Berlusconi in hot water once again

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was expelled from the senate of his country last Wednesday, after four months of debate on the subject. He was voted out by 194 votes to 112.

His expulsion was ultimately due to his conviction in August for tax fraud by his Mediaset TV Company, however Berlusconi has also been slammed for carousing with young girls- allegedly prostitutes, and political corruption.

This decision comes just under 2 months after he was forced, due to a lack of support from his own party, to opt for an official vote of confidence in his arch political rival, Enrico Letta, whom he had originally been vociferously against.

Though it has been an undeniably unfortunate couple of months for the politician, most political pundits believe that we have not seen the last of the tenacious Italian, with many news headlines unironically referring to the “long road” ahead of him or the fact that he is “down but not out”.

Irish politicians are no strangers to criticism. Credit: Labour youth on flickr
Irish politicians are no strangers to criticism. Credit: Labour youth on flickr

While Irish politicians are used to being shamed, it seems that once they have been taken down a peg or two, they remain there. Unlike their international counterparts, such as Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who, despite admitting to using crack and being videotaped threatening to kill somebody refuses to give up his post.

Brian Cowen stuck it out for as long as he could back in the day; however he was ultimately forced to resign after multiple no confidence votes and public shamings.

However the vast majority of commentators seem absolutely certain that Berlusconi will not merely fade into obscurity. In October after Berlusconi’s shock vote of confidence, TheCity compared the corruption of Italian and Irish politicians, with inconclusive results. However it’s safe to say we have a clear winner in the “Who’s more persistent” category.

Featured Image photo credit: Simone Ramella

5 european cities you have to see

Every continent has its array of beauty, culture and heritage.  Asia has its oriental mysteries, Africa with savannahs of land, the enchantment captures a visit to South America whilst north of the Mexican Gulf lay the sky scrapers of the USA.

And then there’s Europe, so many different cultures and histories.  A people so vast and different, it makes for a wonderful visit.  I’m going to look at five European cities that you have to see before you die.

5. Milan

Fashion capital of Europe and home to all things Italian, the Milanese love to socialise and you regularly see them enjoying the easier side of life.  Milan has so much to offer from Teatro alla scala to the San Siro to ill Dumo. Milan is definitely worth a visit.

Milan, the fashion capital of the world
Milan, the fashion capital of the world

4. Marseille  

One of the most picture esc cities in Europe, Marseille is on France’s south coast touching the Mediterranean Sea.  Marseille’s restaurants offer loads of traditional French cuisine and some excellent wines.

The beautiful port of Marseille
The beautiful port of Marseille

  Longchamp Place and the Old Port are just some of the great experiences you can have whilst in the French Riviera.

Amsterdam
Amsterdam, really is a continential city

3. Amsterdam

The most continental city you’ll find, ‘The Dam’ has so many trams, and bike’s and boats.  The Dutch are such a friendly people, maybe due to their choice of how to relax, and will be most eager to assist you.  The beautiful canals, the lovely streets and of course the local beers are some of the things that make Amsterdam a must see before you die.  The Heineken experience and the Anne Frank house are just some of the trips you can embark on once in Holland.

Arc de Triomph, Barcelona
Arc de Triomph, Barcelona

2. Barcelona

The Capital of Catalonia, the home of great night clubs and also the longest pedestrian street in the world.  ‘Las Ramblas’ is 12km long and stretches from plaza de Catalina to the Iberian Peninsula.  Barcelona has so many UNIESCO world heritage sites, and so much to see and do.  The Gaudi Cathedral, the Arch de Triumph and of course the Camp nou.   The local food, beer and lifestyle are so desirable.

Berlin's Checkpoint Charlie
Berlin’s Checkpoint Charlie

1.       Berlin

The German capital has been through an awful lot, but for a tourist it’s a pleasure.  The second biggest city in Europe area wise, Berlin has four city centres.  The former Russian centre of ‘Alexanderplatz’, the British centre ‘tiergarten’, France’s ‘podstammerplatz’ and America’s ‘Bundesplatz’.  The history that accompanies berlin is amazing, Sauchausen concentration camp is a real eye opener and so too is the Topograph of terror museum.  The German beer is the nicest in the world and a look at checkpoint Charlie is a must do.  Berlin ‘the experience’ is what the City should be called, as it really is Europe’s bundci

A|Wear Has Shut its Doors for a Final Time

The City has just learned of the closure of Irish retail store, A|Wear. The news to A|Wear employees came this morning, 28 November, right in the middle of peak Christmas trading.

The A|Wear store in Arklow was shut in mid-trading today.
The A|Wear store in Arklow was shut in mid-trading today, with employees still in-store.

The boutique fashion store employs over 350 people across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and has been here since 1966. It has been a staple store in the fashion and retail of Ireland ever since.

There are a total of 117 full-time staff and 241 part-time staff employed between all concession stores and the head office.

The Irish retail store has recently been running a huge reduction on all stock, including massive mark downs on sale items and 20% off all new stock.
The Irish retail store has recently been running a huge reduction on all stock, including massive mark downs on sale items and 20% off all new stock.

The status of employees’ owed payment is not known yet. However, The City has been made aware that models of the recent online campaign for A|Wear were told they will not be getting the owed wages for their work.

The closure of the popular store has come as a shock for everyone. A|Wear Dundrum were conducting interviews only yesterday for a sales position in their store such as Closet and Mela. These brands were told by A|Wear yesterday to collect their stock in stores, which came as a shock to employees.

Latzur Limited, trading as A-wear, has been in the examinership process since October 8 as it tried to restructure and secure jobs at its 31 outlets.

The company had blamed high rents and increased competition for its difficulties.

The 5 worst Christmas songs in the history of forever. Ever.

Christmas songs are like marmalade; you either love them or hate them. Many Christmas songs are undeniably very good songs ( ‘Let it Snow’ The Rat Pack, ‘Little Drummer Boy’ famously performed by David Bowie and Bing Crosby in 1977 and ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ by Chris Rea for example).

However, many Christmas songs are undeniably some of the most horrific musical entities ever unleashed upon planet Earth. Here are 5 of some of the worst ones ever to pollute the airwaves:

5. Train-‘Shake up Christmas’

Released by the American rock group on 1st November 2010, ‘Shake up Christmas’ includes lyrics such as “don’t remember it, so let’s December it”, and a chorus of “Ho-ho-ho, ho-ho-ho, it’s Christmas time.”

No-no-no, no-no-no.

4. New Kids on the Block- ‘Funky, Funky Xmas’

A single from the Boston pop groups third album ‘Merry, Merry Christmas’, ‘Funky, Funky Xmas’ went on to become an essential part of anybodys Christmas playlist due to its deep, multi-layered lyrics dealing with the true value of Christmas and the problem of capitalist consumerism during the festive period.

Well, maybe I was reading into it too much. Respekt to MC Santa Claus up in this hiz-ous though.

3. Cyndi Lauper- ‘Christmas Conga’

This is an interesting one. It sounds like a Mexican mariachi band having done too much LSD in a nightclub in Manchester in the late 90’s. Listen out for Cyndi’s impersonation of an airline hostess making an announcement around the 2 minute mark.

2. John Denver- ‘Please Daddy (Don’t get drunk this Christmas)

Want to take a break from listening to Christmas songs about togetherness, sharing, goodwill and love? Well then John Denver’s your man! Here’s a heartwarming ditty about alcoholism and domestic abuse in smalltown America. Enjoy, y’all.

1. The Cheeky Girls- ‘Boys and Girls (Xmas Time Love)

Remember these two? The Transylvanian identical twins released this europop ode to yuletide festivities in 2004.

I won’t spoil it for you. Enjoy boys and guuuuuuuuuuurhls.

Black Friday comes to Ireland

blackfridayThe largest shopping day in the US calendar is coming to Ireland with several electronic outlets taking the sales to European shores.

It’s the busiest shopping day of the year, where many people take to the shops after thanksgiving, with many sleeping out over night, to avail of the major sales and discounts offered by retailers all over the country as a means of kickstarting the Christmas shopping rush.

With the growth of e-commerce, the sales are spreading worldwide. The 3 main players in the sales in Ireland are Apple, Amazon and Gamestop.

GameStop_logos_Powerwhitered

Gamestop is coinciding their Black Friday deals with the launch of the Playstation 4, which will probably lead to their busiest day of the sales year.

Throughout the day via social media, Gamestop will be updating its social media sites with various deals, while some will be outgoing through the coming weeks.

white-apple-logo-wallpaper

Prices for all models of the iPad 2 have dropped. The 16GB model now costs €444, the 32GB model costs €534 and the 64GB model costs €624.

The iPod touch prices have dropped, with prices now starting from €178.

Prices for the Macbook Air, Macbook Pro and iMac have dropped by €91.

There are also bargains for peripherals, accessories and gift cards, which can be found on Apple’s website.

amazon-banner

Amazon has been running its Black Friday deals all week, which sees major discounts on products throughout each day.

Deals happen every 15 minutes with products such as books, watches, TVs, toys, and make-up getting huge price reductions.

Keep an eye on Amazon’s Black Friday deals week page throughout the day to see what you can snap up.

Adobe-Lightroom-and-Camera-Raw-RC-Update-Available-Supports-New-Cameras-and-Lenses-398616-2

Adobe is offering a solitary deal for Black Friday bargain-hunters, available until 2 December. During this time frame, customers can sign up to a special Creative Cloud plan offering access to Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5, plus feature updates and upgrades as they are available, 20GB cloud storage for file sharing and collaboration, and a Behance ProSite, all for €12.29 per month.

Steam

For the gamers out there, Steam has started its Autumn sale that will be running until December 3rd, just in time for Black Friday. If you’re looking for a bargain on games, Steam changes what’s discounted every few hours, with some games dropping as low as 85%.

Black Friday has face some major controversy in the US with many shoppers trampling each other to be the first in the door to take advantage of these offers. Over here however, you are just that much luckier with nearly all of these deals taking place online.

Teething problems hamstring record-breaking consoles

This Christmas season will see tech-giants Sony and Microsoft go head-to-head as the newest generation of consoles hit stores globally.

The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have been in the pipeline for several years and now the time has come for gamers to sink their teeth into them.

Despite both being in competition with each other and Nintendo for over a decade, this is the first time that both a new PlayStation and Xbox have been released in the same year.

The dissections and verbal blows between the two companies have been extra sharp as a result, including Sony’s cheeky nudge at the Xbox One’s second hand sharing capabilities.

Despite the phenomenal day one sales for both the PS4 and XB1, the build quality of the consoles has been widely criticised as gamers have fallen foul of reliability woes.

Faults such as discs not being read and graphical flickers or crashes have been found by the first set of customers, which have reverberated around social media.

This will unquestionably reignite memories back to numerous PS3 and X360 problems, especially the latter’s infamous Red Ring of Death. Social media was still growing at the time of these launches which meant some customers had to suffer in silence.

Here we go again - the Xbox 360 was once plagued by the 'Red Ring of Death' system failure. Similar problems could be disastrous for the new Xbox One and PS4.
Here we go again – the Xbox 360 was once plagued by the ‘Red Ring of Death’ system failure. Similar problems could be disastrous for the new Xbox One and PS4. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Meanwhile, the Nintendo Wii U is approaching its first year on sale in Europe, but it has yet to capture the hearts of customers like the original Wii did.

The more cynical gamer will look at the comparison videos and pictures of the next-gen Call of Duty and FIFA 14 and think why not keep their current hardware for a while or invest in a top of the line gaming PC?

According to Conor O’Neil, the Events Officer of the DIT Gamesoc, he had one or two issues with the XB1 at the Dublin launch event. “With regards to presentation, most of these games left a lot to be desired. There exists the same blatant animation glitches we saw in the last generation of consoles and apart from that, there really isn’t much room for improvement,” he said.

However, he was taken aback with games that showed a graphical enhancement. He explained “Battlefield 4 looks stunningly real, as expected, and fairly smooth with regards to visual effects. This is probably evidence of the machine’s display capabilities and so the issues I found may simply lie in the individual games.”

“I anticipate the improvement in the power of the console(s) will have a very positive impact on games as storytelling devices in the next few years as players empathise more with characters that move and look more like real people,” he concluded.

Patience is ultimately the key as the next-gen needs time to expand its catalogue of games. Just two months ago, Grand Theft Auto V burst onto the scene but it was only created for 360 and PS3. Whether those who have purchased an unreliable new console have any patience left is the more pressing issue.

Featured image credit: – EMR – on Flickr