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Senator David Norris seriously ill with cancer


SENATOR DAVID NORRIS is undergoing medical treatment for a serious cancer, he revealed today.

The Dublin-based politician issued a statement in response to a number of media inquiries concerning his health and well-being.

He thanked the team of consultants at St. Vincent’s Private Hospital for the “superb treatment” he has received and confirmed that the illness appears to be related to an initial incidence of viral hepatitis contracted in eastern Europe in the mid-1990s.

The 68-year-old said he will return to work in the coming days.

The statement in full:

My office has been contacted in recent days by sections of the press making inquiries concerning my state of health and general medical condition. The following statement will I hope provide an adequate response.

I am currently undergoing medical management for a serious cancer condition. I am extremely grateful for the superb treatment I have received from the team of consultants at St. Vincent’s Private Hospital as well as the nursing and general hospital staff.

The cancer appears to be related to the initial incidence of viral hepatitis which I contracted from tainted drinking water while I was on unpaid Government business in Eastern Europe in 1994.

I have no difficulty in making this information public in response to press queries because I believe that there should be no stigma attaching to cancer as a disease. I continue to enjoy life and am looking forward to returning to my duties in Seanad Eireann over the next few days.

Senator David Norris.

Footnote:

The Man who nearly became Ireland’s first Gay President

The move to make homosexual acts no longer illegal followed a 16-year-old legal battle which began in 1977, when Senator David Norris began a case against Ireland’s draconian laws. Norris’s case came before the High Court in 1980, where it was rejected, and before the Supreme Court in 1983, where it was also rejected by five judges who found that the laws which made homosexual acts a crime did not contravene the Constitution.

Norris then took the case to the European Court of Human Rights, with the help of Mary Robinson, where judges finally ruled that Irish laws contravened the Convention on Human Rights. Five years later, the laws were changed.

“The passage of the Bill was one of the most important steps in the liberation of gay people in Ireland,” said Rose. “It led to new generations of lesbian and gay people able to live their lives more openly.”

via Senator David Norris seriously ill with cancer · TheJournal.ie.

Are Muslims the new Irish?


The UK’s independent reviewer of terror legislation says British government learned many lessons from Northern Ireland

David Anderson was in Dublin, speaking at the Irish Centre for European Law, Trinity College Dublin.

‘I spend quite a lot of time speaking to Muslim communities – they do feel that when they go through an airport it may be them that will be singled out for examination – that can’t be very nice’.

‘But, it would be great to say the problem is solved and we can scale terror laws down.’

‘Unfortunately, that’s not right’.

‘We are still seeing a steady stream of convictions of mainly men who have been planning or seeking to execute atrocities that would result in significant loss of life’.

‘There are quite hard cases of people who have been planning 7/7- style attacks’.

‘These are often people who have trained in Pakistan, downloaded images from the internet and communicating by email with radicals in other countries, and people who have been radicalised in prison.’

Abu Qatada

Meanwhile it has been confirmed that one of Britain’s most notorious radicals, Abu Qatada will now face terrorism charges in Jordan if the government there signs a treaty guaranteeing a fair trial for him.

Both the British courts as well as the European Court of Human Rights ruled against the government from sending Qatada to face trial in Jordan where evidence obtained by torture was likely to be used against him in court.

His rights under article 6 of the European Convention, ‘The Right to a Fair Trial’, would, according to the courts, been violated, had the extradition gone ahead.

The Strasbourg judges said it would make the “whole trial not only immoral and illegal, but also entirely unreliable in its outcome”.

Qatada was sentenced in absentia to life in prison on terror charges in 1999 and the Jordanian authorities wish to send him for retrial.

He has not been charged with any crime in the UK, yet the government has been trying to deport him for the last 8 years, resulting in his incarceration and bail on a number of occasions.

Mr. Anderson Q.C. says the use of evidence obtained by torture in his trial was a ‘flagrant denial of justice’.

‘I went to see him a few weeks ago; he is a complicated character’

‘There is no doubt that he is assessed as a very dangerous man.’

‘But he has been helpful in the release of at least one hostage’

via Newstalk – Are Muslims the new Irish? – UK’s terrorism watchdog David Anderson.

via Newstalk – Are Muslims the new Irish? – UK’s terrorism watchdog David Anderson.

A tortured history, a reflection of utter failure


Could you or I be kidnapped and waterboarded and still have no right to sue?

NATO forces have refused to turn Afghan prisoners over to some local jails due to concerns about the torture committed in many of those detention centers. After a dozen years of U.S. efforts to export democracy to Afghanistan, that’s just one example of why this mission has proven to be an utter failure.

The Guantánamo prison also illustrates what’s gone wrong with our permanent battle formerly known as the Global War on Terror. President Barack Obama promised to shut it down when he was first sworn in four years ago, but the Caribbean detention center is still wrecking lives and standing as a gleaming symbol of so many things that are wrong with U.S. foreign policy.

The biggest obstacle to closing Gitmo is the dilemma of what to do with the detainees still held there. In any event, Congress has barred their transfer to American soil. People here have rights, or at least used to, and we surely can’t afford to let terror suspects claim any of those.

The farther they are from U.S. shores, and the murkier the justice systems of the receiving nations, the harder it’s going to be to trace any appalling abuse back to our “anti-terrorism” experts.

So hard, in fact, that Attorney General Eric Holder has ruled it can’t be done. No prosecutions await, therefore, for George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, David Petraeus, Barack Obama, Leon Panetta, or the hundreds — maybe thousands — of underlings who oversaw acts of torture committed in U.S. custody or later covered them up. We can’t be entirely sure whether such deeds still go on until some brave soul makes another movie or another whistleblower decides it’s worth life in jail to tell us.

That’s why I consider John Kiriakou, the former CIA officer who spilled the beans about waterboarding, a hero.

The FBI prosecuted him for divulging the name of another agent to a journalist. Even though the reporter didn’t publish the operative’s name, Kiriakou began serving a 30-month prison sentence on Feb. 28. This made the whistleblower the only CIA officer to do time for anything related to torture

As Kiriakou’s fate indicates, our justice system isn’t much help for thwarting government-sponsored abuse. A federal appeals court has ruled that even U.S. citizens who were tortured by our own military have no “right of action.” How’s that? Could you or I be kidnapped and waterboarded too and still have no right to sue? Attacked by one of our own government’s drones?

Historically, it’s no surprise that torture turns out to be an established weapon in America’s diplomatic arsenal.

After all, look at the history behind the School of the Americas, where some of the most vicious leaders in Latin America learned terror techniques at our behest. That training beefed up our ability to defend friendly dictators in the West, and to oust leftist leaders who somehow managed to get elected.

U.S. citizens understandably have trouble knowing what to believe. It just can’t be true that our own virtuous democracy has, now or ever, perpetuated torture. But then there is all the evidence. Guantánamo detainees have been subjected to everything from sensory deprivation to Chinese torture techniques.

Washington will have us believe that the victims are all terrorists. And the Republicans (John McCain aside) say it’s really OK since we must be getting some valuable information.

The rest of the world isn’t quite so sure. A war crimes tribunal in Malaysia has independently found the United States guilty of those crimes. So have the European Court of Human Rights and the Italian Supreme Court.

In his second term, President Barack Obama should shut Gitmo and put an end to these abuses that stain our nation’s integrity.

OtherWords columnist William A. Collins is a former state representative and a former mayor of Norwalk, Connecticut. OtherWords.org

via WILLIAM A. COLLINS: A tortured history, a reflection of utter failure- The Register Citizen.

via WILLIAM A. COLLINS: A tortured history, a reflection of utter failure- The Register Citizen.

Britons reclassified as snails


UK RESIDENTS are to be reclassified as snails, in a bid to avoid the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights.

Easily crushed

The removal of British people from the species Homo sapiens is part of a government plan to extricate the country from certain aspects of the European Union.

Home Secretary Theresa May said: “Species is a pretty subjective thing, and to be honest ‘slow-moving with a slimy sheen’ seems to describe most of the people one sees in the supermarket.

“If UK citizens are ostensibly gastropods, the Court of Human Rights can’t have a say.  And if they put together a Court of Snail Rights we’ll just make everyone a sparrow.”

Iain Duncan Smith supports the policy: “There will be immense savings in the welfare system.  As everyone knows, snails carry little houses around on their backs, so are ineligible for Housing Benefit.”

He continued: “It’s also very difficult to tell if a snail is disabled, so almost no one will qualify for disability related benefits, much as with the current system.”

Wayne Hayes, a hairdresser from Lowestoft, said: “I worry this means I will no longer be able to enjoy salty snacks, such as peanuts, without shrivelling up and dying.

“However I understand that most snails are hermaphrodites and I do like the idea of being able to copulate with myself.”

via Britons reclassified as snails.

via Britons reclassified as snails.

Church says State is opening floodgate to killing of unborn – National News – Independent.ie


The abortion controversy has reignited after Catholic bishops accused the Government of opening the floodgates to the “intentional killing of the unborn”.

The hierarchy issued a hard-hitting statement after the Coalition confirmed that it will introduce legislation and regulation before summer to deal with abortion – with suicide to be included as a ground for termination.

But just hours after the decision was announced, the rift between the Government and the Catholic hierarchy was visibly widening.

The archbishops said it would “pave the way for the direct and intentional killing of unborn children”.

The four leading churchmen in the country swiftly issued a strongly worded statement condemning the Coalition move.

Cardinal Sean Brady along with Archbishops Diarmuid Martin, Dermot Clifford and Michael Neary signed off on the co-ordinated attack on the government proposal.

Fundamental

Emphasising that the right to life is the most fundamental right, the archbishops said that the lives of the unborn depend on the choices that will be made by public representatives.

“The unavoidable choice that now faces all our public representatives is: will I choose to defend and vindicate the equal right to life of a mother and the child in her womb in all circumstances, or will I choose to licence the direct and intentional killing of the innocent baby in the womb?” they said.

Several Fine Gael ministers and TDs are concerned about the move to legislate, but are holding fire until they see the actual wording of the law.

They will be pushing for an extremely tight and limited regime.

However, party backbencher Peter Mathews was threatening last night to vote against the Government if he was not satisfied with its contents.

And heaping further pressure TDs, the archbishops appealed to their moral conscience.

They said the legislation would fundamentally change “the careful balance between the equal right to life of a mother and her unborn child in current law and medical practice in Ireland”.

The government decision is based on the recommendations of an expert group, which came up with a range of options, but pointed toward regulations backed up by legislation.

It was compiled to set out options on how to respond to a European Court of Human Rights ruling on the so-called ABC case, which found the State violated the rights of a woman in remission from cancer who was forced to travel abroad to terminate her pregnancy.

In its formal announcement, the Government indicated the regulation and legislation will include the threat of suicide being grounds for abortion.

Catholic campaign group the Iona Institute argued it would be both wrong and unnecessary to allow abortion to prevent suicide.

A collection of pro-choice groups welcomed the government’s decision, but warned politicians must stop dragging their feet.

– Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

via Church says State is opening floodgate to killing of unborn – National News – Independent.ie.

via Church says State is opening floodgate to killing of unborn – National News – Independent.ie.

Fine Gael TD deems Hillary Clinton’s remark on women’s health as “offensive reference” to abortion debate


Fine Gael TD Michael Creed has criticized a remark made by Hillary Clinton during her visit to Ireland as an “offensive reference” to Ireland’s abortion debate.

The Cork East TD described the matter as a complex one and “one for the Irish people and their representatives to decide.” He said “for that reason, I was irked by the offensive reference to the issue by the visiting United States secretary of state Mrs Hillary Clinton.”

During her speech in DCU on human rights, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said global programs had been refocused to ensure the health of women and girls.

“So our starting point must be this: women’s lives matter,” she said. “And promoting the human rights of women begins with saving the lives of women whenever we can.”

According to the Irish Times, Creed, who was speaking Friday during the ongoing debate in the Dáil on the expert group’s report on abortion and the European Court of Human Rights judgment, said that Ireland had an “extremely good record in terms of safety in our maternity hospitals for women and this is newsworthy because it is so rare. That is a fact that holds up to international scrutiny.”

Creed accepted there was a debate “about how those figures are constituted but they hold up to comparison with any country in the developed world, including the United States.”

During the debate, Fine Gael TD Olivia Mitchell said she wanted what most people wanted,  “to protect the lives of women when continuing with a pregnancy would endanger their lives.”

“I want the bar determining where the risk begins set as low as possible,” she said.

Fine Gael chairman Charlie Flanagan said he would “advise my single male colleagues in this House and beyond to discuss it with women before they make a final judgment on their position.”

via Fine Gael TD deems Hillary Clinton’s remark on women’s health as “offensive reference” to abortion debate | Irish News | IrishCentral.

via Fine Gael TD deems Hillary Clinton’s remark on women’s health as “offensive reference” to abortion debate | Irish News | IrishCentral.

Husband may lodge complaint with Ombudsman


The husband of Savita Halappanavar is considering lodging a complaint to the Ombudsman to assert his ownership of his wife’s medical notes, his solicitor has said.

Gerard O’Donnell said he had taken instructions from Praveen Halappanavar to seek direction from the Ombudsman on whether he or Galway University Hospital owns her medical records.

Mr Halappanavar has objected to the use of his wife’s notes in a HSE inquiry into her death. He has said he has no faith in a HSE-run inquiry and does not want her notes used in it.

Mr O’Donnell had asked that the hospital, where Ms Halappanavar died last month, hand over the original medical notes. However, the HSE has said it owns them.

A spokesman for the Ombudsman said last night it was unlikely her office would have a role in this dispute.

Mr Halappanavar met Minister for Health James Reilly for 25 minutes yesterday in Galway.

Ms Halappanavar died on October 28th, having presented a week earlier at the hospital with back pain. She had been 17 weeks pregnant and had been found to be miscarrying. Mr Halappanavar says she asked repeatedly for a termination and this was refused as the foetal heartbeat was present.

The Health Information and Quality Authority will publish the terms of reference of its inquiry into her death next week.

The investigation, for which no time span is indicated, will make use of outside expertise, a spokesman indicated.

In a statement, the authority said it would investigate the safety, quality and standards of services provided by the HSE at Galway University Hospital to “critically ill patients, including critically ill pregnant women, as reflected in the care and treatment provided to Savita Halappanavar”.

Mr Halappanavar said after yesterday’s meeting with Mr Reilly that he was pleased to finally meet a Government representative four weeks after his wife’s death. He said he stressed to the Minister that he did not believe the HSE or Hiqa investigations would be far-reaching enough. “I’m just glad that we met and he just passed on his condolences to the family,” said Mr Halappanavar.

Mr O’Donnell said his client was prepared to go to the European Court of Human Rights if an independent public inquiry was not set up. Galway University Hospital last night confirmed it would co-operate fully with the Hiqa inquiry.

via Husband may lodge complaint with Ombudsman – The Irish Times – Sat, Nov 24, 2012.

via Husband may lodge complaint with Ombudsman – The Irish Times – Sat, Nov 24, 2012.

Treatment that risks foetus can be ‘ethically permissible’ – Catholic bishops


The Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference released the statement to 'reaffirm some aspects of Catholic moral teaching'

The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference has also reiterated its condolences to the family of Savita Halappanavar on what they call its “devastating personal tragedy” which has “stunned our country”.

Bishops released a statement on the matter this evening, following a meeting in Maynooth of the Standing Committee of the Irish hierarchy.

It focuses on what the conference calls the “equal and inalienable right to life of a mother and her unborn child”.

It said that, in light of the widespread discussion following the tragic death of Mrs Halappanavar and her unborn baby, bishops wished to reaffirm some aspects of Catholic moral teaching.

The bishops’ group said the Catholic Church has never taught that the life of a child in the womb should be preferred to that of a mother but that both had an equal right to life.

It also said there was a moral distinction between “the direct and intentional destruction of an unborn baby” and medical treatments which do not intentionally seek to end the life of the unborn.

The bishops said current law and medical guidelines in Ireland allow nurses and doctors in Irish hospitals to apply this distinction in practice “while upholding the equal right to life of both a mother and her unborn baby”.

Savita death ‘an affront to human dignity’

A Swedish member of the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe has described the death of Savita Halappanavar as “an affront to human dignity and a serious form of violence.”

Tina Acketoft, who is Chairperson of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe said in a statement: “Abortion was refused even though the foetus that Savita was carrying did not stand any chance of survival.

“She was left suffering and crying for help until she died. I consider what happened to Savita an affront to human dignity and a serious form of violence”.

She added: “I call on the Irish authorities to take immediate steps to align Irish legislation with European standards and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.

“The only way in which this disturbing death can be a little less pointless, is by ensuring that no more woman die in Ireland from being denied legal abortion,” she concluded.

The Council of Europe is the 47-member organisation devoted to the promotion of democracy and human rights and which oversees the European Court of Human Rights.

The Council’s Committee of Ministers is due to examine in early December the government’s latest response to the ruling by the Court of Human Rights which said the Irish state had breached the rights of a woman in the ABC v Ireland case, and which criticised Ireland for not legislating for the X case.

It was in response to the ruling that the government set up the expert group on the abortion question.

The government had committed to sending an update on the findings of the expert group by the end of October, but it has sought an extension of the deadline to the end of November.

The Council of Ministers is due to give its response to the report between 4-6 December, but it is understood they may not be able to give their response since they will only just have received the Government’s update.

The Council of Ministers is officially made up of foreign ministers although the common practice is that, instead, the ambassadors of the member states to the Council of Europe normally issue a response to countries implement the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.

Labour to support Government position in X case motion

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said Labour Party TDs will support the Government’s position when Sinn Féin puts forward a Dáil motion tomorrow calling for legislation to be introduced immediately on the X Case.

In 1992, the Supreme Court’s judgment on the X Case permitted abortion in limited circumstances, where there was a substantial risk to the life of the mother.

Speaking in Brussels, Mr Gilmore said he believed Labour deputies will support the Government’s efforts to bring a resolution and legal clarity to this issue.

He added: “This is something that we are not going to leave aside. Doing nothing is not an option on this issue.”

Sinn Féin has said it hopes that all parties will support its motion.

On RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald said the objective of the motion was not to be party political.

She said it was intended to give a clear public indication that members of the Oireachtas were “prepared to act, prepared to legislate and not prepared to delay any further” on the issue.

Ms McDonald said that for 20 years, there had been a gap in the law clarifying for medical practitioners exactly how the judgment worked out in practice.

She said: “Our fear is that having waited for 20 years, and notwithstanding the latest tragedy and controversy, that the Government will once again run for cover, once again try to push this issue down the road.”

Asked whether Meath TD Peadar Tóibín, who did not sign the motion, would be expected to support it, she said: “It’s a Sinn Féin motion, and of course all members of Sinn Féin are expected to vote for it.”

She said there would be discussions with Mr Tóibín about the issue and that Sinn Féin had taken the view at its last party conference not to opt for a free vote on the issue.

Ms McDonald said they were anxious to see the report of the expert group on abortion, which is being brought to Cabinet next week.

Labour TD Ciara Conway said she wants to assess the Government’s counter-motion regarding abortion legislation before making any decision on how she will vote.

Ms Conway said the Government’s motion would have to be “strong, forthright and definitive”.

via Treatment that risks foetus can be ‘ethically permissible’ – Catholic bishops – RTÉ News.

via Treatment that risks foetus can be ‘ethically permissible’ – Catholic bishops – RTÉ News.

Lobby your TDs on the immediate need for legislation to give effect to the X case


Lobby your TDs on the immediate need for legislation to give effect to the X case

national / gender and sexuality Wednesday November 14, 2012 – 23:57 by Elric

Lobby your TDs on the immediate need for legislation to give effect to the X case

Take action and ask your TD to make legislation for the X Case a priority for the government. Your action will make a difference to ensure that we do not have to wait another 20 years for legislation to implement the constitutional right to an abortion in cases where the life of the mother is at risk. TDs need to hear from the 79% of the population who believe abortion should be available in certain circumstances. Thank you for your support!

Send emails to your TDs here: http://www.nwci.ie/takeaction/ … read full story / add a commen

via Breaking News – Indymedia Ireland.

via Breaking News – Indymedia Ireland.

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