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  • Enda Kenny: HSE staff must repay any misspent cash

    Any money misspent by HSE staff must be repaid to the State, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has insisted. The rebuke follows a damning report by the Comptroller & Auditor General which listed lavish spending on luxury hotels by the HSE. The State’s financial watchdog revealed that €500 a night was spent on a Milan hotel, with €300 a night paid for Dublin’s upmarket Merrion Hotel at a time when the health service is facing a funding crisis. Mr Kenny expressed concerns at the contents of the probe which stated that there was an overspend of millions.

    Irish Examiner q
  • Ireland one of least Muslim-friendly countries – report

    Ireland is considered to be one of the least friendly places for Muslims to visit, according to the Global Muslim Travel Index, which has just been published. The report evaluates countries in terms of their attentiveness to the needs of Muslim travellers, including the presence and accessibility of “halal” restaurants with food prepared to Islamic standards, and the provision of prayer rooms at airports, shopping centres and hotels. The index compiled by travel firm CrescentRating and MasterCard suggests that Mexico is the least Muslim-friendly country in a list of 25 countries where Islam is not the predominant religion with Ireland finishing in second-last place. The United Kingdom finished in sixth place, while the US was said to be the 14th most welcoming countries for Muslims.

    The Irish Times q
  • Sixteen foot python found in canal

    The grim discovery of the giant snake floating in a canal in Lancashire was made by walkers on Sunday. A reptile expert went to the scene at Norden Bridge, Rishton, and recovered the python, which measured at over 16ft 5ins and is believed to have been around 12 to 15 years old. Lancashire Police are now investigating how the python got there and are appealing for anyone with any information to come forward. Ribble Valley wildlife crime officer Pc Carl Chew said: “Experts believe that a python of this size could have been capable of attacking a person so it is fortunate that no one came to any serious harm. q
  • Man denies imprisoning Irish woman and others for 30 years

    A Maoist sect leader has denied raping and imprisoning three female followers – including one Irish woman – for more than 30 years. Aravindan Balakrishnan, (74), is said to have kept three women as slaves in his home. The far-left political activist, known as “Comrade Bala”, denies 25 offences, including four counts of rape and one of false imprisonment.

    The Irish Times q
  • Passenger planes dodged Russian bombers in Irish-controlled airspace

    Commercial jets carrying hundreds of people had to be diverted in mid-air or else prevented from taking off to avoid potential collisions with two Russian bear bombers which “cloaked” their presence during their latest incursion into Irish-controlled airspace. A report in the Irish Examiner revealed that the Tu-95 bombers, which flew just 40km off the coast, criss-crossed into major civilian airline traffic lanes, including incoming flights from North America on February 18. Following the first publicised incursion two weeks previously, the Department of Foreign Affairs signalled its officials had spoken to the Russian ambassador and sought reassurances that its military aircraft would not fly into our area of control without advance notification, especially if their transponders were off. q
  • Two Germans to be caned and jailed in Singapore for graffiti

    A Singapore court jailed two Germans for nine months and three strokes of the cane on Thursday after they pleaded guilty to spray-painting graffiti on a train. “This is the darkest episode of my entire life,” said Von Knorre. Singapore is well known for its cleanliness and its zero tolerance for crime. The two were accused of vandalism and trespass after they broke into one of Singapore’s train depots last November to spray-paint a carriage.

    The Irish Times q
  • Noel Gallagher competing with Bono to write 'greatest song ever'

    Rock star Noel Gallagher has revealed how he is vying with Bono and Chris Martin to write the greatest song of all time. The Oasis legend, who has just released his latest album, said he loves socialising with the U2 frontman. “I still think tomorrow might be the day that I write the greatest song of all time. “The guitar is your fishing rod, and if I’m not fishing for that song, Bono will get it, and if he’s not, Chris Martin will.

    Irish Examiner q
  • Family face battle to free Dubai plane spotters

    The families of two British men jailed after going plane spotting in Dubai are having to “beg and borrow” to raise desperately-needed cash for the legal battle to free them. Conrad Clitheroe, 53, and his friend Gary Cooper, 45, were arrested after being spotted by an off-duty policeman taking notes near Fujairah Airport, about 128km from Dubai. Mr Clitheroe’s wife Valerie, from Stockport Greater Manchester, said: “We are all sick with worry.

    Irish Examiner q
  • Indonesia rejects prisoner swap as executions loom

    Citizens of France, Brazil, the Philippines, Ghana, Nigeria and Indonesia also face death penalty

    The Irish Times q
  • Kate Middleton prank call radio station faces penalties over

    Australia’s highest court has cleared the way for a radio station to face penalties over a 2012 prank call to a London hospital that was caring for the Duchess of Cambridge. A nurse who transferred the call committed suicide after the broadcast. Two Australian DJs from radio station 2DayFM impersonated Queen Elizabeth II and her son, Prince Charles, when they phoned a London hospital in 2012 to ask about the condition of the Duchess of Cambridge, who had been hospitalized for severe morning sickness.

    Irish Examiner q
  • Joe Schmidt's home burgled day after England victory

    Joe Schmidt’s home was broken into on Monday afternoon, 24 hours after Schmidt led Ireland to Six Nations victory against England in the Aviva Stadium. The The Sun reports that Rathfarnham Gardaí are investigating a break-in at Schmidt’s home in the southside of Dublin. The thieves are believed to have gone through the hose and left with a sum of foreign money. Schmidt was not at home at the time. q
  • High-profile mixed-use corner building near Grafton Street for €1.4m

    The continuing demand from private investors for well located city-centre retail properties in Dublin is to trigger yet another sale, this time just 100m from Grafton Street. The latest investment, a high profile corner building at the junction of South William Street and Wicklow Street, is for sale through agents Knight Frank at €1.4 million. The ground floor and basement are let to Cassidor Ltd, which trades at Meet and Meat, a New York-style deli/cafe. A roof- mounted antenna produces a further €5,000 a year from Vodafone under a five-year lease from March 2010.

    The Irish Times q
  • Defamation action against Rihanna not proceeding, High Court told

    A defamation action against singer Rihanna brought by her Dublin-based former head of security is no longer proceeding. The action was brought by Geoffrey Keating, who claimed he was defamed in a series of allegedly false statements contained in an email sent to him and his wife by the 27-year-old actress and singer in July 2013. Mr Keating claimed the allegations and untrue statements contained in the e mail were untrue and had gravely injured his reputation and his business. Arising out of the e mail Mr Keating launched proceedings in the High Court in Dublin seeking damages against the singer.

    The Irish Times q
  • O’Sullivan warns Waterford IT over university status

    Bill requiring merger of institutes seeking designation to be published after Easter

    The Irish Times q
  • VIDEO: Turkish Airlines jet nose-dives near Kathmandu runway

    A Turkish Airlines jet landing in dense fog in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu has skidded off a slippery runway but there were no serious injuries, officials said. Officials at Kathmandu's Tribhuwan International Airport said the plane with 238 people on board was coming from Istanbul when the accident happened. The runway was slippery after two days of rain and there was dense fog at the time. q
  • Sean O'Sullivan:What has Paul Galvin left to prove?

    Paul Galvin’s former Kerry team-mate Sean O’Sullivan has questioned why the 35-year-old has surprisingly chosen to revive his inter-county career. Like Galvin, a four-time All-Ireland winner, O’Sullivan was one of three players who came out of retirement during Jack O’Connor’s time as manager. While Mike McCarthy and Eoin Brosnan’s re-inventions were successful, the wing forward returned in November 2011 almost two years after he stepped away only to leave a few months later.

    Irish Examiner q
  • Plain packaging for cigarettes passed by Oireachtas

    Laws on the plain packaging of cigarettes have been passed by the Oireachtas. q
  • Lenihan's advisor: Property market crashed the year before anyone noticed

    A former advisor to Brian Lenihan has claimed the property market had crashed nearly a year before anyone realised. Alan Ahearne says he was told the bubble had burst in late 2006 - almost a year before prices had hit their peak. Professor Ahearne says he spoke to other economists in the banking sector just after house prices had peaked. Ahearne also said he warned the Central Bank of a potential property crash as early as 2006. q
  • Retired garda gets €50k for trauma over Galway siege

    A retired garda sergeant who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after being involved in a 21-hour siege in Gort, Co Galway, eight years ago has been awarded €50,000 damages in the High Court. Mr Justice Bernard Barton said during a Garda Compensation hearing that Peter Carr had been in a dangerous and life-threatening situation and it was no surprise he had suffered psychological injuries. The court had heard that gardaí received a call from a woman around 11.20pm on October 8, 2006, stating shots had been heard at Crowe Street, Gort. Two Garda cars had been dispatched and it had transpired that a domestic dispute had taken place at No 67, where Anthony Burke had fired shots.

    Irish Examiner q