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Archive for July, 2012

Sunday June 17

Leinster Hurling Semi Final

Galway 5-23 Offaly 3-15

Munster Hurling Semi Final

Waterford 2-17 Clare 1-18

Leinster Football Quarter Final

Kildare 0-19 Offaly 0-6

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Belize i/bəˈliːz/ (formerly British Honduras) is a country located on the north eastern coast of Central America and it is the only country in the area where English is the official language, although Kriol and Spanish are more commonly spoken. Belize is bordered to the north by Mexico, south and west by Guatemala, and to the east by the Caribbean Sea. Its mainland is about 290 kilometres (180 mi) long and 110 kilometres (68 mi) wide.

With 22,960 square kilometres (8,860 sq mi) of land and a population of only 333,200 inhabitants (2010 est.), Belize possesses the lowest population density in Central America. The country’s population growth rate of 2.21% (2008 est.), however, is the highest in the region and one of the highest in the western hemisphere. Belize’s abundance of terrestrial and marine species, and its diversity of ecosystems give it a key place within the globally significant Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.

Belize has a diverse society, comprising many cultures and languages. It is the only nation in the region with a British colonial heritage, but as a part of the Western Caribbean Zone, it also shares a common heritage with the Caribbean portions of other Central American countries. In general, Belize is considered to be a Central American nation with strong ties to both the Caribbean and Latin America. Belize is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), and Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (SICA).

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Countries of the World.

Belgium (i/ˈbɛldʒəm/ BEL-jəm), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU’s headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO. Belgium covers an area of 30,528 square kilometres (11,787 sq mi), and it has a population of about 11 million people. Straddling the cultural boundary between Germanic and Latin Europe, Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups, the Dutch-speakers, mostly Flemish (about 60%), and the French-speakers, mostly Walloons (about 40%), plus a small group of German-speakers. Belgium’s two largest regions are the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders in the north and the French-speaking southern region of Wallonia. The Brussels-Capital Region, officially bilingual, is a mostly French-speaking enclave within the Flemish Region. A German-speaking Community exists in eastern Wallonia. Belgium’s linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in the political history and a complex system of government.

Historically, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg were known as the Low Countries, which used to cover a somewhat larger area than the current Benelux group of states. The region was called Belgica in Latin because of the Roman province Gallia Belgica which covered more or less the same area. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, it was a prosperous centre of commerce and culture. From the 16th century until the Belgian Revolution in 1830, when Belgium seceded from the Netherlands, many battles between European powers were fought in the area of Belgium, causing it to be dubbed the battleground of Europe, a reputation strengthened by both World Wars.

Upon its independence, Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa. The second half of the 20th century was marked by the rise of contrasts between the Flemish and the Francophones fuelled by differences of language and the unequal economic development of Flanders and Wallonia. This ongoing antagonism has caused far-reaching reforms, changing the formerly unitary Belgian state into a federal state, and a long period of political instability.

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Saturday June 16

Ulster Football Quarter Final

Donegal 2-13 Derry 0-9

Leinster Football Quarter Final Replay

Meath 2-21 Carlow 1-9

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I was made redundant in 2009. Work was scarce so I decided to pursue training courses. After nine months my stamps ran out and I was entitled to no money, because my wife earned too much. However, I continued training with no help from the state. Fast forward to May 2011, I passed a Foundation Course (25 years after doing my Leaving Cert.) which entitled me to pursue a BA in Liberal Arts. I was refused a grant because my wife earns too much (by this stage she was the only breadwinner in the house, which includes my elderly father in law, my unemployed son (who is not entitled to Unemployment Assistance) and we also had to pay our college attending daughter’s fees and accomadation as she was entitled to no assistance. From September, I did receive a Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) which paid the same weekly amount as Unemployment Assistance. In June, I was delighted to discover I had passed all my first year exams.

However, to my horror, I was informed this week that the social welfare had made an error in paying me the BTEA, and that I was now liable to pay all that money back. Despite, my wife and I trying to pay our taxes and playing by the book we are treated this way. I have tried to improve my position through learning and now I will have to stop because of a lack of funds, not only this they are penalising me financially for their mistake. The Irish social welfare system need to re-examine their employment and re-training procedures. In order to stop penalising the hard working people who are trying to make the best of their lot in the current hard times.

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Belarus (i/bɛləˈruːs/ bel-ə-ROOSS; Belarusian: Беларусь, Russian pronunciation: [bʲɛlaˈrusʲ] Russian: Беларусь, Белоруссия, Belarus’, Belorussiya), officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno (Hrodna), Gomel (Homiel), Mogilev (Mahilyow) and Vitebsk (Vitsebsk). Over forty percent of its 207,600 square kilometres (80,200 sq mi) is forested, and its strongest economic sectors are agriculture and manufacturing.

Until the 20th century, the lands of modern-day Belarus belonged to several countries, including the Principality of Polotsk, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Russian Empire. In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, Belarus became a founding constituent republic of the Soviet Union and was renamed as the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (BSSR). The borders of Belarus took their modern shape in 1939 when some lands of the Second Polish Republic were incorporated into it after the Soviet invasion of Poland. The nation and its territory were devastated in World War II, during which Belarus lost about a third of its population and more than half of its economic resources. The republic was redeveloped in the post-war years. In 1945 the Belorussian SSR became a founding member of the United Nations, along with the Soviet Union and the Ukrainian SSR.

The parliament of the republic declared the sovereignty of Belarus on 27 July 1990, and during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Belarus declared independence on 25 August 1991. Alexander Lukashenko has been the country’s president since 1994. Despite objections from Western governments, Lukashenko has continued Soviet-era policies, such as state ownership of the economy. According to some organizations and countries, elections have been unfair, and political opponents have been violently suppressed. In 2000, Belarus and Russia signed a treaty for greater cooperation, with some hints of forming a Union State. Despite its close proximity to the rest of Europe and the West, Belarus’ Democracy Index rating continuously ranks the lowest in Europe, and is labeled as “Not Free” by Freedom House.

Over 70% of Belarus’s population of 9.49 million reside in urban areas. More than 80% of the population are ethnic Belarusians, with sizable minorities of Russians, Poles and Ukrainians. Since a referendum in 1995, the country has had two official languages: Belarusian and Russian. The Constitution of Belarus does not declare an official religion, although the primary religion in the country is Russian Orthodox Christianity. The second most popular, Roman Catholicism, has a much smaller following, although both Orthodox and Catholic versions of Christmas and Easter are celebrated as national holidays. Belarus also has the highest Human Development Index among members of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

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Countries of the World.

Bassas da India (French: Basse de Judie) is part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands. It is an uninhabited, roughly circular atoll about 10 km (6 mi) in diameter, which corresponds to a total size (including lagoon) of 80 km2 (31 sq mi). It is located in the southern Mozambique Channel, about half-way between Madagascar (which is 385 km (239 mi) to the east) and Mozambique, and 110 km (68 mi) northwest of Europa Island. It rises steeply from the seabed 3000 m below. The reef rim averages around 100 m across and completely encloses a shallow lagoon that has a maximum depth of 15 m. Its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 123,700 km2 (47,761 sq mi) is contiguous with that of Europa Island.

The atoll consists of ten barren rocky islets, with no vegetation, totalling 0.2 km² (.077 sq mi) in area. Those on the north and east sides are 2.1 to 3 m high, and those on the west and south sides 1.2 m The reef is completely covered by the sea from 3 hours before to 3 hours after high tide. The coastline of the reef measures 35.2 km (22 mi). The region is subject to cyclones. The atoll has long been a maritime hazard and is the site of numerous shipwrecks.

About 40 and 70 km southwest of Bassas da India are Jaguar Seamount and Hall Tablemount

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