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Posts Tagged ‘ Europe ’

Pro 12 – No Change At The Top

limerickleader.ie

limerickleader.ie

Two weeks to go and one would think we are already looking at the final top 4 order in the 2015 Guinness Pro 12. Aside from Munster the table toppers showed nearly all their worth over the weekend too and the knock outs are shaping up to be some absolutely mouth watering games.

On Friday night Leinster and Ulster locked horns in an absolutely crucial fixture for the Blues. Out of Europe, sitting outside the top 4 and in direct competition with Ospreys for that coveted spot, kicking off their three game run with a win was more than necessary. It looked like they were more than aware of that fact too as they raced into a 10 nil lead in the first ten minutes. Coming away from their agonisingly close finish against Toulon last week, many expected Leinster to carry over some authority from France but as it happened it turned into business as usual in the worst way possible. Continue reading

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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

European Rugby – New Era, Same Challenges

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As we covered here earlier this week, not much has changed with this all new European Cup. The name, some scheduling and the number of teams. Most of the regulations and seedings remain the same, venues, locations etc. What remains exactly the same is the importance of this tournament, and what it means to those involved.

First of the provinces in action this weekend we have Munster travelling to take on Sale at the early hours of 1pm Saturday. Early kick off and all the talk it has generated aside, Munster are in need of a good start. They haven’t had the worst start to the season of the provinces, that accolade falls to Leinster, but they are yet to grease all the gears. Flyers like Simon Zebo and Gerhard Van Den Heever have been threatening but are yet to put in the displays in the games they’ve been most needed. Continue reading

Comparing Global Beer Prices

beerinfo2

I drink beer to supplement my bones with vitamin D and prevent bone degeneration. Saying that makes me feel I’m making a healthy lifestyle choice every time I pop a bottle. I could be, at least according to the International Journal of Endocrinology that had published a study on the health promise of beer (you can also check our previous infographic that matched beer against wine for health benefits).

But here’s the better news—beer can be dirt cheap in some corners of the planet. If you’re traveling and you enjoy a couple bottles of beer (and some more) after a day’s tour, our infographic will help you find the country where you can get really cheap “vitamin D shots”.

It doesn’t matter if you’re going to Central/Eastern Europe or Southeast Asia; both regions can get you drunk really cheap. Vietnam and Ukraine are the hands-down winners with beer at fifty nine cents per bottle. Other beer-friendly countries include: Cambodia, Czech Republic, China, Serbia, and Panama. Continue reading

World Cup 2014: Predictions For Every Team

brazil

With the kick-off of World Cup 2014 now less than a week away, the excitement is starting to build. Coverage of the event is starting to really pick up, as the footballing world gets ready for the beginning of it’s biggest event of any calendar year. With that in mind, I would like to put forward my predictions for every team and how they will fare, including all the teams who will fall at the group stage hurdle, all the way on to who I predict will be the eventual winners.

Group stage eliminations

Cameroon

The most likely victim of what is a very tough draw, Cameroon seem like long shots to emerge from Group A. Hosts Brazil, potential dark horses Croatia and Mexico make up the rest of the group, and it may well prove too much for Cameroon to claim enough points to sneak in to the knockout stages. An experienced squad led by captain Samuel Eto’o as well as veterans Alex Song and Jean Makoun, Cameroon also boast young defensive talent in Nicolas N’Koulou and Joel Matip. Unfortunately for them, it seems unlikely that they will prove good enough to edge out two of the other teams, and so it looks like three games and out for Cameroon.

Mexico

It looks quite likely that Brazil and Croatia will emerge from this group, especially if the Croatians can get a point in the tournament’s inaugural match. Mexico had a very ugly qualifying campaign to even reach Brazil, finishing fourth in their group, behind the United States, Costa Rica and Honduras. They eventually beat New Zealand comfortably in a play-off, but it does not augur well for them in such a tough group. Still, Mexico boast a very experienced squad, with the likes of Rafael Marquez still around to organise them. If the likes of Javier Hernandez (who has a scoring rate of better than one every two games for his country) catches fire, then maybe they have a shot. But all signs point to an early exit for Mexico.

Continue reading

News in Brief – Bins, Ming and the Taoiseach’s Things

Ming Campainging for BOI to Keep our Fur!

Ming campaigning for BOI to Keep our Fur!

A 90-year-old woman is being pursued by debt collectors for a €14 bin fine. That’s right, while the world crumbles and Ming Flanagan seems our most viable option for Europe, Dublin City Council want their €14 back! The woman, who has not been named, lives alone in inner-city Dublin and became the subject of the debt collectors interest over an unpaid bill dating back to the privatisation of Dublin’s waste collection services. Four letters were sent threatening aggressive legal action and publication in Stubbs Gazette. Well done lads, what a lovely bunch you are, can NIB point you in the direction of a Mr Shatter who owes us €70k?

A painting by Michael Flatley tops the list of the Taoiseach’s most expensive gifts. The painting title ‘The Irish Potato Famine’ was created by Flatley daubing his feet in paint and dancing on a canvas (and you can tell) and has been valued at €5000. Other gifts include a golden replica of the Mecca Royal Hotel Clock Tower (Enda’s a bingo fan), a bust of JFK, a bottle of booze from the Queen and a boat. So that’s nice isn’t it? Good old Enda. NIB got three pairs of tights last Christmas . . . Continue reading

World Cup 2014: The Dark Horses

worldcup2014

Yesterday, we had a good look at the four teams most likely to win the upcoming World Cup. What we have yet to touch on is one of the most lively debates before any international tournament. Who will be the team who emerges from nowhere to thrill the crowds and cause a few upsets along the way? Is there a team from lower down the international pecking order who can surprise us all and go all the way? Usually there is at least one team who overachieves in these competitions, and calling them right is often the difference between winning and losing the fantasy football wars, so here we will look at four teams who could potentially go from dark horses to World Cup champions in the space of a few weeks in June. Continue reading

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