70 or older have symptoms of an enlarged prostate. More than 230,000 men each year are diagnosed with prostate problems and 30,000 men a year will die.

The prostate is part of a man’s sex organs. It is a small gland that produces semen. The walnut-sized organ surrounds the urethra, a tube that takes urine from the bladder to the penis, and also carries semen during ejaculation. In men, the prostate gland grows in puberty and then stops until about age 40 when it starts to grow again. In some men, the prostate gland does not stop growing after that.

There are three conditions associated with prostate growth. It can result in an enlarged prostate, a non-cancerous condition that can lead to frequent urination, difficulty going and an incomplete emptying of the bladder. This condition can lead to pain, sleep disorders, incontinence, bladder stones, kidney infections or damage to the bladder, kidneys or urethra.

Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate and can have complications related to infections, including fever, and illness.

Physicians advise a prostate exam at about age 50, earlier if there is a family history of prostate cancer.

“When we do the exam, we are looking to gauge the size of the prostate,” said Dr. Cullen Jumper of Core Physicians’ Atlantic Urology Associates in Exeter. “We check for hard spots (nodules) which might be concerning. If we need to, we biopsy and discuss the results. Once they reach this age group, all men should at least be discussing this test with their primary care physician. If they have concerns, they need to ask the questions. Many men do not, and they should.”

Dr. Steven Kahan of Atlantic Urology Associates said benign prostate hyperplasia, BPH, is the common term for the condition where the prostate grows to the point that it begins to interfere with urinary function.

“Traditionally, in the past this was treated with surgery, called TURP (transurethral resection of prostate), and that may still be done if needed, but there are also a variety of medications now to treat this,” Kahan said. “Some of the medications used were designed to treat high blood pressure, but we discovered they work well for this condition, too. Now we treat with medication and only consider surgery if that does not work.”

Besides the TURP surgery, Kahan said options include green light laser and ablation of prostate surgical methods.

Cancer of the prostate is treatable if caught early. A physical exam by the physician and possible biopsy tests are required to diagnose prostate cancer.

Dr. Gary Proulx is medical director of radiation oncology at Exeter Hospital’s Center for Cancer Care. He said that even if cancer is detected, treatment may be postponed in favor of “active surveillance” because prostate cancer is usually a very slow-growing disease.

“It is a typical misconception that men die from prostate cancer and that is usually not the case,” Proulx said. “Active surveillance means we simply monitor the cases where there such a low volume of the disease, where it is early grade cancer. We will generally biopsy it one year after discovery, to gauge the growth. Of course, if it is progressing we will treat it.”

Treatment of prostate cancer can involve surgery to remove the cancer followed by radiation treatments. Proulx said there used to be a push to treat immediately, but thinking has changed.

“It was thought that the prostate was generally being overtreated, and I would tend to agree,” Proulx said. “We are leaning the other way because sometimes it is just not necessary. Obviously, if the cancer is in the intermediate to high grade, we will act. Autopsies of men in late age, in their 80s, will often show the presence of prostate cancer, where the men never had any prostate issue in their lives.”

While there are no specific lifestyle changes recommended for prostate health, Proulx believes diet is a factor.

“Japanese men living in Japan never get prostate cancer,” Proulx said. “They eat a lot of fish and a generally lean diet. When they come here and take on a fatty diet, they get prostate cancer.”

A new ‘solitary’ dolphin’s moved to Irish waters

swimmers are being urged to keep their distance


Clet, who originated in French waters, is described as a “non-social solitary dolphin who does not seek out and engage with swimmers”.

Some people may remember a series of warning being issued last summer after a number of swimmers were injured while interacting with a dolphin off Co Clare.

As many as five people were injured by the mammal known locally as ‘Dusty’. Warning signs were placed around Doolin harbour, a favourite spot for the animal.

Well — as we head into the summer swimming season once again, a new warning’s being issued concerning another dolphin who’s recently relocated to Irish waters.

The dolphin in question, known has Clet, has been spotted recently in scenic West Cork — in particular, Glandore, Schull and Baltimore harbours.

According to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, the mammal — who originated in French waters — recently moved the southwest coast from the Isles of Scilly.

According to the IWDG’s Paul Kiernan he is a “non-social solitary dolphin who does not seek out and engage with swimmers”.

In an article on the group’s website this week, Kiernan set out the dangers posed by swimming with any wild dolphin, pointing out that the practice poses “significant potential to increase the risk to the health and safety of swimmers”.

He writes that while many dolphins “spend long periods of time in shallow waters facilitating encounters with small groups of people” their behaviour often changes as more and more people seek to share the experience — especially if they grab at the mammal or attempt to be towed along…

Natural, normal behaviours such as diving, feeding and resting behaviours decline in frequency in the presence of humans.

The animal seeks out interactions, becomes increasingly forceful in these interactions and begins to exhibit behaviour hazardous to swimmers in the water.

Documented behaviours include preventing swimmers from leaving the water by repeatedly swimming in front of them to intercept their exit, increased activity levels and force of activity, tail slapping and breaching in close proximity or on top of swimmers.

Dolphins have also been shown to bite or butt swimmers.

As humans, we do not possess the power to communicate with these animals and therefore we cannot understand how our actions will be interpreted by a wild dolphin, regardless of whether that dolphin is seeking contact with humans or not.

Clet was spotted swimming around sail boats in Glandore harbour on Thursday. The IWDG is encouraging people to get in contact if the spot the mammal, as hope to monitor his movements around Irish waters.

Great white shark EATEN by even larger mystery animal 


The 8-foot-long shark was eaten, possibly by an even bigger shark, think researchers.

Scientists are baffled after they discovered that 8-foot long great white shark has been eaten by even bigger “mystery sea monster.”

Researchers have no idea what animal could be responsible for killing and eating the shark.

The only theory they have so far come up with is that was attacked by a “colossal cannibal white shark.”

Researchers had tagged the healthy shark to track its movements.

But the tracking device washed up on an Australian beach four months later.

Data shows there was a rapid temperature rise along with a sudden 2,000-foot plunge, That, scientists believe, proves it eaten by something much bigger, saying the records indicate the shark went inside another animals’s digestive system.


News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Tuesday 1st April 2014

Up to 15,000 customers had gas and electricity cut off in 2013 after non-payment pay bills


A leading charity warned far too many families are being left without light and heat

More than 15,000 customers had their gas and electricity cut off last year because they couldn’t afford to pay their bills.

 Misery: The reality of being cut off

While the number of homes being disconnected is down, a leading charity warned far too many families are being left without light and heat.

The Commission for Energy Regulation revealed 10,122 electricity customers and 5,895 gas customers were cut off in 2013.

But there was some good news as there was a sizeable fall in the number of disconnections for non-payment from the previous year.

The CER figures show there was a 31% reduction for electricity customers and around 16% for gas users.

Much of this fall is being put down to a rise in agreed settlements and greater use of pay-as-you-go meters.

But St Vincent de Paul said the number being cut off is still far too high. A spokesman added: “There are a very troubling number of households who must resort to payment plans.

“In Great Britain, for example, there were just 453 electricity disconnections in 2012 and in the same year SVP provided €11.1million in helping people in Ireland meet their energy costs.

“SVP has long stated to the minister that the crisis is about arrears, the inability to pay bills, as opposed to disconnections alone.”

The CER has confirmed the number of electricity customers accepting a meter jumped by 80% to 26,591 last year.

Across all companies in the gas sector another 18,519 customers were given a meter, up 45% on 2012.

The St Vincent de Paul spokesman called for wider use of PAYGO systems and for payment plans to be made less costly.

There are growing fears that the introduction of water charges later this year will make it even more difficult for those on benefits and low incomes to pay their utility bills.

The spokesman said in some cases families had to choose between heating their home or providing food.

He added: “We see it every day where people are having to make choices, often between eating and heating.”

It is not only domestic users who are finding it difficult to pay their bills as a recent report showed the price of electricity to industrial users has risen dramatically in recent years.

The National Competitiveness Council revealed yesterday that electricity costs in Ireland are among the highest in the EU.

Ireland and what we can learn from Silicon Valley

(The Small Business Show)


The Small Business Show examines how Ireland is embracing innovation that is the hallmark of Silicon Valley and how SMEs are at the forefront of this.

This is one of the most exciting times in Irish business, although it may not seem like it as many SMEs still raise questions over their futures. This week’s Small Business Show is centred on the question of whether Ireland can emulate Silicon Valley?

When you break down where Irish SMEs are now to where they were a number of years ago, it’s clear to see things have changed, not least in mentality and in innovation. That latter word of innovation has long been misdirected at the technology sector here in Ireland. Innovation is the trademark of technology — of that there is no doubt. But trademarks are representations of something; what defines them is not exclusive.

On last week’s show and in these columns, I spoke to Doireann Barrett from the Gluten Free Kitchen Company in Tralee, Co Kerry, a great example in food innovation.

Now, spiral out to sectors such as agriculture, professional services, retail, and even construction: Innovative ideas have come to the fore to help drive these industries forward and, as such, demand for them has not only increased in Ireland but across the world. Necessity really is the mother of invention.

Silicon Valley in California is the place to be for innovation and entrepreneurs. It’s where the capital investment is, where the movers and shakers are in world technology and thinking. Coupled with an ability to fuse together nations and races from around the world in the same place and you have an equation for top end success. This is what the ultimate innovation hub looks like.

However, we’re not capable of something like that in Ireland, are we? Actually, yes, we are. We see that we are already on the road to creating businesses that are innovative for their own reasons.

Venture capital, one of the biggest drivers of innovation, is becoming a standard sight here in Ireland. The likes of SOS Ventures and Atlantic Bridge are putting investment capital into Irish businesses and getting results to match.

For so long, we have stood and looked across the pond with envy, wondering what they have that we don’t. The reality is that we have it — we just need to nurture it. The venture capital is here, the thinkers are here, the entrepreneurs are here, and, what’s more, the hunger is here. Never before has Ireland seen so many entrepreneurs so enthused about its future.

There are many challenges ahead for the economy and small business. But with fresh thinking and new approaches, we are slowly creating the solutions to things that for so long have just been problems.

If Silicon Valley is the dream, then Ireland’s reality needs to be this road of new ideas. If you will it, it is no dream.

Irish country house prices rise by up to 3% for first time since 2007


A new report shows property prices outside Dublin went up in the first three months of the year.

According to Daft.ie, it is the first quarterly increase outside the capital since mid 2007. Today’s figures ending a run of 26 straight quarters of falling values outside Dublin.

Cork and Galway city centre properties rose 2% and 3%, respectively.

Meanwhile, prices in Dublin are 15% higher.

Daft says there are currently fewer than 2,300 properties listed for sale in Dublin, the lowest since June 2006.

Fewer than 800 Dublin houses are coming on the market each month on average, or 10,000 homes over per year.

Daft’s in-house economist Ronan Lyons said: “In a city of roughly half a million households, this translates to just 2% for sale – a healthy market would see at least three times this amount coming on to the market each year and perhaps as much as six times.”

He added: “The end of price falls around the country is unsurprising when taken together with the figures on supply.

“The total stock of properties sitting on the market fell from 54,000 in March 2012 to 43,000 in March 2013 and to 33,000 in March 2014.

“To put the last two years into perspective, between early 2008 and early 2012, that figure had been stuck persistently above 50,000.”

Update 9.30am: Meanwhile, MyHome is tracking a slight fall in prices outside Dublin, of .7%.

Both MyHome and Daft, as well as DNG, all confirm that prices in Dublin are continuing to rise, though by varying amounts.

Irish adverse weather symposium set for NUI Galway


A recently-published report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes dire predictions about the adverse effects and impacts of climate change.

The Irish Met Society and NUI Galway have joined up to organise a Symposium on ongoing work in Ireland in researching and monitoring of our atmosphere.

The Symposium, which will take place in the Martin Ryan Annex Lecture Theatre in NUI Galway, includes presentations on atmospheric monitoring and research activities of national bodies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Met Éireann and the Marine Institute.

It will be held on Saturday next, 5 April from 10.45am and will be followed on Sunday by a trip to the NUI Galway Atmospheric Research Station at Mace Head in Connemara. All details are available on the Irish Met Society website at http://www.irishmetsociety.org.

The Symposium should be especially relevant to bodies such as local authorities, farming and other organisations where the weather can have an impact on their work. The aim of the Symposium is to encourage more synergy between the various agencies that are active in atmospheric monitoring and to promote greater use of the data collected.

It will provide an opportunity for members of the public and individuals directly involved in Atmospheric Research and Monitoring to inform themselves on current activities in those areas.

A highlight of the day features Dinah Molloy, a researcher with the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge. She uses the weather records kept by captains of whaling ships in the 1700s and 1800s to describe the climate at that time. This is of interest in the light of this week’s IPCC report, which refers to how recent weather events such as melting ice caps, more intense rains, more frequent storms and heat waves were brought about by climate change.

A presentation on the work of the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) in monitoring air pollutants and their effect on the weather brings an international flavour to the event. Other presentations highlight the work of scientists in NUI Galway at an international level, through their work at Mace Head since 1958.

This work is led by Professor Colin O’Dowd, a recent recipient of the Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal for outstanding contribution to the Environment and Geosciences. Aspects of their work will include research on the impact of aerosol particles on the sunlight reaching the earth.

Other organisations that will be describing their work are Met Éireann, the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland, the Marine Institute and the Environmental Protection Agency. The monitoring of radiation levels in the atmosphere, in particular in an emergency situation, is the focus of one presentation.

Other presentations describe how data on the atmosphere are gathered at sea using buoys and on land through a network of observing stations. Improving the accuracy of air quality forecasting is addressed in a presentation by the Environmental Protection Agency.

These are the ten counties with the highest rates of bowel cancer


The Irish Cancer Society has highlighted these ‘hotspots’ (left map picture) as Bowel Cancer Awareness Month gets under-way.

The Irish Cancer Society has revealed the ten counties with the highest rates of bowel cancer in Ireland.

Today marks the start of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, during which the charity is hoping to advise people on what lifestyle changes to make to reduce the risk of bowel cancer.

These include more exercise and a healthier diet, both factors that can reduce the risk by between 30 and 40 per cent.

Research has estimated that between 30 to 60 minutes of exercise can offer the “best protection” against bowel cancer.

Bowel Screen is also advising those aged between 60 and 90 to be screened for the cancer.

Figures from the National Cancer Registery show that Cork has the highest rate at 57.90 cases per 100,000 people.

These are based on studies between 1994 and 2011.

A number of the counties with the highest rates are centred around the north-west of the country.

“The high levels of bowel cancer incidence in certain parts of the country could be due to lifestyle or genetic factors,” a statement from the Irish Cancer Society read.

Here’s the full list:

•          Cork – 57.90

•          Leitrim – 56.39

•          Louth – 54.97

•          Dublin North – 54.49

•          Westmeath – 54.23

•          Dublin South – 53.87

•          Cavan – 53.44

•          Mayo – 52.98

•          Waterford – 52.29

•          Sligo – 52.28

Norfolk Storks could be first to breed in the wild in Britain for some 600 years


A pair of storks which have built a nest on top of an 18th century chimney in Norfolk could become the first to breed in the wild in the UK since 1416

The storks have built their nest on an 18th century chimney at Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens

In Britain they are usually confined to the walls of nurseries carrying baby bundles in their beaks.

But now a pair of white storks is set to make history by producing their own offspring in this country for the first time in nearly 600 years.

The female bird is expected to lay her eggs in the next few days after building an impressive nest of twigs on top of a 35ft high disused chimney.

If the eggs hatch they will be the first storks known to have successfully bred in the wild in Britain since 1416, the year after Henry V celebrated victory at the Battle of Agincourt, when a pair nested on top of St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh.

The four-year-old birds have built their traditional elevated nest on an 18th century chimney at Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

They were also spotted “copulating furiously” a few days ago, according to hopeful staff at Thrigby Hall.

Other storks which have had their wings pinioned to stop them flying away have been successfully bred in zoos in recent years.

But the pair at Thrigby Hall are semi-wild as they are able to fly and can come and go as they please.

White storks, which are a traditional symbol of childbirth, breed mainly in continental Europe in summer months before migrating south to Africa in the winter.

They often nest close to human settlements but rarely visit the UK with only about 20 spotted each year.

They often nest on top of manmade objects like chimneys, rooftops and telegraph poles.

Ken Sims, 72, director of Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens, said the birds on his chimney had been bred in captivity in Cumbria and the Cotswolds.

He said: “They are resident at the wildlife gardens, but they can fly and they are allowed their semi-liberty.

“They go off into the countryside and the Norfolk Broads to feed and they come back here.

“We gave the storks a helping hand, by building a structure for their nest on the hall’s front chimney, but they turned their back on our handiwork and have built their own nest on one of the rear stacks.

“They have been seen mating several times and are very busy adding twigs to their nest so we’ll be keeping a close eye on them over the next month or so to see if they begin feeding activities, which will mean that chicks have arrived.

“We attempted to encourage stork breeding in 2008, but sadly the hen disappeared and the male stork flew into a powerline and died.

“We are hoping to have more success this time. It will be a day for great celebration if our storks manage to breed successfully in their traditional way.”

A previous attempt by a pair of storks to nest on an electricity pole at Horbury Bridge in the Calder Valley, West Yorkshire, ended in failure in 2004.

Mr Sims said it had been his policy in recent years to not pinion birds at his wildlife park to allow them greater freedom.

He added: “The building of a nest together is part of their courtship display and an indication that eggs are on their way.

“They were seen copulating furiously around five days ago and we think they were doing it a couple of days either side as well.

“We are pretty confident that we will get some young storks. It could be that eggs have been laid already, but we can’t see as the chimney is so high.”

White storks facts:

  • White storks are tall and slender birds with a distinctive long neck, bright red bill, long legs and black wing feathers.
  • They grow up to 125cm (50ins) tall with a wing span of about 155 to 200cm (61 to 79ins) and feed on worms, amphibians like frogs, reptiles, insects and small mammals including voles.
  • They usually breed in the warmer parts of continental Europe and spend most winters in Africa before returning north in the spring.
  • Some occasionally visit the UK in spring, but only around 20 are spotted on British shores every year.
  • Once they have built their nest the same pair will often return to the same site every year to breed.
  • The nests can weigh between 60 and 250kg (130 to 551lb) and sometimes cause chimneys to collapse.
  • Storks have long been associated with fertility and fidelity and the myth the birds delivering babies down the chimney is known worldwide.
  • The story was popularised by a 19th century Hans Christian Anderson story called The Storks.
  • Adult storks continue to care for their young even after they have fledged which led to a belief the young birds were taking care of their parents.

This is thought to explain why an ancient Greek law about taking care of your parents was called the Pelargonia, from pelargos, a stork.