THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS Committee has recommended a review of the code of corporate law that would allow for fines for people who run failed banks and which was help tackle white collar crime.In a report assessing the management of the financial crisis up to the end of September 2008 and efforts to stabilise the banking sector since then, the committee referred to a “significant gap” relating to enforcement against individuals. The report to the Dáil points out that, five years on from the crisis, there has been no successful prosecution against an individual, though a small number of cases are pending.Speaking today, committee Chairman John McGuinness said:Based on the evidence taken by the Committee, it is clear that there was a number of key failings including that the Regulator was not sufficiently aware of the risks that were being taken by bankers whose lending to developers should have forewarned the State of the dangers that were being created by the property bubble.The report recommends a review and strengthening of the code of corporate law in terms of enforcement against individuals “as a matter of urgency”. It also recommends a review of the system for investigating white collar crime.Further recommendations include a change in the code of all State bodies to hold all former officials accountable even after they have retired, greater powers for the Central Bank to put firms into administration and fines for banks who do not meet lending and mortgage resolution targets.Read: Committee should be ‘unhindered’ in investigating garda whistleblower files>Read: Why Seán FitzPatrick won’t appear before the Public Accounts Committee> This contrasts, for example, with the situation in the UK where directors of failed banks have been banned or have faced heavy fines. In that regard also, the whole system of tackling while collar crime has not operated well and there is no law on reckless trading as in other jurisdictions.
EX-FORMULA ONE driver Eddie Irvine has been sentenced to six months in prison for brawling over a woman in an Italian nightclub.The incident, for which Gabriele Moratti, the son of the then-Milan mayor, also received a six-month sentence, took place in December 2008, when the two men came to blows at the city’s Hollywood night spot, a court was told.Irvine claimed Moratti struck him first while the Italian alleged the former F1 driver had smashed a glass in his face.However, Irvine will not serve any of his sentence as in Italian law all sentences under two years are automatically suspended.Irvine retired in 2002 after 10 years as an F1 racer, including a four-year spell at Italian team Ferrari.© AFP, 2014Rodman apologises for North Korea outburst, blames drinkUCI sets up 3-man panel to investigate doping past and ‘Armstrong collusion’
DECLAN KIDNEY’S FUTURE as Ireland manager is in doubt tonight after the Corkman admitted he has plenty to consider in the wake of Ireland’s 6 Nations campaign.The Irish slumped to a 22-15 defeat to Italy in Rome — the first time they’ve lost to the Azzurri in the tournament — capping a miserable spring.The IRFU will soon decide whether or not the former Munster chief is the man to rebuild the team in the coming years. But Kidney says he may not want the job anyway.“I said all along that I’d concentrate on each game as it came and that’s all I’ve done today,” Kidney said earlier. “I wasn’t thinking that this could be my last match as coach. All I was concentrating on was just getting the win. I wanted to get a result today; we didn’t manage to do that and we’ll reflect on it over the coming days and weeks.“I’d have to sit down and think about whether I want a new contract,” he added. “These guys are a pleasure to work with, but beyond that I’d have to sit back and think about it.”He added on RTÉ that negotiations with the IRFU happen in the weeks after a championship and we’ll reflect in the coming days.What do you think?Out of 10: How we rated Ireland’s players against Italy
Julian Assange is a man without a home. The Australian-born hacker was rejected by Sweden after applying for permanent residency last month. He’s got a few things working against him, after all. First there’s the fact that governments all over the world hate him for his hand in creating Wikileaks, a site devoted to the release of classified information.And then there are those molestation and rape charges he was hit with in Sweden, back in August, after appearing at a seminar in Stockholm.AdChoices广告While plenty of countries wouldn’t touch Assange with a ten foot pole (except, perhaps, for the opportunity to prosecute him), Ecuador is ready to welcome him with open arms. The country has invited Assange to discuss documents. Its foreign ministry has also offered to reviewed a residency request “in accordance with the country’s current laws,” according to CNN.Ecuador is apparently looking to Assange to help shed some light on the country’s troubled relationship with the United States.
Even before Bulletstorm’s February 22 release date the “M” for mature rated game is under fire. Clinical psychologists are complaining it is too violent and carries sexual explicit language that could be damaging to the younger generation if they got hold of a copy of the game.With Bulletstorm featuring frequent F-words, rewards for shooting bad guys in their private parts, and a skill shot system that uses sexual references i.e. “topless” equals cutting a player in half and “gang bang” equals killing multiple enemies, it’s not hard to see why the game is coming under fire.Dr. Jerry Weichman, clinical psychologist at the Hoag Neuroscience Institute in California, believes that:If a younger kid experiences Bulletstorm’s explicit language and violence, the damage could be significant. Violent video games like Bulletstorm have the potential to send the message that violence and insults with sexual innuendos are the way to handle disputes and problems. Also Carol Lieberman, another psychologist and book author, feels that similar acts highlighted in the above game have led to real-world sexual violence:The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of sexual scenes in video games. Violence in video games has always caused arguments, which is one of the reasons why games of this nature are governed by a rating of “M” for mature by The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). This system allows parents to see what games are not suitable for their children, however a lot of analysts believe that the system is rubbish because it is not enforced at retail.Melanie Killen, a professor at the University of Maryland has been one such person to push for tighter laws on the sale of videogames. She believes that 9-year-olds are playing games similar to Bulletstorm and there is no real enforcement and no fixed penalties for retailers who are selling the games to kids.However, this is not entirely true as California law now makes it illegal for a merchant to sell a “M” rated game to a minor, and if caught they face a $1,000 fine. Yet the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has been trying to overturn this law with Hal Halping, the president of the above company telling Fox News that:Between a great ratings system, parental controls on the consoles and the major retailers inhibiting the sale of Mature-rated games to minors, the matter is really one for parents and adults to consider, individually. I respect the creative rights of game developers to make a game like Bulletstorm in the same way that I appreciate Quentin Tarantino’s right to make over-the-top movies like Kill Bill. Either way the arguments will continue on both sides and no doubt you will have your own opinions about this, but you can judge for yourself to some degree by checking out this trailer.Read more at Fox News
Rumors that the forthcoming version of the iPhone will sport Near Field Communication (NFC) technology are back, after being shot down by a number of sites, earlier in the week. Of course, we’re still a ways from a formal announcement for the handset (that will most likely come in the early summer months), so fittingly, the current batch of rumors are third-hand. Forbes is citing an “entrepreneur who is working on a top-secret NFC product” who is in turn citing “a friend who works at Apple.”AdChoices广告It wouldn’t be a shock, of course, were Apple to offer such a technology on the new iPhone–and Steve Jobs would, no doubt, present such a feature as though his company invented it. Google, as present, is pushing the mobile payment technology, having backed in the latest version of Android. The technology gives users a simple way to make payments via their handsets without actually touching the phone to a retail terminal.
Sometimes the best way to combat environmental issues is simply to raise awareness. At least, that seems to be the logic behind the US Postal Service’s new Go Green campaign.The USPS has launched a series of 16 stamps, each of which features a different environmentally friendly tip. Everything from planting trees and adjusting the thermostat, to using reusable grocery bags and turning off lights when they’re not in use. The tips are generally all common sense, but at the same time, a reminder every now and then is always a helpful thing.AdChoices广告You can purchase a set of all 16 stamps from the USPS for $7.
Greenpeace has decided to demonstrate outside a number of Apple Stores around the world today. It’s a protest against what the environmental organization is referring to as dirty energy.With our growing reliance on data centers to power the cloud, the big tech companies have a responsibility to use as much clean and renewable energy as possible. Not only will that reduce the impact such locations have on the environment, it also helps ensure those company’s futures as traditional energy sources continue to rise in cost.Greenpeace points out that Google, Yahoo!, and even Facebook are either pursuing green energy or already using it in ever greater quantities. Apple, however, is not, according to environmentalists, and Greenpeace believes us, the users are the ones that can force Apple to “Think Differently.”While Greenpeace admits Apple is investing in solar energy for its North Carolina facilities, it’s a relationship with Duke Energy that has them most concerned. Duke owns and runs many coal-fired power stations and expects Apple to be a major customer. The video above is designed to show that using the Apple iCloud means using coal, but is that a fair representation?Apple has quite a comprehensive breakdown of its environmental impact at Apple.com. It lists facilities including data centers as accounting for 2% of its total greenhouse gas emissions. The company claims several of its facilities already run on 100% renewable energy and use state-of-the-art, high-efficiency machinery. The North Carolina facility in particular has been awarded the LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.So while Greenpeace may have a point about relying on coal-fired power stations and the growing energy requirements of data centers, I don’t see concrete evidence yet that Apple is the main problem here, although it is certainly a company to watch to ensure it continues to embrace renewable energy.Thankfully, the extent of the protests today seem to be limited to lots of people dressed in black releasing black balloons inside Apple Stores. That in itself isn’t exactly environmentally friendly, especially if you consider all the helium going to waste.Read more at Greenpeace and CleanOurCloud.com, via Treehugger
This year was a bit of an exception to the usual PC launch cycle we see. Normally, Intel launches their new processors and chipsets at CES in January. The PC manufacturers announce some, if not all, of their new models at the same time and they start shipping within a couple months.Due to Intel’s delay of Ivy Bridge this year, manufacturers across the board were late in actually shipping their new PCs. This caused their existing models to get even more stale on the virtual store shelf. Now that all the major manufacturers have released their new models, they are being extra aggressive with pricing and offering discounts on brand new products, which we have never seen before.Dell was the last of the top PC companies to release refreshed products with Ivy Bridge processors and the Vostro 3560 is looking to be our bargain favorite for the year. It doesn’t do anything revolutionary with design, but is still a decent looker.What we really like is the solid feature set in a robust SMB-focused package. It comes well equipped with four, count them FOUR, USB 3.0 ports, VGA and HDMI video outputs, and an 8-in-1 media card reader. One of the USB ports has Dell’s “PowerShare” feature, which allows you to charge your mobile device with or without the system being powered up.A rare feature on the 3560 these days is an ExpressCard 34mm slot. This is a sign of Dell’s business focus here, as the ExpressCard slot allows extensive expansion options, like external graphics.Dell is offering the 3560 out of the gate for $549 after $50 coupon with a 2nd generation Intel Core i3, 4GB RAM, and 320GB hard drive. Stepping up to a 3rd gen Core i5 model will run $699 and from there the sky’s the limit. Some of the sweeter options on the Vostro 3560 include a 32GB mSATA drive, Radeon HD 7670M graphics, and a 1080p screen.Visit LogicBuy for the Dell Vostro 3560 laptop deal
Since the release of the incredibly cool Lytro camera, the big question has been when we will see this kind of technology in our existing mobile devices. According to Toshiba, we need only wait until the end of 2013 to see this tech in smartphones and tablets.The way we take photos with smartphones, it stands to reason that most of us could benefit from a camera that allowed us to adjust focus after the image was captured. That’s the power of the Lytro camera, being able to shift focus even after the photo has been taken. Some have even used this to create images that reveal more when you shift focus, placing some items out of view intentionally for fun. Lytro cameras, however, are roughly the size of a can of Red Bull. It can’t be easy to shrink that experience down and maintain even close to the same quality. Toshiba seems convinced that they can fit the technology into a 1cm cube to replace the rear camera on smartphones being released late next year.It’s difficult to imagine 500,000 lenses in a 1cm space, but that is exactly what Toshiba claims will happen with their camera. The camera will be able to measure the distance between you and the objects in the shot, and allow you to apply focus after the shot has been taken between those objects. Toshiba says that the sensor for this camera is still a work in progress, so we have no idea what the quality of the image will be. A lower quality sensor will mean a lesser quality image to adjust focus in, which may ruin the feature altogether. Over the last year there have been tremendous strides in the quality of smartphone cameras and the software that drives it, and moving backwards in either of those places for the sake of a new feature will not go over well with consumers.There’s also the thickness of the phone to consider. Much like the massive bulge on the back of the Nokia PureView, the camera unit Toshiba is proposing is in and of itself nearly 2.5mm thicker than the current generation iPhone. After you wrap that lens in plastic and stick it on the other side of a smartphone, you wind up with a phone that will be noticeably thicker than most current generation smartphones.If smartphone manufacturers pick up the technology from Toshiba, we’ll see a return to the camera bulge that had finally gone away in the second half of 2012, but we’ll also see some very impressive images.Asahi via Engadget