IRELAND SHARES A common travel area arrangement with the United Kingdom and under plans well-advanced between the two countries, "passengers travelling between EU countries or taking domestic flights would have to hand over a mass of personal information, including their mobile phone numbers and credit card details, as part of a new package of security measures," according to Ian Traynor in Brussels. "The data would be stored for 13 years and used to 'profile' suspects."  The Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Luddford wonders, "Where is it going to stop? If you ask the UK government how many terrorists have been picked up (with data profiling schemes such as this one), you don't get a very straight answer." That's because the profiling scheme is based on a pattern of behaviour that any well-intentioned terrorist can circumvent. Data gathering escapades such as the current UK pilot programme help catch fugitives from justice, drug traffickers, and those whose names are similar to who are suspects in cases too weak to warrant arrest.
Ghost town in Cleveland. The Sunday Times carries a story of foreclosures in Ohio. "Slavic Village looks as if it has been hit by a hurricane. And this man-made disaster rivals hurricane Katrina when it comes to displacing families. The 2005 storm displaced some 35,000 people in the worst-hit districts of New Orleans. Since 2003 34,156 people have lost their homes to repossession in the Cleveland area, according to Case Western Reserve University, and the pace of those losses is accelerating. The new year is barely two months old and so far there have been 1,857 foreclosures in the Cleveland area." 
Yahoo Looks Vulnerable. A few weeks ago, Microsoft announced a bid to acquire Yahoo for $44.6 billion (€30 billion). Dominic Rushe points out, "Not long ago (say 18 months) the bid would have ignited a bidding frenzy ... (since Yahoo) is still one of the most visited websites on the planet. Last month close to 114m people visited Yahoo, according to Nielsen Online. Microsoft offered $31 a share, a 62% premium to Yahoo’s market price at the start of the month, but given Yahoo’s shares were going for $31 as recently as November, this looked like a starting bid, not the final offer." I have online storage with Yahoo! I really like my mail service being managed by Yahoo! It would be troubling to lose those services. 
Bertie Ahern's Money Trail Looks Dodgy. Anyone listening to Irish radio could draw the conclusion that the leader of the Irish government has a long-term relationship with a bountiful petty cash fund. Now the Taoiseach's brother Maurice Ahern has criticised the lack of financial accountability in the Fianna Fail organisation in Dublin Central. The Sunday Tribune reveals that "Ahern complained, at a number of meetings held in the Taoiseach's constituency base at St Luke's in Drumcondra, about the way the local organisation was being run. His public remarks surprised many delegates at the monthly meetings of the Comhairle Dail Ceanntair (CDC), which is dominated by supporters of the Taoiseach." 
Dafur Needs to Be Top of the International Agenda. Members of the Irish Defence Force will take up position in Chad, helping to stabilise part of the Dafur region. But the problems of ethnic cleansing have been on-going since the United States invaded Iraq. More needs to be done to help stop the brutal slaying of people and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of refugees. 
Head Blogging Pontiff Named Icon. From the Sunday Tribune magazine comes the anointing of Twenty Major to the #9 position on the list of 21st century icons. "Ireland's true coming of age online can be witnessed daily across the blogosphere, where a seemingly never-ending torrent of would-be wags, wits and pundits are signing up to offer their unique world views. People have the power (to self-publish), and it's a strange and beautiful thing. The one true king of the Irish blogosphere, however, is a coruscating character perpetually balanced atop a virtual pub stool, venting his spleen concerning the various injustices affecting the nation (and his good self) today--and his name is Twenty Major. That's all you need to know, anyhow. The elusive blogger behind Twenty--his true identify has remained a secret--has created a broad and beleaguered Irish male, raging against whatever happens to rub him up the wrong way on the day in question. Twenty's particular oeuvre posits him as a gloriously anti-PC antidote to the generic inanities of Celtic Tiger 2.0, a deliciously foul-mouthed heir to Flann O'Brien and the great Dub wits--that said, you wouldn't want to cross him. On a good day, he's an essential read." 
1a. Ian Traynor in Brussels -- "Government wants personal details of every traveller" on the front page of The Guardian Weekend Edition, 23 February 2008.
1b. Previously -- "Security Theatre" on Inside View.
2. Dominic Rushe -- "Cleveland: Ghost Town Created by America's Loan Scandal" in The Sunday Times, 23 February 2008.
3. Dominic Rushe -- "Yahoo sale gets a big boohoo" in The Sunday Times business section, 24 February 2008.
4. Kevin Rafter -- "Bertie Ahern's brother signals unease over St Luke's money" in the Sunday Tribune, 24 February 2008.
5. Gavin Daly -- "Not on his watch" in The Sunday Business Post, 24 February 2008.
6a. Derek O'Connor -- "10 Icons of 21st Century Ireland" in the Sunday Tribune Magazine, 24 February 2008.
6b. Twenty Major announces National Cunt Day.
Last week: Nine Lives in the Sunday News, 17 Feb 08.
Most-Viewed Local Image Last Week: March of the Penguins (197 views)
Most-Read Blog Post From Last Week: "Why We're Not Flying American" (236 readings in seven days.)
Last Fortnight: "Fronting the Sunday News" 10 February 2008.
A Year Ago: "Why I Left MyBlogLog", 23 February 2007.
Bonus Link: "Creative Camp Just Ahead". Must-see creative event in Kilkenny on 8 March 2008.