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Since the Justice and Development Party came to power in 2002, television series have become Turkey’s most glamorous export. Nearly 150 Turkish television series have been sold to over 100 countries in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, South America and South Asia. Annual exports are thought to have surpassed $300 million last year. It is common to see groups of Arab or Iranian tourists in Istanbul visiting the alluring sites they have seen on screen.


(In between takes on the set of “The Magnificent Century” in Istanbul in 2011)

But “Dirilis: Ertugrul” is more squarely aimed at a domestic audience. Broadcast on the state-run network TRT 1, its sentiments are insular and nationalistic, striking a chord in a country feeling bruised and belligerent after the military coup attempt last July. The first season featured a Turkish campaign against Crusaders in Anatolia, the second season battles against the Mongols, the third season war with the Christian Byzantines. Its relaxed approach to historical accuracy is less important than how it reflects the political mood. The show captures the Muslim nationalism expressed by President Erdogan, who during the referendum spoke of a bitter “struggle between the crescent and the cross.”

Television series have considerable importance in Turkish culture. The Turkish Statistical Institute reported in 2015 that 94.6 percent of Turks say watching television is their favorite activity. According to the Radio and Television Supreme Council, Turkish citizens on average watch 5.5 hours a day, making them the world’s biggest consumers of television shows. Serials often echo the political atmosphere. Since last year’s coup attempt, and amid military operations against the Islamic State and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party there has been a wave of television series featuring soldiers and intelligence operatives battling internal and external enemies.

Perhaps inevitably, “Dirilis: Ertugrul” has become embroiled in Turkey’s bitter culture war between religious conservatives and more secular-minded cultural elites. At an awards ceremony last November, the presenter mocked the series, and its cast and crew were not allowed to speak onstage when they accepted their award. Its scriptwriter then vowed to return his award, and President Erdogan himself waded into the controversy, praising “Dirilis: Ertugrul” as giving voice to the conservative masses. “Until the lions start writing their own stories, their hunters will always be the heroes,” he said.

The popularity of the series does not necessarily reflect the much-vaunted rise of Islamization under Mr. Erdogan. It is more about a deep-seated ambition for prestige and national assertion against enemies. Series like “Dirilis: Ertugrul” express the idea that Turkey has a unique mission as the heir of a great empire, a nation founded by men of strength, courage and wisdom. In one scene the characters talk after a battle about the kind of idealized empire they will establish, rewarding talent, intelligence and martial prowess.

Writing in the cultural journal Birikim, the Turkish scholar Semuhi Sinanoglu described how such television series work as a kind “political technology” securing legitimacy for today’s political regime. According to these series, “the names of Turkey’s enemies may have changed but their essence has remained the same since even before the founding of the Ottoman state,” Mr. Sinanoglu wrote, adding, “These enemies’ aim is to divide and destroy the country.” They invariably have “local extensions” in the form of well-connected cosmopolitans willing to commit treason for personal gain. It is a potent message in Turkey’s conspiracy-theory-fueled political culture.

The popularity of such dramas may also reflect its viewers’ wish to escape into a fantasy world more comforting than the messy reality of Turkey today. In a fiercely polarized country troubled by rising economic strife and roiled by war over the border in Syria, “Dirilis: Ertugrul” soothes viewers by tapping into a flattering foundational myth of Turkish glory.

These themes are staples of President Erdogan’s populist appeal. For years he has portrayed the huge building projects reshaping the Turkish landscape as part of a struggle against jealous foreign powers out to frustrate Turkey’s rise. A cult of personality has developed in which Mr. Erdogan is seen as the sole embodiment of the “national will.” He tells the faithful at public rallies that Turkey is fulfilling a sacred destiny under his presidency, returning to its historical role as a regional leader and global power.


(A promotional image for the Turkish television series “Dirilis: Ertugrul.”)

This makes sense to many ordinary voters who have enjoyed economic stability and improved welfare services in the 15 years of Justice and Development Party rule. With the masses behind him, Mr. Erdogan essentially says he is making Turkey great again.

“We are together with our nation, and we will walk together,” he said at a pre-referendum rally in the southeastern city of Urfa. “We say, ‘One nation, one flag, one homeland, one state.’ Who can stand in front of this unity, togetherness and brotherhood?”

Mr. Erdogan expertly channels the raw emotions of his supporters. He often slips into poetry during speeches, pulling the heartstrings of his followers and confirming their sense of shared destiny. One day after the referendum he spoke to an adoring crowd of thousands under the rain outside his presidential palace in Ankara.

“We have walked on these paths together,” he said, quoting the lyrics of a popular song he often recites. “We have been soaked by the rain together. Now every song I hear reminds me of you.”

The referendum may have been about a technical package of amendments to Turkey’s Constitution, but many voters were guided by more elemental feelings. Those who backed the constitutional changes were endorsing Mr. Erdogan’s “New Turkey” project. Part of this project is about reshaping the way Turkey interprets its past. The ubiquitous presence of “Dirilis: Ertugrul” at the top of the television ratings every week shows that millions of Turks are already on board.



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Have you ever felt like you’re talking, but nobody is listening?

Here’s Julian Treasure to help. In this useful talk, the sound expert demonstrates the how-to’s of powerful speaking — from some handy vocal exercises to tips on how to speak with empathy.

A talk that might help the world sound more beautiful.



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More than 800 homes in tower blocks on a council estate in Camden, north London, are be evacuated because of safety concerns over cladding in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Camden Council says residents in flats in five towers on the Chalcots estate will be moved for “urgent fire safety works”.

Similar cladding was used on the building to that on the Grenfell Tower.

A total of 79 people are feared dead after the Grenfell fire.

Camden Council had said it will remove external thermal cladding from five tower blocks on the estate.

It had initially announced the evacuation of one tower block, Taplow, but later extended the move to all five tower blocks it had checked.

The council said it would carry out regular fire safety patrols and safety checks to reassure residents.

Council leader Georgia Gould said: “Camden Council is absolutely determined to ensure that our residents are safe and we have promised them that we will work with them, continue to act swiftly and be open and transparent.”

She said London Fire Brigade had completed a joint inspection of the blocks with Camden Council technical experts.

It was decided the flats needed to be “temporarily decanted” to allow the work “so that residents can be fully assured of their safety. This means that we need to move residents from their homes and into temporary accommodation.”

Ms Gould said the work is expected to take three to four weeks, adding the “Grenfell fire changes everything”.

The announcement came as the Metropolitan Police said the Grenfell Tower fire started in a fridge-freezer, and outside cladding and insulation failed safety tests.

Detectives say manslaughter, health and safety, and fire safety charges will be considered as part of their investigation.

A national operation to identify buildings with cladding similar to that used in Grenfell Tower has seen local authorities send samples for independent tests.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said 14 residential high-rise buildings in nine local authority areas have now been found with cladding that raises safety concerns.



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Turkey has rejected a key demand by several Arab states involved in a major dispute with Qatar, saying Ankara has no plans to shut down its military base in the small Gulf country.

The demand that Turkey pull out its forces was one of a steep list of ultimatums from Saudi Arabia and others Qatari neighbors that includes shuttering broadcaster Al-Jazeera, curbing back diplomatic relations with Iran and severing all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the 13-point list in Arabic from one of the countries involved in the dispute.

Qatar has confirmed receiving the list Thursday from Kuwait, which is mediating the dispute, but has not yet commented on them.

Rather than focus narrowly on alleged Qatari financing for extremism, the 13-point catalogue of demands illustrates the sweeping change in direction that Qatar’s neighbours are insisting the tiny, gas-rich nation must undertake to align itself with Saudi Arabia’s broader vision for the region. Though Qatar is likely to reject it, the list answers the growing call from the United States and from Qatar for the countries to put their grievances in writing.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain broke ties with Qatar and restricted access to land, sea and air routes earlier this month over allegations it funds terrorism — an accusation Doha rejects but that President Donald Trump has echoed. The move has left Qatar, whose only land border is shared with Saudi Arabia, under a de facto blockade by its neighbours.

Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik said on Friday that the Turkish base aims to train Qatari soldiers and increase the tiny Persian Gulf nation’s security. According to the Milliyet newspaper’s online edition, he also said that “no one should be disturbed by” the Turkish presence in Qatar.

Turkey has sided with Qatar in the dispute and its parliament has ratified legislation allowing the deployment of Turkish troops to the base. The military said a contingent of 23 soldiers reached Doha on Thursday.

Qatar has insisted its neighbours are trying to force it to bend to their will on a much broader set of issues, and as the crisis has dragged on, the US has started publicly questioning whether ulterior motives are involved.

Earlier this week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned the demands must be “reasonable and actionable.” The US issued that litmus test amid frustration at how long it was taking Saudi Arabia and others to formalise a list of demands, complicating US efforts to bring about a resolution to the worst Gulf diplomatic crisis in years.

Qatar vehemently denies funding or supporting extremism. But the country acknowledges that it allows members of some extremist groups such as Hamas to reside in Qatar, arguing that fostering dialogue with those groups is key to resolving global conflicts.

According to the list, Qatar must stop granting citizenship to wanted nationals from the four countries and revoke citizenship for existing nationals from those countries where it violates their laws. In addition, Qatar must pay an unspecified sum in reparations. It has been given 10 days to comply with all of the demands.

Underscoring the growing seriousness of the crisis, state-run Qatar Petroleum acknowledged early Friday that some critically important employees “may have been asked to postpone” trips abroad “for operational reasons” as a result of the embargo.

It described the move as “a very limited measure that could take place in any oil and gas operating company” to ensure uninterrupted energy supplies to customers.

Under Qatari law, foreigners working in the country must secure their employer’s consent to receive an exit permit allowing them to leave. The practice, which has been in place for years, has been assailed by rights groups who say it limits workers’ freedom of movement and leaves them open to abuse.

Qatari officials in Doha did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the AP. But the list included conditions that the gas-rich nation had already insisted would never be met, including shutting down Al-Jazeera. The network also had no immediate comment.

“At the moment, there is no likelihood of bringing the matter back to the table,” said Isik, the Turkish defence minister.

Qatar’s neighbours are also demanding that it hand over all individuals who are wanted by those four countries for terrorism; stop funding any extremist entities that are designated as terrorist groups by the US; and provide detailed information about opposition figures that Qatar has funded, ostensibly in Saudi Arabia and the other nations.

Qatar’s neighbours have also accused it of backing al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group’s ideology throughout the Middle East. Those umbrella groups also appear on the list of entities whose ties with Qatar must be extinguished, along with Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the al-Qaeda branch in Syria, once known as the Nusra Front.

More broadly, the list demands that Qatar align itself politically, economically and otherwise with the Gulf Cooperation Council, a regional club that has focused on countering the influence of Iran. Saudi Arabia and other Sunni-led nations have accused Qatar of inappropriately close ties to Iran, a Shia-led country and Saudi Arabia’s regional foe.

The Iran provisions in the document say Qatar must shut down diplomatic posts in Iran, kick out from Qatar any members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard, and only conduct trade and commerce with Iran that complies with US and international sanctions. Under the 2015 nuclear deal, nuclear-related sanctions on Iran were eased but other sanctions remain in place.

The Revolutionary Guard has deployed its forces to conflict zones such as Syria and Iraq. It is not known to have a presence in Qatar.

Cutting ties to Iran would prove incredibly difficult. Qatar shares a massive offshore natural gas field with Iran which supplies the small nation that will host the 2022 Fifa World Cup its wealth.

Also, not only must Qatar shut down the Doha-based satellite broadcaster, the list says, but also all of its affiliates. That presumably would mean Qatar would have to close down Al-Jazeera’s English-language sister network.

Supported by Qatar’s government, Al-Jazeera is one of the most widely watched Arabic channels, but it has long drawn the ire of Mid-east governments for airing alternative viewpoints. The network’s critics say it advances Qatar’s goals by promoting Islamist movements like the Muslim Brotherhood that pose a populist threat to rulers in other Arab countries.

The list also demands that Qatar stop funding a host of other news outlets including Arabi21, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed and Middle East Eye.

Beirut-based political analyst George Alam said Qatar is unlikely to agree to the demands.

“They are impossible to be met because they interfere in Qatar’s foreign policy and Qatar considers its foreign policy a sovereign matter that is nonnegotiable, he said.

If Qatar agrees to comply, the list asserts that it will be audited once a month for the first year, and then once per quarter in the second year after it takes effect. For the following 10 years, Qatar would be monitored annually for compliance.



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President Donald Trump has signed a law protecting whistleblowers at the Department of Veterans Affairs and making it easier to fire problem employees. Trump campaigned on the platform of overhauling the agency serving US veterans.

“For many years the government failed to keep its promises to our veterans,” who were put on secret waitlists, given wrong medication or bad treatment, Trump said, calling it “a national disgrace.”

Outdated laws kept the government from holding accountable those VA employees who failed veterans, the president said, calling the new law “one of the largest reforms to the VA in its history.”


“In a short time, we’ve already achieved transformative change at the VA, and believe me we’re just getting started,” Trump said.

The 2017 VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act makes permanent the office Trump created by executive order to look into claims by agency whistleblowers and protect them from retaliation.

“The administration is committed to ensuring the nation’s veterans have access to the care, services, and benefits they have earned,” the White House said in a statement about the legislation. “To achieve this goal, it is critical that employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are held to the highest performance standards, and that they are accountable when those standards are not met.”

The new law strips away senior agency executives’ right to appeal disciplinary decisions to the government’s Merit Systems Protection Board, replacing it with an internal agency grievance process. It also allows the VA to take back bonuses paid to employees found guilty of misconduct, and prohibits employees who are appealing disciplinary decisions from being placed on paid administrative leave.

VA Secretary David Shulkin complained about the existing disciplinary procedures in May, calling the agency’s accountability process “clearly broken.”

Current rules require a 30-day waiting period before any disciplinary action, and the VA currently has 1,500 proceedings pending, Shulkin said. He cited the case of a psychiatrist who was caught watching pornography on his iPad while meeting with a veteran, but the agency can’t fire him for another month. In another case, a court forced the VA to hire back an employee who spent two months in jail for drunken driving.

“I want to thank President Trump for his leadership and determination to fix the VA,” Shulkin said, also thanking the members of Congress for the bipartisan effort in getting the law passed.



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German Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon takes-off during the air policing scramble in Amari air base, Estonia, March 2, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

Europe is embarking on an expensive and politically charged effort to develop a new combat jet that will shape the future of the European fighter industry and its three existing programs – Eurofighter, France’s Rafale and Sweden’s Gripen.

Two people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters early talks had started on whether and how European countries could co-operate on a new sixth-generation fighter, which could involve a combination of manned and unmanned systems.

Though complicated by Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, business executives and politicians at the Paris Airshow this week said U.S. President Donald Trump’s cooler stance toward Europe had given the effort some fresh momentum.

But they warned of massive hurdles, including bickering among European states and companies, the troubled history of past joint projects such as the A400M military transport plane, and the sheer cost of developing advanced military aircraft.

Any project is likely to cost far more than the 10 billion-plus euros sunk into the Eurofighter, the last joint fighter built, at a time when Europe is grappling with other expensive problems such as increased Islamist militancy and the influx of well over a million migrants from the Middle East and Africa.

Yet EU politicians are determined to increase cooperation on defense and security, and wary of effectively leaving the fighter jet market to the United States.

“It’s the same with food. Some things you have to be able to do yourself,” Monika Hohlmeier, a German member of the European Parliament and chair of the parliament’s Sky & Space Intergroup, told Reuters during a visit to the A400M at the air show.

Germany, which has begun early work on a next-generation fighter, last month asked the United States for a classified briefing on the U.S. F-35 stealth fighter built by Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N), as it prepares for a more intense look at fighter options after the Sept. 24 election.

The F-35, which showed off its moves during its premiere at the Paris show, is being bought in Europe by Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Belgium and Turkey. Finland, Switzerland and Spain have also expressed interest.

Buying the F-35 would help improve Germany’s ability to fight with key allies, but could prove politically difficult in a country with strong labor unions eager to safeguard jobs.

Corporate rivalries add another level of complexity.


“We are already working on the Next Generation Weapon System, which has been initiated by Germany but with strong interest from Spain and other nations, as part of a bigger concept of future combat systems including unmanned aircraft,” Fernando Alonso, head of military aircraft at Airbus (AIR.PA), told a briefing ahead of the Paris Airshow.

“And I very much hope that we will see France involved in that because it is clearly very much in all our interest to see a common solution,” he added.

Airbus represents Germany and Spain in the maturing Eurofighter program, which also includes Britain through BAE Systems (BAES.L) and Italy via Leonardo (LDOF.MI).

France, however, dropped out of that project early on due to disagreements over the sharing out of work, with its Dassault Aviation (DAST.PA) going on to develop the Rafale fighter jet.

Airbus is pressing Dassault to join in this time instead of forcing Britain to choose a preferred continental partner.

It is also unclear what role, if any, Sweden’s SAAB (SAABb.ST) might play. SAAB builds the Gripen fighter, which is in use in Sweden, South Africa and Hungary, among others.

One French diplomat said it was clear no one European nation could develop a new combat jet in the current environment. “Those days are over. Period,” the diplomat said.

Even the United States’ F-35 was developed with funds from Britain and other countries.

Volker Thum, managing director of the German Aerospace Industries Association, said Franco-German cooperation was a “key driver for the urgently needed agreement” on the project. He said new President Emmanuel Macron’s arrival at the air show on an A400M signaled his commitment to European cooperation.

Airbus’s Alonso said this month that upgrades and modernization would keep the Eurofighter flying into the 2040s, and possibly longer, but older warplanes like the pan-European Tornado and Spain’s F/A-18s would soon need to be replaced, with buyers likely to want the latest technology and capabilities.

Given the costs and timescale involved, aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia said the need to get started on “an indigenous homegrown alternative to the F-35″ was one of the biggest defense issues facing Europe.

But Brexit and disagreements among remaining EU members made him skeptical. “The odds are they probably won’t get their act together,” he said, citing historical angst about military issues in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, and Britain’s increasing focus on U.S. ties.




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A very interesting study by NASA, published two years ago, may be giving a new spin on the climate debate:

A new NASA study says that an increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers.

The research challenges the conclusions of other studies, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2013 report, which says that Antarctica is overall losing land ice.

According to the new analysis of satellite data, the Antarctic ice sheet showed a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001. That net gain slowed to 82 billion tons of ice per year between 2003 and 2008.

“We’re essentially in agreement with other studies that show an increase in ice discharge in the Antarctic Peninsula and the Thwaites and Pine Island region of West Antarctica,” said Jay Zwally, a glaciologist with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of the study, which was published on Oct. 30 in the Journal of Glaciology. “Our main disagreement is for East Antarctica and the interior of West Antarctica – there, we see an ice gain that exceeds the losses in the other areas.” Zwally added that his team “measured small height changes over large areas, as well as the large changes observed over smaller areas.”


(A new NASA study says that Antarctica is overall accumulating ice. Still, areas of the continent, like the Antarctic Peninsula photographed above, have increased their mass loss in the last decades.)


Scientists calculate how much the ice sheet is growing or shrinking from the changes in surface height that are measured by the satellite altimeters. In locations where the amount of new snowfall accumulating on an ice sheet is not equal to the ice flow downward and outward to the ocean, the surface height changes and the ice-sheet mass grows or shrinks.

But it might only take a few decades for Antarctica’s growth to reverse, according to Zwally. “If the losses of the Antarctic Peninsula and parts of West Antarctica continue to increase at the same rate they’ve been increasing for the last two decades, the losses will catch up with the long-term gain in East Antarctica in 20 or 30 years — I don’t think there will be enough snowfall increase to offset these losses.”

The study analyzed changes in the surface height of the Antarctic ice sheet measured by radar altimeters on two European Space Agency European Remote Sensing (ERS) satellites, spanning from 1992 to 2001, and by the laser altimeter on NASA’s Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) from 2003 to 2008.

Zwally said that while other scientists have assumed that the gains in elevation seen in East Antarctica are due to recent increases in snow accumulation, his team used meteorological data beginning in 1979 to show that the snowfall in East Antarctica actually decreased by 11 billion tons per year during both the ERS and ICESat periods. They also used information on snow accumulation for tens of thousands of years, derived by other scientists from ice cores, to conclude that East Antarctica has been thickening for a very long time.

“At the end of the last Ice Age, the air became warmer and carried more moisture across the continent, doubling the amount of snow dropped on the ice sheet,” Zwally said.

The extra snowfall that began 10,000 years ago has been slowly accumulating on the ice sheet and compacting into solid ice over millennia, thickening the ice in East Antarctica and the interior of West Antarctica by an average of 0.7 inches (1.7 centimeters) per year. This small thickening, sustained over thousands of years and spread over the vast expanse of these sectors of Antarctica, corresponds to a very large gain of ice – enough to outweigh the losses from fast-flowing glaciers in other parts of the continent and reduce global sea level rise.

Zwally’s team calculated that the mass gain from the thickening of East Antarctica remained steady from 1992 to 2008 at 200 billion tons per year, while the ice losses from the coastal regions of West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula increased by 65 billion tons per year.

“The good news is that Antarctica is not currently contributing to sea level rise, but is taking 0.23 millimeters per year away,” Zwally said. “But this is also bad news. If the 0.27 millimeters per year of sea level rise attributed to Antarctica in the IPCC report is not really coming from Antarctica, there must be some other contribution to sea level rise that is not accounted for.”


(Map showing the rates of mass changes from ICESat 2003-2008 over Antarctica. Sums are for all of Antarctica: East Antarctica (EA, 2-17); interior West Antarctica (WA2, 1, 18, 19, and 23); coastal West Antarctica (WA1, 20-21); and the Antarctic Peninsula (24-27). A gigaton (Gt) corresponds to a billion metric tons, or 1.1 billion U.S. tons.)


“The new study highlights the difficulties of measuring the small changes in ice height happening in East Antarctica,” said Ben Smith, a glaciologist with the University of Washington in Seattle who was not involved in Zwally’s study.

“Doing altimetry accurately for very large areas is extraordinarily difficult, and there are measurements of snow accumulation that need to be done independently to understand what’s happening in these places,” Smith said.

To help accurately measure changes in Antarctica, NASA is developing the successor to the ICESat mission, ICESat-2, which is scheduled to launch in 2018. “ICESat-2 will measure changes in the ice sheet within the thickness of a No. 2 pencil,” said Tom Neumann, a glaciologist at Goddard and deputy project scientist for ICESat-2. “It will contribute to solving the problem of Antarctica’s mass balance by providing a long-term record of elevation changes.”



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They were the first human immigrants to come to Australasia after our species left Africa around 60,000 years ago. It appears that the offspring of current Aborigines and indigenous people from Papua New Guinea and portions of India had more illicit chance meetings with other species of premature humans than was actually realized. Examinations of DNA from modern indigenous inhabitants in Australasia has proven that they came across a mysterious new human ancestor as they traveled.


The new human ancestor has been uncovered in a DNA analysis of human migration from Africa to Australasia. Investigators from Universitat Pampeu Fabra made the finding by sequencing the genomes of populations including the Andamanese. It appears this unidentified hominin species reproduced with Homo sapiens as they ranged from Africa and through Asia. The revision also raises questions about earlier discoveries that modern humans inhabited Asia in two waves from their starting point in Africa, instead of a single migration out of Africa.

Homo sapiens are believed to have first surfaced in Africa around 150,000 years ago. About 100,000 years later, minor numbers of them left their homeland, wandering first to Asia and then eventually east, passing over the Bering Strait and inhabiting the Americas. It had been believed that the ancestors of current humans arrived from Asia in two waves from their lineage in Africa about 60,000 years ago. Earlier investigation looking at the genomes of individuals existing today shows the Asia-Pacific arrivals mated with two hominin species they discovered, the Neanderthals and the Denisovans.


(The footprints are indistinguishable from those of a modern barefoot human, with similar foot anatomies and mechanics)

Now, a third has been discovered, and this proposes the “Out of Africa” migration was a solitary event. This discovery designates a mutual lineage for all inhabitants in the Asia-Pacific district, dating back to a solitary migration out of Africa. Our species, Homo sapiens, first developed in Africa about 150,000 years ago but is thought to have originally moved out of the continent around 60,000 years ago. Scientists have been charting the appearance of hereditary markers in recent peoples to better understand how ancient beings everywhere moved around the planet. The descendants of Europeans are believed to have come west after departing Africa, breeding up to several times with the Neanderthals they came across along the way.

Modern beings of European ancestry characteristically owe between one and six percent of their DNA to these ancient encounters. As an outcome of this interbreeding, Homo sapiens are believed to have inherited numerous genetic traits that have assisted in boosting their immune organisms and gifted them with healthier skin and hair. Other investigations have found that the descendants of ethnic populations in Asia and the Pacific seem to have reproduced with not only the Neanderthals but another prehistoric species called the Denisovans. In this day and age, the new study has exposed that they might have likely bred with a third type. Instructor Jaume Bertranpetit at Pompeu Fabra University in Spain made the finding after observing at the genomes of aboriginal Australians, Papuans – people who live at the Andaman Islands and are from mainland India. They discovered fragments of their DNA did not tie in with any hominin species on record.



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Parliamentary elections are being held next Sunday in Albania, which is plagued by economic crisis and corruption.

The country is considered to be the “Colombia of Europe” with regard to hashish crops according to DW.

Albania is a rather special case in Europe. After decades of political isolation, a change was made in the early 1990s. A change in the absolute chaos where too many Albanians acquired illegal weapons by invading army depots.

The small state of the three million inhabitants is the “Colombia of Europe”. The hashish crop center with a turnover of billions but as of 2009 also a member of NATO. A state where the parliamentary elections had to be postponed for a week because the opposition stubbornly refused to participate. The compromise proposal of the Christian Democrat MEP David McAliser was the one that managed to get the situation out of the stalemate.

According to a poll, 56% of citizens hope to be able to leave the country because of economic and social difficulties. The German Christian Democratic Party had an advisory role in drawing up the economic program of opposition Democrats, mainly with a view to creating jobs. Opposition leader Ljazim Basha has also had contacts with the US in his recent visit. On the other hand, foreign diplomats in Tirana, Brussels and Washington believe that the leader of the Socialist Party and Prime Minister Edi Rama is in a position to bring Albania out of the crisis. Rama has said, however, that he will abandon politics if the Socialists lose the election. He tells us that the change in the country can only happen when the Socialist Party becomes self-reliant and stops co-operating with the “smaller corrupt” parties.

Race against hashish crops

The issue of controversy in the election campaign is the cultivation of hashish. Clearly, despite government efforts to restrict, its cultivation has expanded. Two months ago, President Bujar Nisani warned that “many tons of hashish seeds” are in the country.

The problem is that in the north and south, the very poor population can only survive by cultivating the illegal hashish crop. With the cooperation of corrupt officials, police officers and judges, there is a turnover of several billion euros.

The opposition accuses Rama of being the “commander of the drug army, who holds the entire society hostage”. Cabinet claims that only last year destroyed two million cannabis plants. The opposition does not want to be reminded that when they ruled, from 2005 to 2013, they drew their power primarily from the areas where the hash is being cultivated.

The international interest brought together 800 police officers in June 2014, who entered the village of Lazarati. Residents have shown great resistance to the destruction of hash-crops using automatic weapons. In this operation thousands of plants were destroyed.



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On August 26 fans of boxing and MMA from around the world will on the edges of their seats as two top fighters in their combat styles, Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather will face off in a historic bout. The predictions of the outcome are heavily in favour of undefeated boxing star Floyd Mayweather, as the fight will take place under boxing rules. The Irish double UFC champion has been training to get used to the style with various sparring partners. A video was released showing McGregor in the ring with former South African champion Chris Van Heerden, and the footage is not very flattering for Conor. The video was reportedly shot one year ago, so maybe McGregor has improved since then? But has he improved enough to fight arguably the best boxer in history? We’ll have to wait and see.



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Pouring rain did not prevent Russian President Vladimir Putin from taking part in a wreath-laying ceremony on the Day of Memory and Sorrow, which marks the beginning of the Great Patriotic War against the Nazis.
The wreath-laying took place on Thursday at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Alexander Garden outside the Kremlin in Moscow.
It was attended by President Putin and other high-ranking officials, including Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Federal Council Speaker Valentina Matvienko.
The ceremony proceeded according to schedule despite heavy rain starting shortly beforehand, and none of the officials having an umbrella.
June 22 is the Day of Memory and Sorrow in Russia, marking the beginning of the Great Patriot War of 1941-1945.


Ο Πρόεδρος της #Ρωσία Βλ.#Πούτιν – ακίνητος μέσα στην βροχή – σε κατάθεση στεφάνου για τα θύματα του Β’ Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου.@Hellenic_MOD



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Evolution will no longer be taught in Turkish schools, a senior education official has said, in a move likely to raise the ire of the country’s secular opposition.
Alpaslan Durmuş, who chairs the board of education, said evolution was debatable, controversial and too complicated for students.

“We believe that these subjects are beyond their [students] comprehension,” said Durmuş in a video published on the education ministry’s website.
Durmuş said a chapter on evolution was being removed from ninth grade biology course books, and the subject postponed to the undergraduate period. Another change to the curriculum may reduce the amount of time that students spend studying the legacy of secularism.
Critics of the government believe public life is being increasingly stripped of the secular traditions instilled by the nation’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
The secular opposition has long argued that the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is pursuing a covert Islamist agenda contrary to the republic’s founding values. Education is a particularly contentious avenue, because of its potential in shaping future generations. Small-scale protests by parents in local schools have opposed the way religion is taught.
There is little acceptance of evolution as a concept among mainstream Muslim clerics in the Middle East, who believe it contradicts the story of creation in scripture, in which God breathed life into the first man, Adam, after shaping him from clay. Still, evolution is briefly taught in many high school biology courses in the region.
The final changes to the curriculum are likely to be announced next week after the Muslim Eid or Bayram festival at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. The draft changes had been put forth for public consultation at the beginning of the year.



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It was celebrated in ancient Greece, ignored during the Middle Ages, and rediscovered by scientists over and over before the scientific community finally agreed that it exists. What are we talking about? The clitoris of course!
Canadian screenwriter and animation director Lori Malépart-Traversy has decided to educate the internet on what that elusive clitoris actually is. And she’s done it in the most adorable short documentary, which has already picked up multiple awards around the world including the Best Short Film Award at Festival Vues d’en face 2017 and the Best Documentary at Chicago Feminist Film Festival 2017.


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In a world obsessed with everything about sex, and let’s be frank, with the rise of hedonism and pleasure, having “relations” with animals is just one more “preference”. Some of course would consider this choice as perverse, but others are turned on by fornicating with animals. All over the world and from varying cultures supporters of bestiality see nothing unnatural with their choices! Bestiality in many countries is illegal. But some would be surprised to learn that many nations, not only fail to police such activity, they actually condone it. There are groups who are dedicated toward protecting the rights of people to have sex with animals (can’t make that up). Just enter Bestiality in Google and there will be images aplenty for any warped fans of such acts. It’s a practice that continues on to this very day despite much of the world frowning upon it. It has only been within the last five years that countries such as Sweden, Denmark and a handful of the states in the US (that’s right, the freakin’ US!) finally outlawed the practice. In the 1940s, famous researcher Alfred Kinsey, infamous for his work in human sexuality, estimated that 8% of men and 3.6% of women had engaged in some sort of sexual act with an animal. Later studies were estimated at 4.9% and 1.9% respectively, but still! We’re not going to get into the diseases that are spread from humans having sex with animals, but it can range from increased risk for cancer to HPV. The animals of choice? Dogs come in at number 1 followed by horses with donkeys, sheep, camels and chickens coming in distant 3rd and on.


Germany – Bestiality Brothels

Colombia – Donkey Intercourse

South Africa – Doggie Love

United States – Land Of The Free

Sweden – Just Banned Bestiality In 2013

Denmark – The Hot Spot For The Bestiality Industry

Brazil – Penile Cancer On The Rise

Hungary – Bestiality Adult Entertainment

Finland – Legal Since 1971



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A Connecticut special education teacher has allegedly admitted to having sex with a student. Court paperwork indicates a student brought all of this to light, and the teacher initially denied a relationship with the student — but later changed her story.

According to WFSB, Laura Ramos has been charged with second-degree sexual assault. An arrest warrant says a student witness went to school officials, indicating Ramos started texting him first.
Court documents show the texting began as “normal — teacher helping a student,” but eventually, “Mrs. Ramos began telling him about her personal problems.” The documents indicate “Mrs. Ramos would complain that her ‘man’ or ‘guy’ does not want to have sex or do anything with her.”
According to WFSB, the student witness told detectives while Ramos never used a name, he believed the victim was an 18-year-old special education student who is a junior at Central High School in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
“Witness 1 noticed the victim would hang out in Mrs. Ramos’ class and…would watch them make eyes at each other, like flirting,” court documents said.
That witness let police take photos of his text messages with Ramos, in which the married mother allegedly asked about buying weed for her and her man. The texts also included sexually inappropriate content.
When first approached by detectives, Ramos said she was close with the student, and denied anything sexual took place, but according to the warrant, Ramos admitted she talked with the teen about denying they were having a sexual relationship and deleted all her texts saying she was scared about the investigation. When detectives told her they would issue a warrant for her cell phone, she allegedly said: “You’re not going to be happy with what you find on my phone.”
Police say Ramos then consented to a second interview, in which she told police she and the teen started flirting in December, before it turned physical. She said they had sex “a handful of times” in her car — the last time in April.
Ramos was placed on leave by the school district. She had submitted a letter of resignation on June 20th, but the school district had already initiated termination proceedings, according to school officials.
“Please be assured that the safety and welfare of our students is our main priority at Bridgeport Public Schools, and we make every effort to ensure the ongoing safety of our students. We take seriously all allegations of inappropriate conduct which threatens the well-being of our students, and such misconduct will not be tolerated,” school officials said in a press release.



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The elite troops are also getting an arsenal of new weapons, tried and tested by US special forces.

Lethal bullets designed to “drop” jihadis on the spot will be issued in the next few weeks.

One type of ammunition – the Rapidly Invasive Projectile, or RIP – is designed to cause the maximum internal damage to a target.


(LETHAL: The RIP is designed to cause the maximum internal damage to a target)

The bullet, described as the most lethal ever made, is made by US company G2 Research.

It is designed to splinter into eight pieces, each causing as much damage as a single ordinary round.

The manufacturers’ website states: “It is capable of going through barriers such as sheet rock, plywood, sheet metal or glass and still performs its original intent. The bullet shreds through solid objects and, only then, expends its energy.”


(DEADLY: The bullet is described as the most lethal ever made)

One intelligence source said: “We need bullets with stopping power.

They don’t always have to be high-powered.

“The 5.56mm round issued to the Army will pass straight through a body but won’t necessarily drop a target. There were cases in Afghanistan where soldiers had to shoot the Taliban two or three times before they went down.

“A lot of damage can be done in those few seconds. Expanding bullets are very unpleasant – they produce a massive hole – but will stop a target in its tracks.”

The bullets also reduce the risk of ricochets striking innocent bystanders or hostages as the body takes the brunt of the impact.

G2R officials said they have tested the bullets in a range of automatic and semiautomatic weapons, as well as in rifles, with a 100% success rate.


(EXPLODES: The bullet shreds through solid objects)

British special forces will also be equipped with “hollow point” rounds which work in a similar way to the RIP.

Instead of splintering, the bullet tip flattens out and produces a massive wound. The SAS counter-terrorist team will use the bullets in their new HK MP7a1 sub-machines – the weapon used by members of the US Navy’s Seal Team 6 to kill Osama bin Laden.

It is regarded as the best close-quarters submachine gun in the world and is described as the perfect counterterrorist tool.

It is small enough to be hidden beneath clothing but has a rate of fire of 950 rounds per minute and weighs just 2.65lbs.



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Greece has appealed to UNESCO to intervene after Muslim prayers were read at Hagia Sophia in Istanbul on Wednesday, provoking the religious sentiments of Christians around the world.

In a meeting Thursday with UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture Francesco Bandarin, Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannis Amanatidis said the prayers at Hagia Sofia, which were broadcast on television and attended by government officials, were insulting to Christians, and compromised the monument’s cultural significance.

Francesco Bandarin said that “UNESCO has already told Turkey that the monument must remain a cultural monument, and that the organization will repeat the same message to Turkish authorities”.

Hagia Sofia was commissioned in the 6th century by the Byzantine emperor Justinian, and was one of Christendom’s great churches before it was converted into a mosque after Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1453. In 1935 it became a museum.


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Die Hagia Sophia wurde einst als christliche Kirche erbaut, nach der Eroberung Konstantinopels wurde sie zu einer Moschee umfunktioniert, Istanbul, Türkei


The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the following announcement regarding the attempt by Turkey to turn Hagia Sophia into a Mosque:

We condemn the Koran reading and holding of prayers in Hagia Sophia, which was attended by the head of Turkey’s Directorate for Religious Affairs and broadcast by Turkey’s state television channel

Hagia Sophia is a UNESCO world heritage site. The attempt to convert it into a mosque – through reading of the Koran, holding of prayers, and a number of other actions – is an affront to the international community, which needs to be duly mobilised and to react.

This is a clearly unacceptable challenge to the religious sentiments of Christians everywhere and to all those who honour humanity’s cultural heritage, and it is taking place at a time when the interfaith dialogue should be promoted rather than undermined.

We call on Turkey to conduct itself as a modern and democratic country, to protect the ecumenical nature of Hagia Sophia, and to respect the age-old tradition of this global monument.



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The Apollo space missions have long captured the imaginations of anyone interested in mankind’s relationship with space. Started in 1961 by President Kennedy, with the stated goal of “landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth,” the program is a symbol of America’s Cold War interest in building up its space program.

Playing off this fascination with man visiting the moon, filmmaker Christian Stangl spent 18 months creating Lunar, a short film that captures the excitement of the moon landing. Set to a sweeping soundtrack by his brother, composer Wolfgang Stangl, the clip is a thrilling new look at what the Apollo astronauts achieved.


Using still photographs from the Project Apollo Archive, Stangl used a myriad of techniques to build what he calls, “an animated collage.” In order to bring the archival material to life, he primarily relied on panoramic stitching and stop-motion sequences. The stitching was used to sew together 10 or more images into a single, panoramic photo that the camera could pan over. This allowed Stangl to show angles that would otherwise be impossible, such as a view of the Apollo orbiter and docked lunar module in the same frame. The stop-motion sequences, which are stretched out to dramatic effect, are composed of a handful of images that capture motion.

Wading through over 14,000 images from the archive was no easy feat, but this ode to space exploration is well-worth the time spent. Stangl was inspired to start the project after NASA released the Apollo Archive images in January 2015. Struck by the quality of what was captured, he set about creating this epic tale. Turn up your speakers and get ready to be impressed.


Lunar is a short film created from still photographs from the Project Apollo Archive. It took brothers Christian and Wolfgang Stangl 18 months to complete.


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0 19

Turkey has received almost €1 billion from the EU to support rule of law, civil society, fundamental rights, democracy and governance.

A European Commission spokesperson told EUobserver earlier this month some €979.6 million was paid out between 2007 and April this year with more likely to come given Turkey’s continued candidacy for EU membership.

The commission also said it was closely reviewing ongoing and future financial assistance for Turkey “to make sure it is fully in line with our interests and values.”

But Turkey’s backsliding into an autocracy led by its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has, since last July, led to over 50,000 arrests, some 100,000 detentions, 138,000 job sackings, and close to 2,100 schools being shut down.

Of those, 234 journalists have been arrested, over 4,400 judges and prosecutors dismissed, and around 8,270 academics fired.

Earlier this month, Taner Kilic, the chair of Amnesty International Turkey, had also been detained by the police along with 22 other lawyers. He was then charged of belonging to a terrorist organisation.

Parliamentary republic

The country is also undergoing a radical shift from a parliamentary republic to one that concentrates power into the hands of Erdogan.

The issue has riled the European parliament, which has pushed for the end of accession talks.

But the EU and member states are keen to keep an open door to Turkey following a multi-billion euro refugee deal that prevents people from seeking asylum in Europe.

Belgian leader of the liberal political group, Guy Verhofstadt, told MEPs in Strasbourg last week that Erdogan’s hunger for power is now without limits.

“He can do what he wants. We don’t take any action towards Turkey, not even suspending accession talks,” he said.

The EU commission says the plan is to keep pouring money into in Turkey despite “the prevailing circumstances”. It also noted the legally binding obligations that underpin the funds.

Turkey receives more EU money than anyone else

The amounts are not insignificant. Turkey receives more money from the EU’s so-called Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) than any other country.

From 2007 to 2013, it was allocated roughly €4.8 billion, which is more than 40 percent of all IPA allocations.

Of that, €2.68 billion was committed and €2.19 billion paid out. A further €1.65 billion has been allocated since 2014 but not yet paid out.

Commitments are legal promises to spend money on certain projects. Payments refer to the money that the EU actually expects to pay out in relation to the contract.

On Tuesday (20 June), the EU parliament’s foreign affairs committee once again demanded the end to Turkey membership talks.

German centre-right MEP Renate Sommer, who leads the group’s file on Turkey, noted that an end to accession talks would also stop pre-accession funding.

“We demand the redirection of the IPA funds to use them exclusively to support civil society and improve the situation of the refugees in Turkey,” she said in a statement.

Earlier this month, the EU’s financial watchdog, the European Court of Auditors, said it would start to probe how the money was spent.

The auditors announced they would focus on areas like the rule of law, fundamental rights, democracy, governance, and education.

Those results are expected sometime early next year.



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A sniper with Canada’s elite special forces in Iraq has shattered the world record for the longest confirmed kill shot in military history at a staggering distance of 3,540 metres.

Sources say a member of Joint Task Force 2 killed an Islamic State insurgent with a McMillan TAC-50 sniper rifle while firing from a high-rise during an operation that took place within the last month in Iraq. It took under 10 seconds to hit the target.

“The shot in question actually disrupted a Daesh [Islamic State] attack on Iraqi security forces,” said a military source, who stressed the operation fell within the strictures of the government’s advise and assist mission. “Instead of dropping a bomb that could potentially kill civilians in the area, it is a very precise application of force and because it was so far way, the bad guys didn’t have a clue what was happening.”

(Click to enlarge)


The kill was independently verified by video camera and other data, The Globe and Mail has learned.

“Hard data on this. It isn’t an opinion. It isn’t an approximation. There is a second location with eyes on with all the right equipment to capture exactly what the shot was,” another military source said.

A military insider told The Globe: “This is an incredible feat. It is a world record that might never be equalled.”

The world record was previously held by British sniper Craig Harrison, who shot a Taliban gunner with a 338 Lapua Magnum rifle from 2,475 metres away in 2009.

Previously, Canadian Corporal Rob Furlong had set the world record in 2002 at 2,430 metres when he gunned down an Afghan insurgent carrying an RPK machine gun during Operation Anaconda.

Weeks before, Canadian Master Cpl. Arron Perry briefly held the world’s best sniper record after he fatally shot an insurgent at 2,310 metres during the same operation. Both soldiers were members of the 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.

JTF2 special forces are primarily tasked with counterterrorism, sniper operations and hostage rescue. Much of the information about this elite organization is classified and not commented on by the government. The unit’s snipers and members of Canadian Special Operations Regiment, who are carrying out the main task of training Kurdish forces, have been operating in tough conditions in Iraq.

The Trudeau government pulled CF-18 fighter jets out of Iraq in 2016 but expanded the military mission, which will see the number of Canadian special forces trainers climb to 207 from 69 in an assist, train and advise mission. Canadian commandos are not supposed to be involved in direct combat, but are authorized to go up to the front lines on training missions with Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and to paint targets for coalition air strikes.

For operational security reasons, sources would not reveal the names of the elite Canadian sniper and his partner, nor the location where the action took place.

A sniper and his observer partner are often sent to remote and dangerous locations to hunt down insurgents while having to carry heavy equipment. Once they have located the target, snipers follow the same methodical approach before each shot. Breathe in, out, in, out, find a natural pause and then squeeze the trigger.

Canada has a reputation among Western military forces for the quality of its snipers, despite the small size of the Canadian Armed Forces compared to the United States and Britain.

“Canada has a world-class sniper system. It is not just a sniper. They work in pairs. There is an observer,” a military source said. “This is a skill set that only a very few people have.”

The skill of the JTF2 sniper in taking down an insurgent at 3,540 metres required math skills, great eyesight, precision of ammunition and firearms, and superb training.

“It is at the distance where you have to account not just for the ballistics of the round, which change over time and distance, you have to adjust for wind, and the wind would be swirling,” said a source with expertise in training Canadian special forces.

“You have to adjust for him firing from a higher location downward and as the round drops you have to account for that. And from that distance you actually have to account for the curvature of the Earth.”

U.S. Sergeant Bryan Kremer has the longest confirmed sniper kill shot by a U.S. soldier. He killed an Iraqi insurgent with his Barrett M82A1 rifle at 2,300 metres in 2004.




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0 15

The Falklands War is often perceived, from the British perspective, as a victory that confirmed the British imperial status in the post-WWII world. It won the Conservative Party government a second term in Government for it was indeed a clear and decisive British victory.

On the other side, the Argentinian public deemed the war unnecessary as well; it was forced upon them by the ruling military junta. The conflict which started on 2nd of April 1982, lasted for 74 days and claimed the lives of 649 Argentinians military personnel, 255 British military personnel, and 3 Falklands civilians. It proved to be a stand-off between the British recapturing lost territory and a dictatorship with expansionist tendencies.

Argentina had for long wanted to claim the Falklands (or the Las Malvinas, as the Argentinians called it), South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, which had all been under British rule since 1833 and populated by British settlers who were loyal to the crown.


(The HMS Invincible, pictured here in 1990, which took part in the conflic)

In Argentina, a military junta under the name National Reorganization Process was the government in the period of 1976-1983 and ruled with an iron hand, dealing with political with imprisonment and execution. The man behind the junta, who was the main advocate of the attack, was Admiral Jorge Anaya. He estimated that the British would not pursue a military conflict, but would rather choose a diplomatic solution, in which the Argentinians could further promote the idea of sovereignty over the archipelago.

The campaign was designed and executed in the midst of devastating economic stagnation in Argentina, which provoked civil unrest. To divert the civilian attention from the fall of living standard and the inflation climb of 600%, a military government did what it does best – mobilize the population towards a general nationalistic sentiment for the islands, several hundred kilometres from the Argentinian coast, that were under British colonial rule.

They called it the illegal usurpation of Las Malvinas. The preparations for war included a power shift in the military junta, from its initial leader, General Roberto Viola, to General Leopoldo Galtieri, on whose behalf Admiral Anaya organised the Argentinian Navy to participate in the attack.


(The Argentinian Submarine ARA Santa Fe, which was crippled during the conflict and scuttled by the British)

Before the invasion took place, the Argentinan junta helped CIA suppress the communist elements in Nicaragua by funding the Nicaraguan counter rebels, or the Contras. This is why the Argentinians had reasons to believe that the US would keep a neutral stance if an invasion were to take place.

Also, Admiral Anaya relied on the fact that the US objected the use of force by the British during the Suez crisis in 1956. On top of that, in 1981, Britain accepted the independence of it former colony, Rhodesia, which was an example of how Britain was slowly renouncing its colonial past.

Argentinians were mainly influenced by the events of Indian annexation of the island of Goa, in 1961. The annexation was condemned by the international community but was later accepted as an irreversible act.


(Argentine POWs at Port Stanley)

On March 19th, 1982, the Argentinians launched an invasion of the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, 165 kilometres from the coast of Patagonia. Following the initial invasion, they started to disembark on the shores of the Falklands Islands on April 2nd.

Concerning the occupation of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, the British deployed two submarines, but it wasn’t until the invasion of the Falklands that they had taken the matter seriously.

The war was never officially declared although both sides did declare the Islands areas a war zone and officially recognized that a state of war existed between them. Hostilities were limited almost exclusively to the territories under dispute and the area in the South Atlantic where they lay.

Argentina’s original intention was to mount a quick, symbolic occupation, followed rapidly by withdrawal, leaving only a small garrison to support the new military governor. This strategy was based on the Argentinean assumption that the British would not respond militarily.


(Royal Navy Sea Harrier)

Argentinian assault units were indeed withdrawn to the mainland in the days following the invasion, but strong popular support and the rapid British reaction forced the Junta to change their plans and reinforce the islands since they could not afford to lose the islands once the British came out to fight.

When the conflict broke out, the UN called for peace talks, the immediate end to the hostilities and urged both parties to resolve the conflict diplomatically. The US feared that Argentina would ask the Soviet Union for help, and so they stood firmly on the side of the British.

On the South American mainland, Chile actively helped Great Britain with intelligence support. The support was evident, and Argentina was forced to keep some of its best trained and best-equipped mountain troops on the Chilean border to counter the possible military intervention by the neighboring British ally. The intervention never took place, but the Argentinians were on high alert throughout the war.

British forces landed on the islands, after which a war for aerial domination commenced. Several intense dogfights occurred during the war. The British were using Harriers as their main combat airplane while Argentina used Mirage III fighter jets, which were purchased from France several years before the war.

The Mirage was not good enough for the Argentinian air force to successfully engage the far more nimble RAF fighters. Other than the Mirage, Argentine Air Force used American A-4 Skyhawks, Israeli Daggers, the Israeli version of the Mirage fighter, and English Electric Canberras.

The most significant naval incident of the war was the sinking of the ARA Belgrano, an Argentinean WWII-era light cruiser, by the nuclear-powered submarine HMS Conqueror on May 2nd, 1982. 323 men aboard the ARA Belgrano lost their lives.

The retaliation for this loss occurred two days after, when a British Type 42 Destroyer, HMS Sheffield, was bombed by a naval air strike. The British lost 20 men with another 24 others severely injured.


(ARA Belgrano sinking on May 2nd, 1982)

After the British victory on land, their terms for the Argentinian surrender proved to be much harsher than originally expected by the Junta, but Argentina accepted them on 14th of June 1982. Argentinean troops withdrew from the islands, leaving them in British hands.

The relations between the two countries were strained for a while, until their official normalization in 1989. Argentina continues to debate the sovereignty of the Falklands to this day. In 2013, a referendum was held on the Falkland Islands, after which the majority stated that they wish to stay under the British crown.

The Falklands conflict remains the largest air-naval combat operation between modern forces since the end of the Second World War.



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0 13

At a little over 2m eight-year-old schoolboy – thought to be the tallest person of his age in the world – has said he hopes to make his parents proud by growing even bigger.
Karan Singh was already over 60cm tall and one stone in weight when he was born, a world record, but now stands shoulder to shoulder with former world champion boxer Wladimir Klitschko.
The young giant, from Meerut in India, takes after his 33-year-old mother Shweatlana – a 219cm basketball player and India’s tallest woman.
His naturopath dad Sanjay, 41, is also enormous – but now just fractionally taller than his rapidly sprouting son. Karan’s biggest problem has been finding clothes and footwear that fit him – he wears size 12 shoes and was wearing clothes for a 10-year-old when he was three.










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0 14

A day after a Russian fighter allegedly flew within one metre of a US reconnaissance plane traveling over the Baltic Sea, Reuters reports that a NATO F-16 fighter jet returned the favor when it tried to improperly approach a plane carrying the Russian defense minister. The plane was traveling to the city of Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave along the Baltic coast, where Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu was scheduled to discuss security issues with defense officials on Wednesday. The NATO aircraft was warded off by a Russian Su-27 jet, according to RT.
In an accounting of the incident, Reuters notes that one of the Russian fighter jets escorting Shoigu’s plane had inserted itself between the defense minister’s plane and the NATO fighter and “tilted its wings from side to side to show the weapons it was carrying, Russian agencies said.” After that the F-16 promptly left the area.

source: zero hedge


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0 18

Europe is experiencing an unprecedented heatwave with temperatures in major cities across the continent reaching record values for the start of summer. On the day of summer solstice on Wednesday, June 21, which is the longest of the year temperatures in Paris climbed to 37 degrees Celsius, 38 in Madrid and 34 in London, and are approaching record highs for this time of the season.

More than 1,000 firefighters were still fighting to control the flames that broke out in central Portugal at the weekend, killing 64 people.


Two forest fires have also broken out since Sunday on Croatia’s southern Adriatic coast, prompting the authorities to evacuate 800 tourists, though the blazes have now been brought under control.


Britain saw its hottest June since 1979. In Guildford, southwest of the capital, a road surface melted on Tuesday, with motorists likening it to a bar of chocolate left out in the hot sun.


In Italy, forecasters say the current heatwave could turn out to be the most intense in 15 years, with temperatures around eight degrees above the seasonal average—39 C in Milan and up to 30 in the Alps at an altitude of 1,000 metres.


In Russia, Siberia was also suffering a heatwave, with temperatures of up to 37 Celsius in the city of Krasnoyarsk, Channel One television reported.
But at the other extreme, it was just one degree Celsius and snowing in Murmansk in northern Russia, the RIA Novosti news agency reported. Many residents are having to get by with no heating in their flats as centralised systems have been switched off for the summer.

The heat wave is expected to hit Greece from the middle of next week.
If the current hot weather patters continue temperatures are expected to skyrocket over 41 degrees Celsius by the middle of next week in the country, despite the fact that forecasts project a slight drop in the heat from Monday till Wednesday next week, mainly in the east and north of the country. Temperatures are forecast to clim to 39 degrees Celsius over the weekend.
The World Meteorological Organisation said that based on the development of temperatures over the past two months, the earth is seeing one of its hottest seasons and the the heat waves have arrived prematurely. “Parts of Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the United States of America have seen extremely high temperatures in May and June, which amount to record-breaking values,” the agency said in a statement.
The trend recorded over the past two months places the average global temperatures among the highest recorded since its release in 1880.


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0 0

Europe is experiencing an unprecedented heatwave with temperatures in major cities across the continent reaching record values for the start of summer. On the day of summer solstice on Wednesday, June 21, which is the longest of the year temperatures in Paris climbed to 37 degrees Celsius, 38 in Madrid and 34 in London, and are approaching record highs for this time of the season.

More than 1,000 firefighters were still fighting to control the flames that broke out in central Portugal at the weekend, killing 64 people.


Two forest fires have also broken out since Sunday on Croatia’s southern Adriatic coast, prompting the authorities to evacuate 800 tourists, though the blazes have now been brought under control.


Britain saw its hottest June since 1979. In Guildford, southwest of the capital, a road surface melted on Tuesday, with motorists likening it to a bar of chocolate left out in the hot sun.


In Italy, forecasters say the current heatwave could turn out to be the most intense in 15 years, with temperatures around eight degrees above the seasonal average—39 C in Milan and up to 30 in the Alps at an altitude of 1,000 metres.


In Russia, Siberia was also suffering a heatwave, with temperatures of up to 37 Celsius in the city of Krasnoyarsk, Channel One television reported.
But at the other extreme, it was just one degree Celsius and snowing in Murmansk in northern Russia, the RIA Novosti news agency reported. Many residents are having to get by with no heating in their flats as centralised systems have been switched off for the summer.

The heat wave is expected to hit Greece from the middle of next week.
If the current hot weather patters continue temperatures are expected to skyrocket over 41 degrees Celsius by the middle of next week in the country, despite the fact that forecasts project a slight drop in the heat from Monday till Wednesday next week, mainly in the east and north of the country. Temperatures are forecast to clim to 39 degrees Celsius over the weekend.
The World Meteorological Organisation said that based on the development of temperatures over the past two months, the earth is seeing one of its hottest seasons and the the heat waves have arrived prematurely. “Parts of Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the United States of America have seen extremely high temperatures in May and June, which amount to record-breaking values,” the agency said in a statement.
The trend recorded over the past two months places the average global temperatures among the highest recorded since its release in 1880.


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0 12

Declassified documents released last week shed light on the Central Intelligence Agency’s central role in the 1953 coup that brought down Iranian Prime Minister Muhammad Mossadegh, fueling a surge of nationalism which culminated in the 1979 Iranian Revolution and poisoning U.S.-Iran relations into the 21st century.

The approximately 1,000 pages of documents also reveal for the first time the details of how the CIA attempted to call off the failing coup — only to be salvaged at the last minute by an insubordinate spy on the ground.

Known as Operation Ajax, the CIA plot was ultimately about oil. Western firms had for decades controlled the region’s oil wealth, whether Arabian-American Oil Company in Saudi Arabia, or the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in Iran. When the U.S. firm in Saudi Arabia bowed to pressure in late 1950 and agreed to share oil revenues evenly with Riyadh, the British concession in Iran came under intense pressure to follow suit. But London adamantly refused.

So in early 1951, amid great popular acclaim, Mossadegh nationalized Iran’s oil industry. A fuming United Kingdom began conspiring with U.S. intelligence services to overthrow Mossadegh and restore the monarchy under the shah. (Though some in the U.S. State Department, the newly released cables show, blamed British intransigence for the tensions and sought to work with Mossadegh.)

The coup attempt began on August 15 but was swiftly thwarted. Mossadegh made dozens of arrests. Gen. Fazlollah Zahedi, a top conspirator, went into hiding, and the shah fled the country.

The CIA, believing the coup to have failed, called it off.

“Operation has been tried and failed and we should not participate in any operation against Mossadegh which could be traced back to US,” CIA headquarters wrote to its station chief in Iran in a newly declassified cable sent on Aug. 18, 1953. “Operations against Mossadegh should be discontinued.”

That is the cable which Kermit Roosevelt, top CIA officer in Iran, purportedly and famously ignored, according to Malcolm Byrne, who directs the U.S.-Iran Relations Project at the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

At least “one guy was in the room with Kermit Roosevelt when he got this cable,” Byrne told Foreign Policy. “[Roosevelt] said no — we’re not done here.” It was already known that Roosevelt had not carried out an order from Langley to cease and desist. But the cable itself and its contents were not previously published.

The consequences of his decision were momentous. The next day, on August 19, 1953, with the aid of “rented” crowds widely believed to have been arranged with CIA assistance, the coup succeeded. Iran’s nationalist hero was jailed, the monarchy restored under the Western-friendly shah, and Anglo-Iranian oil — renamed British Petroleum — tried to get its fields back. (But didn’t really: Despite the coup, nationalist pushback against a return to foreign control of oil was too much, leaving BP and other majors to share Iran’s oil wealth with Tehran.)

Operation Ajax has long been a bogeyman for conservatives in Iran — but also for liberals. The coup fanned the flames of anti-Western sentiment, which reached a crescendo in 1979 with the U.S. hostage crisis, the final overthrow of the shah, and the creation of the Islamic Republic to counter the “Great Satan.”

The coup alienated liberals in Iran as well. Mossadegh is widely considered to be the closest thing Iran has ever had to a democratic leader. He openly championed democratic values and hoped to establish a democracy in Iran. The elected parliament selected him as prime minister, a position he used to reduce the power of the shah, thus bringing Iran closer in line with the political traditions that had developed in Europe. But any further democratic development was stymied on Aug. 19.

The U.S government long denied involvement in the coup. The State Department first released coup-related documents in 1989, but edited out any reference to CIA involvement. Public outrage coaxed a government promise to release a more complete edition, and some material came out in 2013. Two years later, the full installment of declassified material was scheduled — but might have interfered with Iran nuclear talks and were delayed again, Byrne said. They were finally released last week, though numerous original CIA telegrams from that period are known to have disappeared or been destroyed long ago.

Byrne said that the long delay is due to several factors. Intelligence services are always concerned about protecting “sources and methods,” said Byrne, meaning the secret spycraft that enables them to operate on the ground. The CIA also needed to protect its relationship with British intelligence, which may have wished some of the material remain safeguarded.

Beyond final proof of CIA involvement, there’s another very interesting takeaway in the documents, said Abbas Milani, a professor of Iranian studies at Stanford University: New details on the true political leanings of Ayatollah Abol-Ghasem Kashani, a cleric and leading political figure in the 1950s.

In the Islamic Republic, clerics are always the good guys. Kashani has long been seen as one of the heroes of nationalism during that period. As recently as January of this year, Iran’s supreme leader praised Kashani’s role in the nationalization of oil.

Kashani’s eventual split from Mossadegh is widely known. Religious leaders in the country feared the growing power of the communist Tudeh Party, and believed that Mossadegh was too weak to save the country from the socialist threat.

But the newly released documents show that Kashani wasn’t just opposed to Mossadegh — he was also in close communication with the Americans throughout the period leading up to the coup, and he actually appears to have requested financial assistance from the United States, though there is no record of him receiving any money. His request was not previously known.

On the make-or-break day of Aug. 19, “Kashani was critical,” said Milani. “On that day Kashani’s forces were out in full force to defeat Mossadegh.”



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The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has named a group of relative unknowns to senior government cabinet posts over traditional allies after a series of high-profile resignations.

As a spokesman announced the names of ministers appointed, political analysts said many voters would be left asking: “Who?”

Four cabinet members have resigned this week after being put under preliminary investigation in two separate scandals, leaving Macron’s prime minister, Édouard Philippe, under pressure to find replacements while maintaining a pledge to maintain gender and party-political parity.

François Bayrou, president of the MoDem party, – allies of Macron’s La République en Marche – who stepped down on Wednesday, was replaced by Nicole Belloubet, a figure almost unknown to the wider public and the first woman nominated to France’s constitutional council.

Belloubet, a technocrat and legal expert from the left, is a former local and regional councillor in the Toulouse region.

Florence Parly, another high-ranking French civil servant and former business leader, was named defence minister. Parly served in the Socialist government of prime minister Lionel Jospin between 2000 and 2002. She later joined Air France as deputy general director, before moving to the state-run rail company SNCF.

Annick Girardin, a third, largely unknown junior minister who served in François Hollande’s Socialist government was named overseas minister.

Nathalie Loiseau, a French diplomat, was appointed European affairs minister.

Macron appeared to have ditched his centrist allies after two more high-profile government ministers resigned on Wednesday after a month in office.

The ministers who quit were from the MoDem party that rallied to Macron during his presidential campaign but is now at the centre of a parliamentary jobs investigation.

It brought the number of ministers to leave the Macron administration to four in just 48 hours.

Macron has insisted his ministers must be morally irreproachable. He has been nicknamed Jupiter, the all-powerful Roman god of heaven and Earth who embodied a sense of morality, obligation and duty to correct behaviour.

Days after a second-round legislative vote that gave Macron a clear majority in the lower house of parliament – even without the support of the centrist MoDem party – Bayrou, the MoDem president, announced he was standing down.

Minutes later, Marielle de Sarnez, minister for European affairs and another MoDem representative, announced she would also go.

At a televised press conference, Bayrou suggested he had been the victim of an orchestrated smear campaign but had decided to stand down to prevent “the president and the government being exposed to controversy” and “a campaign of lies”. He said he had been to see Macron “two, maybe three weeks ago” to offer to stand down. “I could see very well the way this affair was going,” he said.

A government spokesman, Christophe Castaner, said their departure “simplified the situation”.

Macron has pledged to clean up politics, while MoDem is caught up in an investigation into the misuse of European funds.

Several of the party’s MEPs are at the centre of an inquiry by Paris anti-corruption police for allegations of “breach of trust and concealment of this offence”, concerning whether assistants employed to work for them at the European parliament were used for MoDem party business.

MoDem MEPs became the subject of an investigation after a complaint by a member of the far-right Front National, who is also the subject of an inquiry into fake jobs.

Bayrou denounced what he called a “society of perpetual and universal denunciation” and insisted he and his party could prove “there were never any fake jobs”.

“In another era, France was the country of anonymous letters, the country where more were written than anywhere else in Europe. The denunciation of neighbours one was jealous of has started a new era. Denunciation through social networks, the press … the courts are obliged to open an inquiry when these things are brought to their attention and the opening of an inquiry is now presented as a pre-condemnation. The madness begins,” Bayrou said.

On Tuesday, defence minister Sylvie Goulard, another high-profile MoDem minister and former MEP, said she was leaving the government to concentrate on fighting the allegations.

MoDem insists it has “respected all the rules and employer regulations” with regard to its parliamentary assistants. Nobody has been charged in the affair.

Goulard’s departure left Bayrou, who was piloting Macron’s so-called morality law through parliament, in an increasingly untenable position.

On Monday, Richard Ferrand, minister for territorial integrity and secretary general of Macron’s party, resigned over a separate nepotism scandal.

None of those who have stood down has been formally charged with any offence and all have denied wrongdoing.

The departures came as Macron’s prime minister, Édouard Philippe, prepared to announce a mini reshuffle after the legislative results. La REM needed 289 seats for a majority in the 577-seat Assemblée National and won 308. MoDem took 42 seats.

(Click to enlarge)


Christophe Barbier, a political analyst, told BFMTV the president was “Macronising” the government to remove possible future sources of tension or opposition.

During Macron’s presidential campaign, Bayrou was the first high-profile politician to rally to the former investment banker, offering him the support of the MoDem party and boosting his chances of victory.

After Macron’s presidential triumph there were clear tensions between the two over the number of government posts given to MoDem. At the time, Bayrou appeared to have won the standoff, gaining several high-profile jobs, including his own at the justice ministry. On Wednesday, Macron ruthlessly showed who was boss.



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The A-Class is one of the most important models for the German brand, as Mercedes will place particular emphasis on its compact cars.

So, apart from the design where we expect an impressive result, the information says the new Mercedes will be longer, which translates into more space and practicality (more room for the knees and head and more luggage space).

It is also possible to have a digital instrument panel, such as the Virtual Cockpit featured in the Audi A3. In the field of the engine, it is certain that a Plug-In hybrid version will be added, while we also expect to see a 3-cylinder small cubic gasoline engine.

In the following video we can see the German model during testing.


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The Trump White House isn’t known as a hot spot for Ivy League intellectuals. But last month, a Harvard academic slipped into the White House complex for an unusual meeting. Graham Allison, an avuncular foreign policy thinker who served under Reagan and Clinton, was paying a visit to the National Security Council, where he briefed a group of staffers on one of history’s most studied conflicts—a brutal war waged nearly 2,500 years ago, one whose lessons still resonate, even in the administration of a president who doesn’t like to read.

The subject was America’s rivalry with China, cast through the lens of ancient Greece. The 77-year-old Allison is the author of a recent book based on the writings of Thucydides, the ancient historian famous for his epic chronicle of the Peloponnesian War between the Greek states of Athens and Sparta. Allison cites the Greek scholar’s summation of why the two powers fought: “What made war inevitable was the growth of Athenian power and the fear which this caused in Sparta.” He warns that the same dynamic could drive this century’s rising empire, China, and the United States into a war neither wants. Allison calls this the “Thucydides Trap,” and it’s a question haunting some very important people in the Trump administration, particularly as Chinese officials arrive Wednesday for “diplomatic and security dialogue” talks between Washington and Beijing designed, in large part, to avoid conflict between the world’s two strongest nations.

It might seem curious that an ancient Greek would cast a shadow over a meeting between a group of diplomats and generals from America and Asia. Most Americans probably don’t know Thucydides from Mephistopheles. But the Greek writer is a kind of demigod to international relations theorists and military historians, revered for his elegant chronicle of one of history’s most consequential wars, and his timeless insights into the nature of politics and warfare. The Yale University historian Donald Kagan calls Thucydides’ account “a source of wisdom about the behavior of human beings under the enormous pressures imposed by war, plague, and civil strife.”

Thucydides is especially beloved by the two most influential figures on Trump’s foreign policy team. National security adviser H.R. McMaster has called Thucydides’ work an “essential” military text, taught it to students and quoted from it in speeches and op-eds. Defense Secretary James Mattis is also fluent in Thucydides’ work: “If you say to him, ‘OK, how about the Melian Dialogue?’ he could tell you exactly what it is,” Allison says—referring to one particularly famous passage. When former Defense Secretary William Cohen introduced him at his confirmation hearing, Cohen said Mattis was likely the only person present “who can hear the words ‘Thucydides Trap’ and not have to go to Wikipedia to find out what it means.”

That’s not true in the Trump White House, where another Peloponnesian War aficionado can be found in the office of chief strategist Steve Bannon. A history buff fascinated with grand conflict, Bannon once even used “Sparta”—one of the most militarized societies history has known—as a computer password. (“He talked a lot about Sparta,” his former Hollywood writing partner, Julia Jones, told The Daily Beast. An unnamed former colleague recalled for the New Yorker Bannon’s “long diatribes” about the Peloponnesian War.)

In an August 2016 article for his former employer, Breitbart News, Bannon likened the conservative media rivalry between Breitbart and Fox News to the Peloponnesian War, casting Breitbart as the disciplined warrior state of Sparta challenging a decadently Athenian Fox. There’s also NSC spokesman Michael Anton, a student of the classics who owns two copies of Thucydides’ fabled work. (“The acid test for me is: Do you read the Hobbes translation?” he says. “If you’ve read that translation, you’ve got my respect.”)



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King Salman of Saudi Arabia promoted his 31-year-old son, Mohammed bin Salman, to be next in line to the throne on Wednesday, further empowering a young, activist leader at a time when the kingdom is struggling with low oil prices, a rivalry with Iran and conflicts across the Middle East.

The decision to remove the previous crown prince, Mohammed bin Nayef, 57, comes as some members of the royal family have chafed at the rise of the younger prince, who emerged from relative obscurity when his father, 81, ascended the throne in January 2015.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman has since accumulated vast powers in the wealthy kingdom, a crucial ally of the United States, serving as defense minister, overseeing the state oil company and working to overhaul the Saudi economy.

His supporters have praised him as hard-working and as offering a hopeful vision for the kingdom’s future, especially for its large youth population. His critics have called him inexperienced and power hungry.

The royal reordering brings to an end the career of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who served as interior minister and was widely respected by Saudis and their foreign allies for dismantling Al Qaeda’s networks inside the kingdom.

King Salman’s decrees on Wednesday removed Prince Mohammed both from his place in the line of succession and from his post as interior minister.

Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s few remaining absolute monarchies. All major decisions rest with the king, a structure that King Salman has used to empower his offspring.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s swift rise had led many Saudi watchers to suspect that his father wanted to make him the next king; the young prince had quickly assumed prominent roles handling some of the kingdom’s most important files.

As deputy crown prince, he spearheaded the development of a wide-ranging plan, called Saudi Vision 2030, which seeks to decrease the country’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy and loosen some of the conservative, Islamic kingdom’s social restrictions.

As defense minister, he also had primary responsibility for the kingdom’s military intervention in Yemen, where it is leading a coalition of Arab allies in a bombing campaign aimed at pushing Houthi rebels from the capital and at restoring the government.

That campaign has made limited progress in more than two years, and human rights groups have accused the Saudis of bombing civilians, destroying the economy of what was already the Arab world’s poorest country, and exacerbating a humanitarian crisis by imposing air and sea blockades.

Prince Mohammed has taken a hard line on Iran, saying in a television interview last month that dialogue with the Shiite power was impossible because it sought to take control of the Islamic world.

“We are a primary target for the Iranian regime,” he said, accusing Tehran of seeking to take over Islamic holy sites in Saudi Arabia, which is home to Mecca and Medina. “We won’t wait for the battle to be in Saudi Arabia. Instead, we’ll work so that the battle is for them in Iran.”

Saudi Arabia and Iran stand on opposite sides of conflicts in Bahrain, Syria and Yemen while seeking to lessen each other’s influence across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Oil prices fell on Wednesday, continuing their downward drift, with the international crude benchmark falling 1 percent to around $45.50 a barrel. Over the long term, though, Prince Mohammed’s increasing power over the world’s largest oil exporter could have far-reaching consequences.

The Saudi royal family had largely left the operation of the energy industry to technocrats, but Prince Mohammed has taken a more direct role.

In particular, he has drawn criticism for driving an initial public offering of the state oil giant, Saudi Aramco, a highly secretive company that has underpinned the kingdom’s economy and generated tremendous wealth for decades. He has also made pronouncements on oil production policy that sometimes seemed to undercut more experienced Saudi energy officials.

“The problem is that he is unpredictable, and it is not clear who he is relying on for advice,” said Paul Stevens, a Middle East oil analyst at Chatham House, a London-based research organization.

Prince Mohammed’s promotion comes at an awkward time for the Saudi oil industry.

Production cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, largely orchestrated by the Saudis last year, have so far failed to bolster prices, presenting the Saudis and other big oil producers with few good options. Major oil exporters could further cut output, or the Saudis could go back to a policy they pursued in late 2014: allowing prices to fall, forcing smaller, lower-margin producers out of the market and, as a result, grabbing more market share.

During his rise, Prince Mohammed has looked for mentorship to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The two men have recently worked in tandem to isolate Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism, an accusation their small neighbor denies.

Prince Mohammed has pursued a uniquely public profile for the traditionally private kingdom, giving interviews to Western news outlets and taking high-profile trips to China, Russia and the United States, where he met President Trump in March.

Saudis who work with him praise him as detail-oriented and unafraid to take risks and break conventions, a rare trait in the historically cautious kingdom.

But his father’s moves to empower him rankled other branches of their family, which found themselves sidelined in favor of a young prince who had no significant military or business experience before 2015.

Another of the king’s sons, Prince Khalid bin Salman, was recently named ambassador to the United States.

Saudi news outlets portrayed the move as an orderly reshuffle, saying that 31 of 34 members of a council of senior princes had approved the appointment and broadcasting footage of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef pledging allegiance to his successor. King Salman named a young and relatively unknown prince, Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef, as interior minister.

The departing prince’s profile had waned as that of his younger cousin grew. As head of the powerful Interior Ministry, which is charged with domestic security, the older prince led a campaign against Al Qaeda in the kingdom a decade ago and had close ties to American and other Western officials.

In 2009, the prince was wounded when a militant, who came to his palace saying he wanted to turn himself in, detonated a bomb hidden in his rectum. People who have met with him recently said the injury’s effects have lingered, although it was unclear whether they played a role in the king’s decision to replace him.



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Turkish soldiers march during a parade marking the 93rd anniversary of Victory Day in Ankara, Turkey, August 30, 2015. REUTERS/Umit Bektas - RTX1Q9PW

The latest controversy surrounding Turkey’s military involves its most valued asset: conscripts. In the past month, nearly 2,000 cases of food poisoning have hit the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). For much of last week, successive reports came out of five TSK units in Manisa province that 600 conscripts were hospitalized for severe nausea and vomiting. The incidents came in the wake of another bout in May, when more than 1,000 conscripts in Manisa sought treatment and Pvt. Husnu Ozel died because of food-borne illness.

The Turkish government has responded swiftly. Minister of National Defense Fikri Isik and Commander of the Land Forces Gen. Zeki Colak visited Manisa May 18. During the visit, Isik announced the cancellation of the contract with the company hired to prepare the soldiers’ food. The defense minister informed the Turkish parliament June 19 that he “will demand answers” for the incidents “even if [the offender] was his [brother].” As of June 19, 24 people have been detained in connection with the scandal.

The incident led to great outrage among Turks of all political stripes. Erkan Akcay, a member of parliament with the Nationalist Action Party (MHP), which established a partnership with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) after last year’s failed coup attempt, said the company also held lucrative contracts with other TSK units. He demanded to know which of the company’s contracts were canceled: only those with TSK installations in Manisa, where the majority of the poisoning cases happened, or all of them.

Tur Yildiz Bicer, a member of parliament with the Republican People’s Party (CHP) from Manisa, called for Isik’s resignation. Bicer and several CHP deputies claimed that the owners of the food service company in question were previously shielded from an investigation because of their connections to the ruling AKP. In addition, the CHP members claimed AKP and MHP deputies had refused to open a parliamentary investigation in the wake of the incident in May.

Meanwhile, Bicer led a group of CHP supporters to march in solidarity with CHP Chairman Kemal Kilicdaroglu’s ongoing “Justice March” from Ankara to Istanbul.

The food poisoning issue has become especially sensitive in Turkey’s highly charged and polarized political climate. The anti-government Sozcu newspaper reported June 18 that conscripts’ relatives and other citizens had protested Isik during his visit to Manisa. Pro-AKP media outlets, which usually tone down incidents if they risk bringing trouble to the ruling party, were quite vocal. One of the leading pro-government newspapers, Yeni Safak, ran its coverage of the incident on its front page June 19, asking, “What is happening at the barracks?” Turkiye newspaper’s front page read, “Hold them responsible.”

To be sure, some outlets blamed a usual suspect, the Pennsylvania-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whose followers many Turks call the Fethullah Gulen Terror Organization or FETO. Pro-AKP daily Aksam led its June 19 edition with the headline, “Is it FETO’s poison in the mess hall?” Many Turks suspect that Gulenists were behind last year’s failed coup and that Gulen’s followers are still trying to sow discord and chaos in their country.

All parties agree on one thing: The TSK and the Defense Ministry should get to the bottom of this sensitive matter. Otherwise, a bad case of food poisoning could leave Turkey’s political environment even more toxic.



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Off the coast of Sicily, a strange monolith has been found on the seabed. Experts say the structure was built around 10,000 years ago. They believe it was built and not formed because it has three holes that could not have formed naturally.

This discovery could shed some much-needed light on the civilizations that inhabited the Mediterranean basin. The archaeologists used geological and geophysical methods to survey the area.

Emanuele Lodolo of the National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics in Trieste, Italy, and Zvi Ben-Avraham, of Tel Aviv University, said in an article published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: “There are no reasonable known natural processes that may produce these elements.”

The monument was lying 131ft under the water near an island that was once called Pantelleria Vecchia Bank in the Sicilian Channel.

A flood that happened 9,500 years ago, after the Last Glacial Maximum, submerged the island. The Last Glacial Maximum was the most recent period in the Earth’s climate history where the ice sheets were most prominent.

(Click to enlarge)


(Underwater composite photographs taken from divers, showing the discovered monolith and some details)

“Considering its shape and length, it can be called a Stonehenge-type monolith, but its age is remarkably older,” Dr. Emanuele Lodolo, a marine geophysicist at the National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics in Trieste, Italy and co-author of a new paper describing the discovery.

Experts have a side that: “The Sicilian Channel is one of the shallow shelves of the central Mediterranean region where the consequences of changing sea-level were most dramatic and intense, the ancient geography of the Mediterranean Basin was profoundly changed by the increase in sea level following the Last Glacial Maximum.

This global event has led to the retreat of the coastlines, especially in lowland areas and shallow shelves, such as the Sicilian Channel.”

This discovery tells researchers that ancient civilizations may have once lived here and also colonized others nearby. It was determined that before the flood, the Sicilian Channel was connected to Sicily.

It formed a peninsula that was separated from North Africa by only 30 miles.

With only the highest points not being flooded, it created an archipelago of islands in a shallow sea, including Pantelleria Vecchia Bank.

The study said: ‘This discovery provides evidence for a significant Mesolithic human activity in the Sicilian Channel region.’

In an interview with Discovery News, Dr. Lodolo stated: “This discovery reveals the technological innovation and development achieved by the Mesolithic inhabitants in the Sicilian Channel region, before the island was submerged 9,500 years ago.”


(It was discovered by a diver on Sept. 16, 2014 at a depth of about 40 meters on what was once an island in the Sicilian Channel)

The monolith is not a collection of different stones but was actually cut from one; this shows how the ancient culture was about to extract, transport, cut and install the monument.

“Such an effort undoubtedly reveals important technical skills and great engineering,” he said.

The site was most likely used as a lighthouse for the community since their main trade was fish. It could of even of been used as a spot to anchor boats says Dr. Lodolo.

They do not know if the stone was once part of a larger structure like Stonehenge, which is much younger, constructed around 2,600BC, or if it has always stood alone.

The paper was published in the September 2015 issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.


Stonehenge in Wiltshire was built to be aligned with the sunset of the winter solstice and the sunrise of the summer solstice; it is thought to of been used by ancient people to survey the heavens.

Some believe it was also a meeting point for ancient people. They may have used to as a religious site where people would come to worship their ancestors.

Others suggest it was a place for the dead, or maybe a place of healing because the bluestones could be struck to make a noise which was believed to have mystic or healing powers.

Dr. Lodolo believes this and other submerged settlements in the Mediterranean Sea will help fill in the gaps about ancient cultures that were once in the region.



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A Russian fighter jet came within five feet of a U.S. Air Force reconnaissance aircraft over the Baltic Sea on Monday, in an encounter the American pilot determined was unsafe.
The incident occurred Monday morning as an RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft flew in international airspace above the Baltic Sea.
It was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 Flanker fighter jet, which approached at a high speed.
The Russian fighter “came within several feet” of the RC-135, according to Capt. Joseph Alonso, a spokesman for U.S. European Command. A separate defense official said the fighter came within five feet of the RC-135 as it flew alongside it for several minutes.
The pilot of the American aircraft determined that the Russian aircraft’s actions were “unsafe” because of its “high rate of closure speed and poor control of the aircraft” said Alonso.
He added that the RC-135 was flying in international airspace with its transponder on, making it identifiable to other aircraft.
“We were flying in international airspace and did nothing to provoke this behavior,” said Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters Tuesday.
“Such unsafe actions have the potential to cause serious harm and injury to all involved,” he added. “Russia is certainly within its right to exercise within international airspace but we want them to respect international standards for safety to prevent accidents.”
The Russian Defense Ministry countered with a different narrative of the intercept.
According to the Russian news agency Interfax the Russian Defense Ministry accused the RC-135 of performing provocative maneuvers toward the Russian fighter.
“During the escorting, the RC-135 crew made an attempt of closing with the Russian fighter, performing a provocative turnaround toward the Su-27,” the agency quoted the Russian Defense Ministry as saying.
“The Russian pilot reacted to the maneuver of the RC-135 and then continued escorting the U.S. reconnaissance airplane until the latter changed the direction of its flight away from the Russian border,” the ministry said.
The ministry added that after the 10-minute encounter, another RC-135 entered the same area and was also intercepted by a Russian Su-27 fighter.
After the incident, the RC-135 pilot determined the Russian’s pilots actions were unsafe. Various factors go into determining whether an incident should be ruled unsafe including distance, speed, altitude, rate of closure and visibility.
Davis noted that the “vast majority” of intercepts of American aircraft by the Russian military are safe encounters. He labeled Monday’s incident “the exception, not the norm.”

source: ABC News


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Green, lush forests are associated with fresh air, a clean environment and a healthy life. The charm and beauty of trees makes us feel much more closer to nature. But let’s forget about the enchanting forest for a minute and focus on some of the creepiest forests in the world. These emit a very different feeling of eeriness and fear. Let’s check some out and see whether we would be brave enough to explore them.
Aokigahara Forest – Japan


In spite of being a tourist destination for its numerous icy caverns and quiet paths, its reputation is mainly due to macabre reasons. Numerous signs are put up by the police in the forest to convince people to reconsider their actions, with sentences like “Your life is a precious gift from your parents,” and “Please consult the police before you decide to die!”.

Hoia Baciu Forest– Romania


Hoia Baciu Forest, located near the city of Cluj-Napoca in Romania, is one of the scariest forests in the world. Defines as the “Bermuda Triangle” of Romania, it is often associated with paranormal phenomena. It´s unclear if it´s because of suggestion or due to real inexplicable reasons but thousands of people narrate to have suffered all sorts of mysterious sensations from headache to sickness after getting in. Moreover, paranormal activities, unexplained events and UFO sightings were reported. Not yet satisfied? Inside the forest there is a perfect circle without vegetation and where trees don’t grow.

The Red Forest – Ukraine

The Red Forest (previously known as the Worm Wood Forest) is the 10-square-kilometre (4 sq mi) area surrounding the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Due to the terrible nuclear accident in 1986 the pine forest around the station turned to ginger-brown color and died. This forest is sadly, one of the most contaminated places in the world.
Pembrey Woods, Wales

This Welsh forest has seen human activity since around 400 BC. It is most well-known for the ghosts of pirates that would lure ships into dangerous rock formations with lanterns on the coast line and then slaughter and rob them. These hatchet men share the Pembrey Woods with lost air men whose planes crashed while attempting to reach the nearby Royal Air Force air field, as well as the spirits of sailors whose ships sank long ago.

Freetown State Forest, United States

This stretch of land in south-eastern Massachusetts falls within Bridgewater Triangle and has been the site of paranormal phenomenon since its purchase from the Wampanoag tribe in 1659. UFOs, luminescent orbs, giant snakes, thunderbirds, and even Bigfoot have been spotted in the Triangle, but Freetown State Forest is especially infamous for crimes, murders, and satanic rituals, along with potential Indian burial grounds. Locals believe the land was cursed by the spirits of Native American ancestors until it is returned to their tribe.


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Legend has it that the Bermuda Triangle in the West Atlantic is a region where many ships and even aircraft disappear. However, if you look at the data that insurance company Allianz has compiled other waters seem much more dangerous. Most shipwrecks since 2007 occurred in the Western Pacific south east of China.

Still, total ship losses have gone down by 50 percent in the past 10 years, according to the insurers. In 2016, 85 ships sunk or were so heavily damaged they couldn’t sail any farther. Trivia: Friday is the most frequent day for shipping losses with Saturday being the safest day.


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His Eminence Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden and All Scandinavia welcomed the President of Cyprus’ House of Representatives Mr. Demetris Syllouris on Thursday, June 15, 2017, during the latter’s visit to the St. George Metropolis Cathedral as part of his official trip to Stockholm. House President Syllouris was accompanied by Cyprus Ambassador to Sweden Mr. Andreas Kakouris, House of Representatives Director-General Ms. Vasiliki Anastasiadou, House Public Relations Director Ms. Eva Hatziyanni, Cyprus Consul Mr. George Loizou, and Ms. Anna-Sara Hultgard Czernich of the Swedish Parliament’s international relations department.
Following the tour, a reception was offered in honor of the Cyprus House President and the officials accompanying him, during which Mr. Syllouris offered a briefing on his second visit to Stockholm. The Metropolitan stressed the importance of the Hellenic Community in Scandinavia being served through the excellent cooperation of all the appropriate institutions, such as the embassies of Greece and Cyprus, local Greek Schools, Hellenic associations, etc.








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The human race must start leaving Earth within 30 years to avoid being wiped out by over-population and climate change, Professor Stephen Hawking has warned.
Making an impassioned speech at the Starmus science festival in Trondheim, Norway, the astrophysicist said it was crucial to establish colonies on Mars and the Moon, and take a Noah’s Ark of plants, animals, fungi and insects, to start creating a new world.
Prof Hawking said it was only a matter of time before the Earth as we know it is destroyed by an asteroid strike, soaring temperatures or over-population.
He said that becoming a ‘cosmic sloth’ was not an option because ‘the threats are too big and too numerous.’
“I am convinced that humans need to leave earth. The Earth is becoming too small for us, our physical resources are being drained at an alarming rate.”
“We have given our planet the disastrous gift of climate change, rising temperatures, the reducing of polar ice caps , deforestation and decimation of animal species.
“When we have reached similar crisis in or history there has usually been somewhere else to colonise. Columbus did it in 1492 when he discovered the new world. But now there is no new world. No Eutopia around the corner. We are running out of space and the only places to go to are other worlds.”
Hawking told the audience that the Earth would eventually be hit by a devastating asteroid strike.

“This is not science fiction it is guaranteed by the laws of physics and probability,” he said. “To stay risks being annihilated.
“Spreading out into space will completely change the future of humanity. It  may also determine whether we have any future at all.
“Wherever we go we will need to build a civilisation, we will need to take the practical means of establishing a whole new ecosystem the will survive in an environment that know very little about and we will need to consider transporting several thousands of people, animals, plants, fungi, bacteria and insects.”
Prof Hawking said the Moon and Mars were the best sites to begin the first colonies, stating that a lunar base could be established within 30 years and a Martian outpost within 50. But he also suggested leaving the Solar System and venturing to our nearest star system, Alpha Centauri, where scientists believe there exists a habitable planet known as Proxima B.



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About 300 pro-ISIS militants on Wednesday stormed a school in the southern Philippines and are holding students hostage, Reuters reported.
Philippine officials say Muslim rebels are engaging troops in a gunbattle in Pigcawayan town in North Cotabato in an attack that may be an attempt to divert the military’s focus away from the militants who have laid siege on southern Marawi city.
Police Chief Inspector Realan Mamon tells The Associated Press by telephone that gunmen belonging to the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters raided the village of Malagakit in North Cotabato province at dawn Wednesday and engaged government forces in a firefight. Villagers have fled to safety.
“We can confirm that they occupied a school and there were civilians trapped. We are in the process of determining how many were trapped and their identities,” Mamon told Reuters.
Military spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla says the gunmen targeted a patrol base of pro-government militiamen and the attack maybe an effort by the militants to divert troop focus on the Marawi offensive.



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Belgian troops shot a suspected “terrorist” bomber in Brussels Central Station on Tuesday but there were no other casualties and the situation was brought under control after people were evacuated, officials said.
The suspect in the attack is dead, Belgian prosecutors told AFP early Wednesday. “He is dead,” federal prosecutor’s office spokesman Eric Van Der Sypt said, hours after the terror suspect was shot by soldiers after a small, but intense explosion in the Belgian capital’s Gare Centrale.
Van Der Sypt told reporters some three hours after the incident that a small blast was being treated as a “terrorist” attack. He declined to comment on witness accounts that he had shouted Islamist slogans, including “Allah hu Akbar” — God is greater, in Arabic — before detonating a device on a luggage trolley in an underground concourse of the rail station.
Police had quickly evacuated the station and surrounding areas of historic downtown Brussels after the incident around 1830 GMT. The streets had been busy with tourists and locals enjoying a hot evening but were soon largely deserted and calm. Rail traffic was largely suspended.
The Belgian capital, home to the headquarters of NATO and the European Union, has been on high alert since a Brussels-based Islamic State cell launched an attack that killed 130 people in Paris in November 2015. Associates of those attackers, four months later, killed 32 people in their home city, including with bombs loaded on trolleys at Brussels Airport.



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Reports are coming in of an explosion of some sort at Brussels Central Station in Belgium. Belgium has been under heightened security do to Islamic State threats. Federal police are reporting a “small explosion” in the train station. RTÉ News reports that train traffic has been stopped after a “small explosion was heard.”

As of now it is unclear if it is a terrorist attack, but ISIS has been highly active in Europe this spring and especially since the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

According to other reports the police shot a man with an explosive vest.



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Some observers have lately been advising foreign governments not to worry too much about Turkey’s (President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s) increasingly aggressive irredentist rhetoric because it is largely targeted at domestic consumption rather than addressing the relevant foreign audience. Well, yes and no.

It is true that revisionist/nationalist rhetoric sells very well in Turkey’s marketplace of ideas (and, increasingly, in other countries too). It is also true that Mr. Erdoğan’s most imminent target audience is, naturally, the average Turkish voter – the man who can most easily be captured by any irredentist rhetoric dancing around appealing nationalist claims such as “our glorious past,” “the great injustice our great nation had to suffer a century ago,” “a just need to correct the wrong flow of history,” or “we shall one day revive our fallen empire.” Add to those the “we are the ‘most devout Muslims’ rhetoric” you will not just catch a voter but a devoted fan who will be prepared to die or kill for you.

But the fact that Mr. Erdoğan’s main target group is the average Turkish voter does not change the fact that he also wholeheartedly believes in what he says, or that he could turn rhetoric into some insane action one day if he thinks, out of a moment of miscalculation, Turkey is powerful enough to “correct the wrong flow of history,” in the words of former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.

Furthermore, fuelling such sentiment in a society well known for its xenophobia, self-isolationist mentality and a collective desire to return to the days of glory could be politically perilous in the long-term since one of Mr. Erdoğan’s 18-year-old “soldiers” today will probably become the Turkish leader in a few decades – another and angrier Mr. Erdoğan.

More importantly, Mr. Erdoğan’s rhetoric does not only lack the simplest norm of logic but is also inconsistent. Forget his latest irredentist speech that supposed Turkey today could have had 3.5 million to 4 million square kilometers of land instead of its 780,000 square kilometers. It could have. But it does not. Why, in the Islamist mind, does size matter? Is Turkey, by any credible international criteria, a better country than, say, Switzerland – which sits on 41,000 square kilometers, or 5 percent of Turkish land?

In the same speech, Mr. Erdoğan mentioned the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea. “Those islands under our nose were ours,” he said. “[In those islands] there are our monuments, our history, our mosques…” This is true. But applying the same logic to what is today Turkey can result in claims which Mr. Erdoğan will certainly not like.

If “having places of worship, history and monuments [from the past]” in foreign countries should give other countries the right to claim territory, we Turks would all have to pack up and endure the hardships of a long journey into some faraway steppes. Forget the countless monumental and historical marks on Anatolian lands that belong to pre-Turkish times, just note the fact that, firstly, the GreekOrthodox patriarchal basilica in Istanbul which Mr. Erdoğan’s fans so passionately want to convert into a mosque, was built in 537 AD, or 816 years before the first mosque in the city was built, and secondly, since Mr. Erdoğan often talks about Turkey’s “2071 targets,” in reference to the year 1071 which marks Turks’ capture of parts of Anatolia, he admits that there were non-Turkish civilizations, places of worship and history on the lands that is today Turkey.

That, of course, does not mean those non-Turkish civilizations should have a legitimate claim over Turkish territory today. Just like Ottoman history or mosques in neighboring countries should not give Turkey a legitimate claim over what is today “foreign lands.”

Mr. Erdoğan claims he is lecturing everyone in history. He should first of all himself acknowledge that history did not begin in 1071 or 1453.



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In a hidden room in a house near Argentina’s capital, police believe they have found the biggest collection of Nazi artifacts in the country’s history, including a bust relief of Adolf Hitler, magnifying glasses inside elegant boxes with swastikas and even a macabre medical device used to measure head size.

Some 75 objects were found in a collector’s home in Beccar, a suburb north of Buenos Aires, and authorities say they suspect they are originals that belonged to high-ranking Nazis in Germany during World War II.

“Our first investigations indicate that these are original pieces,” Argentine Security Minister Patricia Bullrich told The Associated Press on Monday, saying that some pieces were accompanied by old photographs. “This is a way to commercialize them, showing that they were used by the horror, by the Fuhrer. There are photos of him with the objects.”


Among the disturbing items were toys that Bullrich said would have been used to indoctrinate children, a large statue of the Nazi Eagle above a swastika, a Nazi hourglass and a box of harmonicas.

Police say one of the most-compelling pieces of evidence of the historical importance of the find is a photo negative of Hitler holding a magnifying glass similar to those found in the boxes.

“We have turned to historians and they’ve told us it is the original magnifying glass” that Hitler was using, said Nestor Roncaglia, head of Argentina’s federal police. “We are reaching out to international experts to deepen” the investigation.

The photograph was not released to the public, but was shown to The Associated Press on the condition that it not be published.

The investigation that culminated in the discovery of the collection began when authorities found artworks of illicit origin in a gallery in north Buenos Aires.


Agents with the international police force Interpol began following the collector and with a judicial order raided the house on June 8. A large bookshelf caught their attention and behind it agents found a hidden passageway to a room filled with Nazi imagery.

Authorities did not identify the collector who remains free but under investigation by a federal judge.

“There are no precedents for a find like this. Pieces are stolen or are imitations. But this is original and we have to get to the bottom of it,” said Roncaglia.

Police are trying to determine how the artifacts entered Argentina.

The main hypothesis among investigators and member of Argentina’s Jewish community is that they were brought to Argentina by a high-ranking Nazi or Nazis after World War II, when the South American country became a refuge for fleeing war criminals, including some of the best known.

As leading members of Hitler’s Third Reich were put on trial for war crimes, Josef Mengele fled to Argentina and lived in Buenos Aires for a decade. He moved to Paraguay after Israeli Mossad agents captured Holocaust mastermind Adolf Eichmann, who was also living in Buenos Aires. Mengele later died in Brazil in 1979 while swimming in a beach in the town of Bertioga.

While police in Argentina did not name any high-ranking Nazis to whom the objects might have originally belonged, Bullrich noted there were medical devices.


“There are objects to measure heads that was the logic of the Aryan race,” she said.

Ariel Cohen Sabban, president of the DAIA, a political umbrella for Argentina’s Jewish institutes, called the find “unheard of” in Argentina.

“Finding 75 original pieces is historic and could offer irrefutable proof of the presence of top leaders who escaped from Nazi Germany,” Cohen told the AP.



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Erdogan’s nightmare is coming to life… The Kurds are designing already their new currency!

The well-known artist Aso Mumzade, who lives in Erbil, has already started drafting the notes of the independent Kurdistan.

The forthcoming referendum of September 25 has raised the hopes for independence of an entire nation.

The banknotes will have portraits of prominent Kurds on the front, as the pictures show:






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Following news of Otto Warmbier’s death earlier today, former U.S. President Barack Obama has come under fire for his perceived inaction in bringing the 22-year-old home from North Korea while he was in office.

As the BBC reports, Warmbier – who spent 15 months in captivity after allegedly stealing a propaganda sign from a hotel – returned to the U.S. last Tuesday, at which point his family learned that he had been in a coma for a year.

According to the BBC, North Korean officials stated that the coma was a result of botulism – a fact U.S. doctors disputed, stating he had been suffering from severe brain damage.

Tragically, earlier today, Warmbier’s family stated, “it is our sad duty to report that our son, Otto Warmbier, has completed his journey home. Surrounded by his loving family, Otto died today at 2:20pm.”

The statement reportedly added, “the awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today.”

Prior to his son’s death, Fred Warmbier stated that Obama had not done enough to bring the 22-year-old home.

“When Otto was first taken, we were advised by the past administration to take a low profile while they worked to obtain his release,” he said at a press conference last week upon learning his son would be freed, as Breitbart reports.

“We did so, without result. Earlier this year, Cindy and I decided the time for strategic patience was over, and we made a few media appearances and traveled to Washington to meet with Ambassador Joe Yun at the State Department,” he continued.

As for the Trump administration, Fred Warmbier said he was “extremely grateful for their efforts and concern,” adding that President Donald Trump called him personally to discuss Otto last Wednesday night.

See Fred Warmbier’s remarks below.

Also under heavy criticism, suitably so, is North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

“Let us state the facts plainly,” said Arizona Senator John McCain following Otto Warmbier’s death, as Business Insider reports.

“Otto Warmbier, an American citizen, was murdered by the Kim Jong-un regime. In the final year of his life, he lived the nightmare in which the North Korean people have been trapped for 70 years: forced labor, mass starvation, systematic cruelty, torture, and murder.”

According to Fox News, President Donald Trump stated, “Melania and I offer our deepest condolences to the family of Otto Warmbier on his untimely passing,” adding that “the United States once again condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim.”

Fox News further states that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also holds North Korea accountable for Warmbier’s “unjust imprisonment” and issued a demand for North Korea to release three other Americans it is holding captive.



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Four people have been detained in the Keşan district of Edirne province while attempting to flee to Greece in a bid to escape a post-coup witch-hunt currently ongoing in Turkey, the Cumhuriyet daily reported on Monday.

According to the report, a surgeon, Mehmet Ali Yılmaz (34), and a physician, Meryem Dağdelen (31), who were both fired from their jobs by government decree; and Hatice Çelikcan (45) and Murat Yılmaz (45) were caught by gendarmes as they were trying to flee to Greece. Dağdelen and Çelikcan reportedly wanted to go to Greece to reunite with their husbands.

Thousands of people have fled Turkey due to a massive witch-hunt launched by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government against the country’s dissidents and sympathizers of the Gülen movement in particular since a failed coup attempt on July 15.

The government accuses the movement of masterminding the coup.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

According to a report by the state-run Anadolu news agency on May 28, 154,694 individuals have been detained and 50,136 have been jailed due to alleged Gülen links since the failed coup attempt.

Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, businessmen, students, teachers, academics and governors.



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Tim Hague, UFC fighter turned boxer, died Sunday after he suffered a serious injury during a boxing match in Canada. He was 34.
Hague was critically injured Friday night during a match against Adam Braidwood, a former Edmonton Eskimos defensive end, at the Shaw Conference Centre. Hague was knocked out in the second round when Braidwood delivered a punch that sent the boxer crashing to the mat. The match, promoted by KO Boxing, was scheduled at the last minute.




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A Greek-American man was stabbed to death when a threesome in Park Slope, New York spiraled into a deadly attack with bats and knives after one of the participants began filming the sexcapade, police sources said.
The Brooklyn bloodshed left Manos Ikonomidis, 20, dead of three stab wounds in the chest and back. He collapsed on the first floor of a building at 16th St. and Seventh Ave. just after 4 a.m. Monday. Earlier, he’d been locked in a steamy romp with an unidentified woman and 21-year-old Jack Doherty.
“It’s something out of a horror movie,” stunned building resident Carol Petersen, 37, said. “It’s horrible. It’s a nightmare.”
Doherty was being questioned by police, but was not a suspect in the slaying, sources said.
Detectives were also questioning a man at the 72nd Precinct stationhouse early Tuesday, police said.
Police sources said the ménage à trois in Doherty’s apartment came to a violent end when one of the guys started filming the tryst. The woman became irate.
Doherty drove the woman — whose name was not available — back to her Staten Island home, leaving Ikonomidis alone, sources said.
A resident in the building said the woman contacted her boyfriend — who was not involved in the threesome — and alleged she’d been raped.
Ikonomidis’ girlfriend — who also was not involved in the sex play — received an ominous Instagram message reading “your boyfriend f—-d up and will be taken care of,” sources said.
Police sources said cops had found no evidence the encounter was anything but consensual.





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While you might think you’re better off skipping the makeup to give yourself a few minutes extra study time, research has found that applying cosmetics can actually help, not hinder you in an exam.
According to a study by Cogent Psychology and researchers from Harvard Medical School and Chieti University, women who applied makeup before a test achieved 10% to 20% higher marks than those who were bare-faced.
The purpose of the study was to ‘examine the possibility that makeup can affect academic performance’, and involved asking 186 female undergraduate students to take a simulated university examination.
While previous research has found that higher levels of self-esteem are associated with better academic performance, this was the first time that the connection between physical self-esteem and makeup has been measured.
Surprisingly, the results of the study showed that wearing make-up could in fact increase test results by up to 20% due to the ‘lipstick effect’.
The theory behind the ‘lipstick effect’ is that wearing makeup can increase how beautiful you perceive yourself to be, which increases your self-esteem resulting in improvement of cognitive performance.
This study suggests that in exam situations such a boost in self-esteem makes women feel better, which in turn can potentially increase their academic performance by having a knock-on effect on memory and confidence.


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The US student held in captivity for more than 15 months in North Korea has died a week after returning home.
Otto Warmbier, 22, was serving 15 years of hard labour for attempting to steal a propaganda sign from a hotel.
He was sent back to the US last Tuesday on humanitarian grounds – it emerged he had been in a coma for a year.
North Korea said he had contracted botulism but his family say North Korea subjected him to “awful torturous mistreatment” in detention.
A team of US doctors have also disputed North Korea’s version of events.
Mr Warmbier had suffered severe brain damage, and was medically evacuated from North Korea on 13 June to a hospital in his home city of Cincinnati, Ohio. It is unclear how he fell ill.
A statement from the family on Monday said: “It is our sad duty to report that our son, Otto Warmbier, has completed his journey home. Surrounded by his loving family, Otto died today at 2:20pm.”
They said the student had been “unable to speak, unable to see and unable to react to verbal commands”.
The economics student from the University of Virginia had travelled to North Korea as a tourist.
A month after his arrest, he appeared at a news conference tearfully confessing to trying to take a sign from his hotel as a “trophy” for a US church.
“The aim of my task was to harm the motivation and work ethic of the Korean people,” he said.
Foreign detainees in North Korea have previously recanted confessions, saying they were made under pressure.
The company Mr Warmbier travelled with, China-based company Young Pioneer Tours, has announced it will no longer take visitors from the US to the country.
“The way his detention was handled was appalling and a tragedy like this must never be repeated,” it said in a statement.
North Korea said last week that it had released Mr Warmbier “on humanitarian grounds”.
Shortly before he was freed, his parents told the Washington Post newspaper they had been informed by the North Korean authorities that their son had contracted botulism, a rare illness that causes paralysis, soon after his trial.
He was given a sleeping pill and had been in a coma ever since, the newspaper said.



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