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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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1  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Coalition forces fired on Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz on: April 30, 2016, 08:21:09 am
Quote from: The New York Times, 28 April 2016
In a heavily redacted report, which runs more than 3,000 pages, military investigators described a mission that went wrong from start to finish. Even after Doctors Without Borders informed American commanders that a gunship was attacking a hospital, the airstrike was not immediately called off because, it appears, the Americans could not confirm themselves that the hospital was actually free of Taliban.



Sixteen American military personnel, including a general officer, have been punished for their roles in the strike, said Gen. Joseph L. Votel, the new top officer of the military’s Central Command, who presented the results of the investigation during a Pentagon news conference.
The punishments for the attack will be “administrative actions” only, and none of those being disciplined will face criminal charges because the attack was determined to be unintentional



General Votel was clear on one point: The hospital was a protected facility that was at no time being used by active Taliban fighters, though some wounded insurgents had been treated there.



The failure to bring any criminal charges was “simply put, inexplicable,” said John Sifton, the Asia policy director of Human Rights Watch.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/30/world/asia/afghanistan-doctors-without-borders-hospital-strike.html?_r=0




MSF Trauma Centre post-attack


Quote from: Médecins Sans Frontières, 29 April 2016
MSF acknowledges the U.S. military’s efforts to conduct an investigation into the incident.

...

However, MSF has said consistently that it cannot be satisfied solely with a military investigation into the Kunduz attack. MSF’s request for an independent and impartial investigation by the International Humanitarian Fact Finding Commission has so far gone unanswered.

“Today’s briefing amounts to an admission of an uncontrolled military operation in a densely populated urban area, during which U.S. forces failed to follow the basic laws of war,” said Meinie Nicolai, MSF President. “It is incomprehensible that, under the circumstances described by the U.S., the attack was not called off.”

The hospital was fully functioning at the time of the airstrikes. The U.S. investigation acknowledges that there were no armed combatants within — and no fire from — the hospital compound.

“The threshold that must be crossed for this deadly incident to amount to a grave breach of international humanitarian law is not whether it was intentional or not,” said Nicolai.



The administrative punishments announced by the U.S. today are out of proportion to the destruction of a protected medical facility, the deaths of 42 people, the wounding of dozens of others, and the total loss of vital medical services to hundreds of thousands of people. The lack of meaningful accountability sends a worrying signal to warring parties, and is unlikely to act as a deterrent against future violations of the rules of war.

At the same time, it has become clear that the victims and their families have neither the option to pursue legal action against the U.S. military, either in Afghanistan or in the US, nor to claim compensation for loss of life and livelihood.

http://www.msf.org.uk/article/kunduz-initial-reaction-to-public-release-of-u-s-military-investigative-report
2  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election, 26th Feb 2016 on: April 29, 2016, 02:55:07 am
Two notes of update here.

The counting for the Seanad elections is complete.

The 25th Seanad shall comprise:
Fianna Fáil14  (No change on 2011)
Fine Gael13(-5)
Sinn Féin  7(+4)
Labour  5(-4)
Green  1(+1)
Independents  9(+4)

11 Senators are appointable by the Taoiseach - whenever the Dáil gets around to approving one.

The result means that there will not be a governmental majority in the Seanad either - even with 11 appointments in the hands of the incoming Taoiseach.

It also means that observer will be particularly disappointed as Longford's favourite son, James Bannon, somehow failed to get enough support from his fellow politicians to get returned to Leinster House by the back door.

===

On the matter of putting an actual government in place - it seems that a deal between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil will be agreed shortly.

The end result looks likely to be a Fine Gael-Independent government - that will rely on FF abstentions. The FG-FF agreement is expected to cover 3 budgets.

Some background on the FG-FF negotiations here: http://www.irishtimes.com/election-2016/forming-a-government-anatomy-of-a-deal-1.2627045

3  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: latest Betfair odds on: April 26, 2016, 10:59:41 am
Not sure if this is what Mr. Morden uses, or if it may be helpful to him in reducing his calculation work, but https://primary.guide/ appears to generate the same data.
4  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Do you live in a bubble? on: April 25, 2016, 01:26:28 pm
47
5  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Best One-Hit Wonders? on: April 25, 2016, 01:06:26 pm
Take On Me certainly comes to mind.

I've always been partial to The Sun Always Shines on TV. (Though re-watching the video I hadn't recalled the Game of Thrones-esque wall of faces before.)
6  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Best One-Hit Wonders? on: April 25, 2016, 01:00:30 pm
Video Killed the Radio Star, The Buggles

There She Goes, The La's

I Love You Always Forever, Donna Lewis

(I'd Go The) Whole Wide World, Wreckless Eric

Brimful of Asha, Cornershop (Norman Cook Mix)

Perfect, Fairground Attraction

Steal My Sunshine, Len

74-75, The Connells

Your Town, White Town

Canon in D, Johann Pachelbel
7  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: "Oriental Republic of Uruguay" and other weird official state names on: April 21, 2016, 03:45:17 pm
United Provinces of the River Plate
8  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Contested GOP Convention is near-certain now. Who wins? on: April 06, 2016, 01:58:23 am
What a difference a day makes...
9  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Pre-Wisconsin Poll: Who will be the Republican nominee? on: April 04, 2016, 03:03:58 am
Judging by my last poll, it looks like Atlas guestimates that Trump will fall short of a delegate majority - just 14% think Trump will be elected on the 1st ballot.

Who then does Atlas currently think will be the Republican nominee?
10  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Project Trump's RNC Delegate Total on: April 02, 2016, 03:45:55 am
So you mean the number of delegates who actually vote for him on the first ballot, which would include both the pledged delegates he wins in the primaries, and the unpledged delegates who decide to back him on the first ballot?

Yes.
11  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Project Trump's RNC Delegate Total on: April 02, 2016, 03:42:10 am
As of today, what is your projection for Trump's delegate total?
12  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Scottish Parliament election - 2016 on: April 02, 2016, 02:50:12 am
So Kezia Dugdale just stated that she's in a relationship with a woman, which makes Labour the fourth major party in Scotland to currently have an LGBT leader (others being the Tories' Ruth Davidson, the Greens' Patrick Harvie and UKIP's David Coburn).

Major Party? How many elected representatives does UKIP have in Scotland?
13  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Who hates whom more? on: March 31, 2016, 09:55:46 am
What does Dubya's favourability rating now (or in 2015) prove?  What an odd thing to add.  His nation wide polling was at 20% at one time.

wait wait wait....are we asking who is more hated NOW?  That's a silly question, of course it would be Obama.  If the question is who hated who more during their Presidency (which is a much better question and one I think most of us thought we were answering) then the answer, at least to me, is lefties hating Dubya.


sportydude may clarify - but yes, I interpreted the question in the title, and as stated above the poll, to most plainly refer to things as they are now.

I don't contend that the data necessarily tells us much of anything - but I was just curious enough to look for some numbers.

14  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Who hates whom more? on: March 31, 2016, 04:27:34 am
The last favourability for George W Bush I can find, that includes a brake down by Conservative-Moderate-Liberal support, is the CNN/ORC poll conducted 29-31 May 2015. That put liberals' favourability-unfavourability of Bush at 28-68.

The latest CNN/ORC poll on job approval of Obama was conducted from 17-20 March. That put conservatives' approval-disapproval of Obama at 23-76.
15  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election, 26th Feb 2016 on: March 22, 2016, 06:00:41 am
so a couple of questions re: the upcoming Seanad elections.

Does Enda still get to appoint his 11 senators if there's no permanent Taoiseach is chosen by then?


No, I shouldn't think so.

Quote from: Bunreacht na hÉireann, Article 18.3
The nominated members of Seanad Éireann shall be nominated, with their prior consent, by the Taoiseach who is appointed next after the reassembly of Dáil Éireann following the dissolution thereof which occasions the nomination of the said members.

https://www.constitution.ie/Documents/Bhunreacht_na_hEireann_web.pdf


Enda Kenny having not yet been re-appointed would not appear to have the authority to make such appointments until the Dáil re-elects him as Taoiseach, if it chooses to do so.


The question hasn't arisen before.

This is the third time we've had an acting Taoiseach.

First was Haughey from 29 June to 12 July 1989.
Second was Reynolds from 14 Dec 1992 to 12 Jan 1993.

In 89, the Dáil took 4 sittings to elect a Taoiseach, and conducted essentially no other business during those sittings than to debate that matter.

In 92/93, the Dáil took 6 sittings to elect a Taoiseach, and did conduct some substantive legislative business during those sittings including a Finance Bill. The acting Government also made its nomination to the European Commission during that period.

In both cases the Seanad elections occurred after the Dáil had elected a Taoiseach - so the question didn't arise.

Today, the 32nd Dáil meets for the second time - but the nomination of a Taoiseach is not on the agenda.

Quote from: Dáil Éireann, Order of Business, 22 March
10.30 a.m.

Statements on European Council Meetings (to conclude after 1 hour 45 minutes if not previously concluded)


12.15 p.m.

Statements on the Council of Agriculture Ministers Meeting (to conclude after 2 hours if not previously concluded)
 (Department of Agriculture and the Marine)


2.15 p.m.

Statements on Housing and Homelessness (to conclude after 4 hours if not previously concluded)
 (Department of Environment, Community and Local Government)


6.15 p.m.

Dáil Adjourns (approx)

http://www.oireachtas.ie/viewdoc.asp?fn=/documents/thisweek/business-2016/document12.htm



On a point of quite trivial interest, I notice on the proposed Private Members Business of the Order of Business, that the Independents4Change have put down a serious of motions with the support of Thomas Pringle (i-Donegal) and Catherine Connolly (i-Galway West). None of the other parties have, that I have seen, put down any motions which gained the support of any independents or non-party members.



It seems that our old friend, Senator Power is hoping that the graduates of Trinity College will return her to her lofty perch, any chance of success?

I've yet to really look at the Seanad nominations; hopefully will do in the coming week or two.
16  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Ireland General Discussion on: March 21, 2016, 07:10:32 am
Quote from: The Irish Times
Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae remains in hospital after an incident in which he was attacked by a cow at his farm near Kilgarvan in Co Kerry on Sunday evening.

His brother Danny, who secured a Dáil seat in last month’s elections, said on Monday morning that Michael’s injuries are not serious.

“He hasn’t been released, but he is walking around. His head is fine,” Danny said.

Michael had been “tossed around by a cow” who was after calving in the farm shed.

Family members came to the rescue and following an assessment by a GP, he was taken to Cork University Hospital where tests were carried out.

He had been injured in a number of places.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/michael-healy-rae-tossed-around-by-a-cow-on-farm-1.2581605
17  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of St Patricks day on: March 18, 2016, 10:23:03 am
We ought to do the appropriate thing and close down all of our bars in its observance, as is the tradition in Ireland.

Is this supposed to be funny?



http://www.thejournal.ie/temple-bar-dublin-2666905-Mar2016/
18  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election, 26th Feb 2016 on: March 04, 2016, 05:05:52 am
More notes on inter and intra-party discussions:

Quote from: Irish Independent
Mr Kenny is due to meet Shane Ross and John Halligan of the Independent Alliance this morning to discuss coalition options.
 
The meeting in Leinster House will be the first time the Taosieach has reached out to other groups since the General Election last weekend.

...

Ministerial sources insist Mr Kenny's future as leader remains in doubt, particularly if he secures fewer votes than Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin in next week's ballot for Taoiseach.
 
Speculation remains rife on the prospect of Mr Kenny being succeeded by Health Minister Leo Varadkar or Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/election-2016/fine-gael-warns-kenny-not-to-seek-return-to-power-at-any-cost-34510652.html


Quote from: Irish Examiner
Enda Kenny’s parliamentary party held a marathon six-hour meeting at Leinster House yesterday, where TDs thrashed out its future and its disastrous election campaign.

Mr Kenny told his new and returned TDs that he would open talks with other parties today in a bid to drum up support to form a government. He insisted that he would not enter into any arrangement with others that did not guarantee a “stable government”.

...

Carlow-Kilkenny TD John Paul Phelan ... revealed that his supporters had told him at last week’s election count they would resign from Fine Gael if it went into power with Fianna Fáil.

http://www.irishexaminer.com/election2016/election2016-news-and-analysis/fine-gael-divided-on-any-deal-with-old-enemy-385529.html


Quote from: Irish Independent
Several [FG] TDs insisted that there can be no change in the water charge regime – some of them said they had “suffered enough” in the election and the views of the almost 60pc who had paid the charges must be taken into account.

Mr Kenny also told the meeting he will set up a parliamentary party committee which will be tasked with engaging with other political parties and Independents about forming a government.

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/election-2016/news/noonan-warns-fine-gael-tds-they-can-expect-another-election-inside-next-two-years-34509352.html


Quote from: Irish Times
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has started a determined bid to wrest power from Fine Gael.

His initial target is to get more support than Enda Kenny in the vote for Taoiseach next Thursday.

...

Mr Martin has contacted the Independent Alliance’s Shane Ross to seek a meeting with the six TDs in the grouping and has also opened lines of communication with the Social Democrats and the Green Party.

...


At a meeting of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party yesterday, Mr Martin is understood to have told his TDs that there are no red-line issues for the party in negotiations with other parties and groups about the formation of government.

He said key negotiation positions were reforming the Dáil, tackling homelessness and dealing with the problems arising from Irish Water.

http://www.irishtimes.com/election-2016/miche%C3%A1l-martin-starts-bid-to-enter-government-1.2559304

19  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Is Islam really a peaceful religion? on: March 04, 2016, 04:32:49 am
National Religious Affiliation and Integrated Model of Homicide and Suicide
Don Soo Chon
Homicide Studies, 26 March 2015

Quote from: Abstract
The current study assessed the relationship between national religious affiliation and lethal violence by simultaneously examining homicide and suicide rates. The information on homicide and suicide rates for 124 countries came from the World Health Organization (WHO). Regression results suggested no significant difference in lethal violence between predominantly Catholic and Protestant countries, although Islamic countries revealed significantly lower homicide, suicide, and overall lethal violence rates than non-Islamic countries. Countries with a high level of religious heterogeneity are subject to an increased suicide rate. The implications of these findings were discussed.

http://hsx.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/02/27/1088767916634407.abstract
20  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election, 26th Feb 2016 on: March 03, 2016, 07:16:11 am
Were does the twelve independents stand for?

See here.
21  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election, 26th Feb 2016 on: March 03, 2016, 03:50:00 am
Summary of Election Results for the 32nd Dáil

ConstituencyFG   FF   SF   Lab   AAA-PBP  i4C   SocDems  Green  Ind. Alliance Independents
Carlow-Kilkenny221
Cavan-Monaghan121
Clare211 (Harty)
Cork E1111
Cork NC1111
Cork NW12
Cork SC121
Cork SW111 (Collins)
Donegal1211 (Pringle)
Dublin Bay N11111 (McGrath)
Dublin Bay S 211
Dublin Central1 11 (O’Sullivan)
Dublin Fingal11111
Dublin MW1111
Dublin NW111
Dublin Rathdown111 (Ross)
Dublin SC1111
Dublin SW11111 (Zappone)
Dublin W1111
Dún Laoghaire31
Galway E111 (Canney)
Galway W212 (Grealish, Connolly)
Kerry1112 (Healy-Raes)
Kildare N121
Kildare S12
Laois111
Limerick City1111
Limerick County21
Longford-Westmeath 1111 (Moran)
Louth212
Mayo22
Meath E21
Meath W111
Offaly111
Roscommon-Galway1 1 (Fitzmaurice)1 (Naughten)
Sligo-Leitrim121
Tipperary113 (Lowry, McGrath, Healy)
Waterford1111 (Halligan)
Wexford2111
Wicklow2111
TOTAL50442376432613


Totals
50 Fine Gael
44 Fianna Fáil
23 Sinn Féin
  7 Labour
  6 AAA-PBP
  4 Independents 4 Change
  3 Social Democrats
  2 Green
  6 Independent Alliance
13 Independents

158 Total
22  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election, 26th Feb 2016 on: March 03, 2016, 03:28:29 am
Longford-Westmeath
Seats: 4
Quota: 11,050

Count 13Count 14  Count 15
Troy (FF)Elected (Ct. 1)
Moran (IndAll)11,122
Burke (FG)  7,8807,89011,385
Penrose (Lab)  7,0557,087  8,505
Hogan (SF)  7,3667,386  7,824
Bannon (FG)  7,0717,081

Count 15: Distribution of Bannon's votes.

Burke surpasses the quota and is deemed elected.

Burke's quota being insufficient to save Hogan and with no other votes to distribute, Hogan is eliminated, and Penrose deemed elected without reaching the quota.
23  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election, 26th Feb 2016 on: March 03, 2016, 03:08:28 am
Final result expected from Longford-Westmeath soon.

Reports indicate that Burke and Penrose will be declared elected.
24  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election, 26th Feb 2016 on: March 03, 2016, 03:06:08 am
Some notes on reported inter- and intra-party talks...

As noted above FG's TDs will meet in Dublin today; so too will FF.


The Examiner reports that "Sinn Féin has begun talks with independent TDs about potentially forming a new government".


With regard to the Social Democrats, the Independent reports:
Quote from: Irish Independent
Co-leader Catherine Murphy said she and Róisín Shortall had an "informal chat" with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.
 
She told Mr Martin that political reform was a priority for her party as he attempts to form a government.

Ms Murphy said her party would meet at the end of the week to consider all of its options and review the General Election result.
 
Ms Murphy added that the result of the election, which left no clear winners, could support their "key issue" of reforming the Dáil.

"It isn't clear yet what will happen, but it could help Dáil reform as parties may have to seek support of others to pass bills," she said.
 
She believed that forming a government could be a "long process", adding: "We may not have a Taoiseach elected by the time the Dáil sits again next week."


On the Greens, the Independent also reports:
Quote from: Irish Independent
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has talked to a number of parties but has already ruled out a "left coalition". 

"There was talk of government between Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, Labour and the Social Democrats," he said, before adding: "But I don't think that's a runner."

Mr Ryan does not believe a minority government involving Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil would last very long.
 
He said he would continue to meet other parties and hoped that a "consensus for the country" could be formed.

He insisted environmental issues were "central" to any deal his party may make, adding "they can help develop the country's economy".


The Healy-Rae bloc want a Minister for Rural Affairs:
Quote from: Irish Independent
Kerry Independent Michael Healy-Rae would not say which party he talked to but admitted he had "some phone calls".
 
Mr Healy-Rae, who was elected along with his brother Danny, said both siblings would be sticking together for any talks.

"If you're talking to him, you're talking to me or vice versa," he said. "We campaigned together, voted together and got elected together."
 
Mr Healy-Rae said, if he and his brother were asked to support a government, he wanted a new role of minister for rural affairs to be created. "The last Government did not think that life existed beyond the Red Cow roundabout," he added.


Independent Catherine Zappone wants to be part of the action to, per the Examiner:
Quote from: Irish Examiner
Newly elected Independent TD Catherine Zappone said she will be taking the lead in making contact with parties and other groupings.

The outgoing senator who won a seat in Dublin South-West said has yet to receive a call from any of the major parties but will instead be writing to them.

“As an Independent I am very keen to participate. I would like to at least provide them with the offer. As an Independent senator I worked cross party to do a lot of my work,” she said.
25  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish general election, 26th Feb 2016 on: March 03, 2016, 02:16:47 am
Quote from: Irish Independent
Senior Fine Gael figures have confirmed that ministers have held late night discussions, both in person and over the phone, about replacing Mr Kenny.
 
"Talks have being going on since Saturday and they are intensifying," said a ministerial source.

Another minister said they believed Mr Kenny's days were numbered and that he would eventually be replaced by either Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald or Health Minister Leo Varadkar.
 
But a third minister said Mr Kenny's leadership was "beyond question" as long as he remained in place as "a potential future Taoiseach".

Several other TDs said privately they believed Mr Kenny would either step aside or be replaced in the coming weeks.

And in a further blow to the Fine Gael leader, one of his most able backbenchers has refused to express confidence in him.

Galway West TD Seán Kyne became the first sitting deputy to openly question whether Mr Kenny can continue as party leader.   

"It would be difficult to say that," he said when asked if he had confidence in his party leader.

Mr Kyne was then asked three times in total if he could express confidence in Mr Kenny and failed to do so on each occasion.
 
Mr Kyne had already said the Taoiseach was responsible for some of the problems associated with "a very bad" Fine Gael campaign characterised by "a lot of mistakes".

He had also singled out Mr Kenny's comments a week before polling in which he described some people in his native Castlebar as "whingers".

... 

Fine Gael TDs will today meet in Leinster House for the first time since the election. Party sources say the meeting is expected to last several hours as TDs agree a set of proposals that will form the Fine Gael position in government negotiations.

But several TDs are expected to voice their concerns about the election at the meeting.

There will be criticism of the manner in which the campaign imploded in rural Ireland and the continued use of the slogan 'Keep the Recovery Going'. Calls during the campaign to drop the slogan were dismissed.

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/election-2016/fine-gael-ministers-hold-latenight-talks-about-kennys-leadership-34506839.html
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