Hamburg to hold free concert to thank G20 police officers5 days ago
( CNN) The Hamburg concert hall that hosted Donald Trump, Angela Merkel, and Vladimir Putin last week will open its doors for free on Thursday to some of the 20,000 German police officers who were deployed during the course of its G20 summit.
On final Ukraine trip, Biden urges Trump administration to keep Russia sanctions9 days ago
Comments while meeting with Ukraines president came after Trump indicated he could aim Crimea-related sanctions in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal
Vice-president Joe Biden, on a last foreign journey before leaving office, fulfilled Ukraines president on Monday and called on the incoming Donald Trump administration to retain Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia.
Bidens comments at a briefing with Petro Poroshenko came after Trump indicated in an interview with the Times and Bild that he could aim sanctions imposed in the aftermath Russias 2014 annexation of Crimea, in return for a nuclear arms reduction bargain.
Trumps attitude to Russia and praise for Vladimir Putin has been a consistently controversial feature of his rise to the White House, which will be completed with his inauguration in Washington on Friday.
US intelligence agencies believe Russia sought to covertly influence the US election in Trumps favour and against the Democratic nominee, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. Trump has recently admitted that he believes Russia did orchestrate such hackers, but has nonetheless fuelled a bitter feud with intelligence officials over the issue.
The international community must continue to stand as one against Russian coercion and aggression, Biden told reporters, standing alongside Poroshenko, in remarks which did not include reference to Trump by name.
The Crimea-related sanctions against Russia must remain in place until Russia returns full control to the people of Ukraine.
Together with our EU and G7 partners, Biden said, we made it clear that sanctions should remain in place until Russia fully, emphasise fully, enforces its commitments under the Minsk agreement.
Poroshenko said Ukraine believed in good cooperation with the new US administration and urged sanctions to stay, without mentioning Trumps statements on a deal with Russia.
Andy Hunder, the head of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine, said Kiev would have to put much time and resources into dealing with the new US administration.
On 20 January Ukraine will be waking up to a new reality, he told Reuters. There is a concern in Kiev about how the new relationship will develop. It will require constructing new bridges to the influencers, the gatekeepers and decision-makers.
Kiev has taken steps to win the very best favour of the those calling the shoots in the Trump administration. Days after the election in November, Poroshenkos office started planning an official visit to Washington in early 2017.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
If You Find A Body Buried With A Sickle, There’s A Very Weird Reason For It13 days ago
Among other things, Medieval Europe was known for its insanely superstitious beliefs in the supernatural. They led to some pretty brutal acts of violence and desecrations of the recently dead. While some of us may be familiar with various forms of vampire burials, a newly discovered superstitious tradition from the Middle Ages has been found in an ancient graveyard in northwestern Poland…
The Drawsko cemetery in Poland has been the site of extensive excavation efforts by researchers in recent years.
Recently, researchers came across something bizarre: several corpses were buried with what appears to be an ancient iron sickle placed around their necks.
This is one of the corpses. It seems like the sickle is there to keep the body in place.
While the first thought was that these sickles were there to prevent the corpses from “becoming vampires, ” another, more bizarre theory has since emerged.
According to a new study, rather than avoiding the bodies from reanimating as vampires, these sickles were there as a route to ward off demon spirits. Those to participate in such studies quoth the so-called ‘anti-demonic’ properties of iron. Iron forged by fire in that culture was known to typify the transition from life to death and back to life.
While it’s impossible for us to know exactly why these people were buried with sickles, it’s still a fairly darned creepy practice…no matter how you look at it.
( via Mysterious Universe)
Well, one thing is for sure: if I can ever get my period machine design perfected, I’ll definitely be steering clear of the Middle Ages in Poland.
France elections in divisive presidential election27 days ago
Paris( CNN) France is voting for a new President Sunday following a divisive and unpredictable campaign that included corruption accusations against resulting nominees and a terror attack in Paris while the final television debate was on air.
Paris shooting overshadows French election
Why these French voters support Le Pen
Why these French voters support Macron
Merkel squares up to Schulz in rival’s last-ditch bid to save campaign1 month, 10 days ago
Chancellors Social Democrat challenger hopes to use TV debate to revive flagging fortunes ahead of poll on 24 September
Angela Merkel is to face off against Martin Schulz in a television debate being billed as her Social Democrat rival’s last chance at saving his election campaign.
Schulz, who has accused the chancellor of lulling voters to sleep by offering noncommittal replies, will spar with her over 90 minutes in their only televised one-on-one before Germans vote on 24 September.
With many voters still undecided, Schulz is pinning his hopes on the primetime showdown, hoping to sway millions to his cause and halt a devastating slide in his popularity.
The former European parliament chief enjoyed a surge in support soon after taking the helm of the SPD in January, merely to consider the initial excitement fade away.
A poll published on Friday showed Merkel’s CDU party and its Bavarian CSU friends commanding a 17 -point lead over the SPD.
Sunday evening’s encounter will be above all a conflict of personalities- an illustration in the newspaper Die Zeit presented Schulz garmented in workman’s overalls, holding a envisage and trying to dismantle the throne of a regal” Queen Merkel “.
Schulz has has said is not nervous about Sunday’s clash. Merkel, who has largely avoided referring to Schulz or any other nominee by name, has so far refused to be drawn into a combative debate.
” If an election campaign is defined as good only when people insult each other, then that’s not my idea of what an election campaign is about ,” she said at her annual summertime press conference.
Her attitude has led German media to dub Schulz a shadow-boxerfor his thwarted attempts to engage her.
The TV debate is expected to draw almost 30 million viewers or about half of the electorate, according to a poll by research firm Forsa , commissioned by Stern magazine.
Crucially, one in five who plan to tune in also said the debate could sway their election, the survey found.
The two candidates will discuss topics given to them by four presenters, and beyond the content of the debate they will be scrutinised for their body language.
Days before the event, the chancellery was accused of rigging the format in Merkel’s favour by threatening to stay away after the broadcasters proposed changes aimed at fostering more spontaneity and a deeper debate.
Defending her office, Merkel told Spiegel magazine that while she respected press freedom,” a politician should also be free to decide whether he or she accepts an invitation to appear on a programme “.
Forsa’s CEO, Manfred Guellner, told the business newspaper Handelsblatt:” The TV du el format, like spontaneity and eloquence, are not too Merkel’s strength .” Schultz could benefit from appearing on the present, he said.
A poll published late on Thursday by the public broadcaster ARD found that 64% of those surveyed believed that Merkel would prevail, while only 17% believed Schulz would win the debate.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
Which countries have the worst drinking cultures?1 month, 16 days ago
From savouring flavors in France to binge drinking in Australia readers talk about the alcohol culture where they live
How much alcohol is safe to drink? It is a question scientists have been trying to get to the bottom of for centuries, and now a survey exploring drinking advice around the world has found that the answer varies significantly depending on where you live.
In the US, for example, three or four drinkings a day( 42 g for women and 56 g for men) is thought to be safe, but in Sweden that is well over the amount health authorities recommend: 10 g for women and 20 g for men. Whats more, a standard drink in Iceland and the UK is 8g of alcohol, compared to 20 g in Austria.
Can these fluctuations be attributed to the fact that each place has its unique drinking culture? We asked readers to summarise their countrys stance towards alcohol and the unscientific, we should stress outcomes seem to suggest we might all be tip-off the scale when it is necessary to consuming a safe amount.
It is differed, but most people drink socially , not generally to excess, but responsible drinking( not drinking and driving for example) is rare. We should have tighter drinking and driving statutes. Dickon, 40
In the Spanish equivalent of a greasy spoon, workers stop for brunch with a beer followed by a big brandy then get into their autoes and go back to work. Its the drink-driving that I dont like. Anonymous, 45
Binge drinking is glorified in Australia, and the focus is not on drinking in moderation or for enjoyment. We should be encouraging alcohol-free days. I am likely not a true representative of the Australian drinking population as I am a very light drinker I drink maybe once a month. Anonymous, 44
There is a big binge-drinking culture among the youth in the country and a huge part of the health budget and policing budget is spent on dealing with drink-driving, collision and emergency services, and other long-term harmful effects of alcohol. We have a robust liquor industry that lobbies the government ferociously to prevent regulation of alcohol marketings. Advertising here has been grudgingly curtailed. Anonymous, 50
People often go to Izakayas[ Japanese-style pub] after work on Fridays or special occasions with their colleagues. However, alcohol is nearly always drunk here alongside snacks or food, entailing very few people get incredibly drunk. There are some cases of people with alcohol-related problems in this country, but people dont drink alcohol in order to get drunk, but rather to relax.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
What your voicemails tell us about the future of the UK2 months, 7 days ago
( CNN) The United Kingdom is having something of an identity crisis.
Poles apart: Gdansk divided as city grapples with immigration and identity2 months, 17 days ago
Refuge cities In a country where xenophobia is increasingly rife, Polands longest-serving mayor is intent on house a safe haven for his city invisible immigrants. After all, he says, integration is in the towns DNA
Judging by the behaviour of some of its football fans, Gdask might not be expected to extend a warm welcome to any refugees arriving in this port city on Polands Baltic coast.
One infamous banner unfurled at a Lechia Gdask match presented a black man kneeling in front of a garbed Ku Klux Klan character; another displayed a picture of Hitlers deputy, Rudolf Hess. In February, the citys Jewish cemetery was desecrated.
So it is difficult to say which is more startling: Gdasks record of racism, or the city mayor Pawe Adamowiczs career gamble in setting out to reversal it. I am a European so my nature is to be open, says Adamowicz. Gdask is a port and must always be a refuge from the sea.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
Burkini ban: Australian Muslim forced off French beach in swimwear row2 months, 20 days ago
( CNN) An Australian medical student says she and her mother were forced to leave a beach on the French Riviera after locals took exception to their burkinis.
Burqini designer: It’s about ‘liberation, equality’
Fingerprints in Berlin truck match those of suspect Anis Amri3 months, 7 days ago
Interior minister says publishes and other proof make it highly probable Tunisian man carried out Christmas market attack
Fingerprints found inside the cabin of the truck that ploughed into a Berlin Christmas market match those of the fugitive suspect Anis Amri, Germanys federal prosecutors office confirmed on Thursday night.
Spokeswoman Frauke Khler said that fingerprints of the Tunisian, who turned 24 on Thursday, had been discovered on the outside of the Polish-registered articulated truck, as well as the drivers door and the vertical support ray in the vehicles window area.
Speaking at a joint press conference with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, the home minister, Thomas de Maizire, said that the fingerprints and other evidence made it highly probable that the Tunisian suspect was the perpetrator of Mondays terror attack.
Merkel told the press conference that she hoped the suspect would be caught soon and that “shes been” heartened by the public reaction to the tragedy: In the last few days I have been very proud of how level-headed the reaction of the majority of people to this situation has been.
The findings came as Amris brother said he could not believe that his sibling would have carried out the cruelty. There was no sign he had been radicalised. Im sure he cant have done this, thats not why he emigrated. May God reveal the truth, Abdelkader Amri told a reporter from Agence France-Presse outside his home in the town of Oueslatia, about 30 miles( 50 km) from Kairouan in eastern Tunisia.
If my brother is behind the attack, I say to him: You shame us, Abdelkader Amri said.
The suspect, meanwhile, remained on the run, with German police left empty-handed after a day of raids around the country. In Berlins Moabit district, a commando division deployed flash grenades to storm a Salafist meeting point that had been frequented by Amri but left without making arrests.
Read more: www.theguardian.com