Bank borrowing from ECB at lowest level since guarantee

first_imgIRISH BANKS ARE borrowing less from the European Central Bank (ECB) than at any time since the introduction of the bank guarantee in September 2008.Statistics released this morning by the Department of Finance show that borrowing to both covered and non-covered banks fell to €36.6bn during February, down around €0.5 bn on the previous month.The ECB lends money to European banks at both short and long terms in order to refinance banks, provide liquidity to the market, and to influence interest rates across the bloc.Borrowings down as banks turn to international lendersCompared with this time last year, Irish banks are borrowing around €17.5bn less, or 40 per cent, from Brussels. The Department of Finance said: The steady decline in reliance on ECB funding reflects the continued strengthening of the banking system that has been achieved through managed deleveraging , deposit gathering and the return of AIB, BoI and PTSB to international capital markets.Irish bank borrowing from the ECB surged to levels of around €140bn per month during 2010-2011, but has been steadily declining since February of 2012. Across the continent, the ECB is lending out around €25bn less to European banks than last year.Banks covered by the government’s deposit guarantee scheme borrowed €0.8bn less during Feburary. The Department said that this was caused by a reduction in the amount of capital banks needed to hold on their books, as well as improved access to capital markets after the bailout exit.2010 ECB letter to Lenihan could finally be made public>Steady as she goes: ECB holds interest rate at record low of 0.25 per cent>last_img read more

Read More →

Premature erections and very white teeth Heres how Election 2014 is shaping

first_img Mary Fitzpatrick looks for votes from those getting off the Luas at Stephen’s Green earlier today Source: Hugh O’Connell/TheJournal.ieElsewhere, there’s an interesting battle between Emer Costello, the sitting Labour MEP who replaced the retiring Pronsias de Rossa in 2012, and her former party colleague Nessa Childers, an independent MEP for the now abolished Ireland East.Childers is likely to capitalise on the anti-Labour sentiment having quit the party in acrimonious circumstances last year and been a frequent critic of the government. But her early momentum appears to have tailed off in recent weeks to the benefit of Labour.The junior coalition partner is touting Costello as ‘Dublin’s MEP’ rather than its own and pumping a lot of resources into her campaign, viewing her as the most realistic of Labour’s three candidates to retain their seat in the European Parliament. Phil Prendergast had to battle for a spot in shot with Emer Costello at the Labour event a short time ago pic.twitter.com/vatFSCIKPq— Hugh O’Connell (@oconnellhugh) April 29, 2014 A complete European Parliament wipeout for Labour is looking likely, but Costello could yet spring a surprise.But the real dark horse could be Eamon Ryan, the Green party leader and former minister, who is known to be transfer friendly and has run a good if under the radar campaign.He represents the Greens best hope of regaining national prominence and his transfer friendliness could be a real advantage when quotas aren’t reached and candidates start being eliminated.Elsewhere on the left, the sitting Socialist Murphy, who took Joe Higgins seat in 2011, has run a good campaign with, ironically, eye-catching posters but is unlikely to take the seat. Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall IrelandThis is partly because the ultra-left vote will split with another capable performer Bríd Smith (above) of People Before Profit who, along with Murphy, complained of having been cut from RTÉ coverage of an opinion poll.Other candidates running in the capital are independent Jim Tallon, a serial candidate in several elections all over the country, Fís Nua’s Damon Wise. While Direct Democracy Ireland has adopted the odd strategy of running two candidates, Thomas Darcy and Raymond Whitehead.Of the four, only one or both of the DDI’s two candidates have a chance of polling reasonably well given the new party’s strong performance in the Meath East by-election last year.Read: Here’s how Election 2014 is shaping up in Ireland SouthRead: Here’s how Election 2014 is shaping up in Midlands North WestRead all our Election 2014 coverage here > Source: Hugh O’Connell/Twitter Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall IrelandThe campaign has been dominated by the same issues that candidates across the country have faced most notably water charges and the rising cost of living where the so-called ‘squeezed middle’ are left without a penny at the end of the month. The housing crisis in the capital has also come to the fore in recent weeks as well.Several have reported the Shatter controversies coming on the doorstep, more than a few in Fine Gael lamenting the Minister’s departure while optimistically noting it will make matters easier on the doors.After an early poll wobble, Hayes was cognisant of the need to up his game and has deployed well-trained canvassing teams across the capital. While he is well-positioned to take a seat, succeeding the retiring Gay Mitchell, the remaining two seats are likely to go to centre or left-leaning candidates.Sinn Féin’s Lynn Boylan has no electoral track record of note and is widely unknown but she has performed competently during the campaign with the strong backing of the party’s star performer Mary Lou McDonald.Gerry Adams’s arrest aside, the increasingly strong support that SF enjoys in the capital means Boylan is looking a certainty to take a seat leaving a real dogfight for that last spot in Brussels.https://vine.co/v/MnFxvDjrztqFianna Fáil and Mary Fitzpatrick know that if they are to have a full recovery in the lead-up to the next general election then they need to do well in Dublin. Bluntly, that means taking a seat in the capital, anything else would not be party and more importantly the leadership of Micheál Martin. Serious questions will be asked if Fitzpatrick fails to win.That said she was getting a relatively good reception when we spent the morning with her canvassing on Grafton Street, people appearing to appreciate the distance she has from the old guard of the party, namely Bertie Ahern whom she fell out with some years ago. Source: Nicky Ryan/TheJournal.ieWHILE THE REST of the European election candidates have to contend with vast sprawling constituencies those running in Dublin have the advantage of being able to cover the entire three-seater in less than an hour in the car.Of course that’s if they weren’t stopping at every point to hand out a few leaflets and throw up a few posters. In fact some candidates were so keen to throw up their faces on lampposts they did it a few days early – risking the wrath of the authorities.Mary Fitzpatrick was first out of the blocks four days before she was legally allowed to do so. It was the first in a series of posters problems for the Fianna Fáil candidate. But it is the Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy who now faces fines for his premature erections.Once the posters were allowed to go up everyone was dazzled by the whiteness of Brian Hayes‘s teeth. Fine Gael insisted it was all natural and that the junior minister just happens to have some very, very pearly white gnashers.last_img read more

Read More →

Ireland provides €50k to Balkans after worst flooding in living memory

first_imgIRELAND IS PROVIDING €50,000 worth of humanitarian assistance to organisations working to restore normality in the Balkans following cataclysmic floods.The death toll rose by six to 57 on Friday as people returned home to salvage what belongings they could amid a huge clean-up operation.The task facing the thousands of rescue workers, volunteers and soldiers is immense, with dozens of towns and villages devastated by the region’s worst natural disaster in living memory.Vast areas still remain under water, and tens of thousands of the nearly 150,000 people evacuated in Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia — the biggest exodus since the wars of the 1990s — were stuck in shelters.Plastered with mudIn many areas, homes, schools, shops and roads were plastered with mud and littered with everything from bashed-up cars to bloated dead cows. Health officials were spraying disinfectant to prevent disease.Ireland has stepped in to do what it can and is providing funding intended to be use to provide psychological support and counselling services to children affected by the floods, and also for vaccines.The funding will be provided to World Vision Ireland to support their work in Bosnia and Herzegovina.“The funding will be used to provide psychological support and counselling services to children affected by the floods and to purchase vaccines to prevent the outbreak of infectious diseases,” Minister Costello said in a statement.He added that ‘essential relief items’ could be provided to the region if humanitarian organisations request such assistance.last_img read more

Read More →

Government needs to articulate Irelands outrage to Israeli ambassador Martin

first_imgFIANNA FÁIL LEADER and former Foreign Affairs Minister Micheál Martin has said the Government needs to call the Israeli ambassador back in and articulate the Irish people’s “outrage” over the country’s military action against Gaza.It comes as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon appeals to both sides in the dispute to stop fighting and “start talking”.More than 600 Palestinians and 30 Israelis have been killed in the past two weeks of fighting, officials say.Charlie Flanagan, who took over as Minister for Foreign Affairs in this month’s reshuffle, met with Israeli ambassador Boaz Modai last week.He expressed the Government’s “deep concerns” about the current situation, according to a statement released after the meeting, and said it was “incumbent on all sides to agree an immediate ceasefire”.However Martin, who served in the department between 2008 and 2011, said the Government needed to go further in its approach.“I think the Government should bring him in and should articulate the outrage that Irish people genuinely feel about what is happening in Gaza,” he told reporters at the Magill Summer School in Donegal.“You cannot bomb Gaza in the manner that the Israelis have without slaughtering children and women — and that, again, is what has happened.It is an outrage. I think the Government should call it as it is.“I think the international community, in my view, have not called it as it is in a robust mannerI accept that Hamas are reckless in terms of their rocket firing and they’re wrong. But nothing justifies what happened on that beach when four young children were bombed to bits.He said the Israeli action was “completely disproportionate” and accused the international community of engaging in a sort of “silent acquiescence”.Martin added that the ongoing Israeli action “makes the extreme position in Palestine more popular” and underlines the capacity of moderate leaders to assert themselves.Read World pushes for Israel-Palestine ceasefire as seven more killed in Gaza Read Remains of MH17 victims to be handed over to Dutch authoritieslast_img read more

Read More →

Amazon Black Friday Deals

first_imgLG 42LD450 42-Inch 1080p 60 Hz LCD HDTV $478 ($749)AdChoices广告JBuds J3 Micro Atomic In-Ear Earphones $19.95 (Down from $79.95)Nikon Coolpix S1000pj 12.1MP Digital Camera with Built-in Projector $149 ($349)Joby Gorillatorch Adjustable and Flexible Tripod Flashlight $19.95 ($34.95)It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – Seasons 1 & 2 $9.99 (Down from $39.98) Big Boi Sir Lucious Left Foot… $1.99 Canon PowerShot SX210 plus Free Memory Card $199.00 (Down from $349)center_img As Amazon puts its, “You shouldn’t have to stand in a long line to get a great deal.” Fair enough. It’s sure to be a bit of a nightmare out there in local shopping malls, so Amazon is offering up some sweet deals online.After the jump, we’ve rounded up some great Black Friday deals from the site on products like HDTVs, cameras, headphones, and more.last_img read more

Read More →

Facebook adds facial recognition to photo tagging

first_imgIf you upload photos to Facebook there is a good chance you also tag your friends and family in them. Tagging photos is an easy way to share your photos, but can be a time consuming process if you’re uploading a number of them at once. Incredibly, people add more than 100 million tags to photos on Facebook every day.To help streamline the process, Facebook implemented group tagging back in October. Group tagging, as the name implies, allows users to type one name and apply it to multiple photos of the same person. Now, Facebook has implemented software to take photo tagging to the next level by offering a feature called tag suggestions.Tag suggestions uses facial recognition technology to match new photos you may have uploded to older photos which you have already tagged people in. Similar photos are grouped together and if possible the name of a person is suggested to tag the photos. By accepting the suggested name or manually typing one for the grouped photos, you save the time and effort of having to tag each photo manually. Of course, some people may have privacy concerns with the notion that Facebook’s facial recognition technology allows their name to be suggested automatically for photos.To address any such concerns, Facebook has given users the ability to prevent their names from being used with the tag suggestions feature. To block your name, simply click “Customize Settings” and “Suggest photos of me to friends.” At that point, you will once again be anonymous, though friends will still have the ability to type your name in manually.Read more at the Facebook BlogBrian’s OpinionI have no doubt that many people will focus on the notion that this new facial recognition technology is yet another invasion of privacy by Facebook. First, I’d like to point out that Facebook is a voluntary service that people can opt in and out of at anytime. Sometimes the same people who are so critical of Facebook as it relates to privacy are the service’s biggest users.Casting aside those hypocrites and recognizing the fact that Facebook is giving users the ability to turn off tag suggestions for their name, you have to appreciate how innovative this new service is. Facebook is all about making connections and sharing experiences online. One of the best ways to do that is by tagging people in photos, but let’s be honest it can be a chore. The implementation of tag suggestions offers an automated way to make the process simpler which will encourage those who typically don’t tag photos to begin doing so.People can try to villainize Mark Zuckerberg all they want. At the end of the day the dude is a billionaire and Time’s Man of the Year for a reason. He has completely transformed the way people connect online as demonstrated by the 500 million people using Facebook. Best of all, his company is continuing to find new ways to allow people to connect even easier with tag suggestions being the latest example.last_img read more

Read More →

This Mini Strandbeest is hamsterpowered

first_imgIf you have ever seen a Strandbeest in motion, you know they are a visual symphony of kinetics and aesthetics, like a fine piece of art in motion. In addition, these walking works of art can be solar powered, wind-driven, or even motorized.Not leaving well enough alone, though, the folks at Crabfu Artworks received a mini Strandbeest in a copy of Gakken magazine to play around with. And after having considered many applications to drive the tiny walker, only one unique idea came to the surface – to make the device hamster powered.So after some quick modifications to the Strandbeest and the addition of a hamster ball, chain, and gears, a new Hamster Powered Strandbeest was born and all it needed now was a brave pilot to drive it.Thankfully for us, Princess the Hamster stepped up for the challenge to take this walker for a test run.Read more at Crabfu Artworks, found via Geeks are Sexy.last_img read more

Read More →

The Chronicles of Rick Roll Coming to a Theater Near You

first_imgIn a world where Internet memes come in and go within days, a few brave souls have gathered together to keep their memes – and their 15 minutes of fame – alive. Antoine Dodson, the Double Rainbow Man (Bear Vasquez,) Ben Schulz (Leeroy Jenkins,) Gary Brolsma (The Numa Numa Kid,) and more have joined forces to star in an upcoming film – if the indie filmmakers can drum up enough support – loosely based on the life and rise of one of the Internet’s first true heroes: Rick Astley. The film is called The Chronicles of Rick Roll, and the producers promise it’s not a big hoax, and it won’t be effectively a 2-hour rickroll: it’ll actually be a film jam packed with viral video actors and they’re aiming for a theatrical release if they can afford it. If you think this is all too good to be true, then the Internet has trained you well. Even so, the first trailer for the film is behind the jump, and it’s full of familiar faces.  [via Business Insider]last_img read more

Read More →

Lenovo IdeaPad A1 Android tablet rocks IFA with 199 price tag

first_imgBeen waiting for someone to make a serious splash with a budget-priced Android tablet? Hold on to your hats, people, because Lenovo has just rocked IFA 2011 by announcing the $199 IdeaPad Tablet A1.The price is less than half what you’ll pay for most 8 or 10 inch Android tablets in retail stores right now (including Lenovo’s own). The 7-inch A1 will feature a 1024×600 IPS touchscreen display, a single-core 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor, 3MP rear and VGA front cameras, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, GPS and accelerometer, microSD expansion, and Android 2.3. Lenovo estimates the A1’s battery to be good for about 7 hours of Wi-Fi web surfing, though it’s capacity isn’t specified in the press images.Four different color options will be available: black, white, blue, and pink. And while you might not expect a sub-$200 to be all that sturdy, the IdeaPad A1 sports a magnesium-alloy skeleton to protect its internals from jolts.Concerned about the fact that the A1 isn’t going to ship with Honeycomb? Don’t be. An upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich is expected to arrive shortly after Google makes the code available to its partners.Those of you who missed out on a dirt-cheap HP TouchPad might want to seriously consider the IdeaPad A1. Then again, you may want to wait and see how other manufacturers respond now that Lenovo has thrown down the gauntlet.More at Liliputinglast_img read more

Read More →

Geek deals 289 off this Core i7powered Dell Inspiron 15R Special Edition

first_imgThe average laptop in the sub-$1000 range still lacks a few things that make using a PC more efficient and pleasant: large screen size, high resolution display, and extensive port selection. Getting this combination of features that make a laptop truly a desktop replacement has required an unacceptably bulky design or an unacceptably high price tag.Our Geek deal of the day is able to solve both of those problems and meet even the most demanding user’s needs for years to come. Dell’s Inspiron 15R Special Edition was introduced back in May, along with Intel’s 3rd generation “Ivy Bridge” processor platform.Dubbed the “Special Edition,” this lineup gets a series of features that make this machine stand out. All models come with the quad-core 3rd gen Core i7 processor, a Full HD 1080p screen, backlit keyboard, and a “Stealth Black” anodized aluminum chassis.The little features are similarly decked out, offering four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, 8-in-1 card reader, HD webcam, and more. The model featured in our deal comes very well configured with 8GB of RAM and a rare 7500rpm 750GB hard drive.We were able to find a rare $150 coupon for this well-loaded model, which stacks with $139 instant savings for the lowest price we’ve seen yet on this system: $849.99 with free shipping.Click here to get this deal from Dell. Apply coupon code QH3XW509GT$BBL for total $289 instant savings. This deal expires October 1 or sooner.last_img read more

Read More →