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Republic of Ireland Education

Students in Northern Ireland have been hit with more than 350,000 fines since 2013.
www.bbc.co.uk | 8/12/19
A report into NI's education funding finds there are "unmanageable pressures on school budgets".
www.bbc.co.uk | 7/22/19

Instagram has expanded hiding “likes” to six new countries, months after the Facebook-owned app launched its initial test in Canada.

On Wednesday, Instagram rolled out the test in Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand. Users will still be able to see how many like their posts get, but when someone else goes to their post, the total number of likes will be absent.

“We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love,” Facebook director Mia Garlick told the BBC.

Also Read: Instagram Adds New Feature to 'Restrict' Digital Bullies

The larger test comes only a few months after Instagram head Adam Mosseri told BuzzFeed News the company wants users to focus less on their like counts. Mosseri said he wanted to create “a less pressurized environment where people feel comfortable expressing themselves,” rather than an environment where people delete posts that don’t rack up enough likes.

The test also comes as there’s mounting evidence likes are detrimental to mental health.

A 2017 study from the U.K. Royal Society for Public Health reported Instagram was the social app most detrimental to mental health for people 14-24, often exacerbating their depression, anxiety or body image issues. Instagram in particular makes young women “compare themselves against unrealistic, largely curated, filtered and Photoshopped versions of reality,” the report said.

“The brain responds to likes like any other reward or thing that excites the brain like food, sex or gambling,” Cal State University professor Ofir Turel  recently told TheWrap. “When you get likes, the reward system lights up and releases dopamine, making us feel good.”

Also Read: Tech Execs on How to Balance What's Good for Society and Shareholder Obligations

That good feeling can become fleeting, though, as users get hooked on checking their phones for social validation after posting a picture or video. Turel, who has studied the impact of social media on the brain for more than a decade, said users habitually check their phones — including 40% of Americans while driving — because Instagram and other platforms have created a “variable reward,” something best associated with betting in a casino.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Instagram Goes Down for the Third Time in Just Over a Month

Instagram Adds New Feature to 'Restrict' Digital Bullies

Instagram Head Insists App Doesn't Listen to User Conversations

www.thewrap.com | 7/18/19
Northern Ireland still has the biggest proportion of the UK's 18-year-old population applying.
www.bbc.co.uk | 7/12/19
The proportion of children with autism in Northern Ireland schools has almost trebled in a decade.
www.bbc.co.uk | 7/8/19
The Education Authority's chair says plans for the network are generating "substantial discussion".
www.bbc.co.uk | 6/28/19
The Brexit vortex has seen a once-proud country tear itself apart pitting nation against nation, region against region and class against class Most Members of Parliament, including Theresa May, backed the Remain campaign in 2016. Why did they not stick to their guns? On the surface, according to the government of soon-not-to-be Prime Minister Theresa May, the United Kingdom has everything going for it - good employment figures (inside the European Union), a stable economy (inside the European Union), good Universities, a strong technological sector, an inventive workforce, competence, reliability. A collection of three countries (England, Scotland and Northern Ireland) a principate (Wales), and three Crown Dependencies (Isle of Man and the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey), brimming with good music, a healthy cultural scene, great ideas, a large internal population (66.5 million). Peoples with an admirable focus on the community and voluntary work, nations of animal lovers which gave the world cricket, fish and chips, James Bond and the British Gentleman.
An Ulster University report finds that sectarianism 'shows no sign of going away' in Northern Ireland.
www.bbc.co.uk | 5/14/19

We can only imagine how hard it must be to make a television show about sex and keep a straight face, so it's no surprise there are a plethora of outtakes for Netflix's Sex Education. The streaming service's UK and Ireland Twitter shared a collection of these bloopers Thursday, and while the video

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Other Links From TVGuide.com

www.tvguide.com | 4/19/19
A government inquiry showed that the scandal around the church-run homes for single mothers, where few records were kept on thousands of children who died, is greater than previously known.
www.nytimes.com | 4/17/19
There is an urgent need for education sector reform, says Northern Ireland's top auditor.
www.bbc.co.uk | 4/11/19
Two schools in Londonderry have been named BBC Northern Ireland School Choir of the Year.
www.bbc.co.uk | 4/7/19

James (Jon) Castle - 7 December 1950 to 12 January 2018

Over four decades Captain Jon Castle navigated Greenpeace ships by the twin stars of ‘right and wrong’, defending the environment and promoting peace. Greenpeace chronicler, Rex Weyler, recounts a few of the stories that made up an extraordinary life.

Captain Jon Castle onboard the MV Sirius, 1 May 1996

James (Jon) Castle first opened his eyes virtually at sea. He was born 7 December 1950 in Cobo Bay on the Channel Island of Guernsey, UK. He grew up in a house known locally as Casa del Mare, the closest house on the island to the sea, the second son of Robert Breedlove Castle and Mary Constance Castle. 

Young Jon Castle loved the sea and boats. He worked on De Ile de Serk, a cargo boat that supplied nearby Sark island, and he studied at the University of Southampton to become an officer in the Merchant Navy. 

Jon became a beloved skipper of Greenpeace ships. He sailed on many campaigns and famously skippered two ships during Greenpeace’s action against Shell’s North Sea oil platform, Brent Spar. During his activist career, Jon spelt his name as "Castel" to avoid unwanted attention on his family.

Right and wrong

Jon had two personal obsessions: he loved books and world knowledge and was extremely well-read.  He also loved sacred sites and spent personal holidays walking to stone circles, standing stones, and holy wells.  

As a young man, Jon became acquainted with the Quaker tradition, drawn by their dedication to peace, civil rights, and direct social action. In 1977, when Greenpeace purchased their first ship - the Aberdeen trawler renamed, the Rainbow Warrior - Jon signed on as first mate, working with skipper Peter Bouquet and activists Susi Newborn, Denise Bell and Pete Wilkinson.

In 1978, Wilkinson and Castle learned of the British government dumping radioactive waste at sea in the deep ocean trench off the coast of Spain in the Sea of Biscay. In July, the Rainbow Warrior followed the British ship, Gem, south from the English coast, carrying a load of toxic, radioactive waste barrels. The now-famous confrontation during which the Gem crew dropped barrels onto a Greenpeace inflatable boat, ultimately changed maritime law and initiated a ban on toxic dumping at sea.

After being arrested by Spanish authorities, Castle and Bouquet staged a dramatic escape from La Coru?a harbour at night, without running lights, and returned the Greenpeace ship to action. Crew member Simone Hollander recalls, as the ship entered Dublin harbour in 1978, Jon cheerfully insisting that the entire crew help clean the ship's bilges before going ashore, an action that not only built camaraderie among the crew, but showed a mariner's respect for the ship itself. In 1979, they brought the ship to Amsterdam and participated in the first Greenpeace International meeting.

In 1980 Castle and the Rainbow Warrior crew confronted Norwegian and Spanish whaling ships, were again arrested by Spanish authorities, and brought into custody in the El Ferrol naval base.

The Rainbow Warrior remained in custody for five months, as the Spanish government demanded 10 million pesetas to compensate the whaling company. On the night of November 8, 1980, the Rainbow Warrior, with Castle at the helm, quietly escaped the naval base, through the North Atlantic, and into port in Jersey.

In 1995, Castle skippered the MV Greenpeace during the campaign against French nuclear testing in the Pacific and led a flotilla into New Zealand to replace the original Rainbow Warrior that French agents bombed in Auckland in 1985.

Over the years, Castle became legendary for his maritime skills, courage, compassion, commitment, and for his incorruptible integrity. "Environmentalism: That does not mean a lot to me," he once said, "I am here because of what is right and wrong. Those words are good enough for me."

Brent Spar   Action at Brent Spar Oil Rig in the North Sea, 16 June 1995

One of the most successful Greenpeace campaigns of all time began in the summer of 1995 when Shell Oil announced a plan to dump a floating oil storage tank, containing toxic petroleum residue, into the North Atlantic. Castle signed on as skipper of the Greenpeace vessel Moby Dick, out of Lerwick, Scotland. A month later, on 30 April 1995, Castle and other activists occupied the Brent Spar and called for a boycott of Shell service stations.

When Shell security and British police sprayed the protesters with water cannons, images flooded across world media, demonstrations broke out across Europe, and on May 15, at the G7 summit, German chancellor Helmut Kohl publicly protested to British Prime Minister John Major. In June, 11 nations, at the Oslo and Paris Commission meetings, called for a moratorium on sea disposal of offshore installations.

After three weeks, British police managed to evict Castle and the other occupiers and held them briefly in an Aberdeen jail. When Shell and the British government defied public sentiment and began towing the Spar to the disposal site, consumers boycotted Shell stations across Europe. Once released, Castle took charge of the chartered Greenpeace vessel Altair and continued to pursue the Brent Spar towards the dumping ground. Castle called on the master of another Greenpeace ship, fitted with a helideck, to alter course and rendezvous with him. Using a helicopter, protesters re-occupied the Spar and cut the wires to the detonators of scuppering charges.

One of the occupiers, young recruit Eric Heijselaar, recalls: "One of the first people I met as I climbed on board was a red-haired giant of a man grinning broadly at us. My first thought was that he was a deckhand, or maybe the bosun. So I asked if he knew whether a cabin had been assigned to me yet. He gave me a lovely warm smile, and reassured me that, yes, a cabin had been arranged. At dinner I found out that he was Jon Castle, not a deckhand, not the bosun, but the captain. And what a captain!"

With activists occupying the Spar once again, Castle and the crew kept up their pursuit when suddenly the Spar altered course, heading towards Norway. Shell had given up. The company announced that Brent Spar would be cleaned out and used as a foundation for a new ferry terminal. Three years later, in 1998, the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) passed a ban on dumping oil installations into the North Sea.

"There was no question among the crew who had made this possible, who had caused this to happen," Heijselaar recalls. "It was Jon Castle. His quiet enthusiasm and the trust he put into people made this crew one of the best I ever saw. He always knew exactly what he wanted out of a campaign, how to gain momentum, and he always found the right words to explain his philosophies. He was that rare combination, both a mechanic and a mystic. And above all he was a very loving, kind human being."

Moruroa

After the Brent Spar campaign, Castle returned to the South Pacific on the Rainbow Warrior II, to obstruct a proposed French nuclear test in the Moruroa atoll. Expecting the French to occupy their ship, Castle and engineer, Luis Manuel Pinto da Costa, rigged the steering mechanism to be controlled from the crow's-nest. When French commandos boarded the ship, Castle stationed himself in the crow's-nest, cut away the access ladder and greased the mast so that the raiders would have difficulty arresting him.

Eventually, the commandos cut a hole into the engine-room and severed cables controlling the engine, radio, and steering mechanism, making Castle's remote control system worthless. They towed the Rainbow Warrior II to the island of Hao, as three other protest vessels arrived. 

Three thousand demonstrators gathered in the French port of Papeete, demanding that France abandon the tests. Oscar Temaru - leader of Tavini Huiraatira, an anti-nuclear, pro-independence party - who had been aboard the Rainbow Warrior II when it was raided, welcomed anti-testing supporters from Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Sweden, Canada, Germany, Brazil, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the Philippines, and American Samoa. Eventually, France ended their tests, and atmospheric nuclear testing in the world's oceans stopped once and for all.

“Moral courage”

Through these extraordinary missions, Jon Castle advocated "self-reflection" not only for individual activists, but for the organisation that he loved. Activists, Castle maintained, required "moral courage." He cautioned, "Don't seek approval. Someone has to be way out in front... illuminating territory in advance of the main body of thought."

He opposed "corporatism" in activist organisations and urged Greenpeace to avoid becoming "over-centralised or compartmentalised."  He felt that activist decisions should emerge from the actions themselves, not in an office. We can't fight industrialism with "money, numbers, and high-tech alone," he once wrote in a personal manifesto. Organisations have to avoid traps of "self-perpetuation" and focus on the job "upsetting powerful forces, taking on multinationals and the military-industrial complex."

He recalled that Greenpeace had become popular "because a gut message came through to the thirsty hearts of poor suffering people ... feeling the destruction around them."  Activists, Castle felt, required "freedom of expression, spontaneity [and] an integrated lifestyle."  An activist organisation should foster a "feeling of community" and exhibit "moral courage." Castle felt that social change activists had to "question the materialistic, consumerist lifestyle that drives energy overuse, the increasingly inequitable world economic tyranny that creates poverty and drives environmental degradation," and must maintain "honour, courage and the creative edge."

Well loved hero

Susi Newborn, who was there to welcome Jon aboard the Rainbow Warrior way back in 1977, and who gave the ship its name, wrote about her friend with whom she felt "welded at the heart: He was a Buddhist and a vegetarian and had an earring in his ear. He liked poetry and classical music and could be very dark, but also very funny. Once, I cut his hair as he downed a bottle or two of rum reciting The Second Coming by Yeats."

Newborn recalls Castle insisting that women steer the ships in and out of port because, "they got it right, were naturals." She recalls a night at sea, Castle "lashed to the wheel facing one of the biggest storms of last century head on. I was flung about my cabin like a rag doll until I passed out. We never talked about the storm, as if too scared to summon up the behemoth we had encountered. A small handwritten note pinned somewhere in the mess, the sole acknowledgment of a skipper to his six-person crew: ‘Thank You.’” Others remember Castle as the Greenpeace captain that could regularly be found in the galley doing kitchen duty.

In 2008, with the small yacht Musichana, Castle and Pete Bouquet staged a two-man invasion of Diego Garcia island to protest the American bomber base there and the UK's refusal to allow evicted Chagos Islanders to return to their homes. They anchored in the lagoon and radioed the British Indian Ocean Territories officials on the island to tell them they and the US Air Force were acting in breach of international law and United Nations resolutions. When arrested, Castle politely lectured his captors on their immoral and illegal conduct.

In one of his final actions, as he battled with his failing health, Castle helped friends in Scotland operate a soup kitchen, quietly prepping food and washing up behind the scenes.  

Upon hearing of his passing, Greenpeace ships around the world - the Arctic Sunrise, the Esperanza, and the Rainbow Warrior - flew their flags at half mast.

Jon is fondly remembered by his brother David, ex-wife Caroline, their son, Morgan Castle, born in 1982, and their daughter, Eowyn Castle, born in 1984. Morgan has a daughter of eight months Flora, and and Eowyn has a daughter, Rose, who is 2.   

Ulster GAA says the end of the programme is a blow to schools across Northern Ireland.
www.bbc.co.uk | 12/13/18
Schools are relying on charities to provide services for children with mental health problems, MPs hear.
www.bbc.co.uk | 12/5/18
Just under 13% of Northern Ireland's 16 to 24-year-olds are not in work, education or training.
www.bbc.co.uk | 11/22/18

After many run-ins with the paparazzi, Alec Baldwin is extra-protective of his personal space.

Days after he was arrested for an alleged altercation with a man in New York City, the actor posted a photo of a paparazzo seemingly taking photos of him on the street. A source tells PEOPLE that Baldwin, 60, shared the image on Monday to give fans insight how fame affects his daily life.

“The reason he posted the picture this morning is to make it clear how frequently he is provoked and taunted and harassed. They are screaming vile things about his daughter Ireland. They are screaming vile things about his wife. They literally bait him and taunt and physically impede him from getting to his car, his building, you name it,” the source says of paparazzi. “So yeah, a guy like that, with the temper that he himself admits he has, is eventually going to snap and fight back.”

On Friday, the Alec Baldwin Show host was arrested after he allegedly punched a man on East 10th Street between University Place and Broadway, police said. Baldwin was charged at the 6th Precinct and was later photographed arriving at his Manhattan apartment. He will appear in court at a later date, according to the NYPD.

The 30 Rock alum has long had a contentious relationship with reporters and photographers, making headlines for physical altercations with paparazzi in 1995, 2010 and 2012.

RELATED: A History of Alec Baldwin’s Arrests and Other Brushes with the Law

“Sometimes he goes too far,” the source says. “But the things these photographers yell at him are more awful than you can imagine, and most of the world will never hear it. Because only the photos get released, of him looking furious and deranged. Or only the video of the minute he loses it gets put out there— never all the disgusting, taunting provocations he has to listen to beforehand.”

Despite his history, the father of five’s career has remained steady. Though MSNBC canceled his short-lived interview show Up Late after the 2013 incident, he’s since won an Emmy for his portrayal of Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live and hosts Match Game for ABC. Plus, The Alec Baldwin Show premiered on ABC in March.

“He’s not some rage monster who is just going around indiscriminately beating people up,” the source says. “He’s pretty much a one-type offender, and it’s the paps who come after him and his family. Everyone close to him, of course, wishes he could just fully tune them out and ignore them, but honestly, there’s also a ton of empathy for why he can’t,” the source adds.

RELATED VIDEO: Alec Baldwin Leaves Police Precinct After Arrest

In addition to his acting career being unaffected by scandal, Baldwin’s marriage to wife Hilaria remains unchanged. (They share daughter Carmen Gabriela, 5, and sons Rafael Thomas, 3, Leonardo Ángel, 2, and  Romeo Alejandro, 4½ months.)

“He and Hilaria are stronger than ever; he worships her and the kids,” the source says.

people.com | 11/5/18
Elizabeth Coppin spent her youth in abusive schools and workhouses. Now, a U.N. committee on torture has agreed to hear her allegations of systematic human rights violations.
www.nytimes.com | 10/26/18
The Northern Ireland papers tackle Brexit head on as the education funding crisis continues.
www.bbc.co.uk | 10/16/18
Northern Ireland's schools budget has reduced by about 10% in real terms over the past five years.
www.bbc.co.uk | 10/16/18
About 580 schools share lessons, but there is still some opposition to cross-community projects.
www.bbc.co.uk | 10/12/18
The Education Authority gave evidence to the NI Affairs Committee at Westminster on Wednesday.
www.bbc.co.uk | 10/11/18
Universities and further education colleges in NI suffered 16 serious cyber-attacks in 2017/18 compared to three the year before.
www.bbc.co.uk | 9/15/18