Just when we thought the words 'Spy' and 'Espionage'
were well and truly left for a by-gone era or, at the very
least, for 007 enthusiasts, a NATO employee is arrested
on suspicion of stealing 'state secrets' for yet to be
identified 'third parties' at the US air base at Ramstein.
German police arrested the civilian employee, a 60 year
old German national Tuesday.
The prosecutor's office will only confirm that the suspect
is identified only as Manfred K saying, "He is believed to
have illegally acquired, as a NATO civilian employee,
classified data belonging to his employer at the US armed
forces' air base at Ramstein and to have copied it onto his personal computer."
The statement went on to say, "It is suspected that this
was done with the intention of passing the obtained data
on to unauthorised third parties."
A judge ordered the suspect remanded in pre-trial detention Monday and the state criminal investigations office in Rhineland-Palatinate will supervise the ongoing probe, it added. The prosecutor's office declined to provide further details on who may have sought the data, when it was taken or how sensitive the files were.
NATO spokeswoman Carmen Romero declined to speak about the case. "NATO does not comment on intelligence matters," she said.
- Bernice Drew -
With the United States struggling to come to grips with the heated elements of late, now it is Europes turn to get a bit of that extreme action.
NASA scientist James Hansen says that statistically what is happening around the world is not random or normal with there being such huge peaks and curves in the world's weather patterns and can only be put down to man's abuse of the planet. The research by a man often called the “godfather of global warming” says that the likelihood of such striking temperatures occurring from the 1950s through the 1980s was rarer than 1 in 300. Now, the odds are closer to 1 in 10.
It is true to be said that 'Some do like it hot' but when it means temperatures reaching 46 degrees celsius like parts of Central Europe, namely Serbia, is experiencing right now, with Romania and Croatia being just as harshly affected, things can be pretty grim.
While the United Kingdom, as judged by the last week of the Olympic Games, has been trying to shelter from constant rain clouds - something the country has been trying to do all Spring and Summer long, things are about to change quite dramatically for them as well. A heatwave is on its way and the country may just yet experience some of what the rest of Europe has had to endure.
The Greek Meteorological Service issued an extreme weather warning with authorities advising residents to watch out for symptoms of heat-stroke. High temperatures are expected to last until the end of the week and Greek municipalities have made air-conditioned rooms available to the public and especially for vulnerable groups such as the elderly.
Extreme heat and three months without rain have caused severe droughts and water shortages in parts of Croatia.
It is estimated between 50 and 100 percent of corn, soybeans and sugar beet, has been lost in Croatia because of the extreme temperatures.
In Romania over 6,700 people called ambulances in a 24 hour period because of the high temperatures, with some people collapsing on the street. A total of 181 people needed medical help. In Macedonia temperatures reached 43 Celsius on Tuesday with a UV index of 9.
Large parts of Italy were on alert also as the summer’s fifth north African anticyclone swept across the country,
bringing with it scorching temperatures.
- Glen Adams -
Scientists are quick to point out that the relentless strange weather patterns across the globe can only be attributed to man-made global warming.
(C 2016) Affiliated Press International Foundationl/Admin/infoUS/Canada/Paris-Europe/Geneva/Australasia/Dubai/Singapore/Hong Kong/Japan
Live in France? Summer, Sea, sun and video games 2.0
- What you pay for the holidays? -
Anders Breivik, the right-wing anti-Muslim radical extremist was found guilty of murdering 77 people and sentenced by a five judge panel to the maximum term of 21 years. Norwegians across Europe breathed a sigh of relief, saying the ruling will pull the shutters down on the atrocity. The Norwegian people are gentle pacifists, for myself, only the guilotine would have brought the shutters down on this evil man.
The 33-year-old Breivik had meticulously planned his attacks years ahead which proved without a doubt that he was completely sane and fully aware of his actions. Breivik first bombed the Norwegian government headquarters, killing eight people, before going on a shooting massacre on Utoya island that left 69 dead at a summer camp for young members of the governing Labor Party.
Breivik himself rejected an insanity plea knowing that this would demean his ideological intentions. Some say he got precisely what he wanted out of the verdict and in his final, parting words Breivik apologized to other "militant nationalists" for not achieving an even higher death toll.
The 33yr old killer of mostly young people in the prime of their lives who could barely run from their murderous assailant, let alone try to fight with the same equal measure of violence and intensity. A conceited, narcissistic man who has been called many things - including a coward - for choosing to stand up for his bigoted, radical anti-Islamic beliefs, while ultimately shielding himself from potential danger amongst such naive, unsuspecting innocents - instead of forging his plan around the Islamic community he narrow-mindedly loathed so much.
Was that to say, that in killing his own, he knew his prey, and therefore knew they had no way of fighting back? But, if his target struck at the central point where his angsts were deepest, the cowardly bully might have just come up against a people who were more used to violence and hatred and therefore capable of deathly retaliation.
Justify it how he likes, inside or outside... a court of law - he maintained a safety-net around himself to perpetrate a cowardly attack, directing his venum and ultimate contempt towards a religion and culture - different to his own - and yet came out of it all totally unscathed. Ultimately, he got to play his game - ultimately, let's just hope he doesn't get to win as well.
It is hard to come to grips with the magnitude of death and great sadness that was left in the wake of one mans vile, flawed and conceited actions.
Bringing tremendous misery and heartache to the usually calm and stoic populace of Norway - a people who are still capable of moving on, even after such evil was set amongst them - without that final satisfying element of an 'eye for an eye.' The ultimate 'payback' required by most to settle their psyche in a way that makes everything relatively fair and equitable.
- Anne Hunt -
This was not entirely unexpected. Japan had threatened such action after the value of the yen in relation to the dollar rose by more than 10 percent since May.
The Japanese currency also climbed sharply in relation to the euro and the Chinese renminbi. (Renminbi is legal tender in mainland China, but not in Hong Kong or Macau).
Tokyo, heavily dependent on exports, had warned that it would take action to protect its industries from the negative effect of the yen's rise on its ability to sell goods abroad.
US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has now testified in two separate congressional hearings on Chinese currency policy and demanded that Beijing allow its currency to rise faster and more steeply, tacitly threatening retaliatory action if the Chinese regime refused to do so.
Congressmen and senators from both parties blamed China for the loss of American jobs and criticized the Obama Administration for failing to officially declare China a "currency manipulator" and impose tariffs and other penalties on Chinese exports to the US. But, to no avail.
Even though Britain - half in and half out of the EU - predicated upon what seems to suit the UK Goverment at the time, although it is now going through the longest double dip recession in it's history - on Monday it surprisingly retained it's AAA rating.
While many believe the British pound is too strong to help it's fading export market, others say extreme Tory cuts will eventualy work. The eruption of currency exchange conflicts is bound up with mounting signs that the global economic crisis is systemic, rather than merely 'guess work,' and growing fears that a genuine recovery is not in the offing.
The European sovereign debt crisis and the weakening of US economic growth have led governments around the world to try and seek to secure a greater share of export markets. Under conditions of slowing growth and stagnant markets, this inevitably heightens trade conflicts between competing capitalist nations.
With Gold seemingly on a stable high, being so attached to oil prices and the dollar, it only leaves currency manipulation a way to sustane growth. Or, at least, bring an income into national coffers.
In particular, the US and the European Union, led by the major EU export power Germany, have pursued a cheap currency policy in an attempt to trade advantages against their rivals. Of the major economic powers, Japan has suffered the greatest damage from these policies, as investors and speculators have shifted from dollar- and euro-denominated investments to the yen, driving up the currency's exchange rate.
It seems a currency free-for-all may have actually begun and vast currency fluctuations can be expected right across the international currency spectrum.
Japan unilaterally intervened in currency markets to drive down the exchange rate of its currency by selling approximately 1 trillion yen (worth nearly US$20 billion). The move, the first intervention by Japan in more than six years and the country's biggest ever one-day currency action, breached an agreement among the established industrial powers to such avoid currency moves.
- Anne Hunt -