Wednesday, February 11, 2015

News Headlines (527) 1 February - 10 February 2015


1 February 2015 : You're more likely to be spellbound by the vision of an ideal romance today than tumble head-over-heels for any individual. Because this kind of conceptual love is hard to manifest, you may have a real problem on your hands, especially if you are dealing with someone else's jealousy. Striving to be honest is admirable, but this doesn't mean you should reveal all your fantasies. Nevertheless, be as clear as possible when sharing your feelings or you could face resistance to your free thinking.

2 February 2015 : Your drive to explore new territory is countered by uncharacteristic feelings of self-doubt today. An inner voice reminds you to be sensitive to other people's needs over your own. However, the advice won't likely prevent you from acting on a brilliant idea if you have the chance. Just remember to temper your desire for immediate action with kindness so you don't inadvertently hurt someone you love. Taking the high road sets the standard for everyone to follow.

3 February 2015 : It may seem as if you've been coloring within the lines for too long, but now you remember what it's like to be your creative self. Today's showy Leo Full Moon highlights your 5th House of Fun and Games, urging you to express yourself spontaneously, whether or not you are artistically inclined. But even if you struggle finding a source of inspiration, a touch of uncertainty works in your favor today if it prevents you from doing something foolish. Paradoxically, you can dazzle others with your brilliance without going over the edge.

4 February 2015 : Someone close to you may push your emotional buttons today. Although you try to look the other way, you probably won't be able to hide your annoyance while assertive Mars aligns with self-righteous Jupiter. Presenting a smiling face won't be enough to avoid an interaction that could erupt into an unpleasant encounter. Thankfully, you can turn this difficult situation around by transforming your anger into compassion. Showing a little love and a lot of understanding goes a long way now toward making everyone happy.

5 February 2015 : You prefer to see yourself as unrestrained as an eagle riding the thermals, but your responsibilities might not give you enough freedom today for actual flights of fancy. Even if you believe you know an escape route, it's still quite complicated to break out and make your move. Don't be hard on yourself if you're unable to follow through on your plan. Just relax and sink back into your daydreams until you're ready to make them come true.

6 February 2015 : It's nearly impossible to know when to stop, for you are overly enthusiastic about what lies ahead. You are an inspiration to others today, motivating them to join you in the passionate pursuit of your dreams. Nevertheless, it's important to be cognizant of the needs of those around you, for it's easy to forget what other people want when you are so fired up about your plans. Your key to success now is taking the time to see things from a variety of perspectives.

7 February 2015 : You try to please others today, but even your best intentions are not good enough if your behavior seems abrasive. Your emotions may run so deep now that it's healthier to err on the side of caution than to reveal your feelings to others. Although you can wait until tomorrow when everyone is less sensitive, you could begin to open up right away as long as you remember to move slowly. Giving your friends the space to integrate what you say is a more thoughtful approach.

8 February 2015 : Other people may be sitting on fences today and nothing you say or do seems to be enough to push them one way or the other. Rather than working yourself into a state of frustration, stop and reevaluate your part in creating this uncomfortable predicament. In fact, your insecurity might be more of a problem now than another person's ambivalence. There's nothing to be gained by forcing a decision prematurely. Remember, you tend to lead the pack; give others the time to make their own choices at their own pace.

9 February 2015 : You can tell that your most important relationships are evolving, but you still might feel that your forward progress is impeded as interactive Mercury approaches the end of its retrograde period on Wednesday. You may attempt to focus on your work but your mind is wandering around in another dimension today, trying to remember a dream that seems important for some unknown reason. Set aside a block of time to meditate since your subconscious has important messages to reveal now if you're willing to stop and listen.

10 February 2015 : Managing your schedule is complicated today because it's difficult to see things in a clear light. Although you want to get to the truth, you don't have the time or energy to pursue answers through endless analysis. It doesn't matter whether or not you even have a long-term plan; just set your goals high and do what you can to reach them. Any kind of productive behavior now is more useful than thinking about what you could do sometime in the future. He who hesitates is lost.

WAPO 3 February 2015 : There's only one thing that can save Russia's economy, and it's not Vladimir Putin

■ 3 February 2015 : Muslim Brotherhood-Linked Jihadists Order Non-Egyptians to Leave
■ 6 February 2015 : Iran: Missile Program Non-Negotiable, US No Longer a Superpower

■ 29 January 2015 : NFL Players Who Start Football Before Age 12 Have 'Significantly Greater Impairment' Of Brains
■ 6 February 2015 : Ignoring Christian Violence Isn't Very Christian

INQUISITR 28 January 2015 : UFO Trails Giant Asteroid In NASA Photo During Near-Miss Of Earth — That's No Moon, UFOlogists Say ||MIRROR 31 January 2014 : NASA forced to deny UFO claims after 'alien spacecraft' is spotted orbiting asteroid

DAILY MAIL 30 January 2015 : Armed robber laughed out of store without a dollar as female clerks find themselves in hysterics over his ridiculous blond disguise ||MIRROR 30 January 2015 : What a doughnut! Is this the funniest armed robbery of all time?

■ 2 April 2014 : Tattoos and talons: Inside the world of Japan's Bosozoku gang girls where the women are just as bad ass as the men
■ 5 December 2014 : Now where did I park my 60 cars? Incredible treasure trove of rusting classics worth £12MILLION is found languishing in a French farm garage after 50 years
■ 29 January 2015 : Rihanna, Paul McCartney and Kanye West 'to perform new collaboration Four Five Seconds at the 2015 Grammy Awards'
■ 2 February 2015 : Suki wants a house! Bradley Cooper 'seeking London pad for himself and model girlfriend' as he prepares for UK move
■ 2 February 2015 : Paris gets a new three-star restaurant in the latest Michelin Guide: Pavillon Ledoyen gets ultimate accolade just SIX MONTHS after new chef takes over
■ 2 February 2015 : Creature from the deep: Incredible pictures emerge of extremely rare goblin shark, also known as a 'living dinosaur', pulled from the water by stunned fishermen
■ 2 February 2015 : What cheek! French tourists deported and banned from re-entering Cambodia for four years after posing nude at Angkor temple
■ 3 February 2015 : Jordan executes ISIS jihadists: Female suicide bomber among two put to death in dawn hangings in retaliation for terrorists releasing video of pilot being torched to death in cage
■ 4 February 2015 : 'I'm not going back until the fight is finished': American soldier who joined Kurdish militants vows to continue waging war on ISIS as new pictures show him relaxing with comrades in Iraq
■ 3 February 2015 : Can you lend me a tenner to buy a tie, George? Greece's new Essex-educated finance minister turns up at Downing Street in a (not very austere) leather jacket
■ 3 February 2015 : Office-romp couple unmasked: He was the boss married with kids, she was the newly engaged junior... and his wife only found out after sex tape went viral
■ 3 February 2015 : 'Fake doctor' is arrested for 'drugging and sexually assaulting more than 100 women who thought they were taking part in sleep study' in Japan
■ 4 February 2015 : Mortuary worker in Ghana admits on TV that he had sex with corpses because it was part of his training 'so he wouldn't be afraid of dead bodies'
■ 4 February 2015 : 'It felt right to turn it down': David Gandy reveals why he snubbed offer to play Christian Grey in Fifty Shades Of Grey film
■ 4 February 2015 : Did UAE stop taking part in coalition airstrikes because they feared what would happen to their female pilot if ISIS captured her? Involvement ended when Jordanian airman was shot down
■ 5 February 2015 : Obama FINALLY acknowledges ISIS is linked to 'Islam' – then compares it to the Crusades, the Spanish inquisition and American slavery as he says: 'No God condones terror'
■ 5 February 2015 : Killer fashion! Rihanna sits in the mouth of a massive great white shark as she pays tribute to Jaws in Harper's Bazaar bikini cover shoot
■ 6 February 2015 : 'Le Pen... Never Again!': Hundreds of protesters take to the streets and scale walls to oppose French far-right leader's appearance at Oxford University
■ 6 February 2015 : Mother's shock at finding unidentified sea creature staring at her after opening can of Princes tuna
■ 6 February 2015 : Tears of a Queen: Rania of Jordan consoles devastated wife of pilot murdered by ISIS - who reveals she only found out about her husband's barbaric death on Facebook
■ 6 February 2015 : A whole new meaning to sex toys! Fifty Shades of Grey trailer gets recreated in LEGO
■ 6 February 2015 : Painting of Tahitian girls by Paul Gauguin 'becomes world's most expensive single work of art after selling for nearly £200million' 
■ 7 February 2015 : 'It's ludicrous to call me plus size!' Sports Illustrated model Robyn Lawley says it's time to tell girls to love their natural curves
■ 7 February 2015 : Green tea DOES help you lose weight but you need to drink seven decaff cups a day, study finds
■ 7 February 2015 : Filming of new James Bond movie Spectre suspended as Daniel Craig injures knee while shooting a fight scene
■ 7 February 2015 : Mass breakout from Brazilian jail after female inmates in fantasy police costumes seduce prison wardens
■ 8 February 2015 : BBC accused of political bias in adaptation of JK Rowling drama The Casual Vacancy just weeks before Election
■ 9 February 2015 : How a glass of red wine can be slimming: Chemical found in grapes slows growth of existing fat cells and formation of new ones
■ 10 February 2015 : Horrific shark attack that killed Japanese surfer in Australia was beamed LIVE around the world by 'surfcam' filming beach conditions

MIRROR 4 February 2015 : 'I have SEX with corpses': Morgue worker claims necrophilia is 'part of training' in TV interview

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER 4 February 2015 : David Gandy on Turning Down 'Fifty Shades of Grey': "I Don't Feel the Need to Act"

SMH Au 2 February 2015 : Goblin shark known as 'living fossil' trawled from NSW south coast  ||GRIND TV 3 February 2015 : Rare goblin shark caught in Australian trawl net. 'Living fossil'species dates back 125 million years and is typically found in depths of 3,000 to 4,000 feet; this juvenile was taken at 2,000 feet  ||WAPO 4 February 2015 : 'Face of a demon': Beastly goblin shark comes up from the deep

JAPAN TIMES 1 February 2015 : Islamic State hostage Kenji Goto mourned by family and friends ||  ► GUARDIAN 1 February 2015 : Mother of Japanese journalist beheaded by Islamic State leads tributes || NBC NEWS 31 January 2015 : ISIS Hostage Crisis: Kenji Goto's Wife Makes 'Last Chance' Plea ||CNN 1 February 2015 : Kenji Goto: Japanese journalist sought 'the story of what ISIS wants to do'

NEWSWEEK 4 February 2015: 4,000-Strong Christian Militia Formed to Fight ISIS in Northern Iraq  ||QZ 13 August 2014 : A short political history of the terrorists who call themselves the "Islamic State" ||  ► CNN 3 February 2015 : Opinion: Why ISIS is so brutal

■ 4 February 2015 : ISIS has miscalculated
■ 7 February 2015 : Obama is not a Christian?

LIVESCIENCE 11 April 2013 : Bras Make Breasts Sag, Study Suggests ||LOCAL Fr 11 April 2013 : Women better off without bras: French study
What? What about my nipples? Should I leave them at home? I easily aroused without wearing a bra. Who will be responsible if my nipples without brassiere will make me horny anywhere, ... without my partner with me? He? you? Ouch, ouch, no. This is dangerous.

Dahliiiing, please take care of my nipples. Take them wherever you go. Please don't leave them at home. Our neighbor, mmm ... two blocks from our house, ... you know him, ... ehehehe... he's quite handsome, right? ... Ehehheee .... then what? What do you expect, Mr. Study? Trusting your findings? Henceforth, after no nipples, I will go anywhere in the style of an anti-sex philosopher? , ..ahahaa ..., damn study! Every time I go out of the house, definitely, I will always wear a bra. And I do not want to trust you, but just trust in my own body's needs. Understand?

■ 2 February 2015 : Expert panel recommends new sleep durations
■ 2 February 2015 : Orangutans take the logging road
■ 3 February 2015 : Giant rodent used incisors like tusks 

SCIENCE MAG 15 January 2015 : Why Birds Fly in a V Formation ||Study reveals why geese adopt a 'roller coaster strategy' to combat life's highs and lows

DAILY BEAST 2 February 2015 : DSK's 'Aggravated Pimping' Trial Is Set ||GUARDIAN 2 February 2015 : Dominique Strauss-Kahn's pimping trial: who's who

GUARDIAN 2 February 2015 : Michelangelo's bronze panther-riders revealed after 'Renaissance whodunnit' || TELEGRAPH 2 February 2015 : Clues that these bronze sculptures were made by Michelangelo

GUARDIAN 2 February 2015 : Peter Greste: 'I feel incredible angst for colleagues left behind' ||ALJAZEERA : 2 February 2015 : Peter Greste 'won't give up' until colleagues are free ||INDEPENDENT 1 February 2015 : Who is Peter Greste? Al-Jazeera journalist released after 400 days in Egyptian jail to return to Australia

TELEGRAPH 21 January 2015 : 'Woman on top' is most dangerous sex position, scientists conclude || INDEPENDENT 21 January 2015 : The most dangerous sex position revealed in study

■ 2 February 2015 : New Greek Leader Softens Rhetoric On Debt Talks With Europe
■ 3 February 2015 : Obama Reportedly Wasn't Pleased With Mitt Romney's 2012 Concession Phone Call
■ 3 February 2015 : Light Jogging May Be The Key To Long Life, Study Finds

TELEGRAPH 2 February 2015 : Barack Obama signals support for Greece's call to loosen austerity programme ||GUARDIAN 3 February 2015 : European disunion: Tsipras, Merkel and the conflict at the heart of the EU ||NY TIMES 28 January 2015 : Tsipras's Debt Plan Sends Athens Stock Market Sliding || NEWSWEEK 3 February 2015 : Austerity Drives Greek Suicides to Record Level as Germany’s Decrease

■ 11 April 2013 : Bras Make Breasts "Saggier", 15-year French Study Reveals
■ 23 May 2013 : 5 Surprising Signs You're Probably a Genius
■ 29 November 2014 : Study Uncovers Why Happiness can Trigger Tears
■ 2 February 2015 : Short Light Jogs Healthier Than Long Hard Runs, Longevity Study  
■ 4 February 2015 : Rich Husbands Less Likely to Help With Chores

GUARDIAN 26 January 2015 : Greece's new anti-austerity government set on collision course with Brussels  || GUARDIAN 27 January 2015 : Greek PM Alexis Tsipras appoints radical economist to new government. Tsipras chose economist and veteran leftwing politician Giannis Dragasakis as deputy prime minister, responsible for overseeing negotiations with the "troika" of the European Commission, the IMF and the ECB. ||  ► GUARDIAN 29 January 2015 : Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis to visit London || GUARDIAN 4 February 2015 : Alexis Tsipras and Jean-Claude Juncker decoded: why hold hands?
In the last week, Greece's new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, together with Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis meet European officials for the sake of pushing the government debt renegotiation mission and stop tightening budgets. The economic crisis in 2009 leads to the provision of debt package. Eurozone, IMF and European Central Bank - called Troika - as well as a number of lenders to disburse more than 325 billion euros. Debt-to-GDP ratio reached 176%, the highest rate among the Eurozone countries.

For Tsipras, debt administration agreed by previous government and Troika on condition of budget-tightening lead to a humanitarian crisis. Open unemployment in Greece reaches 26%, up to four-fold in half a decade. Public service budgets, salaries, pensions, cutting the minimum wage limit, public sectors such as the harbor and the power company are privatized. Prostitution increases, also the suicide rate.

Therefore, Syriza -- which is supported by 36% of voters -- announced the improvement of public sector, taxes, increase in wages, employment and anti-austerity. Syriza also took ANEL party to secure a parliamentary majority status. Although conservative, ANEL have a common view of anti-bailout.

The only solution to changing circumstances, for Tsipras, is cooperation in the European region which suffered a severe blow, such as Spain and Portugal. "I believe in the near future, radical spring will come in Europe."

In Spain, there's Podemos party led by Pablo Iglesias, 35, leftist, committed to the anti-austerity. Several times, Tsipras and Iglesias shared the stage and denounced the policy as required by the Troika. Podemos -- which was formed in early 2014 --  hoping to follow Syriza trail in topping the power to build alliances at the European level.

Success or failure of Greece under Syriza will be a defining moment for the same enthusiasm. In other parts of the world, 'Arab Spring' has attracted the worldwide's attention. 'Prolonged drought' caused by corrupt leaders have been forced to retreat and 'spring' was coming. Syriza and Podemos supporters also hope the spring does not come too late in Europe.

GUARDIAN 3 February 2015 : Teenagers sleep less when they have more computer screen time says study

THRILLIST 2 February 2015 : The Worst Traffic in the World Is in... || CNN 3 January 2014 : World's 10 worst cities for traffic

Top 10 Venomous Snakes  ||WIKIPEDIA

RESILIENCE 6 February 2015: Panic about panic: Russia and the world-system today


"Ideals are like stars: You will not succeed in touching them with your hands, but like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them, you reach your destiny." - Carl Schurz

"When you determine what you want, you have made the most important decision of your life. You have to know what you want in order to attain it. "- Douglas Lurton

USA TODAY 4 February 2015 : Pentagon 2008 study claims Putin has Asperger's syndrome
GUARDIAN 5 February 2015 : Nato shows signs of battle fatigue in confrontation with ruthless Putin
CNN 4 February 2015 : Facing up to Putin's endgame
GUARDIAN 1 February 2015 :  Putin must be stopped. And sometimes only guns can stop guns
HUFFINGTON 4 February 2015 : Putin Spending Big On Military Modernization Despite Russia's Economic Woes
J POST 5 February 2015 : Diplomats: Putin offended he wasn't invited to Auschwitz memorial, could hurt Iran talks 
NY POST 2 February 2015 : Putin's Evolution
BLOOMBERG 9 February 2015 : Why Putin Is Lying About Ukraine
ATLANTIC 10 February 201 : Vladimir Putin Has AK-47, Will Travel
FORBES 10 February 2015 : Obama And Merkel Are Clueless About Putin: Yet It's So Simple
NY TIMES 9 February 2015 : Beating Russia at Its Own Long Game. Once Friendly With Putin, German Goes to Court Over Seized Assets
POLITICO 10 February 2015 : What Putin's Favorite Guru Tells Us About His Next Target. Russia’s Soviet-style leader is following the advice of the USSR's most famous dissident.
FOREIGN POLICY 10 February 2015 : Putin' Kalashnikov Diplomacy Gets a Win in Egypt
FOREIGN POLICY 10 February 2015 : Smoking Putin Out of His Cave
NY POST 10 February 2015 : Losing Egypt — Putin exploits Obama's slaps at US ally
GUARDIAN 11 February 2015 : Tony Abbott: open tender means navy risks buying 'Vladimir Putin submarines' 
FRONT PAGE MAG 10 February 2015 : No, Putin Does Not Have Aspergers

FOREIGN POLICY 6 February 2015 - By Dimiter Kenarov : Putin's Peninsula Is a Lonely Island. No tourists, frightened tatars, and Russians have taken all the jobs. Welcome to Crimea in winter.
SIMFEROPOL, Crimea — "Dear guests and residents of Crimea," intoned the stern female voice of the airport announcer in Russian, as passengers from the most recent flight from Moscow waited in the baggage claim area. "Please, be aware that Ebola is a life-threatening disease with mortality rates of up to 90 percent. To receive more information about the symptoms of the disease, contact one of our representatives or the ticket desk."

It was late 2014, and I had just arrived in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea, on a direct flight from Moscow. Ebola panic over the outbreak in West Africa was still in the news. But that anyone here was worried about the disease finding its way onto this now-lonely peninsula came as something of a surprise.

Simferopol International Airport, once bustling with air traffic from all over Europe and Asia, was international no more, servicing only "domestic" flights from a few Russian cities. No large cruise ships docked at once-famous Crimean resorts. Crossing the militarized border with Ukraine had become a logistical nightmare that could take anywhere from a few hours to a few days; getting to the Russian mainland without flying — via a ferry across the Kerch Strait — was both treacherous and time-consuming. All in all, chances of somebody bringing in Ebola here seemed as slim as a message in a bottle making it all the way from Monrovia to Sevastopol.

Nearly a year after Putin's annexation, the Crimean Peninsula — unrecognized as Russian by the vast majority of U.N. countries, and facing severe international isolation — is virtually an island. The place feels sad and forlorn — like an abandoned amusement park. Gone are the bustling days of tourism, of boisterous vacationers. Foreigners have become as rare a sight here as they were during the Soviet era.

It was not supposed to be this way. Back in March 2014, when Crimeans voted to rejoin Russia and "return home", the air was filled with hope and excitement — a belief that everything was changing for the better, especially the economy. Though the referendum was hastily organized and yielded suspicious results (82 percent turnout, 96 percent of whom opted to join Russia), there was little question that at least a simple majority of the Crimean population yearned for some kind of change. As part of Ukraine, Crimea had been suffering from the general malaise of the post-Soviet era — high unemployment, low salaries and pensions, a collapsing infrastructure.

Putin's Russia, with its supposedly muscular economy, seemed to offer a better alternative. Most understood that moving from one country to another would not be easy, but the real hardships still appeared distant and abstract back then, obscured by a patriotic carnival of flags and songs. But with the holidays over, the reality of the new Crimea has reasserted itself. For better or worse, Crimea is Russian now and there is no turning back.
* * *

Though the celebrations have died down, signs of the euphoria that once accompanied the annexation are still scattered around the peninsula. Driving from Simferopol airport to downtown, the roads are lined with freshly painted murals depicting happy children, flowers, and Russian tricolors next to maps of the peninsula. Russian flags flutter from every administrative building; Ukrainian signs and plaques have been removed from the walls, leaving behind their cheerless contours like the missing photographs in the house of a divorced couple. In Sevastopol, another mural, taking up the entire outer wall of an apartment block (painted there by the pro-Putin nationalist hipster group Set), shows President Vladimir Putin in a military uniform, striding toward the sea through bright yellow fields of wheat with the Kremlin in the background. Souvenir kiosks sell T-shirts with Putin's image (Putin in dark shades like a mafia boss; Putin calling Obama "chmo" [jerk]; Putin cradling a puppy sheepdog). There are even a few cafés that, in a gesture of loyalty, à la 2003's "Freedom Fries",  have decided to change the name of the Americano coffees on their menu to Rossianos.

But "the transition", as it is commonly called around the peninsula, isn't all cheery patriotism. Widespread confusion and, in some cases, anxiety lurk not far below the surface. In one set of billboards scattered around Simferopol advertising a law firm, a Crimean man with an umbrella tries to shoo away a T. rex. "Scared of the transition period?" it asks playfully, and provides a number to call — presumably for aid in sorting out the various messy contracts and clauses that come into play when one country becomes another. The transition has thrown people's lives into bureaucratic chaos: There are problems with real estate registries, new legal codes, new taxes, the overhaul of the educational system, and the issuing of new passports and license plates. Even the simple change of phone numbers, as Ukrainian operators shut down and Russian ones moved in to fill in the vacuum, has proven difficult. Many Crimeans have lost touch with neighbors and friends they have known for years. It is as if everyone has suddenly, collectively had their phones stolen.

Transition is nothing new for Crimeans: They have been living it for almost a quarter of a century, since the country became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991. For most of them, that transition was an utter failure. The promise of a better and brighter future never materialized, just like it never did during communism. The economic collapse of the post-Soviet years, the low salaries and pensions, the lawlessness and corruption, the dilapidated infrastructure, the lack of investment in education — the bad news never really ended. Crimeans were tired of moving toward elusive goals they could not see or understand; they were sick of being afloat with no land in sight. It was this general unhappiness, coupled with virulent nationalist propaganda, that persuaded so many Crimeans to choose Russia over Ukraine. Even though Russia still suffered from many of the same problems, Putin appeared to them like the man who had done the impossible: He had ended Russia’s transition.

"Following the end of the Soviet Union, Ukraine did nothing for us. It made no real investments in infrastructure, it didn't improve our lives, it didn't provide jobs, it did absolutely nothing for us, so people were naturally frustrated and felt no particular allegiance to Ukraine," said Oleg, a middle-aged taxi driver in Simferopol (he preferred not to give his last name). Like so many other Crimeans, Oleg voted on the referendum for unification with Russia. But Oleg's life shows no signs of getting easier nearly a year later. He used to run a small scuba-diving business, conducting underwater surveys for beachside construction projects, but after the annexation, numerous companies from Russia relocated to Crimea and took over the local markets, he said. Oleg's company was no match for the competition, and he recently had to start driving a taxi to scrape by. "The transition period has been difficult, but I think everything will gradually come to its proper place," he told me. "Maybe it will take a year, maybe two, maybe even five — it's hard to tell. For now we just have to suck it up and survive. At least we don't have war here."

Small businesses like Oleg's have been especially hard hit by Crimea's continuing isolation. Andrej Prozheev, the owner of a clothing store and a fashion accessories shop in Simferopol, told me that sales have fallen off by around 40 percent. The shipping costs for bringing in merchandise have doubled, as regular supply routes have been disrupted because of sanctions. Meanwhile, contraband networks and black markets for all kinds of goods have blossomed. "You can do business only when the economic situation is stable, but when the economy wobbles, everything becomes uncertain," he said. Although Prozheev voted in the referendum for Crimea to remain officially part of Ukraine, he made a decision to stay after the annexation. "We lived through one traumatic change of country in 1991 and I guess we'll just have to live through another one now," he said, matter-of-factly.

Back in March, many Crimeans shrugged off fears that the economy of the peninsula would suffer in any major way because of the annexation, but the change has proven dire for tourism, Crimea's main industry. With its dramatic coastline, ancient history and culture, and numerous hotels and sanatoria, Crimea used to be a magnet for tourists not only from Ukraine and Russia, but from the entire world. Nearly every day in summer hundreds of foreigners would disembark from luxury cruises to spend hundreds of dollars in restaurants, gift shops, and museums. This year, however, the summer season has been a serious failure, attracting fewer than 3 million visitors, or about half the number that came in 2013. Many were Russian workers at state-owned companies "urged" to vacation in Crimea by their employers.

When I went to see Anton Chekhov's house-turned-museum in Yalta and the guide realized I was a foreigner, she suddenly cheered up: Crowds of Germans and British used to come here, she told me, but those days are gone now. As I walked through the empty rooms and came upon Chekhov's study on the second floor, I remembered a line from his play Three Sisters, which he had written in this very place. "Moscow! Moscow! Moscow!" exclaims Irina, one of the main characters, sick of her empty provincial life and longing to move to the capital. Figuratively, at least, Crimeans have done just that. They've realized a dream to rejoin the motherland — just with some unintended consequences.

Ukraine has also tried to wield what powers it can to cut off and punish its renegade province: All trains that until recently ran from Kiev to Simferopol, as well as bus services, have been discontinued. Cars here with new Russian license plates are not allowed to enter Ukraine over land, while Crimeans' new Russian passports are usually confiscated at the border, leaving them no choice but to turn back home. Electricity, which comes from a mainland Ukrainian grid, has become intermittent, with long hours of power outages. The closure of the North Crimean Canal, the main irrigation source for Crimea's interior dry steppe lands, has adversely affected agriculture, the other major industry here: numerous crops have failed; rice production has suffered a total collapse. Some farmers have tried to mitigate the situation by drilling wells, but underground water has often proved too saline, destroying the soil. As Leonid Kaganov, a contemporary Russian writer, put it in a blog post in September, the overall situation in Crimea could be compared to stealing an expensive cell phone without its power cord.

The Russian Federation has tried its best to make the transition in Crimea as fast and as palatable as possible, pouring in enormous amounts of subsidies (Putin has pledged $18 billion for development) in an attempt to turn the peninsula into a model province, though little of that money is visible yet. Crimea has also seen a huge influx of administrative and security personnel from Russia — the population of Simferopol has increased so much that that traffic jams have become a common sight in what was once a tranquil city. Many of these personnel have taken top positions in the local military, political, and economic bureaucracies — a colonial administration of sorts, as Moscow does not seem to trust even its staunchest local allies.

Government pay has tripled and sometimes quadrupled, and pensions have been substantially raised to match levels in the rest of Russia, but salaries in the private sector have stayed nearly at their old levels. Some have gotten lucky: "People definitely live better now," said Olga Cherevkova, a former law student who used to drive a taxi back in March but has now found a good position in a state company. Olga was initially against Russia's annexation, but has since come around. "We can afford more things now and enjoy a better standard of living," she said. Yet, prices of basic commodities and rent have increased substantially due to sanctions and the falling ruble, as well as demand spurred by the newcomers from mainland Russia and a flood of refugees from eastern Ukraine. For some Crimeans, at least, the transition has come with a high price tag.
* * *

The people who have borne the worst of the new transition have been the Crimean Tatars. The only politically united, vociferous opposition since the takeover, comprising about 12 percent of the population, they are seen by both the Kremlin and the current authorities in Simferopol as the biggest security threat to Russian rule. Discrimination and prejudice against the Tatars, a Muslim people native to the peninsula, is nothing new in Crimea — in 1944, Stalin deported the entire population to the wilds of Uzbekistan. They were allowed to return only in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but the move was resented by many local Russians who had already made their home in Crimea. The annexation has only accelerated ethnic tensions; in March, during the Russian takeover, Tatar groups fearing for their lives formed self-defense units that staged night patrols of their neighborhoods. Formally, Putin has extended an olive branch by "rehabilitating" the reputation of Crimean Tatars as a group, calling them victims of Stalin's regime, while the new Crimean Parliament has made Crimean Tatar an official language in the province, on par with Russian and Ukrainian. But the reality on the peninsula since annexation has been very different.

Two of the most prominent Tatar leaders who vociferously opposed Russian rule, Mustafa Dzhemilev and Refat Chubarov, were banned from entering Crimea in April and July, respectively, while the headquarters of the Mejlis, the Tatars' self-governing body, was seized in September. According to the latest Human Rights Watch report, the Crimean police, together with Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), have conducted a number of raids of mosques and Islamic schools in search of drugs, weapons, and extremist literature, while several Tatar activists have been abducted, some of them found murdered.

"The Russian authorities pretend to accept us, but they don't allow even the smallest gesture of opposition. They're showing us that times have changed and we have to live according to their rules," said Abduraman Egiz, a Mejlis member. Back in May, shortly after the annexation, Egiz was violently beaten by members of Crimea's "self-defense" forces, a paramilitary organization, after refusing to show them his passport, and has been on guard ever since. The Russian strategy right now, Egiz explained, is to create new power centers among the Tatars that can dismantle the unity of the current Mejlis and spread internal discord. There are already two alternative Tatar organizations, which have expressed willingness to fully cooperate with the Russian authorities. Egiz understood that some kind of cooperation would be inevitable — the question was of degree.

"We are for dialogue and our goal is to keep the situation calm and stable, and not to engage in any provocative actions," he said, "If we want peace, there is no choice for us. We understand that what is happening in Crimea is part of a bigger game."

The Tatars also remain the guardians of one of the last sources of independent media in Russian Crimea. Immediately after the occupation, Ukrainian TV channels were taken off the air, swapped for Russian ones disseminating Kremlin-approved messages: broadcasts about the glory of the Russian army, the values of Orthodox Christianity, the danger of introducing foreign words in the Russian tongue. Sometimes, these stations just run "news": Putin attending a hockey game; Putin discussing politics; Putin opening a new hydroelectric power plant; Putin questioning a regional governor about the development of the fishing industry.

In an effort not to excessively antagonize the Tatar community, the Crimean authorities have allowed the Tatar television network, ATR, to remain on the air — but it has been effectively neutered. Before and immediately after the annexation, ATR was bitingly critical of the Russian occupation, but it has since been cowed into submission. After receiving vague accusations of "extremism" from the Crimean authorities and facing the possibility that it may not be able to re-register under Russian law, its management decided to take political talk shows off the air and retain only cultural Tatar programs and basic news.

"The Russian authorities couldn't point to a particular incident. They just said that something was not quite right, that we had a certain tone, a certain subtext," said Elzara Islyamova, the head of ATR. "So we had to soften our stance. Our aim is to save the channel and its essentially cultural mission to preserve Tatar identity — not at any price, of course; we won't engage in propaganda and lies. But when we are not allowed to say the truth, we prefer to keep silent." The station carefully steers clear of words like "annexation" and "occupation" these days.

But even that has not satisfied the Russian authorities. In late January of 2015, special operations forces raided ATR's headquarters, seizing equipment and servers with archival footage of anti-Russian protests from last year. It seemed that not criticizing the Kremlin was simply not enough; in the new Russian reality, every media needs to actively engage in positive propaganda, and even silence signals dissent.
* * *

It is difficult to say what the future holds for Crimea. Russia has sought to create a feeling of dull normality, of routine, as if nothing has ever happened. The peninsula's current isolation — though logistically troublesome and expensive — has played into this perfectly. Crimea has virtually dropped off the map, disappearing from the news cycle as suddenly as it emerged. Though Crimea is still internationally unrecognized, almost every country in the world now sees the Crimean situation as a fait accompli.

Toward the end of my stay in Crimea, I met Vitaly, an IT specialist in his mid-30s and a former volunteer with Simferopol's paramilitary "self-defense" forces, which are still active and now an official organization paid for by the state budget. He proudly showed me his "self-defense" card, which identified him as a former member; he took out his phone and flipped through photos of himself and his buddies, all of them dressed in mismatched fatigues. During the early days of the occupation, Vitaly's unit was tasked with preserving order in the streets and keeping a visible presence to ward off would-be opponents, but occasionally it also engaged in raids and the takeover of public buildings. Each member was paid 100 hryvnias per day (about $10 at the time; by whom, it's not clear) — a tiny amount even in Ukraine, but better than nothing.

"We idolized Russia," Vitaly told me (he asked me to change his name to protect his identity). "I was fighting for my country, Russia, and for my ideals. We thought that Ukrainian nationalists could invade and that some Tatars were engaged in radical Islam. Naturally, we were afraid and had to protect Crimea."

After Crimea's annexation, Vitaly stayed for a while with the self-defense forces in Simferopol, but the dreams of a better future he harbored gradually came apart. His mother, who ran a chain of small stores for household items, lost almost half of her business as a result of the worsening economic environment; his father, a longtime manager in a factory, was forced to retire after refusing to engage in shady deals with the new authorities. As the months wore on, Vitaly became more and more disenchanted and finally decided to leave his paramilitary unit. "It was nice to look at Russia from afar, but we've begun to find out how authoritarian and repressive it can be,"he said. "The government is tightening the screws, but slowly, so that people won't notice and won't protest. There's lots of banditry going on right now, lots of properties changing hands. I sometimes feel that Russia used Crimea as a patriotic chewing gum." Vitaly's candor was breathtaking, so I decided to ask him one final question. If he could turn back the clock, would he enlist again in the self-defense unit and aid in the Russian takeover?

"Yes," he said. "I would do it again"

[Travel for this project was funded by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.]

BLOOMBERG 5 February 2015  : Turkey's in an Uproar. Here's What's Happening. 

■ 4 February 2015 : Life Might Thrive 12 Miles Beneath Earth's Surface
■ 4 February 2015 : World's Biggest Trove of Gold Built by Ancient 'Secret Agents'

SHANGHAIIST 3 February 2015 : Shirtless Hangzhou man begs for wife's forgiveness after failing to hand over wages

MERCOLA 27 April 2012 : Why a Cold Shower May Be More Beneficial for Health than a Warm One

GUARDIAN 5 February 2015 : Marine Le Pen's Oxford university speech delayed by protesters ||TELEGRAPH 5 February 2015 : French far-right leader Marine Le Pen mobbed by Oxford Union protesters ||INDEPENDENT 5 February 2015 : Marine le Pen appearance at University of Oxford sparks anti-fascism protests 

NEWSWEEK 27 May 2014 : French National Front Is 'Fascist, Extremist': German Minister

NEW YORKER 15 July 2014 : Extreme Exercise and the Heart ||SCIENTIFIC AMERICA 4 Juni 2012 : Ultra Marathons Might Be Ultra Bad for Your Heart

LEFT LANE NEWS 2 February 2015 : McLaren builds 5,000th carbon-fiber MonoCell chassis

IB TIMES 5 February 2015 : Samsung to produce A9 chips to be used in next Apple iPhone

■ 5 February 2015 : Why scientists are fighting to keep golden mussels out of Amazon waters
■ 6 February 2015 : Why Netanyahu sees much-criticized address to Congress as a net gain

CNN 5 February 2015 : Argentina president posts tweet mocking Chinese accent ||BLOOMBERG 4 February 2015 : Argentine President's Tweet Mocks Chinese Accent During Official Visit ||NY TIMES 4 February 2015 : Argentina's President Mocks Chinese Accents During Visit to China  || NY TIMES SINOSPHERE BLOG 5 February 2015  : After Argentine Leader's Comments, a Challenge to Try Speaking Chinese ||CHANNEL NEWS ASIA 5 February 2015 : Argentina's Kirchner sparks row after China accent gibes

NY TIMES 5 February 2015 : Small Rise in New Cases Shows Ebola Hanging On || NBC NEWS 6 February 2015 : Secret Burials in Africa Thwarting Efforts to Stamp Out Ebola: U.N.

NY TIMES 3 February 2015 : United Arab Emirates, Key U.S. Ally in ISIS Effort, Disengaged in December ||TELEGRAPH : 4 February 2015 : Blow to anti-Isil coalition as United Arab Emirates stops air strikes || GUARDIAN 4 February 2015 : UAE halted Isis air attacks after pilot capture ||WASHINGTON TIMES 4 February 2015 : United Arab Emirates suspends airstrikes against Islamic State, asks U.S. for better rescue plans ||HAARETZ 4 February 2015 : UAE stopped airstrikes against ISIS after Jordanian downed, U.S. officials say ||WASHINGTON TIMES 4 February 2015 : White House: Islamic State air coalition strong even without United Arab Emirates

HUFFINGTON POST 5 February 2015 : Muslim Mom To Woman Who Harassed Her On A Delta Flight: I Forgive You
What the heck? Forgiveness is a good deed, because it gives peace in the hearts of anyone, regardless of one's religion. Hey, read carefully the title of this news. For me, this also implies a false paradigm of Islam (in this news: a Muslim woman), as if Islam is a religion of anti-forgiving, and as what is stored safely in your mind: Islam is terrorism, cruel, torture, barbaric, heart eaters, magicians, what else, hm? ... ehehehe, well, to you, headline news, you tend to racism, right?

NY TIMES 5 February 2015 : Acts Committed in Islam's Name Betray Faith, Obama Says ||CS MONITOR 5 February 2015 : Why did Obama compare Crusades to Islamic State at prayer breakfast? (+video)  || WASHINGTON TIMES 5 February 2015 : Obama's comparison of Crusades to Islamist terror acts misses mark  ||FOXNEWS 5 February 2015 : Obama at Prayer Event: Christians did terrible things, too ||BREIBART 5 February 2015 : Obama At National Prayer Breakfast: 'People Committed Terrible Deeds In The Name of Christ'

MEDIAITE 6 February 2015 : Top U.S. Official: 'No Coincidence' ISIS Hostages Wear Gitmo-Like Orange Jumpsuits ||WASHINGTON TIMES 5 February 2015 : Obama uses burning of Jordanian pilot to argue for closing Gitmo. Orange jumpsuits used by ISIS show facility is a recruiting tool, admin says ||DAILY CALLER 5 February 2015 : US Official Says ISIS Uses Orange Jumpsuits Because Of Guantanamo

HUFFINGTON 5 February 2015 : 'Desperate' Prince Charles Wanted To Back Out Of His Wedding To Princess Diana, New Book Claims  ||SYDNEY MORNING HERALD 7 Febrary 2015 : Prince Charles biography uncovers Britain's royal fears

GIZMAG 6 February 2015 : Paris collectible car auctions: barnfind Ferrari 250 GT California Spider sells for US$18.45 million || GUARDIAN 5 February 2015 : Classic cars found in French farmhouse expected to fetch millions  || RUSSIA TODAY 10 December 2015 : 50 years out of sight: Vintage cars discovered at French farm could net $12mn (PHOTOS) 

A car enthusiast checks a Sandford Type S Cyclecar during a preview for an auction of vintage cars Retromobile show in Paris, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, after a treasure trove of classic cars was discovered after spending 50-years languishing in storage on a farm. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)

APPLE INSIDER 6 February 2015 : Apple's mysterious vans are almost certainly for 3D mapping, not autonomous driving  ||WIRED 6 February 2015 : The Curious Case of Apple's Supposed Self-Driving Car

MASHABLE 6 February 2015 : Lumos! J.K. Rowling sheds light on 3 Harry Potter mysteries  ||INDEPENDENT 6 February 2015 : What happened to Fluffy? JK Rowling answers three very important Harry Potter questions  || WAPO 6 February 2015 : J.K Rowling just answered three big Harry Potter questions that have stumped fans for years 

GUARDIAN 8 February 2015 : Malala Yousafzai criticises 'weak' effort to free girls kidnapped by Boko Haram  ||ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS 8 February 2015: Malala Urges the World to Remember Nigerian Schoolgirls  || WAPO 5 February 2015 : A glimmer of hope and then more Boko Haram horror  ||GUARDIAN 7 February 2015 : Nigeria poll postponed over battle with Boko Haram 

NY TIMES 5 February 2015 : Greek Debt Diplomacy Doesn't Sell Well in Germany ||GUARDIAN 5 February 2015 : Greek and German finance ministers clash at debt relief talks ||GUARDIAN 5 February 2015 : Greece calls for bridging loan; anti-austerity protests in Athens - as it happened  || DER SPIEGEL 2 February 2015 :  Greece's New Economics Minister: 'Europe Doesn't Need To Be Afraid' ||GUARDIAN 2 February 2015 : George Osborne warns Greek debt standoff is threatening global economy – live updates ||TELEGRAPH 3 February 2015 : Greece's rock-star finance minister Yanis Varoufakis defies ECB's drachma threats || CNN : Economy Minister: Greece 'not blackmailing' European partners ||GUARDIAN 5 February 2015 : Greece and Varoufakis need supporters not sympathisers ||MARKET WATCH 5 February 2015 : Varoufakis steps up push for Greek bridge loan ||GUARDIAN 3 February 2015 : The Guardian view on the euro: Yanis Varoufakis begins to haggle

Mmmm ... classy, handsome enough, reminds me of Mikhail Prokhorov's eyes, on how Prokhorov staring at something, but this one does not have money, tsk ... pity.

MARKET WATCH 5 February 2015 : 5 truly awful Valentine's Day gifts

GAMING : Clash of Clans: Revenge (Official Super Bowl TV Commercial). Published on Feb 1, 2015 by CLash Of Clans

TRAVEL & EVENTS : The Kingdom of Morocco BBC Documentary. Know a little about rich history of Morocco. Published on Jul 13, 2013 by InMoroccoholidays 

PEOPLE & BLOG : David Gandy's underwear collection for Marks & Spencer. David Gandy reveals his debut underwear collection for Marks & Spencer #GandyForAutograph. Published on Sep 15, 2014 by David James Gandy

EDUCATION : Global Shockwaves To Come From Swiss Currency Bombshell - Mike Maloney.In this preview of the Wealth Cycles Report for January 2015, Mike Maloney gives historical examples to show you that the global ramifications of the Swiss currency revaluation may be a lot more severe than you first may have thought. "This is desperate. The central banks are now backed into a corner, and everything that I've been predicting is starting to unfold here, it's unfolding very slowly and on a scale that is huge. But it's not going to be slow forever. There's going to come a day where slow turns into very fast, and a lot of this stuff happens overnight...for instance, the currency unpeg. Nobody knew it was coming, it happened immediately. These things always eventually end up being good for precious metals. I don't look forward to the economic chaos that we are about to go through, but we'll get through it and it'll be a different world when we come out the other end. Hopefully what ends up happening is free enterprise, free markets, capitalism and sound money win. That would be the best outcome.

Hidden Secrets Of Money is a world-leading educational series that is sponsored by, and also based on the priciples of WealthCycles. It shows the evolution of gold and silver as money, and teaches the historical economic mistakes that all societies repeat. The first series (Episodes 1-5) features bonus content that is available completely free of charge at From Season 2 onwards, all bonus content is reserved exclusively for members of We would like to thank everyone for their support of this series, and also for the loyalty shown to our sister company We look forward to the continued success of this series and encouraging people to take control of their own financial future. Published on Jan 20, 2015  by Mike Maloney 

COMEDY : How to Have Sex in the Office and Not Get Caught. Uploaded on Apr 17, 2009 by Howcast 

Episode 1 of 9, Carbon Fiber Construction. Inside Koenigsegg provides for the first time, a look behind the scenes at Koenigsegg and examine how innovation within the highest echelon of sports car manufacturers will affect the broader automotive world. Company founder and principal, Christian Von Koenigsegg, hosts this nine-part series, which was produced at Koenigsegg headquarters in Angelholm, Sweden. In the first episode, Christian Von Koenigsegg reveals the secrets behind building automotive components from carbon fiber, the strong, lightweight material that's crucial to modern high-performance cars. Published on Jan 8, 2013 by DRIVE

McLaren MP4-12C DOCUMENTARY. The McLaren MP4-12C is a sports car designed and manufactured by McLaren Automotive. It is the first production car wholly designed and built by McLaren since the McLaren F1. The car's final design was unveiled in September 2009, and was launched in 2011. The MP4-12C features a carbon fibre composite chassis, and is powered by a mid-mounted McLaren M838T 3.8-litre V8, twin-turbo engine developing approximately 592 bhp (441 kW; 600 PS) and around 443 lb·ft (601 N·m) of torque. The car makes use of Formula 1-sourced technologies such as "brake steer", where the inside rear wheel is braked during fast cornering to reduce understeer. Power is transmitted to the wheels through a seven-speed Seamless Shift dual-clutch gearbox. Published on Oct 22, 2012 by TechFanatic555

NEWS & POLITIC: "We are going to destroy the Greek oligarchy system". Published on Jan 26, 2015 by Channel 4 News 

ENTERTAINMENT : Mikhail Prokhorov on the upcoming Nets season. Published on Nov 5, 2014 by YESNetwork

The Economic Collapse Is Closer Than People Think - Episode 579. Greece is not cooperating with the EU with regards to bailouts. Consumer confidence very high even though their fewer people working than during the recession of 2008.Layoffs continue and the retail sector is collapsing. GDP dropped in the 4th quarter, but the government has tricked the people into thinking consumer spending is up. Baltic dry index declined once again. China outpaces the US in regard to foreign investment. Canada pushing anti terror bill which will limit free speech. Ukraine will ask the UN to designate Russia as a terrorism sponsor. The US is losing control of the middle east and war is now being pushed on all fronts. Published on Jan 30, 2015 by X22Report  

Central Bankers Can't Stop The Economic Collapse Instead They Will Cover It Up - Episode 578. The new Greek government finds no wireless or toilet paper in its residence. Russia responds to Greece, we will give financial aid if needed. Jobless claims decline dramatically.Pending homes sales implode. Central bankers pushing North American Union. Anti terror bill in England could undermine free speech. Ukraine video Nov 2013 warning the Ukraine government of a US coup d'etat. Sanctions on Ukraine continue and Ukraine is asking US for 3 billion instead of 2 billion dollars. Yemen people take over military base where U.S. advisers had previously trained counter-terrorism forces. DHS warning of a terrorism attack during the Super Bowl. Published on Jan 29, 2015 by  X22Report 

■ U.S. Government Preparing To Blame Russia For The Economic Collapse - Episode 576. Greece will not pay the entire debt back, its not possible. Central bankers using terrorism in on the new Greek government. Caterpillar sales implode. Housing market numbers revised lower to keep the illusion alive that housing is improving. Baltic Dry Index below 700. Iran joining the Eurasian Union. The wealthy 1% are ready for the collapse and they have planned their escape routes. Ukraine wants the Donetsk and Luhansk areas declared terrorists. Russians have been arrested and charged with spying on American financial system. The US is preparing to blame Russia for the economic collapse. Published on Jan 27, 2015 by X22Report  : Why the economic collapse is unavoidable. While economists still talk about an eventual recovery from the recession, I believe this is impossible. Here are some arguments which combine to the message which makes me believe that the world financial system has entered a state of creative collapse. Basically we pushed out to the end of a credit system life cycle and now need a restart of the system. in consequence there are only a few companies, states and currencies which might be able to cope with the reset of credit conditions and interest rate hikes. Published on Dec 3, 2014 by jberni1

■ Zigeuner - Cigan - Cygan. Published on Jun 8, 2013 by Pirato Sartosht

FILM & ANIMATIONS : Gadjo dilo - în limba română Străinul nebun, în limba engleză The Crazy Stranger este un film francez filmat în România în 1997 regizat de Tony Gatlif. Published on Feb 6, 2014 by RomanianMoviesChannel

ENTERTAINMENT : Neo-Nazi Biker Gangs: VICE INTL (Germany). The Black Flock Motorcycle Gang is a German biker club made up of former neo-Nazis who swear they've rehabilitated and abandoned their hateful ways. VICE Germany went to hang out with some members of the club and learn about their bigotry-free lives of crime and debauchery. Published on Dec 10, 2014 by VICE

Jordan executes two Iraqi militants after pilot's death
AMMAN - Jordan has executed by hanging a jailed Iraqi woman militant whose release had been demanded by the Islamic State group that burnt a captured Jordanian pilot to death, a source said. | Related Story
* Video: Islamic State execution aims to divide U.S. coalition 
* U.S. hopes pilot's murder will toughen Jordan's resolve
* Jordanian king vows 'relentless' war on Islamic State's own ground

Islamic State says female U.S. hostage killed in Syria - By Mariam Karouny
BEIRUT - Islamic State said that an American woman hostage it was holding in Syria was killed when Jordanian fighter jets bombed a building where she was being held, but Jordan expressed doubt about the Islamist militant group's account of her death.| Video
* Family of U.S. hostage of Islamic State says hopeful she is still alive
* Jordan say skeptical its planes killed U.S. hostage
* U.N. sets sights on Syria antiquities, Islamic State oil, ransoms

North Korea says it sees no need to negotiate with 'gangster' U.S 
         * North Korea fires short-range missiles off coast

Greece outlines debt 'menu' in bid to win over skeptical euro zone
* Greek, German ministers clash as ECB snub hits Athens' banks
* Isolated Greece wants no more bailout money with strings 
* G20, EU leaders meet in a week to mend Greece
* Defiant Greek PM sets up EU clash with bailout rejection, austerity rollback
* U.S. urges euro zone leaders to compromise with Athens
* Greek finance minister says euro will collapse if Greece exits 

Secret burials thwarting efforts to stamp out Ebola: U.N

Kremlin talks on Ukraine yield little but agreement to keep talking
* Merkel defends Ukraine arms stance in face of U.S. criticism
* Kerry denies split between U.S. and Europe on Russia policy
* Obama says still weighing decision on arming Ukraine forces
Nice One. Use your intuition, Mr. America! You're dealing with the dignity of a Big Country behind a small country. Putin was your smart advisor for your stupid plan to Syria in 2013, remember?

Massive destruction in Kobane after Kurds drive out IS
Protest in Jordan for release of pilot held hostage by IS
Hezbollah will pay 'full price' for deadly attack: Israel
Japan to redouble efforts to secure hostage release: Abe
Iraqi artist aims kick at IS jihadists 
Salty the Crocodile chooses Seahawks for Super Bowl win
Greeks bury national singer Demis Roussos in Athens
India test-fires long-range missile from mobile launcher 
Fans celebrate Patriots Super Bowl win. Fans celebrate after the New England Patriots rallied to edge Seattle 28-24 in Super Bowl 49, scuttling the Seahawks' bid for a second straight NFL championship in dramatic style.
'Ledoyen' chef, 'La Bouitte' restaurant win 3 Michelin stars. Top French chef Yannick Alleno at Parisian restaurant 'Pavillon Ledoyen' and father-and-son team Rene and Maxime Meilleur at "La Bouitte" restaurant in the French Alps were on Monday awarded three coveted Michelin stars. : 'Ledoyen' chef, 'La Bouitte' restaurant win 3 Michelin stars
Strauss-Kahn trial about France's 'moral code'
Tsipras urges France to play key role for growth in Europe
French comedian Dieudonne condemns Paris attacks in court.  French comedian Dieudonne told a court Wednesday he condemned last month's Paris attacks "without any ambiguity" as he stood trial on charges of condoning terrorism over a comment suggesting he sympathised with one of the gunmen.
Al Kassasbeh family calls for the destruction of IS group 
Rival rallies greet Dalai Lama visit in US
Obama to decide on Ukraine arms 'soon': Kerry 
Jordan army releases video of strikes against IS positions
Joe Biden says US and Europe "have to stand with Ukraine"
US says it cannot confirm IS hostage claim 'at this time'  
Merkel says Ukraine peace bid 'uncertain, but worth trying'
Rare white tigers are born in Japan 
Lavrov says deal 'possible' to resolve Ukraine

Extreme Body Art on Display in Tattoo Exhibition
Raw: Big Fire at Storage Facility in Brooklyn 
Justin Timberlake Shares Baby News on Birthday
Groundhog Bites Wisconsin Mayor at Ceremony

Raw: Dashcam Video Shows Taiwan Plane Crash

► Berlin Zoo Celebrates Arrival of Baby Orangutan

Oh, sweet baby .... have you taken a bath? Wearing baby powder? Your mother does not want you? Why? Your mother is busy with her career as a monkey? Your mother is, indeed, a monkey, but you are like a human baby. I like you. You're like my baby. My baby is like his daddy. So, dahling, you're like a monkey, eehehehee...... I like you.

Device Helps Blind 'See' Like a Bat. Some Wake Forest University students are using bats as a model to help the blind navigate their world. Just like the flying mammals, the H.E.L.P device works by emitting sound waves and echoes.

Kenny G on His Popularity in China. The veteran smooth jazz saxophonist, out with a new collection called 'Brazilian Nights,' is a megastar in China, where his song "Going Home" is played at the end of every workday.

Kenny, you are very attractive. Your music is my secret lover.

Raw: Firefighters Save Horse Stuck in Bathtub

Biden Backs Diplomacy, Hits Russia Over Ukraine
World Leaders Plan for Ukraine Summit This Week

UFO fans spot tiny spacecraft orbiting asteroid as it passes Earth
Russia is looking to make an ally within its biggest enemy
Putin says Ukraine needs to repay a $3 billion loan because Russia needs the money to fight its financial crisis
What Putin Fears Most for Russia and Ukraine
Jordan executes two Iraqi militants in response to pilot's death 
Why Republicans Are Voting to Repeal Obamacare — Again
Republicans challenge Obama on all fronts
Bill Gates is the latest brilliant person to warn artificial intelligence could kill us all 
Whitney Houston's daughter 'fighting for life' 
Jeb Bush says he can't be 'just the brother of George W' in 2016
Brazil scientists fear golden mussel threat to Amazon River
Plus-Size Model Ashley Graham's Ad Will Appear in Sports Illustrated Swim Issue
Why did Obama compare Crusades to Islamic State at prayer breakfast? 
Adviser to Rep. Aaron Schock resigns over alleged racist Facebook posts
Russia warns US arms to Ukraine will cause 'colossal damage' to ties
Obama poised to ask Congress for new war authorization 
Second defeat for GOP on Homeland, immigration bill
Brian Williams' credibility questioned after fake Iraq story 
Boehner sees call for military authorization vs Islamic State soon
Democrats hit GOP plan for replacing Obama health care law
Jordan's king thrusts country to center of Islamic State war 
The king of Jordan sent out this badass photo in response to ISIS 
Israeli official suggests Boehner misled Netanyahu on Congress speech 
US economy creates 1 million jobs in 3 months 
In unison, Muslim clerics lash out against Islamic State
Tiger nations to set up anti-poaching network 
Brian Williams is not alone: Hillary Clinton, Stephen Glass and other famous fabrications
Russia's Putin says will not wage war on anyone
Putin criticises sanctions but says Russia does not want war
Israeli leader faces pressure to cancel US Congress speech
Brian Williams' account of seeing dead body float by hotel during Katrina 'very suspect', commander says
Malia Obama goes college hunting: Following in her father's footsteps? 
Barber considered slitting Auschwitz commandant's throat
Ai Weiwei zodiac sculptures up for auction in London
Transgender inmate charged as a man, sentenced as a woman

Russia unveils controversial 'Big Three' monument in Crimea - Sculpture by Russian artist Zurab Tsereteli 

A sculptor assistant touches up a monument, featuring Soviet leader Josef Stalin (R), US President Theodore Roosevelt (C) and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (AFP Photo/Yuri Lashov)

FOOD : 9 Simple Ways to Keep Food Fresh

TV : Report: Bobbi Kristina Brown's Doctors Say There's Little They Can Do to Save Her Life

AUTO : Meet the 68-year-old woman (Mardelle Peck) who scratched racing off her bucket list 

PARENTING : Despite Success as a Supermodel, This Mom Struggled With One 'Torturous' Secret

GOOD MORNING AMERICA : Dad Refuses to Give Up Newborn Son With Down Syndrome

CELEBRITYDerek Jeter's Girlfriend Hannah Davis Scores the Cover of 2015 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue 

STYLE : Robyn Lawley, Model With Normal Body, Graces Sports Illustrated's Swim Issue

Freed journalist Peter Greste 'relieved' but 'angst' over jailed colleagues 
Jordan vow after IS beheading of Japan hostage Goto
Boko Haram 'kill 70' in Cameroon border town of Fotokol
Ukraine crisis: Russia tests new weapons
End 'gross indignity', Greek FM Varoufakis tells Germany
Why did Greece's Varoufakis bring up Nazis in Berlin?
Gauguin painting breaks sale record at nearly $300m 
Australian politics: Why is it so tumultuous? 
The baby that divided a nation -  By Nick Thorpe BBC News, Hungary. As 2015 began, a boy was born in Hungary - the country's first baby of the year. But his family who are Roma, or Gypsy as they prefer to be known, found themselves at the centre of a national debate about racism.
Prince Charles raises blogger case with new Saudi king

CULTURE : The greatest mistranslations ever 

SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT : Chimps 'learn local grunts' to talk to new neighbours

How accurate are 'due dates'? But what's the chance both babies will be born on the same day?
The world's most-trafficked mammal - and the scaliest 
Maps that shaped the world

Bedtime 'has huge impact on sport'
Child obesity rates 'levelling off' among under-10s
Ebola: A day with the burial team 
New Ebola cases show first rise in 2015
MPs say yes to three-person babies
Baby bath-seat drowning risk warning 
Pregnant travellers offered new flight advice. The safest time to fly during pregnancy is before 37 weeks and, if you are carrying twins, before 32 weeks, new advice says.

US desert filmed as never before  -  Incredible time-lapse of the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona
Town rabbits downsize homes - Rabbits that move to the city create 'studio-sized' burrows
Fish can see this illusion

Monster leech swallows giant worm
Amazing time-lapse film of national treasure. Incredible short film of the stunning Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona
Are there any homosexual animals? Same-sex mating has evolutionary benefits 

Why do we pick our nose? The science of a terrible habit :  
Psychology: the man who studies everyday evil
Are sweeteners really bad for us?
Why we gamble like monkeys
How extreme fear shapes what we remember 

How your eyes trick your mind - Why your idea of reality is wrong

TECHNOLOGY : Emoticons in texts can rack up huge bills 

How have passport photos changed in 100 years?
Brian Williams and the decline of the US news anchor

Greek options for a deal on its debts
The struggles of Zimbabwe's small firms
Why those at the top still need a helping hand

10 things : Why cats love hiding in cardboard boxes, and more news nuggets

Seven unknown architectural wonders
The gateway to Kilimanjaro

Today's African Proverb
"The stomach is not afraid to be in the front" - An Igbo proverb sent by Ogbonna Nwokpoku in Lagos, Nigeria
ahahhaaa .. The butt also is not afraid to be on the back.
"A belt fastened while running will come undone while running" - An Amharic proverb sent by Mulubrhan, Seattle, US
"Death and justice affect everyone equally"- A Somali proverb sent by Mohamed Bashle, Mogadishu, Somalia
"The chief who bullies the landowner starts by breaking his sugarcane" - A Ugandan proverb sent by Nuhu Hamidu, Kumasi, Ghana
"A lizard that fell from the top of a tree wastes its time looking backwards"- Sent by Pious Enang, Juba, South Sudan
"Let the hen urinate if she says it is so easy to do so" - Sent by Lateef Olugbon, Ibadan, Nigeria, and Victor Iluobe, Hamburg, Germany

'I won't be used to peddle UK arms in Middle East' Prince Charles
Fresh Castro photos published in Cuba after 6-month hiatus

'When you collect everything, you understand nothing'Snowden 

US and N. Korea in 'secret efforts' to return to talksreports
Calls to protect Babi Yar Nazi victims' memorial after swastika vandalism
Air in 90% of China's cities still not safe for breathing, despite 'war on pollution'
Maduro accuses Joe Biden of 'bloody coup' in Venezuela 
Greece goes 'cold turkey' on loans: France to support debt relief, no chance of write-off 
EU must stop 'feverish' anti-Russian steps, think long-term relations – Greek FM 
'Inhumane & contemptible': ISIS beheads Japanese hostage Goto 
'Busy' Greek prime minister to meet Angela Merkel 'in due time' 
2,000yo Siberian brain surgery techniques recreated by Russian scientists 
Potential conscripts evade draft, flee country amid escalation in E. Ukraine
Ukraine's Security Service detains Russian journalists in Kiev, deny entry for 5 years
► 'If possible, not Jewish': French company under fire for racist job ad
'Beheaded, crucified, buried alive': UN slams ISIS for killing Iraqi children
'Crucify them!' Muslim leaders condemn ISIS execution of Jordanian pilot

'No threat to society' – top Russian mufti appeals to Putin in defense of hijab

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That is good news. Well, smart students, flick her harder! There's no doubt, ... well, you know it, I am not so fond of Marine Le Pen. I also do not want to know whether she likes pork or other meat, ... sshh, .. shut up, please? I'm not saying human flesh in the form of a penis, ahahaa ..., because I think, likes to something does not mean having to eat something, right? Related to the issue of pork in France, may be Marine Le Pen is not so fond of eating pork, but one thing is for sure: she does not like Islam, because she is Islamophobia. She can't accept the differences, and for me, those who can not accept the differences are fools. So, why does a fool give a speech in front of smart students?

DAILY MAIL 4 April 2014 :'Eat pork or go hungry': France's National Front leader tells school canteens to stop offering religious alternatives to Muslim children 
TELEGRAPH 5 April 2014 : France's Le Pen: ban non-pork meals in schools
LOCAL 4 April 2014 : Pork or nothing for pupils in far-right towns: Le Pen ||LOCAL 10 December 2014 : 'It's pork or nothing', French mayor tells pupils
INDEPENDENT 5 April 2014 : Le Pen targets halaal and kosher food: French National Front to stop Muslim and Jewish pupils having pork-free school dinners 
GUARDIAN 15 April 2014 : Pork is the latest front in Europe's culture wars
HUFFINGTON POST 5 April 2014 : Marine Le Pen, National Front Leader, Vows Pork-Free Menu Ban For French Schools
CRITICAL MUSLIM :The Republic of Islamophobia by Jim Wolfreys

So, French smart people, think many times to vote for her in March.

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I do not understand what is he trying to be shown, but seemingly, this is not about finding condoms scattered in the brothel ... ehehehhe ... and he's like a holy man yelling to people around him, "I get it! I get it!"

Ssh .... stop joking, Cisca! The brothel is not battlefield, because war does not require a pimp, right? Ehehehee ....

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I praise Islam as one of the world's great religion. In my opinion, the true spirit of Islam is fighting against negative energy inside, and I call it a true jihad in every Muslim. I appreciate Islam. We should not discredit Islam just because the delinquency of a few people, because such people are also among the Hindus, Christians Jews, Buddhists, and all religions. Islam is one of the important religions for centuries, in the past, present and future, it is the hope of millions of people. To extend the love and compassion for all beings is the core of Islam teachings. If a group of people create bloodshed, then they are not Muslims. The meaning of jihad is the struggle within oneself against all negative emotions such as anger, hatred and resentment which cause problems in the community.

Obama's National Security Strategy Puts New Lyrics to Familiar Tune

Saudi Women Right-to-Drive Activists Deploy Twitter, Face Terrorism Court
            Saudi Arabia has all the vices and none of the virtues of an oil rich state like Venezuela. The country is governed by a family dictatorship which tolerates no opposition and severely punishes human rights advocates and political dissidents. Hundreds of billions in oil revenues are controlled by the royal despotism and fuel speculative investments the world over. The ruling elite relies on the purchase of Western arms and US military bases for protection. The wealth of productive nations is syphoned to enrich the conspicuous consumption of the Saudi ruling family. The ruling elite finances the most fanatical, retrograde, misogynist version of Islam, "Wahhabi" a sect of Sunni Islam.

            Faced with internal dissent from repressed subjects and religious minorities, the Saudi dictatorship perceives threats and dangers from all sides:  overseas, secular, nationalists and Shia ruling governments; internally, moderate Sunni nationalists, democrats and feminists; within the royalist cliques, traditionalists and modernizers. In response it has turned toward financing, training and arming an international network of Islamic terrorists who are directed toward attacking, invading and destroying regimes opposed to the Saudi clerical-dictatorial regime.

            The mastermind of the Saudi terror network is Bandar bin Sultan, who has longstanding and deep ties to high level US political, military and intelligence officials. Bandar was trained and indoctrinated at Maxwell Air Force Base and Johns Hopkins University and served as Saudi Ambassador to the US for over two decades (1983 – 2005). Between 2005 – 2011 he was Secretary of the National Security Council and in 2012 he was appointed as Director General of the Saudi Intelligence Agency. Early on Bandar became deeply immersed in clandestine terror operations working in liaison with the CIA.  Among his numerous "dirty operations" with the CIA during the 1980s, Bandar channeled $32 million dollars to the Nicaragua Contra's engaged in a terror campaign to overthrow the revolutionary Sandinista government in Nicaragua.  During his tenure as ambassador he was actively engaged in protecting Saudi royalty with ties to the 9/11/01 bombing of the Triple Towers and the Pentagon. Suspicion that Bandar and his allies in the Royal family had prior knowledge of the bombings by Saudi terrorists (11 of the 19), is suggested by the sudden flight of Saudi Royalty following the terrorist act. US intelligence documents regarding the Saudi-Bandar connection are under Congressional review.

With a wealth of experience and training in running clandestine terrorist operations, derived from his two decades of collaboration with the US intelligence agencies, Bandar was in a position to organize his own global terror network in defense of the isolated retrograde and vulnerable Saudi despotic monarchy.

Bandar's Terror Network
Bandar bin Sultan has transformed Saudi Arabia from an inward-looking, tribal based regime totally dependent on US military power for its survival, to a major regional center of a vast terror network, an active financial backer of rightwing military dictatorships (Egypt) and client regimes (Yemen) and military interventor in the Gulf region (Bahrain). Bandar has financed and armed a vast array of clandestine terror operations, utilizing Islamic affiliates of Al Qaeda, the Saudi controlled Wahhabi sect as well as numerous other Sunni armed groups.  Bandar is a "pragmatic" terrorist operator:  repressing Al Qaeda adversaries in Saudi Arabia and financing Al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere. While Bandar was a long-term asset of the US intelligence services, he has, more recently, taken an 'independent course' where the regional interests of the despotic state diverge from those of the US. In the same vein, while Saudi Arabia has a longstanding enmity toward Israel, Bandar has developed a "covert understanding" and working relation with the Netanyahu regime, around their common enmity toward Iran and more specifically in opposition to the interim agreement between the Obama-Rohani regime.

Bandar has intervened directly or via proxies in reshaping political alignments, destabilizing adversaries and bolstering and expanding the political reach of the Saudi dictatorship from North Africa to South Asia, from the Russian Caucuses to the Horn of Africa, sometimes in concert with Western imperialism, other times projecting Saudi hegemonic aspirations.

North Africa:  Tunisia, Morocco, Libya and Egypt
            Bandar has poured billions of dollars to bolster the rightwing pro-Islamic regimes in Tunisia and Morocco, ensuring that the mass pro-democracy movements would be repressed, marginalized and demobilized. Islamic extremists receiving Saudi financial support are encouraged to back the "moderate" Islamists in government by assassinating secular democratic leaders and socialist trade union leaders in opposition. Bandar's policies largely coincide with those of the US and France in Tunisia and Morocco; but not in Libya and Egypt.

            Saudi financial backing for Islamist terrorists and Al Qaeda affiliates against Libyan President Gadhafi were in-line with the NATO air war.  However divergences emerged in the aftermath:  the NATO backed client regime made up of neo-liberal ex-pat's faced off against Saudi backed Al Qaeda and Islamist terror gangs and assorted tribal gunmen and marauders. Bandar funded Islamic extremists in Libya were bankrolled  to extend their military operations to Syria, where the Saudi regime was organizing a vast military operation to overthrow the Assad regime. The internecine conflict between NATO and Saudi armed groups in Libya, spilled over and led to the Islamist murder of the US Ambassador and CIA operatives in Benghazi.  Having overthrown Gadhafi, Bandar virtually abandoned interest in the ensuing blood bath and chaos provoked by his armed assets. They in turn, became self-financing – robbing banks, pilfering oil and emptying local treasuries – relatively "independent" of Bandar's control.

            In Egypt, Bandar developed, in coordination with Israel (but for different reasons), a strategy of undermining the relatively independent, democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood regime of Mohammed Morsi. Bandar and the Saudi dictatorship financially backed the military coup and dictatorship of General Sisi. The US strategy of a power-sharing agreement between the Moslem Brotherhood and the military regime, combining popular electoral legitimacy and the pro-Israel-pro NATO military was sabotaged. With a $15 billion aid package and promises of more to come, Bandar provided the Egyptian military a financial lifeline and economic immunity from any international financial reprisals. None were taken of any consequences. The military crushed the Brotherhood, jailed and threatened to execute its elected leaders. It outlawed sectors of the liberal-left opposition which it had used as cannon fodder to justify its seizure of power. In backing the military coup, Bandar eliminated a rival, democratically elected Islamic regime which stood in contrast to the Saudi despotism. He secured a like-minded dictatorial regime in a key Arab country, even though the military rulers are more secular, pro-Western, pro-Israel and less anti-Assad than the Brotherhood regime. Bandar's success in greasing the wheels for the Egyptian coup secured a political ally but faces an uncertain future.

The revival of a new anti-dictatorial mass movement would also target the Saudi connection. Moreover Bandar undercut and weakened Gulf State unity: Qatar had financed the Morsi regime and was out $5 billion dollars it had extended to the previous regime.

Bandar's terror network is most evident in his long-term large scale financing, arming, training and transport of tens of thousands of Islamic terrorist "volunteers" from the US, Europe, the Middle East, the Caucuses, North Africa and elsewhere. Al Qaeda terrorists in Saudi Arabia became "martyrs of Islam" in Syria. Dozens of Islamic armed gangs in Syria competed for Saudi arms and funds.  Training bases with US and European instructors and Saudi financing were established in Jordan, Pakistan and Turkey. Bandar financed the major 'rebel' Islamic terrorist armed group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, for cross border operations.

With Hezbollah supporting Assad, Bandar directed money and arms to the Abdullah Azzam Brigades in Lebanon to bomb South Beirut, the Iranian embassy and Tripoli.  Bandar directed $3 billion to the Lebanese military with the idea of fomenting a new civil war between it and Hezbollah. In co-ordination with France and the US, but with far greater funding and greater latitude to recruit Islamic terrorist, Bandar assumed the leading role and became the principle director of a three front military and diplomatic offensive against Syria, Hezbollah and Iran. For Bandar, an Islamic takeover in Syria would lead to an Islamic Syrian invasion in support of Al Qaeda in Lebanon to defeat Hezbollah in hopes of isolating Iran.  Teheran would then become the target of a Saudi-Israeli-US offensive. Bandar's strategy is more fantasy then reality.

Bandar Diverges from Washington:  the Offensive in Iraq and Iran
Saudi Arabia has been an extremely useful but sometimes out of control client of Washington. This is especially the case since Bandar has taken over as Intelligence chief:  a long-time asset of the CIA he has also, at times, taken the liberty to extract "favors" for his services, especially when those "favors" enhance his upward advance within the Saudi power structure. Hence, for example, his ability to secure AWACs despite AIPAC opposition earned him merit points. As did Bandar's ability to secure the departure of several hundred Saudi 'royalty' with ties to the 9/11 bombers, despite a high level national security lockdown in the aftermath of the bombing.

While there were episodic transgressions in the past, Bandar moved on to more serious divergences from US policy. He went ahead, building his own terror network, directed toward maximizing Saudi hegemony – even where it conflicted with US proxies, clients and clandestine operatives.

While the US is committed to backing the rightwing Malicki regime in Iraq, Bandar is providing political, military and financial backing to the Sunni terrorist "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria". When the US negotiated the "interim agreement" with Iran Bandar voiced his opposition and "bought" support. Saudi signed off on a billion dollar arms agreement during French President Hollande's visit, in exchange for greater sanctions on Iran. Bandar also expressed support for Israel's use of the Zionist power configuration to influence the Congress, to sabotage US negotiations with Iran.

Bandar has moved beyond his original submission to US intelligence handlers. His close ties with past and present US and EU presidents and political influentials have encouraged him to engage in "Big Power adventures". He met with Russian President Putin to convince him to drop his support for Syria, offering a carrot or a stick: a multi-billion dollar arms sale for compliance and a threat to unleash Chechnyian terrorists to undermine the Sochi Olympics. He has turned Erdogan from a NATO ally supporting 'moderate' armed opponents to Bashar Assad, into embracing the Saudi backed 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria', a terrorist Al Qaeda affiliate. Bandar has "overlooked" Erdogan's "opportunist" efforts to sign off oil deals with Iran and Iraq, his continuing military arrangements with NATO and his past backing of the defunct Morsi regime in Egypt, in order to secure Erdogan's support for the easy transit of large numbers of Saudi trained terrorists to Syria and probably Lebanon.

Bandar has strengthened ties with the armed Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, arming and financing their armed resistance against the US, as well as offering the US a site for a 'negotiated departure'.

Bandar is probably supporting and arming Uighur Muslim terrorists in western China, and Chechens and Caucasian Islamic terrorists in Russia, even as the Saudi's expand their oil agreements with China and cooperate with Russia's Gazprom.

The only region where the Saudi's have exercised direct military intervention is in the Gulf min-state of Bahrain, where Saudi troops crushed the pro-democracy movement challenging the local despot.

Bandar:  Global Terror on Dubious Domestic Foundations
Bandar has embarked on an extraordinary transformation of Saudi foreign policy and enhanced its global influence. All to the worst. Like Israel, when a reactionary ruler comes to power and overturns the democratic order, Saudi arrives on the scene with bags of dollars to buttress the regime. Whenever an Islamic terror network emerges to subvert a nationalist, secular or Shia regime, it can count on Saudi funds and arms. What some Western scribes euphemistically describe as "tenuous effort to liberalize and modernize" the retrograde Saudi regime, is really a military upgrade of its overseas terrorist activity. Bandar uses modern techniques of terror to impose the Saudi model of reactionary rule on neighboring and distant regimes with Muslim populations.

            The problem is that Bandar's "adventurous" large scale overseas operations conflict with some of the ruling Royal family's "introspective" style of rulership. They want to be left alone to accrue hundreds of billions collecting petrol rents, to invest in high-end properties around the world, and to quietly patronize high end call girls in Washington, London and Beirut –while posing as pious guardians of Medina, Mecca and the Holy sites.  So far Bandar has not been challenged, because he has been careful to pay his respects to the ruling monarch and his inner circle. He has bought and brought Western and Eastern prime ministers, presidents and other respectable notable to Riyadh to sign deals and pay compliments to the delight of the reigning despot. Yet his solicitous behavior to overseas Al Qaeda operations, his encouraging Saudi extremists to go overseas and engage in terrorist wars, disturbs monarchical circles. They worry that Saudis trained, armed and knowledgeable terrorists – dubbed as "holy warriors" – may return from Syria, Russia and Iraq and bomb the Kings palaces. Moreover, oversea regimes targeted by Bandar's terror network may retaliate: Russia or Iran, Syrians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Iraqis may just sponsor their own instruments of retaliation. Despite the hundreds of billions spent on arms purchases, the Saudi regime is very vulnerable on all levels.  Apart from tribal legions, the billionaire elite have little popular support and even less legitimacy. It depends on overseas migrant labor, foreign "experts" and US military forces. The Saudi elite is also despised by the most religious of the Wahhabi clergy for allowing "infidels" on sacred terrain. While Bandar extends Saudi power abroad, the domestic foundations of rule are narrowing. While he defies US policymakers in Syria, Iran and Afghanistan, the regime depends on the US Air Force and Seventh Fleet to protect it from a growing array of adversarial regimes.

            Bandar, with his inflated ego, may believe that he is a "Saladin" building a new Islamic empire, but in reality, by waving one finger his patron monarch can lead to his rapid dismissal. One too many provocative civilian bombings by his Islamic terrorist beneficiaries can lead to an international crises leading to Saudi Arabia becoming the target of world opprobrium.

            In reality, Bandar bin Sultan is the protégé and successor of Bin Laden; he has deepened and systematized global terrorism. Bandar's terror network has murdered far more innocent victims than Bin Laden. That, of course, is to be expected; after all he has billions of dollars from the Saudi treasury, training from the CIA and the handshake of Netanyahu!
Copyright © 2015 Global Research

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FRAMEWORK - Posted By: Marc Martin
Pictures in the News | Feb. 3, 2015  
Pictures in the News | February 5, 2015
Pictures in the News | February 6, 2015
The Week in Pictures | Feb. 2-8, 2015

The orangutan cub Rieke holds up his arm in the zoo in Berlin. The 3-week-old female is reared by zookeepers after its mother rejected it after giving birth on Jan. 12. PHOTOGRAPH BY: Oodd Andersen / AFP/Getty Images

An Indian farm laborer dries newly arrived chilies at a farm in Sertha. The farm owner says crop yields are down following unseasonal rains and global warming, which has pushed the price of chilies up by half in the last year. PHOTOGRAPH BY: Sam Panthaky / AFP/Getty Images

The sun sets over the late 14th century Reformed Church in the village of Kortenhoef near Hilversum, Netherlands. PHOTOGRAPH BY: Peter Dejong / Associated Press

Palestinian children play next to buildings destroyed during last year's 50-day war between Israel and Hamas-led militants, in Gaza City's al-Shejaiya neighborhood. The UN agency for Palestinian refugees said Tuesday that it can't afford to repair Gaza homes because donors have failed to pay. PHOTOGRAPH BY: MOHAMMED ABED / AFP/Getty Images

Young visitors carry an Israeli flag as they look through a barbed wire fence at the Carmelite convent situated next to the site of the former Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz in Poland. PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

► 30 April 2009 : Professor's comparison of Israelis to Nazis stirs furor
Correctly. I agree. What is the difference between Israel and Nazis, hm? Restrictions for Gazans to receive food, water, medical purposes, and an increase in malnutrition and unemployment also evokes our memory to Nazis which slowly suffocating ghetto. Construction of a wall around Gaza, and firing to those who dare to cross it, also the tunnels in Gaza, is the same as in Warsaw Ghetto, when the Jews used the tunnels to smuggle food and other essential items into the ghetto. So, what's the difference with the atrocities suffered by the Palestinians now? Atrocities committed by Israel against Palestinian Muslims are very much different from what have been done by Muslims to Jews in the past. Under the Ottoman Caliphate, Jews and even protected. Israel, you are so shameless! Immoral.

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"Thank you for your perception! I like your romantic side, even if I do not always comment and I'm glad that you're in my circle of friends."
(Courtesies by: Wolfgang A. Gerhardt)

Wolfgang A.Gerhardt : May be you like this Sunday collage

Cisca Zarmansyah : Before today, there never was a person doing this to me. You create a simple matter to look special. This is a special thing for me.

Cisca Zarmansyah : Thank you. I love it. I love you, my friend.

CieL- FreYa Ceastle : Hmm, he's so nice...

"I am me.
In all the world,
there is no one else exactly like me.
Everything that comes out of me
is authentically mine,
because I alone chose it --
I own everything about me:
my body,
my feelings,
my mouth,
my voice,
all my actions,
whether they be to others or myself.
I own my fantasies,
my dreams,
my hopes,
my fears.
I own my triumphs and successes,
all my failures and mistakes.
Because I own all of me,
I can become intimately acquainted with me.
By so doing,
I can love me
and be friendly with all my parts.
I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me,
and other aspects that I do not know
-- but as long as I am friendly
and loving to myself,
I can courageously and hopefully
look for solutions
to the puzzles and ways
to find out more about me.
However I look and sound,
whatever I say and do,
and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time
is authentically me.
If later some parts of how I looked,
and felt
turn out to be unfitting,
I can discard that which is unfitting,
keep the rest,
and invent something new
for that which I discarded.
I can see,
say, and do.
I have the tools to survive,
to be close to others,
to be productive,
and to make sense
and order out of the world of people
and things outside of me.
I own me,
and therefore,
I can engineer me.
I am me,
and I am okay."

(American Phychologist and Educator, 1916-1988)