← Previous Story BARCELONA 3RD, VESZPREM EMPTY-HANDED Next Story → THIRD TIME’S A CHARM FOR FLENSBURG! SG Flensburg have won the VELUX EHF Champions League by victory over THW Kiel 30:28 (14:16) for the first time in the club’s history after two lost final matches in 2004 and 2007…THW Kiel – SG Flensburg-Handewitt 28:30 (16:14)THW Kiel: Sjöstrand (10 saves), Palicka (3 saves) – Toft Hansen (1), Sigurdsson (5), Sprenger, Wiencek (1), Ekberg (5), Zeitz (1), Jallouz (1), Palmarsson (6), Jicha (3), Vujin (5)SG Flensburg-Handewitt: Andersson (20 saves) – Karlsson, Nenadic, Eggert (7/1), Glandorf (5), Mogensen (4), Svan (7), Weinhold (4), Heinl (1), Gottfridsson (2), Radivojevic, KnudsenResults: 2:0 (2.), 4:1 (6.), 6:2 (9.), 8:3 (11.), 8:5 (14.), 11:5 (16.), 12:6 (18.), 12:9 (22.), 14:10 (25.), 14:12 (26.), 16:12 (28.) – 16:15 (31.), 18:16 (33.), 19:17 (35.), 19:21 (41.), 20:23 (44.), 21:25 (47.), 22:26 (49.), 25:26 (52.), 25:28 (53.), 26:29 (55.), 28:29 (57.), 28:30 (58.)
The things becoming even harder for the Danish national team coach Gudmundur Gudmundsson. Experienced Icelander who replaced legendary Ulrik Wilbek on the Danish bench suffering new problems after “only” fifth place at the World Championship 2015 in Qatar. Right back Kasper Sondergaard (indefinitely) together with the first left wing Anders Eggert won’t be able to join the national team in the upcoming period.SG Flensburg’s left wing had decided to take a rest until end of the season due fatigue and family reasons (he will become a father)– I have always been very happy to play for the national team, but I can not find profits in the coming period, where I shall be a father again. I need a break and believes that it is now the time is right, says Anders Eggert to dhf.dk.Denmark began EHF EURO 2016 campaign with two wins over Lithuania and Bosnia and Herzegovina which put them on the TOP of the Qualifications group. Anders EggertDenmark Handballgudmundur gudmundssson ← Previous Story Michael Biegler close to HSV Handball bench Next Story → CRUNCH TIME: VELUX EHF CL TOP 16 action in next three days
Poland are in the World’s Championship semi-final for the second time in a row! Danish coach Kim Rasmussen, once again, prepared his girls well for Russian challenge after winning EHF EURO 2014 clash which sent Trefilov girls home. The Polish girls beat Russia 21:20 (11:9) in tight match after 60 minutes of great battle.STATISTICSMonika Kobylinska was the match winner with two last goals for the win against the rival, who was in the best form until quarter-final day.The fourth team from the last World Championship 2013 in Serbia, for the final will play against Netherlands. Dutch girls beat France 28:25. Monika KobylinskaPolandPoland handballRussia handball ← Previous Story N.E.A.G.U: Romanian girls win epic battle against 15.000 Danes! Next Story → DENMARK 2015: Dutch girls in semi-finals for the first time ever!
The Men’s Junior IHF World Championship today will start in Algeria. The 24 best national teams in generation 1996 will have, once again and for the last time, chance to fight for the medals in youth categories.SCHEDULE ← Previous Story Hungarian giRls and Spanish boys rule the Beach Handball world Next Story → ALGERIA 2017: Perfect start for France and Slovenia
(Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland)It’s not just the cities that are gearing up for winter conditions. Over in the west of the country, Clare County Council says it is has access to more than 3,000 tonnes of rock salt to treat the county’s roads during the coming winter, with one third of the salt stock already in storage after it was held over from last year.An additional 2,000 tonnes of salt is available to the council to draw down when required from the NRA and the Department of Transport (DTTAS), they said.In 2009 and 2010, the country experienced a cold snap putting many council workers under pressure as temperatures reached sub-zero conditions. The cold weather lasted for longer than expected pushing the country’s salt stock to its limits.This year will be the first time the county’s motorway and dual carriageways will be treated directly by the National Roads Authority, which assumed responsibility for the National Motorway Network earlier this year.Let’s hope other local authorities follow suit, and that this is not ahead of us:(YouTube/The Hrustin)WATCH: Your 30-second guide to driving in the snow>Read: What would happen if all the ice melted? Well, we’d be waving goodbye to most of Connacht> SOME LOCAL AUTHORITIES are learning from mistakes made in the past and are preparing for the possibility of a cold winter ahead.Dublin City Council said they are well prepared for any possible icy conditions and have tonnes of salt in storage and in reserve in case the cold snap of 2009 and 2010 return.Dublin City Council said that the Roads and Traffic Department operates a Severe Weather Response Programme between mid October and mid April.This programme involves treating more than 300 kilometres of the city’s main roads when they are affected by snow and ice. “Prioritising these means that emergency services can operate, businesses remain open and other essential public services can operate,” said a spokesperson for the council.As part of this response the council said it has approximately 2,200 tonnes of salt, an increase from 1,700 tonnes in 2010.“We can also call on an allocation of 1,700 tonnes from the National Roads Authority (NRA). A further 500 tonnes of fine salt is reserves for treating footpaths,” said the spokesperson.
THE COLT FAMILY lived undisturbed on their farm in New South Wales until June 2012 when social workers and police made their first visit.The checkup was warranted because of reports that there were children living ‘in the hills’ who did not attend school.What emerged was a depraved case of the most extreme child neglect, abuse and intergenerational incest any of the officials had ever seen. Some have not been able to get over what they had to document.There were 12 children – all in unwashed states with varying degrees of intellectual disabilities, physical deformities, malnutrition and dental emergencies – living on the property.Some of the youngsters and teenagers were unable to use a toothbrush, wash their hair, use toilet paper or bathe themselves.The family of about 40 people existed in two caravans, two sheds and two tents. The caravans were described as “very dirty” and in a “hazardous state”. There was mud, dirt, cigarette butts and rubbish on the floors. The children’s beds were dirty and unmade; cooking facilities were dirty and unsafe and window were broken.The fridge in the large shed contained rotten vegetables and a young kangaroo was asleep in one of the children’s beds.Caseworkers observed the children and reported that they wore dirty clothing, were shy and unable to make eye contact.Their speech was difficult to understand and they appeared to have very poor dental health and hygiene.The horrific details have emerged this week after the New South Wales Children’s Court took the unusual decision to publish its judgement with the name of the family changed.Community Services removed the 12 children from the settlement on 18 July 2012. In July, the Court said that they would not be returned to their parents under any circumstances because such a move would pose too much of a risk.The childrenJust one of the 12 children removed from the farm was found to have parents that were not related.The Colt family’s dark history starts with brother and sister, Timothy and June Colt, who were married in New Zealand in 1966 and had seven children – Rhonda, Betty, Cherry, Frank, Charlie, Paula and Martha.The family moved to Australia and lived in various properties. They were thought to relocate each time authorities would ask questions or get to close.Rhonda, Betty and Martha were all mothers involved in the Boorawa neglect case.Rhonda has six children, the youngest being Cindy who is five years old and is now in the care of the State. Her father is not related to the Colts, genetic testing showed.Betty has 13 children, five of whom are now in protection. Bobby (15), Bill (14), Brian (12), Dwayne (9) and Carmen (8) were all removed during the 18 July 2012 visit. Their fathers are all related to Betty.Betty’s daughter Raylene, who is now 30 years old, was the fourth mother involved in this year’s legal proceedings. Her only child, Kimberly, is 13 and was also removed from the Boorawa farm.Martha has had six children but Donna died when she was just two weeks old. The surviving five are aged between seven and 15. They were all removed by social services. Albert, Jed, Karl, Ruth and Nadia’s parents were all related, genetic testing showed.According to the evidence heard in court, all 12 children were “neglected in significant ways”.Most of them were discovered to be far behind age peers in terms of educational development and were functioning well below their chronological age.Albert, Jed, Kimberly, Karl, Ruth, Carmen and Nadia have particular problems with speaking intelligibly.There were other physical problems noted, including fungal infections in feet and bed-wetting and soiling.A number of the Colt children were reported to having hearing and vision impairments, as well as cognitive difficulties.The world primitive was used by the court on occasion.Cindy, the only child not born of a incestuous relationship, was described as a “well-spoken polite, bright, intelligent girl whose development was normal for her age”. Her health and hygiene were observed to be good and her clothes clean. Her mother had taken her to hospital in June 2012 to be treated for her ear infection.Sexualised behaviourThe court judgement on the children’s experiences of sex abuse makes for extremely disturbing reading.Evidence submitted revealed how the Colt children made concerning disclosures to psychologists during sessions and, they themselves, exhibited sexualised behaviour.Kimberley revealed that she had “sucked Dwayne” while Carmen watched. Her mother knew about it, she said.Other disclosures outlined in the court included incidences some of the brothers and uncles having sex with the girls, touching their breasts, licking their vaginas and placing sticks in their anuses.There were incidences of the girls being tied up to trees by the boys and other times when they watched other members of their family have sex with each other.Placement reports from carers indicated that Cindy, who is just five years old, was found masturbating on a toilet and in the shower. She said Dwayne (9) showed her how to do that.She also tried to kiss the male carer on the lips and was defiant when told this was inappropriate.Five of the boys also told their carers about how they used to torture animals on the farm, including puppies and cats. They reported mutilating the genitals of animals.Separately, Ruth told a psychologist that she lived with “two mums and two dads” but her “number one mum died because she was sick”.Tammy Colt’s EvidenceSome of the most harrowing evidence was given by Betty’s second daughter, Tammy, who revealed what had happened to her as she grew up.She told her Victorian caseworker that she had been in a relationship with her younger brother Derek for three years and that he had fathered her three children – one of whom died from a “universally lethal” condition, Zellweger Syndrome. She says she did not know they were related until recently.He has since threatened to kill her if “he couldn’t have her”.Tammy disclosed that she had been abused within the Colt family from the age of 12, when other family members began having sex with her, including Colin, Timothy, Derek and Matthew.She said that the same happened to her sisters, Raylene, Tracy, Jane and Penny.Her mother encouraged this activity. Tammy used to hide from her brothers when she could so they couldn’t have sex with her, and she secretly went on the pill at age 16, without her mother’s knowledge.She and her sisters were not allowed to see a doctor when pregnant in case someone found out what was happening.The now-27-year-old says she is aware of a number of miscarriages on the Boorowa farm.The judge’s rulingJudge Peter Johnstone said the jigsaw pieces given to him created a “very clear picture” of life on the farm. He accepted the genetic evidence, as well as Tammy Colt’s submission, stating it had probative value, and that the Children’s Court works differently to other courts in terms of strict proof and best evidence.He repeated a note from the caseworker which said Tammy’s outpourings at the courthouse were “spontaneous and voluntary”. He said he took into account the general, inconsistent and contradictory nature of her account but made allowances for her own emotional and psychological deficiencies.“Overall, however, she presented connected and credible threads that assist in completing the full picture of the Colt family and life on the farm”, he said.Judge Johnstone ruled that Betty Colt – who had disputed the court’s findings – is not willing to disentangle herself from her family and is incapable of addressing her own traumatic history.He said there is no pathway for the restoration of the children to the care of their mothers and agreed they would be wards of the State until they are 18 years old.All 12 are currently in foster care or other placements. They have some contact with each other and their parents.More: Safeguarding board has “no remit” to deal with abuse by Irish priests abroad
AS JIMI HENDRIX said: “You have to go on and be crazy.”“Craziness,” he continued, “is like heaven.” Have you tasted heaven this week? If not, then you still have time. DailyEdge.ie is here to give you double helpings of the craziest news stories around, served straight. Dig in, pals.A man went on a rampage in Walmart after he was refused a return without a receipt on a printer. After being refused the return, Jose Morales cursed and allegedly smashed the printer on the floor, before throwing it at two clerks. The clerks ducked behind the counter and were not hit by the printer. He also karate-kicked an anti-theft device on his way out the door. Police tracked Morales down to his girlfriend’s apartment, where he was reportedly found hiding in a wardrobe. (Huffington Post)A grandmother found drugs worth €30,000 in her suitcase – four years after her holiday. Gillian Rodgers, from Auckland in New Zealand, was clearing out her old suitcase for a trip when she discovered the bag of amphetamines, tightly wrapped and about the size of a packet of cigarettes. She returned them to a police station and there’s no answer as to how, why or when the drugs ended up in her case. What a trip! Boom boom. (DailyEdge.ie) Source: GifrificA couple in Pennsylvania are advertising their home for sale, calling it “slightly haunted”. Homeowners Gregory and Sandi Leeson have experienced mysteriously banging doors, odd noises in the basement and the persistent feeling that someone is behind them in their 113-year-old Victorian home. A former resident has also claimed he found a human skull in the basement. Their ad refers to “the occasional ghostly visage” in the bathroom mirror and 3.13am screams. But forget all that, it’s in a great schools catchment area. (AP)A new study in the British Journal of Psychiatry has suggested that comedians may have high levels of psychotic personality traits. Researched analysed comedians from Britain, Australia and the US and found that they scored highly on four types of psychotic characteristics, compared to those tested in non-creative jobs. “The creative elements needed to produce humour are strikingly similar to those characterising the cognitive style of people with psychosis,” Gordon Claridge, of the University of Oxford, said. I’d make a joke about this, but I’m genuinely worried. (Reuters) Source: CostumePopA woman in the UK impersonated her brother’s fiancée to cancel their wedding, insisting she was “doing him a favour”. Ann Duffy, 50, posed as Sandra Hardy to contract the registry office and call off the big day, telling her brother David: “I’ve saved you on the divorce. I’ve cancelled your wedding.” She did not like her brother’s bride-to-be due to friction over the care of the siblings’ mother. The couple managed to re-book and save the wedding. Duffy admitted harassment in court. I’m pretty shocked this story was about a British woman and not an Irish Mammy, really. (Mirror) Source: KulPhotoGalway West TD Noel Grealish is concerned impending Irish water taxes will lead to “less washing,” the Connacht Tribune reports. The TD fears that the introduction of charges for water will lead to a deterioration in personal hygiene for families. The great unwashed indeed, Noel. (Connacht Tribune)A critic of President Francois Hollande (and the ruling elite in general) has protested by dumping manure in front of the national parliament buildings in Paris. “Out with Hollande and the entire political class,” was written on the side of the man’s truck. He was intercepted before he could dump all of the manure. C’mon, pal. As if the parliament needed another load of crap to deal with. (Yahoo!)Pssst. Spotted any wacky news in your local area? Let us know on firstname.lastname@example.org or below in the comments if you’d like to see your name in lights. It could be you!Can’t get enough of this wonderful stuff? Fear not. Blow off the dust, fling open the windows and explore the weird news archive>
In pictures: Tom O’Gorman remembered as friends gather for candlelit vigil>Related: Saverio Bellante remanded in custody for another two weeks after short court> hearing> THE FUNERAL OF Tom O’Gorman is to be held in Castleknock tomorrow.The 39-year-old was killed at his house in Castleknock on 12 January. His lodger, 34-year-old Saverio Bellante, has been charged with the murder. It’s understood the two men had been playing a game of chess before the killing.Removal to the Our Lady Mother of the Church, Castleknock will take place tonight at 5.30pm. Tomorrow morning a requiem mass will take place at 11.30am followed by the burial in Castleknock Churchyard.O’Gorman had worked at Catholic lobby group the Iona Institute for the past seven years. His family, friends and colleagues attended a service at St Teresa’s Church in Dublin city centre last week to pay tribute to him and remember his life.
OVER THE LAST five or six years, from looking at the team-sheets, you would back Ireland to beat Scotland but it hasn’t always worked out that way.With Joe Schmidt coming in, it adds a bit more excitement to the usual Six Nations hype. We saw the best and worst of Ireland in the space of two weeks during the November Series. They were poor against Australia and magnificent for 81 minutes against New Zealand. If they can reproduce even 80% of what they threw at the All Blacks they will do a job on Scotland.The Scots have no recognised seven in there and that is why the selection of the scavenging Chris Henry at openside may prove crucial. Ireland need to win the breakdown tomorrow and with Henry at his best they could dominate.Everyone in the Ireland XV is pretty much in there on form. I think we need to get used to the mind-set change within the Ireland set-up. All of Schmidt’s talk before the Six Nations was about building a squad and a few of his selections — Luke Marshall, Chris Henry and Andrew Trimble — have backed that up. Ultimately we are on a roadtrip to the World Cup next year. If Schmidt could do to Ireland what he did for Leinster and build a squad of 30 guys he can call on, that would be fantastic.There certainly seems to be a deeper pool of players to call upon. It is great that, while Tommy Bowe and Keith Earls are out injured, we are still debating what wingers should start. Fergus McFadden has probably come back from injury too late but his ability to cover the positions means he is on the bench.Conversely, McFadden’s inclusion there was bad news for Ian Madigan but you can’t argue with his selection on the bench. Is it the most exciting Ireland bench? No but Schmidt often makes horses for courses selections and he has done that here. The last time we played Scotland we were barely pulling a team together because of all our injuries so it is good to have debates over positions this time around.Gordon D’Arcy was excellent against the All Blacks and is unfortunate to miss out but Marshall tore the Scottish defence apart last year. While many will expect D’Arcy and Luke Fitzgerald to be in with a good shout of starting against Wales, it would be hard for Schmidt to drop a player who had a dynamite game. Saying that, he often did that during his time at Leinster.Luke Marshall looked impressive against the Scots last season. INPHO/Dan SheridanThe Scottish back three of Sean Maitland, Stuart Hogg and sean Lamont will be their biggest threat. If you give them the ball and the opportunity, you will rue it. They know how to score tries.Today is all about Ireland inflicting their game on Scotland and dominating when it comes to the basics. I don’t think Schmidt will allow complacency from his players and all the lads, from whatever province, are enjoying the discipline and attention to detail he has imposed on the squad. England slip upThe England and France match last night was great to watch. You could not say England threw it away but they did slip back and allow France to play their way back into the game. It was certainly a higher standard of rugby to the Wales v Italy game earlier in the day.Italy have never replaced Diego Dominguez as a goal-kicker. I was looking at their game thinking ‘Is there somebody, anybody for the love of God, that can kick the ball over the bar for them?’ Wales were fortunate to get the win but I would expect them to raise their game for Ireland next week.*Shane Byrne’s publication, Club Rugby Magazine is available monthly in the Irish Independent. You can also follow Shane on Twitter @shanebyrneofficLike rugby? Follow TheScore.ie’s dedicated Twitter account @rugby_ie >George Hook meets his match as Ronan O’Gara makes RTÉ panel debutMeet the Munster rugby stars building a future for Kenyan orphans
TEN PEOPLE HAVE been taken to hospital following a gas explosion on a residential street in Essex.Sky News reports that one person is said to have suffered from life-threatening injuries, while another two people are in a “serious condition”.The Essex Police confirmed that 19 houses have been evacuated and that there are ten casualties.The police received several 999 calls to reports of an explosion in Cloes Lane, Clacton at 8.27am this morning.Five emergency ambulances, one paramedic rapid response car, our hazardous area response team (HART) and several ambulance Incident Officers were sent to the scene. Two air ambulances are also at scene and Colchester General Hospitals and Broomfield Hospital have been put on alert.The police added that electricity will be be turned off in Cloes Lane, affecting the whole street for some time and they have asked that people stay away from the area.Anyone who is concerned about friends or relatives can contact Essex Police by calling 101, extension 489803.Read: United Nations denounces the Vatican for allowing priests to rape children> Read: Man (28) dies in accident after car he was working on falls>
EVERY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you nine things you need to know with your morning cup of coffee.1 #LEICESTER: Police have confirmed that a body found in Leicester Square, London has been identified as that of missing Irish student Patrick Halpin. The death of the 18-year-old from Galway is not being treated as suspicious.2.#ATM: The Gardaí are searching for three men after shots were fired during an attempted ATM raid in Enniscorthy, Wexford.3.#HOSPITALISED: Fifteen young people were taken to hospital after a gig in Belfast last night and 20 fell ill. It’s believed drugs and drink were the main causes. Police say no one was seriously injured. DJ Hardwell who was playing at the gig last night plans to go ahead with his Dublin gig tonight. 4. #ASYLUM: An ESRI report shows that over half of asylum seekers in the ‘reception system’ in Ireland have been there for over three years.5. #WEATHER: Forecasters warn that bad weather will continue “as far ahead as we can see”. Sorry.6 #ANGLO: All eyes on the Criminal Courts of Justice today as Sean Quinn is likely to make an appearance as a witness at the Anglo trial.7 #ARREST: A 23-year-old man has been charged after a baby was left in a critical condition after an attack in Belfast.8. #INSPECTION: A new HSA inspection carried out last month’s tragic lift incident in Galway, where 3-year-old Solomon Soremekum died has been published. The agency wants employers and building owners to ensure their lifts are thoroughly inspected.9 #CROKER: Residents living near Croke Park are less than happy about Garth Brooks’ record-breaking Dublin appearances. They may seek an injunction against the summer concerts. That would be quite the disappointment for at least 400,000 people across the island.
FOUR CHILDREN AND three adults were injured in a road traffic collision on Thursday, leading gardaí to appeal for witnesses to the incident.Gardaí in Longford said today that they are appealing for information from the public on the serious collision.They said that at approximately 1.20pm, three adults and four children were injured when the car they were travelling in left the road and collided with a wall on the R392 at Terlicken, Ballymahon.The occupants of the car were taken by ambulance to Mullingar Hospital following the crash.A two-year-old boy travelling in the car was seriously injured and has since been brought to Temple St Hospital. A female passenger in her 30s remains in Mullingar Hospital with non life threatening injuries. All of the other passengers have since been discharged from the hospital.The scene of the crash was examined by Garda forensic collision investigators and gardaí are now appealing for witnesses.Gardaí are particularly appealing to anybody travelling on the R392 between Ballymahon and Lanesborough on Thursday 14 February between 1pm and 1.45pm hours to contact them.Anyone with information is asked to contact Longford Garda Station 043 3350570, or the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111.
THROUGHOUT THE YEAR European authorities will be running the rule over the continent’s banks with a series of tests to see how robust their finances are.Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan have gone out to bat for the Irish banks today, saying that we’re in good shape to pass the tests. But what is in store, and what potential pitfalls await?What is it?The European Central Bank and the European Banking Association want to see how European banks would react to various ‘shocks’ in the banking system. They’ll run tests simulating how banks – and their loans – would hold up in another financial crisis.These will be called stress tests and Asset Quality Reviews (AQRs). They’ll be run using sample data from banks’ loan books. The idea is to find the holes in the banking system before they’re torn open by a 2008 style worldwide financial crisis.Stress test? That sounds familiar…And so it should. Thanks to our participation in a bailout programme, not to mention the particularly vulnerable state of our domestic banks, we’ve been subject to more reviews than most. The last of these, in November 2013, found that there was no need for extra recapitalisation.Extra recapitalisation? Didn’t we do that already?Right again. The Irish state has poured billions of euro into recapitalising Irish banks in an effort to get banking activity back to normal – so businesses and ordinary people can get credit. The rights and wrongs of this have been hotly debated, as have the results. The main concern of government will be that the ECB review could find problems that other stress tests to date had not. If this happened, Irish banks may need more cash to keep going.And that would come from where?This isn’t clear yet. The Irish pillar banks have shown – albeit in a limited capacity – that they can raise cash on international finance markets. All things Irish are popular at the moment, from hotels to government debt. If we’re selling it, we’ll find a buyer. So popular in fact, that the government felt confident in exiting the bailout without a precautionary credit line. Since then, we’ve been raising money like nobody’s business.OK, easy-peasy, they’d get it from the markets. Right?Not so fast. We’ve all seen how capricious international money men can be. Bad results for Irish banks could suck confidence out of the sector, making it hard – maybe impossible – for them to raise finance. In this instance, we could see the State called into action. Now, while things aren’t as grim as they were a few years ago, the government doesn’t exactly have several billions around to throw into the banking sector again.Remember that decision to exit the bailout without a precautionary credit line? Well, it might not look so smart if we’re forced to call on assistance from our international friends once again. Any extra injection of cash into Irish banks would certainly dilute our popularity on the international finance scene.Bailout MK 2. How likely is this to happen?This depends on how the banks’ loan books perform in the asset reviews and stress tests. Out of all the acronyms you’re going to hear-and there will be a lot-the most important one is NPLs: Non-Performing Loans.Data from World BankAs you can see from the chart, Irish NPLs are quite high compared to the overall EU level. The graph shows to 2012, and the situation hasn’t improved since then. The final IMF review conducted under the bailout said that some 26.6 per cent of Irish loans are non-performing.A lot of these loans are mortgages and loans to SMEs. This is why Morgan Kelly’s warning earlier this week that a more stringent approach to NPLs could damage the Irish economy attracted such attention. If major problems are discovered within the banks’ NPLs that require financial triage, it could spell trouble.So where do we stand?There’s a lot riding on this year’s stress tests. Major problems would certainly endanger the fledgling European economic recovery, as well as potentially political stability.What’s likely to happen?For Ireland, anyway, Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan has said that the stress tests are unlikely to be any tougher than those we’ve faced already. Michael Noonan said this morning that he’s optimistic the Irish banks can stand up to scrutiny. Broadly speaking, it could kick off a wave of mergers between financial institutions, although at this remove it’s hard to say exactly what the upshot of the results will be.In any event, we’re unlikely to hear anything official until the test results are released in October. That doesn’t rule out some information leaking out as the reviews take place between now and then though, with the potential to bring huge pressure to bear on the government and financial system. Five Irish banks included in ECB stress-test plans>Noonan: The Central Bank and Morgan Kelly should ‘have a conversation’>
ITALY’S LOCAL ELECTIONS were marked by a plunge in support for an anti-establishment party that had promised to channel the anger of ordinary Italians against austerity and corruption.Turnout also reached record lows in mayoral races in recession-hit cities like Rome, most of which will have to go to second-round run-offs on June 9 and 10 because few candidates won majorities.A total of 62.4 per cent of voters cast their ballots – around 15 points less than five years ago.The figure was worse in big cities, with a turnout of 56.2 percent — a very low figure for Italy.The elections showed a “disenchantment with politics”, said Massimo Franco, a columnist for Corriere della Sera, Italy’s top-selling daily. “The political parties are proving incapable of regaining their role,” he said.That disgruntlement even impacted the Five Star Movement protest party, led by comedian-turned-firebrand Beppe Grillo.The movement won more than a quarter of the vote in national elections in February, coming in third after the main leftist and rightist coalitions but becoming the biggest single party in parliament.In the local polls on Sunday and Monday, however, the party failed to advance to run-offs in any city.‘A flop for the ‘Grillini”“A flop for the ‘Grillini’,” read a headline in La Stampa daily, referring to the popular nickname used by Italians to refer to Grillo’s followers.“Their message was confused. They were unable to act on a real dynamic of reform,” said Stefano Folli, a columnist for business daily Il Sole 24 Ore.Political analyst Pierluigi Corbetta said that a portion of voters for the party in February had cast their ballots “with the hope of change, which has not come, generating serious disappointment.”Leftist daily La Repubblica said the elections also showed a “recovery” for the Democratic Party (PD), the main centre-left party, which has been seething with bitter divisions in recent months.Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s party won the first round in Vicenza and Sondrio – two former bastions of the populist Northern League party. It also won control of Massa and Pisa in Tuscany.The left’s weakness has been seen as a destabilising factor for Letta’s fledgling government – the first grand coalition right-left cabinet in Italy since the Second World War.In Rome, leftist challenger Ignazio Marino did even better than expected by winning 42.7 per cent – far ahead of rightwing incumbent Gianni Alemanno with 30.2 per cent. Grillo’s candidate garnered just 12.8 percent in Rome.“Marino was convincing because he was seen as a candidate of civil society,” said Guglielmo Epifani, the leader of the Democratic Party.Deputy Finance Minister Stefano Fassina, a heavyweight in the party, spoke of his concern for the lack of enthusiasm in a country where turnout is usually high.“The chasm between politics and citizens is increasing. Without urgent answers to the economic crisis, it cannot be narrowed,” Fassina said.Analysts were surprised by the poor performance of Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party, which was given as a surging force by opinion polls.- © AFP, 2013Read: Thousands attend rally for Berlusconi – despite his conviction for tax fraud
Microsoft’s Kinect motion controller has been successful as much for being a hacking platform than as an Xbox 360 game controller. Even after launch the hacks continued and Microsoft came around to the idea of supporting the Kinect hacking community with an official SDK now planned.A hack Microsoft won’t be too pleased about, however, is one carried out by Shantanu Goel. He has managed to get the motion controller rigged up to work on a PS3. This isn’t a hack for the faint of heart, though, as it requires a re-route through a laptop, data conversion to raw tracking data, and a second conversion for PS3 compatibility.AdChoices广告Goel has stated that this really is just a proof of concept at the moment. A lot of work needs to be done to improve performance, in particular to the axis control. The good news is he does take advantage of the existing libraries out there for hacking Kinect (OpenNI, PrimeSense, NITE, DIYPS3Controller). That means as those libraries improve, so should PS3 control, although he does need to do some performance work himself for the PS3 conversion code.Full instructions on how to get this system working are available on Goel’s website. He has also released the source code on GitHub under a GNU GPL v2 license. So even if he doesn’t continue development the code is there for others to pick up and run with.Read more at Shantanu’s Page via TechCrunchBrett’s OpinionThe project shows great potential, but I can see Sony not being too pleased if it means that people would be switching to the Kinect instead of their own Move system for controlling games (though Sony are keen to allow the Move to work on a PC). However, with the price of a Move controller being significantly lower than the Kinect, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem and will only appeal to those who are inquisitive and wanted the freedom that the Kinect system provides.
Every year we tune in to the CanSecWest conference and watch the Pwn2Own challenge commence. This usually consists of browsers including Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari getting hacked on the first day. One browser you will notice is missing from that list is Google Chrome, the reason being its sandbox security measures have made it very tough to crack.In fact, Google uses three types of security measure in Chrome that make it very difficult to exploit. They consist of Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR), Data Execution Prevention (DEP), and the most commonly referred to sandbox.ASLR means the data used for the executable, libraries, heap, stack, and address space are never in the same location twice in memory. This makes predictions tough for the hacker making certain types of exploit very difficult if not impossible to use. DEP stops code execution from a non-executable memory region which means the common buffer overflow exploits don’t work. Finally we have the sandbox, which sees each tab you open in Chrome get its own process and is stripped of its rights meaning it can’t affect anything other than itself on the system and in the browser.Tough as all those measures sound and indeed are, Chrome has had its sandbox compromised this week by security company VUPEN. The video above shows the hack using a sophisticated zero-day exploit that manages to run arbitrary code through the browser. Most importantly, it bypasses the sandbox, ASLR, and DEP security measures.The exploit works on both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows systems and executes silently meaning it can be used without the browser or system crashing. In order for it to work a user would just have to visit a website created to take advantage of the vulnerabilities.As it uses new zero-day vulnerabilities VUPEN has discovered, it would be possible to use it on the most recent version of Chrome most of us end users will be running. However, for that to happen VUPEN would need to make the exploit public which it has no intention of doing. The only other way this could be used in the wild is if some other hacker has managed to find the same or similar exploits. Let’s hope not.Read more at Vupen
Rapid browser release cycles are old hat at this point. Google Chrome got the ball rolling with promises of a new stable version every six weeks. Mozilla answered back, promising to get Firefox up to version 7 by the third quarter of 2011. Heck, even Microsoft has stepped up to offer bleeding-edge releases with Internet Explorer 9 and 10 platform previews.The case is no different with Opera, which has been an innovator in the web browser space since setting out on its journey way back in 1994. Despite the recent departure of co-founder John S. von Tetzchner, it’s business as usual in Oslo. Just over a week ago, the company released Opera 11.50 (codenamed Swordfish). To date, it’s seen more than 32 million downloads worldwide.Now it’s time for the Internet waters to meet the company’s newest effort: Wahoo, Opera 12.The browser’s first release is all about delivering a handful performance and stability fixes, though Opera assures that the “juicy stuff” is on the way. For the time being, it might be more interesting to take a look at the company’s choice of codename.The Wahoo is a tropical fish, and from looking at the vector-y version above you might have guessed that it’s commonly mistaken for the barracuda. If you’ve got a sharp memory and follow Opera development, you’ll no doubt recall that Opera 11.10 was, in fact, codenamed barracuda. Opera 11.10 offered a number of improvements, from a zippier Presto rendering engine and improved power saving features to richer HTML5 support and enhancements to the browser’s trademark Speed Dial page.If the Wahoo name is any indication, we can expect a similar list of enhancements to accompany the launch of Opera 12 once it’s finalized.More at Opera
Rewind to last week, if you will. On Tuesday, after the “Let’s Talk iPhone” event that has now been analyzed to death, it sunk in that Apple’s revolutionary Siri personal assistant wasn’t an iOS 5 feature, but an iPhone 4S feature. Was it due to hardware limitations, or marketing? Now that reports are coming in that the 4S totes 512MB of RAM, it’s getting harder to say that this was entirely a hardware-based decision.Those who follow Apple and tech news have known for some time that the company would be delivering voice recognition technology in iOS 5. When the firmware update was first detailed in early June, there was no mention of the Nuance-powered feature. Most of us concluded that this was because Siri wasn’t quite ready for showcasing. But now we know why it was held back – it was set to be an exclusive for the next iPhone, rather than a universal iOS 5 feature.It’s quite possible that Siri couldn’t run up to Apple’s standards of smoothness on other iOS devices. The A5 chip powering the iPhone 4S is a big leap forward from the A4 inside of the iPhone 4 and iPad 1. Perhaps they didn’t want to compromise the experience for us with a laggy, choppy, or slow Siri. Perhaps.But what about the iPad 2? With the revelation that the 4S probably carries 512MB of RAM under the hood (as reported by TUAW and several other sites), this makes the engines of the two devices more or less identical. Both have the A5 chip, and both have identical RAM. Therefore, if Siri can run up to Apple’s standards on the iPhone 4S, it should be able to do the same on the iPad 2. Yet there has been no mention of the personal assistant on Apple’s tablet. What’s up with that?Even incremental Apple hardware updates need a killer feature. Sure, with the iPhone 4S being roughly twice as fast as the iPhone 4, and a phenomenal 8MP camera in tow, its performance should see a huge boost over the 2010 model. But those specs lack that certain draw that gets people excited and gives them that extra itch to upgrade early. Just ask Android tablet makers how specs alone fare in selling a product.Siri, on the other hand, is like nothing we’ve ever seen before. It answers your questions, even when spoken in a conversational tone. It works with a variety of iOS apps to perform common tasks by simply telling it to. It blurs the line between speech recognition and artificial intelligence. Siri can be the kind of killer feature that the iPhone 4S needs.If the iPhone 4 and the iPad 2 got Siri along with iOS 5, then the iPhone 4S could have conceivably been Apple’s most boring update in years. Not weak, mind you, but lacking sizzle. But with Siri, while the latest iPhone may not be the revolutionary iPhone 5 that many were pining for, it still has at least one feature that’s revolutionary.It could be argued that Siri hasn’t been made available for the iPad because speech recognition lends itself more to a phone than a tablet. This makes sense, to some degree. Tablets are more often used in a comfortable environment, when there is nothing to keep you from leisurely browsing for information on the beautiful 9.7 inch display. Phones, meanwhile, are used more while walking, driving, or in a pinch. These are the times when Siri makes the most sense.So I won’t take the hard line that Apple definitely tied Siri to the 4S strictly for marketing. It could be that older devices just wouldn’t be up to snuff, and that the iPad 2 doesn’t need it all that badly. But I will say that – at the very least – it’s extremely convenient for them to have it exclusive to the iPhone 4S, which is otherwise lacking in “magical” new features.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that the first episode of the third season of Game of Thrones was incredibly popular. What you may not have known was that it both broke ratings and piracy records, and guaranteed itself a fourth season in the process.If you haven’t been watching the Game of Thrones, you might not have been aware of the massive following the show has gained in the two years it has been on the air. HBO has worked hard to give people a reason to come back every week instead of pirating, even though they say that sort of thing doesn’t bother them. The heavy promotion before the beginning of the season included Xbox Live exclusives and one of the largest multi-page newspaper ads in recent memory.All the hard work has paid off, as the company announced the single largest ratings event in HBO’s history. 6.7 million viewers caught the show on opening night, if you count the tho repeat plays later that night. Those numbers don’t include DVR watches, those who will watch through HBO Go and SmartGlass, or piracy numbers either.Speaking of piracy, TorrentFreak reported never before seen download numbers for the episode. In fact, just one version of Game of Thrones was shared over 160,000 times in the first night. As more upload files hit the web, the number grew increasingly difficult to count. Previous seasons of Game of Thrones were downloaded nearly four million times, or nearly once for every active US subscriber. This level of piracy doesn’t concern HBO — recently a comment was made expressing concern for the quality of download some users were accessing by HBO chief of programming Michael Lombardo. In fact, he considers downloading the show to be a compliment.One thing about opening night for Game of Thrones is certain, and that is the results of this explosive popularity have guaranteed a fourth season. HBO has confirmed a ten episode fourth season for Game of Thrones, likely to be based on the second half of A Storm of Swords and other creative bits. There’s no confirmed release time frame, but its pretty safe to assume it is only about a year away. It will be interesting to see how Game of Thrones grows over the next year, and how HBO will adapt over that time.
Apple hardware has always had a significant secondhand market, as users sell their last model to help pay for the next. It looks like Apple wants to get in on that action, and will soon offer a trade-in program in their stores.Go to any secondhand sales service, be it eBay or Craigslist or Swappa, and you’ll find no shortage of Apple products for sale. What makes Apple products different from others on the list of used devices is the price tag. The previous generation sells for only slightly less than you could get the same hardware brand new from Apple.The current generation iPhone can be found on Craigslist in many places for more than you’d pay just buying the phone outright. Apple’s secondhand market, especially as it applies to iPhones and iPads, is significant. With that in mind, it’s not surprising at all to see Apple wanting to get in on the action with a trade-in program.According to Bloomberg, Apple is partnering with Brightstar to offer users the ability to trade their current hardware in for a credit against the new hardware. There’s no mention of pricing for these trades, but the idea would be that your iPhone 4S would get you at significant discount on your iPhone 5, and so on. In order for this to be successful, Apple and Brightstar would have to be much better about pricing than most companies that offer this same program right now. Apple could sweeten the deal for less technical users by offering to move them into the new hardware for free, similar to what they currently do for those purchasing upgrades from one iOS device to another.A trade-in service inside an Apple store would have to be handled in a very specific way, as these stores have a reputation for being personalized shopping experiences devoid of standing in line to purchase things. Instead of a trade-in bench, it seems likely that the sales reps would handle everything as part of the transaction, which would actively discourage customers from trying to bring in multiple items to trade in at once.