NY Times: Large Scale Wars Needed for Economic Growth

Monday, 23 June 2014

It is no secret that as the US centrally-planned New Normal has unfolded, one after another central-planner and virtually all economists, have been caught wrong-footed with their constant predictions of an “imminent” economic surge, any minute now, and always just around the corner. And yet, nearly six years after Lehman, five years after the end of the last “recession” (even as the depression for most rages on), America is about to have its worst quarter in decades (excluding the great financial crisis), with a -2% collapse in GDP, which has been blamed on… the weather. Continue reading “NY Times: Large Scale Wars Needed for Economic Growth”

Nazi Veterans Created Illegal Army

By Klaus Wiegrefe

Newly discovered documents show that in the years after World War II, former members of the Nazi Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS formed a secret army to protect the country from the Soviets. The illegal project could have sparked a major scandal at the time.

For nearly six decades, the 321-page file lay unnoticed in the archives of the BND, Germany’s foreign intelligence agency — but now its contents have revealed a new chapter of German postwar history that is as spectacular as it is mysterious.

English: German soldiers (wearing distinctive ...

The previously secret documents reveal the existence of a coalition of approximately 2,000 former officers — veterans of the Nazi-era Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS — who decided to put together an army in postwar Germany in 1949. They made their preparations without a mandate from the German government, without the knowledge of the parliament and, the documents show, by circumventing Allied occupation forces. Continue reading “Nazi Veterans Created Illegal Army”

As Ukraine tumbles into all-out ‘war,’ Russia escalates rhetoric

Kremlin likens violence in contested areas to WWII-era atrocities

AFP-JIJI, AP, Reuters, Bloomberg

May 4, 2014

MOSCOW/KIEV/UNITED NATIONS – Russian official rhetoric has increasingly compared events in Ukraine to the darkest crimes of Nazi Germany as the anniversary of Soviet victory in World War II approaches this week.

Since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine, Russian television and officials have made frequent references to the “fascists” Moscow claims are now running Ukraine. But the latest outbreak of deadly violence has seen the propaganda reach new heights, analysts said. Continue reading “As Ukraine tumbles into all-out ‘war,’ Russia escalates rhetoric”

Wealth of US middle class now lower than Canada’s – report

Published time: April 23, 2014 00:59

Reuters / Emmanuel Foudrot

Reuters / Emmanuel Foudrot

American workers who previously made up the wealthiest middle class in the world have lost that distinction, according to new research that attributes the economic stagnation on rising income inequality in the US.

Economic growth in the US continues to be as strong if not stronger than other developed nations, although fewer Americans are reaping the benefit of their hard work. An analysis of income and spending numbers published Tuesday by the New York Times indicated that the wealthiest tax brackets are enjoying more financial growth, while the lower and middle income tiers are now lagging behind their counterparts throughout the world. Continue reading “Wealth of US middle class now lower than Canada’s – report”

If Russia Gets Crimea, Should Germany Get Kaliningrad?

  • By Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber
  • Mar. 20 2014 21:29
Vladimir Filonov / MTA view of the Gothic-style Konigsberg Cathedral in Kaliningrad, Russia.

In the tug-of-war between Russia and the West, some states are apparently more equal than others when it comes to correcting “mistakes” of the past.

In his speech to the nation on Tuesday, President Vladimir Putin said that Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s decision to hand Crimea to the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic in 1954 was a “clear violation of the constitutional norms that were in place even then.” Putin depicted the annexation of Crimea as correcting a “historical error,” arguing that the region has played a vital role in Russia’s history and culture for centuries. Continue reading “If Russia Gets Crimea, Should Germany Get Kaliningrad?”

Crimea crisis stirs dispute over Russian-held islands off Hokkaido

A high school student prays at the grave of a Japanese resident of Etorofu, off Hokkaido, during a rare visit to the Russian-held island in 2007. |AFP-JIJI

Scenes of apparent Russian troops in southern Ukraine are stirring up grim memories half a world away among Japanese who were forced off their islands by Soviet troops in the last days of World War II.

Tokyo and Moscow remain at odds over the sliver of a Russian-held archipelago off Hokkaido, with the nearly 70-year-old dispute long stalling a bilateral post-war peace treaty, despite warming diplomatic and economic ties.

The Ukraine crisis, now centered on the Crimean Peninsula, has also created a big diplomatic headache for conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as he tries to strike a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the territorial dispute while joining Western allies in condemning the apparent deployment of Russian forces into Crimea. Continue reading “Crimea crisis stirs dispute over Russian-held islands off Hokkaido”

Tank-commanding anime girls capture fans for SDF ( Japan )

–  decade ago, around one in 10 candidates said they wanted to be a soldier for love of country. These days it’s closer to one in three

TOKYO —

By Tim Kelly and Nobuhiro Kubo Mar. 16, 2014 – 06:25AM JST

Being a soldier in Japan after World War Two was seen as a job for failed police recruits and unemployed youth from depressed rural towns. But as tension with China chips away at Japan’s postwar pacifism, the military is regaining its prestige – helped by a blitz of television dramas, movies and anime.

Patriotic zeal is now a more compelling reason to enlist. A decade ago, around one in 10 candidates said they wanted to be a soldier for love of country. These days it’s closer to one in three, according to recruitment data obtained by Reuters. Continue reading “Tank-commanding anime girls capture fans for SDF ( Japan )”

China starts shooting Unit 731 documentary

(Xinhua) 08:01, February 20, 2014

HARBIN, Feb. 19 — Filming of a documentary about the atrocities of Japan’s notorious Unit 731 during World War II (WWII) began in the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin on Wednesday.

English: Unit 731 Complex
English: Unit 731 Complex (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The documentary entitled “731” will interview witnesses and scholars and disclose historical archives.

The documentary, consisting of five 60-minute episodes, will be jointly shot by the Harbin municipal government and China Central Television. It is expected to be broadcast by the end of the year. Continue reading “China starts shooting Unit 731 documentary”

CNN removes scandalous comment on WWII monument

February 07, 17:43
CNN has removed from its website the mischievous comment by Iain Aitch on the ten monuments across the world, which the headline of the comment described as the ‘ugliest’ ones

TASS/Fotokhronika

NEW YORK, February 07. /ITAR-TASS/. CNN has removed from its website the mischievous comment by Iain Aitch on the ten monuments across the world, which the headline of the comment described as the ‘ugliest’ ones. Continue reading “CNN removes scandalous comment on WWII monument”

China Japan Diplomacy quickly crossing the Rubicon

China hits back at Abe over World War I analogy

Jan. 25, 2014 – 04:18PM JST

China hits back at Abe over World War I analogy
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on January 22, 2014 in MontreuxAFP

DAVOS —

China has hit back at Japan’s Prime Minister over a claim that current tensions in East Asia are akin to those between Britain and Germany on the eve of World War I.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Friday, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said he believed the analogy employed by Japanese premier Shinzo Abe was misplaced.

In the latest salvo in a simmering diplomatic spat, Wang also reiterated China’s anger over Abe’s recent visit to a shrine which honors the memory of 14 convicted war criminals along with millions of other Japanese war dead. Continue reading “China Japan Diplomacy quickly crossing the Rubicon”

Dropping ‘no-war’ pledge a part of Abe’s strategy

 

By CAI HONG, ZHOU WA and REN QI (China Daily) 08:41, January 20, 2014

Increases the bookmark digg Google Delicious buzz friendfeed Linkedin diigo stumbleupon Qzone QQ Microblog Experts say move represents another gesture embracing militarist past

A longtime no-war pledge has disappeared from Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party’s annual working policy revealed on Sunday, while the ruling party vowed to continue visits to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine and push ahead constitutional revision, in another move leading the country in a far-right direction, observers said.

At its 81st LDP annual convention in Tokyo, the party removed the pledge that Japan would “never wage a war”, China Central Television reported on Sunday. Continue reading “Dropping ‘no-war’ pledge a part of Abe’s strategy”

China memorial to Korean assassin sparks Japan feud

Politics Jan. 20, 2014 – 02:59PM JST

China memorial to Korean assassin sparks Japan feud
South Korean conservative activists burn placards during a protest to complain against Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visiting the Yasukuni war shrine, in Seoul on Dec 27.AFP

BEIJING —

A new Asian diplomatic row broke out Monday after China unveiled a memorial to a Korean national hero who assassinated a Japanese official a century ago—with Tokyo condemning him as a “terrorist”.

In 1909, Ahn Jung-Geun shot and killed Hirobumi Ito, Japan’s first prime minister and its top official in Japanese-occupied Korea, at the railway station in the northeast Chinese city of Harbin.

Ahn was hanged by Japanese forces the following year, when Korea also formally became a Japanese colony, heralding a brutal occupation that lasted until the end of World War II in 1945. Continue reading “China memorial to Korean assassin sparks Japan feud”

Japan’s population falls by record 244,000 in 2013

National Jan. 02, 2014 – 06:20AM JST

Japan's population falls by record 244,000 in 2013
Japan’s population fell by a record 244,000 in 2013, according to health ministry estimates released on Wednesday, highlighting concerns over an ever-dwindling workforce supporting a growing number of pensionersAFP

TOKYO —

Japan’s population fell by a record 244,000 in 2013, according to health ministry estimates released on Wednesday, highlighting concerns over an ever-dwindling workforce supporting a growing number of pensioners. Continue reading “Japan’s population falls by record 244,000 in 2013”

Attrition: Fighter Pilots Doomed By Poverty

 

 

December 30, 2013: The political battles over chronic deficit spending in the United States has led to sharp and often unexpected cuts in the military budget over the last few years. This has forced the U.S. Air force to make major cuts in the hours combat pilots fly for training. The latest cut reduces many pilots to 120 hours a year. That’s about half of what it was a decade ago. There is concern that this will threaten the domination of the air the United States has had since World War II. Moreover it’s been over 60 years since any American troops have been attacked from the air. Much of that is attributed to high number of hours American pilots spend training in the air each year. But with it costing over $20,000 an hour to keep combat aircraft in the air many military budgets can’t handle it. Continue reading “Attrition: Fighter Pilots Doomed By Poverty”

China must retaliate for Japanese prime minister’s war shrine visit: official media

Official media warns China will become a ‘paper tiger’ if countermeasures against Japan are not taken over Yasukuni visit

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 December, 2013, 11:46am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 December, 2013, 12:16pm

Agence France-Presse in Beijing

abe_pek50_40011785.jpg

Japan’s ambassador to China Masato Kitera (centre) in Beijing after being summoned by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Photo: Reuters

China must take “excessive” counter-measures after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s controversial war shrine visit, state-run media urged on Friday, reflecting the smouldering resentment among Chinese at its onetime invader. Continue reading “China must retaliate for Japanese prime minister’s war shrine visit: official media”

People born in the 1960s and 1970s will have to rely on inheritances if they are to be better off than their parents in retirement, a study has found

Post-war pensions boom ‘is coming to an end’

Only people who receive a large inheritance will be able to enjoy a more   comfortable old-age than previous generations, Institute for Fiscal Studies   report finds

Pension, senior woman holding coins

People born in the 1960s and 1970s will have to rely on inheritances if they are to be better off than their parents in retirement, a study has found Photo: PA

<!– remove the whitespace added by escenic before end of tag –>

12:01AM GMT 17 Dec 2013

People born in the 1960s and 1970s face becoming the first generation since   the Second World War who will be worse off than their parents in retirement,   a new study has warned.

The children of these decades are less likely to own a property, will have   smaller state and private pensions, and have no more savings or income than   their predecessors.

The only way in which they are better off is that they believe they are more   likely to receive an inheritance, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)   economic think-tank found.

Only those who receive a large bequest from their parents or grandparents can   expect to enjoy a more comfortable retirement than the generations who came   before them, the report concluded.  Continue reading “People born in the 1960s and 1970s will have to rely on inheritances if they are to be better off than their parents in retirement, a study has found”

Forgotten Soldiers / A cache of musty documents lost to memory exposes a time when the U.S. lobotomized some 2,000 veterans. The nation forgot

A cache of musty documents lost to memory exposes a time when the U.S. lobotomized some 2,000 veterans. The nation forgot. But Roman Tritz remembers.
Jenn Ackerman and Tim Gruber for The Wall Street Journal

Roman Tritz’s memories of the past six decades are blurred by age and delusion. But one thing he remembers clearly is the fight he put up the day the orderlies came for him.

“They got the notion they were going to come to give me a lobotomy,” says Mr. Tritz, a World War II bomber pilot. “To hell with them.”

The orderlies at the veterans hospital pinned Mr. Tritz to the floor, he recalls. He fought so hard that eventually they gave up. But the orderlies came for him again on Wednesday, July 1, 1953, a few weeks before his 30th birthday.

This time, the doctors got their way.

Continue reading “Forgotten Soldiers / A cache of musty documents lost to memory exposes a time when the U.S. lobotomized some 2,000 veterans. The nation forgot”

Thousands protest against tough new official secrets law ( Japan )

By Kiyoshi Takenaka

Politics Nov. 22, 2013 – 06:42AM JST ( 23 )

TOKYO —

Thousands of people protested in Tokyo on Thursday against a proposed secrets act that critics say would stifle information on issues such as the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

The law, proposed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government, would significantly broaden the definition of official secrets, which Abe says is vital for strengthening security cooperation with main ally the United States and other countries.

Tough secrecy regulations before and during World War Two have long made such legislation taboo, but the law is expected to pass when it comes to a vote next week, given the comfortable majority the ruling coalition has in both houses of parliament.

Continue reading “Thousands protest against tough new official secrets law ( Japan )”

Japan, Russia Cosy Up As China Dispute Simmers

Oct. 31, 2013 – 02:28PM
By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, pictured, and Foreign Affairs Minister Fumio Kishida will meet with Russian counterparts Friday.

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, pictured, and Foreign Affairs Minister Fumio Kishida will meet with Russian counterparts Friday. (Toshifumi Kitamura / AFP)

TOKYO — Tokyo will play host to the foreign and defense ministers of Russia from Friday, the latest stage of a burgeoning relationship that represents a rare neighborly entente for Japan.

Sergei Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu will meet their Japanese counterparts Fumio Kishida and Itsunori Onodera in Tokyo in a so-called “2+2,” something that Japan has only ever done before with the United States and Australia.

The visit comes after four separate summit talks between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin over the past six months, an unusual frequency for such high-level exchanges.

In their one-on-one meeting Friday, Lavrov and Kishida are expected to discuss a decades-old territorial row that has prevented the two countries ever signing a peace treaty after World War II.

The following day, the 2+2 will touch on ways to strengthen security co-operation, a Japanese foreign ministry official said.

The meeting “is expected to have an indirect, but positive impact on future talks towards a peace treaty, by building trust between the countries,” the official said.

Despite an important commercial relationship, which includes a growing trade in fossil fuels, Tokyo and Moscow remain at odds over the sovereignty of islands north of the Japanese island of Hokkaido.

The islands, which Japan calls the Northern Territories, but Russia administers as the Southern Kurils, were occupied by Soviet troops in the dying days of World War II.

The small Japanese population was evicted and the USSR peopled the archipelago as part of a drive to consolidate control over its wild east. They remain under-developed, but harbor rich fishing reserves.

“We’ve seen President Putin’s enthusiasm towards improving ties with Japan, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that Russia is ready to make a compromise on the territorial issue,” the official said.

Relatively warm relations with Russia stand in marked contrast with Japan’s ties to China and South Korea.

Tokyo is embroiled in a bitter dispute with Beijing over the ownership of a chain of islands in the East China Sea which is largely being played out by cat and mouse games between coastguards from both sides and occasional invective.

The row took a sharp turn for the worse last week when Beijing said Tokyo’s reported plan to shoot down drones encroaching on its airspace would be “an act of war”.

Japan parried with accusations that China was endangering peace in the region.

A pair of sparsely populated islets that sit between Japan and the Korean peninsula are the focus of a separate squabble between Tokyo and Seoul.

While the disputes are nominally territorial, they are fanned by unresolved historical differences and growing nationalism.

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20131031/DEFREG03/310310014/Japan-Russia-Cosy-Up-China-Dispute-Simmers?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p

Why the Germans can’t help being rude: Historic divisions mean they are used to being surrounded by enemies

EEV: ???

 

 

  • Germans  like ‘stability and structure’ because of nation’s fractured  past
  • Respected German institute produce video showing the difference between them and their foreign counterparts

By  Hayley O’keeffe

PUBLISHED: 23:40 EST, 17  October 2013 |  UPDATED: 07:20 EST, 18 October 2013

As the old stereotype goes, German people are  always first to bag the sun loungers, and always last to say thank  you.

The Goethe Institute, which is Germany’s  equivalent of The British Council, claims that a number of factors could  explain away the  stereotype.

Famed for their punctuality, they also have a  reputation for getting straight to the point – which can be perceived as rude by  the British.

Scroll down  for video

Germans are stereotypically thought of as the first with their towels on the sunloungers (posed by models)Germans are stereotypically thought of as the first with  their towels on the sunloungers (posed by models)

 

 

The explanation is that the country’s  centuries old divisions may make some feel like they are ‘surrounded by  enemies’.

Because of the nation’s fractured past,  Germans hold stability, structure and order in high regard.

The Goethe Institute have produced a video  which explain the misconceptions – and how Germans differ from people of  different nationalities.

In the clip, a German man is seen standing  upright and to attention with a handful of documents while the foreigner –  possibly British – sits in a slouched position.

Christine Jansen of the Amsterdam branch of  the Goethe Institute told website The  Local: ‘We  produced the films as a starting point of a discussion about cultural  differences when doing business with Germans.’

She added: ‘The video-makers attribute  Germans’ tendency to avoid personal matters in favour of getting straight to the  point to history.

‘They say the historic division of Germany  into several smaller states meant Germans were constantly surrounded by enemies  and they kept themselves to themselves.’

But Jansen told The Local that the mention of  Germany being surrounded by enemies was not a reference to the Second World War  and that there had been some criticism of that part of the video.

 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2465656/Ever-German-people-rude-New-videos-released-cultural-institute-explain-words.html#ixzz2i69ex95K Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

The secret life of science in the second world war

 

 

 

“As long as the Nazis are seen as the epitome of evil, there will be a demand for explanations” (Image: Topham Picturepoint)

From Churchill’s nuclear predictions to Darwin’s influence on the Nazis, four books explore the deeper levels of a history that continues to fascinate us

THE idea that we can learn from the past and avoid repeating it makes sense only if someone else is around to remember what happened. Historians have been aided in this task by memory traces that increase in quantity and quality the closer we get to the present. A watershed was reached in the second world war, the first major international conflict to be readily available to the mass media.

But why are we still fascinated by an event that ended nearly 70 years ago? Part of the answer is because so many people who are still living were involved in or affected by the war. Another part lies in a need to settle old scores, especially with the Nazis. As long as they are seen as the epitome of evil, there will be a demand for explanations that enable us to cordon off that “evil”. And then there is the worry that we too may be living in times when the heady mix of science, power and exigency could result in actions as extreme as the ones taken by the Nazis and their opponents.

It is rare to see anyone stressing the positive legacies of the second world war for science and technology. These are fairly obvious: the research agendas of nuclear energy, rocketry, genetics, cancer and ecology were all expedited by the war. Arguably the threat of sustained military engagement has the best track record in hastening the advancement of science and technology. Academia and market forces can appear desultory by comparison, as the efforts of the former are divided into ever more specialised problems, and those of the latter are expended in chasing fickle consumers. There is nothing like the fear of annihilation to focus the best minds on taking us to the next level of technical achievement. Certainly this was Winston Churchill’s opinion.

As biographer Graham Farmelo shows in Churchill’s Bomb, Churchill managed to redeem his faltering performance as a minister in the first world war by elevating the “atomic bomb” from a neologism created by H. G. Wells to an existential risk in one deft essay, “Shall We All Commit Suicide?” Published in 1924, the essay stands as a brilliant testimony to the power of science fiction to fuel the political imagination.

Three other recently published books attack the Nazis from various angles. Was Hitler a Darwinian? is a “greatest hits” package from Robert J. Richards, a US historian of evolutionary theory, that aims to settle scores against historians on both the political left and right who, he thinks, overplay Darwin’s influence on the Nazi imagination.

Population control

Richards sees this problem as urgent. But he never quite explains why, and ends up devoting much space to the obvious non-Darwinian roots of Hitler’s racism and anti-semitism, which was to do with a kind of biblical naturalism that would have black people descend from cursed sons of Noah, and Jews cursed for having killed Christ.

He becomes more interesting when he discusses the tortured arguments of the professional biologists at the time. These are very much worth revisiting today.

Unfortunately, there is an elephant in the room: “racial hygiene”, the most influential German medical ideology in the 50 years preceding the second world war. Unlike the biblically based racists, the biologists raised issues of population control, euthanasia and eugenics. They targeted “counter-selectionist” social policies that perpetuated the lives of “unfit” people who would have perished (or never have been born) had natural selection been given a free hand. Policies such as mass vaccination were held responsible for rates of population growth and resource consumption that allegedly stoked imperial expansion – and the violent reactions to it.

Racial hygienists generally positioned themselves on the political left, identifying with ecological and pacifist causes. Their intellectual leader, Alfred Ploetz, was both a Nobel peace prize nominee and a Nazi. On all this Richards is conspicuously – and regrettably – silent.

It is relatively easy to show the Darwinian roots of Nazism, compared to the much harder task of demonstrating the mental pathology of Nazi politicians and scientists. In The Nazi and the Psychiatrist, journalist Jack El-Hai gives a fresh twist to the failure of US military psychiatrists to arrive at a morally satisfying diagnosis of the Nazi leaders for “crimes against humanity”.

He approaches the matter from the perspective of US Military Intelligence Corps officer Douglas Kelley, who was chief psychiatrist at Nuremberg Prison during the war trials. Kelley could not see much difference between the personality of Hitler’s heir apparent, Hermann Göring, and that of a highly motivated top corporate executive. El-Hai suggests that Kelley shared some of these qualities, and Kelley even ended his life Göring-style, by taking a cyanide capsule.

A subtler moral appraisal lies in science writer Philip Ball’s Serving the Reich, which focuses on the physics community. It generally confirms a thesis introduced by historian Ute Deichmann in her book, Biologists under Hitler. She argued that scientists (especially non-Jewish ones) found Nazism a permissive, even proactive regime for scientific research, but they suffered when the international community began to refuse to engage with them because it could not tolerate the Nazi society.

The Deichmann thesis scuppers the idea that deformities in Nazi science were attributable to an “unfree society”. They were simply the result of isolation, which continued after the war through a taboo on references to Nazi research.

Ball supports this view by highlighting the Rockefeller Foundation’s shifting position on the Nazi regime’s viability for cutting-edge research. The US-based foundation was interested in improving the human condition biologically, and wanted to involve physicists and chemists. Germany was a natural place to find talent. When the foundation severed ties, its decision was less influenced by the removal of Jewish scientists from major posts than by the destabilising effect that this and other political interventions had on the general research climate.

The German scientists did not help their case by keeping arms’ length from Nazi decision-making. This merely made them appear clueless and unreliable. Had the German scientific community been a more consolidated and visible presence in Nazi policy, the Rockefeller might have continued its support.

Against this backdrop, Ball provides an interesting twist on Werner Heisenberg’s failure to realise a Nazi atomic bomb. The dominant narrative, constructed by wartime Dutch-US physicist Samuel Goudsmit, was that the “unfree society” of the Nazi physicists closed them to the necessary information. What really happened was that the rest of the scientific world gradually closed its doors to the Nazis because it could not tolerate their society.

We have yet to disprove the hypothesis that an open-door policy to an authoritarian regime would lead to superior science. In our time, China may be the test case: its capacity for cutting-edge science has been increased by the West’s self-interested open-door policy on scientific knowledge.

This article appeared in print under the headline “The war with a past that never ends”

Steve Fuller is the Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology at the University of Warwick, UK

 

 

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22029384.300-the-secret-life-of-science-in-the-second-world-war.html?full=true#.Ulym5MHn_Vg

Bob Geldof has warned that the human race may be extinct within 15 years because of climate change

‘We’re facing a mass extinction event,’ claims Bob Geldof

Live Aid founder and activist Bob Geldof has warned that the human race may be extinct within 15 years because of climate change.

Bob Geldof

Bob Geldof addressing the One Young World summit in Johannesburg Photo: THEMBA HADEBE/AP

 

By Rebecca Burn-Callander, Johannesburg

2:26PM BST 03 Oct 2013

“The world can decide in a fit of madness to kill itself,” announced Bob Geldof at the launch of the One Young World summit in Johannesburg. “Sometimes progress may not be possible.

“We’re in a very fraught time,” he added. “There will be a mass extinction event. That could happen on your watch.

“The signs are that it will happen and soon.”

Sir Bob, wearing his trademark sunglasses, addressed 8,000 One Young World delegates from 190 nations across the world in Soccer City, Johannesburg last night. He is a counsellor for the organisation, which hopes to inspire and create the next generation of global leaders.

The Live Aid founder and one-time Boomtown rat announced that his generation has let down the young people of today. “My generation has failed more than others. You cannot let your generation fail. The next war will not be a World War 1 or a World War 2, it will be the end.

Attendees shouted and blew on thousands of vuvuzelas as Sir Bob added: ” We may not get to 2030. We need to address the problem of climate change urgently. What are you going to do about it? Get serious. Some of the nations that arrived here so proudly will not be there to meet us.”

However, the singer tried to inject a note of positivism into his gloomy predictions. “Just because you may not believe that progress is possible, that should not prevent you from trying for it,” he said. “The alternative is finality.

“We need to be more human. Less Irish. Less Cameroonian. Less Chinese. Less Russian. More human.”

However, Sir Bob then disappeared down a philosophical route that baffled most of the audience, many of whom do not count English as a first language. “The ordinary trouble of ordinary days doesn’t seem to matter much,” he sighed. “We are in the great existential age of our humanity. We somehow feel we’ve missed something’s that’s greater than ourselves and we don’t know what it is or how to find it.”

He finished his address apologising for being “bloody miserable”. “Just get on with it,” he told delegates, before leaving the stage.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/globalwarming/10353206/Were-facing-a-mass-extinction-event-claims-Bob-Geldof.html

Obama admin. knew about WWII veterans’ request and rejected it

Posted By Charles C. Johnson On 5:20 PM  10/01/2013 In US |

The White House and the Department of the Interior rejected a request from Rep. Steven Palazzo’s office to have World War II veterans visit the World War II memorial in Washington, the Mississippi Republican told The Daily Caller Tuesday.

Palazzo helped the veterans commit an act of civil disobedience against the Park Service Tuesday, when the heroes stormed through barricades around the closed memorial. (Related: WWII vets storm closed memorial as GOP congressman reportedly distracts cops)

The veterans were visiting the memorial as part of Honor Flight, a non-profit that provides veterans free transport to the nation’s capital to visit the memorials to the wars they fought in.

“We got the heads up that they will be barricaded and specifically asked for an exception for these heroes,” Palazzo told TheDC. “We were denied and told, ‘It’s a government shutdown, what do you expect?’ when we contacted the liaison for the White House.”

Palazzo’s office was in touch with the heads of the National Park Service, the Department of the Interior and the Capitol Police. He says all these officials rejected his request to allow the veterans, many of whom are octogenarians and some of whom are in poor health, to attend.

Palazzo, a Gulf War Marine veteran who has participated in all five of the Honor Flights, blames the White House for making it harder on veterans and playing politics. “At first I thought it was a huge bureaucratic oversight,” Palazzo told The Daily Caller, “but having talked with the officials I can’t help but think this was politically motivated. Honor Flights, which bring WWII veterans to the nation’s memorials, are planned a year in advance and cost anywhere between $80,000 to $100,000. How low can you get with playing politics over our nation’s veterans?”

In a statement, Palazzo noted that he is introducing legislation to ensure that all Honor Flights are granted access this week. “This is an open-air memorial that the public has 24/7 access to under normal circumstances — even when Park Service personnel aren’t present,” Palazzo said in the statement. “It actually requires more effort and expense to shut out these veterans from their Memorial than it would to simply let them through. My office has been in touch with NPS officials and the Administration to try to resolve this issue.”

Follow Charles on Twitter


Article printed from The Daily Caller: http://dailycaller.com

URL to article: http://dailycaller.com/2013/10/01/obama-admin-knew-about-wwii-veterans-request-and-rejected-it/

Employment gap between America’s rich and poor at widest level on record – with lowest earners at same jobless rate as the Great Depression

By  Associated Press and Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 09:28 EST, 16  September 2013 |  UPDATED: 09:32 EST, 16 September 2013

The gap in employment rates between America’s  highest- and lowest-income families has stretched to its widest levels since  officials began tracking the data a decade ago, according to new  analysis.

Rates of unemployment for the lowest-income  families – those earning less than $20,000 – have topped 21 percent, nearly  matching the rate for all workers during the 1930s Great Depression.

But Monday’s Associated Press report shows  U.S. households with an income of more than $150,000 a year have an unemployment  rate of 3.2 percent, a level traditionally defined as full employment.

Different paths: The gap in employment rates between America's highest- and lowest-income families has stretched to its widest levels since officials began tracking the data a decade ago 

Different paths: The gap in employment rates between  America’s highest- and lowest-income families has stretched to its widest levels  since officials began tracking the data a decade ago

 

Mind the gap: The new research show an alarming divide in employment between the rich and poor 

Mind the gap: The new research show an alarming divide  in employment between the rich and poor

 

At the same time, middle-income workers are  increasingly pushed into lower-wage jobs.

Many of them in turn are displacing  lower-skilled, low-income workers, who become unemployed or are forced to work  fewer hours, the analysis shows.

‘This was no ‘equal opportunity’ recession or  an ‘equal opportunity’ recovery,’ said Andrew Sum, director of the Center for  Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University.

‘One part of America is in depression, while  another part is in full employment,’ Sum added.

The findings follow the government’s tepid  jobs report this month that showed a steep decline in the share of Americans  working or looking for work.

On Sunday, President Barack Obama stressed  the need to address widening inequality, warning that proposed budget cuts will  worsen the gap.

Qualified: 'It's pretty frustrating,' says Annette Guerra, 33, of San Antonio, who has been looking for a full-time job since she finished nursing school more than a year ago 

Qualified: ‘It’s pretty frustrating,’ says Annette  Guerra, 33, of San Antonio, who has been looking for a full-time job since she  finished nursing school more than a year ago

 

Downward spiral: Trained middle-income workers are increasingly pushed into lower-wage jobs, displacing lower-skilled and low-income workers, who become unemployed or are forced to work fewer hours 

Downward spiral: Trained middle-income workers are  increasingly pushed into lower-wage jobs, displacing lower-skilled and  low-income workers, who become unemployed or are forced to work fewer  hours

 

‘The folks in the middle and at the bottom  haven’t seen wage or income growth,’ Obama said on ABC’s This Week.

While the link between income and joblessness  may seem apparent, the data are the first to establish how this factor has  contributed to the erosion of the middle class, a traditional strength of the  U.S. economy.

Based on employment-to-population ratios,  which are seen as a reliable gauge of the labor market, the employment disparity  between rich and poor households remains at the highest levels in more than a  decade, the period for which comparable data are available.

‘It’s pretty frustrating,’ says Annette  Guerra, 33, of San Antonio, who has been looking for a full-time job since she  finished nursing school more than a year ago.

During her search, she found that employers  had become increasingly picky about an applicant’s qualifications in the tight  job market, often turning her away because she lacked previous nursing  experience or because she wasn’t certified in more areas.

Guerra says she now gets by doing ‘odds and  ends’ jobs such as a pastry chef, bringing in $500 to $1,000 a month, but she  says daily living can be challenging as she cares for her mother, who has  end-stage kidney disease.

‘For those trying to get ahead, there should  be some help from government or companies to boost the economy and provide  people with the necessary job training,’ says Guerra, who hasn’t ruled out  returning to college to get a business degree once her financial situation is  more stable.

‘I’m optimistic that things will start to  look up, but it’s hard,’ she continued.

Last year the average length of unemployment  for U.S. workers reached 39.5 weeks, the highest level since World War II.

The duration of unemployment has since edged  lower to 36.5 weeks based on data from January to July, still relatively high  historically.

No worries: U.S. households with an income of more than $150,000 a year have an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent, a level traditionally defined as full employment 

No worries: U.S. households with an income of more than  $150,000 a year have an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent, a level traditionally  defined as full employment

 

Economists call this a ‘bumping down’ or  ‘crowding out’ in the labor market, a domino effect that pushes out lower-income  workers, pushes median income downward and contributes to income inequality.

Because many mid-skill jobs are being lost to  globalization and automation, recent U.S. growth in low-wage jobs has not come  fast enough to absorb displaced workers at the bottom.

Low-wage workers are now older and better  educated than ever, with especially large jumps in those with at least some  college-level training.

‘The people at the bottom are going to be  continually squeezed, and I don’t see this ending anytime soon,’ said Harvard  economist Richard Freeman.

‘If the economy were growing enough or unions  were stronger, it would be possible for the less educated to do better and for  the lower income to improve.

‘But in our current world, where we are still  adjusting to globalization, that is not very likely to happen.’

The figures are based on an analysis of the  Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey by Sum and Northeastern University  economist Ishwar Khatiwada.

They are supplemented with material from the  Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s David Autor, an economics professor  known for his research on the disappearance of mid-skill positions.

John Schmitt, a senior economist at the  Center for Economic and Policy Research, a Washington think tank, also  contributed to the paper.

Mark Rank, a professor at Washington  University in St. Louis, analyzed data on poverty.

Youth crisis: Fewer teenagers are taking on low-wage jobs as older adults pushed out of disappearing mid-skill jobs, such as bank teller or administrative assistant, move down the ladder 

Youth crisis: Fewer teenagers are taking on low-wage  jobs as older adults pushed out of disappearing mid-skill jobs, such as bank  teller or administrative assistant, move down the ladder

 

The overall rise in both the unemployment  rate and low-wage jobs due to the recent recession accounts for the record  number of people who were stuck in poverty in 2011: 46.2 million, or 15 percent  of the population.

When the Census Bureau releases new 2012  poverty figures on Tuesday, most experts believe the numbers will show only  slight improvement, if any, due to the slow pace of the recovery.

Overall, more than 16 percent of adults ages  16 and older are now ‘underutilized’ in the labor market.

That means they are unemployed,  ‘underemployed’ in part-time jobs when full-time work is desired or among the  ‘hidden unemployed’ who are not actively job hunting but express a desire for  immediate work.

Among households making less than $20,000 a  year, the share of underutilized workers jumps to about 40 percent.

For those in the $20,000-to-$39,999 category,  it’s just over 21 percent and about 15 percent for those earning $40,000 to  $59,999.

At the top of the scale, underutilization  affects just 7.2 percent of those in households earning more than  $150,000.

By race and ethnicity, black workers in  households earning less than $20,000 were the most likely to be underutilized,  at 48.4 percent.

Low-income Hispanics and whites were almost  equally as likely to be underutilized, at 38 percent and 36.8 percent,  respectively, compared to 31.8 percent for low-income  Asian-Americans.

Loss of jobs in the recent recession has hit  younger, less-educated workers especially hard.

Top of the pile: 'One part of America is in depression, while another part is in full employment,' researcher Andrew Sum added 

Top of the pile: ‘One part of America is in depression,  while another part is in full employment,’ researcher Andrew Sum added

 

Fewer teenagers are taking on low-wage jobs  as older adults pushed out of disappearing mid-skill jobs, such as bank teller  or administrative assistant, move down the ladder.

Eric Reichert, 45, of West Milford, N.J., who  holds a master’s degree in library science, is among the longer-term job  seekers.

He had hoped to find work as a legal  librarian or in a similar research position after he was laid off from a title  insurance company in 2008.

Reichert now works in a lower-wage  administrative records position, also helping to care for his 8-year-old son  while his wife works full-time at a pharmaceutical company.

‘I’m still looking, and I wish I could say  that I will find a better job, but I can no longer say that with confidence,’ he  said.

‘At this point, I’m reconsidering what I’m  going do, but it’s not like I’m 24 years old anymore,’ Reichert  added.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2421829/Employment-gap-Americas-rich-poor-widest-level-record–lowest-earners-jobless-rate-Great-Depression.html#ixzz2f7Ns7qKy Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Japan could be ‘main player’ if Asia conflicts break out: defense minister

 

By Harumi Ozawa

Politics Aug. 27, 2013 – 02:01PM JST ( 6 )

TOKYO —

Japan could be a key participant if conflict breaks out in Asia, the defense minister said Monday, warning China is seeking to exploit difficulties between allies.

The comments by Itsuno Onodera, who said Japan needs new equipment and must reconfigure its defense, come as Tokyo is embroiled in an ongoing spat with Beijing over disputed territory that has sparked warnings of a possible armed skirmish.

“The crisis that Japan faces now may lead to situations in which the country may have to be involved as a main player,” Onodera told a symposium in the capital.

“Before, it was expected that Japan would only be part of a group (involved in any confrontation),” he said, in apparent reference to the U.S.-Japan security alliance.

“Or that a conflict might occur only in areas surrounding the country,” he said. “Japan’s defense has been designed for that scenario.

“But Japan (now) needs to have a good defense to protect the country, which can mean equipment, new aircraft, defense systems or cyber protection.”

Onodera said Tokyo needed to be wary of China’s maritime expansion in the South and East China Sea.

“China has made more and more advancement into the seas,” he said. “When it did not have as much military capability, China tried to promote dialogue and economic cooperation, setting territorial rows aside. But when it sees a chance, any daylight between a nation and its ally, it makes blunt advancements. This is what is happening and what we should learn from the situation in Southeast Asia.”

Onodera’s speech came as he readied to head to Brunei to participate in the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+) starting on Wednesday.

The group gathers defense ministers from Southeast Asian nations and eight other regional powers—Japan, China, South Korea, the U.S., Russia, India, Australia and New Zealand.

Onodera said he will “repeatedly explain Japan’s position to his Asian counterparts” and that Tokyo’s motives were entirely defensive.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this year boosted Japan’s defense budget for the first time in over a decade against the backdrop of growing concerns among many countries in the region about China.

But any move to strengthen military capabilities rouses hostility and suspicion in the region, much of which labored under the brutal yoke of Japanese occupation until the end of World War II.

Since coming to power in December, Abe has repeatedly made noises about altering Japan’s pacifist constitution, which bars the country from offensive action.

The defense ministry last month published a paper saying Japan needed amphibious units and surveillance drones to protect its outlying islands.

Japan’s moves come against a backdrop of increasing Chinese activity in waters far from its mainland coast.

The two countries have spent the last year involved in a dispute over the sovereignty of the Japanese-administered Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, which Beijing claims as the Diaoyus.

Vessels and planes from both sides have played cat and mouse in their seas, with some observers warning a slip from either nation could provoke a military confrontation, with possibly wide-ranging ramifications.

On Monday, Tokyo scrambled fighter jets after a Chinese government plane approached airspace Japan claims as it own.

(C) 2013 AFP

http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/japan-could-be-main-player-if-asia-conflicts-break-out-defense-minister

 

Japan Scrambles Jets After Russian Bomber Breaches Airspace

Aug. 22, 2013 – 10:54AM   |
By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE   |

TOKYO — Japan scrambled fighter jets Thursday after a pair of Russian bombers briefly intruded into the country’s airspace, officials said.

The two Tu-95 planes breached airspace near the isle of Okinoshima off Fukuoka in southern Japan for nearly two minutes shortly after midday, a defense ministry spokesman said.

“A total of four F-2 planes from the Air Self-Defence Force scrambled against them,” the official said.

The Japanese foreign ministry said it filed a formal protest with the Russian embassy in Tokyo over the violation and urged it to investigate.

In February, two Russian Su-27 fighters breached Japan’s airspace for just more than a minute off the northern island of Hokkaido, Japanese officials said at that time, in what was reported to be the first such incident in five years.

Tokyo and Moscow never signed a peace treaty after World War II. Despite an important commercial relationship, they remain at loggerheads over the sovereignty of islands north of the Japanese main island of Hokkaido.

Japan is also at odds with China over the sovereignty of an island chain near Taiwan, in a particularly bitter dispute that has seen both sides scramble aircraft.

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130822/DEFREG03/308220014/Japan-Scrambles-Jets-After-Russian-Bomber-Breaches-Airspace?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p

Japan unveils largest warship since WWII as tensions with China grow

independent.co.uk — Aug 07
Japan has unveiled its biggest warship since the Second World War, leading to fears that the conflict over disputed islands between it and China could escalate.
The 19,500-tonne behemoth, described as a destroyer but with the capacity to carry up to 14 helicopters on its 250m (820ft) long flight deck, has also been criticised as a disguised attempt to boost the country’s offensive military capabilities – strictly limited by its constitution.Japanese officials said the primary function of the ship would be in national defence. It is specially designed for anti-submarine warfare, and is expected to play an integral role in border surveillance.

The ship, which cost $1.2 billion, is also intended to be capable of assisting in humanitarian response missions. It will be used to transport evacuees, emergency services personnel and supplies in the event of large-scale natural disasters like the earthquake and tsunami of 2011.

But many see the unveiling of the destroyer now – dubbed “Izumo” – as a direct response to the disputed land between Japan and Taiwan. The islands, called the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyutai in China, have for months seen almost constant patrols by ships from both countries.

海上自衛隊創設以来最大となるヘリコプター搭載護衛艦の進水式が、6日、神奈川・横浜­市で行われ、「いずも」と命名された。

Queen’s World War 3 speech: Found in the archives, the dress rehearsal for disaster

  • Speech was  prepared for Queen to deliver at outbreak of World War Three
  • In speech  she denounces ‘deadly power of abused technology’
  • Words  written by imaginative speech writer in disaster planning  exercise

By  Claire Ellicott

PUBLISHED: 18:04 EST, 31  July 2013 |  UPDATED: 18:29 EST, 31 July 2013

The words are full of warmth, hope and  comfort. But fortunately for history, the Queen never had to say  them.

Deep in the corridors of Whitehall at the  height of the Cold War civil servants prepared a speech for the monarch to  deliver at the outbreak of World War Three between a nuclear-armed Soviet Union  and the West.

In a chilling depiction of a world on the  brink of nuclear destruction, she denounces the ‘deadly power of abused  technology’ – and refers to her ‘beloved son Andrew’ on the frontline. However,  she rallies her country behind her, declaring in the planned broadcast:  ‘Whatever terrors lie in wait for us all the qualities that have helped to keep  our freedom intact twice already during this sad century will once more be our  strength.’

Duty calls: Civil servants prepared a speech for the Queen, pictured in 1983, to deliver at the outbreak of World War Three 

Duty calls: Civil servants prepared a speech for the  Queen, pictured in 1983, to deliver at the outbreak of World War Three

 

Threat: In the speech the Queen denounces the 'deadly power of abused technology' and refers to her 'beloved son Andrew' on the frontline 

Threat: In the speech the Queen denounces the ‘deadly  power of abused technology’ and refers to her ‘beloved son Andrew’ on the  frontline

The moving words were written by an  imaginative speech writer taking part in a disaster planning exercise and are  among previously secret Cabinet files newly released by the National Archives.

The writer envisages the Queen saying: ‘Not  for a single moment did I imagine that this solemn and awful duty would one day  fall to me.’ It continues: ‘We all know that the dangers facing us today are  greater by far than at any time in our long history.’

 

The disaster planning meeting, known as the  Cabinet Wintex-Cimex 83 Committee exercise, came in the spring of 1983 against a  backdrop of worsening US-Russian relations and tit-for-tat battles on each  side.

It was the year that US President Ronald  Reagan described the Soviets as the ‘evil empire’, deployed medium-range nuclear  missiles to Europe and began the Star Wars project.

Message to the Nation: The speech prepared for the Queen in the event of the outbreak of World War ThreeThe speech prepared for the Queen in the event of the outbreak of World War Three

Message to the Nation: The speech prepared for the Queen  in the event of the outbreak of World War Three

A Nato military exercise codenamed Able  Archer nearly led to actual war when the Soviet Union became convinced it was a  genuine attack.

The Queen’s words were imagined to be  broadcast at noon on Friday, March 4, 1983.

In the exercise, Orange (the Soviet Union and  its Warsaw Pact allies) launch a chemical weapons attack on Britain. The Blue  forces (Nato) respond with a ‘limited yield’ nuclear strike forcing the Orange  bloc to offer peace.

The civil servants even thought up what the  Prime Minister would say. A participant writes a speech for Margaret Thatcher  saying: ‘We wanted peace and strove to achieve it.

‘We are the victims of an unprovoked attack  and, with our allies, we will fight back.’

THE QUEEN’S DOOMSDAY ADDRESS  IN FULL

 

The Queen giving her Christmas Day Broadcast to the Commonwealth in 1983

 

Text of the  1983 message to the nation written for Her Majesty the Queen… but never  delivered

When I spoke to you less than three months  ago we were all enjoying the warmth and fellowship of a family Christmas. Our  thoughts were concentrated on the strong links that bind each generation to the  ones that came before and those that will follow. The horrors of war could not  have seemed more remote as my family and I shared our Christmas joy with the  growing family of the Commonwealth.

Now this madness of war is once more  spreading through the world and our brave country must again prepare itself to  survive against great odds.

I have never forgotten the sorrow and pride I  felt as my sister and I huddled around the nursery wireless set listening to my  father’s inspiring words on that fateful day in 1939. Not for a single moment  did I imagine that this solemn and awful duty would one day fall to  me.

We all know that the dangers facing us today  are greater by far than at any time in our long history. The enemy is not the  soldier with his rifle nor even the airman prowling the skies above our cities  and towns but the deadly power of abused technology.

But whatever terrors lie in wait for us all  the qualities that have helped to keep our freedom intact twice already during  this sad century will once more be our strength.

My husband and I share with families up and  down the land the fear we feel for sons and daughters, husbands and brothers who  have left our side to serve their country. My beloved son Andrew is at this  moment in action with his unit and we pray continually for his safety and for  the safety of all servicemen and women at home and overseas.

It is this close bond of family life that  must be our greatest defence against the unknown. If families remain united and  resolute, giving shelter to those living alone and unprotected, our country’s  will to survive cannot be broken.

My message to you therefore is simple. Help  those who cannot help themselves, give comfort to the lonely and the homeless  and let your family become the focus of hope and life to those who need it.

As we strive together to fight off the new  evil let us pray for our country and men of goodwill wherever they may  be.

God bless you all.

Britain was ready  to use lasers to ‘dazzle’ Argentine pilots attacking British ships during the  1982 Falklands War.

A top-secret  document describing the new weapon was produced after a request from Mrs  Thatcher, files just released from the National Archives show.

Dated January  1983 and written by then Defence Secretary Michael Heseltine, it explained that  Britain, spurred on by Russia’s adoption of laser technology, had developed its  own arsenal.

‘You may recall  that we developed and deployed with very great urgency a naval laser weapon,  designed to dazzle low-flying Argentine pilots attacking ships, to the Task  Force in the South Atlantic,’ the document said.

‘This weapon was not used  in action and knowledge of it has been kept to a very restricted  level.’

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Hungary Warns of German EU Leadership

Hitler-Stalin Pact?

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told diplomats on Tuesday that closer ties between a Germany-led EU and Russia were enough to make people check to see if their “children are still in the yard” — an oblique yet unmistakeable reference to the Hitler-Stalin pact.

The latest remarks by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán are unlikely to improve his fractured relations with Germany or the EU. Speaking on Tuesday, he invoked the memory of World War II to warn against German leadership of the European Union.

“When a person reads about a rapprochement between Russia and an EU led by Germany, he looks out to see whether his children are still in the yard,” Orbán said on Tuesday in remarks to an annual meeting of Hungarian ambassadors, according to the German news agency DPA.

Orbán made the comment in answer to a question by one diplomat about relations between the EU and Russia.

Many people in Central and Eastern Europe are wary of any signs of closer ties between Moscow and Berlin because they remember the Hitler-Stalin non-aggression pact which carved up much of Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence.

Orbán has drawn widespread international criticism for weakening Hungary’s democratic institutions through the introduction of a new constitution and a host of other controversial laws.

In May, Orbán had made a remark about Nazi tanks in the context of Germany’s policy towards Hungary, drawing an unusually sharp rebuke from German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.

cro — with wire reports

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Japan: Risk of Incident From ‘Coercive’ Acts By China / fighters were scrambled more than 300 times against Chinese planes flying near Japan’s airspace for the year to March

Jul. 9, 2013 – 08:48AM   |
By SHINGO ITO for AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE   |

TOKYO — China’s “coercive” behavior in waters around islands at the center of a bitter dispute with Japan is dangerous and could trigger an incident, Tokyo said Tuesday in a new defense paper.

At a cabinet meeting, hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ministers adopted the white paper, the first annual report on Japan’s defense capabilities and regional security since the islands dispute flared anew last year.

Tokyo nationalized three of the five Senkaku islands in September. Beijing lays claim to the islands and calls them the Diaoyus.

“China … has taken action described as coercive, which includes risky behavior,” the 450-page report said.

“China’s activities include its intrusion into Japan’s territorial waters, its violation of Japan’s territorial airspace and even dangerous actions that could cause a contingency,” it said.

In particular, the paper said a Chinese frigate locked weapons-targeting radar on a Japanese destroyer in January — a claim Beijing has denied.

“These acts are extremely regrettable and China should accept and stick to the international norms,” it said.

Chinese and Japanese ships have for months traded warnings over intrusions into what both governments regard as their sovereign areas around the islands, which are strategically sited and rich in resources.

Chinese government ships have regularly sailed into the 12-nautical-mile territorial waters of the islands, where they are confronted by Japan’s well-equipped coastguard.

The most recent incident was Sunday.

Masayoshi Tatsumi, press secretary at Japan’s defense ministry, said the ministry was stepping up efforts to boost cooperation between the armed forces and coast guard in patrolling Japanese waters.

“We are taking all possible measures to maintain full readiness toward issues surrounding our country by using aircraft and other equipment in a flexible manner,” Tatsumi said.

Japanese fighters were scrambled more than 300 times against Chinese planes flying near Japan’s airspace for the year to March, a new record, the paper said.

Beijing’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said the white paper “makes some unfounded accusations against China.”

“Recently Japan has often played up the so-called China threat and unilaterally caused tensions and confrontations,” she said.

“Given that some political forces and politicians in Japan clamor for war preparations, military build-up and frequent military exercises, the international community cannot but be worried about where Japan is heading.”

Japan has officially been pacifist since World War II but has 140,000 troops, 140 military ships and 410 aircraft as part of its “self-defense forces.” It raised its military budget by 0.8 percent for the year to March, the first annual gain in 11 years, citing the need to boost island defenses.

The defense paper also stressed the need to enhance the country’s alliance with the United States in the face of China’s increasingly assertive behavior.

Ties with Washington had been strained under Japan’s previous center-left government, which pushed for the relocation of US bases in Okinawa. But under the conservative Abe, Japan has adopted a more nationalistic tone, to Beijing’s concern.

Commentators say the disputed islands are a potential flashpoint for a possible military confrontation between Asia’s two largest powers.

“Senkaku is strategically important for Japan, China and Taiwan,” said Takehiko Yamamoto, professor of international politics at Waseda University in Tokyo.

Taiwan also claims the islands.

“Japan may need to work together with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries to jointly bring China to an arena of dialogue, but it will take some time,” Yamamoto said.

Several members of ASEAN are also at loggerheads with China over separate territorial disputes in the South China Sea, which contains some of the world’s most important shipping lanes and is believed to be rich in fossil fuels.

ASEAN has been pushing a reluctant China for talks on a set of rules governing conduct at sea meant to avert unilateral actions that could spark trouble.

At annual Asia-Pacific security talks a week ago, the Philippines warned that China was engaging in a military buildup at sea that threatened regional peace. China agreed at the talks to begin discussing a code of conduct with ASEAN.

The white paper is an assessment and summary of Japan’s thinking on defense matters and is intended as an effort at transparency aimed at both the public and at neighboring countires.

A policy paper that will discuss specifics on deployment of forces is expected later in the year.

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130709/DEFREG03/307090011/Japan-Risk-Incident-From-Coercive-Acts-By-China?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p

The Syrian conflict is looking like a replay of the Spanish Civil War, which paved the way for World War II.

Italian DM: Will Syria Boil Over Into Regional Conflict?

Jun. 16, 2013 – 11:10AM   |
By TOM KINGTON   |
Italian Defense Minister Mario Mauro

Italian Defense Minister Mario Mauro   (File photo / Agence France-Presse)

ROME — Italy’s new defense minister has a dire warning for Europe: The Syrian conflict is looking like a replay of the Spanish Civil War, which was fought between 1933 and 1939 and paved the way for World War II.

“Syria is coming increasingly to resemble the Spanish Civil War,” Mario Mauro, who was named defense minister in the Italian coalition government, told Defense News.

“Lebanon could find itself in a big crisis within days due to the presence of Hezbollah, while Turkey is undergoing its own problems. There are all the elements for this regional crisis to explode,” he said.

“There is the conflict between Sunnis and Shiites, but there are also the regional players maneuvering. Muslim fundamentalism is involved, but not central,” he added.

Mauro, whose government took office in April, said the war risked reigniting full-scale hostilities between Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq.

“Don’t forget that Iraqis are fighting with Al Nusra,” he said, referring to the grouping of Sunni fighters in Syria challenging the government of Bashar Al-Assad.

What started out as a local civil war in Spain in 1936 turned global as Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy backed Gen. Francisco Franco’s forces against the Spanish government, which was backed by the Soviet Union, while Europe’s democracies decided against intervention.

Roughly 93,000 people have died in Syria over the past two years after Sunni rebels backed by Gulf states took on Assad, who has been backed by Iran’s Shia government, by Russia and by Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon.

After suffering early defeats, Assad has rebounded with a series of victories and appears set to retake the central provinces of Homs and Hama in a conflict characterized by huge flows of refugees and massacres.

“In a moment in which the US does not want to intervene, the responsibility of Europe increases,” said Mauro, who made his comments days before the US announced it would arm Syrian rebels and further reports that the White House was considering a no-fly zone. “Europe must reflect on what it wants to be. Italy is physically immersed in the Mediterranean, which makes it both vulnerable and strategic for the resolution of these conflicts.”

One analyst was doubtful Europe could do much about Syria.

“At this stage, Europe can do nothing without full US agreement,” said Jonathan Eyal, the director of international security studies at The Royal United Services Institute in London.

“However, Europe may squander any goodwill it built up in the Middle East over Libya, given its inaction here.”

Mauro’s analogy with the Spanish Civil War, which has been made before and disputed by analysts on both sides of the Atlantic, was partly accepted by Eyal.

“The analogy is partly correct, given the number of proxies involved, but the difference is that Syria is a sectarian war, not an ideological war,” he said.

“Additionally, all the players involved have a sense of inferiority. The Arab monarchies are on the wrong foot because of the Arab springs, Iran because it fears it could lose its Syrian ally, Hezbollah because it fears being split from Iran and Turkey because it is worried that a break up of Syria would lead to a Kurdish state,” he said.

“This is not a war where the sides are showing off their prowess, in the way the Fascists in Spain showed they were a force for the future. Here you cannot afford not to be involved.”

An Italy-based analyst said the religious element in the Syrian conflict is getting stronger as the sides use religious ties to pull allies into the fray. “As an example, Shiite fighters arrived from Iran and Iraq to defend the Sayyidah Zaynab mosque, which is an important Shiite place of worship,” said Gianmarco Volpe, the head of the Middle East desk at the Centre for International Studies in Rome.

The enmity generated by religious conflicts outstripped the ideological differences of the Spanish Civil War, he said. “After the political wars in Europe, people from both sides managed to coexist, whereas that could prove difficult in Syria, if Iraq is anything to go by. Religious wars appear to generate even more hatred than ethnic wars.”

Russia’s backing of Assad has meanwhile lent a Cold War element to the fray.

“Russia is furious at the West for using international law to do what it wants, as it did in Libya,” Eyal said, “and there is also the sale of Russian weapons to Syria to protect. The West failed to see the extent of Russian entrenchment in Syria.”

Volpe said Russia’s claim it was selling S300 air defense missile systems to Syria was “a diplomatic gesture” aimed at the West.

Eyal concluded that as the Syria war continues, it could come to mirror another conflict more recent than the Spanish Civil War.

“I believe Assad will not be able to restore the authority he had but could remain in power alongside pockets of resistance,” he said. “Syria could become a proxy war that everyone, from Hezbollah to Turkey has an interest in keeping going. As such, Syria could come to resemble Lebanon in the 1980s.”

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130616/DEFREG01/306160004/Italian-DM-Will-Syria-Boil-Over-Into-Regional-Conflict

How JFK secretly ADMIRED Hitler: Explosive book reveals former President’s praise for the Nazis as he travelled through Germany before Second World War

EEV Note: We need second confirmation on these claims

 

 

 

 

 

  • A new book  reveals President Kennedy was a secret admirer of the Nazis
  • Embarrassingly close to visit being paid to Berlin  next month by Obama
  • Comes one  week before 50th anniversary commemorations of JFK’s memorable ‘Ich bin ein  Berliner’ speech pledging US solidarity with Europe

By  Allan Hall

PUBLISHED: 06:39 EST, 23 May  2013 |  UPDATED: 10:24  EST, 23 May 2013

A new book out in Germany reveals how  President Kennedy was a secret admirer of the Nazis.

The news comes embarrassingly close to a  visit being paid to Berlin next month by President Obama – one week before 50th  anniversary commemorations of JFK’s memorable ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ speech  pledging US solidarity with Europe during the Cold War.

President Kennedy’s travelogues and  letters  chronicling his wanderings through Germany before WWII, when  Adolf Hitler was  in power, have been unearthed and show him generally in  favour of the movement  that was to plunge the world into the greatest  war in history

President kennedyUNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1920: Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), German statesman. (Photo by Roger Viollet/Getty Images)

Secret: A new book out in Germany reveals how President  Kennedy was a secret admirer of the Nazis

‘Fascism?’ wrote the youthful president-to-be  in one. ‘The right thing for Germany.’

In another; ‘What are the evils of fascism  compared to communism?’

And on August 21, 1937 – two years before the  war that would claim 50 million lives broke out – he wrote: ‘The Germans really  are too good – therefore people have ganged up on them to protect themselves.’

And in a line which seems directly plugged  into the racial superiority line plugged by the Third Reich he wrote after  travelling through the Rhineland: ‘The Nordic races certainly seem to be  superior to the Romans.’

The future president’s praise is now  embarrassing in hindsight – a few years later he fought in War  War Two against  the Nazis and his elder brother Lt.  Joseph Patrick ‘Joe’ Kennedy, Jr was killed.

Revealing: Presidential diaries and photographs are among more than 500 items from a collection John F. Kennedy documents and artifactsRevealing: Presidential diaries and photographs are  among more than 500 items from a collection of John F. Kennedy documents and  artifacts
John F. Kennedy juggles on a street in Amsterdam during a trip to Europe,1937 --- John F. Kennedy recovers from jaundice in a London hospital in 1937. --- Image by CORBIS

Tour: Kennedy recovers, right, from jaundice in a London  hospital in 1937 and left juggles on a street in Amsterdam during a trip to  Europe

Trip: Kennedy and one of his sisters ride camels in Egypt in 1939Trip: Kennedy and one of his sisters ride camels in  Egypt in 1939

‘I CAN IMAGINE NO MORE  REWARDING A CAREER’: JOHN F KENNEDY’S MILITARY SERVICE

Framed together are the Navy Marine Corps Medal and the Purple Hearttial

As a young man, the future president had  desperately wanted to go into the Navy but was originally rejected – mainly due  to a back injury he sustained playing football while attending  Harvard.

In 1941, though, his politically connected  father Joe P Kennedy used his influence to get him in to the service and he  joined the Navy.

In 1942, Kennedy volunteered for PT  (motorized torpedo) boat duty in the Pacific.

On 12 June 1944 he received the Navy’s  highest honor for gallantry for his heroic actions as a gunboat pilot during  World War II.

The Navy Marine Corps Medal and the Purple  Heart were presented to Lt. Kennedy for his heroics and injuries sustained in  the rescue of the crew of PT 109 during on August 2, 1943 when the motor torpedo  boat was struck by a Japanese destroyer.

His back was hurt during duty and Kennedy was  released from all active duty and finally retired from the U.S. Naval Reserve on  physical disability in March 1945.

‘I can  imagine  no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he  did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond  with a good deal of pride  and satisfaction: I served in the United  States Navy.’

John F Kennedy

Source:  History.com

Other musings concern how great the autobahns  were – ‘the best roads in the world’ – and how, having visited Hitler’s Bavarian  holiday home in Berchtesgaden and the tea house built on top of the mountain for  him.

He declared; ‘Who has visited these two  places can easily imagine how Hitler will emerge from the hatred currently  surrounding him to emerge in a few years as one of the most important  personalities that ever lived.’

Kennedy’s admiration for Nazi Germany is  revealed in a book entitled ‘John F. Kennedy – Among the Germans. Travel diaries  and letters 1937-1945.’

When World War II did arrive, the future  president’s father, Joe P Kennedy, strongly opposed going into battle with  Germany and made several missteps that severely damaged his political career.

He adopted a defeatist,  anti-war stance and tried to arrange a  meeting with Adolf Hitler without the approval of the Department of  State.

The reasons for this are unclear – some  speculate he was eager to do anything to avoid war because he feared that  American capitalism – which he profited from – would not survive the country’s  entry into the conflict.

In his role as US ambassador to Britain he  also opposed providing the UK with military and economic aid.

He said in an interview ‘Democracy is  finished in England. It may be here [in the US].

During the World War II, JFK’s older brother  Joe volunteered for a secret mission testing an experimental drone plane packed  with explosives – a weapon the Allies hoped to use as a guided missile.

On the first test flight, the explosives  detonated prematurely and the plane exploded – his body was never  found.

Studies: The future American president sits at a typewriter, holding open his published thesis, 'Why England Slept'Studies: The future American president sits at a  typewriter, holding open his published thesis, ‘Why England Slept’
John F. Kennedy and his father, Joseph P. Kennedy, US Ambassador to Great Britain, board an Air France plane at Croydon AirportJohn F. Kennedy and his father, Joseph P. Kennedy, US Ambassador to Great Britain, board an Air France plane at Croydon Airport

March 1939, London, John F. Kennedy and his father,  Joseph P. Kennedy, US Ambassador to Great Britain, board an Air France plane at  Croydon Airport. He accompanied his father to Rome, where he will be  representing President Roosevelt at the coronation of Pope Pius XII

Pals: Kennedy and Lem Billings, right, who was a classmate from the Choate School and Princeton University, outside a drugstore in the mid 1930sPals: Kennedy and Lem Billings, right, who was a  classmate from the Choate School and Princeton University, outside a drugstore  in the mid 1930s
ca. 1932 --- John F. Kennedy, Travel companion: Kennedy, Dunker the dog, and Lem  Billings at the Hague, during their Europe trip

The youthful president carved his own place  in history when he stood  outside the West Berlin town hall of Schoeneberg on  June 26 1963 to  declare US solidarity with the city and the continent with the  immortal  words; ‘Ich bin ein Berliner.’

The fact that, strictly speaking, he was  referring to himself as a doughnut – a Berliner – did not diminish the wild  enthusiasm for him.

But his praise of Hitler in a country still  struggling to come to terms  with his legacy may prove awkward for Obama who  will visit Berlin for  wide-ranging talks with Chancellor Merkel on June 18 and  19.

President kennedyUS President John F. Kennedy at the Schoeneberg Town  Hall during his visit to Germany. The youthful president carved his own place in  history when he stood outside the West Berlin town hall on June 26 1963 to  declare US solidarity with the city and the continent with the immortal words;  ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’
Infamous: One of President Kennedy's speech cards carrying his famous remark 'Ich bin ein Berline', which he delivered in a speech that electrified an adoring crowd in BerlinInfamous: One of President Kennedy’s speech cards  carrying his famous remark ‘Ich bin ein Berline’, which he delivered in a speech  that electrified an adoring crowd in BerlinFans: Thousands of citizens lined the main street in West Berlin as the president arrived flanked by police and bodyguards

Fans: Thousands of citizens lined the main street in  West Berlin as the president arrived flanked by police and bodyguards

Farewell: President John F. Kennedy waves goodbye as he leaves Berlin for Ireland

Farewell: President John F. Kennedy waves goodbye as he  leaves Berlin for Ireland

But his praise was not entirely without  caveats.

‘It is evident that the Germans were scary  for him,’ said Spiegel magazine in Berlin.

In the diaries of the  three trips he made  to prewar Germany he also recognised; ‘Hitler seems  to be as popular here as  Mussolini in Germany, although propaganda is  probably his most powerful  weapon.’

Observers say his writings ranged between  aversion and attraction for Germany.

The book also contains his impressions when  walking through a shattered  Berlin after the war: ‘An overwhelming stench of  bodies – sweet and  nauseating’.

And of the recently deceased Fuehrer he said;  ‘His boundless ambition for his  country made him a threat to peace in the  world, but he had something  mysterious about him. He was the stuff of legends.’

The book editor’s believe that he was ‘eerily  fascinated’ by fascism.

 US President Barack ObamaLeading lady: German chancellor Angela Merkel has been named the most powerful woman in the world by business magazine Forbes for the third year running

Bad timing: The news comes embarrassingly close to a  visit being paid to Berlin next month by President Obama – one week before 50th  anniversary commemorations of JFK’s memorable ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ speech  pledging US solidarity with Europe during the Cold War

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2329556/How-JFK-secretly-ADMIRED-Hitler-Explosive-book-reveals-Presidents-praise-Nazis-travelled-Germany-Second-World-War.html#ixzz2U9FJu0um Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

China refuses to confirm Okinawa Island belongs to Japanese

Bloomberg — May 09

 

China refused to confirm that Okinawa belongs to Japan after two Chinese scholars suggested re-examining the ownership of the archipelago that includes the island, adding to tensions over a separate territorial dispute.

 

Agreements between allied forces during World War II mean the ownership of the Ryukyu Islands may be in question, the researchers said in a commentary in the People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s main newspaper. Asked if China considers Okinawa part of Japan, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said scholars have long studied the history of the Ryukyus and Okinawa. “It may be time to revisit the unresolved historical issue of the Ryukyu Islands,” Zhang Haipeng and Li Guoqiang of the China Academy of Social Sciences wrote in the commentary.A move to reconsider ownership of the Ryukyus would add to strains as China and Japan assert their claims over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. The Japanese government’s decision last year to purchase those islands, called Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese, sparked protests across China and harmed a $340 billion annual trade relationship that has yet to recover.

Tensions were compounded last month after Japanese lawmakers visited a Tokyo shrine where war criminals are honored along with other war dead and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to protect the East China Sea islands by force. The Ryukyu Islands are home to about 1.5 million people.

Scientists calculate probability of World War IV

марс война насилие 2012 август коллаж

War. © Collage: “Voice of Russia”

A pause between World War III and World War IV comes to an end, pundits from the Russian Academy of Military Sciences said on Thursday.

 The conclusion is based on a theory of cycles mapped out by Soviet economist Nikolai Kondratiev. According to the theory, the next world war may start in the upcoming decade, believes Professor Sergei Malkov of Moscow State University. In an interview with the Voice of Russia on Thursday, he elaborated on the topic.

 Kondratiev waves are thought to be cycle-like phenomena in the modern world economy. Ranging from approximately forty to sixty years, the cycles consist of alternating periods, such as expansion, stagnation and recession.

 There are a total of six such cycles ranging from 1803 to 2060. The fourth cycle lasts approximately from the end of World War II to the second half of the 1980s. At present, we are going through the fifth cycle that Kondratiev says is due to wrap up in 2018. Supporters of this theory link each and every economic cycle to the relevant technological level. The current level is characterized by the development of IT, telecommunications and robotics technology. The sixth cycle should see a breakthrough into nano-, bio- and IT-technologies.

 At the same time, each cycle also comes hand in hand with crises and wars. The end of the current cycle and a shift to the next technological level may result in a political instability and a new world war, Sergei Malkov says.

 “Right now, we are going through a crisis that turned into a recession, Malkov says, citing desperate attempts to ride out of the crisis with the help of using the so-called NBIS-technologies, namely, nano-, bio-, info- and cognito-technologies. But this period is very dangerous because the way out is yet to be seen and contradictions are still in place. This is a period when world wars typically take place, Malkov adds.”

 If we take the cycle or Kondratiev waves theory of alternating periods, the worst bloodsheds occurred at the recession phases which means that now we are on the verge of the crisis and 2016-17 will be critical.

 Certainly, it will be no traditional-sense world war but Malkov has no doubts that a psychological, economic, trade and IT war would be waged. (voice)

 In line with the Kondratiev theory, World War III took place at the turning point of cycle 4 and 5. It involved no weapons but the entire geopolitical map of the world was rehashed and the then would-be world ruler, the USSR and its allies fell. Today, its place is taken by China.

 Today’s super cycle will be the time of interaction between China and the US and the looming Korean Peninsula conflict perfectly fits in this framework, Malkov says . The crisis was triggered by conflict-provoking US policy that Washington pursues in the zones of its interests. The Pacific is packed with its “technology” competitors- Russia, China, Japan and even South Korea.

 The expert believes that the US is losing its global positions, as economic fluctuations drag the dollar down while political volatility boosts America’s role as a global referee.

 As the US is losing its economic levers, it has to shift focus to political, financial, economic and technological tools having nothing left but provoke instability across the world.

 Though it might look utopic, in reality the carve-up of the world is not that unreal even regardless any theory of cycles.

‘They took our money while we were sleeping’ WITH VIDEO

By Peter Stevenson Published on March 17, 2013

THE AIR of disappointment and rage on Ledra Street yesterday morning was almost tangible with groups of middle-aged men gathering to express their disbelief and fury about the haircut on deposits.

Social websites and phones were awash with debate and complaints about where this island is headed, whose fault it was and where do we go from here?

As the Cyprus Mail approached several men gathered by a bench, another passed by and could audibly be heard saying ‘take it all out, even the provident fund’.

“They shouldn’t touch the deposits.  They’re just killing the people,” 58-year-old Miltiades Papamiltiades, an unemployed former construction worker, said. “They should use our natural gas to pay off our debt, they shouldn’t tax the people, they have to let the people spend money to help the country develop not take their money away,” he added.

Asked to describe how he felt when he heard the news yesterday morning he replied “I feel indignant, like they have decapitated me,” Papamiltiades said. “No-one will ever deposit money again into the banks on the island. It is the end of our economy,” he added.

Seventy-year-old Nicos Adamou, a jewellery store owner has lived through World War II and the Turkish invasion. “All of the lies that the politicians have fed us over the years are coming back to harm us now,” he said. “Their lies are radioactive,” he added. “How do I feel?” he asked, “I feel bitter and disappointed because our finance minister stated there would be no haircut but here we are,” he added.

It is not only Cypriots who have been affected or will be affected by the proposed measures, and Christos Sarianoglu, a 43-year-old Costa Coffee employee from Greece, who left his home country because of the extreme austerity measures taken there. It would appear that he was not well informed on the latest news though. After explaining the situation to him, the 43-year-old went straight to an ATM to withdraw as much money as he could. “This is truly unacceptable, I came from Greece because I’d had enough of having money taken from here and there and now they’re doing it in Cyprus,” he said. “I’m fed up of this whole situation,” he added.

Amongst the outrage though there was not much talk of a counter-solution about what the president could have done differently until the Mail reached Barrett Costanian, a 39-year-old entrepreneur. “If they wanted to do the haircut they should have set a minimum amount, leaving any deposits less than €30,000 or €40,000 untouched, and taking only from those who have more,” he said. Costanian believed the move by is illogical and that they should have found another solution, as opposed to taking the people’s money. “If they wanted to tax people then tax the millionaires, not the pensioners or those who haven’t got that much saved up,” he added. Costanian believed the real problem is not the haircut in itself as much as the affects it will have on the economy. “Anyone who can move their money will, and that will completely destroy the economy so you can expect things to get much worse from now on,” he said. “I can’t believe they have gone this far and I am angry and disappointed but so is everyone right now and it’s understandable,” he added.

A 23-year-old data analyst, Steve Johnson, was queuing up at an ATM and expressed his shock at the developments. “I have more than €100,000 in savings in various banks on the island and I plan to move it because all of this time I thought I was working for myself not so the government could come and take it away in one move,” he said. Johnson explained that his uncle has saved money up to send his children to study at university and now that money would be taken. “This was not a good option, I believe the government should have found another way,” Johnson said. “It’s a very rough decision by the authorities and one that is difficult to swallow,” he added.

One point of view was that the media must share some of the blame.

“They should have known about it before it happened to let people know, so we wouldn’t look like fools now,” 25-year-old economist, Kristy said. “They took our money while we were sleeping and there is nothing we can do about it,” she added. She felt that although the president was warned not to follow Greece’s example, he has not learned from Greece’s mistakes. “The only thing Anastasiades has managed is to make young people want to get up and leave the country,” she said. “The only word that can describe how I feel, how people I have spoken to feel, is betrayed,” she added.

The only person the Mail managed to speak to that was not full of indignation was Andreas, a 27-year-old physiotherapist who felt that it is those with a lot of money who have most to lose. “I really don’t know what else could have been done,” he said. “At the end of the day those who have the most money have the most to lose,” he added. “Personally I don’t have much money saved away so I don’t really have much to lose,” he concluded.

http://www.cyprus-mail.com/cyprus/they-took-our-money-while-we-were-sleeping-video/20130317

School Confiscates Cupcakes Decorated with Toy Soldiers

School Confiscates Cupcakes Decorated with Toy Soldiers
Mar 7, 2013

By Todd Starnes

A Michigan elementary school is defending its decision to confiscate a third-graders batch of homemade cupcakes because the birthday treats were decorated with plastic green Army soldiers.

Casey Fountain told Fox News that the principal of his son’s elementary school called the cupcakes “insensitive” — in light of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

“It disgusted me,” he said. “It’s vile they lump true American heroes with psychopathic killers.”

Fountain’s wife made a batch of 30 chocolate cupcakes for their son Hunter’s classmates at Schall Elementary School in the town of Caro. The 9-year-old helped decorate the treats with plastic figurines representing World War Two soldiers.

The following morning Fountain said his wife delivered the cupcakes to the front office. The secretary complimented her on the decorations and then took the cakes to Hunter’s class.

“About 15 minutes later the school called my wife and told her the couldn’t serve the cupcakes because the soldiers had guns,” Fountain told Fox News. “My wife told them to remove the soldiers and serve the cupcakes anyway — and I believe she may have used more colorful language.”

The school complied and confiscated the soldiers — sending them home with Hunter in a bag.

“I was offended,” Fountain said. “I support our soldiers and what they stand for. These (plastic soldiers) are representations of World War Two soldiers – our greatest generation. If they aren’t allowed in our schools — who is?”

Principal Susan Wright released a statement to local media defending the decision.

“These are toys that were commonplace in the past,” she wrote. “However, some parents prohibit all guns as toys. In light of that difference, the school offered to replace the soldiers with another item and the soldiers were returned home with the student.”

“Living in a democratic society entails respect for opposing opinions,” she stated. “In the climate of recent events in schools we walk a delicate balance in teaching non-violence in our buildings and trying to ensure a safe, peaceful atmosphere.”

Fountain said it was beyond outrageous to compare American soldiers to deranged mass murderers.

“In our politically correct society they can’t separate the good from the bad,” he said. ”I’m sure hammers are allowed in schools — although a lot of people are killed by hammers.”

Principal Wright explained in her statement that she meant no disrespect to the military.

“By not permitting toy soldiers on cupcakes at school, no disrespect for our military or for the brave men and women who defend our rights to have our differences was intended,” she wrote. “Our commitment is always to our children and creating a safe place for them to learn, grow and have respectful dialogues about their differences.”

Fountain said his little boy is aware of the controversy but doesn’t quite understand what all the fuss is about.

“He’s nine-years-old,” Fountain said. “He was just glad to get his soldiers back.”

“It’s not about a toy,” he said. “It’s not about a cupcake. It’s what the toy represents — and we’re just taking political correctness too far.”

http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/school-confiscates-cupcakes-decorated-with-toy-soldiers.html

At least six tanks leaking at US nuclear waste site

23      Feb     2013
LOS ANGELES (AFP)

At least six underground tanks containing nuclear waste in the northwestern US state of Washington are leaking, but there is no imminent threat to public health, a spokeswoman said Friday.

The US Energy Department told the state last week that one tank was leaking at the Hanford nuclear site, but Energy Secretary Steven Chu informed its governor Jay Inslee on Friday that more leaks had been discovered.

“Secretary Chu let him know today that there are actually more tanks they’ve discovered leaking, at least six, possibly more,” Inslee’s spokeswoman Jaime Smith told AFP, after the meeting between Inslee and Chu in Washington DC.

“At this point we don’t believe that there’s any imminent threat to public health. Of course we’re concerned, because we don’t have any information yet about the extent of the leak or how long they’ve been going on.”

Asked for details of the leaking material, she said: “It’s nuclear waste. Different tanks have slightly different kinds of waste that they’re holding. We’re not clear yet on exactly what has been leaking for how long.”

The Hanford nuclear site in the southwest of the US state was used to produce plutonium for the bomb that brought an end to World War II.

Output grew after 1945 to meet the challenges of the Cold War, but the last reactor closed down in 1987. Its website says: “Weapons production processes left solid and liquid wastes that posed a risk to the local environment.”

The ecological threat extends to the Columbia River, it added, noting that in 1989 US federal and Washington state authorities agreed a deal to clean up the Hanford Site.

The Washington governor’s spokeswoman said they hoped for more information about the leaking tanks soon.

“The Department of Energy has committed to try and get us more information pretty quickly, hopefully within the next week or so. So we should have more information soon,” she said.

http://www.afp.com/en/news/topstories/least-six-tanks-leaking-us-nuclear-waste-site

 

Eurozone recession deepens in fourth quarter

14    Feb   2013
BRUSSELS (AFP)

The recession in the 17-nation eurozone recession deepened sharply in the fourth quarter of 2012, with the economy shrinking by 0.6 percent from output in the three months to September when it dropped 0.1 percent, official data showed on Thursday.

In the second quarter of 2012, the eurozone economy had contracted 0.2 percent on a sequential basis, meaning the recession has now lasted three quarters as the debt crisis has sapped growth and sent unemployment soaring.

Compared with output in the fourth quarter of 2011, the eurozone economy contracted 0.9 percent, according to Eurostat agency figures.

For the wider 27-member European Union, output fell 0.5 percent compared with third quarter 2012 when the bloc had eked out growth of just 0.1 percent to narrowly avoid being in recession, as defined as two consecutive quarterly negative figures.

Compared with fourth quarter 2011, the EU economy shrank 0.6 percent.

Eurostat said that for 2012 as a whole, the eurozone economy contracted 0.5 percent and the EU 0.3 percent.

http://www.afp.com/en/news/topstories/eurozone-recession-deepens-fourth-quarter

Abe says he intends to change constitution

By Kyoko Hasegawa

Politics Jan. 31, 2013 – 04:50PM JST ( 77 )

Abe says he intends to change constitution
Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force ships Kurama (R) and Hyuga (L)  off Sagami Bay, Japan, on October 14, 2012AFP

TOKYO   —

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told lawmakers Thursday he intends to change the post-WWII constitution that imposed pacifism on Japan, in a move likely to stir suspicion in China and beyond.

Abe, who was elected in December, has long harbored ambitions to re-write a document critics say hampers effective self defense, but supporters say is a bulwark against the militarism that blighted Asia last century.

“I will start with amending Article 96 of the constitution,” Abe told upper house lawmakers, referring to a clause stipulating that amendments require a two-thirds majority in the Diet.

In the run-up to polls, Abe said he wanted to study the possibility of altering the constitution’s definition of Japan’s armed forces.

The well-funded and well-equipped military—one of the world’s most technologically-advanced—is referred to as the Self-Defense Forces, and barred from taking aggressive action.

Abe said before the election that he would look into making the SDF a full-fledged military, but the suggestion sets alarm bells ringing in Asian countries subject to Japan’s brutal military adventurism of the past.

U.S. occupying forces imposed the constitution on Japan in the aftermath of World War II, but its war-renouncing Article Nine became part of the fabric of national life, engendering a pacifism that remains dear to many Japanese.

Retiree Kazuo Shimamura said Japan’s suffering in WWII, including from two atomic bombs, was reason enough not to change.

“I want the constitution to stay as it is to prevent new wars from happening,” he said.

But critics say a pledge that “land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained” ties Tokyo’s hands at a time of growing regional unease and amid a sovereignty spat with China.

“Japan’s next generation will have to face all sorts of problems,” 60-year-old Nobuyuki Shimane said. “We have to take our destiny in our hands and change the status of the army to protect our territorial sovereignty.”

Abe told the Diet he wants to set up a Japanese version of Washington’s National Security Council, tasked with the gathering and analysis of information.

“It is unavoidable that we strengthen Japan’s security arrangements to protect our national interest and ensure the safety of our people in the increasingly complex international situation,” he said.

Japan and China have butted diplomatic heads repeatedly over the last half-year over a disputed island chain in the East China Sea.

Tokyo views Beijing’s military build up with suspicion and says its vast trading partner should be more transparent about what it spends on its increasingly mighty forces and to what end, something Abe Thursday said was a “common concern” for the entire region.

Since coming to power, Abe, whose father was a World War II cabinet member and later prime minister, has been on a bridge-building mission to South East Asia, looking to shore up alliances with capitals disquieted by Beijing’s rise.

In December, Manila—which has a separate territorial row with Beijing—said it favored a re-armed Japan that could act as a counterbalance to China.

Tetsuro Kato, professor of politics at Waseda University, said any change would represent a significant shift for a generation that embraced post-war democracy, adding it would also prove problematic abroad.

“South Korean newspapers, especially, focused on Abe’s plans for constitutional reform during the election campaign,” he said.

Constitutional amendments in Japan require a two-thirds majority of lawmakers in both houses, and must be ratified by a referendum, where they can pass with a simple majority of those voting.

The LDP and its coalition partner New Komeito have a more-than two-thirds majority in the lower house, but the dovish junior party is wary about amendments.

The less powerful upper house is controlled by no single party, but elections for half of the seats there must be held later this year.

Shoichi Koseki, a constitutional history expert at Dokkyo University, said lowering the bar for amendments could create instability, allowing the constitution to change with every new government.

“Many countries require large majorities for this,” he said, pointing to the tough amendment protocols in the United States as an example.

© 2013 AFP

Chinese scholar warns on Japan’s ‘fast turn right’: “Today it will jeopardize China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Tomorrow it will do the same to yours if unchecked,”

Kyodo

Jan 23, 2013

HONG KONG – A scholar at a Chinese Foreign Ministry think tank warned Tuesday that Japan’s political turn to the right must be checked before its negative effects spread through the region.Ruan Zongze, vice president and a senior fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, said during a luncheon address at Hong Kong’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club that Japan is “turning right fast” amid its territorial dispute with China over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

“What it has done in the Diaoyu Islands issue is more than a territory dispute with China,” he said, suggesting Japan is turning a blind eye to the international agreements made at the conclusion of World War II by claiming that the disputed islands are its territory.

“Today it will jeopardize China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Tomorrow it will do the same to yours if unchecked,” he warned.

China says the uninhabited islets have been Chinese territory since ancient times and accuses Japan of “stealing” them in 1895 at the end of the Sino-Japanese War. It insists Japan, after its defeat in World War II, was obligated by treaties to return them to China.

Japan dismisses those arguments, pointing out that China and Taiwan only began to lay claim to the islands after a survey conducted by a U.N. agency in late 1968 indicated the possible existence of petroleum resources in the surrounding waters.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/01/23/national/chinese-scholar-warns-on-japans-fast-turn-right/#.UQOOYIbTnbg

Brain and nervous system damaged by low-level exposure to organophosphate pesticides

Contact: Dave Weston d.weston@ucl.ac.uk 44-020-310-83844 University College London

Scientists have found that low-level exposure to organophosphates (OPs) produces lasting decrements in neurological and cognitive function. Memory and information processing speed are affected to a greater degree than other cognitive functions such as language.

The systematic review of the literature was carried out by researchers at UCL and the Open University. It is the first to attempt a quantitative evaluation of the data assimilated from 14 studies and more than 1,600 participants. The researchers used meta-analysis to obtain an overview of the literature and their findings are published in the journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology.

“Meta-analysis combines the results of several studies and moves the discussion away from individual pieces of research, towards an overview of a body of literature,” says lead author Dr Sarah Mackenzie Ross (UCL Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology).

“This is considered to be the method of choice in situations where research findings may be used to inform public policy,” explains Professor Chris McManus (UCL Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology), co-author of the study.

Dr Mackenzie Ross continues: “This is the first time anyone has analysed the literature concerning the neurotoxicity of organophosphate pesticides, using the statistical technique of meta-analysis.

“The analysis reveals that the majority of well-designed studies undertaken over the last 20 years find a significant association between low-level exposure to organophosphates and impaired cognitive function.”

Pesticides prevent millions of people from starving to death and from contracting disease, but they are also harmful to humans under certain circumstances. Derived from World War II nerve gas agents, organophosphate pesticides are the most widely used insecticides in the world. They are used extensively in agriculture, by the military and also for domestic purposes.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) organophosphate pesticides are one of the most hazardous pesticides to vertebrate animals, responsible for many cases of poisoning worldwide.

The toxic effects of high level poisoning are well established but the possibility that long-term low-level exposure to OPs in doses below that causing acute toxicity causes ill health is controversial.

“In the UK a number of occupational groups have expressed concern that their health has been affected by exposure to organophosphates,” explains Dr Virginia Harrison (Open University), co-author of the study. This includes sheep farmers, who between 1988 and 1991 were required to dip sheep yearly in pesticide formulations containing OPs. Between 1985 and 1998 more than 600 reports of ill health following exposure to sheep dip were received by a government adverse reaction surveillance scheme.

Other groups affected include:

(1) Gulf War Veterans, who were exposed to pesticides on a daily basis during their tour of duty to protect them from pests such as sand flies, mosquitoes and fleas which carry infectious diseases

(2) airline pilots and cabin crew, who can be exposed to organophosphates in engine oil.

The researchers hope their findings will be of interest to Government advisory committees and departments who are currently reviewing the neurotoxicity of low level exposure to OPs; as well as farmers, Gulf War veterans and aviation workers who believe their health has been affected by exposure to OPs.

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Notes for Editors

1. For more information or to speak to Dr Sarah Mackenzie Ross please contact Dave Weston in the UCL Media Relations Office on tel: +44 (0)20 3108 3844, out of hours +44 (0)7917 271 364, e-mail: d.weston@ucl.ac.uk

2. ‘Neurobehavioral problems following low-level exposure to organophosphate pesticides: a systematic and meta-analytic review’ is published online in the Critical Reviews in Toxicology. Copies of the paper are available from UCL Media Relations.

About UCL (University College London)

Founded in 1826, UCL was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to admit students regardless of race, class, religion or gender, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine. We are among the world’s top universities, as reflected by performance in a range of international rankings and tables. UCL currently has 24,000 students from almost 140 countries, and more than 9,500 employees. Our annual income is over £800 million.

www.ucl.ac.uk | Follow us on Twitter @uclnews

China proposes a united anti-Japanese front

Irina Ivanova
Nov 15, 2012 20:40 Moscow Time

китай япония китай кнр япония кнр

© Collage “The Voice of Russia”

A prominent Chinese expert has called upon Moscow and Seoul, which like China have territorial disputes with Tokyo, to form a united anti-Japanese front. This front would be used to force the Japanese leadership to recognize the results of the World War II and give up its territorial claims to its neighbor states.

This idea was put forward by Guo Syangan, vice president of the Chinese Institute of International Affairs of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Chinese expert spoke at the trilateral conference between Russia, Korea and China entitled “Security and Cooperation in East Asia” that took place in Moscow on November 14. By consciously escalating the territorial disputes with its neighbors Japan showed that it does not recognize the results of World War II, stressed Guo Syangan. He reminded the audience that according to several international declarations passed by the participants of the anti-Japanese coalition that included the USA, the USSR, Great Britain and China, after World War II the territory of defeated Japan was to be limited to four islands – Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku. In his opinion, this is the reason why Japan must give up its claims not only for the South Kuril Islands, Dokdo (Takeshima) and Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands, but also for Okinawa.

Guo Syangan suggested forming a united anti-Japanese front that would include China, Russia and South Korea. The USA should also be included in the front in order to force Japan to recognize the results of World War II and give up its territorial claims to its neighbors. The legal refusal to pursue its territorial claims must be reflected in written form in a new peace treaty with Japan, which should be signed instead of the outdated San Francisco treaty signed in 1951 without the agreement of the USSR and China, believes the Chinese expert.

The participants of the conference took Guo Syangan’s speech for a “trial ball”, believes Andrey Ivanov, an expert at the Institute of International Studies of the Moscow State Institute of Foreign Affairs.

“The proposal to form a united anti-Japanese front and force Tokyo to sign a new peace treaty can be considered sensational. It was voiced by the deputy director of a major institute affiliated with China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which takes part in setting China’s foreign policy. On the one hand, that proposal reflects the opinion of one Chinese expert. But on the other hand, to some degree it reflects the mood of the leadership of China.”

The first reaction of the Russian experts to that «trial ball» launched byGuo Syangan was reserved. Russia does not advocate solving the disputed issues by confrontation. Moscow has long begun to take steps (that are quite successful) to lower the emotional tension in its territorial dispute with Japan by putting forward mutually beneficial economic cooperation. It is hard to tell what Seoul’s reaction to that “trial ball” is going to be. Andrey Ivanov believes that South Korea’s position will largely depend on the degree of Japan’s claims on Dokdo Island.

One thing can be said at this point:Guo Syangan’s initiative proves that the new Chinese leadership plans to take the most rigid position in the territorial disputes with Japan and perhaps not only with Japan.

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_11_15/China-proposes-a-united-anti-Japanese-front/

Poland found explosives on wreckage of president’s plane: report ( TNT and nitroglycerin )

Polish investigators found traces of explosives on the wreckage of the government jet that crashed in Russiatwo years ago, killing Poland’s president and 95 others, daily Rzeczpospolita reported on Tuesday.

Without citing sources, the newspaper said prosecutors and explosive experts who examined the remains of the plane in Russia found signs of TNT and nitroglycerin on the wings and in the cabin, including on 30 seats.

Traces of explosives were also found in the area where the Tu-154 crashed during its approach to a small airport near the Russian city of Smolensk on April 10, 2010, the daily reported.

Poland’s military prosecutor’s office plans to respond to the report later on Tuesday, its spokesman said.

Russian investigators had blamed the Polish crew for trying to land in heavy fog, while their Polish counterparts also said the airport controllers should not have allowed the plane to attempt an approach.

Some rightist groups in Poland, including main opposition party Law and Justice, had rejected the findings and suggested the crash could have been an assassination of President Lech Kaczynski and political and military leaders who flew with him.

In their official reports, investigators said they found no proof of the involvement of third parties.

The investigators have not ruled out the possibility that the traces of explosives come from unexploded bombs dating back to World War Two that could have remained in the area where the aircraft came down, the newspaper said.

(Reuters)

http://updatednews.ca/2012/10/30/poland-found-explosives-on-wreckage-of-presidents-plane-report/

Moscow enlists Russian expats in fight against historical revisionism

 

Published: 26 October, 2012, 14:35 Edited: 26 October, 2012, 14:35

Efforts to revise history and glorify fascism must be further resisted, and Russians living abroad can contribute to these crucial efforts, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

Decades after the end of World War II, Russia finds itself fighting on a different front, this time against those who wish to alter the historical record.

“It is absolutely essential that we work together to resist attempts at falsifying history and the outcome of World War II,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the World Congress of Russian Expatriates in St. Petersburg on Friday.

Despite the terrible sacrifice that Russia made during the ‘Great Patriotic War,’ there remain those who “corrupt the memory of those who defeated fascism and…glorify the Nazis and their collaborators,” he said.

For its part, Russia will continue to promote a positive and unifying agenda in international relations…that is guided by international law, Lavrov added.

With increasing frequency, Russian history is disparaged by the activities of revisionists and neo-fascist groups, many beyond the borders of Russia.

For example, former members of the Latvian Waffen-SS Legion hold an annual parade in the capital Riga to commemorate the group’s founding in 1943.

In February, Latvian President Andris Berzins, arguing that many Latvians were forcibly drafted into Hitler’s army, and said people should “bow” to its Waffen-SS veterans.

In April 2007, blood was spilled when Estonian authorities made the decision to relocate a World War II monument from the center of Tallinn. The statue, known as the Bronze Soldier, marked the grave site of Soviet soldiers who lost their lives in the fight against fascism.

The move triggered huge protests in the Estonian capital that left one person dead and dozens wounded.

Moscow highly values the initiatives proposed by expatriate organizations abroad to mark memorable dates in Russian history, Lavrov concluded, citing the 200th anniversary of the 1812 Patriotic War, which marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars as an example.

 

http://rt.com/politics/russia-lavrov-history-war-expatriates-282/

More Parody: Nobel Peace Prize goes to European Union!?

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, 12 October 2012

 

The Nobel Peace Prize has seemingly the same value as Taco Bell Employee of the Month!

 

The parody continues… First Al Gore, then Obama, now this came from the Norwegian Nobel Committee:

 

 

The European Union has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for six decades of work in advancing peace in Europe.

 

The committee said the EU had helped to transform Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace (lets all forget civil wars in Romania, Yugoslavia, Kosovo…).

 

The award comes as the EU faces the biggest crisis of its history, with recession and social unrest rocking many of its member states living in misery.

 

 

 

The last organisation to be given the award outright was Medecins Sans Frontieres, which won in 1999. But this was in the past, when the Norwegian Nobel Committee didn’t live in a Batman cave.

 

 

 

Announcing the award, Nobel committee president Thorbjoern Jagland acknowledged the EU’s current financial problems and social unrest.

 

But he said the committee wanted to concentrate on the body’s work over six decades of advancing “peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights”.

 

The committee president highlighted the EU’s work in sealing the reconciliation between France and Germany in the decades after World War II.

 

 

 

And he praised the organisation for incorporating Spain, Portugal and Greece after their authoritarian regimes collapsed in the 1970s.

 

He said that the EU’s reconciliation work had now moved to Balkan countries, and pointed out that Croatia was on the verge of membership.

 

 

 

Reacting to the award, EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on his Twitter feed: “It is a great honour for the whole of the EU, all 500 million citizens, to be awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace prize.”

 

http://macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/22008/53/

In shark-infested waters, resolve of two giants is tested

SENKAKU/DIAOYU ISLANDS – The voyage to these remote islands at the center of one of Asia’s most heated territorial disputes is a bone-jarring seven-hour boat ride from one of Japan’s southernmost ports, a long enough journey that the fishermen who brave the often stormy seas regularly sail in pairs for safety. The trip from the mainland of China, which also lays claim to the islands, is even longer.
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The waters around the islands are believed to be infested with man-eating sharks. And the islands themselves, while tropical, are hardly postcard quality. Uotsuri, the largest of the five islands, is nothing more than a pair of craggy gray mountains with steep, boulder-strewn slopes that rise 1,000 feet almost straight from the water’s edge.
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Two nearby islands are nothing more than large rocks covered by scruffy shrubs and bird droppings. The only structure on the islands is Uotsuri’s small, unmanned lighthouse. No one has lived on any of the islands since World War II.
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The value of the islands has never been in their aesthetics, but in history and geopolitics: what control of the islands says about the relative power of Asia’s two economic giants, one rising and the other in what many see as a slow decline.
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It remains unclear how far the longstanding territorial conflict over the islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, could escalate now that it has flared again. China has in recent days tamped down protests that were seeming to slip beyond its control, and the two countries share deep economic ties that make the stakes of further escalation clear. But popular opinion in China has been unwilling to let the issue die, and a small group of nationalists in Japan has so far seemed unwilling to let go of an issue that helps define it.
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60 Years of American Economic History, Told in 1 Graph

Jordan Weissmann –  Jordan Weissmann is an associate editor at The Atlantic. He has written for a number of publications, including The Washington Post and The National Law Journal

In the 60 years after World War II, the United States built the world’s greatest middle class economy, then unbuilt it. And if you want a single snapshot that captures the broad sweep of that transformation, you could do much worse than this graph from a new Pew report, which tracks how average family incomes have changed at each rung of the economic ladder from 1950 through 2010.

Here’s the arc it captures: In the immediate postwar period, America’s rapid growth favored the middle and lower classes. The poorest fifth of all households, in fact, fared best. Then, in the 1970s, amid two oil crises and awful inflation, things ground to a halt. The country backed off the postwar, center-left consensus — captured by Richard Nixon’s comment that “we’re all Keynesians now” — and tried Reaganism instead. We cut taxes. Technology and competition from abroad started whittling away at blue collar jobs and pay. The stock market took off. And so when growth returned, it favored the investment class — the top 20 percent, and especially the top 5 percent (and, though it’s not on this chart, the top 1 percent more than anybody).