Three decisive matches of the VELUX EHF Champions League TOP 16 will be played on Saturday in Veszprem, Kielce and Skopje.Veszprem and Kielce have only to save the advantage from the first matches in Zaporozhye 29:24 and Meshkov 32:28, while the toughest job will have Vardar against Wisla after 30:30 in Plock.MVM Veszprem – Motor 17Vive Tauron Kielce – Meshkov Brest 16Vardar – Wisla Plock 18 hrs EHF CL TOP 16 ← Previous Story Gašper Marguč at Veszprem until 2020 Next Story → “CRAZY SERB” TO KIELCE: Darko Djukic signs until 2020!
Updated 10.56pmTHE VICTIMS OF a house fire in Leicester have been identified as the wife and three teenage children of Beaumont Hospital doctor Taufiq Sattar.The neurosurgeon’s family were inside their terraced home in the Spinney Hills area of Leicester when the blaze broke out in the early hours of this morning.His wife Shehnila, their two teenage sons (15 and 17) and their 19-year-old daughter all died in the fire. A murder investigation is underway.Sattar’s colleagues in the Dublin hospital have expressed their shock at the tragic loss.In a statement, the board and staff of Beaumont hospital said they “learned, with shock, of the tragic loss suffered by our colleague Mr Taufiq Sattar”.We wish to express our sincere condolences to Mr Sattar and assure him that our support and thoughts are with him at this terrible time. The comments were echoed by staff at Blackrock Clinic and Hermitage Clinic in Dublin, where the neurosurgeon was a consultant. Describing him as “our dear colleague”, staff said in a statement that their “thoughts and prayers are with Mr Sattar at this most difficult time”.InvestigationDetectives have said they cannot rule out the possibility that the incident was linked to another murder earlier in the week.On Thursday evening, emergency services were called to a scene where a man was assaulted. The victim, who was in his 20s, was taken to the Leicester Royal Infirmary for treatment but he died a short time later.According to Sky News, police said the crimes may be linked because of the close locations and timing.“I can’t confirm here and now it is a revenge attack – it may be, it may not be – but lines of inquiry will certainly get to the bottom of that,” said Assistant Chief Constable Roger Bannister.Neither the family nor the man who was killed were previously known to police.Originally published 2.14pmRead: Four men sentenced to death over gang rape and murder of Indian studentMore: 12 arrested over ‘audacious attempt’ to steal from Santander bank
TURKEY’S PARLIAMENT AUTHORISED military operations against Syria on Thursday and its military fired on targets there for a second day after deadly shelling from Syria killed five civilians in a Turkish border town.For its part, Syria admitted it was responsible for the shelling that killed five people in Turkey and formally apologized for the deaths, a top Turkish official said.Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said Syria has reassured the U.N. that “such an incident will not occur again.”The border violence has added a dangerous new dimension to Syria civil war, dragging Syria neighbors deeper into a conflict that activists say has already killed 30,000 people since an uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime began in March 2011.Atalay said Parliament’s authorization was not declaration of war on Syria but gives Turkey the right to respond to any future attacks from Syria.“The bill is not for war,” Atalay said. “It has deterrent qualities.”Cross-border tensions escalated Wednesday after a shell fired from inside Syria landed on a home in the Turkish village of Akcakale, killing two women and three of their daughters and wounding at least 10 others, according to Turkish media.The bill Thursday opens the way for unilateral action by Turkey’s armed forces inside Syria without the involvement of Turkey’s Western or Arab allies. Turkey has used a similar provision to repeatedly attack suspected Kurdish rebel positions in northern Iraq.Still, Atalay said Turkey’s “main priority” was to “act together with the international community.”“That is why we called on NATO and the United Nations to take up the issue,” Atalay said.The NATO military alliance, of which Turkey is a member, met at an emergency session in Brussels and condemned the attack on Turkey. NATO demanded “the immediate cessation of such aggressive acts against an ally” and urged the Syrian regime to “put an end to flagrant violations of international law.”The Turkish response to the shelling was prompt — it fired salvos of artillery rounds deep inside Syria.Mustafa Guclu, a witness in Akcakale, said the Turkish military fired five rounds of artillery “after midnight” toward Syria and another round around 5 a.m. on Thursday.“I have not heard any more shelling since then,” he told the Associated Press.The Syrian mortar shell damaged the door and walls of a house in Akcakale, while shrapnel poked holes and shattered windows of neighboring houses and shops.Some residents of Akcakale abandoned their homes close to the border and spent the night on the streets. Others gathered outside the mayor’s office, afraid to return to their homes as the dull thud of distant artillery fire rumbled.Turks have grown weary of the burden of involvement in the Syrian conflict, which includes the hosting of 90,000 Syrian refugees in camps along the border.Yet Turkey is still loath to go it alone in Syria, and is anxious for any intervention to have the legitimacy conferred by a U.N. resolution or the involvement of a broad group of allies. Turkey is mindful in part of inconclusive ground missions, mostly in the 1990s, against Kurdish guerrillas based in northern Iraq, as well as the bitter lessons of being seen as an occupying power that are associated with the U.S.-led invasion in Iraq.Reaching deeper into history, Turkey is aware of Mideast sensibilities over Ottoman rule over much of the region.On a visit to Pakistan on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed his government’s concern over the escalation of tensions.Lavrov, speaking at a press conference in Islamabad, said Syria has assured Russia, an ally, that such an incident as the shelling that killed the Turks will not happen again.“It is of great concern for us,” Lavrov said. “This situation is deteriorating with every coming day.”Germany’s foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, said NATO members agree on the need for solidarity but also on prudence in reacting to events on the Turkish-Syrian border.The Turkish retaliatory shelling and steps to authorize possible military intervention against Syira were the latest events to sharply escalate tensions between the two former allies.In June, Turkey reinforced its border with anti-aircraft missiles and threatened to target any approaching Syrian military elements after Syrian forces brought down a Turkish jet, killing its two pilots. Turkey said the plane was in international airspace, countering Syrian claims that it was in Syrian airspace.__Fraser reported from Ankara, Turkey. Associated Press writers Christopher Torchia in Istanbul, Elizabeth Kennedy in Beirut and Nahal Toosi in Islamabad contributed
Updated 18.25TD JOE HIGGINS has denied comments made today by his Dáil counterpart Mick Wallace, who said that he had told Higgins about his tax problems months before it hit the headlines.Wallace made the comments in an interview with Marian Finucane on RTÉ Radio One this morning. He said that he was surprised at the negativity displayed by Joe Higgins towards him in the wake of the controversy:I told Joe about [the underdeclaration of the VAT] months before that and he didn’t seem near as perturbed about it…. it really only became a big issue for people like Joe when the media hounded him.Higgins then contacted RTÉ and went on air to say that Wallace’s statements were “absolutely false” and that it was “absurd” to suggest that he had any advance knowledge of Mick Wallace’s dispute with Revenue.Higgins said that the only conversation he had with Wallace was when he made a “sympathetic passing comment” to Wallace, who returned a “nondescript response”.Higgins accused the Wexford TD of “attempting to dilute” his own problems and to undermine Higgins’ own name. He said he resented any attemot to association him with “Mick Wallace’s tax evasion”.Presenter Marian Finucane said she didn’t believe that Wallace had been implying that Higgins was in any way involved with his tax affairs.Independent TD John Halligan has this evening said that he felt in no way pressurised by the media to condemn Mick Wallace over the issue. Both Halligan and Wallace were members of the Technical Group.“Following the revelations about Deputy Wallace’s tax affairs, I made a conscientious decision to call on Deputy Wallace to resign and was indeed one of the first members of the Technical Group to do so,” said Halligan.He said that he could “catgorically state” that he “in no way felt hounded by the media to make a statement in relation to Deputy Wallace”.On hiring a hitmanWallace also revisited a story he first revealed in a Business and Finance interview in 2005. He said that a Dublin contractor who owed him £20,000 told him go to hell and that the builder said “we don’t give a f***” when Wallace demanded his money.The TD then said he then “met a fella in a pub” who said he could help him to get the cash back.The ‘debt collector’ said that with the use of a gun he could probably have his money to him within a week. Wallace then mentioned his hitman plan to a an acquaintance who worked with the builder in question, and he soon had the bulk of the money back in his possession.He said today that he wouldn’t have gone so far as to send a gunman to the contractor’s door.On Clare DalyWe’re just good friends.On Marian FinucaneSomeone asked me one time if I was having an affair with you Marian.On his companyIt’s dying a very slow death in the public domain.- Additional reporting by Christine BohanMick Wallace says f*** on the radio, suggests affair with Marian Finucane>
THE END IS NEAR for Signor Trapattoni, it would seem.Ireland are in Torshavn for what is just their third game of the current World Cup qualifying campaign but if reports that the FAI are ready to cut their losses with the Italian, tonight could soon be remembered as the last time he took charge of the Boys in Green.Whatever happens after the final whistle, there are still 9o minutes of football to be played and due to the unavailability of several regular names on the teamsheet, tonight’s starting XI actually looks quite a promising one.There are first competitive starts for Robbie Brady and Marc Wilson, who come into a team already possessing youth in Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy. We follow Wilson for a long time,” Trap said yesterday. “He has a good technical quality, he is also a little bit fresh. (Stephen) Ward has a swollen knee but that’s not the reason (he doesn’t start). We need fresh players and more energy. Two or three changes could be very important.” Returning captain Robbie Keane has said they owe the country for the shambles that was last Friday and added that he has been trying to “rally the troops” in training this week.Ireland have beaten the Faroes, who are ranked 130 places below us in the FIFA rankings, on the two occasions that the sides met previously and normally you would expect the result to be a foregone conclusion.However, preparations have been far from ideal and it will be interesting to see if Ireland can recover from what has been a strenuous couple of days.Kick off is 7pm tonight so, how do you think it’ll go?Let us know in the comments section below.‘There are rifts in football every week,’ says Keane‘I’ve crossed the Alps barefoot and overcome most difficult situations in my career’ – Trap vows to soldier on
GARDAÍ HAVE ARRESTED a man after the search of two halting sites in the Ronanstown area of west Dublin this morning.Cannabis resin and cannabis herb were discovered during the raid with an estimated street value of €20,000. Six vehicles and a number of items of property were also seized by investigating gardaí.Gardaí were carrying out the inquiry as part of a multi-agency operation involving gardaí from Ronanstown, divisional search teams, the Divisional Task Force, local and national detective units, CAB, the Stolen Car Unit, the Air Support Unit, along with Revenue, Social Welfare and South County Dublin officials.Read: On the roads: Gardaí to get 170 new vehicles >
http://vimeo.com/81082837(Vimeo: Mark Nolan)A NEW NON-PROFIT campaign has designed a range of pins, cuff links, jewellery to encourage greater openness around mental health and suicide.The Hug For Life initiative is hoping that people will wear the jewellery to show others that they are willing to offer a listening ear to others who are finding it difficult to open up about their problems.Software designer Mark Nolan is behind the project. Although he doesn’t have a background in mental health issues himself, he says that the rate of suicide in Ireland made himself and colleague sit up and do something.He says that when people are feeling low an initial connection can be difficult to make, the idea he says came from the ‘Fáinne Gaeilge’ gold ring worn by Irish language speakers:The idea here was, as with the the Fáinne, to have something attractive to wear all year long. Something relatively discreet that isn’t in your face and that doesn’t have mental health written on it to act as a kind of secret handshake.Nolan says that the idea is at the early stages of development and that he hopes that ‘Hug, the Icon’ will be sold through registered mental health charities.They are currently raising money for the project and have a crowd funding site for those who wish to contribute.Column: Christmas can be a hard time for people – we all need support >Read: Would you pledge to keep watch over one vulnerable person this month? >
THERE WERE OVER 1,800 Freedom of Information requests made to departments in 2013, according to figures released last week.The figures, from a number of parliamentary questions, reveal that, out of the 12 departments which provided details, the largest number of requests were received by the Department of Justice and Equality at 541.However figures for the Department of Social Protection may come out higher at year’s end as there were 1,684 in 2012. Most of these were personal requests and details for these types of requests in 2013 were not provided. A figure similar to last year would bring 2013′s figures closer to last year’s total number of 3,946 requests.In a number of cases, a search and retrieval fee, to compensate for the time spent looking for and compiling the information, was charged. The highest fee sought in 2013 was €13,450 in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.Minister Richard Burton explained that this related to “a request that was extremely broad in scope”.“In that case, the requester was afforded an opportunity to refine the wording of the relevant request in order to reduce or eliminate this fee,” he said. “However, the requester has not engaged in any further correspondence on the matter. This was the only instance in 2013 that a request did not proceed on the basis of a request for a ‘search and retrieval’ fee.”A fee of €863.75 was also sought by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in respect of one request and one of €3,226 was sought in the Department of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht.Last month, Minister Brendan Howlin withdrew controversial amendments to the FOI Bill which would have seen changes to the way charges were calculated.Read: Government backtracks on FOI Bill amendment on charges>
Source: ebayNazi Memorabilia Source: WikimediaIncluding but not limited to an Africa Corps compass and a cigarette case bearing the symbol of the SS.A boomerang Not the actual boomerang. Source: Flickr“We tried to return it to sender, but it kept on coming back”, Gordon explained.A fair few care packages This package made it but others weren’t so lucky. Source: DailyEdge.ieThose warm woolly jumpers, boxes of tea bags and delicious Tayto treats won’t be reaching their final destination without the correct address.Sex toys, aka ‘romantic’ items’ Source: ShutterstockGordon didn’t go into detail but he did deliver one important message:Romance is still alive in Ireland, both in toys and clothing.He also offered some helpful advice to customers who want to make sure their items reach their final destination.His top tip was to include a return address, printed clearly on the top left-hand corner of the envelope or package. “That is the most important thing”, he said.We want to deliver your mail, we don’t want to open it, and we want to be able to deliver your post back to you intact.You can also use An Post’s address checker to make sure that you’ve got all the correct details.5 of the oddest things you can actually do this Valentine’s Day>11 indications that winter is actually sucking the life out of you> AH SNAIL MAIL.Every week over 50,000 items of post end up in An Post’s returned letters centre in Limerick, having failed to make it all the way to their final destination successfully.“The vast majority are letters” operations manager Adrian Gordon told DailyEdge.ie, but sometimes there are some rather interesting items to be found among the packages that make their way to the centre.Here are just a selection of “weird and wacky” items that Gordon and his colleagues have come across so far:A ringmaster’s whip Source: FlickrA wedding veil Source: ebayA remote control ash tray that moves back and forth when it’s needed Source: FlickrA cow’s horn Source: John Goode Photography via FlickrAn ice hockey puck
DAVID CAMERON HAS reiterated his belief that providing a legislative solution on press regulation would be a “mistake” for the UK.At a hastily-called press conference this morning, the Prime Minister outlined why his party want to see a Royal Charter implemented in response to the damning Leveson report.He said he wants to establish a system of strong self-regulation, including one million pound fines and a proper complaints procedure, while still keeping a free press. Details of the charter to provide for a tougher press regulator will be published on Monday.Quoting Winston Churchill’s statement that the media is a “sleeping guardian…the greatest foe of tyranny”, Cameron said he believes there are real dangers to having detailed statutory press regulation.The briefing on the Royal Charter came as talks between parties broke down this morning. Both Labour and the Lib Dems believe the plans give the press too much discretion over their own regulation.Hacked Off, the campaign group for those affected by recent hacking scandals, also said the PM’s statement “shows that he’s still protecting his friends in the press and betraying press abuse victims”.Judge Leveson had recommended a new independent watchdog, adding that the office should be strengthened by legislation.The Conservative leader said he has decided to bring his solution to parliament on Monday for a vote. It is unclear if the proposal will pass but Cameron said he was choosing action and leadership by ending talks.“There remains a big handful of issues, fundamental differences between parties. If we go on and on, we might not close the gap…I chose action over inaction, a workable solution over. I’ve made a choice.”He defended his position in the face of questions that victims of phone hacking would not be satisfied with a self-regulated press. Cameron said his was the “fastest possible way to deliver the strong self-regulation body that Leveson proposed that can put in place million-pound fines, prominent apologies and get justice for victims”.Earlier today, Scotland Yard said it was questioning four journalists or former journalists in relation to a suspected hacking conspiracy at the Sunday Mirror newspaper during 2003 and 2004.Sunday Mirror journalists arrested on suspicion of hacking
A NEW REPORT on mental health centres in Ireland has revealed that a total of 3,056 episodes of physical restraint were reported in 2011. The report by the Mental Health Commission said this figure represents an increase of 71 compared to the number recorded in 2010,Overall use of restrictive practices in 2011 were down by almost 12 per cent on the previous year and the the use of seclusion and mechanical means of bodily restraint has also steadily declined since 2008.However the report said there has been a year-on-year increase in the use of physical restraint.Seclusion accounted for 35.5 per cent of all restrictive interventions reported to the Commission in 2011 with 1,683 episodes reported. Less than half, 47.1 per cent, of approved centres (32/68) indicated that they used seclusion in 2011 and the remainder (36) reported that they did not use seclusion at all.Dublin North Central and Dublin North West had the highest rate of seclusion followed closely by Waterford/Wexford.For the fourth year, St Joseph’s Intellectual Disability Services at St Ita’s Hospital in North Dublin recorded the highest number of episodes of seclusion. They reported 369 episodes of seclusion in 2011, a notable decrease on use reported in 2010 when there were 711 episodes of seclusion in this approved centre.Two dedicated child and adolescent approved centres, the Adolescent In-patient Unit, St Vincent’s Hospital and the Child & Adolescent Mental Health In-patient Unit, Merlin Park University Hospital, reported that they used seclusion in 2011.As in previous years, the percentage of males secluded were greater than that of females at over 60 per cent. The majority 51.6 per cent of seclusion episodes lasted for four hours or less and three-quarters (75.2 per cent) lasted for eight hours or less. In 16 per cent of episodes, seclusion lasted between eight and 24 hours and in a further 6.9 per cent of episodes it lasted between 24 and 72 hours.Only three approved centres reported using mechanical restraint while over three quarters recorded episodes of physical restraint.St Joseph’s Intellectual Disability Services in St Ita’s Hospital recorded the highest number of physical restraint episodes of all approved centres in 2011. This intervention was used 366 times in 2011, which was considerably less than their use of physical restraint in 2010 when they reported 616 episodes.All dedicated child and adolescent approved centres (5) reported using physical restraint, usage was up from 100 episodes in 2010 to 214 episodes in 2011.In 2011, 90.5 per cent of physical restraint episodes lasted for 15 minutes or less and 7.9 per cent of episodes lasted for between 16 and 30 minutes. Fifty one episodes (1.7 per cent) lasted for more than 30 minutes, of which ten (0.3 per cent) lasted for more than one hour. In 2010, four episodes lasted for longer than one hour.Commenting on the publication of the report today, John Saunders, Chairman of the Mental Health Commission said it is the watchdog’s view that “the use of seclusion and restraint are not standard interventions but emergency measures which should be used in rare and exceptional circumstances and only in the best interests of the patient when the patient poses an immediate threat of serious harm to self or others”.“Our aim is to encourage approved centres to focus on preventative measures that eliminate or minimise the use of restrictive interventions,” he said. “To that end the Commission has during 2012 completed a consultation exercise on a seclusion and physical restraint reduction strategy,” he added.The strategy is expected to be published during 2013 and it will be implemented nationwide.Read: INTO calls for all teachers to be given mental health training>
Summer tour14 points have been scored in 160 minutes in two defeats to England and Scotland. The Irish Independent reported in the lead-up to the England game that Kidney would be given a contract extension if he could mastermind a home win over Stuart Lancaster’s men.The very idea seems whimsical now.The Grand Slam win in 2009 and his services to Irish rugby should allow the former Munster coach to remain in the helm until after the Six Nations finale, away to Italy, in Rome.Joe Schmidt and Conor O’Shea, respective coaches of Leinster and Harlequins, would be the two candidates at the top of Irish rugby supporter’s wishlists. Mark McCall is also doing a fine job as coach at Saracens.Sizeable pay and compensation fees would have to be stumped up by the IRFU.Whoever the new coach is, they would benefit more by overseeing a young Irish squad taking on the USA and Canada this summer rather than a man who will be assessing the next stage of his career.Kidney deserves the chance to go out on a high against France and Italy but it is then time to move on. THE QUESTIONS ABOUT Declan Kidney’s future as Ireland coach been lingering for 18 months but were asked on national television for the first time yesterday.Claire McNamara of RTÉ asked Kidney if he felt under pressure after Ireland contrived to have 71% possession and still lose to Scotland. He chose to forgo the query.The coach stated that it was his job to focus on the next game and McNamara, mercifully for the Cork man, left it at that.When TheScore.ie asked Kidney, following Ireland’s 60-0 humiliation in New Zealand last summer, if he was the man to lead Ireland to trophy success, he bristled before responding:“It’s an honour to coach your country. I’ve been asked to coach them and I will continue to coach them.”Kidney is contracted to to continue in his honoured role until the end of Ireland’s summer tour to North America but, with the Six Nations a forlorn dot in the distance, he would do his country a better service by stepping aside after the Six Nations. Rob Kearney reflects on Ireland’s latest defeat. (Lynne Cameron/PA Wire.)Truth be toldJamie Heaslip kept his post-match buoyancy in check for the first time after the devastating loss at Murrayfield but still managed to claim that Ireland were in ‘a good but mixed place’.That comment sums up the indecisiveness that dogged the Irish performance in Edinburgh. Paddy Jackson had slightly more than zero trust placed in his kicking abilities in the first half as penalties were kicked for lineouts that, more often than not, were lost.Donncha O’Callaghan called the decision to shift Brian O’Driscoll out of the Irish captaincy as “marketing” and one moment late in the game left no-one in doubt as to who was calling the shots.Ireland were awarded a penalty just outside the Scottish 22 with three minutes on the clock. Jamie Heaslip, the current captain, was absent from the decision-making process that saw O’Gara kick for the line and an Irish lineout that was won but did not lead to a score. O’Driscoll called the shots on the play.The selection of Jackson was merited, especially after Ronan O’Gara’s ill-fated cameo, but he has not kicked regularly for Ulster ever since Ruan Pienaar returned from international duty with the Springboks.It makes the omission of Fergus McFadden, a reliable place kicker and a versatile back, from the matchday 23 all the more glaring.Perhaps McFadden can get the break he deserves under a new coach this summer while the likes of Cian Healy and Rob Kearney are shelving Irish woes and focusing on winning a Lions series in Australia.Reaction: Coach, captain lament ‘missed opportunity’ as Scotland make Ireland suffer
IRISH AND ASIAN companies have signed contracts worth €5 million and 20 jobs in Ireland as part of a trade mission to China and South Korea.In addition to that funding, investments of €36million in business opportunities in Asia were agreed by Irish companies during the week-long trade and investment mission.The announcement comes at the end of a five-day programme to Beijing, Shanghai and Seoul, in which 41 Irish companies participated, targeting export and investment opportunities for Irish companies.The trade and investment mission also included 13 bilateral meetings with IDA Ireland target companies.Speaking from Seoul, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said that the jobs represented a dividend on the Action Plan for Jobs.“At the heart of our Action Plan for Jobs is building a new, sustainable economy based on exports and innovation. As part of this strategy we have put in place a number of measures including doubling the number of trade missions and putting extra IDA and Enterprise Ireland staff in foreign markets.“I have said before that Irish entrepreneurs and business-people are the real heroes of the recovery we are starting to see across our economy. The 41 companies who participated in this mission, some of whom have finalised deals, others of whom have made major progress, have done great work over this week.”The deals done on the trip include IT, food and HR businesses.Read: Coveney: Irish beef will be on American shelves by autumn
AN 84-YEAR-OLD woman who was struck by a Scania lorry in Co Armagh this morning has died.It happened on Kinelowen Street in Keady at around 10am.She was taken to hospital but died as a result of her injuries.A 31 year old man has been arrested.Officers investigating the collision are appealing for witnesses and can be contacted by calling the non-emergency number 101.Read: Woman killed after being hit by lorry at Heuston Station>
Source: FlightRadar24Now, given those facts, let’s look at how many crashes there are per year. Given the fact that there is 32 million flights a year, the expectation would be that there might be thousands of crashes every single the year.The reality?That’s right. In 2013, you had a 0.0004% chance of being in a plane crash.These crash statistics, it should be noted, include non-commercial and some military flights. So, if you’re a bad flier chances are you aren’t in the Air Corps or flying a cargo plane, which cuts your chances significantly.The percentage chance works out as likely as being hit by lightning. Seven times.The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) says that crashes per million departures have dropped year-on-year.However, this year’s fatality statistics have already surpassed every year since 2010.Other factors matter, such as location and airline.US statistics professor Arnold Barnett found that rich countries tend to have better records, with about a one in 14 million chance of death. In newly industrialised countries, that falls to one in two million and in the developing world, and one in 800,000 in developing nations.In African airspace, the ICAO says that there is 12.9 accidents per million. Conversely, the Middle East has 1.8, Asia and the Pacific 2.2, Europe 2.7 and the US 2.8.The RatingSo, while a cluster of incidents is bound to make some people nervous, there is no evidence that 2014 is any more dangerous in terms of crashes. It is, however, more fatal for air travel.Have an idea for something we should be checking? Email paulhosford@TheJournal.ie or tips@TheJournal.ie.Read: What ever happened to Fine Gael’s Five Point Plan?> In this series we aim to test the veracity of statements made by politicians and those in the public eye. The goal is purely unbiased, testing only the statements that become accepted as fact, not those that espouse them.FactCheck is used whenever a statement is made that needs to be tested so as to better the national conversation. If, for example, a political leader said the world was flat, it wouldn’t do the country any good to blithely accept it as true.Nor does it better our understanding to accept statements designed to obfuscate, to mislead or designed purely to gain political advantage. That is not to say we will only seek to disprove statements. Every column is be looked at purely on fact. The statements are awarded a score from 1-10 based on their merit, with 1 being outright false and 10 being 100 per cent verifiable fact.Of course, some statements go beyond the first line and, where this is the case, we will endeavour to bring you the context of statements.The StatementIn light of recent air accidents, some people think that flying has somehow become more dangerous.The FactsThe disappearance of MH370, the shooting down of MH17 and the crashing of Air Algerie flight 5017 claimed the lives of 643 people and all received considerable media attention both here and abroad, which has naturally led to some nervous fliers taking this as evidence that they are right.But do the stats back that up? Are planes falling from the sky? Should we panic? Source: AP/Press Association ImagesFirstly, it’s important to note that between the two Malaysia Airlines incidents, there were 45 aeroplane crashes, which between them accounted for 158 casualties.That is according to the Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives, a Swiss body which tracks air accidents. So, despite some getting more attention than others, there are accidents roughly every 2.5 days, based on averages for the last few years.Roughly one third of those have no fatalities and your personal chances of surviving a crash are 95.7% according to the US National Transportation Safety Board.It is also important to note that at any one time there is between 8,000 and 13,000 flights in the air and around 90,000 daily flights.That looks something like this.
We see so many shiny new gadgets at ces every year, but unfortunately, not too many of them really have the power to, you know, help people. That’s why it’s always nice to spot a product like iSonic, an electronic cane for the visually impaired.I got a chance to take it for a spin, and I’ve got to say, it’s pretty neat. Click it on and put it on the ground, and it will begin to vibrate when your path isn’t clear. The iSonic can detect obstructions up to two meters away. It works 55 degrees vertically and 25 degrees horizontally. The vibration intensity increases or decreases, based on how far away an object is.Also neat: The wand of the device can identity colors–a built-in voice will alert your when something is red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, or black, when waved over it. It also tells you how dark it is outside. AdChoices广告
If you’re a hardcore survival horror game fan, you’ve probably already played Dead Space through to the end, and you’re planning on picking up your pre-order of Dead Space 2 as soon as you can today, now that the game is in stores. What you may be missing from your Dead Space collection however is this Dead Space Plasma Cutter replica, complete with scorch-marks on the front, light-up effects, and a beautiful display-case to keep it safe when you’re not whirling it around in your living room, pretending you’re being attacked by necromorphs. The plasma cutter replica is large enough to hold in your hand, and has a rechargeable battery inside with about 30-minutes of play time before you have to plug it back in. It’s just less than 3 pounds, and if you just have to have one, you can pre-order it now for $219 list price. Entertainment Earth says they’ll begin shipping in March.
PSP2, NGP, whatever you want to call it, we already knew that Sony’s next-gen handheld console would come with 3G. Heck, it’s right there on the official spec sheet. What we didn’t know is whether or not every PSP2, NGP, whatever you want to call it would have integrated 3G connectivity or if — like the iPad or Galaxy Tab — it would ship with two SKUs: one WiFi only, the other WiFi + 3G.Now Sony Computer Entertainment Europe president Andrew House is setting the record straight: expect two SKUs.AdChoices广告“The first thing to clarify, which I’m not sure the presentation did a perfect job of doing today, is that all of the devices will have WiFi capability… while a separate SKY will have 3G.” This is good news. For most gamers, it will keep the PSP2’s (or NGP’s, or whatever you want to call it… okay, we’re done with this joke now) price affordable without a contract, while also opening the door for network subsidization and — even better — access to Sony’s own new Android-based PlayStation Suite app store.Read more at Eurogamer
Ever wonder how photographers take pictures of bugs while they are flying? You could probably guess that it wasn’t easy, but you might have underestimated just how involved the process is. The fine people at Fotoopa have revealed their setup in an incredible Flickr gallery, along with an explanation of the camera, the components, and their customizations. Even if you’ll never need to take a professional quality, macro image of a wasp in-flight it’s worth checking out.The full explanation of the custom, portable rig seen above is here, but the thing to know is that this system is all about speed. Any sort of shutter delay would mean a missed shot, so as soon as the insect is in the right place the shutter needs to do its thing. This rig is very good at that: it operates with 3.3ms delay, while many cameras today shoot at around 50ms. The camera used is a Nikon D300 (apparently the image above is either wrong or, more likely old) with an AF105mm f/2.8mm macro lens and custom Unibiltz VS14 shutter.But a cool camera and shutter aren’t enough–the shot must be take exactly at the right moment with the proper amount of lighting. The lighting is handled by two external flashes and, at times, a lens-mounted ring flash. Getting the timing right isn’t quite as easy, but by using two IR laser pointers it’s possible to perfectly time the shot. As this chart demonstrates, as soon as the insect flies through the crosspoint of the sensors the camera is triggered and in a just a few milliseconds the shot is taken. Because the distance to the subject is pre-determined no focusing is needed. And with all that light provided by the flashes an incredibly fast shot can be taken, ensuring the insect isn’t blurred.Below you can see the 16-pound, high-speed rig in action. You won’t be the slickest looking guy in the garden–in fact someone might think you’re a Ghostbuster–but you’ll walk away with some amazing photographs.Lots more reading and images at fotoopa’s Flickr set via nikon rumors