Gen. Yuri Ivanov, 52, deputy head of GRU, the Russian military’s overseas intelligence arm of Russian military, was found dead in mysterious circumstances described in a terse official Russian eulogy as a tragic swimming accident “several days ago.”
No further details were provided such as where he died. Although he apparently drowned off the shore of Syrian Latakia, his body was recovered from Turkish waters ten days after he went missing.
Our sources surmise that Gen. Yuri Ivanov went missing from a private, secretive engagement from which his aides and guards were banished to wait outside, not swimming alone in the sea of Latakia. This would account for the delay in reporting his disappearance.
They recall in this regard his former position as head of the North Caucasus branch of Russian military intelligence, which he held until late 2006. In this capacity he played a leading role in clandestine operations against al Qaeda and the Chechen revolt. Among the many terrorist groups present in Syria are al Qaeda cells from the Caucasian.
Archive for August, 2010
A politician tipped as a future Japanese prime minister has said the British are not very likeable, but admitted the way British prisoners marched in The Bridge on the River Kwai demonstrated their best qualities.
Ichiro Ozawa, the former secretary-general of Japan’s ruling Democratic Party, also said he values US democracy but dismissed the American people as “simple-minded”.
The 68-year-old veteran politician, who resigned as the second most important official in the ruling party in June after coming under fire for campaign finance scandals, reportedly said: “I don’t like British people,” before praising British democracy and their discipline, citing the 1957 Second World War II film, The Bridge on the River Kwai, in which British prisoners of war march in orderly ranks.
The film, based on the novel The Bridge over the River Kwai starred Sir Alec Guinness, William Holden and Jack Hawkins. Guinness won an Oscar for his portrayal of Colonel Nicholson, who convinces the other British prisoners of war to build a bridge for the Burma-Siam railway as a means of boosting British morale but which eventually turns into a monument to himself.
The film won six other Academy Awards including Best Picture.
Veterans of the Second World War who fought against Japan said Mr Ozawa’s comments about Britain were insensitive but they would “not get into a sweat about it”.
A Perth Catholic school has apologised to parents who were offended by a Year 4 student pretending to be Adolf Hitler being awarded first place in his class at a school dress-up day.
The inner-city school sent out a letter of apology on Wednesday after parents complained about the boy’s character portrayal at a book-week assembly.
The principal said a handful of parents had approached or emailed him after the event to say the costume, which included a swastika, should not have been allowed in the school.
Children had been asked to dress up as a famous character. “He (Hitler) was a fairly famous person,” he said. Two children from each class were judged as having the best costumes.
The principal was one of a group of teachers who decided who would win. He said claims that other children had been chanting “Hitler” while the student was on stage were untrue.
“It was a form of voting,” he said. “I would strongly deny that the children were chanting ‘Hitler’, I take strong umbrage to that.”
Other characters’ names were also called out as part of the voting process.
“Some people got upset because kids called out Hitler,” he said. The principal said he did not see anything “sinister” in the student’s choice of character.
“To me it’s a mountain out of a molehill,” he said.
You couldn’t miss the large presence of Portland police officers at the Fred Meyer off Southeast Johnson Creek Boulevard this morning.
Mounted patrol officers were out front.
K9 patrol were teaming around and about 60 other uniformed officers from assistant chiefs and commanders to patrol officers and traffic cops were inside.
It was the annual “Shop With a Cop” back-to-school event, with officers helping about 160 children pick out clothing and school supplies for the approaching school year.
But that didn’t stop two shoplifters from going aisle to aisle, picking out a few items of their own.
While officers were helping out the kids, store security alerted the police they had their eyes on two young men packing their own backpacks with merchandise.
A LEADING German Social Democrat has written a book with an apocalyptic vision of his country sliding into poverty, stupidity and Muslim domination.
Thilo Sarrazin, 65, a former Berlin finance minister and current Bundesbank board member, is already under investigation by a public prosecutor for allegedly inciting racial hatred by blaming immigrants for making Germany “dumber” and calling Muslim children “underclass citizens.”
Now his book, Germany is destroying itself: How we are gambling with our country, threatens the strained social fabric of the “multi-culti” Fatherland once more at a time of rising racial tensions and the radicalisation of Islamic youth.
“I don’t want the country of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to become, in large part, Muslim, that over wide areas Turkish and Arabic are spoken, where the women wear headscarves and the daily rhythms of life are dictated by the call of the Muezzin,” he writes.
A dismissed policeman armed with an automatic rifle seized a bus in the Philippine capital Monday with 25 passengers, most of them Hong Kong tourists, in a bid to demand his reinstatement, police said.
Six hostages, including three children, were subsequently released, and appeared to be unhurt.
Police sharpshooters took positions around the white-blue-red bus, which was parked near a downtown Manila park, and negotiations to free the remaining hostages were under way, deputy director of Manila police Alex Gutierrez said.
A British billionaire has offered $1 million to the first person who manages to streak naked in front of Barack Obama.
Alki David, ranked 45th in the Sunday Times Rich List with an estimated fortune of £1.15 billion, made the pledge as part of a publicity stunt for a new website.
The Nigerian born businessman, 42, set up the Battlecam site, which offers people thousands of pounds if they perform, and video, crazy stunts live through the site.
Mr Alki, who is also an actor, initially offered $100,000 to the person who successfully streaked in front of the US President, reports the Daily Telegraph.
But now he has raised the stakes to $1 million (£639,000) after being told the prize money was “not enough” to warrant such a daring prank.
The only catch is the person has to have the website’s name scrawled across their stomach.
Memphis City Council member Janis Fullilove sent a letter of apology to the president of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials for what she described as “over the top” behavior at a party last week.
Fullilove, regional director for NBC-LEO, said Tuesday that she engaged in dancing — including pole dancing — on a river cruise during the group’s gathering in Memphis.
“Yes, I was on the pole,” said Fullilove. “I was having a good time but I wasn’t drinking.
“I went overboard because I was trying to do the Soul Train. I was dancing on the pole and I was just trying to have a good time.
“It was over the top. It was over the top and I apologize.”
Last week we were attacked by the sun. For real. Huge solar eruptions sent a blast of radiation toward Earth. Thankfully, the planet’s natural magnetic shield warded off the worst effects. Life went on uninterrupted.
That won’t always be the case. In 1859, Richard Carrington recorded what is now called the “Carrington Effect” — intense solar activity that can disrupt modern life dramatically.
In Carrington’s day, there were few electromechanical systems for intense solar radiation to mess with. The new fangled telegraph systems suffered the most. Solar-induced power surges knocked some operators from their chairs and set fire to the paper rolls used to record dashes and dots.
Fortunately, no Carrington Effect has occurred since the whole world became electrified. But scientists worry about what might happen when a real solar tsunami hits.
It is a real danger. In 2008, the National Academies released a report on the “adverse effects of extreme space weather on modern technology — power grid outages, high-frequency communication blackouts. …” Much of the planet’s energy and communications infrastructure is just too fragile to weather a massive electromagnetic onslaught.
Many veterans of World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam brought home tales of heroism and valor and, unbeknownst to their loved ones, potentially explosive war souvenirs.
The police in Bangor, Me., received a call this month: a woman found a live hand grenade in a moving box, where it had probably sat for decades.
She believed that it belonged to her late husband, who served in the Vietnam War and probably brought it home as a keepsake.
A bomb squad was summoned to detonate it.
“These men are passing away because they’re in their 80s or 90s, and now, unfortunately, family members are unaware of the fact that they have war souvenirs,” said Sgt. Andrew Parsons of the New Hampshire State Police explosives unit.
“When they find Grandpa’s treasure chest and pull things out, lo and behold there’s a hand grenade at the bottom.”
Imagine you suddenly discovered part of your umbilical cord was still attached.
Scientists just did that for the planet Earth. What’s been found is a clear sign that beneath the crust in northern Canada there is a chunk of pristine, undisturbed rock from the time when Earth was nothing but molten rock.
The evidence comes in the form of lava rocks that, themselves, are a mere 60 million years old. But these rocks contain an early Earth mixture of helium, lead and neodymium isotopes which suggest the mantle rock beneath the crust that yielded them is a virgin pocket of Earth’s original material.
That pocket had survived for 4.5 billion years under Baffin Island without being mixed by plate tectonics or erupted onto the surface.
“I was surprised that any of the (original) mantle survived,” said geoscientist Matthew Jackson of Boston University.
He is the lead author on a paper announcing the discovery in this week’s issue of the journal Nature.
”Finding a piece of the original mantle has been a holy grail. The original Earth was a big ball of magma. That’s our (planet’s) original composition.”
Friday the 13th proved suitably unlucky for one 13 year-old boy who was struck by lightning before being taken to hospital — at 13:13 on the dreaded date.
The boy, who has not been named, was treated for a minor burn after being hit along with two others at an air show in Suffolk, eastern England, a spokeswoman said.
Staff at the St Johns Ambulance service said there had been heavy rain all day before they witnessed a big flash of lightning and a loud clap of thunder over the sea off the Suffolk coast.
“We got a call that someone had been struck by lightning so we immediately sent our paramedics to the scene, followed by an ambulance,” said Rex Clarke, head of the team of St John Ambulance volunteers at the event.
Perhaps the clue is in today’s date, Friday 13, but equity investors should be very afraid if the reappearance of a US technical indicator believed to herald an imminent market crash is to be believed.
The ‘Hindenburg Omen’ is the ominously-titled list of five separate indicators linked to the New York Stock Exchange which when they occur at the same time, have historically warned of an impending crash.
Named after the tragic events of 1937 when the zeppelin airship Hindenburg dramatically exploded into flames in New Jersey, influential US market blog Zero Hedge reported over night that the five technical indicators appeared to have occurred last Tuesday.
In fact Zero Hedge describes the Hindenburg Omen as: ‘Easily the most feared technical pattern in all of chartism (for the bullishly inclined).
Those who know what it is, tend to have an atavistic reaction to its mere mention.’
Brazil’s government has ordered its air force to officially record any sighting of unidentified flying objects.
A government decree said all military and civilian pilots as well as air traffic controllers should register any UFO sightings with the national aerospace defence command.
The information will be stored in the national archives in Rio de Janeiro. It will be made available to researchers, including those seeking evidence of extraterrestrial life.
Anything unusual that is seen, photographed or video filmed in Brazil’s air space will now have to be reported and catalogued.
But the air force said it would limit itself to collecting information, and would not be chasing UFOs.
As they prepare for the world Olympic Games in 2012, the British are doing more than mere construction of the facilities.
The British tourism agency – VisitBritain – has issued an official etiquette guide for hospitality workers including cab drivers as they seek to show off a friendlier side.
The Olympics can bring the nation billions of pounds and thousands of visitors.
Realizing that not all cultures think and act the same, a guide telling British hospitality workers how they should act around visitors from the various countries when they come to visit for the Olympic Games to be held in London in July and August of 2012.
According to the guide:
Indians don’t like to be hugged or touched by strangers.
The French can be rude and picky when it comes to restaurants.
Canadians don’t like being mistaken for Americans
Brazilians don’t like personal questions. Middle Easterners don’t like to be told what to do.
The Polish are hurt by stereotypes.
Read the whole thing!
A COMPUTER engineer died after tying himself naked to a tree with a cord wrapped around his penis, an inquest heard.
Kevin Kirkland, 44, used a pair of makeshift rope handcuffs to attach himself to the trunk, but got trapped when a knot jammed around his wrists, The Sun said today.
Walkers discovered his body slumped against the tree the following morning near his home in Newport, Shropshire.
He was wearing just his socks and boots and had a small piece of cord wrapped around his penis.
The inquest heard how bachelor Kevin died from hypothermia and blood loss from cuts on his wrists, which were caused by his desperate attempts to escape.
Online whistle-blower WikiLeaks has posted a huge encrypted file named “Insurance” to its website, sparking speculation that those behind the organization may be prepared to release more classified information if authorities interfere with them.
At 1.4 gigabytes, the file is 20 times larger than the batch of 77,000 secret U.S. military documents about Afghanistan that WikiLeaks dumped onto the Web last month, and cryptographers say that the file is virtually impossible to crack — unless WikiLeaks releases the key used to encode the material.
“There’s no way that anyone has any chance of figuring out what’s in there,” Paul Kocher, president of US-based Cryptography Research, said Thursday.
That hasn’t stopped bloggers and journalists from speculating. Some say the files could be the 15,000 or so intelligence reports which WikiLeaks says it’s held back for vetting. Others, pointing to its enormous size, say it could be a compilation of the 260,000 classified diplomatic cables allegedly accessed by Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning.
Sheikh ‘Abd Al-Muhsin Al-’Obikan, an advisor at the Saudi Justice Ministry, recently issued a fatwa allowing the breastfeeding of adults.
The fatwa is aimed at enabling an unrelated man and woman to be secluded in the same room, a situation which Islam considers forbidden gender mixing. The rationale behind the fatwa is that breastfeeding creates a bond of kinship between the man and woman, rendering the man her mahram, thus making it acceptable for them to be together in seclusion.
The fatwa created a stir in Saudi Arabia and in the Arab media at large, arousing a wave of criticism from clerics and columnists alike. Clerics claimed that breastfeeding could not create a bond of kinship between a female and an unrelated male over two years of age, and some claimed that the fatwa contradicted the shari’a.
Columnists argued that such grotesque fatwas are insulting to women, and also tarnish the Muslims’ image. One columnist pointed to a paradox, namely that the fear of gender-mixing is prompting clerics to encourage lewd behaviors like women breastfeeding grown men. Despite this criticism, Al-’Obikan has stood his ground, and even reiterated his position in greater detail.
A drunken man went on a rampage while driving a shovel loader in northern China, smashing into shops and vehicles and killing 11 people, a government spokesman said Monday.
The incident began when 38-year-old Li Xianliang killed a customer Sunday at the Hongyuan coal depot in Hebei provinces Yuanshi county where he worked driving a shovel loader, said a news release issued by the county government.
Li, who had been drinking, then drove his loader down an adjacent road, smashing into cars, buses, motorcycles, trucks and roadside shops, the news release said.
The tractor eventually came to a stop in a field where police subdued the man after the hour-long rampage.The man was taken into custody and likely faces the death penalty if convicted of murder.