← Previous Story Draw results of the Women’s Junior World Championship in Korea Next Story → Milorad Krivokapic in Cimos Koper! Serbian playmaker, Davor Cutura (31), from finalist of Cup Winners Cup, Granollers (Spain) will next season begin in team who will compete in Champions League, BM Valladolid. BM Valladolid finished third in ASOBAL this year beyond Ciudad Real and FC Barcelona and played in CL 1/8 final, where they were beaten by German, Rhein Neckar Lowen. Cutura stayed three season in Granollers (finished 7th in ASOBAL). Before that, he was topscorer of Spain, when he played in Arate (season 06/07 – 230 goals).
Experienced left back from Slovenia, Ognjen Backovic (31) will play in the 2. Bundesliga next season. His new team is Ludwigshafen Friesenheim, ambitious one, for the competition on “united” second level of quality in Germany. Backovic, who played in many teams in Spain (Teucro, Puerto Sagunto, Logrono), had experience of playing in Germany (GWD Minden). Last season he spent in the ASOBAL member, Puerto Sagunto.With Slovenia NT, Backovic won silver medal at the EHF EURO 2004 in Slovenia. Ludwigshafen Friesenheim handballOgnjen Backovic ← Previous Story Danijel Andjelkovic will be back in October Next Story → Madrid to host the Spanish Supercup!
Vive Tauron Kielce are still in the race for the first place in Group B of the VELUX EHF Champions League. The team led by Talant Dujshebaev broke resistance of the second best Hungarian roster PICK Szeged 28:24 (13:14) in second half.Julen Aguinagalde netted eight goals for the winners, Manuel Strlek added four. On the other side, Siarhei Gorbok scored six goals.Vive Tauron Kielce – MOL-Pick Szeged 28:24 (13:14)Vive Tauron: Szmal, Ivić – Vujović, Jurecki 2, Walczak, Chrapkowski, Kus 2, Aguinagalde 8, Bielecki 2, Jachlewski 1, Strlek 4, Lijewski 3, Paczkowski, Zorman 3, Bombac 1, Djukić 2MOL-Pick: Sierra Mendez, Nagy – Obranović 3, Kallman 1, Bodo, Gorbok 6, Petrus, Zubai, Balogh 4, Skube 3, Blazević, Gaber 2, Sostarić, Alvarez Rodriguez 1, Banhidi 1, Buntić 2STANDINGS: 5. HC Meshkov Brest12444326:324(2)12 6. HC Prvo plinarsko drustvo …12318288:309(-21)7 8. IFK Kristianstad12228323:354(-31)6 4. MOL-Pick Szeged12615320:305(15)13 ← Previous Story Hans Lindberg scores 13 for Fuchse win in Goppingen Next Story → TWO MORE: Barca beat SG Flensburg to keep first place! 1. HC Vardar12903354:319(35)18 6. RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko12237341:370(-29)7 3. KS Vive Tauron Kielce12804355:334(21)16 2. Rhein-Neckar Löwen12813337:329(8)17
← Previous Story Przybecki to test Poles at Golden league before “long winter” Next Story → WOLFF’S TRANSFER, 4 MILLION QUESTION – Bertus Servaas: We don’t offer such a high wages 5.Celje Piv. Laško4211100 : 1017 6.Metalurg5203122 : 1276 4.Meshkov Brest5302139 : 1289 10.Dinamo Pančevo5104123 : 1483 Tatran Presov, Meshkov Brest and PPD Zagreb celebrated new wins at SEHA GAZPROM League. This time, they didn’t give even a grain of hope to their rivals. The Slovakian best team from Presov outplayed easily Serbian vice-champions RK Dinamo Pancevo 36:24 in match in which Croatian right back Bruno Butorac continued his powerful shooting series this season with 10 goals.On the same diffence stayed Croatian RK Nexe Nasice in Brest, where team led by Sergei Bebeshko didn’t let any chance to the rivals – 35:23 with Konstantin Igropulo in the main role. The Russian right back netted nine goals with 100% efficiency at the end.RK PPD Zagreb showed stamina in the most important moment by beating RK Metalurg 32:26 after two defeat in EHF Champions League against PICK Szeged and RK Vardar Skopje. Seven goals on both sides netted left back Halil Jaganjac and Zagreb’s right back Mario Vuglac.STANDINGS: seha gazprom league 2.PPD Zagreb5311141 : 12410 3.Tatran Prešov5302146 : 1339 8.Nexe5113121 : 1434 9.Vojvodina410394 : 1103 1.Vardar4400127 : 9312 7.Gorenje Velenje411299 : 1054
GARDAÍ HAVE IDENTIFIED the body of a woman found in New Ross, Co Wexford, yesterday, as that of 66-year-old Stacia Purcell.The woman had been missing since 30 October. Yesterday afternoon a woman’s body was discovered in a tributary of the River Barrow and today it was identified as the missing woman.No foulplay is suspected and a report has been sent to the coroner.Read: Body of elderly man discovered in Cork house>
“We’ve had national experts and international experts available to us by the thousands on so many things,” said Kenny.Experts don’t always get it right themselves, either.Kenny said that Brendan Howlin had extended the law and that personal requests, as well as the first two hours of request fulfilment was free.The Taoiseach said that the average cost of retrieval was €600 and that the €15 fee was “relatively small”.The Irish Secretary of the National Union of Journalists, Seamus Dooley, however, disagrees that the fee is a “token”.“Mr Howlin is correct in stating that, in the context of State expenditure, a €15 charge is insignificant. The term “token fee” suggests that it is more by way of a deterrent to requests. If the token fee acts as a barrier to FOI requests we will have paid a high price.“For a struggling freelance journalist or a local residents association the implications of the new fee structure are enormous. The possible liability for a €60 or €80 “token” charge would be sufficient to deter the secretary of a community group from lodging an FOI request.”Read: TDs call for debate on FOI bill to be adjourned pending more consultationsRead: How will the new Freedom of Information charges compare to other countries? THE TAOISEACH TODAY defended plans to increase fees for Freedom of Information requests, saying that the €15 initial fee was “relatively small”.Independent TD Stephen Donnelly cited international reports from legal bodies, human rights watchdogs and civil liberties groups in asking the Taoiseach why the Government was increasing the cost of FOI requests.“I believe you set out to do the right thing,” said Donnelly, who went on to list the members of the Government who had opposed the Fianna Fáil government’s changes to the bill in 2003.Enda Kenny however was unmoved by the level of opposition to the bill.
A NEW REPORT has found that 44 per cent of Twitter users in Ireland tweet at least every fortnight with one in ten users tweeting daily.The report, which was part of Ipsos MRBI’s quarterly analysis on social media usage in Ireland, found that 27 per cent of people in Ireland have a Twitter account, making it the second most popular social media site in the country. LinkedIn has seen steady growth since 2012 with 23 percent of Irish people having an account.Facebook is still the most popular social media site as 57 per cent of Irish people use the site, having grown by 2 per cent in the past year. Elsewhere, 20 per cent are on Google+, while Pinterest and Bebo has 6 per cent and 5 per cent of Irish users respectively.On mobile, 15 per cent of people have an Instagram account, while Foursquare only has one per cent. Stats on other mobile apps like Snapchat, Whatsapp and Viber are expected to be released by Ipsos MRBI on Monday.Snapchat became popular among young Irish users with 11 per cent having the app while only three per cent use Vine. The company has been in the spotlight in recent times, having turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook.(Image: IpsosMRBI/Twitter)Read: 11 per cent of people in Ireland now have Snapchat (but just 3% have Vine) >Read: More than 85% of people still watch TV content on their televisions at home >
IF THE THOUGHT of trying to plug in a charger with an upside down cable is enough to leave you annoyed, you will be glad to hear that a solution is on the way.The USB 3.0 Promoter Group has announced that the next generation of USBs are currently being developed. The new model, called Type-C, will be the same size as a micro USB connector and will allow for scalable power charging.The real draw is that they are reversible, meaning that users can plug it into their devices without having to worry about whether it’s the right way up, or which end of the cable they’re plugging in.However, the new model will be incompatible with existing USB cables and ports.A final specification is expected to be published by the middle of 2014 meaning that the first batch of devices using the new ports won’t arrive until 2015.Read: Has your computer slowed down over time? Here’s why, and how to fix it >Read: Vintage Apple computer sells for more than €500k >
IN AN ARTICLE for TheJournal.ie that can be found here, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams wrote a very interesting piece arguing that “It’s time to define an entirely new relationship between Ireland and Britain”. In case you haven’t read the article, I shall give you a brief synopsis: Mr Adams argues that President Michael D Higgins should use his visit to Britain this year to change Anglo-Irish relations to one based on “equality and mutual respect”. While it is obviously welcoming to hear an individual who has had a huge impact on both Britain and Ireland in recent decades call for a change from the ‘troubled history’ of the past, he is wrong; this change has been underway for some time now.For several years, we have seen the relationship between the two countries change significantly from an awkward alliance to a proud friendship. Arguably this is the untold story of Kenny’s and Cameron’s leaderships, one that must be applauded. Mr Higgins’ visit is significant because it highlights how far relations have come – more so than how far they still have to go.Interlinked economiesFor years the two economies have been interlinked. A joint-economic study from June of last year highlighted just how reliant both countries are on one another. The UK’s largest export market is Ireland and Ireland’s largest export market is the UK. In fact, Ireland’s agri-food sector exports more to the UK than it does to all of the remaining EU Member States combined. This is why when an individual like Eamon Gilmore says a UK exit from the European Union would be bad for the two countries’ relations, the British public listens.It is not only in pure statistics that positive relations can be seen. From Queen Elizabeth’s historic trip to Ireland last year where she said the words “A Uachtaráin agus a chairde” (President and friends), to David Cameron’s apology over Bloody Sunday, we have seen a much more mature relationship develop. Such a change can also be seen in the decision to allow the Olympic torch to pass through Dublin. A decision could have been made to have the torch stop at the borders and very few would have thought much of it, but instead a decision was made to have the torch travel south of the border.More examples can be found throughout the past few years. In 2010 when British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne offered a bi-lateral loan worth £7 billion and declared ‘Ireland is a friend and we’re here to help’, the British public did not bat an eyelid. At a time when Britain was refusing to enter bailout negotiations over Greece, it was more than ready to help its closest neighbour, and so it should be.It is not only in politics that a feel-good factor can be felt, the populations of both countries also show just how much influence the countries have on one another. Currently there are over 329,000 Brits living in Ireland while it is estimated that as many as six million people living in the UK have an Irish grandparent (close to almost 10 per cent of the UK population). I myself am one of the many people living in either UK or Ireland that holds dual nationality. At the time when immigration is a key concern in the UK, even leader of the BNP Nick Griffin is welcoming of the Irish.Limiting the debateI have a lot of respect for Mr Adams – whether you like him or loathe him, he is undoubtedly one of the biggest political figures of his generation – but I feel he is wrong to limit the debate over Anglo-Irish relations to just partition. While it is a key issue that has to be discussed, it is one of many factors to consider when evaluating the growing relationship between Ireland and Britain. In basing your opinion of the relationship among the two countries purely on partition, you ignore all the achievements both countries have made.Relations between the two nations are at a historic high, and at a time when both countries are comfortable and confident in their own skins, this is fantastic news for all. With the centenary of the First World War this year, and the centenary of the Easter Rising in two years, such a positive growing relationship could not be needed more. Such a relationship looks to only get better, which is good for all of us, whether you live north or south of the border, or in England, Scotland or Wales.Ryan Gray works as an advisor/counsellor, drug campaigner and trustee. He is currently running as a Conservative Party Candidate in British local elections and can be found on Twitter as @RyanDMGray.Gerry Adams: It’s time to define an entirely new relationship between Ireland and BritainRead: Ireland and the UK are planning closer economic cooperation
CHELSEA HAVE BEEN paired with Premier League title rivals Manchester City and Arsenal were pitted against Liverpool in an explosive FA Cup fifth-round draw.Having managed to avoid each other in the competition’s opening rounds, the top flight’s four leading clubs will now come together in the last 16 on the weekend of February 15-16.Chelsea’s trip to the Etihad Stadium will follow hot on the heels of their away game at City a week on Monday, but the London club’s manager Jose Mourinho took the draw in his stride.“No problem. If you want to be the best, you have to play against the best,” he told ITV after his side’s 1-0 success at home to Stoke City in the fourth round on Sunday.“So it’s good for us — good experience, good game, big game, good.”Chelsea and City are considered the biggest challengers to current league leaders Arsenal, but Mourinho suggested that Manuel Pellegrini’s side would approach the tie as favourites.One team is an ended product, the other team is a team that needs to improve and has a long way to go,” he said.Arsenal beat Liverpool 2-0 when the sides last met in November and the teams are due to face off again at Anfield in the league a week before their encounter in the cup at the Emirates Stadium.There were two other all-Premier League ties in the draw, with League Cup finalists Sunderland drawn to face Southampton and Everton manager Roberto Martinez handed a tie against his former club Swansea City.Holders Wigan Athletic, meanwhile, will visit Cardiff City after eliminating Crystal Palace on Saturday.Here is the draw in full:Manchester City v ChelseaSheffield United or Fulham v Nottingham Forest or Preston North EndArsenal v LiverpoolBrighton and Hove Albion v Hull CityCardiff City v Wigan AthleticSheffield Wednesday v Charlton AthleticSunderland v SouthamptonEverton v Swansea CityThe games will take place on the weekend of 15/16 February.VIDEO: Chelsea’s Oscar hits an unstoppable curling free-kickRodallega to the rescue as Fulham draw with 10-man Blades
Scorers for St Thomas: Richie Murray 1-2, Conor Cooney 0-5 (0-3f), Anthony Kelly, James Regan, Bernard Burke, Kenneth Burke 0-1 each.Scorers for Kilcormac-Killoughey: Ciaran Slevin 0-8 (0-7f, 0-1 sideline), Trevor Fletcher 1-1.ST THOMAS: Patrick Skehill; Sean Skehill, Robert Murray, Cathal Burke; Enda Tannion, Darragh Burke, Sean Burke; Kenneth Burke, David Burke; Shane Cooney, Conor Cooney, James Regan; Anthony Kelly, Richie Murray, Bernard Burke.Subs: Eanna Burke for Kelly (46), Gerald Murray for S Cooney (58). Kilcormac-Killoughey’s Peter Geraghty, Ciaran Slevin and Kevin Grogan dejected after the gamePic: INPHO/Ryan Byrne St Thomas (Galway) 1-11Kilcormac-Killoughey (Offaly) 1-9ST THOMAS BECAME the seventh Galway club to lift the All-Ireland senior hurling crown with a two-point success against Offaly champions Kilcormac-Killoughey in Croke Park this afternoon.In a tight and low-scoring encounter played in difficult conditions, St Thomas hit four points without reply in the final quarter to secure glory.Kilcormac-Killoughey received a setback in the 53rd minute when Killian Leonard was controversially sent-off after a pull across St Thomas Darragh Burke as he emerged with the ball from defence.And their woes were compounded minutes later when their other midfielder Mark Leonard received his second yellow card of the game as they finished with 13 men.St Thomas took advantage with a brace of points apiece from experienced attacker Richie Murray and Galway senior Conor Cooney helping them secure the honours.It was St Thomas who lead at the break by 1-7 to 1-5 after Murray had found the net for them from a rebound when Cooney’s drive from a 20-yard free was blocked on the line.Kilcormac-Killoughey’s goal arrived courtesy of Trevor Fletcher, parachuted into the side after Daniel Currams was ruled out through injury, when he booted to the net after seizing a breaking ball.Kilcormac-Killoughey who had captain and ace marksman Ciaran Slevin in splendid scoring form up front as he shot 0-8, went in front by 1-9 to 1-7 by the third quarter mark.But they suffered from a lack of scores from play, only 1-1 during the game, and just two players who got on the scoresheet – Slevin and Fletcher.In contrast St Thomas registered 1-8 from play with six different players contributing to their overall total. And it was Murray and Cooney who made the match-winning contributions to secure a memorable success for the Peterswell-Kilchreest combination. KILCORMAC-KILLOUGHEY: Conor Slevin; James Grogan, Ger Healion, Alan McConville; Kevin Grogan, Peter Healion, Brian Leonard; Damien Kilmartin, Killian Leonard; Ciaran Slevin, Conor Mahon, Peter Geraghty; James Gorman, Trevor Fletcher, Tomas Geraghty.Referee: John Sexton (Cork)Subs: Mark Leonard for Fletcher (55), Conor Guinan for P Geraghty 57.St. Thomas captain Robert Murray and manager John Burke with the trophy after the gamePic: INPHO/Ryan ByrneMy club’s greatest day…As it happened: St Thomas v Kilcormac-Killoughey, All-Ireland Club SHC final
Source: Mattmanes Source: NocookieDoing this with your calculator Source: FrequencycastOr more commonly, this: Source: FlickrGetting caught rapid using one when you shouldn’t have been Source: ShutterstockJust when you thought you’d gotten away with it, and had all the right answers, along came the teacher with those words you didn’t want to hear.Quadratic EquationsYou could reel off this formula no bother. Source: RoadrunnerBut actually solving them? Or even identifying them in the first place? Source: GiphySpeaking of formulas, you couldn’t beat Pythagoras’ Theorem Source: PhysicsclassroomSure how else could you figure out the dimensions of the auld triangle, eh?And memory tricks were key to learning them all off Source: FlickrWishing this was actually the right answer Source: WeeblyThe joy of a sum well done Source: GifrificHaving to decide between Honours and Pass for the Leaving Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall IrelandWhether you were an average Joe or the pride of the parish, they all wanted to know if you did Honours Maths in the Leaving.Some stuck it out and reaped the rewards, others gave up before even giving it a go. And then there were the select few who dropped down on the morning of the exam.Sure as long as you had that little blue log book handy you’d be grand, right?And finally, that all-important question Source: ShutterstockRead: 6 things we remember about learning Irish in schoolMore: 13 Irish primary school lunchbox memories IF THERE’S ONE school subject that’s almost as divisive as Irish it’s maths.Some love it, some loathe it, and others love to hate it, but you can’t deny that we’ll all need it at some stage in our lives.Today marks World Maths Day so we’re reflecting on our mathematical memories from both primary and secondary school….The Abacus Source: FlickrOur journey with maths started so beautifully with some adding, subtracting and a few simple beads.The Times Tables Source: GuruparentsBonus points if you could reel them off at break neck speed after the spelling test of a Friday afternoon.Sure you’d be only mortified if you didn’t get ten out of ten.The books Source: DailyEdge.ie Source: HitOne.ieThe copies Source: Schoolbooksdirect.ieThat lovely square paper was reserved solely for your sums. Source: WordPressGeometry sets that were used for anything BUT geometry Source: ebayYou got a new one at the start of every term but felt like the day when you’d actually get to use all those exciting looking things like a protractor and compass would NEVER come. That precious protractor was just BEGGING to be used Source: MathsisfunMeanwhile, they came in handy for drawing circles. Or taking the hand off you when they got loose in your school bag.And when you eventually got to use them you realised it wasn’t even worth the wait.The bitter shock of entering secondary school and realising that maths wasn’t all just running around the school grounds with a trundle wheel Source: WikimediaMaking the transition from fun maths to fierce tough maths was NOT easy. Gone were the days of counting Annie and Jim’s apples and long division. Source: Photocall IrelandThe age of calculus and equations and theorems had arrived.Ok class, now tell me who can solve the following problem?
PARIS LAUNCHES ALTERNATE driving days for the first time in nearly 20 years to tackle dangerous air pollution levels amid controversy on whether the ban is warranted or will yield results.The restrictions in the French capital and 22 surrounding areas will come into force from 5:30 am (0.30 GMT) and could be extended until Tuesday.About 700 police officers will be deployed to man 60 checkpoints to ensure that only cars and motorcycles with number plates ending in odd digits are on the roads.ExemptionsElectric and hybrid cars will be exempted from the ban as well as any vehicle carrying three people or more.Parking will be free on Monday for vehicles with even number plates, the Paris city hall said, calling on residents to consult carpooling or car-sharing sites to work out their commutes and rides.The restrictions will be reviewed on a daily basis to determine if an extension is necessary. The ban means that drivers can only use their cars or motorcycles every other day.It is only the first time since 1997 that the French authorities have ever resorted to such a drastic measure.PollutionThe government made the announcement on Saturday after pollution particulates in the air exceeded safe levels for five straight days in Paris and its environs.All public transport was made free over the weekend to persuade residents to leave their cars at home. It will remain free as long as the alternate driving days remain in force.France’s Automobile Club Association (ACA), which counts some 760,000 members, denounced the move as has “hasty, ineffective” and “bound to lead to chaos.”“This measure had no effect in any country where it was introduced,” said ACA head Didier Bollecker.By Saturday the number of pollution particulates in the air had fallen slightly after hitting a high of 180 microgrammes per cubic metre – well over double the safe limit – on Friday.These so-called PM10 particulates are created by vehicles, heating and heavy industry, with the safe limit set at 80 per cubic metre.Ecology Minister Philippe Martin said he understood the “difficulties, the irritation and even anger” over the move, adding: “But we just had to take this decision.”Martin said similar measures in 1997 “had yielded results,” adding that he hoped that the number of vehicles on the roads would be “significantly lower” on Monday, without giving a figure.The smoggy conditions have been caused by a combination of cold nights and warm days, which have prevented pollution from dispersing.- © AFP, 2014PHOTOS: No masks in stock as Beijing pollution goes off the charts>
(Photo of the group I volunteered with along with Adi Roche and some of the older boys at Vesnova) CHILDREN ROCKING BACK and forth for hours on end, hitting their heads against walls, grinding their teeth, scraping their faces and putting their hands down their throats.Some of the children’s teeth were in very bad condition and they were offered very little love, affection – or indeed care – by many of the nurses minding them.This is what I witnessed when I volunteered at Vesnova Children’s Mental Asylum in Belarus last month.I was expecting children with physical and learning disabilities. I was expecting to see the physical effects that the Chernobyl disaster has caused.I wasn’t expecting to see children treated as if they weren’t human or didn’t count.I wasn’t expecting to hear about the adult institutions where people are beaten and abused.(Child in Vesnova asylum with nurse at the side, Brendan Galvin) DisasterThe Chernobyl disaster happened in 1986 when an explosion and fire at a nuclear plant released large amounts of radioactive particles.A new UN Report now states that Chernobyl released over 400 times (and not 100 times as originally quoted) the amount of radiation that was released in the Hiroshima bombing.Children born in Belarus since 1986 are affected by a 200 per cent increase in birth defects and a 250 per cent increase in congenital birth deformities.Walking around the asylum, it was pointed out to me that the trees have also been contaminated. What I thought were nests, were actually radioactive growths.Founder of the Chernobyl children international charity, Adi Roche said,Radiation knows no territorial boundaries, it doesn’t apply for an entry or an exit visa, it travels wherever the winds take it. At 1.23 am on 26 April 1986 a silent war was declared against the innocent peoples of Belarus, Western Russia and Northern Ukraine. A war in which they could not see the enemy, a war in which they could send no standing army, a war in which there was no weapon, no antidote, no safe haven, no emergency exit. Why? Because the enemy was invisible, the enemy was radiation.Reality of lifeThere were about 160 children aged between four and 20 years old at the orphanage that I was in.The children have beds, they are fed and are changed but that’s where their care ends.I saw a child being fed a full bowl of what I can only describe as slop in 46 seconds.(Photo:Brendan Galvin)It took myself and those who travelled with me at least 10 minutes to feed a child. In one case, I saw the child lie down and the food was literally poured into his mouth.That was the case for the children who couldn’t feed themselves due to physical disability.The children who could were brought into a large cafeteria – where the sight of them gulping down food as quickly as they could was actually horrifying.Adi Roche was with us on the trip and she lined up our group so we could witness the speed at which these children ate.It was clear by looking at them that food wasn’t something they enjoyed, it was just another part of their day were they had to fight to survive.At one stage, I saw an older girl move towards an extra piece of fish that was on a plate a few tables away. She got up from her seat and made a run for it with a spoon in her hand. A nurse ran after her and the girl began shaking badly, she dropped the plate in the panic and the food fell to the floor.She then got on her hands and knees and began eating from the ground.AttitudeThe orphanage itself is in good condition and is kept extremely clean. There’s even a sensory room where lighting and music and exercise toys can be used to relax the children.This was one of the most rewarding parts of the trip; I would walk into a unit (there were eight units in the asylum) and pick a child, feeling awful that I couldn’t attend to every one and I’d bring that child into the sensory room and spend as long as I could giving them my full attention.One little boy, Zgorik, who spent his days with his fingers in his ears and rocking his body at speed relaxed so much he started singing.To see a child enjoy himself like this, even for just a few minutes, means so much when you consider that he never gets hugged or held or any affection until the next group of volunteers come in.(viaYouTube)The resources have improved hugely. Chernobyl Children International, founded by Adi Roche, has transformed what was a dark, dirty and damp building – where children were dying – into a clean, colourful orphanage.The children have beds made by Irish carpenters; wheelchairs have been provided so that the children who have no movement can sit up; there’s the sensory room, and even a hall with a stage for the children to practise plays and perform.The real issue seems to be the attitude towards these children.It seems that the sensory room sits empty until the next group of volunteers come and use them.Belarusian State TV interviewed me about why I was volunteering when I was out there. One of the questions was,Why did you leave your beautiful life and clothes to come out here and be with these children, you know they’re not well? That really sums it up. The attitude seems to ‘be don’t look at these children with all their problems when we have perfectly beautiful children just over here’.I witnessed most of the nurses do their job and nothing more.No compassion was shown for the children.(Photo: Vesnova asylum, Brendan Galvin)When we went to visit homes around the area, it became clear that poverty is a huge problem. So the view that many have towards the living conditions in the orphanage is “Why do they get to live in such good conditions when we must suffer?”The asylum isn’t seen so much as a place to care for people, it’s considered by many as more of a holding place.(Vesnova asylum, Brendan Galvin)When these children turn 18 they will be forced into the adult asylums. These asylums also keep convicts and there is widespread abuse within them. We were told horrific stories of people with difficulties being tied to radiators, of abuse and rape within the asylums, and of beatings.Three children who were in the Children’s Mental Asylum the week I was there were being sent to an adult asylum the following week.Independent LivingChernobyl Children International have built homes so that the teenagers who can live independently can escape the adult institutions.The Independent Living Project has really given hope for a future.However in June 2013, the boys unit was burned down by a freak bolt of lightening. Thankfully everybody escaped unharmed and CCI is currently rebuilding a new unit.We visited both the girls and boys units on my trip. The girls house was full of fun. They wanted to play the music we had brought them and dance with us and enjoy themselves.Adi explained that some of the girls had been abused and how one girl in particular was going through the menopause as her womb had been removed after a forced abortion after she was raped.She was only in her twenties.This girl hugged me when I walked into the house and I think she hugged me every time I saw her for the rest of my trip. She was around the same age as me, we both lived in Europe but our lives couldn’t have been any more different.We also visited the boys home. The men ranged in age from 18 to 33.This was a quieter visit. While the girls had excitedly opened the gift bags we had brought them full of make-up and jewellery and perfume, the boys were more reserved.They showed us their rooms where they kept their belongings very neatly.A few items: a comb, a watch and deodorant placed carefully on a windowsill. A framed photo of themselves with a volunteer from the past.All so neat, the comparison with teenage boys’ bedrooms in Ireland struck me.The men all lined up before we left and we hugged on our way out the door. Once I got back on the bus I thought to myself how reserved they had been but when I turned back around to the house, there was somebody at every window waving us goodbye.It was like they couldn’t keep up the cool act anymore and it was very sweet.Homes of HopeWe also got the chance to visit a “Home of Hope”. This is where children escape institutional care and are put in a foster home.The children in the family we visited obviously adored their foster mother and were happily playing music.One of the little girls had been sexually abused by their father and passed around their village until the age of four. She’s been fostered with her little brother.The children were very excited by the toys we had brought them and one of the little boys was in awe of the touch screen on my phone. He became quite the pro at taking selfies:Final ThoughtsI left thinking that what I had witnessed was a drop in the ocean. There are 300 orphanages in Belarus and this is the best one.I thought about the mundane lives of these children and how the only bit of hope they have is the groups of volunteers that travel over, and the lucky ones who get to come to Ireland during the summer or over Christmas.I thought about what I had witnessed and the hopelessness of the whole situation but then I stopped myself. I now think about what faced Adi Roche when she first went into Vesnova and witnessed the children in straitjackets with shaved heads, dying at an alarming rate.Roche said:The death count was so high that we had to stop counting or we would have lost the will to go on.I now think about the huge difference that Irish people have made to these children’s lives.Every volunteer who takes time out and raises money for the charity, every Irish family that brings over a child, every builder who goes over to work tirelessly to improve their living conditions. Everybody who donates and works on behave of these children.I first thought that, regardless of the awful physical and mental challenges these children face, the saddest thing was that they didn’t have anyone who loved them.I now think the saddest thing is that those of us who love them are over 2,000 kilometres away.The Chernobyl disaster happened before I was born. I vaguely knew about it from what I had learned in school growing up but it’s taken a trip there to make me understand the true implications of the disaster and the destruction it has left behind.Adi Roche said:Over the years, as other disasters vie for the world’s attention, Chernobyl has been relegated to the realm of history. But the impact of Chernobyl is still very real and very present to the children who must live in an environment poisoned with radioactivity.
A NATIONAL FUND for sick children could save over €24,000 in the cost of care per child each year, a TD has said.Currently, the Health Service Executive (HSE) spends in excess of €47,000 per year to provide home respite for children with life-limiting conditions.An estimated 1,400 children are living with life-limiting conditions in Ireland, and about 350 die from such a condition each year.A new study jointly funded by LauraLynn, Ireland’s Children’s Hospice, and the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF), Respite Services for Children with Life-limiting Conditions and their Families in Ireland shows that service deficits exist and families face challenges in accessing respite care.Deputy Denis Naughten said that the report shows that both in-patient and community respite services can be provided for approximately €24,000 per child per annum. He has now called for a national fund to be set up.The report found that access to respite is often dependent on the geographic location of the child and their diagnosis. It also estimated that up to €7.6m was needed to provide respite care for about 812 children, and €8.62m would be required to cater for 925 children by 2021 – this works out as an average of less than €10,000 per child being invested in respite services.ActionsIt suggests a number of key actions:The National Development Committee for Children’s Palliative Care should oversee the development of national standards for the provision of respite care, promote understanding of terminology and examine the feasibility of developing an assessment tool for respite servicesEach HSE region should set up a regional group to map existing local respite services, identify family needs and plan for future provisionHealth services should work with regional respite service providers when out-of-the-home respite is neededThe education and ongoing support needs of organisations providing respite should be consideredA national needs assessment should be repeated in 2017.The report was welcomed by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD.Dr Ciaran Browne, National Lead for Acute Hospital Services and Palliative Care, HSE, said that the National Development Committee for Children’s Palliative Care will oversee the implementation of the recommendations of this report.National FundDeputy Naughten said that what is needed is to ring-fence the HSE money that is spent on children with a life-limiting condition and centralise this into a single national fund.He said such a fund would ensure consistency of care for children throughout the country, and would also reduce the administrative burden and cost placed on individual PCCC offices in dealing with urgent and crisis situations as they arise.In a letter to Health Minister James Reilly, he called on him to establish a national home care budget for children with life-limiting conditions.Read: Government to launch needs assessment of respite services for children>
More: Ireland sells €500m of Treasury Bills at auction > THE NATIONAL TREASURY Management Agency said they have sold €500 million of Irish Treasury Bills – reaching it’s target amount.Total bids received amounted to 4.8 times the amount on offer.The Treasury Bills, which have a maturity of three months, were sold at a yield of 0.19 per cent.The sale today is similar to another NTMA auction last month that also raised €500 million and an annual interest rate of 0.24 per cent.Read: Ireland buys back €500 million of its own bonds >
Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall IrelandHowever investigating gardaí confirmed that the woman “died in violent circumstances”.A technical and forensic examination of the scene is ongoing and investigating gardaí are continuing to detain the 21-year-old who was arrested this morning.Originally published 8.56pmRead: Man (21) arrested after the body of woman was discovered in Bray overnight> GARDAÍ HAVE SAID they are treating the death of a 50-year-old woman in Bray, Co Wicklow, as murder, following preliminary results of a post-mortem.A 21-year-old man was arrested at 11am this morning after the woman’s body was discovered at a house on Southern Cross Road overnight.This evening, gardaí said they are now investigating the incident as a murder.Premilinary post-mortem results have been furnished to the investigating team. Gardaí said they would not be publishing details for operational reasons.
Source: The Telegraph/YouTube(The video has no sound)THE COSTA CONCORDIA has been shipwrecked off Tuscan coast ever since it sank in January 2012 leaving 32 people dead.In that time it’s been partly lifted off the seabed but Tuscan police have now released a video filmed by divers as they squeeze through the underwater corridors and quarters of the 290m long cruise ship.The Costa Concordia is scheduled to be re-floated later this month before it is towed 280km to Genoa where it will be scrapped.Read: Dublin man among four arrested on suspicion of stealing from Costa Concordia >Read: ‘A perfect operation’: Costa Concordia pulled upright off Italian coast overnight [PICS] >
HOMELESS CHARITY FOCUS Ireland has reported a significant increase in the demand for its services in the last year.In its annual report for 2013, the charity said 10,000 people used its services – a rise of 25% on the previous year.The report said the two main reasons for this rise were the “unprecedented increase” in families needing the services and their own “proactive approach” to preventing people from becoming homeless with advice and information centres.In the report, CEO Mark Byrne commented that the overall lack of supply of social housing and rocketing rents in the private rented market have resulted in a “critical shortage of homes”.The number of families becoming homeless each month in Dublin doubled in 2013. The vast majority of these came from the private rented sector and had never been homeless before.Take action nowSpeaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland this morning, he said it is “fundamental” that accommodation is secured for people if the government is going to reach its aim of ending homelessness by 2016.“We need the government start taking action and start taking action now,” he added.In an interview with the Irish Times this morning, Minister Alan Kelly ruled out rent controls, claiming the problem can be solved by building more social housing – something Mark Byrne thinks is “disappointing”.Byrne said he believes that the 2016 goal can only be achieved with a combination of rent controls and construction of social housing, as people are continuing to become homeless because of soaring rents, particularly in Dublin.“Rents have shot up as high as 20% in the last year – that’s actually causing people to become homeless”.Rent supplements need to to account of those increases if homelessness is to be properly addressed, Byrne said this morning.Looking for someone to tell them they matterIn the charity’s annual report Founder Sister Stanislaus Kennedy, said the number of individuals and families coming to Focus Ireland for help can be “read as a shocking indictment of the response to the economic crisis that we have faced”.…but what is really distressing are the terrible stories I hear from people with young children who come into Focus Ireland every day looking for someone to listen to them and tell them that they matter, to help them find, make and keep a home.One family is becoming homeless every day in Dublin alone.“This isn’t just happening out of the blue,” Kennedy said. “We stopped building social housing years ago and, instead, the State has been paying private landlords to supply accommodation for people in need of housing.”The charity’s report this year has a real emphasis on transparency in its finances, no doubt because of the recent charity scandals. Mark Byrne said Focus Ireland believes all donors have a right to know exactly how all the money it receives is spent. For every euro received in 2013, 89 cent was spent directly on services to combat and prevent homelessness.Read: ‘The homeless tsunami has arrived’ as Dublin numbers reach new high>Read: ‘If it wasn’t for friends, I’d literally be on the streets’>