Colm Ferry hailed as a ‘credit’ to LKCU on his retirement – Picture Special

first_imgAfter 40 years of service to Letterkenny Credit Union Colm Ferry has retired.A celebration to mark the occasion was held in McGettigan’s Hotel. Current and former staff members and Directors of Letterkenny Credit Union turned out to give him a well-deserved send-off.Also attending were representatives of his other loves, Fianna Fail, Knights of Columbanus and Letterkenny Heritage group. Fellow staff members Gordon Randles, Gail Griffin and Fintan Dawson spoke glowingly of his commitment to the Credit Union and service to its members. Eugene O’Boyle spoke on behalf the Credit Unions present and past Directors and remarked that without Colm’s input in the early years of the Credit Union it would not have thrived and evolved into the successful union it is today.The part of the evening that Colm really enjoyed was the speeches from former Letterkenny political representatives Victor Fisher and Dr. Jimmy McDaid. Victor said he never lost an election with Colm Ferry by his side. Dr McDaid said he was honoured to be here tonight and celebrate with his close friend and supporter Colm Ferry. In every election he contested he said Colm was ready to help support the campaign in any way he could. In particular Dr McDaid recognised the enormous amount of local information and knowledge he gave him to help and assist him in delivering for the people he represented. Presentations were made to Colm by the staff and Board of Directors & oversight committee members of LKCU. Letters were also received from the Irish League of Credit Unions and TD Carlie McConalogue marking his commitment to both organisations. A great night was had by all. Colm Ferry hailed as a ‘credit’ to LKCU on his retirement – Picture Special was last modified: March 18th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:colm ferryeventsLetterkenny Credit Unionpicture specialretirementlast_img read more

Gardai appeal for information following burglary in Lifford

first_imgGardaí at Letterkenny Garda Station are appealing for information in relation to a burglary that occurred at a house in Lifford last weekend. The incident happened in the Commons area of the Donegal town on October 5th (Saturday) between 8pm and 11.15pm.The front door of the house was forced open and the house was ransacked. A sum of money was stolen from the house.If anyone in that area noticed any people/cars that arouse suspicion on that date then we would ask them to contact Letterkenny Gardaí on 074-9167100.Gardai appeal for information following burglary in Lifford was last modified: October 8th, 2019 by Shaun KeenanShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Rocking in the Cradle

first_imgMaropeng, the new state-of-the-art visitor’s centre in the Cradle of Humankind, is designed to look like an ancient burial mound. (Image: Mary Alexander, Emeritus Professor Phillip V Tobias, an acclaimed South African anthropologist, with a collection of fossil hominid skulls – including the small Taung Child and the larger Mrs Ples directly in front of him. (Image: Chris Kirchhoff, For more free photos, visit the image library.)Jennifer SternFind out more about using materialI recently spent a week in the Magaliesberg near Johannesburg and, having most of the day free before a flight from Lanseria Airport, suggested to my companions that we visit the Cradle of Humankind. With the ensuing enthusiasm both loud and unanimous, we reorganised our transport arrangements and spent the better part of a day communing with our ancestors and exploring our roots.Declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 1999, the 47 000-hectare area is the richest hominid fossil site in the world. It was here, at Sterkfontein Caves in 1947, that Robert Broom found a hominid fossil skull that he named Plesianthropus transvalensis. Assumed to be female, the find became affectionately – but inaccurately – known as Mrs Ples.Plesianthropus means “near-human” but, after a careful study, Mrs Ples was found to be of the same species as the Taung Child, a fossil skull found in 1924 and named Australopithecus africanus, meaning “southern ape of Africa”. In all, the Sterkfontein Caves have so far yielded about 500 specimens of A africanus, dating from about 2.8- to 2.6-million years ago.The name Plesianthropus would have been totally forgotten had it not been for that rather nice nickname. And to add to the confusion, it is now thought that Mrs Ples was not a mature female, but an adolescent male.“She” remains one of the most famous fossils in the world, and her discovery rocked the international palaeontological community and helped revise the then-accepted view of human evolution. But she is in the process of being outshone by a newer and more complete find.The fossil named Little Foot may be the new kid on the block, but is a much older specimen, dating to about 3.3-million years ago.Discovered in 1997, Little Foot is still in the process of being painstakingly freed from the compacted breccia in which it has been embedded for over 3-million years. It will probably be another two years before the fossil can be extracted, as visitors are treated to the sound of dental drills resonating within the cave structure – an unexpectedly musical sound.It is thought that Little Foot is a new species of Australopithecus – related to Mrs Ples, but not too closely.Walking backwards in timeAlthough only one is open to visitors, Sterkfontein has a number caves, part of a network of interlinked limestone cavities that stretch for hundreds of kilometres underground.When I first visited Sterkfontein in the mid-1980s, the site offered little more than the visitor’s cave itself and a small and neglected field museum. Today it is a very different place.The cave itself hasn’t changed much: the steps are more even, the paths are coated with non-slip material, and the tour had been extended to exit at a different opening – unlike the in-and-out tour of the 1980s.But the museum has been totally transformed. Gone are the dusty black-and-white photos and handful of fossilised bones in fly-specked display cases, replaced with life-size sculptures of the hominids, large colour photographs and fascinating multimedia displays, all helping to explain the caves’ history and significance.If you’ve never visited Sterkfontein, you may have visions of “cavemen” who lived in its dark and gloomy depths. But the Australopithecines didn’t live in the caves – they died there.Many of Cradle caves are deep and relatively inaccessible, and it is thought that most of the bones found there were dropped into the cave by predators.Picture this: a prehistoric sabre-toothed cat easily kills a small and vulnerable two-footed hominid, hauls the body into the branches of a tree – as modern-day leopards do – and slowly dismantles the skeleton as it feeds over the next few days.Scored with tooth marks, the bones drop from the tree, tumbling to the shaft of a deep cave. There they collect in a pile and are mixed with small stones and sand. Dissolved limestone drips onto the pile, slowly turning the debris into a rock called breccia.In other places, predators – either sabre-toothed cats, or giant primitive hyenas – may carried their prey into the cave.While early hominids are likely to have lived across all of southern Africa, it is only here, in the Cradle of Humankind, that this unique combination of conditions preserved their remains as fossils for us to find millennia later.More than just bonesFrom Sterkfontein we headed off to Maropeng, the state-of-the-art Cradle of Humankind visitots’ centre opened in 2005.From a distance Maropeng – which means “returning to the origins” in Sesotho – looks like an ancient burial mound. But inside it’s a wonderland of interactive displays – part museum, part playground, part amusement park.We were a pretty diverse group – with the youngest 12 and the oldest 74, and spanning a range of cultural and educational backgrounds – but we all had fun.I may sometimes have the mental age of a 10-year-old, but I wasn’t the only one to absolutely love the underground boat ride, a multi-sensory trip back in time from the present.We shivered in the ice ages, wondered at the sound and sight of tectonic plates shifting in front of our eyes, and shuddered at the smell of fire and brimstone as we sailed into the fiery origins of the earth. Then we had our minds played with a bit as we spun out through a simulated black hole.We’d been shaken up a bit and were quite ready to question our place in the universe, so it was a good introduction to the interactive displays.With their interactivity making them feel like games, the displays helped us explore what makes us human – our bigger brains, our use of tools and of fire. In fact, the earliest evidence of the intentional use of fire is also in the Cradle of Humankind, at a cave called Swartkrans.We spoke to a dodo on the phone, threw a couple of genetic dice, played with designing ancient animals and generally all reverted to the wonder of childhood.The exhibits then took us to the future, examining the consequences of global climate change, overpopulation, declining resources and environmental degradation. Will we join the dodo and dinosaurs, or will we wake up and use our big brains, marvellous thumbs and technological abilities sensibly?Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at marya@mediaclubsouthafrica.comRelated articlesWorld Heritage in South AfricaAncient glue points to intelligence A hairy anthropological puzzle Unearthing our human ancestors Ancient arrows a clue to our past Useful linksMaropengUnesco World Heritagelast_img read more

Syrian refugee with a prosthetic leg will carry the Olympic torch in Athens

first_imgMeet Ibrahim Al-Hussein, the 27-year-old athlete will be bearing the Olympic flame in Athens on 26 April, as part of the torch relay for the 2016 Games in Rio de JaneiroGrowing up, his life revolved around sports. His father who was a swim coach instilled a love of the water in Ibrahim and his 13 siblings. The waterway of the Euphrates River was their swimming pool with the Deir ez-Zor suspension bridge as the diving board.Speaking to UNHRC, Ibrahim said, “I used to climb to the top, dive into the water and swim in the river.”But things took an unfortunate turn when the war began in 2011. Ibrahim rushed out to help a friend who had been severely injured, but instead he was hit by a bomb. The incident left him with an amputated right leg. But the war and injury did not dampen his spirit. He fled the next year to Turkey, where he taught himself to walk again. In 2014 he arrived in the Greek island of Samos after crossing the Aegean Sea in a rubber dinghy.He had always dreamt of competing in the Olympics. “Imagine achieving one of your biggest dreams. Imagine that your dream of more than 20 years is becoming a reality.” he says. Ibrahim lives alone in a flat with a small garden in central Athens, and pays the rent without assistance. Photo: UNHCR/Achilleas Zavallis His grueling sports training scheduled, despite a 10-hour overnight shift at a cafe, include;swimming three times a week with ALMA which is a Greek NGO for athletes with disabilities, and wheelchair basketball with his team in Maroussi, an Athens suburb. advertisementThe Syrian now swims the 50-meter freestyle in about 28 seconds, less than three seconds short of his timing before he lost part of his leg.  “It’s not just a game for me. It’s my life,” Ibrahim tells the UNHCR. In order to get into the pool, Ibrahim has to remove the prosthetic leg and hop to the starting block on his other foot. At the beginning, his flutter-kick was not as strong as before, but after a few sessions Ibrahim recovered confidence in the water. Without part of his leg, Ibrahim has had to regain his confidence in the water. Photo:UNHCR/Achilleas ZavallisIbrahim was selected to carry the Olympic torch following an announcement by Jacques Rogge, honorary president of the International Olympic Committee. This gesture was to show solidarity with the world’s refugees at a time when millions are fleeing war and persecution worldwide”I am carrying the flame for myself, but also for Syrians, for refugees everywhere, for Greece, for sports, for my swimming and basketball teams,” Ibrahim says. “My goal is to never give up. But to go on, to always go forward. And that I can achieve through sports.”  Ibrahim al-Hussein (centre), during a basketball training session in Marousi, Athens. UNHCR/Achilleas ZavallisThe flame was lit on 21 April in a ceremony at Olympia, the site of the ancient Olympic Games. Ibrahim will run with the flame through Eleonas, a temporary accommodation site in Athens for some 1,500 refugees.WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW:last_img read more

Some baloney in PMs claim Hytera went through national security review

first_imgOTTAWA – “Every single transaction of this sort is subject to a national security review. This is a multi-step assessment process, and that process was followed. We take advice and feedback from our national security agencies very seriously, and based on that advice, we proceeded with this transaction. In this particular case, our security agencies consulted with key allies, including the United States, and I can reassure the member and this House that we will never, ever, compromise on national security.” — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, June 13, 2017.___Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been under fire for the way he has been answering questions about a potential takeover of Vancouver technology firm Norsat International by Hytera, a privately owned communications company based in China.Unease about the acquisition deal stems from concerns that even privately owned businesses in China can still fall under the influence of the Chinese government, as well as the fact that the United States, whose military is a major client of Norsat International, which makes radio systems and transceivers, has been raising its eyebrows over the move.The Liberals say the deal triggered a requirement in the Investment Canada Act that brought it under security-agency scrutiny, but their political rivals say that’s not the same as ordering a full national security review.Conservative MP Tony Clement has said the Liberals, in saying all transactions go through a national security review, are conflating that formal process with a preliminary analysis. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair went so far as to say Trudeau’s claim is “demonstrably false.”Both are accusing the Liberals of putting their desire for closer relations with China above the interests of Canadians. Who’s right?Spoiler alert: The Canadian Press Baloney Meter is a dispassionate examination of political statements culminating in a ranking of accuracy on a scale of “no baloney” to “full of baloney” (complete methodology below)This one earns a rating of “some baloney.” Here’s why.THE FACTSOn June 2, Norsat said Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains had served notice that the Liberal government would not be ordering a review of the transaction under the Investment Canada Act, which can happen if the minister decides the move could be a threat to national security.The Conservative government added the national security test in 2009, but faced severe criticism three years later when they allowed a takeover of Nexen Inc., a Calgary-based oil company, by CNOOC Ltd., a state-controlled Chinese firm, without a formal national security review.After the backlash, former prime minister Stephen Harper placed strict limits on state-owned enterprises investing in the Canadian oilsands, allowing them only in exceptional circumstances.Karl Sasseville, a spokesman for Bains, said Trudeau was being accurate, because the deal, as in all cases, was still examined through a national security lens.Sasseville said that in all cases, security agencies are given at least 45 days to go over the transaction in order to figure out whether it has the potential to impact national security. The Liberal government then issued a notice to Hytera that would prevent the deal from closing until those agencies had an additional 45 days to finish going through the application.Sasseville said those security agencies said there were “no outstanding concerns” that would necessitate triggering the formal review.“Throughout this process, security agencies have access to all the information and intelligence necessary,” Sasseville said.“They could also consult with our allies, if appropriate, to determine if an order under the Act is necessary to protect national security, which in this case, they did.”THE EXPERTSGus Van Harten, an international investment law professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, said it was wrong for Trudeau to say that all transactions go through a national security review, as most people would understand that to mean it went through the full process.“If we understand all transactions to mean all foreign investments that are subject to review under the Investment Canada Act, then the statement is not accurate, or at least highly misleading,” said Van Harten.Ward Elcock, a former director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said the difference between a preliminary review and a formal review ordered by cabinet is exactly as it sounds.“The reality is, a full review is more onerous,” he said. “If you are doing a review to decide whether there should be a formal review or not, it’s more cursory.”Peter Glossop, a Toronto lawyer and international trade expert, said there is a way to interpret what Trudeau said as true.There is a lot of information that a foreign investor like Hytera would have to submit to Bains on its application for review, including whether a foreign state is involved, or whether that foreign state has the authority to direct its operational or strategic decision-making.“That filing contains information that can enable the government to review the transaction on a national security basis,” he said.Glossop suggested Trudeau could have been clearer.“All investments by non-Canadians require disclosure of information to enable us to conduct a national security review if we choose to do so,” said Glossop. “Something like that, technically, I think, is what he meant to say, but he is obviously not choosing his words as selectively as I just did.”THE VERDICTGlossop, who said he found it surprising the Liberal government decided not to launch a formal review, said the fact that the process is so secretive — usually because it has to be — makes it hard to say exactly what went on, or why.“People are kind of left scratching their heads as to what happened.”Van Harten said Bains, like any minister, is always free to consult without triggering a formal review, and that doing so was likely a political choice.“It seems to me to come down to the government seeming to want to have its cake and eat it too,” he said.“(They can) tell a Chinese company or the Chinese government that there has been no national security review of the takeover, which would be true in a formal sense, while also telling the Canadian public that there has been such a review — avoiding the detailed point that the designated statutory process for national security review has been skirted.”For this reason, Trudeau’s statement contains “some baloney.”METHODOLOGYThe Baloney Meter is a project of The Canadian Press that examines the level of accuracy in statements made by politicians. Each claim is researched and assigned a rating based on the following scale:No baloney – the statement is completely accurateA little baloney – the statement is mostly accurate but more information is requiredSome baloney – the statement is partly accurate but important details are missingA lot of baloney – the statement is mostly inaccurate but contains elements of truthFull of baloney – the statement is completely inaccurateSources:———— Follow @smithjoanna on Twitterlast_img read more