FROM THE SUNDAY papers and beyond, I have 10 questions arising after my second cup of coffee on a humid Sunday in Ireland. It's mainstream Ireland, all around.
1. How many years did it take to sell the first billion GSM phones? 12 years. It took 18 months to sell the second billion.
2. How much revenue does Microsoft Office generate for Microsoft every month? One billion dollars.
3. What will the €31m Cliffs of Moher Experience bring for visitors? Increased parking fees (coaches will pay up to €60) and a circuitous route to the cliffs for visitors. But don't expect any buskers along the route since they're being turfed out by the Clare County Council.
4. What kind of balance sheet has the management of Shannon Airport projected after the US military moves its stopover flights to Germany from next weekend? The airport now projects losses of €10m for the year. US military flights shore up income at Shannon Airport by at least €7m annually.
5. If you are a wanted criminal in Ireland, should you worry about being arrested on a weekend? No. In a front page article in The Sunday Times, "wanted criminals should get the weekend off, according to the Irish Courts Service. It has written to gardai to request that they stop enforcing so many arrest warrants on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays." If police arrest criminals on outstanding warrants during the weekend, a judge must give up weekend time and work during the 24/7 service period specified in benchmarking standards.
6. Who has a World Cup podcast and gets a front page mention on the electronic website of the Sunday Times but nothing mentioned in the pulp edition of the Sunday paper? Baddiel and Skinner.
7. Which prominent Irish politician is the most vain minister in Irish government? Michael McDowell. This past week, he offered himself up to be the leader of the Progressive Democrats. This move comes a few weeks after his disastrous handling of the sex-offenders crisis. McDowell enjoys acting brazenly and he seeks confrontation over consultation.
8. Which tourists are the most dissatisfied with Ireland? Germans. The Irish Tourist Industry Confederation reports that 43% of Germans are dissatisfied with value-for-money while holiday-making in Ireland. In fact, the highest levels of dissatisfaction about Irish prices are recorded in feedback made by tourists from mainland Europe. Ireland's biggest pulling factor remain its people and its scenery--nearly 90% of all tourists give top marks to those two features.
9. What new initiative did the Irish Department of Education launch this past week filled the air with terms like "inclusive" teachers with "high standards" who are "conscientious" and "diligent" while the pupils are "courteous", "well-motivated" and "eager to learn". The "Whole School Evaluation Inspection Reports" were launched with terminology so anodyne as to be meaningless.
10. Who is visiting Cork and staying with Michael Flatley this week? Michael Jackson.
Bonus Link: 10 Questions from last Sunday.
 Victor Keegan -- "Python: the full monty for mobile applications"
 Anil Dash -- "Office 2007 is the bravest upgrade ever"
 Michael Clifford -- "Blue murder over the black cliffs of Moher" in the Sunday Tribune, 25 June 2006.
 Niamh Connolly -- "Shannon to lose €10m following US departure" on the front page of The Sunday Business Post, 25 June 2006.
 Enda Leahy -- "Courts tell gardai to give criminals the weekend off" in The Sunday Times (front page in Ireland), 25 June 2006.
 Avoid the advertisements and get the podcast directly: http://podcast.timesonline.co.uk/serve.php/36/comeonengland.mp3