Vhi recovers almost €7m that was overcharged in 2012

first_imgVHI HAS RECOVERED almost €7 million that was overcharged by hospitals in 2012.It said today that a total of €10.5 million was recovered, with €6.9m being recovered through Vhi Healthcare’s Special Claims Investigation Unit (SIU) and €3.6m through its third party recovery process.Its Special Claims Investigations Unit (SIU) looks at making sure incidences of error or overcharging by healthcare providers are fully investigated and rectified.Vhi Healthcare has a number of other measures in place to ensure benefit paid on behalf of its customers is “appropriate and warranted”. These include pre-verification of claims, data analytics, on-going audits, third party recovery, clinical reviews and utilisation management.Since it was set up in 2006, the SIU has recouped a total of €30 million. The company said it forms a “critical element in the overall cost containment strategy”.The SIU and has uncovered a number of cases of what Vhi believes are overcharging by providers. The company investigated each case, and if providers have overpaid they must pay back the money involved. They must also introduce a number of corrective measures to ensure that this does not happen again.If Vhi finds a number of queries or repeat occurrences of anomalies with a particular hospital or service provider, it conducts an audit. This looks at the extent of the practice, the level of monies to be repaid to Vhi Healthcare, and the “redesign of processes” to prevent any reoccurrence.Vhi Healthcare’s cost containment programme since 2009 has delivered savings of over €300m in total.Vhi is also encouraging customers to contact them directly if they think there is a mistake on their statement or if Vhi Healthcare has been charged for accommodation or treatments that weren’t received. They can contact the company on 1890 44 44 44 or email: siu@vhi.ie.Read: Vhi international pays out over €6.6 million in 2012>last_img read more

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Bogus family members try to visit activist Malala

first_imgSEVERAL PEOPLE CLAIMING to be relatives of the 14-year-old Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban tried to enter the British hospital where she is being treated, an official said today.The medical director of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where Malala Yousafzai is in intensive care stressed that the incidents did not create any security concerns and police said nobody was arrested.Hospital medical director David Rosser told journalists: I understand that a number of people turned up claiming to be members of Malala’s family — which we don’t believe to be true — and have been arrested.However a police spokeswoman denied that any arrests were made. The spokeswoman for West Midlands Police told AFP:We are investigating what happened but I can confirm that there were no arrests.The teenager spent a comfortable first night in the hospital, Rosser said, after she arrived in Birmingham in central England on a flight from Pakistan on Monday.In an attack which outraged the world, Malala was shot on a school bus in the former Taliban stronghold of the Swat valley last Tuesday as a punishment for campaigning for the right to an education.Read: Pakistani girl shot by Taliban arrives in UK for treatment> We have had some, I guess I would say, irritating incidents overnight and I understand that a number of people have been arrested but there are no security concerns.last_img read more

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Thai sweetcorn older citizens and everything else happening in Leinster House today

first_imgWHAT’S GOING ON in Leinster House?Every day the Dáil and Seanad are sitting, TheJournal.ie brings you the most comprehensive guide to what our lawmakers are getting up to in the Houses of the Oireachtas.So, here is what we can expect to be happening in the Dáil, Seanad and Committee rooms today…3 things we’ll be keeping an eye on Like politics? Then why not ‘Like’ TheJournal.ie’s Politics page?Explainer: How does a Bill become a law? Dáil: Leaders’ Questions – The Taoiseach is sure to face more fire from the opposition benches at 3.15pm over their calls at the weekend for Health Minister James Reilly to resign.Dáil: Local Government Bill – TDs will exchange their views at around 5pm on Minister Hogan’s latest legislation, heralded as “the most radical reform of local government in 100 years”.Dáil: Private Memebers Business – At 7pm the Dáil will hear a call from Fianna Fáil to maintain public services for the elderly in order for them to “live independently and with dignity”, in their motion regarding Older Citizens.Everything else that’s happening in the Dáilcenter_img Arts, Heritage, and Gaeltacht Minister Jimmy Denihan will be in the Dáil chamber at 2pm to answer questions, more than likely on how Budget 2014 will affect his portfolio, which includes a €5 million euro investment in heritage structures. Oh, by the way, he began tweeting last week.The Taoiseach answers questions on his portfolio at 3.36pm before the Order of Business at 4.36pm, followed by Topical Issues.The Dáil adjourns at 9PM.Everything else that’s happening in the SeanadA less than jam-packed day (at the time of publication) begins in the Seanad at 2.30pm with Order of Business.At 3.45pm statements will be heard on the One Percent Difference campaign, for which Minister for Community Phil Hogan will be in attendance.After that will be Matters on the Adjournment before the Seanad adjourns.Everything else that’s happening in the CommitteesThe Children and Youth Affairs sub-committee, with relevant Minister Frances Fitzgerald, will be in Committee Room 2 at 5.15pm to discuss the Child and Family Agency Bill 2013, which would see groups like the Family Support Agency and the National Educational Welfare Board merged into one agency.Does the discussion of anti-dumping duty on ironing boards from China pique your interest? How about for sweetcorn kernels from Thailand? Well then the Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Committee is for you. However, before those topics are discussed, top of their agenda at 1.30pm in Room 2 is the harmonisation of laws relating to pressure equipment.Here’s how to watch what’s going on in Leinster House todayDáil ÉireannSeanad ÉireannCommittee Room 1Committee Room 2Committee Room 3Committee Room 4To access streams on iOS, click herelast_img read more

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Explainer Whats on the table in the Croke Park talks

first_imgTHERE ARE JUST ten days to go until the government’s self-imposed deadline to reach a deal with public sector unions on a successor to the Croke Park Agreement.Over the next few days you are likely to hear government ministers talk about the need to get efficiencies and reduce the cost of running the public service while unions defend their members’ interests and say they can’t take any more cuts to pay and resources.Three years ago the government of the day made an agreement with unions that the public sector would “change the way it does business” and in return there would be no reductions in pay rates or compulsory redundancies.As is often said, this has ensured industrial peace on our streets and none of the kind of scenes we’ve had in Greece where public sector workers have gone on strike leading to services grinding to a halt and violence as protesters clashed with police. Read: Everything you need to know about the Croke Park AgreementIn the first two years of its existence the Croke Park Agreement saved €810 million in year one and €678 million in year two – a total of €1.5 billion.Croke Park IINow as the four-year deal starts to reach its conclusion the current government, which did not negotiate this deal but has broadly supported it, is seeking to negotiate a successor, targeting a total of €1 billion in additional savings over the next three years.This figure breaks down like this:In health it wants to save €420 million which includes job cutsIn education it wants to save €350 million including scaling back the €127 million spent on supervision and substitution paymentsIt wants €60 million of savings from the gardaí In local government it is looking at saving €90 million primarily from the reform of local governmentAnd in the civil service it is targeting €120 million in savings.Source: Government figures/The Week in Politics.These figures amount to just over €1 billion and include €300 million in savings this year.Although direct, core pay cuts are not on the table the issue of premium payments for Saturday and Sunday working, overtime and longer working hours are just some of the areas being targeted by government along with pay cuts for the high-paid and some incremental pay increases.Cuts in these areas will more than likely mean that public sector workers will take home less pay then they would under current arrangements and unions’ argument is that their members have had enough financial pain already.The government is seeking to introduce a longer working week in the public service and standardise the working day so as that there is no overtime payments for staff who work between 6pm and 8pm.For gardaí, we learned from a leaked document earlier this month that a standard working day would be 8am to 8pm and allowances for working Saturday would be cut, so as it would be a normal working day like Monday to Friday.The premium payment for Sunday working would be reduced from double time to time-and-a-half. The government is also said to be targeting pay cuts for staff earning more than €100,000 while those on over €65,000 would be asked to ‘take a step back’ on the increment scale.What’s driving all this?Last month a leaked document from the European Commission outlined the Troika – that’s the EU, the IMF and the ECB – view that “all options should be kept on the table”.The Troika believes there should be “additional productivity reforms” which specifically include “the number of hours worked” but more than that it says that “reductions in allowances and salary scales for some categories of workers should be considered”.This is why the government is going after those at the higher-end of the pay scale with a reluctance to go after so-called core pay for low and middle income workers.But ultimately changes to working hours and premium payments will hit many if not all workers particularly those working in emergency services which is why nurses, firefighters, gardaí and prison officers are particularly aggrieved by the latest developments in the talks.Under the banner of the 24/7 Frontline Alliance – representing around 70,000 workers – they are gathering in Tallaght tonight to rally against further cuts to their pay.The alliance’s argument is that these proposed cuts disproportionately impact frontline emergency workers who are after all the most likely to be working odd hours and at weekends.Underlining their unhappiness with the government’s stated position, gardaí having already withdrawn from the negotiations.What unions wantBut it’s not only emergency services workers who are aggrieved. We know that the Teachers’ Union of Ireland was last week signalling it could pull out of the talks as the government targets supervision and substitution payments, increments and allowances.Allowances are a touchy subject as we know. The unions’ argument is that they are part of core pay which does hold some weight but others take a more sceptical view of, for example, the ‘dealing with post’ allowance that workers at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin are entitled to.Aside from the obvious grievances of individual unions for their members working in particular sectors, as a whole the public sector unions want management to deal with an emerging two-tier pay arrangement.This is the disparity between the pay to new recruits in the public sector and those locked-in to more lucrative pay arrangements that date back to the boom years or at least the years when there wasn’t a gaping deficit of €15 billion in the public finances.Public sector unions also want an increase in the amount of income that is exempt from pension levy. Currently the first €15,000 that a worker earns is exempt but unions want this increased.The government says it wants to achieve the savings it is targeting in a fair and equitable way.Unions argue there is nothing fair and equitable about targeting their pay, resources and pensions when many are already suffering as a result of the general economic downturn, the high rate of unemployment which could affect family members and the growing mortgage arrears crisis.All of which means that agreement is far from certain and the government’s nuclear option of legislating for automatic, across the board pay cuts for public sector workers cannot be ruled out.Read: Croke Park talks on public sector pay and reform to continueIn numbers: How much government spending is protected under Croke Park?last_img read more

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Here is why your veins look blue

first_imgA Pittsburgh doctor says Antonio Brown once repeatedly farted in his face during a consultation, and that he owes him $11,500 in unpaid bills BLOOD IS NEVER blue — it’s always some shade of red. However, veins carrying red blood may appear bluish because of how human tissue and blood reflect and absorb light.When light enters human tissue, it is scattered in all directions (or bounced around) by cells and other structures. That light is either absorbed into the tissue, or it escapes from the skin’s surface. It is the escaped, or reflected, light that we see with our eyes.Blood usually looks red because haemoglobin, an oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells, absorbs lots of blue light and reflects lots of red light. (Think of someone turning “blue in the face” — it means they’re not getting enough oxygen.)But veins — unlike arteries — carry deoxygenated blood, which absorbs more red light than the oxygen-rich blood in the tissue around the vein. The more red light that’s absorbed, the less of it we see.When red light is absorbed into veins but reflected off the tissue around veins, what we see on the surface of the skin is that it’s less reddish above the vein than directly around them.“When we compare the light reaching the surface above the vessel to the light reaching the surface nearby, the amount of blue light is the same, but the amount of red light is less,” explains Michael Patterson, a professor of medical physics at McMaster University in Ontario and co-author of a 1996 paper that investigated why veins appear blue.This creates somewhat of an optical illusion. A vein looks blue not because more blue light is being reflected, but because less red light is being reflected from the vein than from the tissue around it.Deep veins will appear bluer because the deoxygenated blood they contain reflects less red light than the surrounding tissues. Image: Dina Spector/Business Insider.Because blue light waves are shorter than red light waves, veins that are deep below the surface of the skin will look the bluest. This seems counterintuitive, but it means they’ll absorb the (long) red light, but the (short) blue light will hit the space above the vessel and bounce back to our eyes before it’s ever absorbed. [See diagram at right.]In short, veins look blue because they carry deoxygenated blood, which means they reflect less red light than the surrounding tissues. And the deeper the vein, the bluer it will seem.- Dina Spector‘I nearly fell out of my chair’: Irish scientists uncover Einstein’s lost theory> Saudi Arabia says the oil facility hit by drones and missiles will be fully functional again in 12 days Trump might lose a crucial ally in the Middle East if Netanyahu is unseated as Israel’s prime minister for the first time in a decade Australians could be given free movement to the UK after Brexit last_img read more

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More than 300 fines issued as gardaí crack down on broken lights

first_imgAlthough there were 317 prosecutions detected, many people took our advice and rectified their defect or the inappropriate use of fog lights or fog lamps beforehand. We would like to express our thanks to the public for their support of operation Light Up.  Initiatives such as these ultimately help make our vehicles and roads safer for all.RSA chief Noel Brett added that the number of drivers being prosecuted was “disappointing”.“It is important to realise that it is a very serious road safety issue. For example a car driving in the dark with a broken headlight could easily be mistaken for a motorcyclist. The consequences of this happening are unthinkable.“That’s why I would urge drivers, to set aside a couple of minutes before a journey to perform a quick check of their vehicle lights. A couple of minutes that will give you peace of mind knowing you are not facing a fine, prosecution or worse, being responsible for a crash further down the road.”During January, 184 people were caught for driving dangerously while 641 drivers were found to be driving while intoxicated.Read: Woman dies after being struck by a van in Mayo GARDAÍ ISSUED 317 fines to motorists driving in vehicles with defective lights over two days last month.Operation Light Up was held on 20 and 21 Feburary to tackle the growing problem of broken and missing front and back lights.The Garda Press Office said it appreciated some motorists are under financial constraints but emphasised the legal requirement that a vehicle’s lights and lamps are all in working order.More than 1,300 cars were stopped because of issues with lights. The majority (1,089) were just given advice by the garda but 317 were issued with fixed charge notices.The most common problem was having no working right front lamp with 114 offences recorded. Counties in the south of the country noted the highest incidence of problems with 508 cars stopped and 128 fines issued.Some offences were detected during daylight hours and it was deemed appropriate that it be dealt with by way of advice to motorists, according to gardaí.So far this year, 40 people have lost their lives on Irish roads. This is a fact that cannot be ignored, said Assistant Commissioner Gerard Phillips.“We appeal to the public to get the basics right. Slow down, wear your seatbelts always and make yourself as visible as possible when walking or cycling.”He said the operation last month was about raising awareness rather than doling out fines.last_img read more

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We bet you cant make it through this post without smiling

first_imgIT’S FRIDAY AFTERNOON, and if that doesn’t mean it’s time for happiness, we don’t know what does.We bet you won’t be able to resist smiling at these things.This photo of Enda KennyPhotocall Ireland/Eamonn FarrellThis baby laughing at a dog eating bubbles.YouTube/ethedulskisThis bulldog wearing a blonde wig, fur coat and pearls.www.shutterstock.comTaking a moment to remember Ikea monkey.This amazing basketball baby.YouTube/Joseph AshbyThis baby sloth.Flickr/Fathzer/Creative CommonsThis kid trying to describe his dreamYouTube/mrblueangeldoodAnd finally, Aengus Mac GriannaNever gets old.YouTube/IrelandMemesThese dogs and babies are really excited about the Princess Leia news>Here is the biggest crowd of fake moustaches you’ve ever seen>last_img read more

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Frustrations over slow recovery as Japan marks anniversary of tsunami

first_imgJAPAN IS MARKING the second anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that killed nearly 19,000 people and displaced more than 300,000, amid growing dissatisfaction with the slow pace of recovery.Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the government intends to make “visible” reconstruction progress and accelerate resettlement of those left homeless by streamlining legal and administrative procedures many blame for the delays.“I pray that the peaceful lives of those affected can resume as soon as possible,” Emperor Akihito said at a sombre memorial service at Tokyo’s National Theatre.At observances in Tokyo and in still barren towns along the northeastern coast, those gathered bowed their heads in a moment of silence marking the moment – at 2:46pm (5:46am Irish time) on March 11, 2011, when the magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck off the coast.Japan has struggled to rebuild communities and to clean up radiation from the Fukushima I nuclear plant, whose reactors melted down after its cooling systems were disabled by the tsunami.The government has yet to devise a new energy strategy — a central issue for its struggling economy with all but two of the country’s nuclear reactors offline.About half of those displaced are evacuees from areas near the nuclear plant. Hundreds of them today filed a lawsuit demanding compensation from the government and the now-defunct plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., or TEPCO, for their suffering and losses.“Two years after the disasters, neither the government nor TEPCO has clearly acknowledged their responsibility, nor have they provided sufficient support to cover the damages,” said Izutaro Managi, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs.Throughout the disaster zone, the tens of thousands of survivors living in temporary housing are impatient to get resettled, a process that could take up to a decade, officials say.“What I really want is to once again have a ‘my home’,” said Migaku Suzuki, a 69-year-old farm worker in Rikuzentakata, who lost the house he had just finished building in the disaster. Suzuki also lost a son in the tsunami, which obliterated much of the city.160,000 evacuees don’t know if they can ever returnFurther south, in Fukushima prefecture, some 160,000 evacuees are uncertain if they will ever be able to return to homes around the nuclear power plant, where the meltdowns in three reactors spewed radiation into the surrounding soil and water.The lawsuit filed by a group of 800 people in Fukushima demands an apology payment of 50,000 yen (€400) a month for each victim until all radiation from the accident is wiped out, a process that could take decades. Another 900 plan similar cases in Tokyo and elsewhere. Managi said he and fellow lawyers hope to get 10,000 to join the lawsuits.Evacuees are anxious to return home but worried about the potential, still uncertain risks from exposure to the radiation from the disaster, the worst since Chernobyl in 1986.Police officers search for bodies of the 2011 tsunami victims on the coastline in Ishinomaki in Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture earlier today, on the 2nd anniversary of the disaster. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)While there have been no clear cases of cancer linked to radiation from the plant, the upheaval in people’s lives, uncertainty about the future and long-term health concerns, especially for children, have taken an immense psychological toll on thousands of residents.“I don’t trust the government on anything related to health anymore,” said Masaaki Watanabe, 42, who fled the nearby town of Minami-Soma and doesn’t plan to return.Yuko Endo, village chief in Kawauchi, said many residents might not go back if they are kept waiting too long. Restrictions on access are gradually being lifted as workers remove debris and wipe down roofs by hand.“If I were told to wait for two more years, I might explode,” said Endo, who is determined to revive his town of mostly empty houses and overgrown fields.New government may invigorate rebuilding effortsA change of government late last year has raised hopes that authorities might move more quickly with the cleanup and reconstruction.Since taking office in late December, Abe has made a point of frequently visiting the disaster zone, promising faster action and plans to raise the long-term reconstruction budget to 25 trillion yen (€200 billion) from 19 trillion yen (about €152 billion).“We cannot turn away from the harsh reality of the affected areas. The Great East Japan Earthquake still is an ongoing event,” Abe said at the memorial gathering in Tokyo. “Many of those hit by the disaster are still facing uncertainty over their futures.”The struggles to rebuild and to cope with the nuclear disaster are only the most immediate issues Japan is grappling with as it searches for new drivers for growth as its export manufacturing lags, its society ages and its huge national debt grows ever bigger.Those broader issues are also hindering the reconstruction. Towns want to rebuild, but they face the stark reality of dwindling, aging populations that are shrinking further as residents give up on ever finding new jobs.The tsunami and nuclear crisis devastated local fish processing and tourism industries, accelerating a decline that began decades before.Meanwhile, the costly decommissioning of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant could take 40 years as its operator works on finding and removing melted nuclear fuel from inside, disposing the spent fuel rods and treating the many tons of contaminated wastewater used to cool the reactors.Following the Fukushima disaster, Japan’s 50 still viable nuclear reactors were shut down for regular inspections and then for special tests to check their disaster preparedness. Two were restarted last summer to help meet power shortages, but most Japanese remain opposed to restarting more plants.The government, though, looks likely to back away from a decision to phase out nuclear power by the 2030s. Abe says it may take a decade to decide on what Japan’s energy mix should be.Gallery: Japan’s tsunami repairs, six months onRead: Japanese tsunami: 7 incredible survival storieslast_img read more

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Nearly twothirds of Irish farms are not economically viable

first_imgJUST 37 PER CENT of Irish farms are economically viable farm businesses according to a new survey which has shown that average family farm income fell by 15 per cent less year.Preliminary estimates published in the Teagasc National Farm Survey today show that the Single Farm Payment, an EU subsidy, remains the most important direct payment to farmers, accounting for 58 per cent of their income.For cattle farmers it accounts for 80 per cent of their income with dairy farmers less reliant on the payment which makes up 33 per cent of their income.Thirty-seven per cent of farms are classed as economically viable in that these farms have the capacity to pay family labour at the average agricultural wage and provide five per cent return on non-land assets.As a result most farms in Ireland are classed in the survey as either sustainable or vulnerable. A sustainable farm is said to be not economically viable but sustainable due to off-farm income.Farms without off-farm income are classed as vulnerable and there are about 26,000 of these in Ireland.Production and feed costs all increased last year as a result of the inclement weather with expenditure on feed up by over a quarter.Average family farm income fell from €30,095 to €25,483, a 15 per cent drop but still more than in 2010. Income on dairy farms fell by fell by 24 per cent last year from €67,847 to €51,648, the largest drop.Read: Fodder scheme doubled to €2m and extended for two more weeksRead: 20 per cent increase in dead animals as fodder crisis deepensRead: CSO farming figures show sheep numbers up 7pc, potatoes down 13.1pclast_img read more

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PIC The worlds most exclusive club holds a rare meeting

first_imgIT’S RARE THAT they get together but today was one of those days at the opening of the George W Bush presidential library in Texas today where all four surviving former US presidents joined the current incumbent.TIME magazine dubbed it ‘The World’s Most Exclusive Club’ and it looks like a pretty cool club to be in because you can wear pink socks with your fancy suit as modelled here by George Bush senior: From left to right: President Barack Obama stands with former Presidents George W Bush, Bill Clinton, George HW Bush, and Jimmy CarterAnd here are the presidents’ wives in another rare photo-op:From left to right: First lady Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barbara Bush, and Rosalynn Carter. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)Obama tells daughters: If you get tattoos, so will Michelle and Ilast_img read more

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No plans to revisit abortion laws in spite of severe criticism from

first_imgObviously there are always changes required to the legal system. We’ve made some radical changes in many aspects of the legal system.On the issue of another referendum, he said:The Government hasn’t considered that. BOTH THE TAOISEACH and the Tánaiste have played down suggestions that Ireland might hold a referendum on the issue of abortion within its term of office.It follows the publication of a UN Human Rights Committee report earlier which was severely critical of the “highly restrictive” circumstances in which a woman can lawfully have an abortion here.The report says the state should revise its laws in the area “including its Constitution, to provide for additional exceptions in cases of rape, incest, serious risks to the health of the mother, or fatal foetal abnormality”.The Taoiseach was asked at a Government press conference this afternoon whether he felt “shamed” to have Ireland’s record in the area highlighted by the UN — and why a further referendum couldn’t be held, extending the right to choose for rape and incest victims, and women with fatal foetal conditions.He said the coalition had already “set out our view in respect of these matters” adding: And he said the coalition had “set out a number of areas of priority for referenda to be asked of the people”.It’s already been confirmed that a referendum on same-sex marriage will be held in spring of 2015, alongside public votes on a number of other issues discussed by the Constitutional Convention.X CaseTánaiste Joan Burton prefaced her answer by pointing out that she hadn’t had a chance to read the UN panel’s findings yet.But she insisted the Government had taken the initiative in tackling “extraordinarily difficult legacy issues in this country that affected women and men”.We actually as a Government legislated this time last year for the X Case — that is something which required to be addressed for a long number of decades.She said the referenda to be held next year had been “selected by Government in terms of priority”.It’s considered extremely unlikely that the coalition will revisit the issue before the end of its term, in the wake of last year’s divisive vote on the protection of life bill — which led to five TDs and two senators leaving Fine Gael.Read Same-sex marriage vote to be one of a number of referendums to be held in 2015Read UN: Ireland must take action to decriminalise abortionlast_img read more

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Column What is your earliest memory

first_imgWHAT IS YOUR earliest memory? Mine is my third birthday party. I remember getting a xylophone – it was bright, colourful and made a lot of noise. I sat beside the Christmas tree playing with this great new toy, my back to all my little party guests.If you think back to your earliest memory you might come up with something similar to mine (well, maybe minus the xylophone, the noise and the antisocial behaviour…) but you might find your earliest memories start about the same age. Is this when we first start to form memories? Do we need to reach a sufficient level of cognitive and language skills to do so? Apparently not…Studies have shown that we do form memories from a much younger age, however these memories can be lost as we age, so, effectively our earliest memory milestone keeps moving. Children as young as two or three may give valid events as their earliest memories but they may not be able to recall these memories if asked again a few years later. So when do our set of early memories settle down to what we carry into adulthood? Usually by the age of ten.Why do most of us have our earliest memory from an event around the age of three… By this age children tend to have a sufficient vocabulary to allow them express and detail their memoryThis is usually the age where the sense of “self” developsThe hippocampus (the area of the brain associated with memory) has matured enough to adequately retain memories for long periods of time.Studies are ongoing with regard to what factors may influence our earliest memories but some interesting facts have emerged such as suggestions that females tend to have earlier memories than males and that there does not seem to be any bias towards positive or negative memories.  Also, we are as likely to report our earliest memory being of a mundane nature (like me and my xylophone) as of a significant event.Some research that I found particularly interesting was the influence of culture on the age of earliest memory. In cultures that promote discussion with children from a young age about themselves and their feelings and thought, earlier memories are more likely to be reported. This is particularly true for cultures that put a strong emphasis on the past (such as New Zealand Maori). However, Asian cultures tend to put less influence on a child as an individual and more on a group or national mentality, and these cultures tended to report an older age for first memories.What about you – what’s your earliest memory? Let us know in the comments below.Dr Naomi Lavelle is a mum to three junior scientists who are always asking “how”, “why” and “what if”. She blogs at Science Wows where she aims to answer all their questions, one post at a time. She can also be found on Facebook and as @sciencewows on Twitter.Opinion: Does learning a second language lead to a new identity?Read: 7 memory skills that will make you smarter*last_img read more

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There are one million app jobs in Europe right now and Apple

first_imgMORE THAN ONE million direct and indirect European jobs have been created by the growing app industry, according to a new report.The findings, from Vision Mobile, says that more than $16.5 billion (€12.3 billion) in revenue was generated this year, accounting for 19% of the revenue generated by the global app economy.It said that the number of direct European app economy jobs is up 26% from 2013 to 667,000.However, it warned that the app economy in Europe was growing much slower than Asia, which accounted for approximately three times the smartphone sales volume of Europe.It said that while developers were in a strong position to capture a large share of Western markets, they should extend their reach into fast-growing markets like China and India.Using the same findings, Apple also released its own EU update and claimed that 629,000 jobs were created or supported by Apple in Europe.It said that 497,000 jobs were directly attributable to the App Store – roughly half of the direct and indirect app economy jobs in Europe – and that $6.5 billion (€4.8 billion) in App Store income was earned by developers based in Europe.It said its Cork headquarters makes it the largest private employer in Ireland, where it employs 4,000 people and helps support another 2,500 positions in the local area like security, catering, recruitment and maintenance.The report also found that professional developers were more likely to work with iOS, with 43% of them prioritising it compared to 35% for Android.Previous research from the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway and GigaOM research, released back in February, found that app developers in the EU made €17.5 billion in revenue in 2013, and estimated that this figure would increase to €63 billion in five years.Read: Apple and Samsung decide to call a patent truce, but only outside the US >Read: Samsung has been knocked off the top spot in China by a local smartphone maker >last_img read more

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Drugs suspected in sudden death of man in his 20s

first_imgTHREE MEN HAVE been arrested following the sudden death of a man in his 20s in Banbridge last night.Police suspect a possible drugs link in the tragedy which occurred on Kenlis Street in the county Down town.Two of the three men detained by PSNI officers were taken to hospital for treatment. One of them is still being treated.Two of the suspects are in their 20s and one is in his 40s.Read: Michaella McCollum Connolly ‘endured a significant amount of stress’More: Over 1,000 people show up to anti-drugs meeting in Roscrealast_img read more

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Kilkenny bridge protest enters fifth week as Arts Festival begins

first_img Work has already begun on the proposed new bridge over the River Nore. Source: Niall Carson/PAThe “Save Kilkenny” campaign has come under increasing criticism in recent days from locals who see the CAS and the construction of the new bridge as part of the city’s economic development, and something which will bring jobs to the area.Indeed, one firm supporter of the scheme told TheJournal.ie earlier in the week that there was a “silent majority” in favour of it, and that the anti-CAS side had been spreading “misinformation.” Traffic in the north of the city is at gridlock several times a day and the CAS is part of a wider traffic management plan that will address these issues. We’ve already had visitors going out of their way, from their B&Bs and hotels, and coming down here to show their support for us and sign our petition. A GROUP PROTESTING the development of a bridge over the River Nore in Kilkenny have entered their fifth week camping at the proposed construction site.Meanwhile, the debate around the controversial Central Access Scheme (CAS) becomes increasingly fierce. Elaine Bradshaw (L) and Margaret O’ Brien (R) at the proposed site of the controversial new bridge. Source: Niall Carson/PAOne activist, Margaret O’Brien (pictured on the right above) told TheJournal.ie that the arrival of huge numbers of tourists for the city’s Arts Festival this weekend was giving their campaign a boost, despite claims their visible placards and protest camp would do damage to Kilkenny’s reputation. The Central Access Scheme will open up two of the largest unused sites for development. Hopefully this will bring potential jobs to Kilkenny. And for good or for ill, tourism is a big part of our economy.center_img I think this proves what we’ve known for a while – that the medieval character of Kilkenny is a big part of what makes it unique and attractive to tourists. Katrina Butler from the Save Kilkenny campaign, takes a break from protesting. Source: Laura Hutton/PhotocallThe economic argument is one that O’Brien and her fellow activists reject: We could certainly to with more jobs in Kilkenny. We’re not against development. We are absolutely in favour of it – but development that is local and sustainable and keeps Kilkenny’s unique character.The construction of the bridge, meanwhile, carries on.It was the subject of a controversially deferred vote in Kilkenny County Council, but an unspecified legal avenue currently being pursued by the “Save Kilkenny” group means Margaret O’ Brien and her comrades may not be here in another five weeks’ time.But then again…Read: Man to spend second day on raft protesting against Kilkenny bridge>‘Phil Hogans’ hold protest against controversial Kilkenny bridgelast_img read more

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ATT Launching 12 Android 20 4G Devices in 2011

first_imgLots of big numbers from AT&T today at the company’s ces press conference. Two of the more impressive ones came directly from the telecom giant’s CEO, Ralph de la Vega: 12 and 20. Twelve is the number of Android devices the company will be offering in 2011. Twenty is the number of 4G devices the company will be offering in that same time period.AT&T is set to roll out its 4G LTE network in the middle of the year. The 20 phones include Android and Windows Phone handsets, as well as at least one from Apple (iPhone 4G?, iPad 4G?). The Motorola Atrix and HTC Inspire 4G will be the first 4G handsets for the new network.AdChoices广告last_img read more

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Geek deals Deep discounts on Pinnacle home theater products

Sound, by its very nature, is a very subjective beast. Some people are happy to listen to their laptop speakers, the earbuds that came with their MP3 player, or the speakers built into their TV. Others, generally those who have experienced an aftermarket audio system in the past, scoff at those ideas and always supplant the default speakers in any electronics they have.Not only do you gain higher fidelity sound, but you can gain immersion and realism with a proper set of surround speakers. Dell Small Business is offering discounts on such speaker kits, taking up to 75% off of a number of Pinnacle home theater systems. The packages Dell is offering range from mild to wild, with matching price tags. They include everything needed to transform your sound and are ready to hook up to your receiver or other AV system, like a game console or cable box.On the top of the line, we see the Pinnacle MB 15700 Audiophile 7.1 speaker system, which includes your four surround speakers, a 12-inch 500 watt subwoofer, and a center speaker bar with FIFTEEN individual speakers for even better channel separation. This beast normally runs $2999, but Dell is knocking $2200 off to bring the price down to $799 with free shipping. If that’s a little rich for you, they have packages starting at $369 after discount.Pinnacle Home Theater deals at Logic Buy read more

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Each iOS user generates 150 a year for Apple

first_imgApple is in a very happy place at the moment as a company. It has billions in the bank, its iPad tablet computers dominate the market, the iPhone and iPod touch continue to sell well, iTunes and its two App Stores just seem to print money, and Steve Jobs has recently wowed everyone with a spaceship-like new campus planned for Cupertino.This success has come about through great design and services that people for the most part both want and enjoy using. And while we know roughly how many devices Apple has sold over the past few years, we don’t know how much each Apple product user is worth to the company in terms of spending power. In other words, how much does an average Apple-owning user spend after buying a device?Market intelligence company Asymco has decided to have a stab at figuring out the answer to just that question. The best guess comes out at $150 per year for each iOS user regardless of device owned. So if you currently own a gadget that runs iOS, chances are you are spending around the $150 mark every year on apps, music, accessories etc. Does that sound about right?Asymco worked out that $150 figure by taking the revenue generated from sales on 200 million iOS devices, and then splitting it between the 180 million users. For good measure it also assumed on average an iOS device has a lifespan of about 3.5 years.This is a very general calculation, but then I bet Apple doesn’t even know how much each user spends every year without doing some major data crunching. Still, I’d say that’s a pretty good average to have across all devices. Just consider how much you spend on subscriptions each year and I’d say Apple is doing very well out of its users.The figure looks even better if you only consider the Mac-owning user bade. Asymco avergaed that spend out too and came up with $250 a head.Read more at Asymcolast_img read more

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ATTs first LTE smartphones set to launch Nov 6

first_imgIt looks like Verizon’s solo moment in the LTE spotlight is about to end. AT&T, who has had several LTE tethering devices on the market since this summer, is set to launch their first smartphones on the speedy 4G network. The HTC Vivid and the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket are lined up to kick things off on November 6.The Galaxy S II Skyrocket is a variation of Galaxy S II that has been rolling out on various worldwide networks since May. In addition to running on the LTE network, the Skyrocket differs from AT&T’s standard Galaxy S II in that it has a larger 4.5 inch display and a faster 1.5GHz dual-core CPU. It will run on Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread (with TouchWiz UI), and sports an 8MP rear camera that shoots 1080p video.The HTC Vivid also has a 4.5 inch qHD (960 x 540) display, along with a 1.2GHz dual-core chip. It too has an 8MP rear shooter, but with an f/2.2 28mm wide angle lens that should let in ample light. Its camera also shoot 1080p at 60 frames per second. It will run Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread, with HTC Sense pasted on top.AT&T is keeping their standard (3G and HSPA+) data plans intact for these first LTE phones. That means you can pay $15 for a light 200MB of data, $25 for 2GB, or crank it up to $45 for 4GB including tethering. Though many of us long for the days when data was unlimited, at least we aren’t seeing the prices continue to skyrocket while the caps get lower. Aside from power users who are constantly streaming Netflix or trying to replace their home internet, these plans should offer plenty for most.If you’ve managed to miss Verizon’s promotional blitz over the last eight months, LTE is the fastest of the current technologies described as 4G. It is set to become the standard, based on its data speeds that can rival (or trump) many home DSL and cable connections. Verizon’s first LTE smartphone, the HTC Thunderbolt, launched in March, and was followed with a quickly-expanding line of other devices, including the Droid Bionic, Droid Charge, and the upcoming Droid Razr.AT&T’s LTE is currently only available in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. However, when these two phones go on sale, that will have expanded to include Boston, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Athens, GA. AT&T says that their LTE network will reach at least six more markets by the end of the year. If you don’t live in any of these areas, it might be wise to hold off on snatching one of these up.Both handsets will be available this Sunday, Nov. 6. The Skyrocket will ring up at $250, with the Vivid costing $200. Both prices, as always, are with a new two-year contract for new or upgrading customers.More at AT&Tlast_img read more

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Almost 7 out of 10 motorists want drink drivers named on live

first_img Image: Shutterstock/nikamo File Photo 12,703 Views File Photo Image: Shutterstock/nikamo Share16 Tweet Email Drinking and driving is a reckless, shameful behaviour that should be part of Ireland’s past and not our future.“Motorists have consistently supported strong enforcement and strong sanctions for the offence. Sadly though it is clear that there are people who have not got the message. It is a tragic Irish problem that hasn’t gone away.”Some 45% of drivers said they “strongly supported” the proposal, with a further 23% being “somewhat” supportive. Among the main reasons for supporting the idea was the belief that the risk of being ‘named and shamed’ would further discourage people from driving while over the legal limit.While increased efforts have been made in recent years to highlight the risks of drink-driving, the AA survey suggests that some drivers may still be taking the risk of driving while over the limit.Read: One in four farmers said they have driven home after drinking at least three pints> SOME 68% OF Irish motorists believe that those found guilty of drink-driving offences should have their names published on a live register.That’s according to an AA Membership and Motor Insurance survey of over 11,000 motorists.It also found that while almost half of drivers (48%) said such a move wouldn’t affect their driving behaviour, one in five (19%) said the risk of being ‘named and shamed’ would have a major effect on their driving.Commenting on the findings Conor Faughnan, Director of Consumer Affairs at The AA, said: Almost 7 out of 10 motorists want drink drivers named on live register Conor Faughnan from The AA said, “It’s a tragic Irish problem that hasn’t gone away.” Sunday 23 Oct 2016, 6:37 PM By Cliodhna Russell Oct 23rd 2016, 6:37 PM https://jrnl.ie/3042524 Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Short URL 58 Comments last_img read more

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