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Tag Archive: Eastern Europe


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18:38 30.10.2015

A rift appears to be growing in Europe as NATO announced it was considering putting more troops into the Baltic region to increase pressure on Russia, while at the same time Federica Mogherini, the EU’s Foreign Affairs chief advocated rapprochement with Russia.

NATO has been ramping up its operations in the Baltic States as well as in Eastern Europe, since the Ukraine crisis began. Now it is being reported that it is considering different ways of increasing its military presence in Eastern Europe to put further pressure on Russia, despite previous denials that it would do this.

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Go Baltic Batallion! – Urban exercise in Trident Juncture

 

“Claims that NATO is building bases around Russia are… groundless,” NATO states on its website.

“Outside the territory of NATO nations, NATO only maintains a significant military presence in three places: Kosovo, Afghanistan, and at sea off the Horn of Africa.

“With respect to the permanent stationing of US and other Allied forces on the territory of other Allies in Europe, NATO has full abided by the commitments made in the NATO-Russia Founding Act. There has been no permanent stationing of additional combat forces on the territory of other allies; and total force levels have, in fact, been substantially reduced since the end of the Cold War.”

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NATO’s second-in-command says Russia is now an enemy, not a partner

Published time: May 01, 2014 17:08
Edited time: May 02, 2014 06:51

 NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow (AFP Photo / Yuri Kadobnov)

NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow (AFP Photo / Yuri Kadobnov)

NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow now says that the allied group has been compelled to treat Russia “as more of an enemy than a partner,” according to an Associated Press report published Thursday.

The 61-year-old former United States ambassador to Russia reportedly told journalists this week that Moscow’s role in the ongoing crisis in Ukraine has forced NATO to reconsider the alliance’s opinion on Russia, and that additional troops may soon be mobilized to the region as tensions worsen.

AP journalist Robert Burns wrote on Thursday that Vershbow said the Kremlin’s perceived part in the recent events in Ukraine “marks a turning point in decades of effort by NATO to draw Moscow closer.”

NATO’s second-in-command reportedly told journalists that the alliance is now considering new measures meant to counter any future acts of aggression on the part of Russia aimed at partner nations, and soon could deploy a larger number of combat forces to Eastern Europe.

Journalists reporting for Civil.Ge wrote on Thursday that Vershbow told the audience at a panel discussion in Washington, DC one day earlier that NATO should deploy “defensive assets to the region.”

“We need to step up our support for defense reforms and military modernization of Russia’s neighbors, and not just of Ukraine, but also Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan,” Vershbow said, according to the Civil Georgia site.

 

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UNICEF Surveils, Defames Health Sites Over Vaccines – GreenMedInfo, Mothering.com, Mercola.com, NaturalNews

Posted on:

Thursday, August 29th 2013 at 9:45 am

Written By:

Sayer Ji, Founder

UNICEF Surveils, Defames Health Sites Over Vaccines - GreenMedInfo, Mothering.com, Mercola.com, NaturalNews

Cover page of the UNICEF report.

A stunning new report reveals that the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has been monitoring independent health sites and their users in an attempt to identify ‘anti-vaccine influencers’ and their effect on lackluster vaccine uptake.

A newly fashioned United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) working paper tracking “the rise of online anti-vaccination sentiments in Central and Eastern Europe” identifies independent health websites, including GreenMedInfo.com, Mercola.com, NaturalNews.com and VacTruth.com, as contributing to lackluster vaccine uptake.

The UNICEF report, titled “Tracking anti-vaccination sentiment in Eastern European social media networks,” obtained data using “state-of-the-art social medial monitoring tools,” and confirmed that parents are using social media networks to decide whether to vaccinate their children.

Tracking anti vaccine-sentiment in Eastern European social media networks from UNICEF CEECIS

The 47-page report attempts to answer the following questions:

  • Why parents are refusing vaccination?
  • What are the concerns about vaccines?
  • What are their ideals/perceptions?
  • Who is influencing the discussion?
  • Which networks are being used?
  • Where are they located?
  • How to respond?

Opening with the Mark Twain quote: “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes,” the report lists the following ‘anti-vaccine influencers’ shaping the online conversation:

UNICEF’s opening reference to the “lie” (misinformation) spread by the above-mentioned web-based organizations indicates that while the document purports to be analytical and descriptive, it has proscriptive and defamatory undertones, and only thinly conceals an agenda to discredit opposing views and voices.

Slide #30 from the PPT presentation of the report.

UNICEF’s derogatory stance is all the more surprising considering that websites such as GreenMedinfo.com aggregate, disseminate and provide open access to peer-reviewed research on vaccine adverse effects and safety concerns extracted directly from the US National Library of Medicine, much of which comes from high-impact journals. [see data set here: vaccine research ]. In turn, websites such as Mercola.com and NaturalNews.com often simply cite the same data and report on its implications.

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Monday, August 01, 2011

Deep underground in Poland lies something remarkable but little known outside Eastern Europe. For centuries, miners have extracted salt there, but left behind things quite startling and unique. Take a look at the most unusual salt mine in the world.

From the outside, Wieliczka Salt Mine doesn’t look extraordinary. It looks extremely well kept for a place that hasn’t minded any salt for over ten years but apart from that it looks ordinary. However, over two hundred meters below ground it holds an astonishing secret. This is the salt mine that became an art gallery, cathedral and underground lake.

Situated in the Krakow area, Wieliczka is a small town of close to twenty thousand inhabitants. It was founded in the twelfth century by a local Duke to mine the rich deposits of salt that lie beneath. Until 1996 it did just that but the generations of miners did more than just extract. They left behind them a breathtaking record of their time underground in the shape of statues of mythic, historical and religious figures. They even created their own chapels in which to pray. Perhaps their most astonishing legacy is the huge underground cathedral they left behind for posterity.

It may feel like you are in the middle of a Jules Verne adventure as you descend in to the depths of the world. After a one hundred and fifty meter climb down wooden stairs the visitor to the salt mine will see some amazing sites. About the most astounding in terms of its sheer size and audacity is the Chapel of Saint Kinga. The Polish people have for many centuries been devout Catholics and this was more than just a long term hobby to relieve the boredom of being underground. This was an act of worship.
Amazingly, even the chandeliers in the cathedral are made of salt. It was not simply hewn from the ground and then thrown together; however, the process is rather more painstaking for the lighting. After extraction the rock salt was first of all dissolved. It was then reconstituted with the impurities taken out so that it achieved a glass-like finish. The chandeliers are what many visitors think the rest of the cavernous mine will be like as they have a picture in their minds of salt as they would sprinkle on their meals! However, the rock salt occurs naturally in different shades of grey (something like you would expect granite to look like).

Still, that doesn’t stop well over one million visitors (mainly from Poland and its eastern European neighbors) from visiting the mine to see, amongst other things, how salt was mined in the past.

The religious carvings are, in reality, what draw many to this mine – as much for their amazing verisimilitude as for their Christian aesthetics. The above shows Jesus appearing to the apostles after the crucifixion. He shows the doubter, Saint Thomas, the wounds on his wrists.

Another remarkable carving, this time a take on The Last Supper. The work and patience that must have gone in to the creation of these sculptures is extraordinary. One wonders what the miners would have thought of their work going on general display? They came to be quite used to it, in fact, even during the mine’s busiest period in the nineteenth century. The cream of Europe’s thinkers visited the site – you can still see many of their names in the old visitor’s books on display.

These reliefs are perhaps among some of the most iconographic works of Christian folk art in the world and really do deserve to be shown. It comes as little surprise to learn that the mine was placed on the original list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites back in 1978.

Not all of the work is relief-based. There are many life sized statues that must have taken a considerable amount of time – months, perhaps even years – to create. Within the confines of the mine there is also much to be learned about the miners from the machinery and tools that they used – many of which are on display and are centuries old. A catastrophic flood in 1992 dealt the last blow to commercial salt mining in the area and now the mine functions purely as a tourist attraction. Brine is, however, still extracted from the mine – and then evaporated to produce some salt, but hardly on the ancient scale. If this was not done, then the mines would soon become flooded once again.

Not all of the statues have a religious or symbolic imagery attached to them. The miners had a sense of humor, after all! Here can be seen their own take on the legend of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. The intricately carved dwarves must have seemed to some of the miners a kind of ironic depiction of their own work.
 

To cap it all there is even an underground lake, lit by subdued electricity and candles. This is perhaps where the old legends of lakes to the underworld and Catholic imagery of the saints work together to best leave a lasting impression of the mine. How different a few minutes reflection here must have been to the noise and sweat of everyday working life in the mine.

Earth Watch Report – Extreme Weather

 

WHITE OUT

Nearly 200 killed in cold snap across Russia, eastern Europe

by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP)


49 deaths in Poland from cold in December: police
Warsaw (AFP) Dec 21, 2012 – Polish police said Friday 49 people have died from the cold since the beginning of December as temperatures in Poland plunged to minus 10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit).Most of the deaths from the freezing temperatures have been among the homeless, said police who have begun informing them of where they can find hot meals and shelter.Poland’s first cold wave this season in October left 15 people dead and five more died in November. Last winter around 200 people died of hypothermia. 

A vicious cold snap across Russia and eastern Europe has claimed nearly 200 lives, officials figures showed Friday, as forecasters warned it would last until Christmas Eve.

In Russia, the cold has killed two people in the past 24 hours, the Ria-Novosti agency reported, citing medical sources, bringing the total number of deaths over the past week to 56.

The freeze had also left 371 people in hospital.

Thermometers have been stuck below minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 Fahrenheit) in Moscow — and below minus 50 degrees (minus 58 F) in some parts of Siberia — for a week.

Russian weather forecasters said temperature in the Khabarovsk region in eastern Russia had dropped to minus 43 Celsius, while Krasnoyarsk in Siberia reported minus 47.

This “abnormal” frost would last till Monday because of a persistent anticyclone, they added.

In Russia’s European region, meanwhile, the mercury is expected to fall to minus 31 degrees Celsius on Christmas Eve before rising rapidly afterwards.

Read Full Article Here

Crossroads News : Changes In The World Around Us And Our Place In It

 

 

Climate Change/Global Community  :  Economic Hardships/ Rising Costs

Food prices jump will hit poor, World Bank warns

Damaged corn in a field in Oakland City, Indiana A severe drought in the US has led to many farmers having to abandon their 2012 harvest

Global food prices have leapt by 10% in the month of July, raising fears of soaring prices for the planet’s poorest, the World Bank has warned.

The bank said that a US heatwave and drought in parts of Eastern Europe were partly to blame for the rising costs.

The price of key grains such as corn, wheat and soybean saw the most dramatic increases, described by the World Bank president as “historic”.

The bank warned countries importing grains will be particularly vulnerable.

From June to July this year, corn and wheat prices each rose by 25% while soybean prices increased by 17%, the World Bank said. Only rice prices decreased – by 4%.

In the United States, the most severe, widespread drought in half a century has wreaked havoc on the corn and soybean crops while in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, wheat crops have been badly damaged.

The World Bank said that the use of corn to produce ethanol biofuel – which represents 40% of US corn production – was also a key factor in the sharp rise in the US maize price.

Overall, the World Bank’s Food Price Index – which tracks the price of internationally traded food commodities – was six percent higher than in July of last year, and one percent over its previous peak, in February 2011.

‘Lifetime of perils’

The organization is urging governments to bolster programs to protect their most vulnerable communities from the increase in the cost of food.

“We cannot allow these historic price hikes to turn into a lifetime of perils as families take their children out of school and eat less nutritious food to compensate for the high prices,” World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said.

This ‘wait and see’ attitude is unacceptable”

 

Colin Roche Oxfam

He said countries in North and Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East were among those most exposed to such price increases because much of their food was imported and food bills make up a large proportion of average household spending.

Already, the bank said, maize prices had increased by 113% over the past quarter in Mozambique, while sorghum had risen 220% in South Sudan.

Although the bank said that it did not foresee the kind of price increases which led to riots in many countries in 2008 there were, it said, other potential risks which could push grain prices higher.

These included exporters pursuing panic policies, a severe El Nino, disappointing Southern hemisphere crops and strong increases in energy prices.

The G20 group of leading economies has said it will not take any decision on joint action until after the US agriculture department’s September estimate of this year’s harvest.

But aid charity Oxfam said it was not acceptable for governments to delay acting on food prices until the situation had deteriorated further.

“This ‘wait and see’ attitude is unacceptable,” Colin Roche said.

“Oxfam is already seeing the devastating impact of food price volatility in developing countries that rely on food imports.”

 

 

 

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