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  Britain scrambles fighter jets to escort Russian bombers
Posted by: IceWizard - 09-11-2015, 06:34 PM - Forum: World News - Replies (1)

Fri Sep 11, 2015 | 12:49 PM EDT

LONDON (Reuters) -
Britain has scrambled Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter jets to intercept two Russian bombers flying near UK airspace, the Ministry of Defense said.

The 'Blackjack' Tupolev Tu-160 bombers were
spotted on Thursday, the ministry said.

"Fighter aircraft scrambled from RAF
Lossiemouth in Scotland yesterday to meet two Russian aircraft," it added.

Intercepts of Russian aircraft by NATO have
increased over the last year amid heightened
tensions between the West and Moscow over
the Ukraine crisis.

(Reporting by William James; writing by Guy
Faulconbridge; editing by Stephen Addison)

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  Denmark says it will not join EU refugee quotas, has taken its share
Posted by: IceWizard - 09-11-2015, 11:40 AM - Forum: World News - No Replies

Fri Sep 11, 2015 | 6:40 AM EDT

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) -
Denmark will not take part in a scheme to share out 160,000 refugees proposed by European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker, integration minister Inger Stojberg said on Friday.

Denmark, like Britain, has opted out of
European Union Justice and Home Affairs rules covering some aspects of immigration and as such is not obliged to take part in any EU schemes on sharing out refugees.

"We're not going to take any of the 160,000
asylum seekers that need to be distributed on
Monday," Stojberg told journalists. "There are
two reasons: Partly because we have a justice
opt-out, and partly because we have taken our

EU interior ministers were meeting on Monday
to discuss Junker's proposals.

Britain has said it will take 20,000 refugees from Syrian camps over five years..

Denmark became the latest front line in
Europe's refugee crisis when over 3,000
entered the country this week, although most
said they were heading towards Sweden,
where they expected a friendlier welcome.

Denmark's reaction has been haphazard, trying to register refugees as per EU rules and temporarily closing some traffic with Germany, but then allowing the migrants to move freely after it became apparent the police had no power to stop them.

More than 14,000 people claimed asylum in
Denmark last year and it expects around
20,000 this year.

Sweden took in more than 80,000 refugees last year and expects to take the same number this year.

(Reporting by Teis Jensen and Alexander
Tange; writing by Sabina Zawadzki; Editing by
Kevin Liffey)

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  Russia says seeks coordination over Syria to avoid 'incidents'
Posted by: IceWizard - 09-11-2015, 11:35 AM - Forum: World News - No Replies

Fri Sep 11, 2015 | 6:32 AM EDT

MOSCOW (Reuters) -
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday coordination was needed between Russia's military and the Pentagon to avoid "unintended incidents" around Syria, where both countries have a military presence.

Lavrov said Russia would continue to supply
weapons to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
to help the Syrian armed forces fight against
Islamic State militants.

He told a news conference Russia was
conducting military exercises in the
Mediterranean Sea, that it had been for some
time, and that they were in line with
international law.

He said the Pentagon had suspended
operational cooperation with the Russian
military, but that this should be resumed since
both the U.S. military and Russia's armed forces were operating in and around Syria.

(Reporting by Christian Lowe; Editing by
Andrew Osborn)

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  For the open minded!
Posted by: Breacher - 09-11-2015, 07:56 AM - Forum: The Lounge - Replies (1)

Although I've titled this thread "For the open minded" it is really for everyone, but those who are comfortable existing in their cozy little box may have difficulty digesting it.

I saw this TED Talk video today about human consciousness and thought it was very good and therefore wanted to share it with you guys.

The video is less than twenty minutes and carries what I believe is an extremely important message and I hope you can all find the time to watch it.

IceWizard, I'm pretty sure you'll like this one.




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  Wilders tells Dutch parliament refugee crisis is 'Islamic invasion'
Posted by: IceWizard - 09-11-2015, 12:26 AM - Forum: World News - No Replies

Thu Sep 10, 2015 | 11:37 AM EDT
By Yoruk Bahceli

THE HAGUE (Reuters) -
Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders called the wave of refugees pushing into Europe an "Islamic invasion", during a parliamentary debate on Thursday that exposed deep divisions over how the Netherlands should respond to the crisis.

In a debate a day after European Commission
chief Jean-Claude Juncker appealed to EU
members to share out refugees arriving on the
bloc's fringes, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said
the EU should help them in camps closer to
their country of origin, rather than in Europe.

Angela Merkel, leader of Germany which is
taking in far more refugees than any other EU
country, wants the rest of the EU to accept
quotas of asylum seekers.

The conservative Dutch government says it is only willing to take in more if all EU states agree.

Wilders, who is outside the government but
whose party is the most popular in opinion
polls, called the wave of refugees arriving on
the EU's Mediterranean shores and traveling
north "an Islamic invasion".

"Masses of young men in their twenties with
beards singing Allahu Akbar across Europe. It's
an invasion that threatens our prosperity, our
security, our culture and identity," he said.

Tens of thousands of people, many fleeing war
and Islamic State in Syria, are trying to get to
Germany and other EU countries where they
hope they will be welcomed.

Rutte said the Netherlands, which assumes the
rotating EU presidency in January, wants
Europe to invest in centers outside Europe.

At those sites, which he called "UNHCR plus"
facilities in a reference to the U.N. refugee
agency, people would have access to education and jobs.

"We want to help to relieve the problems in the
region by making the existing facilities more
manageable," he said. "It will take energy and money and manpower, but we can work toward a situation where there is more security in the region and we can avoid people boarding boats to Europe," he said.

The idea that such conditions could be created
for millions of refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey was dismissed by Alexander Pechtold, a member of centrist opposition party Democrats 66, as "an illusion".

Rutte's fragile coalition government nearly split
in April over asylum policy.

The government plans to toughen its stance by cutting off food and shelter after a few weeks for those whose claims for refugee status are turned down.

Roughly 54 percent of Dutch voters are
opposed to letting into the country more than
the roughly 2,000 refugees previously agreed, a poll showed last week.

Under the latest proposals that figure is seen rising to more than 9,000.

(Writing by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Robin

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  Exclusive: Russian troops join combat in Syria - sources
Posted by: IceWizard - 09-11-2015, 12:07 AM - Forum: World News - No Replies

Thu Sep 10, 2015 | 3:10 AM EDT
By Gabriela Baczynska, Tom Perry, Laila Bassam and Phil Stewart

Russian forces have begun participating in
military operations in Syria in support of
government troops, three Lebanese sources
familiar with the political and military situation
there said on Wednesday.

The sources, speaking to Reuters on condition
they not be identified, gave the most forthright
account yet from the region of what the United
States fears is a deepening Russian military
role in Syria's civil war, though one of the
Lebanese sources said the number of Russians involved so far was small.

U.S. officials said Russia sent two tank landing
ships and additional cargo aircraft to Syria in
the past day or so and deployed a small
number of naval infantry forces.

The U.S. officials, who also spoke on condition
of anonymity, said the intent of Russia's military moves in Syria was unclear.

One suggested the focus may be on preparing an airfield near the port city of Latakia, a stronghold of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

U.S. officials have not ruled out the possibility
that Russia may want to use the airfield for air
combat missions.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to his Russian counterpart for the second time in four days to express concern over reports of
Russian military activities in Syria, warning that
it could fan more violence. The White House said it was closely monitoring the situation.

Russia says the Syrian government must be
incorporated into a shared global fight against
Islamic State, the Islamist group that has taken
over large parts of Syria and Iraq.

The United States and Assad's regional foes see him as part of the problem. "We would welcome constructive Russian contributions to the counter-ISIL effort, but we've been clear that it would be unconscionable for any party, including the Russians, to provide any support to the Assad regime," White House spokesman Eric Schultz said, using an acronym for Islamic State.


Assad's forces have faced big setbacks on the
battlefield in a four-year-old multi-sided civil war
that has killed 250,000 people and driven half
of Syria's 23 million people from their homes.

Syrian troops pulled out of a major air base last Wednesday, and a monitoring group said this meant government soldiers were no longer present at all in Idlib province, most of which slipped from government control earlier this year.

Moscow confirmed it had "experts" on the
ground in Syria, its long-time ally in the Middle
East. But Russia has declined to comment on the scale and scope of its military presence.

Damascus denied Russians were involved in
combat, but a Syrian official said the presence
of experts had increased in the past year.

Reflecting Western concern, Germany's foreign minister warned Russia against increased military intervention, saying the Iran nuclear deal and new U.N. initiatives offered a starting point for a political solution to the conflict.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said reports of growing Russian military activity in Syria were a cause for concern, while France said it made finding a political solution to the crisis more complicated.

Two of the Lebanese sources said the
Russians were establishing two bases in Syria,
one near the coast and one further inland
which would be an operations base.

"The Russians are no longer just advisors," one of the sources said. "The Russians have
decided to join the war against terrorism."


Moscow's only naval base in the Mediterranean is at Tartous on the Syrian coast in territory held by Assad, and keeping it secure would be an important strategic objective for the Kremlin.

Another of the Lebanese sources said that so
far any Russian combat role was still small:
"They have started in small numbers, but the
bigger force did not yet take part ... There are
numbers of Russians taking part in Syria but
they did not yet join the fight against terrorism strongly."

The Syrian official said: "Russian experts are
always present but in the last year they have
been present to a greater degree."

Officials in the United States, which is fighting
an air war against the Islamist militant group
Islamic State in Syria and also opposes Assad's government, have said in recent days that they suspect Russia is reinforcing to aid Assad.

Washington has put pressure on countries
nearby to deny their air space to Russian
flights, a move Moscow denounced on
Wednesday as "international boorishness".

Russia has set out the case for supporting
Assad in the most forthright terms yet in the
past few days, likening the Western approach
to Syria to failures in Iraq and Libya.

Part of the diplomatic quarrel has centered
around use of air space for flights, which
Moscow says bring humanitarian aid but U.S.
officials say may be bringing military supplies.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of
anonymity, told Reuters on Wednesday that
multiple Russian flights have passed over the
airspace of Iran and Iraq to reach Syria.


The State Department said Russian use of
Iranian airspace would not be surprising, given
Tehran's past support for Assad. Spokesman John Kirby said the United States had advised "partners and our friends to ask the Russians tough questions about" overflight requests.

He did not elaborate, saying only: "I’m not gonna detail diplomatic conversations."

To avoid flying over Turkey, one of Assad's
main enemies, Russia has sought to fly planes
over Balkan states, but Washington has urged
them to deny Moscow permission.

On Tuesday, Bulgaria refused a Russian
request to use its airspace citing doubts about
the cargo on board.

It said on Wednesday it would allow Russian supply flights to Syria to use its airspace only if Moscow agreed to checks of their cargo at a Bulgarian airport.

Turkey has not officially confirmed a ban on
Russian flights to Syria but says it considers
any requests to fly over its air space to Syria on a case by case basis.

Thus far in the war, Iran and its Lebanese ally
Hezbollah have been Assad's main sources of
military support.

The momentum turned against Assad earlier this year.

In the latest setback, state television reported
government troops had surrendered an air
base in northwestern Syria to a rebel alliance
after nearly two years under siege.

This meant the last government troops had
withdrawn from central Idlib province, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based group that monitors the conflict.

(Additional reporting by Suleiman al-Khalidi in
Amman; Mark Hosenball and Lesley Wroughton in Washington; Writing by Tom Perry, Sylvia Westall, Peter Graff and Phil Stewart; Editing by Giles Elgood, David Storey, Grant McCool)

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Posted by: Kittycat - 09-08-2015, 10:25 PM - Forum: Blacklist - Replies (8)

Anybody heard of them? Stumbled onto them poking around the internet.

Sorry, admin, i see they are blacklisted. Tried to edit but it was too late.

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Shocked Famous Full Throttle Saloon Burns to the Ground
Posted by: IceWizard - 09-08-2015, 04:02 PM - Forum: World News - Replies (7)

[Image: 11988341_921320584601785_5259536816566141396_n.jpg]

Tue 9:42 AM, Sep 08, 2015

The call came in just after midnight, and crews first on the seen could see smoke coming from the roof of the main structure.

Soon, the entire facility was engulfed in flames,
which spread to nearby structures.

Heavy smoke rose into the early morning air as fire crews raced back and forth bringing water and supplies.

A call came out from those in charge to keep
people out of the burning structure.

Rather, fire crews worked to "surround and drown," or fight the fire from outside by surrounding it.

Fire crews have temporarily closed Highway 34 in front of the structure because of the
dangerous conditions.

Fire crews from Piedmont, Vale, Whitewood,
Sturgis and Fort Meade were among the
agencies called in to fight the blaze.

Crews were still fighting the fire as of 1:30 a.m.

The Full Throttle Saloon is owned by Michael
Ballard, and his rally-week life running the
establishment is the plot for a television show
which filmed once again this year.

Full Throttle Saloon

[Image: promo12.jpg]

This is a sad sad day indeed! And Angie should have just had her baby by now, but the way Mike Ballard is, I'm sure he's well insured to say the least ...

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  Tortured Circus Bear Cholita Finds Refuge in Cloud Forest
Posted by: IceWizard - 09-08-2015, 07:16 AM - Forum: World News - Replies (1)

[Image: 1_cholita_looking_out_of_cage.jpg]
(During her time in the circus, Cholita’s paws were cut down to stumps to remove her claws and her were teeth smashed.)

LIMA, Peru —
After a lifetime of cruelty and abuse in a Peruvian circus, life has suddenly gotten much better for Cholita, an aging Andean spectacled bear.

During her circus ordeal, in which she was only let out of a small cage to perform tricks, Cholita’s paws were cut down to stumps to
remove her claws and her teeth smashed.

The stress even caused her thick black hair to completely fall out.

But now, British group Animal Defenders International (ADI) has returned her to a spacious, specially built enclosure in dense
cloud forest in the Taricaya Ecological Reserve, in southeastern Peru.

[Image: 17_cholita_free.jpg]
(Cholita explores her new home.)

Cholita, 25, is one of a dwindling number of Andean spectacled bears, the same species as children’s favorite Paddington.

Experts believe there may now be as few as 5,000 of the small, timid, omnivorous mammals
scattered in remote foothills from Colombia to Bolivia.

She spent three days on the epic 1,000-mile drive, over the Andes, swaddled in blankets to protect her from the cold mountain air.

ADI even laid on an oxygen tent as the truck carrying Cholita went over a high pass almost 15,000 feet above sea level.

[Image: 4_cholita_oxygen_on_andes.jpg]
(Cholita is given oxygen during her
high-altitude trip through the Andes.)

Her stroke of fortune comes as ADI prepares to airlift 33 lions, rescued in the same operation from circuses in Peru and Colombia, back to Africa.

ADI head Jan Creamer said: “When we first met Cholita, the vivid scars of her abusive circus life were clear to see. She has come so far since then, and it is a wonderful feeling to have seen Cholita return to the world from which she was stolen as a baby.”

[Image: 10_cholita_on_boat.jpg]
(Cholita rides a boat during her long journey back to the cloud forest.)

Some locals still hunt the spectacled bear. But the biggest threat is habitat loss, as humans increasingly cut down the forests in which the bears live.

Cholita was the star of the ADI convoy of rescued animals to Taricaya, which also included three woolly monkeys, two spider monkeys, a mountain lion and a macaw.

The move follows campaigning by ADI that led to Peru banning circus acts including wild animals in 2011.

The mountain lion was seized from a circus, where it had been living in a cage on the back
of a pick-up truck, while the monkeys and macaw were taken from wildlife traffickers.

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  Four More Mexican Officials Charged Over Escape of 'El Chapo'
Posted by: IceWizard - 09-08-2015, 06:57 AM - Forum: World News - Replies (1)

SEP 7 2015, 11:20 PM ET

Four officials have been charged for their suspected roles in the jailbreak of Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the federal courts system said Monday, bringing the total number of officials charged in his escape to seven.

Guzman broke out of a maximum-security prison in central Mexico in July, escaping in a tunnel built right into his cell at the Altiplano prison.

The incident was a humiliating blow to President Enrique Pena Nieto.

[Image: 150713-el-chapo-jpo-526a_e51a1957e6073fd...0-1000.jpg]
(Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman after his arrest
in the Pacific resort city of Mazatlan, Mexico, in
February 2014.)

Two members of Mexico's intelligence agency,
CISEN, and two guards from Guzman's prison
have been charged with helping a prisoner
escape, the federal courts board said in a

According to the charges, the four officials didn't activate mechanisms to alert others of
Guzman's escape, even though all the
technological systems needed to do so were
working normally.

Three other officials were previously charged in Guzman's escape.

Last month, the acting head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said he thought Guzman was still in Mexico, adding that he was "not terribly surprised" to find out that Guzman had broken out of prison.

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