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Glasgow protest draws 100,000 in torrential rain

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At least 100,000 people are gathered in Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow in the torrential rain. They’re marching from here eastward to Glasgow Green for the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice.

Jen Morris from the Young Christian Climate Network has helped push a boat on wheels all the way from Cornwall. The vessel is called the Pilgrim” and has a sail – but it’s hull is a wicker coffin. “It signifies that while we’re all in the same storm, we’re not all in the same boat.”

Consuela Rosa, an artist, and Ellen Naughton, a Sligo-born occupational therapist, have two beautifully painted signs. Naughton spent the week making banners with the patients she works with. “We’re hoping that protests like this will hold politicians to account,” says Naughton. “We never thought to waterproof proof the signs though.”

Rosa says “they’re quite soggy”, feeling the paper. Like the Fridays for Future protest the day before, indigenous activists and those from the frontline of the climate crisis lead the march. A huge group of people is gathered holding hands in a big ring around some of them as they address the crowd before the marches even start. Nearby, a phalanx of Young Communists with red flags, red smoke flares, red face masks and black clothing come marching through with a big banner.

They have several chants that run from the innocuous, “When the reds go marching in!” to the more politically suspect, “Ho-ho, Ho Chi Minh, Che Guevara and Stal-in!” One of the communists says “guys remember to turn face ID off on your phone”. Later I learn the police kettled them away from the main protest for several hours. Earlier a number of scientists affiliated with Extinction Rebellion were arrested after chaining themselves together across George V Bridge.

Adults and teenagers

On the march here things generally have a lighter atmosphere. People dance to the kilted brass and drum players of Samba la Bamba. Wellwishers hang out of windows along the route holding signs and cheering. There are rain-soaked dogs and children in pushchairs and older people with walking sticks. The Woodcraft Folk, which is an all-ages group that focuses on education for social change, has created a big caterpillar from recycled tarpaulin. It’s being manoeuvred by a procession of adults and teenagers.

“We were going to have butterflies coming out of a caterpillar with a chrysalis on top of it,” says a man called Neil. They didn’t quite manage to do that. “We have the chrysalis but no butterflies to come out of it.” Why a caterpillar? “It’s radical change, isn’t it?”

Eight-year-old Harris Cunningham, here with his younger siblings and ecologically concerned parents (they have an organic farm), has a pretty good understand of the situation. “We’re here to tell the presidents that we can’t find new planets so we want to save this one. Because if they don’t, it’s not fair to young people.”

John Kingston is holding a stick on which is stapled old bags, plastic ties and broken plugs. He works in a social enterprise called Glasgow Wood Recycling. He wanted to make a sign but he couldn’t think of anything to say. If he said what he felt, he says, “I wouldn’t be able to fit it all in. I was cleaning up at work and thought I could just use that rubbish. So it’s literal rubbish, it’s also the rubbish of the situation and the mental, internal rubbish you keep in your head because you can’t do anything.”

Climate change activists gather at Glasgow Green for the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice march on Saturday. Photograph: Getty
Climate change activists gather at Glasgow Green for the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice march on Saturday. Photograph: Getty

Paul Richards, an accountant, holds a sign that says, “So bad even accountants are here”. Climate change affects everyone not just your typical protesters, he says. What are his usual politics? “I heard a term the other day, ‘champagne socialist’, and thought that sounded like fun. Things aren’t black and white. This isn’t a left/right thing.” He’s in a minority here thinking that the issue is not a left/right thing. Many believe that life on the planet cannot be saved without completely restructuring society.

Sarah Gorton and Maya Gorton, both with Extinction Rebellion, are carrying large wooden eyes made by their artist friend Loo Ogden. The pupils on each can be moved with a lever at the back (like Action Man). “It’s to say to the politicians, ‘the world is watching you”, explains Sarah. “Our leaders are accountable to us.” Is she hopeful? “We don’t have any faith that they will make the right decision because you can’t make any right decisions for the planet that are compatible with economic growth. And they’re stuck in that system.”

The sun comes out for a while just as we arrive in Glasgow Green around three hours after setting out. I get some food from some kind Hare Krishnas who have set up to one side of the stage. A group called #corprat! are dressed in business suits and rat masks and engaging in absurdist agitprop. A woman walks around with a skeleton on her shoulders with a sign that says, “This is what 1.5 degrees looks like.”

What about Greta?

A woman tells me that Greta Thunberg has given up her speaking slot to make sure more activists from around the world get a chance to speak. It’s difficult to get close enough for me to hear anything. Everyone seems buoyed up despite, in many cases, freezing in rain-soaked clothes. A little earlier in the day I see a man with long white hair playing flute along to a sound system someone is pulling in on a cart. His name is Bob Parks. He’s a musician and artist and the BBC made a documentary about him a few years ago called That R&B Feeling.

“I love protests,” he says. “I was in CND back in the sixties, but this is far more important than just ban the bomb, it’s save life on Earth, period.” Is it important to protest like this? “It’s like the caterpillar going into a chrysalis, the immune system is stronger when it comes out as a butterfly. It’s a paradigm shift that we’ve got to have.”

This is my second caterpillar metaphor of the day and it makes me feel hopeful. Parks isn’t sure if he’s hopeful or not. “I’m a nihilist,” he says, “a moral relativist from the sixties. But my training in art school was not to have preconceived ideas. The role of the artist as defined by [RG] Collingwood is to work to prevent the corruption of consciousness.”

He waves his arm across the protesters. “This is a cleansing voice. It’s the voice of truth and it has to be put out there.”

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Census 2022 – what difference does it make?

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Next Sunday, April 3rd, is Census night. Millions of people in homes countrywide will fill in page after page of questions, some of which are deeply personal and many of which might be unfamiliar.

But what it is it all about?

At a basic level, Census 2022 will be used to inform planning of public policy and services in the years ahead, according to the Central Statistics Office.

The questions will cover a range of environmental, employment and lifestyle issues, including the use of renewable energy sources in homes.

The questions will help inform policy development in the areas of energy and climate action, and the prevalence of internet access, to understand the availability of and need for internet connections and range of devices used to access the internet.

Questions also focus on changes in work patterns and will include the trend of working from home and childcare issues, while questions are also asked about the times individuals usually leave work, education or childcare, to help identify and plan for transport pattern needs locally and nationally.

Other topics covered include volunteering and the type of organisations volunteers choose to support, tobacco usage and the prevalence of smoke alarms in the home.

And of course there is a time capsule – the chance to write something which will be sealed for the next 100 years.

In this episode of In The News, the head of census administration Eileen Murphy and statistician Kevin Cunningham about what it all means for us.

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Oscars 2022: Will Smith makes Oscar history after slapping Chris Rock over joke about wife Jada Pinkett Smith | Culture

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Will Smith took the Oscar for Best Actor at last night’s 94th Academy Awards, but he also became the protagonist of the ceremony for other reasons. The night was following the script, until Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on the stage after the latter made a joke about the shaved head of the former’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock had quipped that he was “looking forward to GI Jane 2,” in reference to her look. Pinkett Smith has revealed publicly that she has alopecia. It looked as if the moment had been planned, until Smith went back to his seat and shouted: “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”

The moment, which immediately became Oscar history but for all the wrong reasons, left the attendees with frozen smiles, and asking themselves whether it was possible that a veteran such as Smith could have lost his cool in front of tens of millions of people. After taking the prize for Best Actor, the superstar actor made a tearful apology, saying that he hoped the Academy “will invite me back.” Later on, actor Anthony Hopkins called for “peace and love,” but it was already too late. The incident overshadowed the success of CODA, which took the Oscar for Best Picture. Just like the time when Warren Beatty mistakenly named La La Land as the big winner of the night, no one will speak about anything else from last night’s awards.

At first sight, Smith’s actions looked as if they were scripted. When he first heard Rock’s joke, he laughed. But his wife was seen on camera rolling her eyes, and it was then that the actor got up onto the stage and hit Rock. When he returned to his seat he raised his voice twice to shout “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth,” sending a wave of unease and shock through the attending audience. The fact that he used the f-word, which is prohibited on US television, set alarm bells ringing that this was real and not a planned moment. In fact, the curse word was censored by the broadcaster, ABC, in the United States.

During a break, Smith’s PR manager approached him to speak. In the press room, which the actor skipped after collecting his prize, instructions were given to the journalists not to ask questions about the incident, Luis Pablo Beauregard reports. The next presenter, Sean “Diddy” Combs, tried to calm the situation. “Will and Chris, we’re going to solve this – but right now we’re moving on with love,” the rapper said.

When Smith took to the stage to collect his Best Actor award for his role as Richard Williams – the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena – in King Richard, he referred to the character as “a fierce defender of his family.” He continued: “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do you’ve got to be able to take abuse, and have people talk crazy about you and have people disrespecting you and you’ve got to smile and pretend it’s OK.”

He explained that fellow actor Denzel Washington, who also spoke to Smith during a break, had told him: “At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.”

“I want to be a vessel for love,” Smith continued. “I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care and concern. I want to apologize to the Academy and all my fellow nominees. […] I look like the crazy father just like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things,” he said. He then joked about his mother, who had not wanted to come to the ceremony because she had a date with her crochet group.

The Los Angeles Police Department released a statement last night saying that Chris Rock would not be filing any charges for assault against Smith. “LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program,” the statement read. “The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”

On December 28, Pinkett Smith spoke on social media about her problems with alopecia. She stated that she would be keeping her head shaved and would be dealing with the condition with humor. “Me and this alopecia are going to be friends… Period!” she wrote on Instagram.



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House-price inflation set to stay double digit for much of 2022

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House-price inflation is expected to remain at double-digit levels for much of 2022 as the mismatch between what is for sale and what buyers want continues.

Two new reports on the housing market paint a picture of a sector under strain due to a lack of supply and increased demand driven by Covid-related factors such as remote working.

The two quarterly reports, one each from rival property websites myhome.ie and daft.ie, suggest asking prices accelerated again in the first quarter of 2022 as the stock of homes available for sale slumped to a new record low.

Myhome, which is owned by The Irish Times, said annual asking-price inflation was now running at 12.3 per cent.

Price

This put the median or typical asking price for a home nationally at €295,000, and at €385,000 in Dublin.

MyHome said the number of available properties for sale on its website fell to a record low of 11,200 in March, down from a pre-pandemic level of 19,000. The squeeze on supply, it said, was most acute outside Dublin, with the number of properties listed for sale down almost 50 per cent compared with pre-pandemic levels.

It said impaired supply and robust demand meant double-digit inflation is likely until at least mid-2022.

“Housing market conditions have continued to tighten,” said author of the myhome report, Davy chief economist Conall Mac Coille.

“The broad picture of the market in early 2022 remains similar to last year: impaired supply coupled with robust demand due to Ireland’s strong labour market,” he said.

Soure: MyHome.ie

“One chink of light is that new instructions to sell of 7,500 in the first 11 weeks of 2022 are well up from 4,800 in 2021, albeit still below the 9,250 in 2019. The flow of new properties therefore remains impaired,” said Mr Mac Coille.

“Whatever new supply is emerging is being met by more than ample demand. Hence, transaction volumes in January and February were up 13 per cent on the year but pushed the market into ever tighter territory,” he said.

He said Davy was now predicting property-price inflation to average 7 per cent this year, up from a previous forecast of 4.5 per cent, buoyed strong employment growth.

Homes

Daft, meanwhile, said house asking prices indicated the average listed price nationwide in the first quarter of 2022 was €299,093, up 8.4 per cent on the same period in 2021 and and just 19 per cent below the Celtic Tiger peak, while noting increases remain smaller in urban areas, compared to rural.

Just 10,000 homes were listed for sale on its website as of March 1st, an all-time low. In Dublin, Cork and Galway cities, prices in the first quarter of 2022 were roughly 4 per cent higher on average than a year previously, while in Limerick and Waterford cities the increases were 7.6 per cent and 9.3 per cent respectively.

The report’s author, Trinity College Dublin economist Ronan Lyons, said: “Inflation in housing prices remains stubbornly high – with Covid-19 disturbing an equilibrium of sorts that had emerged, with prices largely stable in 2019 but increasing since.

“As has been the case consistently over the last decade, increasing prices – initially in Dublin and then elsewhere – reflect a combination of strong demand and very weak supply.”


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