Archive for the ‘General’ Category
28 years young today. And enjoying the roman weather :-)
Some readers and people here in Chicago have shown much interest in the pictures I took last night of Oprah Winfrey’s visit to the port-a-potty (Yes she did). Here are the pics in all their glory.
Oprah’s minder shines a light on the ground before her, lest she fall.
Oprah exits the port-a-potty, minder at her side, and straight into the glare of onlookers, who were falling over themselves to get a picture with the TV host/billionaire.
As word spreads, a media scrum ensued.
One guy (AJ Calloway from Extra!) actually bagged a TV interview while she was on her way to the bog. Once she was done with her potty business she was kind enough to give him the interview. In this video AJ explains to me and another Flip Ultra user what happened.
I guess we all have to go, and Oprah is no different. It was an interesting spectacle though.
The sun is rising over Lake Michigan as I write this. It’s 7am Central and at 8.30 we head out to some polling stations around Chicago to watch the election kick off. NPR were reporting last night that up to 1 million people could descend on Chicago today, with tickets only available for 75,000. This is going to be an interesting day, to say the least.
It is worth noting that the weather here is unseasonably warm. Yesterday it was extremely hot for November, which meant walking around downtown in a t-shirt, and it stayed warm and humid throughout the night. Today the forecast is no clouds with temperatures as high as 23 degrees.
Myself and Conor will likely be running on adrenaline all day, our late night boozing did not help, and the weather, combined with all that election stuff going on, should make it a day to remember.
Internet will likely be intermittent, so I will try updating via text to my Twitter.
I had a quick look round the tank base in Gori two weeks ago, and posted some photos. Towards the end of my trip to Georgia, I made my way up to the castle in the centre of Gori – it gives commanding views of the town and the surrounding area.
Looking south I took a high resolution image of the tank base, and the hills surrounding it. You can make out about eight destroyed tanks, that had moved from the tank base. To the very left of the tank base you can see one of the tower blocks bombed by the Russians. In the foreground you can see the Stalin museum (tall building, Georgian flag).
How many tanks can you make out? When in Flickr click on “All sizes” on the top left of the picture to see the picture at the full 8 megapixel resolution.
It is being reported that Russian forces are pulling back from their ‘buffer zones’ around Ossetia and Abkhazia.
I took some photos in Karaleti on October 1, between Gori and Tskhvinali. This checkpoint appears now to have been dismantled.
It’s a little hard to make out, but you can see the extent of tracks in the tarmac I talked about before. Some journos packing up and leaving too.
Russia’s government must respect Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. The Russian government must reverse the course it appears to be on, and accept this peace agreement as a first step toward resolving this conflict.
Russia’s actions this week have raised serious questions about its intentions in Georgia and the region. These actions have substantially damaged Russia’s standing in the world. And these actions jeopardize Russians’ relations — Russia’s relations with the United States and Europe. It is time for Russia to be true to its word and to act to end this crisis.
Of course the question everyone is asking is: “Or what?”. If Russia does not do this, what can the US do about it?
Bush would not have said this if there were not plans in the works to follow up. Plans usually involve some sort of sanction or escalation. Bush can’t say these things to Russia without having actions ready to follow. So if Russia ignores US protests, what action could follow?
I guess there would be two strands to US action. The first would be public, the second would be private.
In public, Bush has a number of options. He could escalate the stakes by sending a US fleet to the Eastern Mediterranean or the Black Sea. He could send air assets to Turkish airbases, in a public/media driven demonstration of capabilities. He could publicly supply Georgia with equipment. He could seek support from regional allies in terms of military assets. He could send a submarine or two into the eastern Black Sea, surfacing purposely in sight of Russian ships. He could seek to impose economic sanctions beyond the remit of the UN.
In private, though perhaps with or without the knowledge of the Russians, he could arm Georgia with more advanced weaponry. This would take the form of anti-tank missiles like the Javelin or manpad systems like the Stinger. This option is perhaps less than likely.
But Bush cannot make statements like he did last night if there are not already plans in progress to back up his demands. This will all be moot if the Russians comply with those demands.
By Friday we will know if this was a week long skirmish, or if it will turn into a multi-year conflict.
Update: It now appears this may be moot, given Russian pronouncements.
It has arrived. Black plastic back… hmm. Flush headphone jack. Thinner. A-GPS. Much as expected. It looks nice.
Battery life seems to have been a big deal, huge improvements.
In May 1993 when Bertie Ahern was Minister for Finance there was a very curious scandal.
The Government sold its 30.4% stake in Greencore to investors for £70m. £100m was raised around the same time from a sale of the Government’s stake in Irish Life.
Greencore management had supported the idea of selling shares to US investors Arther Daniels Midland, but a decision was later taken by Ahern to sell the shares on the open market, and British and Irish institutions. It was said that Ahern could not convince his cabinet colleagues (the Labour ones) of the merits of the ADM investment.
The 25.4 million shares were placed on the stock market by Davy Stockbrokers.
But a couple of weeks later, it emerged that the Directors of Davy had themselves bought shares in Greencore to the tune of £19m. Four companies directly associated with Davy and four of its directors acquired 4.5m shares of Greencore at a cost of £12.4m. A further 2.5m shares worth £6.9m were held on their behalf by British investment firm SG Warburg.
Two million more shares were sold to an account in Bank of Ireland Private Bannking held by three Davy directors – Brian Davy, Kyran McLaughlin and Tony Garry. Another two million were sold to Gandon, a financial services firm in which Mr McLaughlin, Mr Davy and Mr David Shubotham have a combined 18% stake. Smaller amounts were sold to Corder investments a company owned by Mr McLaughlin and to a Davy pension fund.
Mc McLaughlin denied suggestions that the arrangement with Warburg constituted any sort of a share-support operation, or that Warburg had covertly warehoused the Greencore shares on behalf of Davy.
As a result of the scandal, the ISE suspended Greencore shares, which had been placed the previous Friday at 275p. Half of the 16 British instituional investors pulled out after the scandal. The ISE said the market was misled by the share sale announcements made by Greencore and the Department of Finance. Albert Reynolds even threatened that Davy would never again be involved in a Government share sale. The Davy Directors refused to resign as a result of the scandal.
See the Oireachtas debate.
Bank of Ireland (who owned Davy) later agreed to aquire 10m shares in of the Government’s stake, should the shares go unsold.
Earlier that year, in January 1993, a cheque for £5,000 from Davy Stockbrokers was lodged into the B/T account, sworn by four bank officials as standing for the “Bertie/Tim account”.
Did you know… bonus.
At the very same time as this scandal the Broadcasting Authority (Amendment) Bill was making its way through the Dail. The bill removed the advertising cap put on RTE by Minister Ray Burke in 1990.
It was later found that Burke had taken bribes to introduce that legislation.
Happy birthday to me :-)