• Zippyjuan

      by Published on 11-10-2014 08:01 AM

      Those who were not around for the Cold War may not appreciate what a huge symbol the Berlin Wall had during that time.

      When I was in Berlin, the wall was still up. I traveled by train. When it reached the West/ East German border, the crew all got off expect for the engineer who took it across the line. Then an East German Crew took over and checked everybody's travel documents and tickets again. The process repeated at the East Germany/ Berlin border where a West German crew took over again. Visiting the Berlin Wall from the West side, I came across a place where a small crew was making some repairs. There were three workers and each was being watched closely by their own personal armed guard standing right behind them. There was also a group of people on the other side ...
      by Published on 11-05-2014 04:40 PM


      The Democratic Party, however, failed miserably to mobilize millennial voters, a crucial voting bloc that it has come to rely on recently for electoral victory.

      Voters aged 18-29 made up only 13 percent of the total votes cast in the 2014 midterm elections, according to CNN exit polling data. Of this 13 percent, 54 percent went to the Democrats, while only 43 percent went to Republican candidates.

      The problem with these statistics is that that they are either slightly better than what Democrats got in the 2010 midterms or well below what they got in 2012, when President Obama ran for re-election against former Republican ...
      by Published on 11-01-2014 09:14 PM


      Release was not based on whether they thought he deliberately or accidentally brought weapons into Mexico which is a violation of their law but on "humanitarian" reasons- he suffers from PTSD and reportedly tried to kill himself in jail.

      U.S. Marine reservist Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, jailed in Mexico on gun charges since March, was ordered released by a judge in Mexico on Friday, according to documents released by the court.

      The California native, 26, was arrested on March 31 after he says he got lost and crossed the Mexican border with three firearms in his pickup truck. Tahmooressi served two tours of duty in Afghanistan.

      by Published on 10-08-2014 07:35 AM


      (Reuters) - The head of the Nobel Peace Prize committee risks a unprecedented demotion after announcing the 2014 winner next week, part of wider changes that could both tilt the award to the right and dim chances for future U.S. presidents to win.

      The Nobel season of the world's most coveted awards, each worth $1.1 million, opens on Monday with the medicine or physiology prize followed by physics, chemistry, peace and economics. The date for the literature prize has not been set.

      Pope Francis, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, ex-U.S. spy contractor Edward Snowden and Denis Mukwege, a Congolese doctor who helps rape victims, are among bookmakers' favorites from a record
      by Published on 05-23-2014 02:40 PM


      New EU rules want countries to try to include all economic activity- legal and illegal.

      Drug trafficking, prostitution revenue set to boost Italy's GDP result
      Posted Fri 23 May 2014, 1:35pm AEST

      Italy has announced it will start including estimated revenues from prostitution and illegal drug sales in official gross domestic product (GDP) figures.

      The country's National Institute of Statistics says starting next year, the GDP result will also include estimates on the value of the black market in cigarettes and alcohol.

      The move has been driven by new European Union rules requiring nations to include all activities that produce income in their national accounts, regardless of their legality.

      The institute says the procedure would be it will be "very difficult for the obvious reason that these illegal activities are not reported".
      by Published on 04-04-2014 10:26 AM

      Economic warfare. When the former Ukranian leader moved to closer ties with Russia, they promised him cheaper energy prices. Now he is gone, they are going to raise prices to Ukraine by 70% and are demanding immediate payment for money owed already. Crimean energy supplies must go through Ukraine territory so not likely they would cut supplies to Ukraine altogether.

      Russian supplier of natural gas hikes prices to Ukraine by 70%

      Russian gas giant Gazprom on Thursday urged Ukraine to pay its debt, and announced a 70 per cent rise in the charge for future supplies.

      Ukraine relies on Russia for the greater part of its energy consumption. Russia earlier this month cancelled a discount to Ukraine, a few weeks after pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country and an interim government stepped in.

      Gazprom said in a statement on Thursday that Ukraine "must take urgent steps to clear the debt that has accumulated." Gazprom's chief executive Alexei Miller met with Oleksiy Kobolev, head of Ukrainian state-owned Naftogaz, in Moscow on Thursday.

      Two days ago Gazprom announced a 44 per cent hike in the natural gas price for Ukraine starting from April 1 to $385.5 US per 1,000 cubic metres. This latest rise takes the price to $485 US per 1,000 cubic metres. ​

      Miller, who then met with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, said that his company is scrapping the remaining discount to Ukraine and will be charging it 70 per cent more starting this month, Russian news agencies reported.
      Continued: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/gazp...bill-1.2597075
      by Published on 02-08-2014 04:37 PM


      WASHINGTON (AP) — In an assertion of same-sex marriage rights, Attorney General Eric Holder is applying a landmark Supreme Court ruling to the Justice Department, announcing Saturday that same-sex spouses cannot be compelled to testify against each other, should be eligible to file for bankruptcy jointly and are entitled to the same rights and privileges as federal prison inmates in opposite-sex marriages.

      The Justice Department runs a number of benefits programs, and Holder says same-sex couples will qualify for them. They include the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and benefits to surviving spouses of public safety officers who suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries in the line of duty.

      "In every courthouse, in every proceeding and in every place where a member of the Department of Justice stands on behalf of the United States, they will strive to ensure that same-sex marriages receive the same privileges, protections and rights as opposite-sex marriages under federal law," Holder said in prepared remarks to the Human Rights Campaign in New York. The advocacy group works on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equal rights.

      Just as in the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, the stakes in the current generation over same-sex marriage rights "could not be higher," said Holder.
      More at link.
      by Published on 10-17-2013 08:35 AM


      UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. General Assembly elects five new members to the Security Council on Thursday and the winners are virtually certain because there are no contested races — Nigeria, Chad, Saudi Arabia, Lithuania and Chile.

      Chad, Saudi Arabia and Lithuania have never served on the U.N.'s most powerful body while Nigeria and Chile have both been on the council four times previously.

      Security Council seats are highly coveted because they give countries a strong voice in matters dealing with international peace and security, such as Syria, sanctions against Iran and North Korea and the U.N.'s far-flung peacekeeping operations.
      by Published on 09-17-2013 07:33 PM

      From Associated Press
      September 17, 2013 1:26 PM EST

      RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil plans to divorce itself from the U.S.-centric Internet over Washington's widespread online spying, a move that many experts fear will be a potentially dangerous first step toward fracturing a global network built with minimal interference by governments.

      President Dilma Rousseff ordered a series of measures aimed at greater Brazilian online independence and security following revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency intercepted her communications, hacked into the state-owned Petrobras oil company's network and spied on Brazilians who entrusted their personal data to U.S. tech companies such as Facebook and Google.

      The leader is so angered by the espionage that on Tuesday she postponed next month's scheduled trip to Washington, where she was to be honored with a state dinner.

      Internet security and policy experts say the Brazilian government's reaction to information leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is understandable, but warn it could set the Internet on a course of Balkanization.

      "The global backlash is only beginning and will get far more severe in coming months," said Sascha Meinrath, director of the Open Technology Institute at the Washington-based New America Foundation think tank. "This notion of national privacy sovereignty is going to be an increasingly salient issue around the globe."

      by Published on 09-11-2013 11:51 AM


      WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States could default on its obligations as early as Oct. 18 if Washington fails to agree on legislation to raise the government's borrowing cap, a new study predicted Tuesday.

      The Bipartisan Policy Center analysis says the default date would come no later than Nov. 5 and that the government would quickly fall behind on its payments, including Social Security benefits and military pensions.

      The think tank's estimate is in line with a warning last month by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew that the government would exhaust its borrowing authority by mid-October and be left with just $50 billion cash on hand.

      The government has never defaulted on its obligations. Raising the $16.7 trillion borrowing cap promises to be a major struggle for House Republicans and President Barack Obama.

      Two years ago Obama agreed to pair a $2.1 trillion increase in the debt limit with an equivalent amount in spending cuts spread over 10 years. But the president now says that he won't negotiate over the debt limit and is asking Congress to send him a straightforward increase that would ensure the government can pay its bills.

      In January, House Republicans permitted an increase in the debt ceiling without demanding offsetting spending cuts.

      It's commonly agreed that failure to increase the debt limit on time would roil financial markets and lead to a downgrade of the government's credit rating. The political fallout would also be intense, especially if Social Security benefits are delayed.

      Tuesday's study predicts that if the default date — which is when the government cannot pay its bills in full and on time — comes on Oct. 18, the subsequent Social Security payments due on Nov. 1 could be delayed by almost two weeks.
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