Thursday, March 31, 2011

'Iran to notch up highest growth in 2015'

A Goldman Sachs report on global economics indicates that Iran is forecast to reach the highest economic growth between 2015 and 2025 and join the world's largest economies.

The report titled
"Global Economics Paper No: 153", issued by the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. on March 28, 2007, says 11 emerging economies dubbed as "N-11" countries, including Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Turkey, Vietnam and the Islamic Republic are expected to notch up striking economic growth rates between 2015 and 2025.

According to the US-based banking group, Iran has the strong possibility of becoming one of the world's largest economies in the 21st century, thanks to its relatively stable and steady economic rise, and a marked increase in the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is estimated to reach about $716 billion in 2025.

"Iran is another N-11 country, which likewise has significant potential…Iran has some attributes that would allow the country to advance much more easily than others," said the report, adding that Iran will have the potential to be the world's 12th economy by 2025.

The Goldman Sachs, which is an American investment banking and securities firm that engages in global investment banking, securities, and other financial services, introduced the N-11 grouping in late 2005 as part of comprehensive economic research on the countries that might have the kind of potential for global impact and could pose a challenge to G7 in size and economic growth.

The N-11s' weight in the global economy and global trade has been slowly increasing, with a contribution to global growth of around 9 percent over the last few years, the report added.

The report goes on to say that the Islamic Republic and Vietnam have the potential to become as rich as Germany today, and thus become an exciting prospect for foreign investors.

According to the report, the N-11 countries as a group of potentially large, fast-growing markets may not have the scale yet to be on a par with BRIC -- a grouping acronym that refers to the countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China -- but they could rival the G7 countries.

The World Bank on its report on global economy in 2010 predicted that Iran's economic growth will become double in 2011. Iran's economic growth will reach 3 percent in 2011, World Bank added.

On March 21, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei named new Iranian calendar year (March 2011-2012) as "The Year of Economic Jihad."

Ayatollah Khamenei also called on Iranian officials and nation to make Jihad-like efforts in order to lay the ground for a decade of economic growth.



Death of a Cosmonaut - Soyuz 1 - Vladimir Komarov 

Serious space buffs probably know the name Vladimir Komarov: He was the first human fatality in space. But now a controversial new book, "Starman," along with a blog post on NPR—have prompted popular interest and Web searches related to his story to soar.

The account involves the Russian space race in 1967 and its star, the Soviet pilot Yuri Gagarin. Gagarin was the first human to go into outer space—where he spent a total of 108 minutes orbiting Earth. But the world at large still knows very little about the highly secretive Soviet program, or the other cosmonauts who were the program's unsung heroes.

The story of Vladimir Komarov in "Starman" comes principally from a single source, a KGB officer. If the account is true—and some historians are taking issue with its veracity—it is horrifying: Gagarin was a backup pilot in a doomed spacecraft called Soyuz I, which ended in a fatal crash. Komarov was a close friend of Gagarin's. He had agreed to ride in the structurally unsound capsule in order to spare Gagarin from going, even though he knew the Soyuz's flight would surely end in disaster.

Indeed, as the readers of "Starman" learn, Komarov crashed full speed into Earth, and his body turned molten on impact. Audio from the flight records the cosmonaut screaming and cursing the "people who had put him inside a botched spaceship."

The final words of the Russian man's last minutes were picked up on the sly in 1967 by U.S. intelligence. You can listen to the recording—in Russian—on NPR.

News of the story caused big gains in Web searches for "yuri gagarin." Lookups also increased on "yuri gagarin profile," "space race," and "cosmonaut crashed into earth crying in rage."

Of course, the former Soviet Union wasn't the only country that suffered devastating losses during the early phases of global space exploration. As Bing Quock at the California Academy of Sciences noted, "Political pressures and the intensity of the 'space race' during the late '60s led to both the U.S. and the Soviet Union taking some very dangerous risks—some of which we already know didn't go well."

Indeed, in the same year of the Soyuz I disaster in Russia, the U.S. also lost astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee when the Apollo I capsule caught fire in the midst of a pre-flight test while it was still on the launch pad. And even President Nixon kept remarks at the ready in case the first astronauts to the moon didn't make it.

"Starman" will be published on April 12.


The Facebook Obsession


Facebook allows us to maintain our relationship with minimal time, effort and interaction. But at what cost? 57% of people now talk to their friends more online than they do in real life. 48% of 18 to 34 year olds check their Facebook as soon as they wake up. About 28% check it on their smart phones before they even get out of bed. With all this time spend obsessing with social networking, is there any time left for real life social interaction?


Ivory Coast rebels seize capital and march on Abidjan

Time running out for President Laurent Gbagbo as Alassane Ouattara's rebel forces prepare for final assault to take power

Pro-Ouattara forces in Duekoue, Ivory Coast.


Rebels forces fighting to install Ivory Coast's democratically elected president are preparing to advance on the country's largest city, Abidjan, after seizing a key port and the official capital overnight.
Power seems to be slipping away from the incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo, after troops loyal to his rival, Alassane Ouattara, swept south, taking the official capital, Yamoussoukro, and the port of San Pedro late on Wednesday.
Residents and combatants from both sides said opposition troops are in control and it is now largely calm apart from some sporadic shooting. Now attention turns to Abidjan, where the mood is tense ahead of a possible rebel assault. Ouattara's prime minister, Guillaume Soro, told French radio that Gbagbo has just hours to leave power peacefully.
In a further sign of Gbagbo's weakening position, the Army Chief of Staff sought refuge last night at the home of the South African ambassador to Ivory Coast.
Gen. Phillippe Mangou, his wife and five children arrived at the ambassador's home in Abidjan on Wednesday night, according to the South African foreign ministry.
South Africa says it is consulting with unnamed parties in Ivory Coast, West African regional leaders, the African Union and the U.N. on Mangou's move.
Ouattara's New Forces, renamed the Republic Forces (FRCI), have made huge gains in the past two days, seizing swaths of territory in the centre, east and west.
Seydou Ouattara, a military spokesman, told Reuters: "We have taken the port of San Pedro. Gbagbo's forces have all left. We are in full control."
One San Pedro resident, who declined to be named, said: "Shooting started at around 9pm, then we saw the rebels' vehicles drive into the town. Everyone's staying indoors, but we're still hearing a lot of gunfire."
Witnesses saw soldiers taking off their uniforms and throwing guns and ammunition into ditches as they fled from the rebel army. Others say some soldiers simply switched sides and joined the Republican Forces.
Earlier, residents of Yamoussoukro said they braced themselves for conflict before sporadic gunfire erupted. Serge Kipre, who runs a small clothing store in the city, said: "The night before, we were all calling each other to make sure nobody went outside. In the morning, I saw loads of police with balaclavas and Kalashnikovs racing across town. The market closed, shops shuttered. Everybody seemed on edge."
But the approach of the rebels was eagerly awaited by many young pro-Ouattara supporters, who cheered as they drove by in 4x4s.
Kipre added: "They set a police station ablaze because they felt they would be liberated soon. We are so tired of this situation, we just want them to get it over with."
The capture of Yamassoukro, which is in a pro-Ouattara area, is symbolic but not decisive; it is the capital in name only. Gbagbo's seat of power is in Abidjan – the commercial capital – where fighting has raged for months. But the fall of Yamoussoukro opens up the main road to Abidjan, just 143 miles away.
Earlier this month, a leader of the rebel forces, which have controlled northern Ivory Coast since the 2002-03 civil war, told the Guardian they would "surprise all the analysts" by removing Gbagbo quickly and cleanly.
Such confidence appears to have been borne out so far as the rebels make rapid advances on three fronts and encounter little resistance.
Ally Coulibaly, Ouattara's ambassador to Paris, claimed rebel forces now controlled three-quarters of the country. "President Alassane Ouattara was patient and gave Mr Laurent Gbagbo every possibility to leave power peacefully," he told the French radio station France Inter. "He refused every offer made to him."
Ivorians eventually had to take up arms to avoid a massacre of the civilian population, he added.
On Wednesday, the UN security council imposed travel bans and asset freezes on Gbagbo, who is already under European Union and US sanctions. The resolution also sought to prevent use of heavy weapons in Abidjan.
France's UN ambassador, Gerard Araud, said: "I think the sense of urgency is obvious since … the confrontation is extending in Ivory Coast and the situation is worsening by the hour."
He added the message "is very simple: Gbagbo must go. It is the only way to avoid a full-fledged civil war".


It’s Tracking Your Every Move and You May Not Even Know



A favorite pastime of Internet users is to share their location: services like Google Latitude can inform friends when you are nearby; another, Foursquare, has turned reporting these updates into a game.

But as a German Green party politician, Malte Spitz, recently learned, we are already continually being tracked whether we volunteer to be or not. Cellphone companies do not typically divulge how much information they collect, so Mr. Spitz went to court to find out exactly what his cellphone company, Deutsche Telekom, knew about his whereabouts.
The results were astounding. In a six-month period — from Aug 31, 2009, to Feb. 28, 2010, Deutsche Telekom had recorded and saved his longitude and latitude coordinates more than 35,000 times. It traced him from a train on the way to Erlangen at the start through to that last night, when he was home in Berlin.
Mr. Spitz has provided a rare glimpse — an unprecedented one, privacy experts say — of what is being collected as we walk around with our phones. Unlike many online services and Web sites that must send “cookies” to a user’s computer to try to link its traffic to a specific person, cellphone companies simply have to sit back and hit “record.”
“We are all walking around with little tags, and our tag has a phone number associated with it, who we called and what we do with the phone,” said Sarah E. Williams, an expert on graphic information at Columbia University’s architecture school. “We don’t even know we are giving up that data.”
Tracking a customer’s whereabouts is part and parcel of what phone companies do for a living. Every seven seconds or so, the phone company of someone with a working cellphone is determining the nearest tower, so as to most efficiently route calls. And for billing reasons, they track where the call is coming from and how long it has lasted.
“At any given instant, a cell company has to know where you are; it is constantly registering with the tower with the strongest signal,” said Matthew Blaze, a professor of computer and information science at the University of Pennsylvania who has testified before Congress on the issue.
Mr. Spitz’s information, Mr. Blaze pointed out, was not based on those frequent updates, but on how often Mr. Spitz checked his e-mail.
Mr. Spitz, a privacy advocate, decided to be extremely open with his personal information. Late last month, he released all the location information in a publicly accessible Google Document, and worked with Zeit Online, a sister publication of a prominent German newspaper, Die Zeit, to map those coordinates over time.
“This is really the most compelling visualization in a public forum I have ever seen,” said Mr. Blaze, adding that it “shows how strong a picture even a fairly low-resolution location can give.”
In an interview from Berlin, Mr. Spitz explained his reasons: “It was an important point to show this is not some kind of a game. I thought about it, if it is a good idea to publish all the data — I also could say, O.K., I will only publish it for five, 10 days maybe. But then I said no, I really want to publish the whole six months.”
In the United States, telecommunication companies do not have to report precisely what material they collect, said Kevin Bankston, a lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who specializes in privacy. He added that based on court cases he could say that “they store more of it and it is becoming more precise.”
“Phones have become a necessary part of modern life,” he said, objecting to the idea that “you have to hand over your personal privacy to be part of the 21st century.”
In the United States, there are law enforcement and safety reasons for cellphone companies being encouraged to keep track of its customers. Both the F.B.I. and the Drug Enforcement Administration have used cellphone records to identify suspects and make arrests.
If the information is valuable to law enforcement, it could be lucrative for marketers. The major American cellphone providers declined to explain what exactly they collect and what they use it for.
Verizon, for example, declined to elaborate other than to point to its privacy policy, which includes: “Information such as call records, service usage, traffic data,” the statement in part reads, may be used for “marketing to you based on your use of the products and services you already have, subject to any restrictions required by law.”
Sense Networks, a company that uses data from AT&T, uses anonymous location information “to better understand aggregate human activity.” One product, CitySense, makes recommendations about local nightlife to customers who choose to participate based on their cellphone usage. (Many smartphone apps already on the market are based on location but that’s with the consent of the user and through GPS, not the cellphone company’s records.)
Because of Germany’s history, courts place a greater emphasis on personal privacy. Mr. Spitz first went to court to get his entire file in 2009 but Deutsche Telekom objected.
For six months, he said, there was a “Ping Pong game” of lawyers’ letters back and forth until, separately, the Constitutional Court there decided that the existing rules governing data retention, beyond those required for billing and logistics, were illegal. Soon thereafter, the two sides reached a settlement: “I only get the information that is related to me, and I don’t get all the information like who am I calling, who sent me a SMS and so on,” Mr. Spitz said, referring to text messages.
Even so, 35,831 pieces of information were sent to him by Deutsche Telekom as an encrypted file, to protect his privacy during its transmission.
Deutsche Telekom, which owns T-Mobile, Mr. Spitz’s carrier, wrote in an e-mail that it stored six months’ of data, as required by the law, and that after the court ruling it “immediately ceased” storing data.
And a year after the court ruling outlawing this kind of data retention, there is a movement to try to get a new, more limited law passed. Mr. Spitz, at 26 a member of the Green Party’s executive board, says he released that material to influence that debate.
“I want to show the political message that this kind of data retention is really, really big and you can really look into the life of people for six months and see what they are doing where they are.”
While the potential for abuse is easy to imagine, in Mr. Spitz’s case, there was not much revealed.
“I really spend most of the time in my own neighborhood, which was quite funny for me,” he said. “I am not really walking that much around.”
Any embarrassing details? “The data shows that I am flying sometimes,” he said, rather than taking a more fuel-efficient train. “Something not that popular for a Green politician.” 


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Watch: Angry Birds, the Arab Spring Edition

"It's in English, but made by a Russian blogger named Egor Zhgun, and the comments on his blog express the hope that Alexander Lukashenko make the next version."


Libya's foreign minister resigned and fled

Koussa was on the attacks against civilians

The Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa has apparently rulers Gaddafi denounced the followers and fled to Britain.

There he would ask for political asylum. Koussa landed in London on Wednesday evening and informed the British government over his resignation. Koussa was "voluntarily" traveled to Britain, said the British Foreign Ministry. He was against the attacks of the regime against the civilian population. For the protection of civilians since Wednesday by flying a NATO-led military alliance since day air campaign against targets in Libya.

Important confidant Gaddafi

"He told us that he resigns from his post." Thus was the former chief diplomat Qaddafi in Tunisia. There he had met earlier on the resort island of Djerba representative of France. The Tunisian news agency TAP reported as a result, Koussa was a short, broken up as "private" declared visit to Tunisia in the direction of London. The 59 - Year-old was considered an important confidant Gaddafi.


Mexico’s Drug Cartels Hire U.S. Teens as Mules 



Al-Qaeda may strike in coalition countries over Libya

The UK's Secret Service MI5 has growing concerns that Libyan expats are plotting terrorist attacks in Britain, according to reports. It would be seen as revenge for bombing raids by European countries on Colonel Gaddafi’s regime.

EU countries have taken a leading role in enforcing the UN resolution, but their efforts in Libya now threaten to bring the conflict right to their own backdoors.

Analysts claim Colonel Gaddafi now has little other weapons left in his armory than overseas terror.

He has faced repeated accusations that he ordered the Lockerbie bombing that killed 270, mostly Westerners. Experts say some countries are particularly in the firing line.

The three leading countries of the offensive are France, the UK and the United States, of course. The only option he has, really, is to use terror,” says Claude Moniquet of the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Centre in Brussels. “It’s a clear, actual and present danger – today, in the coming days, maybe in the coming weeks.”

But EU backing for anti-Gaddafi rebels could backfire further. Rebel leaders include the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, an Al-Qaeda splinter group. And the casualties mounting every day from allied bombing make fertile recruiting ground for anti-Western forces.

There are agents of Al-Qaeda working now in Libya in that atmosphere of chaos. I’m sure,” says Professor of Middle East studies at Ghent University Urbain Vermeulen.

EU Muslims have been protesting against NATO’s bombing of Libya. Organizers say people should prepare for the worst.

There’s certainly a very strong likelihood, I think probably even inevitability, that Muslims will attack in retaliation,” the organizer of the London protests, Anjem Choudary, told RT.

nger at the invasion of Iraq led to a surge in terror attacks in the EU. Almost 200 people died in the Madrid train bombings in 2004. While suicide bombers killed 52 people in London in 2005. Officials now dread similar results in the wake of this campaign.

Western intelligence has reported increased activity among suspected EU terror cells, indicating the threat of attack is high. One officer told RT an EU terrorist strike is now just a question of time.



Bacardi wins one in U.S. Court 


Pernod Ricard SA, the world’s second-biggest liquor maker, lost a U.S. court ruling in its decades-long battle with Bacardi Ltd. over the right to use the name Havana Club on rum in the American market.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington ruled today that the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control was correct when it refused to let a Cuban state-owned group renew its U.S. trademark on the Havana Club name because of a 1998 law that barred renewal of certain Cuban trademarks.
Pernod Ricard sells Havana Club throughout the world except in the U.S. under a 1993 venture with Cuba’s state-owned Cuba export. It has been fighting with Bacardi over rights to the name in the U.S. since 1994, when Bacardi applied for a U.S. trademark on Havana Club. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected Bacardi’s request in part because of Cuba export already had a trademark.
At stake is Pernod’s future use of an historic brand name in the world’s second-largest market for rum should the U.S. embargo on Cuban goods be lifted. U.S. consumers buy about 17 percent of the world’s rum, second only to India’s 29 percent, according to the London-based industry research firm International Wine and Spirit Research.
“We will appeal,” Ian Fitzsimons, Pernod’s general counsel, said in a telephone interview. “We’re encouraged that it was only a decision by a 2-1 majority. We were particularly encouraged by the dissenting opinion.”

Cuban Trademarks

Cuban trademarks have been registered in the U.S. in anticipation of an end to the embargo, and for the same reason U.S. companies regularly register trademarks in Cuba even as the 1963 U.S. embargo blocks most trade between the countries.
The Havana Club trademark was first used by the Arechabala family in Cuba, which lost its distilling company in 1960 when it was nationalized by Fidel Castro’s revolutionary government. After the trademarks owned by the Arechabalas lapsed, Cubaexport registered the trademark in the U.S. in 1976 and assigned it to a Pernod joint venture in 1993.
In 1998, Congress passed legislation making trademarks confiscated by the Cuban government unenforceable in the U.S. The law, known as Section 211, has been applied only to the Havana Club mark. The World Trade Organization has said since 2001 that the law violated international treaties and demanded that it be changed.
Each company claims to have the legal rights to the Havana Club name and to make the “real” Havana Club rum. Pernod says its rum is made in Cuba using traditional methods.

Family Rights

Bacardi, which traces its roots to 1862 in Cuba and bought rights to the name from the Arechabala family, contends that it relies on the recipe of Jose Arechabala, the original maker of Havana Club, according to court papers.
Bacardi, based in Hamilton, Bermuda, said it was “thrilled” with the decision.
“With this ruling, the United States reaffirms the traditional principle that confiscation of trademarks in one country has no effect on another,” Patricia Neal, a spokeswoman for Bacardi, said in an e-mailed statement. “Cuban confiscation of trademarks without compensation to the original owners does not extend to U.S. trademarks.”

Standard Rum

Pernod, based in Paris, has turned Havana Club into the world’s fourth-most popular brand of standard rum, selling about 3.5 million cases a year, up from 400,000 cases sold in 1993, according to the International Wine and Spirit Research report.
Without access to the U.S. market, Pernod’s Havana Club has 5 percent of the world’s rum market, compared with 35 percent for Bacardi’s eponymous rum, about 16 percent for Diageo Plc’s Captain Morgan and 6.9 percent for closely held Brugal Co.’s namesake spirit, according to the report. Bacardi’s Havana Club, available since 2006 only in Florida, doesn’t sell enough to register on the firm’s ranking.
After its 1994 bid to register the Havana Club name failed, Bacardi sued in 1999 in Spain, claiming it was the rightful owner of the Havana Club trademark.
Two Spanish courts ruled that the joint venture with Pernod is the proper owner because the Arechebala family neglected its rights, both in allowing its trademark to expire and waiting too long to challenge ownership. The Spanish Supreme Courtin February sided with Pernod.

Assets Control

Bacardi has had more luck in the U.S. The decision today upholds a trial judge’s ruling that the Office of Foreign Assets Control acted within the scope of the 1998 Section 211 law blocking Cubaexport’s application to renew the trademark on Havana Club.
Still pending is an appeal in a case in which a federal judge in Wilmington, Delaware, rejected Pernod’s claim that Bacardi was misleading consumers into thinking its rum was made in Havana. The fact that it is made in Puerto Rico is clearly marked, the judge said.
The OFAC case is Empresa Cubana Exportadora v. Department of Treasury, 09-5196, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (Washington). The lower court case is Empresa Cubana Exportadora de Alimentos y Productos Varios v. U.S. Department of Treasury, 06cv1692, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
The 3rd Circuit case is Pernod Ricard USA LLC v. Bacardi USA Inc., 10-2354, 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (Philadelphia). The Delaware case is Pernod Ricard USA LLC v. Bacardi USA Inc., 06-cv-505, U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware (Wilmington). 


Russia’s most-wanted terrorist reportedly killed in air strikes

Doku Umarov, who is listed alongside the world’s most dangerous terrorists by the UN Security Council’s Sanctions Committee, has allegedly been killed in the Republic of Ingushetia. Russian Air Forces bombed a militant training camp on Monday.

At least 17 militants have been killed by two helicopter strikes at the camp, located in the mountains at the border of three southern Russian republics – Ingushetia, Chechnya and North Ossetia.

Among the dead, most likely, is Doku Umarov, the man believed to be behind a number of high-profile crimes, including the attempted assassination of Ingush President Yunus-Bek Evkurov in June 2009 and suicide bombings in Moscow in March 2010 and January 2011.
At the moment, security services and investigators are cautious about confirming reports that the Al-Qaeda-linked terror leader has been killed.
There have been eight reports in the past of Umarov’s death, which later proved false. Now, after Monday’s major anti-terror operation, DNA-tests are being carried out to verify the identities of the 17 bodies retrieved from the mountains.



12 Year old boy disproves Einstein's theory while eating a sandwich


WTF?! Holy hell! This kid taught himself calculus , and finished high school at the age of 8.
He was also diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome at a very young age.

It's a scene out of  "A Beautiful Mind." A mathematical genius scrawls his equations on the glass pane of a window.
This genius, however, happens to be only 12 years old. And he's about to disprove Einstein's theory of relativity.
Diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome at a very young age, Jacob Barnett astonished family and teachers alike with his advanced intellect; he taught himself calculus and completed high school at the age of 8.
Jacob has an IQ of 170. He currently attends college-level advanced astrophysics classes. He can recite the first 200 digits of pi. And he's likely to make mathematical history before he's of legal age.
"Whenever I try talking about math with anyone in my family they just stare blankly," he told The Indianapolis Star.
Jacob's mother, Kristine, was unsure if her son's ideas were nonsense or genius; she sent a video of his theory, a "new expanded theory of relativity," to the Institute for Advanced Study near Princeton.
The Barnett's heard back from a professor. Diagnosis: math wizard.
"I'm impressed by his interest in physics and the amount that he has learned so far," astrophysics Professor Scott Tremaine wrote in an email, shared by the family. "The theory that he's working on involves several of the toughest problems in astrophysics and theoretical physics."
"Anyone who solves these will be in line for a Nobel Prize."
Jacob, who, in many ways is your typical 12-year-old kid who loves basketball, video games and the Disney Channel, stays awake at night with numbers and equations swimming in his head.
His mathematical sights are set on disproving the big bang theory, something Jacob claims doesn't make scientific sense.
"I'm still working on that," he said. "I have an idea, but… I'm still working out the details."
Einstein published his theory at the age of 26; Jacob is just weeks shy of being half that age.
Jacob's currently being recruited for a paid research position at Indiana University.


Video shows skier being swept away by avalanche 

MONASHEE MOUNTAINS, British Columbia -Chris Bilbao of Portland, Oregon recently took a trip to British Colombia to test the ski hills. He almost never returned.

While zig-zagging his way down a mountain with a video camera attached to his chest, Chris had his feet swept out from under him by an oncoming avalanche. With the snow quickly piling onto him, you can hear him yell out “Avalanche! before being buried under the snow with his camcorder rolling.

Thankfully, the Avalanche was not large enough to completely bury Chris. His friend arrived on the scene shortly after to record Chris’ reaction to the incident. As you would expect, he was terrified, relieved and cold all at the same time.

Here is some amazing footage of the avalanche from Chris’ point of view.

Bilbao says the experience was "like being in the ocean."

No one was injured in the avalanche


Graphic compilation of traffic accidents in China

Traffic Accidents Caught On Surveillance Cameras in Heze City of Shandong, China

More..This video became viral on China's internet after it was aired by Chinese authorities in an effort to increase traffic safety awareness. It is a collection of traffic accidents that occurred in the past few years, caught on surveillance cameras installed at intersections in the city of Heze in Shandong province of China


German boy's message in a bottle found 24 years later in Russia


A 13-year-old Russian boy found a message in a bottle on a beach and was reunited with its German author, who wrote the note 24 years ago, tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda reported Wednesday.

Daniil Korotkikh found the beer bottle earlier this month when walking on the beach near Kaliningrad and his father translated the note inside, which was dated September 7, 1987, the paper said.

"When I was walking along, I spotted a bottle in the dunes and saw that there was a note inside," Korotkikh told Russian television channel NTV. "Only a few people are lucky enough to find a letter in a bottle."

The letter was signed by five-year-old Frank Üsbeck, who enclosed his address in Coesfeld in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Russian journalists tracked down Üsbeck, now 29, a married bank worker, who said he barely remembered sending the bottle with the note, which his father wrote, and he signed in shaky letters.

"I was shocked," Üsbeck told NTV television.

His parents still live at the address shown in the letter and his father showed a photograph of Frank holding the bottle, which they threw into the sea while travelling to Denmark.

"It's just incredible. Can it really be possible that the letter is still readable after so many years in the water?" Üsbeck said in an interview translated into Russian.

Korotkikh and Üsbeck were shown speaking via a video link and the Russian schoolboy showed off the letter, which he has framed.




Libyan opposition launches TV channel with Qatar

The Libyan opposition is launching a satellite television channel, Ahrar TV, on Wednesday with the help of the Qatari government in counterbalance to state-controlled media.
Libyans have only been receiving information from media controlled by Muammar Gaddafi's government and from foreign satellite television channels, which Tripoli has been jamming in the past few weeks.
The new TV channel will go on the air at 7:30 p.m. local time (17:30 GMT) using the French Atlantic Bird satellite.
The U.S.-based Foreign Policy journal said the Qatari government had provided technical equipment of their culture channel Al-Rayyan to a group of Libyan journalists led by Mahmud Shammam, who arrived in Doha, the capital of Qatar.
The Libyan opposition has already launched Radio Free Libya and Radio Free Tobruk on mid-range bandwidths.
Libya has been engulfed in confrontation between the opposition and its 42-year ruler Gaddafi since mid-February. When the opposition took up arms, the UN Security Council voted for aerial bombing of Gaddafi-controlled strongholds and army bases, which began on March 19. On Sunday, NATO began taking over control of the operation carried out by leading Western nations.

MOSCOW, March 30 (RIA Novosti)


Somali pirate offers to release Danish family in exchange for hand of daughter, 13

Life can be lonely on the high seas and one pirate has decided enough is enough, it's about time he got himself a wife.
But the Somali pirate chief has taken a fancy to his 13-year-old Danish hostage - and he is so besotted with her he's willing to let the rest of her family go free, and even forget the $5million dollar ransom his pirate colleagues demanded.
According to The Times, the pirate made the bizarre proposal during a conversation with a Danish reporter, who visited the African nation to track down the Johansen family who were taken hostage in the Indian Ocean more than a month ago.

Marry me? 13-year-old Naja Johansen, third from left, 
is wanted as the wife of a Somali pirate chief


Jan Quist Johansen, his wife Birgit Marie Johansen, their sons Rune and Hjalte and their daughter Naja, were kidnapped along with their two crewmen.
Their yacht was hijacked in the Indian ocean 260 miles from the coast just weeks from completing the end of their two-year voyage. They have been trapped on board the previously hijacked MS Dover, along with 20 other hostages, since February 24.

The reporter, from the tabloid Ekstra Bladet, was not allowed to speak to the family, but he spoke to the chief pirate who apparently revealed his plans for a bride.
The terrifying proposal puts more pressure on the authorities and hostage negotiators to free the family.
If the Danes give me permission to marry the girl, I will free the rest without any condition,' Kristian Kornoe quoted the pirate chief as saying.
The reporter, who assumed the offer was never going to be accepted, said: 'The father, Jan, seemed completely exhausted, even ill.
'The rest of the family is tired and angry. The smell is unbearable ... it is hot, the water is filthy.'
Henrik Ljung, a senior Danish psychologist, said 'The offer of marriage was simply a way of applying psychological pressure, a show of force.
'It’s an extremely effective tool if you want to raise money.'

An armed Somali pirate along the coastline. The Johansen's yacht was hijacked in Somali waters 260 miles from the coast, on February 24, just weeks from completing the end of their two-year voyage

Somali pirate Abdullahi Mohamed said earlier this month the gang responsible for the kidnap would kill all seven hostages if any attempt was made to rescue them.
The family, from Kalundborg, 75 miles west of Copenhagen, were planning to enter the Mediterranean through the Suez canal from the Red Sea.
That route would take the family through the Gulf of Aden, one of the most dangerous waterways in the world in terms of piracy.
It is the first time children have been captured.
Two days before they were captured Americans Jean and Scott Adam and Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle were killed after their boats were seized by Somali pirates.

Paul and Rachel Chandler after their 13 month ordeal at the hands of a Somali pirate gang. They were freed after 388 days in captivity

It is hoped that the Danish crew will be able to survive the ordeal as was the case with British couple Paul and Rachel Chandler, who were finally released in November 2010 after 388 days in captivity in return for a secret £625,000 ransom.
Earlier on the same day that the Danish vessel was captured, Somali pirates also hijacked a Greek-owned cargo vessel with 23 crew on board.
The MV Dover was seized in the north Arabian sea, 260 miles  north-east of the Omani port of Salalah.
There are three Romanians, 19 Filipinos and a Russian aboard the Panama-flagged vessel.



CNN: US Changing War Strategy to All-Out Attacks on Gaddafi Forces…



Al-Qaeda in Yemen Urges Muslims in America to Attack Malls, Nightclubs and Army Recruiting Centers…

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's new English language magazine urges Muslims in the West sympathetic to their cause to stay at home and attack soft targets such as shopping malls and nightclubs. The magazine also urges those thinking of committing acts of terrorism to do it alone and not try to hook up with others who share their sympathies.
Isn't it a bit hypocritical for Samir Khan, the North Carolina man who publishes AQAP's online magazine, to urge would-be terrorists in the West to forget about coming to Yemen or Pakistan?
After all, Samir had five years of openly supporting al Qaeda from his mom's basement. Instead of picking up a gun and killing a few of his neighbors, the little prick got on an airplane and headed to Yemen. Even in Yemen he's not picking up a rifle, only a computer keyboard.
So one wonders why he bothered leaving his mommy's basement if he wasn't going to actual fight? Wouldn't it be much easier for him to publish al Qaeda's English language magazine from home? You know, he could write Death to America and then shout upstairs for his mom to make me a cheese sammich!
But Samir, like all al Qaeda leaders with inflated egos, thinks he's too important to do the actual dying himself.
From Inspire #5's Q&A with readers:
As-Salâm ‘Alaykum. I live in the West and greatly desire hijrah to the lands of jihad such as Afghanistan or Yemen. I have the money ready and have an idea of where to go...
RESPONSE: ..... What we recommend is that you focus on planning out attacks in the West .... Similarly, the mujahidin leadership are today asking the brothers in the West specifically to attack Western interests in the West instead of coming here to Yemen for example. ...
The foreign brothers that join the mujahidin, many amongst them, conclude
that it would have been better for them to return to the West and launch operations. This is because killing 10 soldiers in America for example, is much more effective than killing 100 apostates in the Yemeni military.
With that said, based on your ability, you choose the target. Your pool of targets are large, so make sure to think of all of the available options. An example of something local, easy and effective is attacking an army recruiting center, nightclub, highway or busy shopping mall.
The article then goes on to say that nearly all of the [ed note by Democrats on House Homeland Security Committee: nonexistent] homegrown terrorists caught last year were part of groups planning attacks. The inference the author draws is that would-be jihadis should not try and contact others before attacking. He notes successful jihadis such as Nidal Hassan, the Fort Hood killers, and Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, the Stockholm suicide bomber, were lone wolfs.
We'll probably either update this post or put up newer posts about the new issue of Inspire. It's fairly long and I haven't digested the whole thing yet. Samir admits to writing one of the articles and Anwar al-Awlaki another. Hopefully I'll have something to say about those. And Howie thinks the guy in the red in the above image is Samir. I'm not so sure.
Oh, and if you want to email Samir or Awlaki and maybe subscribe them to the online pork of the month club, Howie posted contact information here.
UPDATE: I'm just back in the office looking over the issue and I got to say this about Samir's article "The Egyptian" .... lame. Come on Sammy, is that all you've got?
Normally Sammy's writing style is revolutionary. That is, he sees himself as an agitator for violent and revolutionary behavior. But this? This casts Sammy as an Islamic scholar wooing the uninformed Egyptians to side with the cause of Islamism. The problem is that he's not a scholar and he comes off sounding like a whiny kid instead.
What kind of whiny kid? The kind that thinks he's ghetto.







Ultra high-speed broadband is coming to Kansas City, Kansas

As part of our overall goal to make the web better for users, last year we announced a new project: to provide a community with Internet access more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have today. The response was overwhelming—nearly 1,100 cities felt the need for speed—and we were thrilled by the enthusiasm we saw across the country for better and faster web connections. Thank you to every community and individual that submitted a response, joined a rally, starred in a YouTube video or otherwise participated.

After a careful review, today we’re very happy to announce that we will build our ultra high-speed network in
Kansas City, Kansas. We’ve signed a development agreement with the city, and we’ll be working closely with local organizations, businesses and universities to bring a next-generation web experience to the community.

Later this morning we'll join Mayor Reardon at Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, Kansas, for an event we’ll carry live on the
Google YouTube channel—be sure to tune in at 10am PDT to watch.

In selecting a city, our goal was to find a location where we could build efficiently, make an impact on the community and develop relationships with local government and community organizations. We’ve found this in Kansas City. We’ll be working closely with local organizations including the
Kauffman Foundation, KCNext and the University of Kansas Medical Center to help develop the gigabit applications of the future.

Pending approval from the city’s Board of Commissioners, we plan to offer service beginning in 2012. We’ll also be looking closely at ways to bring ultra high-speed Internet to other cities across the country.

Over the past decade, the jump from dial-up to broadband has led to streaming online
video, digital music sales, video conferencing over the web and countless other innovations that have transformed communication and commerce. We can’t wait to see what new products and services will emerge as Kansas City moves from traditional broadband to ultra high-speed fiber optic connections.

Now it’s time to get to work.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Robot Bird

This bionic technology-bearer, which is inspired by the herring gull, can start, fly and land autonomously -- with no additional drive mechanism. Its wings not only beat up and down, but also twist at specific angles. This is made possible by an active articulated torsional drive unit, which in combination with a complex control system attains an unprecedented level of efficiency in flight operation. Festo has thus succeeded for the first time in creating an energy-efficient technical adaptation of this model from nature.


Allies not coordinating military action with Libyan rebels - French Defense Ministry

French Defense Ministry deputy spokesman Philippe Ponties denied on Monday criticism that Western coalition forces have been coordinating airstrikes with the Libyan rebel National Transition Council.
"We maintain only political contacts with the National Transition Council," Ponties said. "The [UN Security Council's] 1973 resolution prohibits deployment of troops, thus it refers to political coordination only."
The military operation to ensure a no-fly zone and arms embargo in Libya is being conducted jointly by 13 states, including the United States, Britain and France. NATO took over command of the coalition from the United States on Sunday.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized the mission for going beyond the remit of the UN Security Council resolution. He said it amounted to interference in a "civil war."
French military planes destroyed the command center of Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi on Sunday and the United States launched six Tomahawk missiles Sunday and early Monday.
The rebel army, which has been fighting pro-Gaddafi forces since mid-February, has made rapid advancements into the west of Libya since the coalition mission began. Insurgents have also approached the key Gaddafi stronghold of Sirte.

PARIS, March 28 (RIA Novosti) 


Monday, March 28, 2011

Oil Revolution: Iran's response to the West


The riots spread to the oil-rich Arab countries. During the clashes with police in Bahrain on 14-15 February, killing at least two protesters. What is the cause of such instability Bahrain? It would seem, is one of the richest "oil cats" Persian Gulf, in principle, is not threatened.


However, despite the gloss, not so well in this country. Most of its population are Shiites, including moved here to earn money from Iran. Many are immigrants from other countries. As a result - 15 percent of the employable population is unemployed.
Note that the current outbreak of violence was for the authorities by surprise. Thus, the foreign minister of Bahrain Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said that the reason for the violence there, as rallies and any other protest the laws of the kingdom is not precluded.
However, the unrest caused by the fact that the majority of the population dissatisfied with the fact that power is in the hands of the Sunni minority, which is the total weight is less than 20 percent. As a result, the bulk of wealth from oil settles in the pockets of Sunnis, while all the others, especially the Shiites, whose share of total population approaching 70 percent, goes to the least.
Now the authorities are used to pacify the protesters, not only a whip, which had shown its weak performance on the example of Egypt, and carrots. Authorities said the kingdom that will be given to each family to 2700 dollars, will lower food prices and increase social benefits.
That's only if it satisfied the Shiites, who formed the backbone of malcontents? Doubtful. Not by chance the King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa was accused of organizing riots, Iranian intelligence services, who allegedly orchestrated statement of opposition.
Recall that Iran actually does not recognize the Bahrain in the form in which it exists, claiming that the islands that make up this state, belonged to the ancient Persian Sassanid state since the IV century AD and that the Persians lost control of it only because the machinations of the Western colonizers, first Portuguese and then British.
In part, the Iranians can understand. After the independence of the territory they consider theirs, as claimed by the Persians themselves, gave the British. In doing so they bomb has been planted under the foundation of the stability of the region as a whole.
Since 1970, the Shah of Iran openly claim to Bahrain and other islands in the Persian Gulf. However, the ruling dynasty Pahlavi agreed with the British, "not to pursue" its claims on Bahrain if they meet the "other requirements".
Despite the nebula such wording as long as the shah of Iran rules, complications could be avoided. However, after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah rescinded many of the agreements the shah to the West, including those relating to Bahrain.
It would be naive to believe that Iran, claiming control over these territories before, abandoned them now, when there discovered rich oil fields.
Not accidentally, the Ayatollah Khomeini never tired of repeating that, sooner or later "the corrupt pro-American regimes would fall." First and foremost, it must have belonged to Bahrain. Already in 1981, Shiite radicals from the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain tried to overthrow the king. Their actions led Hudzhatul Islam al-Hadi Mudarrisi. It was the authoritative among Shiites came from Bahrain, who lived in Iran.
And although this attempt was defeated, the Shiites were restless element in the kingdom. In 1994, they provoked a wave of unrest, complaining against the fact that in Bahrain, women were allowed to participate in competitive sports.
The situation in this country can not but worry the Americans. Bahrain not only gives the oil to the West, but also provides the U.S. military presence. Will the country's ruling dynasty to cope with a wave of unrest? After the fall of monarchy in Bahrain can trigger the appropriate "oil revolution" in all the monarchies of the Persian Gulf ...
Their thoughts in an interview Pravde.Ru "shared Arabist from the Institute of Strategic Studies and Analysis Sergey Demidenko:
"Of course, in recent decades, the Shia are very restless element. But to write off their performance solely on Iran is not worth it. Of course, the king of Bahrain to the claims of pursuing well-defined goal - shove a disease with blame on others. Basically, it's sort of a tradition for governors many Arab countries.
After all, if people are happy with their lives, something that no matter what foreign intelligence services, they will not destabilize the situation. In Bahrain, the same soil for it. However, one can with certainty say that the king, and this time be able to stifle discontent because his hands are enormous financial resources. Dissatisfied roll the dice with the royal table, and they will save time by His Majesty out of trouble. "
But will it continue so indefinitely? While the population of Bahrain has continued to increase significantly (although not as fast as in the same Egypt), per capita incomes are falling. In particular, due to the depletion of oil fields. And sooner or later, the Bahraini monarchy will have serious trouble.

Sergei Balmasov