Archive for the ‘ Features ’ Category

Five Simple Ways To Shrink Your Stomach

weightloss

Did you know that abdominal fat is the most dangerous type of fat stored in the body? Excess stomach fat predisposes people to various medical conditions such as Cancer, High Blood Pressure and Diabetes- to mention just a few. Indeed, a large waistline can make clothes shopping a nightmare and can ruin your confidence. While the government have made great efforts in tackling obesity in Ireland, it still remains a big concern. The World Health Organisation has forecasted that Ireland is on course to be the fattest country in Europe by 2030.

Here’s five tips that will help you shed stomach fat in an easy yet effective manner.

1. Mindset
Having the right mindset will set you on the right track to success. A positive attitude is vital in assisting your weight loss plan. If you don’t believe you can lose weight, you never will.
Stay motivated and focused by setting realistic achievable goals and work hard to achieve them. Visualise your toned trim tummy as a motivational factor in shedding the pounds.
Monitor and re-evaluate progress regularly by notebook keeping. Don’t forget to reward yourself and have fun on your track to slimming down. Continue reading

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Realpolitik: Big Boy Games, Big Boy Rules

merkel

Today we learned of a fracture in the western alliance system as French and German leaders head off to Russia for peace talks on the Ukrainian crisis. This is a desperate and misguided attempt to reach a resolution, which in all likelihood is going to fail. The inescapable fact is that Russia is an aggressive state with a belligerent leader, who has thus far only played the realpolitik game. Already torn up is the German-brokered ceasefire from late 2014, not to mention treaties from the nineties which guaranteed Ukrainian border integrity. Without anyone effectively challenging Putin, there is no reason to believe that he will sit down and settle a political solution. The famed strongman of world politics will only back down and make terms when the alternative for him, continued belligerence, is the worse option.

One can only wonder where Angela Merkel’s reputation as the Iron Lady of Europe came from. So far she has only continually reiterated her country’s unwillingness to fight or supply arms to the Ukrainians as well as opposing proposals for new stationing of NATO troops in Eastern European countries. This stance is undoubtedly popular in a Germany which is still dealing with war guilt towards Russia and is more sceptical of its relationship with the United States. Merkel has also previously been praised for her understanding of Russia, having grown up in East Germany and for her fluent Russian. However her understanding had an obvious blind spot in the Crimea crisis. German-backed energy deals with Russia were no hindrance to the illegal annexation of Crimea and invasion of East Ukraine. Europe has effectively been caught with its pants down. Continue reading

All Guns Blazing – The Fickle Nature Of Lethal Force

Je_suis_Charlie,_Montreal,_7_January_2015

Recent cases of hostage stand-offs in Australia and France have been ended by force, bringing this tactic into the limelight once again. Unfortunately this means of ending a hostage siege is unavoidably dangerous even amongst the most highly trained of police or military units, and their use should be limited to cases where all other avenues have been exhausted. In particular, negotiated surrender risks falling by the wayside as a viable option. Because society tends to value the hero who dramatically takes lives rather than the hero who quietly saves them, we risk a selection-bias in examining the optimal means to end hostage scenarios.

As a credit to the police units involved, yesterday’s stand-offs in France seem to have been a ‘home-run’. The Kouachi brothers were both killed while the single hostage escaped unharmed, although it appears that they exited without him, determined to die fighting. While four hostages died in the kosher supermarket, earliest reports suggest that they were murdered before the police raid took place. This success is commendable but should not set a precedent to the exclusion of other alternatives. In contrast, the Sydney siege saw the death of two hostages during the rescue and the injury of three others in still unclear circumstances. These cases demonstrate the fickle nature of such raids. Continue reading

Crisis Year: International Relations 2014

putin

In a morose way, 2014 has been a fascinating year for those with an interest in International Relations. Resurgent Russia and Islamic State have presented two prominent challenges to western liberal world order. The optimistic ‘end of history’ liberalism of the 1990’s now feels like a golden bygone era of stability and prosperity. In its place is a world where the hegemonic power of the United States is limited by insurgencies and despotic powers. In the field of international relations, realist scholars have had a long awaited ‘we told you so moment’. John Mearsheimer has ruffled many feathers with his article in Foreign Affairs ‘Why the Crisis in Ukraine is the West’s Fault’. Regardless of how palatable it is, Mearsheimer’s argument is frustratingly robust, and he presents credible counters to his critics. EU and NATO expansion has encroached into a region that Russia considers critical to its own security, and the latter has firmly drawn a line in the sand, violating international treaties and norms in a display of pure power politics. Although Russia is paying a price, it has asserted itself outside of its own borders in a way that the west cannot prevent. It seems that at long last, balancing is occurring, and the ‘rest’ are pushing back against the ‘west’ after a decade of diminishing US legitimacy and soft power. Continue reading

Simple Steps For Successful E-Commerce

How to Build Customers’ Trust_infographic draft

Do you recall dropping a shopping cart on a Thursday while you’re thinking of buying something online? If yes, you’re one of the many shoppers that made Thursday the day when people abandon shopping carts most often, according to SalesCycle.

Shopping cart abandonment is the number one income killer for online sellers at nearly 70% of all online shopping incidence. In dollars that’s an astounding $3 trillion worldwide. Now juxtapose this rate with the surge in online shopping during the holidays: 86% of Americans did their Christmas shopping online last year, according to PayPal. How many are abandoning their shopping carts this season? We don’t know yet, but it’s likely to add to the huge pile of lost opportunity sales. At that scale, cutting down shopping cart abandonment even by 1% can mean a lot. One key is to earn the trust of e-commerce visitors.

In the infographic, we listed the ways to generate trust and goodwill based on studies culled from various industry sources. Earning shoppers’ trust is not guesswork; rather, it’s replete with statistical truths that can increase sellers’ chances of sales conversion. Consider these facts if you’re a seller:

  • Do you have at least 10 positive reviews across your digital presence? One study says 85% of shoppers read up to 10 reviews before they trust a business.
  • If you can’t get a 5 or 4 star-rating, at least strive to get 3 stars. That’s because there’s a deep chasm between 2 and 3 stars; apparently, customers draw the line at 3 stars when trusting a business.
  • Shoppers go for perceived security rather than actual technical encryption. In a survey by Baymard.com, an independent web usability consultancy, three popular trust seals outscored SSL seals by more than 50% except for Norton, which, ironically, scored the highest rating. It’s likely a brand trust that makes shoppers feel safe.

We also included a glaring fact that online sites with shabby customer service should take heed: 56% of shoppers will tell other people about their bad experience with a business. That’s more than half of your shoppers becoming a serious liability.

Article and infographic courtesy of FinancesOnline.com

Inclusion Ireland Call For Independent Àras Attracta Inquiry

inclusion

Chairperson of Inclusion Ireland Tom Healy is calling for an independent inquiry into the Áras Attracta care home in Swinford, Co Mayo to restore confidence in disability services following the RTÉ Investigations Unit programme last night (Tuesday, 9th December).

The disturbing, distressing and shocking programme shone a depressing light on the standards of residential care for persons with intellectual disabilities in this HSE-run facility. Continue reading

Hot Trends: Winter Womenswear 2014

fashion

Winter weather calls for a re-evaluation of our casual wardrobe.  We may need fun clothes to lighten our mood, while keeping us comfy and warm.

Seasonal trends answers modern women’s quest for looking attractive, stylish and super- chic. Winter inspirational fashion welcomes the revival of the 1950’s style trend. Retro, versatile, fun, edgy looks are making a huge come back this winter. Continue reading