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Publishes and comments on leaked documents alleging government and corporate misconduct.

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 WikiLeaks: Rusia este un "stat aproape mafiot", afirmă un procuror spaniol citat într-o notă diplomatică americană obtinută de WikiLeaks si publicată miercuri de cotidianul britanic The Guardian.

Procurorul Jose Gonzalez, care anchetează de aproximativ zece ani crima organizată rusă, "consideră că nu se poate face o diferentă între activitătile Guvernului (rus) si grupările de crimă organizată", potrivit acestei note diplomatice trimise în februarie 2010 de ambasada americană la Madrid.

De asemenea, procurorul spaniol s-a declarat de acord cu opozantul rus Aleksandr Litvinenko, asasinat la Londra în noiembrie 2006, potrivit căruia otrăvirea sa cu poloniu 210, o substantă extrem de radioactivă, a fost o actiune a serviciilor ruse de informatii si securitate, care sunt, potrivit acestuia, "proprietarii crimei organizate".

"Unele partide politice din Rusia actionează mână în mână cu crima organizată", consideră procurorul, potrivit acestei note.

"El (procurorul) explică faptul că Partidul liberal-democrat a fost creat de KGB si succesorul său SVR si din el fac parte numerosi criminali înrăiti", adaugă nota diplomatică, referindu-se la partidul ultranationalist al lui Vladimir Jirinovski.

Conform procurorului, există si "legături dovedite între partidele politice rusesti, crima organizată si traficul de arme".

Nota sugerează că autoritătile ruse se servesc de mafie pentru a efectua operatiuni pe care nu le pot "conduce în mod normal în calitate de Guvern", cum ar fi furnizarea de arme kurzilor pentru a destabiliza Turcia.

Procurorul spaniol este convins si că oficiali din serviciile de informatii ruse s-au aflat în spatele scandalului vizând cargoul Artic Sea, suspectat că a transportat arme Iranului în 2009, potrivit notei diplomatice.

Într-o altă notă, trimisă la putin timp după asasinarea lui Aleksandr Litvinenko, adjunctul secretarului de Stat american, Daniel Fried, se întreba "dacă elemente necontrolate din serviciile de securitate pot actiona (...) fără ca (Vladimir) Putin să fie informat", cunoscând în special "atentia pentru detalii" a premierului rus.

Înaltul oficial american a discutat cu un consilier diplomatic francez de rang înalt, se arată în această notă.

Departe de a se limita la Rusia, mafia guvernează si aproape tot Belarusul si Cecenia si exercită "un control enorm" asupra unor sectoare vitale ale economiei internationale, cum ar fi cel al aluminiului, sustine procurorul spaniol.

Sursa: Mediafax.ro

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By Admin (from 02/12/2010 @ 16:33:29, in en - Global Observatory, read 2005 times)

Harper's: The Madrid Cables

Scott Horton writes: "In Spain, the WikiLeaks disclosures have dominated the news for three days now. The reporting has been led by the level-headed El País, with its nationwide competitor, Público, lagging only a bit behind. Attention has focused on three separate matters, each pending in the Spanish national security court, the Audiencia Nacional: the investigation into the 2003 death of a Spanish cameraman, José Cuoso, as a result of the mistaken shelling of Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel by a U.S. tank; an investigation into the torture of Spanish subjects held at Guantánamo; and a probe into the use of Spanish bases and airfields for extraordinary renditions flights, including the one which took Khaled El-Masri to Baghdad and then on to Afghanistan in 2003.

These cables reveal a large-scale, closely coordinated effort by the State Department to obstruct these criminal investigations. High-ranking U.S. visitors such as former Republican Party Chair Mel Martinez, Senator Greg Judd, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano were corralled into this effort, warning Spanish political leaders that the criminal investigations would “be misunderstood” and would harm bilateral relations. The U.S. diplomats also sought out and communicated directly with judges and prosecutors, attempting to steer the cases into the hands of judges of their choosing. The cables also reflect an absolutely extraordinary rapport between the Madrid embassy and Spanish prosecutors, who repeatedly appear to be doing the embassy’s bidding."
Read more

El País: How US worked to get three soldiers off the hook for cameraman's death

"One of the biggest objectives at the US Embassy in Madrid over the past seven years has been trying to get the criminal case dropped against three US soldiers accused of the killing of a Spanish television cameraman.[...]

The High Court has charged three soldiers - Sgt. Thomas Gibson, Capt. Philip Wolford and Col. Philip de Camp, all of the Third Infantry Division of the US Army - for the killing of Telecinco cameraman José Couso on April 8, 2003 during a tank shelling of the Hotel Palestine where he and other journalists were staying while they were covering the war in Baghdad. Also killed was a Reuters cameraman, Taras Protsyuk of Ukraine.

On May 25, 2007, US Ambassador Eduardo Aguirre, who served in Madrid between 2005-2008, wrote to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice days before her visit to Spain to tell her that the Zapatero government "has been helpful behind the scenes in getting the case appealed by the Spanish prosecutor." Aguirre recommended that Rice should express "continued US government concern" about the case when she met with Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Foreign Minister Moratinos. "We want continued vigilance and cooperation by the government of Spain until the case is dropped," Aguirre wrote."
Read more

The Guardian: UK overruled on Lebanon spy flights from Cyprus, WikiLeaks cables reveal

"Americans dismissed 'bureaucratic' Foreign Office concern that Lebanese Hezbollah suspects might be tortured," write David Leigh and Richard Norton-Taylor.

"Labour ministers said they feared making the UK an unwitting accomplice to torture, and were upset about rendition flights going on behind their backs.

The use of RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus for American U2 spy plane missions over Hezbollah locations in Lebanon – missions that have never been disclosed until now – prompted an acrimonious series of exchanges between British officials and the US embassy in London, according to the cables released by WikiLeaks. The then foreign secretary David Miliband is quoted as saying, unavailingly, "policymakers needed to get control of the military".[...]

At this point Richard LeBaron, charges d'affaires at the London embassy, cabled Washington that human rights concerns could not be allowed to get in the way of counter-terrorism operations. Britain's demands were "not only burdensome but unrealistic", he said, proposing "high-level approaches" to call the British to heel."
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Foreign Policy: Did a U.S. ambassador accuse Sri Lanka's president of war crimes?

"Are we surprised to learn, via WikiLeaks, that American diplomats in Colombo blame Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his top officials for the massacre of tens of thousands (by most estimates) of Tamil civilians during the final months of Sri Lanka's bloody civil war? The goods are in a Jan. 15 cable sent by U.S. Amb. Patricia A. Butenis on the eve of Sri Lanka's presidential elections (which Rajapaksa won handily). Butenis was assessing the country's ability to come to terms with the atrocities committed in the protracted conflict between the government and the Tamil Tigers rebel group, which was defeated in May 2009 after nearly three decades of fighting."
Read more

Foreign Policy has also started a website dedicated to analysing the Cablegate revelations:http://wikileaks.foreignpolicy.com/

The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Berlusconi 'profited from secret deals' with Putin

"US diplomats have reported startling suspicions that Silvio Berlusconi could be "profiting personally and handsomely" from secret deals with the Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin, according to cables released by WikiLeaks.

Exasperated by Berlusconi's pro-Russian behaviour, American embassy staff detail allegations circulating in Rome that the Italian leader has been promised a cut of huge energy contracts. The two men are known to be personally close, but this is the first time allegations of a financial link have surfaced."
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The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables link Russian mafia boss to EU gas supplies

"Gas supplies to Ukraine and EU states are linked to the Russian mafia, according to the US ambassador in Kiev.

His cable, released by WikiLeaks, followed statements by the then prime minister of Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko, to the BBC that she had "documented proof that some powerful criminal structures are behind the RosUkrEnergo (RUE) company".

Allegations have long swirled that the Russian crime don Semyon Mogilevich had covert interests in Swiss-registered RUE, which distributes gas from central Asia."
Read more

Der Spiegel: In Russian Hands: US Forced to Change Course in Relations with Ukraine

"When seeking a productive working relationship with an undesired newcomer, it is best to have a plan. On Feb. 23 of this year John Tefft, the American ambassador in Kiev, was preparing a plan for the arrival of US National Security Advisor James Jones. On the occasion of the inauguration of the new Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, Jones was to convey a generous offer of friendship: The administration of US President Barack Obama "looks forward to working with you across the full range of issues," Tefft's brief suggested Jones tell the new Ukrainian leader.

Jones, who had fought against Moscow's allies in the Vietnam War, was seeking to strike a diplomatic blow against the Kremlin, by making Yanukovych into a US partner."
Read more

Der Spiegel: Cables Track US Diplomatic Efforts to Avert Russian-Georgian Conflict

"The leaked embassy cables show how the US, after spending years helping to build up Georgia's military capabilities, made last-ditch diplomatic attempts to avert the August 2008 conflict between Georgia and Russia.[...]

The Georgians were close allies with the US, while the Abkhazians and South Ossetians were supported by Russia. Neither the Russians nor the Americans wanted a major escalation in the regions -- but they weren't averse to fanning tensions. It was a dangerous approach that eventually backfired."
Read more

Der Spiegel: 'Virtual Mafia States': Russian Mafia an International Concern for US Diplomats

"The secret embassy reports read like descriptions of a small banana republic. The mayor of the capital city allegedly has "connections to the criminal world," a few of his friends, including members of parliament, are said to be little more than "bandits," with city officials supposedly "requiring bribes from businesses attempting to operate in the city." The mayor, US diplomats allege, "oversees a system in which it appears that almost everyone at every level is involved in some form of corruption or criminal behavior."

The US cable, dated Feb. 12, 2010, originated from one of the world's largest capitals, Moscow. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev fired Moscow Mayor Yuriy Luzhkov at the end of September because he is no longer trusted by the government. Nevertheless, the memos documented by the American diplomats show how the mafia appears to be deeply anchored in Russian society and to have ties with the government. US diplomats believe that some criminal masterminds have the blessing of people in the Kremlin and security services."
Read more

Source: wlcentral.org

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By Admin (from 02/12/2010 @ 12:00:43, in en - Global Observatory, read 1173 times)

The following are actual stories provided by travel agents:

I had someone ask for an aisle seats so that his or her hair wouldn't get messed up by being near the window.

A client called in inquiring about a package to Hawaii.  After going over all the cost info, she asked, "Would it be cheaper to fly to California and then take the train to Hawaii?"

I got a call from a woman who wanted to go to Capetown.  I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information when she interrupted me with "I'm not trying to make you look stupid, but Capetown is in Massachusetts. "Without trying to make her look like the stupid one, I calmly explained, "Capecod is in Massachusetts, Capetown is in Africa."  Her response ... click.

A man called, furious about a Florida package we did. I asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando. He said he was expecting an ocean-view room. I tried to explain that is not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of the state. He replied, "Don't lie to me. I looked on the map and Florida is a very thin state."

I got a call from a man who asked, "Is it possible to see England from Canada?" I said, "No." He said "But they look so close on the map."

Another man called and asked if he could rent a car in Dallas. When I pulled up the reservation, I noticed he had a 1-hour lay over in Dallas.  When I asked him why he wanted to rent a car, he said, "I heard Dallas was a big airport, and I need a car to drive between the gates to save time."

A nice lady just called. She needed to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at 8:20am and got into Chicago at 8:33am.  I tried to explain that Michigan was an hour ahead of llinois, but she could not understand the concept of time zones. Finally I told her the plane went very fast, and she bought that!

A woman called and asked, "Do airlines put your physical description on your bag so they know who's luggage belongs to who?" I said, "No, why do you ask?" She replied, "Well, when I checked in with the airline, they put a tag on my luggage that said FAT, and I'm overweight, is there any connection?" After putting her on hold for a minute while I "looked into it" (I was actually laughing) I came back and explained the city code for Fresno is FAT, and that the airline was just putting a destination tag on her luggage.

I just got off the phone with a man who asked, "How do I know which plane to get on?" I asked him what exactly he meant, which he replied, "I was told my flight number is 823, but none of these darn planes have numbers on them."

A woman called and said, "I need to fly to Pepsi-cola on one of those computer planes." I asked if she meant to fly to Pensacola on a commuter plane. She said, "Yeah, whatever."

A businessman called and had a question about the documents he needed in order to fly to China. After a lengthy discussion about passports, I reminded him he needed a visa. "Oh no I don't, I've been to China many times and never had to have one of those." I double checked and sure enough, his stay required a visa. When I told him this he said, "Look, I've been to China four times and every time they have accepted my American Express."

A woman called to make reservations, "I want to go from Chicago to Hippopotamus, New York" The agent was at a loss for words. Finally, the agent: "Are you sure that's the name of the town?" "Yes, what flights do you have?" replied the customer. After some searching, the agent came back with, "I'm sorry, ma'am, I've looked up every airport code in the country and can't find a Hippopotamus anywhere." The customer retorted, "Oh don't be silly. Everyone knows where it is. Check your map!" The agent scoured a map of the state of New York and finally offered, "You don't mean Buffalo, do you?" "That's it! I knew it was a big animal!"

Source: strangeplaces.net

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By Admin (from 02/12/2010 @ 10:00:18, in ro - Observator Global, read 1368 times)

 Savantul rus Mihail Lomonosov a fost primul care a propus teoria biogenica (organica) a formarii petrolului, pornind de la premisa ca acesta a aparut prin descompunerea, in anumite conditii, a deseurilor biologice, de-a lungul milioanelor de ani. Spre deosebire de Lomonosov, care considera asadar petrolul ca fiind un combustibil fosil, o alta minte luminata, chimistul Dmitri Mendeleev, autorul tabelului periodic al elementelor, credea ca petrolul reprezinta nu o substanta formata in urma putrezirii plantelor si animalelor ce au trait candva pe Terra, ci un material primordial, nascut in strafundurile planetei, ce erupe constant catre suprafata acesteia, precum magma vulcanilor.

Savantii pastreaza tacerea de frica

Desi aparute in secolele trecute, ambele teorii au fost dezvoltate in secolul XX. Dar, in mod bizar, doar prima s-a bucurat de o popularizare intensa, astfel incat opinia publica de pretutindeni considera intemeiata parerea ca petrolul se gaseste in zacaminte de forma unor „pungi” care, cu timpul, se epuizeaza total. Care este motivul acestei popularizari? Si de ce asupra ipotezei abiogenice s-a asternut praful? Simplu: pentru ca marile concerne din domeniu vor sa se creada ca petrolul este, intr-adevar, pe duca.

Procedand astfel, ele pot scumpi dupa bunul plac „aurul negru” si implicit produsele derivate. Poate parea o opinie desprinsa din teoria conspiratiei, dar tot mai numerosi savanti inclina sa creada ca acesta este adevarul. „Multi dintre membri comunitatii stiintifice au optat sa pastreze tacerea asupra acestui subiect din motive mai degraba lumesti. Ei vor sa-si pastreze slujbele si de aceea refuza sa faca valuri, desi stiu prea bine adevarul in privinta ipotezei biogenice”, afirma geologul rus Vadim Skariatin.

 Potrivit academicianului rus Anatoli Dmitrievski, directorul Institutului de Studii pentru Petrol si Gaze, ipoteza biogenica a fost implementata la inceputul secolului XX, cand metodele de detectare si exploatare a zacamintelor erau inapoiate. „Puturile erau sapate doar in formatiuni de origine sedimentara, care ar fi trebuit sa formeze petrolul, potrivit teoriei biogenice. Dar dezvoltarea metodelor de detectie le-a permit geologilor sa descopere campuri petrolifere si in bazine cu roci cristaline, despre care se credea ca e imposibil sa adaposteasca petrol. Un exemplu este uriasul bazin White Tiger, din largul coastelor vietnameze, care sta pe un fundament de granit, lucru imposibil de explicat prin teoria biogenica.”

Dmitrievski spune ca oamenii nu trebuie sa-si imagineze zacamantul petrolifer ca pe o „balta” aflata in adancuri. De fapt, petrolul se afla in porii rocilor colectoare, ca apa in porii unui burete. Daca el este extras rapid si in cantitate mare, zacamantul va fi, aparent, epuizat. Dar porii vor continua, peste ani, sa secrete petrol, si zacamantul se va umple la loc.

In alta ordine de idei, in ultimii ani s-a descoperit ca multe dintre bazinele petrolifere unde se credea ca epuizarea combustibililor este totala, „mustesca” de petrol. „Am gasit doua astfel de campuri la granita dintre Georgia si Azerbaidjan. Au produs petrol mai bine de un secol, apoi exploatarea a fost oprita, pe motiv de epuizare a zacamintelor. Sondaje recente au demonstrat insa ca acestea s-au refacut.

Similar stau lucrurile in privinta unor campuri petroliere din regiunea Carpatilor, dar si din America de Sud. Am crezut ca si bazinul Romaskin ar fi epuizat, in proportie de 80% – asa dovedeau sondajele de acum doua decenii. Dar de cativa ani, suntem martori unei cresteri de 2 milioane tone de petrol pe an, in acest bazin. Potrivit noilor estimari, bazinul poate produce petrol pana cel putin in 2200”, afirma Renat Muslimov, consilier economic al presedintelui Tatarstanului.

In cazul orasului Groznii, capitala Ceceniei, lucrurile par chiar dramatice: exploatarea petrolului a inceput aici in 1897. Pana in 1960, cand zacamantul a fost considerat epuizat, s-au extras nu mai putin de 100 milioane tone petrol brut. Spre surprinderea geologilor, in ultimii ani, petrolul a inceput efectiv sa tasneasca din pamant, localnicii il aduna cu galetile. Pericolul este imens, spun specialistii, fiindca poate izbucni oricand un incendiu catastrofal.

Nu doar rusii par sa sustina valabilitatea teoriei abiogenice, ci si americanii, chiar daca o fac cu jumatate de gura. Teoria a fost verificata de ei in cazul bazinului petrolifer Eugene Island 330, din largul coastelor Louisianei. Rezervele de aici au fost considerate epuizate, dar in ultimul deceniu mai multe sondaje au aratat ca ele s-au restabilit, extractia atingand nivele comparabile cu cele din deceniile trecute.

Autor: GABRIEL TUDOR - Revista Magazin

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By Admin (from 02/12/2010 @ 08:00:51, in it - Scienze e Societa, read 4240 times)

Ci sono paesaggi che sembrano immortalati da pittori, e borghi degni delle cartoline più belle. Oberammergau è ancora di più, è una raccolta di immagini fatate, un repertorio di opere d’arte, con una cornice paesaggistica spettacolare a sua volta. Siamo nel sud della Germania, nel land della Baviera, in un paese montano di 5 mila abitanti, famoso per le sue splendide case affrescate. Per questo, e per tanti altri motivi, Oberammergau è senza dubbio una delle città più affascinanti della Strada tedesca delle Alpi, a pochi passi dal castello di Linderhof e dall’abbazia benedettina di Ettal, costellata di chalet alpini e fattorie, abbracciata da foreste misteriose che profumano di libertà.

 

Proprio le lussureggianti foreste del territorio sono state da sempre una delle maggiori risorse del borgo: gli artigiani di Oberammergau, infatti, sono famosi in tutta la Germania per le pregiate sculture in legno, una tradizione nata intorno al Cinquecento e sfociata nell’Ottocento nella fondazione di una scuola specializzata. Tante generazioni di artisti del legno l’hanno frequentata, e alcuni sono diventati dei professionisti nella creazione di crocifissi.

 

Non è questa la sola tradizione di Oberammergau, che come ogni antico borgo montano ama ricordare il passato, le usanze tipiche e le feste popolari. Un’altra famosa tradizione locale è la “Passionsspiele”, la rievocazione della Passione di Cristo che ogni dieci anni, dal 1634, si ripete nel cuore della città. Graziati in seguito a una grave epidemia di peste, che per mesi aveva causato sofferenze e decessi nel borgo, gli abitanti fecero voto di ricordare periodicamente il Signore. Il risultato è un evento memorabile, di fama ormai internazionale, che coinvolge nell’organizzazione oltre 2 mila persone tra cast artistico e tecnico: un numero impressionante, se si considera che la popolazione locale ammonta a poco più di 5 mila anime.

 

Lo scenario di un simile spettacolo è lo splendido Teatro della Passione, edificato nel 1930 e in grado di accogliere oltre 5 mila spettatori. Da maggio a settembre, per sei ore al giorno, un migliaio di figuranti mette in scena le toccanti vicende della Passione, che realizzano ad ogni edizione il tutto esaurito.

 

Chi desidera assistere alla manifestazione è costretto a prenotare addirittura con anni di anticipo. La teatralità pare proprio una caratteristica onnipresente a Oberammergau: chi passeggia per le strade può avere la sensazione di essere finito tra le quinte di uno spettacolo, nei pannelli della scenografia. Infatti si rimane ammirati di fronte alle abitazioni affrescate, con temi prevalentemente religiosi ma anche banchetti e battute di caccia, tra cui spiccano la Geroldhaus, la Forsthaus, la Mußldomahaus e la Pilatushaus. Quest’ultima è, a detta di molti, la dimora dipinta più bella del paese, realizzata nel XVIII secolo e oggi sede della Casa dell’Artigianato locale. Per un tocco di magia in più si può visitare, in Ettaler Strasse, la casa dei fratelli Grimm.

Da vedere anche l’ Heimatmuseum, l’esposizione che con il suo presepe di sculture in legno narra la storia della popolazione locale, e la suggestiva chiesa di Sankt Peter und Paul, realizzata in marmo rosa e bianco secondo il gusto barocco. Chi non si accontenta del centro incantevole di Oberammergau può spingersi nei dintorni, alla scoperta di una natura mozzafiato e di tante attrazioni imperdibili. Una fra tante, il già citato castello di Linderhof, un maniero lussuoso che fu residenza di Re Ludwig, circondato da un immenso parco che ospita la grotta di Venere e il rifugio di Hunding.

 

Ma le atmosfere fiabesche del borgo non devono ingannare: Oberammergau non è il paese dei balocchi, bensì una località vivace e travolgente, che sa essere avventurosa. Chi ama il dinamismo può raggiungere i vicini stabilimenti sciistici, che offrono una ripida discesa di ben 783 metri e 9 skilift, per accedere agli oltre 16 km di piste. Sciatori e snowboarders, principianti e temerari, ma anche fondisti ed escursionisti rimarranno rapiti di fronte a un paesaggio innevato da vertigine.

 

Come si addice a ogni ambiente montano, il clima della zona è quello suggestivo e frizzante dei borghi alpini, caratterizzato da inverni rigidi e estati fresche, perfette per passeggiare all’aperto e respirare aria pura. Le temperature medie di luglio, il mese più caldo, vanno da una minima di 12°C a una massima di 23°C, mentre in gennaio si va dai -5°C ai 2°C: le condizioni ottimali per delle suggestive cascate di fiocchi di neve. Le precipitazioni si concentrano specialmente in gennaio, giugno e luglio, quando si presentano in media per 16 giorni al mese, sotto forma di pioggia o di neve a seconda della stagione.

 

Con un clima così, anche il Natale diventa più caratteristico, specialmente sé è illuminato a festa da bancarelle e candele. A Oberammergau, ogni prima domenica di Avvento, un incantevole quartetto di flauti inaugura la distesa di bancarelle dedicate a Gesù Bambino, cariche di dolciumi, prodotti artigianali e tazze di vin brulé. A completare la magia ci sono i canti natalizi nella chiesa di San Pietro e Paolo, e la terza domenica di Avvento si può assistere in diretta alle dimostrazioni dei maestri artigiani.

Fonte: Ente Nazionale Germanico per il Turismo

 

Chi ha deciso di immergersi nell’atmosfera montanara deve soltanto pianificare il viaggio. Se si viaggia in macchina si può raggiungere Oberammergau da Monaco mediante l’autostrada A95, muovendosi in direzione Garmisch e, giunti a Oberau, deviando per Ettal-Oberammergau fino all’uscita di Oberammergau. Per chi vola ci sono i vicini aeroporti di Innsbruck (Austria) a 75 km circa, e Monaco di Baviera, a 90 km circa.

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Human behavior is subject to the same laws as any other natural phenomenon. Our customs, behaviors, and values are byproducts of our culture. No one is born with greed, prejudice, bigotry, patriotism and hatred; these are all learned behavior patterns. If the environment is unaltered, similar behavior will reoccur.

Today, much of the technology needed to bring about a global Resource-Based Economy exists. If we choose to conform to the limitations of our present monetary-based economy, then it is likely that we will continue to live with its inevitable results: war, poverty, hunger, deprivation, crime, ignorance, stress, fear, and inequity. On the other hand, if we embrace the concept of a global resource-based economy , learn more about it, and share our understanding with our friends, this will help humanity evolve out of its present state.

http://www.thevenusproject.com

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By Admin (from 01/12/2010 @ 18:00:09, in en - Global Observatory, read 1159 times)

... CONTINUES after the First Part of the video.

The British Broadcasting Corporation: In a wide-ranging special interview, Jeremy Paxman talks to Christopher Hitchens about his cancer diagnosis, his life, his politics and his writing.

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By Admin (from 01/12/2010 @ 12:00:01, in en - Science and Society, read 2461 times)

Politics Explained

FEUDALISM: You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

PURE SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else's cows. You have to take care of all of the cows. The government gives you as much milk as you need.

BUREAUCRATIC SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and put them in a barn with everyone else's cows. They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and eggs as the regulations say you need.

FASCISM: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them and sells you the milk.

PURE COMMUNISM: You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.

RUSSIAN COMMUNISM: You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk.

CAMBODIAN COMMUNISM: You have two cows. The government takes both of them and shoots you.

DICTATORSHIP: You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you.

PURE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.

REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.

BUREAUCRACY: You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. Then it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.

PURE ANARCHY: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors try to take the cows and kill you.

LIBERTARIAN/ANARCHO-CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.

SURREALISM: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

Source: sjgames.com

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By Admin (from 01/12/2010 @ 10:00:45, in ro - Stiinta si Societate, read 1584 times)

  Variola, SIDA, gripa si inca multe alte maladii grave care ne pun viata in pericol au la origine virusii. Dusmani de moarte ai omenirii? Dimpotriva, spun oamenii de stiinta; populatia virala nu cultiva nici un fel de intentii asasine fata de noi, ci - pur si simplu - se multumeste sa existe. Iar in multe cazuri ne ajuta pe noi insine sa existam! E poate greu de crezut, dar pentru aceasta va oferim sase argumente in sprijinul acestei idei.

Phoenix, un stramos pasnic

Virusul e orice particula constituita dintr-un acid nucleic (ADN sau ARN) inconjurat de un strat protector format din proteine si uneori de un invelis suplimentar. In mod surprinzator, unii cercetatori considera ca - nici mai mult, nici mai putin - virusii se afla la originea vietii terestre. Noi insine am fi un gen de suma de virusi.

Primele organisme unicelulare vii au fost compuse, fara nici un fel de indoiala, dintr-o membrana, o citoplasma si un material genetic rudimentar lipsit de nucleu. E foarte posibil ca ele sa fi fost infectate de virusi care, pe parcursul evolutiei, le-au furnizat structura nucleului, dând astfel nastere celulelor eucariote (cele din care suntem constituiti). Virusologii au avut marea surpriza sa constate, comparând patrimoniul genetic uman cu cel al virusilor cunoscuti, ca in jur de jumatate din genomul nostru este de origine virala!

Ceea ce e enorm de mult. Vechimea acestei „amicitii” se situeaza undeva, in trecut, la cel putin 5 milioane de ani. Contrariati de cele descoperite, cercetatorii au recreat o particula virala „fosila”, botezata Phoenix, infectioasa. Totusi, ineficace impotriva celulelor actuale ale corpului uman, care intre timp au dezvoltat mecanisme de aparare imbatabile.

Internetul ADN-ului

O intrebare esentiala i-a pus in incurcatura pe virusologi: cum se face ca, dupa infectarea celulelor-gazda de catre virusi, acestea nu au disparut? S-a demonstrat astfel ca virusii constituie un factor evolutiv de neinlocuit pentru genomul nostru, deoarece - daca evolutia s-ar fi realizat numai prin mutatii - n-ar fi existat astazi o atât de mare diversitate a speciilor.

Integrati putin câte putin in patrimoniul nostru genetic, retrovirusii nu numai ca l-au modificat, ci l-au si imbogatit cu secvente de ADN straine. O capacitate de difuzare a informatiei genetice universale, care face ca virusii sa fie considerati un fel de Internet al ADN-ului: virosfera a precedat deci infosfera cu câteva milioane de ani! Un amanunt deosebit de important este acela ca, pe parcursul dezvoltarii embrionare, numeroase elemente retrovirale endogene se activeaza in momente precis stabilite.

Daca fenomenul nu ar avea loc, nu ar mai exista nici dezvoltare. {i surprizele nu se opresc aici. In prezent, se cunosc circa 1031 virusi diferiti, mai mult decât organismele celorlalte specii vii. Unii dintre ei, fiind dusmani ai unor bacterii, inseamna ca sunt de fapt prietenii nostri. De altfel, deja se folosesc asemenea metode terapeutice, cu virusi pe post de substituenti ai antibioticelor. Domeniul cel mai important este cancerologia, unde asa-numitii virusi oncogeni pot infecta pâna la a ucide celulele tumorale.

Virusul HIV va trata... SIDA!

Pentru geneticieni, virusii reprezinta obiecte de analiza si unelte de cercetare ideale si datorita lor pot fi corectate problemele sau bolile genetice. Ideea e simpla: manipulati in laborator, virusii „prietenosi” sunt echipati cu gene ajutatoare pe care le vor depune in celulele bolnave. Astfel, cel considerat inca un dusman de moarte pentru organismul uman - virusul HIV-, „dezarmat” si dotat in schimb cu gene nepericuloase, ajunge un redutabil aliat al omului tocmai impotriva bolii.

Prin urmare, virusul nu e programat sa faca rau. Este un fel de animal extrem de mic, traitor in corpul nostru ca orice alta specie intr-un mediu anume: are un loc si functii. El nu-si contamineaza gazda pentru a o distruge, ci pentru a supravietui. In acest context, trebuie inteles ca boala este o ruptura in echilibrul ecosistemului. Sa recunoastem ca avem de-a face cu inversarea categorica a perspectivelor asupra domeniului, ceea ce e pe cale sa ne aduca imense avantaje.

Autor: ADRIAN-NICOLAE POPESCU - Sursa: magazin.ro

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Füssen im Allgäu - una città davvero pittoresca. Sul punto di incrocio tra la Strada Romantica e la Strada Tedesca delle Alpi, Füssen è uno degli indirizzi migliori della Baviera ed il punto di partenza ideale per visitare i castelli Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau, Linderhof e la chiesa Wieskirche, un gioiello rococò e "patrimonio dell’umanità" dell’UNESCO.

 

Intorno alla città vecchia, con le sue sontuose chiese barocche, sono situati, in un idilliaco paesaggio lacustre ai piedi della Alpi, i borghi Bad Falenbach, Hopfen am See e Weißensee.

La pittoresca città storica di Füssen entusiasma i visitatori con il castello Hohes Schloss, una delle costruzioni fortificate tardo-gotiche più belle della Germania meridionale, il convento barocco di St. Mang, le case medioevali e le piazze idilliache.

 

I castelli reali Neuschwanstein e Hohenschwangau (4 km) e la Wieskirche (25 km), Oberammergau (50 km) e la cima del Zugspitze (60 km) sono facilmente raggiungibili da Füssen.

 

Füssen propone un ricco programma di rappresentazioni come, ad esempio, tutti gli anni, i concerti nella sala dei principi (Fürstensaal) oppure il "Kaiserfest zu Füssen" (festa imperiale) dalla durata di tre giorni, e numerose prestigiose rappresentazioni singole. Nel teatro per concerti Neuschwanstein, sulle sponde del Forggensee di Füssen, il nuovo musical Ludwig fa rivivere il re bavarese Ludwig II.

 

Il Museo della città di Füssen nell’ex monastero St. Mang è una meta immancabile: negli ambienti barocchi sono esposti antichi liuti e violini ed è conservato l’affresco della "Danza macabra" (Füssener Totentanz).

Da non mancare la Bayerische Staatsgalerie nel castello Hohes Schloss, con opere del tardo gotico e del Rinascimento.

 

II "Königswinkel", l’angolo dei re che circonda Füssen e il castello Neuschwanstein, è uno dei paesaggi bavaresi più suggestivi tra alte montagne e le prealpi collinari; incastonati in questa cornice, rilucono il fiume Lech e oltre dieci laghi.

Come arrivare a Fussen?

La città si trova a sud di Monaco di Baviera, non distante dal confine con l'Austria.

Si può scegliere un percorso diretto, utilizzando la A 22 del Brennero e poi da Innsbruck prendere direzione Bregenz, uscire a Motz e seguire le indicazioni per Reutte lungo la 179, oltrepassata la quale si arriva in pochi minuti a Füssen im Allgäu.

Per chi viaggia in aereo gli aeroporti più vicini sono München, Stuttgart e Augsburg.

La città è servita da treni regionali con collegamenti ICE, IC, EC:

L'autostrada più prossima è la A7.

Il clima dell'Allgäu è tipicamente alpino, con inverni freddi e nevosi, mentre l'estate risulta il periodo più piovoso anche se le temperature della regione risultano in genere gradevoli.

Il mese che presenta gli accumuli di pioggia più consistenti è luglio, mentre febbraio è il mese più avaro di precipitazioni. Le temperature massime raggiungono i 22-24 àC a luglio, ma nella scelta dell'abbigliamento è da considerare che con le escursioni in montagna si possono raggiungere quote elevate dove fa più freddo.

Fonte: Ente Nazionale Germanico per il Turismo

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