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‘Absolutely everything being done’ to bring killer to justice, says Minister

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has said that “absolutely everything that can be done is being done” to bring the killer of Ashling Murphy to justice.

She was speaking after gardaí renewed their appeal for information as they search for the killer of Ashling Murphy after the man they arrested was eliminated as a suspect.

The man in his 40s who was being questioned in relation to the murder of the 23-year-old teacher was released from Garda custody on Thursday night.

A notice on RIP.ie said Ms Murphy will be “sadly missed by her heartbroken family” which includes her father Raymond, mother Kathleen, brother Cathal, sister Amy, aunts, uncles, cousins, extended family, neighbours and friends.

Ms Murphy was fatally assaulted at 4pm on Wednesday along the canal bank at Cappincur, Tullamore in Co Offaly.

Gardaí have renewed their appeal for information on a Falcon Storm mountain bike with straight handlebars and distinctive yellow/green front forks.

Photograph: An Garda Síochána
Photograph: An Garda Síochána

They are also appealing to anyone who was in the Cappincur/canal walk area of Tullamore before 4pm on Wednesday to make contact with them.

Ms Murphy was from the townland of Blueball, Tullamore. She had previously played camogie for Offaly and was a talented musician. One of three siblings, she was from a family well known on the traditional music scene in the Midlands.

Ms Murphy was killed at Boland’s Lock, Cappincur, on the Grand Canal tow path about 3km east of Tullamore at 4pm. It is understood she was beaten and strangled and suffered a wound.

A number of vigils are due to be held on Friday afternoon at locations across the Republic, including Tullamore Town Park at 4pm, to remember Ms Murphy and to call for an end to male-on-female violence.

A National Women’s Council of Ireland vigil was due to take place outside Dáil Éireann, Dublin, starting from 4pm – around the time that Ms Murphy was killed on Wednesday – for one hour. Vigils were also planned in Galway’s Eyre Square at 6pm, Limerick’s Arthur’s Quay Park at 6pm, Belfast City Hall at 4pm, Derry’s Guildhall steps at 4pm and on Saturday at 9.30am at Cork’s Atlantic Pond.

Books of condolence has been opened for Ms Murphy and are available at Westmeath County Council Civic Offices in Mullingar and Athlone for one week, between 9.30am and 4pm.

In a statement on Thursday night, gardaí confirmed that “the male who was arrested and detained by An Garda Síochána investigating this fatal assault has now been released from this detention.

“This male has been eliminated from Garda enquiries and is no longer a suspect.”

Locals leave flowers near the scene of the murder of Ashling Murphy, on the banks of the Grand Canal, in Tullamore, Co Offaly. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Locals leave flowers near the scene of the murder of Ashling Murphy, on the banks of the Grand Canal, in Tullamore, Co Offaly. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘A woman’s worst nightmare’

The man had been arrested shortly after Ms Murphy was attacked along the canal bank at Cappincur, Tullamore at about 4pm on Wednesday.

Speaking to Midlands 103 radio this morning, Ms McEntee said: “I spoke to the Garda Commissioner this morning, in constant contact with him, to make sure that anything they need, anything that is required to carry out this investigation and to find who has done this to Ashling and that they’re brought to justice.”

Ms McEntee declined to discuss any details of the investigation but said: “What’s important here is that the gardaí are able to carry out their investigation.”

She said that the investigation involved “engaging with the people, it’s taking interviews, it’s gathering evidence where possible, it’s forensic evidence where possible, which thankfully over recent years has become central to cases, it’s the renewed call they have made to people to come forward if they have any kind of information…”

She reiterated Garda calls for people to come forward if they had any information about a distinctive mountain bike and said that if anyone had dashcam footage that “perhaps that might have been able to pick up anything happening” that they should come forward to the gardaí.

Picture Ashling Murphy’s student left for her in a memory box at Durrow NS
Picture Ashling Murphy’s student left for her in a memory box at Durrow NS

“People want to know that the right person is caught and the right person is brought to justice,” she said.

She said it was “very difficult to get your head around” the fact that the murder took place in an area where people felt safe, but added that most violence against women was carried out by “someone they know… in her home”.

She said that a “cultural change” was needed to establish a culture of “zero tolerance” towards violence against women.

She described the attack as “a woman’s worst nightmare” and said the killer would be caught. She shared people’s “anger” over the killing, which was committed in a public place “that local people felt was always safe”.

‘Real fear’

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said while the murder of Ms Murphy in Tullamore, Co Offaly, had caused “real fear” across the country, such attacks were “relatively rare” and Ireland was “a safe society”.

The murder investigation was continuing on Thursday night as people in Tullamore expressed their shock and anger at the killing.

The motive for the attack is unclear but gardaí believe it was random and that the killer acted alone. No evidence of a sexual assault has emerged to date.

Ms Murphy had spent the day teaching at Durrow National School just outside Tullamore, where she was the first class teacher. After finishing her work she went to exercise on the canal towpath, a regular routine for her, and was attacked there.

She was still alive when paramedics arrived but efforts to save her were not successful and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

It is understood two women arrived on the scene, on the opposite side of the canal. They witnessed the fatal assault and saw the attacker fleeing. They gave a description of the attacker to gardaí. In a follow-up operation on Wednesday evening the man now cleared of suspicion was arrested and had been held until late on Thursday night.

Durrow National School principal James Hogan told The Irish Times the staff had been “overwhelmed” with all of the messages they had received after Ms Murphy’s murder.

“We’re highly devastated,” he said, adding Ms Murphy was a personal friend as he had grown up playing traditional music with her. “She was fantastic, a tremendous teacher and she had a shining light about her. First class idolised her, the kids are just heartbroken. There’s been a lot of tears here today.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the incident room at Tullamore Garda Station on 057 932 7600, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda station.

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Culture

‘Mrs. Doubtfire’: The highlights Of Robin Williams’ Role That defined His Artistic Greatness

The highlights Of Robin Williams’ Role That defined His Artistic Greatness

The Voice Of EU | One of the most versatile comedian and actor Robin Williams left an indelible mark on an entire generation throughout the 1990s, evoking both laughter and tears. His portrayal of a strict yet endearing housekeeper in the hit film “Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993) resonated deeply with audiences worldwide, propelling it to resounding success across global boundaries.

Señora Doubtfire Robin Williams
Robin Williams in a scene from ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ (1993). Archive Photos (20th Century-Fox / Getty Images)

Williams played the role, despite the adversities and addictions that plagued his life at the time, by putting aside the devised script and becoming a master of improvisation during the filming of the movie, which brought in more than €400 million.

In the year of its release it was only outdone by Jurassic Park (€1 billion). This is what its director, also an avowed admirer of the American actor, explained on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Mrs. Doubtfire’s debut on the big screen: “It took me three months to rewrite the script. I sent it to Robin and he said he loved it.” After Williams’ suicide in 2014, in an interview for Business Insider magazine, Chris Columbus unveils details that were buried 30 years ago.

“Four and a half hours, maybe five,” is the time in which, according to the director, Robin Williams was able to play Mrs. Doubtfire, a characterization for which the film earned the Oscar for Best Makeup. The actor was not comfortable in portraying his role: a father who disguises himself as a housekeeper in order to spend more time with his children after a bitter divorce. For him, it presented a challenge. “We never could shoot two consecutive days of Robin as Mrs. Doubtfire. It was a punishing day for him, so always the next day, we would shoot him as Daniel (the father),” the director of the film reveals three decades after its release.

Comedy is acting out optimism.” — Robin Williams

In between the laughs and moments that are etched in the minds of many, Columbus describes the challenge of keeping actors such as Pierce Brosnan and Sally Field, who played leading roles in the film, from breaking away from the script of their characters while Williams was at his most unrestrainedly creative.

Indeed, according to the director, his boundless energy even created situations where the script supervisor could not keep up, resulting in unrepeatable and spontaneous takes. “None of us knew what he was going to say when he got going and so I wanted a camera on the other actors to get their reactions.” Most of the sequences in the film, and specifically all of those featuring Williams, were the result of an incredible amount of improvisation from the American comedian. “If it were today, we would never end. But back then, we were shooting film so once we were out of film in the camera, we would say to Robin, ‘We’re out of film.’ That happened on several occasions,” recalls Columbus.

“Hey boss, the way I like to work, if you’re up for it, is I’ll give you three or four scripted takes, and then let’s play.” This was the actor’s first warning to the director of Mrs. Doubtfire. Robin Williams was a significant figure in Chris Columbus’ life, and he still is to this day. Not only because he was responsible for his move to San Francisco, the actor didn’t want to shoot anywhere else, but due to his ability to make people laugh and cry at the same time. “Williams wanted the film to be shot there because he was living in San Francisco with his wife, Marsha, and their children. Thanks to him I fell in love with the city that has become my home,” he explains.

“You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” — Robin Williams

The director also reminisced about some memorable scenes that contributed to the film’s status as a cinematic masterpiece, as perceived by many. However, what stood out the most was his innate ability to improvise: “The entire restaurant sequence was remarkable. When Robin, portraying Mrs. Doubtfire, accidentally loses his teeth in his drink, you can see the joy on Robin’s face; he’s almost smirking to himself for coming up with that.” Following the success of the Mrs. Doubtfire premiere, the production team is currently exploring ways to honor Williams and his portrayal in the film, although no definitive plans have been made yet. “There are approximately 972 boxes of footage stored in a warehouse somewhere in California. There’s something truly special and enchanting about his performances, and I believe it would be exciting to delve deeper into it.”

Despite initial reservations about creating a sequel, the notion of a new spin-off gained traction shortly before the actor’s tragic passing on August 11, 2014, at his residence in Paradise Bay, California. “Robin’s only concern was: ‘Boss, do I have to spend as much time in the suit this time around?’ The physical toll of portraying Doubtfire was immense for Robin; it felt like running a marathon every day,” the director recounts. Following a brief meeting at the actor’s home, and a simple handshake, Chris Columbus began outlining the script mere days before the unfortunate event. “During the rewrite, we contemplated reducing the role of Doubtfire. However, Robin’s untimely demise extinguished any hopes of a sequel,” he laments. Although not spearheaded by its creator, Mrs. Doubtfire has found new life as a stage musical. “What set him apart as a performer is that there was no one like Robin Williams before him, and there will never be anyone like him again. He was truly one-of-a-kind,” reflects the actor’s superior.

Mrs. DoubtfireRobin Williams and Matthew Lawrence in a scene from ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ (1993).

In addition to the director, another Mrs. Doubtfire star who later spoke of Robin Williams’ brilliance was Matthew Lawrence, who played Daniel’s son. Lawrence was just a teenager in the film, which also gave a debut to his co-star Mara Wilson, the unforgettable Matilda. One day Lawrence went to Robin’s dressing room and did not expect what he was told: “‘Stay away from drugs, particularly cocaine.’ He was being serious and told me: ‘You know when you come to my trailer and you see me like that?’ He’s like, ‘That’s the reason why. And now I’m fighting for the rest of my life because I spent 10 years doing something very stupid every day. Do not do it.’ I stayed away from it because of him”, Lawrence recalled in an interview with People magazine in March 2022.

The lesser-known chapter of Williams’ life, while unrelated to his demise, shed light on the inner struggles of a comedian committed to bringing joy to others yet grappling with profound personal sorrow. “As charismatic as he appeared on screen, I’d often visit him in his trailer for chats, he was tormented. It was truly agonizing for him. He didn’t conceal it. He confided in me about his battles with addiction,” the actor concluded.


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Congratulations, Privacy Just Took A Great Leap Out the Window!

Your Data Is Being Used Without Your Permission And Knowledge

The Voice Of EU | In the heart of technological innovation, the collision between intellectual property rights and the development of cutting-edge AI technologies has sparked a significant legal battle. The New York Times has taken legal action against OpenAI and Microsoft, filing a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court. This legal maneuver aims to address concerns surrounding the unauthorized use of the Times’ content for the training of AI models, alleging copyright infringements that could potentially result in billions of dollars in damages.

READ: HOW YOUR DATA IS BEING USED TO TRAIN A.I.

This legal tussle underlines the escalating tension between technological advancements and the protection of intellectual property. The crux of the lawsuit revolves around OpenAI and Microsoft allegedly utilizing the Times’ proprietary content to advance their own AI technology, directly competing with the publication’s services. The lawsuit suggests that this unauthorized utilization threatens the Times’ ability to offer its distinctive service and impacts its AI innovation, creating a competitive landscape that challenges the publication’s proprietary content.

Amidst the growing digital landscape, media organizations like the Times are confronting a myriad of challenges. The migration of readers to online platforms has significantly impacted traditional media, and the advent of artificial intelligence technology has added another layer of complexity. The legal dispute brings to the forefront the contentious practice of AI companies scraping copyrighted information from online sources, including articles from media organizations, to train their generative AI chatbots. This strategy has attracted substantial investments, rapidly transforming the AI landscape.

Exhibit presented by the New York Times’ legal team of ChatGPT replicating a article after being prompted

The lawsuit highlights instances where OpenAI’s technology, specifically GPT-4, replicated significant portions of Times articles, including in-depth investigative reports. These outputs, alleged by the Times to contain verbatim excerpts from their content, raise concerns about the ethical and legal boundaries of using copyrighted material for AI model training without proper authorization or compensation.

The legal action taken by the Times follows attempts to engage in discussions with Microsoft and OpenAI, aiming to address concerns about the use of its intellectual property. Despite these efforts, negotiations failed to reach a resolution that would ensure fair compensation for the use of the Times’ content while promoting responsible AI development that benefits society.

In the midst of this legal battle, the broader questions surrounding the responsible and ethical utilization of copyrighted material in advancing technological innovations come to the forefront.

The dispute between the Times, OpenAI, and Microsoft serves as a significant case study in navigating the intricate intersection of technological progress and safeguarding intellectual property rights in the digital age.


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Culture

Conflicted History: ‘Oppenheimer’ And Its Impact On Los Alamos And New Mexico Downwinders

‘Oppenheimer’ And Its Impact On Los Alamos And New Mexico Downwinders

The Voice Of EU | In the highly anticipated blockbuster movie, “Oppenheimer,” the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man behind the first atomic bomb, is portrayed as a riveting tale of triumph and tragedy.

As the film takes center stage, it also brings to light the often-overlooked impacts on a community living downwind from the top-secret Manhattan Project testing site in southern New Mexico.

A Forgotten Legacy

While the film industry and critics praise “Oppenheimer,” a sense of frustration prevails among the residents of New Mexico’s Tularosa Basin, who continue to grapple with the consequences of the Manhattan Project. Tina Cordova, a cancer survivor and founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, expresses their feelings, stating, “They invaded our lives and our lands and then they left,” referring to the scientists and military personnel who conducted secret experiments over 200 miles away from their community.

The Consortium, alongside organizations like the Union of Concerned Scientists, has been striving to raise awareness about the impact of the Manhattan Project on New Mexico’s population. Advocates emphasize the necessity of acknowledging the human cost of the Trinity Test, the first atomic blast, and other nuclear weapons activities that have affected countless lives in the state.

The Ongoing Struggle for Recognition

As film enthusiasts celebrate the drama and brilliance of “Oppenheimer,” New Mexico downwinders feel overlooked by both the U.S. government and movie producers. The federal government’s compensation program for radiation exposure still does not include these affected individuals. The government’s selection of the remote and flat Trinity Test Site, without warning residents in the surrounding areas, further added to the controversy.

Living off the land, the rural population in the Tularosa Basin had no idea that the fine ash settling on their homes and fields was a result of the world’s first atomic explosion.

The government initially attempted to cover up the incident, attributing the bright light and rumble to an explosion at a munitions dump. It was only after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Japan weeks later that New Mexico residents realized the magnitude of what they had witnessed.

Tracing the Fallout

According to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, large amounts of radiation were released into the atmosphere during the Trinity Test, with fallout descending over a vast area. Some of the fallout reached as far as the Atlantic Ocean, but the greatest concentration settled approximately 30 miles from the test site.

Now I Am Become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds.

J. Robert Oppenheimer

The consequences of this catastrophic event have affected generations of New Mexicans, who still await recognition and justice for the harm caused by nuclear weapons.

A Tale of Contrasts: Los Alamos and the Legacy of Oppenheimer

As the film’s spotlight shines on the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, a contrasting narrative unfolds in Los Alamos, more than 200 miles north of the Tularosa Basin. Los Alamos stands as a symbol of Oppenheimer’s legacy, housing one of the nation’s premier national laboratories and boasting the highest percentage of people with doctorate degrees in the U.S.

Oppenheimer’s influence is evident throughout Los Alamos, with a street bearing his name and an IPA named in his honor at a local brewery. The city embraces its scientific legacy, showcasing his handwritten notes and ID card in a museum exhibit. Los Alamos National Laboratory employees played a significant role in the film, contributing as extras and engaging in enlightening discussions during breaks.

The “Oppenheimer” Movie

Director Christopher Nolan’s perspective on the Trinity Test and its profound impact is evident in his approach to “Oppenheimer.” He has described the event as an extraordinary moment in human history and expressed his desire to immerse the audience in the pivotal moment when the button was pushed. Nolan’s dedication to bringing historical accuracy and emotional depth to the screen is evident as he draws inspiration from Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer.

For Nolan, Oppenheimer’s story is a potent blend of dreams and nightmares, capturing the complexity and consequences of the Manhattan Project. As the film reaches global audiences, it also offers a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the downwinders in New Mexico, whose lives were forever altered by the legacy of nuclear weapons testing.

The Oppenheimer Festival and Beyond

Los Alamos is determined to use the Oppenheimer Festival as an opportunity to educate visitors about the true stories behind the film’s events. The county’s “Project Oppenheimer” initiative, launched in early 2023, encompasses forums, documentaries, art installations, and exhibits that delve into the scientific contributions of the laboratory and the social implications of the Manhattan Project.

A special area during the festival will facilitate discussions about the movie, fostering a deeper understanding of the community’s history. The county aims to continue revisiting and discussing the legacy of the Manhattan Project, ensuring that the impact of this pivotal moment in history is never forgotten.

As “Oppenheimer” takes audiences on an emotional journey, it serves as a reminder that every historical event carries with it complex and multifaceted implications. The movie may celebrate the scientific achievements of the past, but it also illuminates the urgent need to recognize and address the human cost that persists to this day.


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