Monday, October 20, 2014
Via The Epoch Times: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has threatened the West with his country’s 5.000 nuclear warheads. Putin has raised the specter of nuclear war for the third time in the past two months as he and Western countries such as the United States clash over the Ukraine conflict, which has been bringing to light other deep-seated animosity. Putin made his latest comments while en route to the annual Asia-Europe Meeting in Milan, a summit of 50 nations. "We hope that our partners will realize the recklessness of attempts to blackmail Russia, and will remember the risks that a spat between major nuclear powers means for strategic stability", Putin told Serbian newspaper Politika. "He’s again threatened the West with nuclear weapons", John Besemeres, a Russia expert at the ANU, told the Sydney Morning Herald. "It seems like a mastubatory fantasy he can’t go without".
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Via CNBC: Moody's Investors Service cut Russia's sovereign debt rating to 'Baa2' from 'Baa1', becoming the second ratings agency to cut the country's ratings this year, after S&P initiated a downgrade in April. Moody's said the prolonged crisis in Ukraine was weighing on Russia's medium-term growth prospects. "The military confrontation in Ukraine and escalating sanctions against Russia are likely to have an increasingly negative macroeconomic impact on Russia's investment climate", the ratings agency said on Friday. The agency maintained its negative outlook on Russia. Moody's cited the ongoing erosion of Russia's foreign exchange buffers due to low oil prices and Russian borrowers' restricted access to international markets as key drivers for the downgrade. Russia's high dependence on the hydrocarbon sector has not materially decreased despite its government's diversification strategies and is likely to limit the economy's potential for growth, Moody's said. The agency expects real growth to start declining by the end of the year and continue falling at least until mid-2015. Moody's also lowered Russia's long-term country ceilings for local and foreign currency debt and for local currency deposits to 'A3' from 'A2'.
Friday, October 17, 2014
Via Disclose.tv: A new German documentary claims that testing of a secret Nazi aircraft by the USAF is the real conspiracy behind the famous Roswell incident. The Roswell incident took place in early July, 1947. Something crashed in the desert and the USAF didn’t know what it was. They even wrote a press release saying they captured a crashed flying saucer. The next day they retracted that statement and said it was all a mistake. The mysterious debris was just a weather balloon. After that, the incident was forgotten. Then in the 1970s, Jesse Marcel, who had been the intelligence officer at Roswell Army Air Field, said that the weather balloon excuse was a lie. He said he was first on the scene and what he saw was no weather balloon. Since then, hundreds of alleged witnesses have come forward saying they knew of or were part of the cover-up. Many even said they saw alien bodies. The story grew in popularity until it became a household name. Eventually, due to inquiries by politicians, and even Bill Clinton, the USAF said the Roswell crash was actually a secret high altitude spy balloon, and the alien bodies were actually crash test dummies. The German documentary is called “UFOs and the Third Reich”, and according to this new documentary, the Germans were working on a top secret aircraft called the Bell. This is not a new discovery. UFO researchers have been writing about the legends of the Bell for decades. However, the documentary does include some credible witness testimony. One of those witnesses is aeronautical engineer Georg Klein. He says, “This is what I saw, with my own eyes – a Nazi UFO.” He also says“, I don’t consider myself a crackpot or eccentric or someone given to fantasies”. The Bell supposedly combined rocket and helicopter technology, and was designed in Prague. Then in 1943, the US took control of the technology. Joseph Andreas Epp, an engineer who allegedly worked on the project, says 15 models were built. He said: “After this the wing-blades would be allowed to rotate freely as the saucer moved forward as in an auto-gyrocopter. In all probability, the wing-blades speed, and so their lifting value, could also be increased by directing the adjustable horizontal jets slightly upwards to engage the blades, thus spinning them faster at the digression of the pilot”. Although there seems to be several witnesses to have worked on the project, why haven’t we seen this technology in use, and why is the government still keeping this secret? If the documentary answers these questions, it is not in the English news stories about the documentary. The documentary itself is in German. The other big question is if this thing was being tested, what makes the documentary makers think this is what crashed outside of Roswell, New Mexico in 1947? The link to the Bell and Roswell is also not in these stories. If you live in Germany – don’t laugh, we have a lot of international readers (and we love them) – and have seen the documentary, let us know if they answered any of these questions. An interesting addition to Mirror Online’s coverage of this documentary is a Roswell poll at the end of the story. They ask, “What do you think was behind the Roswell incident?” Most say aliens, but the rest are split between a “Nazi war machine” and “not a clue”. Only 6%, thus far, are going with the official explanation of a weather balloon.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Via The Local: Sweden's approach to online gambling has been criticized by the European Commission, which says the country is failing to comply with EU laws. The Commission says that Sweden’s sports betting monopoly is inconsistent with the EU's goal of preventing problem gambling and criminal activities. Online gambling and betting shops are legal in Sweden, as long as they are run by a company with an appropriate licence. But the industry is dominated by one state-backed firm, Svenska Spel, with other companies operating in a black market. The European Commission has long argued that Swedish authorities are not doing enough to regulate the industry or to protect the public from developing gambling addictions. By preventing new businesses from entering the market, it says that Sweden is also breaching EU competition laws. On Thursday it released a statement saying Sweden's national government is "imposing restrictions on the organization and promotion of online betting services in a way which is inconsistent with EU law". The Commission, whose role it is to develop new ideas for EU laws and make sure existing ones are followed, has now referred Sweden to the European Court of Justice, which can fine countries seen to be breaching binding EU-wide legislation. According to a European Commission report in 2011, annual revenues of the overall EU gambling market are estimated to be around 780 billion kronor ($108 billion), with annual growth rates of around three percent. Online gambling is the fastest growing service activity in this sector in the EU, with annual growth rates of almost 15 percent.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Via The Local: Smoking should be banned at bus stops, outdoor cafes and playgrounds according to a new report from Sweden's Public Health Agency, which is being considered by the government. In an effort to reduce passive smoking in Sweden, the agency (Folkhälsomyndigheten) has proposed a serious cut to the number of public places Swedes can smoke. "It's about time to make public places free of cigarette smoke", agency head Johan Carlson said in a statement. "Many people are uncomfortable with cigarette smoke and it can even trigger breathing difficulties for asthmatics". He added that such a ban might even make it less attractive to smokers to pick up a cigarette at all elsewhere. "If fewer people smoke then the public health will be improved immensely", he added. The banned areas would include bus stops, playgrounds, outdoor serving areas, and entries to public buildings like hospitals. Sweden's Public Health Agency noted that passive smoking is responsible for up to ten cases of lung cancer in the country each year and around 400 cases of cardiovascular disease. It also found that half of Sweden's adult population is exposed to passive smoking outside at least once a month, and that two in five children with asthma have suffered from interaction with cigarette smoke some time in the last three months. Reacting to the proposal, 18-year-old Stockholm student Clara Bierbum told The Local: "I think it’s really good. People who don’t want smoke in their face shouldn’t have to have that. I might as well move. I don’t have to stand by a bus stop, I can stand a bit further away". Smoker Clara Bierbum backs the plans. But Peter Pedersen, 44, who is a non-smoker said:' "The first ban was successful; this might be taking it too far. What if the playgrounds are privately owned, would a ban even be legally possible? What’s the purpose of the ban? To shield children and non-smokers or to get rid of a certain behavior – a 'monkey see, monkey do' kind of thing. I don’t think it’s a good proposition". The Public Health Agency's suggestions are being handed over to Sweden's government for consideration on Wednesday. Lung cancer groups made headlines last year after proposing that Sweden should have a total smoking ban by 2025.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Via The Local: American actress Uma Thurman will visit Stockholm next month, meeting and mingling with cinema audiences after she picks up a prestigious film prize in Sweden. The Stockholm International Film Festival, now in its 25th year, announced on Tuesday that it had bestowed its Stockholm Achievement Award upon actress Uma Thurman. Thurman, who is herself a quarter Swedish, won the newly-established award for her "ferocious" acting, which festival organizers called "a gift to audiences worldwide". "Ever since her earliest roles, Uma Thurman has displayed an ability to portray and project the perfect and fantastical, while giving glimpses of the humanity that lies within", the festival committee explained in a statement. Thurman will be in Stockholm on November 4th, when she will unveil a brand new ice sculpture by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, created specifically for the festival. The actress will also attend red-carpet events and participate in the festival's inauguration ceremony. Thurman will receive the Stockholm Achievement Award in combination with a special showing of Kill Bill on November 7th. The audience will have the chance to meet Thurman in a one-hour face-to-face event, followed by a special showing of Kill Bill. The Stockholm Film Festival runs from November 5th - November 16th 2014 and will feature 201 films from 60 countries.