Tag Archives: Ireland

#Ireland: #PSNI probe into reports #Derry man in #Syria

Eamon Bradley on horseback in the Middle East.Eamon Bradley on horseback in the Middle East.

The PSNI1 have confirmed they are making inquiries in response to reports that Derry man Eamon Bradley has turned up in Syria.

Searches are understood to have been conducted at the home of the 25-year-old on Thursday evening.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that specialist officers were deployed to an address in the Creggan estate, but it is unclear if any material was removed from the scene.

A PSNI spokesman would only confirm on Friday: “Police are making enquiries into reports of a Northern Ireland man in Syria.”

Eamon Bradley’s family were this week said to be growing increasingly concerned about his well-being since he disappeared several months ago.

It is understood the former St Joseph’s Boys School pupil had told his relatives he was going for a two week holiday to Turkey, but has not returned.

Reports suggest he has developed a strong interest in the Islamic faith over recent times.

Since he left, photographs have surfaced reportedly showing Eamon on horseback having grown a beard and wearing combat-type clothing and a headdress.

Another appears to shows him kneeling in a shelter with AK-47 assault style rifles bundled in front of him.

Eamon Bradley kneeling in a shelter with AK-47 assault style rifles bundled in front of him.
A woman at the address in Creggan declined to speak to the Journal when contacted on Thursday.

Derry Journal

  1. Police Service of Northern Ireland 

Ireland: Man beats train in Derry to Belfast race: Rail speed branded ‘embarrassing’

SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood

SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood has described the Derry to Belfast rail journey speed as “embarrassing” after a cyclist won a ‘man versus train’ challenge between the cities.

Local man John Madden broke the record for cycling between Derry and Belfast on Sunday last, but if that wasn’t enough the cyclist also took on the train in a ‘Top Gear’ style challenge. Although prohibited from travelling on the motorway, John Madden reached his destination with time to spare over his rival.

Mr Eastwood said: “Limavady solicitor and seasoned triathlete, Peter Jack suggested the challenge in order to highlight the inadequacies of the rail infrastructure between the two cities. The result, while massively impressive in terms of John Madden’s cycling performance, is nothing short of embarrassing for Northern Ireland’s railway system.

“Peter and John left Derry’s General Post Office at 9.15am on Sunday with their destination the Albert Memorial Clock in Belfast. The fact that when Peter finally got there, John had been waiting for two minutes. That is a damning indictment of the rail speed between the North’s two main cities.

“This situation, once again, shows the current rail speed is not acceptable and it highlights the dire need for the planned upgrade to be carried out without further delay.

“It is up to Minister Danny Kennedy to ensure Phase Two of the upgrade project is completed sooner than expected to give passengers the shorter journey times they deserve. While a fantastic achievement for John Madden, a man on a bike beating a £5m train between the two biggest cities in Northern Ireland proves how ludicrous the current rail journey time is.”

From point to point it took John Madden two hours and 37 minutes; the cyclist beating the record held by Morris ‘Big Mo’ Foster for many years. It took Peter Jack two hours and 39 minutes to complete the journey from point to point.

Derry Journal

Russian Sailors

Why Europe Can’t Get Its Act Together On Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Western sanctions against Russia appear to have done little to influence the Kremlin’s actions in Ukraine.

But while the United States has targeted some of President Vladimir Putin’s close allies, the European Union has largely only gone after lower-ranking officials directly connected to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.

These numbers help show why there’s so little appetite to confront Putin.

1. $39.717 billion

That’s the amount of money that flowed into Russia in 2012 from the Netherlands, Ireland, Cyprus and Luxembourg, according to the most recent data from the Russian Central Bank. The data show those four small European Union countries represent more than three-quarters of foreign direct investment into Russia, dwarfing contributions from major economies such as Germany and the United States.

Although the Dutch, Irish, Cypriots and Luxembourgers bristle at the term “tax haven,” much of the cash heading to Russia is believed to be recycled by Russian companies and rich individuals taking advantage of the European countries’ generous fiscal arrangements for foreigners.

It’s not just Russians. An investigation by the Dutch newspaper De Volksrant last year found most of the world’s top corporations operate networks of letterbox companies in the Netherlands to avoid taxes back home. Still, the huge sums of Russian money flowing through may help explain those countries’ less-than-hawkish approach to sanctions.

2. 1,000

The number of French shipyard jobs directly at risk should President Francois Hollande halt the sale of two high-tech warships to Russia. Unions estimate there are at least as many indirect subcontractor jobs also dependent on the deal, located in hard-pressed ports where work is in short supply.

Throwing so many out of work is not an appealing prospect for a president whose popularity ratings are languishing at record lows, largely due to his failure to tackle unemployment.

Moreover, Russia insists it will seek compensation if the $1.65 billion contract to build the Vladivostok and the Sevastopol (named for the recently annexed Crimea port — where it’s due to be based) aren’t delivered.

The first of the Mistral-class amphibious assault ships is due to arrive in Russia in October, the second in 2016.

In Paris, the government says it has time before any difficult decisions need be made.

However, 400 Russian sailors are due in France next month for training on the new ship, which can carry assault helicopters and landing craft.

On Thursday, US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said Washington has “regularly and consistently” expressed concern about the deal.

3. 100 percent

The level of dependence on Russian natural gas supplies among European Union members Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Estonia and Slovakia. Overall, Russia provides 34 percent of the gas used to heat homes, cook meals and power factories across the EU.

That gives Moscow powerful leverage. In 2009, when an earlier dispute with Ukraine shut down pipelines to Europe, residents of vulnerable countries were left shivering in mid-winter.

Many European states also heavily depend on Russia for oil, coal and even fuel for nuclear power plants — Russia supplies a quarter of the uranium used in the EU. Russian energy companies have also invested heavily in Europe, gaining influence over local power companies and entering into lucrative partnerships that Western giants like BP and Shell are loath to break.

Still, not all EU countries have been cowed by Russia’s grip on their fuel supplies. Lithuania and Estonia have been the most vocal advocates of a tougher EU line. Privately, officials from both countries are furious at the lack of backing from less exposed partners.

4. $10.6 million

That’s the average amount Russian clients pay for homes in swish London neighborhoods, according to one top-end realtor cited by The Economist.

There are plenty of other figures to illustrate why Britain is reluctant to alienate the oligarch immigrants who have found a bolt hole in “Londongrad.”

Overall, Russians are estimated to have shelled out $304 million for London homes last year. Since 2002, Russian companies have raised an estimated $406 on British capital markets. More than 50 are listed on the London Stock Exchange. Russian students number 2,150 in Britain’s posh private schools, where average boarding fees are a cool $15,500 a year.

Russians also make up the biggest group holding “investor visas” granting residency to foreigners who spend more than $1.7 million in Britain. They are said to make up 60 percent of clients at fancy London law firms, and spent $2 billion on getting banking advice in the city in 2012.

Concerns that those lawyers could be getting even more work are another reason why Europe, and Britain in particular, is holding fire on sanctions against Putin’s oligarch allies. Especially because individuals and businesses from Saudi Arabia and Iran have successfully challenged EU sanctions against them: Iran’s Bank Mellat, for one, is suing the British government for $4 billion in lost earnings.

5. 75

The number of seats far-right and Euro-skeptic parties that openly support Putin are tipped to win in this month’s European Parliament elections. Although that’s only about 10 percent of the total number of lawmakers in the EU’s assembly, they represent a powerful and growing influence in a number of countries.

The French National Front, a vocal Putin apologist, is expected to become the country’s biggest representative in the European Parliament. In Britain, the UK Independence Party is also polling strongest. Its leader Nigel Farage has called Putin the politician he most admires. The Freedom Party, which is leading in Dutch polls, blames the European Union for the Ukraine crisis.

Putin has other backers on the far left, such as Germany’s Die Linke party. While there are signs uncertainly over the Ukraine crisis could see anxious voters turning back to the political center, Putin also has support with some notable mainstream politicians.

Former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon and Germany’s ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder have been outspoken on Russia’s behalf. Schroeder reputedly earns $344,000 a year as director of a pipeline company pumping Russian gas to the West and was recently snapped giving Putin a hug at a St. Petersburg soiree. He remains an influential figure for many in the Social Democratic Party of Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

6. $87.8 billion

Russia spent that much on its military last year — the world’s third-highest defense budget after the United States and China. Putin has hiked defense spending by 108 percent since 2004.

US military spending rose just 12 percent during the same period, while among NATO allies, Britain’s fell by 2.4 percent, France’s by 6.4 and Italy’s by a whopping 26 percent. Putin also controls the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear warheads, estimated at 8,500.

Many in Europe — particularly in the south — see little interest in picking a fight with such a prickly born-again superpower over Ukraine, a country they view as remote and of little relevance to their struggle to recover from five years of economic crisis.

Business Insider

1916 – British Troops Move into Dublin.

Originally posted on Stair na hÉireann:

One day after the Proclamation of the Irish Republic by Padraic Pearse on Easter Monday and a day of limited activity, British authorities start to take action. By the end of the day, 7.000 troops will be moved into Dublin from Belfast and the Curragh.

Martial law is declared by Lord Lieutenant Lord Wimborne and power is handed over to military authorities. Despite its iconic status in history, occupiers of the General Post Office see little direct action, apart from incoming British artillery.

The Rising was not popular with Dublin’s population.

(There are numerous reports that Irish rebel prisoners were booed and harried by Dubliners after the surrender.) Fifteen year old Martin Walton joined the rebellion on Tuesday at Jacob’s factory and describes Dubliners negative reaction to the rebels. “When I arrived then at Jacob’s the place was surrounded by a howling mob roaring at the Volunteers inside, ‘Come out…

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