Daily Archives: November 21, 2016

BBC News: Trump: US to quit TPP trade deal on first day in office

Trump: US to quit TPP trade deal on first day in office – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38059623

Telemark, Norway

Telemark, Norway


Fundătura Ponorului, Munţii Şureanu Foto: Sebastiaenwww.facebook.com/Sebastiaen.Photography/timeline

Night in Rome 

Night in Rome

Watch “360 at Seal Beach Pier” on YouTube (Check all my vidros out on my YouTube channel!)

Chief Annatlas [Aanyálahaash], wearing a Chilkat blanket and spruce-root hat. 1910.

Chief Annatlas [Aanyálahaash], wearing a Chilkat blanket and spruce-root hat. 1910.



Today’s Holiday:Arbaeen Pilgrimage

Today’s Holiday:
Arbaeen Pilgrimage

In the year 680 CE, Imam al-Hussein died during the Battle of Taf in Karbala, Iraq. He was the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and, for Shiite Muslims, one of the three holiest figures in their religion. To commemorate his passing, Shiites from around the world hold the week-long Arbaeen Pilgrimage to his gravesite 40 days after his death. This period of 40 days is the traditional Muslim mourning period following a death. Imam al-Hussein’s tomb is in the town of Karbala, about 50 miles south of Baghdad. For Shiite Muslims, the city is also believed to be a gate to paradise.: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Today’s Birthday:Hetty Green (1834)

Today’s Birthday:
Hetty Green (1834)

Green was an American financier and reputedly the wealthiest American woman of her time. In 1865, her father and aunt both died, leaving her an estate valued at $10 million. She invested her inheritance so shrewdly that she came to be regarded as the greatest woman financier in the world, amassing an estate valued at $100-200 million. An extremely miserly woman, the “Witch of Wall Street” allegedly refused a hernia operation because it cost $150. What are some other examples of her stinginess?: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

This Day in History:First Permanent ARPANET Link Is Established (1969)

This Day in History:
First Permanent ARPANET Link Is Established (1969)

Funded by the US Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), ARPANET was the first digital network that utilized packet switching, a method of data transmission. A revolutionary technology, it ultimately led to the creation of the modern Internet. The network’s first permanent connection was made between computers at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Stanford Research Institute. By 1983, more than 300 computers were connected. What was the first message sent through ARPANET?: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Quote of the Day:Ambrose Bierce

Quote of the Day:
Ambrose Bierce

Friendless, adj.: Having no favors to bestow. Destitute of fortune. Addicted to utterance of truth and common sense.: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Article of the Day:Chalk Streams

Article of the Day:
Chalk Streams

Chalk streams are watercourses originating from chalk hills, where rainwater soaks into the ground and is trapped by porous chalk rock. The chalk acts as an aquifer, filtering the water that passes through it and creating a clear, mineral-rich spring lower down on the slope. Because the chalk also regulates the flow of water to the waterway below, there is little day-to-day variation in the amount of water entering the stream. Such conditions make chalk streams an ideal venue for what activity?: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Word of the Day:neophyte

Word of the Day:

Definition: (noun) A beginner or novice.
Synonyms: fledgling, newbie, newcomer, freshman, entrant, starter
Usage: You have no right to preach to me, you neophyte, that have not passed the porch of life, and are absolutely unacquainted with its mysteries.: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

France 24 : Merkel to stand for fourth term as German chancellor

Merkel to stand for fourth term as German chancellor


Angela Merkel confirmed Sunday she wants to run for a fourth term as German chancellor in next year’s election, a move likely to be welcomed in many capitals around the globe.

After months of feverish speculation, Merkeltold reporters Sunday night that “I literally thought about this decision endlessly … but I am ready to run for office again.”

Despite a voter backlash over her open-door migrant policy, the conservative is seen as a stabilising force in Europe amid uncertainty caused by Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as the next US president. 

With Trump’s victory in the United States and the rise in support for right-wing parties in Europe, some commentators see Merkel as a bastion of Western liberal values.

Merkel, 62, has governed Europe’s top economic power, which does not have term limits, since 2005. She is due to hold a news conference at 1800 GMT Sunday.

Another full four-year mandate, which pollsters say is likely, would tie the 16 year post-war record set by her mentor Helmut Kohl, who presided over the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall.

Some 55 percent of Germans want Merkel to serve a fourth term, with 39 percent against, an Emnid poll published in the Bild am Sonntag newspaper showed on Sunday.

With no clear successor in the CDU, her decision also comes as a relief to her party.

Merkel represents “stability and reliability in turbulent times because she holds society together and stands up to over-simplification” by populists, CDU deputy leader Julia Kloeckner told Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

“She stands for moderation and centrism instead of cheap headlines.”

Leader of free world?

As US President Barack Obama exits the stage, many observers say Merkel’s importance as a defender of Western values will only continue to grow, with some calling her the new “leader of the free world”.

While the globe braces for potentially radical changes in US leadership under Trump, Britain is wrestling with the fallout from its June vote backing withdrawal from the EU, and France is facing a presidential poll in May that could see far-right candidate Marine Le Pen snatch victory.

Underlining her relative strength, Merkel gathered Obama and the leaders of Britain, France, Spain and Italy at her chancellery Friday for talks on the fight against terrorism, climate change and the strategic threat posed by Russia.

‘Predictability and stability’

Merkel, who grew up in Communist East Germany, is a physicist who only became involved in politics after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Merkel is popular among Germans who see her as a straight-shooter and a safe pair of hands in a crisis. She is also seen as a talented negotiator but has also shown a ruthless streak.

But her decision to let in more than one million asylum seekers over the past two years dented her support.

It also revived the fortunes of the rightwing populist Alternative for Germany party (AfD), which has harnessed widespread anxiety about migration.

Nevertheless, observers said the recent seismic shifts in global politics were likely to drive traditionally risk-averse German voters back into her arms.

“Society’s need for predictability and stability could become so overpowering in the 2017 election year that even the creeping erosion of Merkel’s chancellorship won’t compromise her success at the polls in the end,” left-leaning news weekly Die Zeit said.

Obama endorsement

Merkel had long refused to be drawn on her plans for the general election, expected in September or October 2017, saying only that she would make the announcement “at the appropriate time”.

She repeated the line on Thursday at a bittersweet farewell news conference in Berlin with Obama, who praised her as an “outstanding partner” and urged Germans to “appreciate” her.

“It’s up to her whether she wants to stand again… but if I were here and I were German and I had a vote, I might support her,” he said with a smile.

Misgivings about Merkel’s refugee policy were blamed for a string of state election defeats for the CDU over the past year, and sparked an open revolt by its Bavarian sister party, the CSU, which demanded a strict upper limit on incoming asylum seekers.

After the regional election defeat, a humbled Merkel surprised the country by saying she wished she could turn the clock back on the migrant crisis, though she stopped short of saying her policy was a mistake.

A poll Sunday showed that Merkel’s conservatives would draw 33 percent of the vote if the election were held this weekend, down nine points from the last national election in 2013.

The centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), junior partners in Merkel’s right-left ruling coalition, were a distant second with 24 percent.

The AfD and the opposition Greens were neck-and-neck with 13 percent and 12 percent respectively, according to independent opinion research institute Emnid.

It is still unclear who will carry the SPD’s banner into the race, with party leader Sigmar Gabriel potentially facing a challenge from European Parliament President Martin Schulz.


France 24 : Pope extends priests’ right to forgive abortion

Pope extends priests’ right to forgive abortion


Pope Francis on Monday extended indefinitely to all Roman Catholic priests the power to forgive abortion, a right previously reserved for bishops or special confessors.

Francis, who has made a more inclusive and forgiving Roman Catholic Church a characteristic of his papacy, made the announcement in a document known as an “apostolic letter” after Sunday’s close of the Church’s “Holy Year of Mercy”.

He said he wanted to “restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life” but “there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with (God)”.

Francis had already temporarily granted the power to all priests to give what is known as “sacramental absolution” for abortion during the Holy Year, from Dec. 8 to Nov. 20, but the solemn tone of his words in Monday’s letter suggested that change would last for at least the rest of his papacy.

“I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion. The provision I had made in this regard, limited to the duration of the Extraordinary Holy Year, is hereby extended …,” he said.

In Roman Catholic teaching, abortion is such a serious sin that those who procure or perform it incur an automatic excommunication, until it is absolved in confession.

In the past, only a bishop or a designated chief confessor of a diocese could grant absolution for an abortion.

Although bishops in some dioceses in developed countries such as the United States and Britain had already delegated this authority to parish priests, the old practice was still in effect in most of the world.

In a document last year, Francis described the “existential and moral ordeal” faced by women who have terminated pregnancies and said he had “met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonising and painful decision”.


France 24 : Obama reserves right to critique Trump to defend US ‘values’

Obama reserves right to critique Trump to defend US ‘values’


President Barack Obama said Sunday he doesn’t intend to become his successor’s constant critic — but reserved the right to speak out if President-elect Donald Trump or his policies breach certain “values or ideals.”

Offering a rare glimpse into his thoughts on his post-presidency, Obama suggested once he was out of office he would uphold the tradition of ex-presidents stepping aside quietly to allow their successors space to govern. He heaped praise on former President George W. Bush, saying he “could not have been more gracious to me when I came in” and said he wanted to give Trump the same chance to pursue his agenda “without somebody popping off” at every turn.

But Obama suggested there may be limits to his silence.

“As an American citizen who cares deeply about our country, if there are issues that have less to do with the specifics of some legislative proposal or battle or go to core questions about our values and ideals, and if I think that it’s necessary or helpful for me to defend those ideals, I’ll examine it when it comes,” Obama told reporters.

Obama, who has consistently praised Bush for the way he’s handled his ex-presidency, faces a conundrum about how to handle his own. Though he’s vowed to ensure a smooth handover of power, Obama is keenly aware he’s being replaced by a new president who holds antithetical views on issue after issue.

The president spoke out vigorously throughout the campaign against Trump’s calls for banning Muslim immigrants, deporting millions of people living in the U.S. illegally, repealing “Obamacare,” and canceling the Paris climate deal, to name a few. Those policy proposals and others like them have stoked fear for many Americans who oppose Trump and are hoping vehement opposition from Obama and other Democrats might prevent Trump from implementing them.

Though Obama didn’t specify what might trigger him to break silence, he left himself a broad window of possibilities. His comments suggested he’d be most inclined to weigh in if Trump violated basic principles Obama has tried to uphold, such as minority rights, equal protection and respect for civilian life. Obama has long warned that Trump might impulsively use nuclear weapons, and has cast a dim view on ideas like a Muslim registry, which Trump’s incoming chief of staff declined on Sunday to rule out.

Yet Obama suggested that while he might not always hold his tongue, his goal wasn’t to spend his time publicly disparaging his replacement.

“My intention is to, certainly for the next 2 months, just finish my job,” Obama said. “And then after that, to take Michelle on vacation, get some rest, spend time with my girls, and do some writing, do some thinking.”

Bush, like many ex-presidents, strictly avoided opining on politics during Obama’s eight years. Former President Bill Clinton, after leaving office, focused his attention on global humanitarian issues, especially as his wife entered politics. Former President Jimmy Carter was more vocal in his views in his post-White House years, occasionally stirring up controversy with comments critical of Israel.

Obama’s remarks at a news conference in Lima offered some of his most specific indications to date of how he feels Democrats and Trump opponents should handle the next four years. Asked whether Democrats in the Senate should follow Republicans’ example of refusing to even consider a Supreme Court nominee, Obama said they should not.

“You give them a hearing,” said Obama, whose own Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, has lingered for more than half a year due to the GOP’s insistence that no Obama nominee be considered. Obama said he certainly didn’t want Democrats to adopt that tactic spearheaded this year by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

“That’s not why the American people send us to Washington, to play those games,” Obama said.

He declined to weigh in explicitly on whether House Democrats should stick with Rep. Nancy Pelosi as minority leader, arguing it was improper to meddle in the vote. But he said of the California Democrat, who faces a challenge for the leadership post: “I cannot speak highly enough of Nancy Pelosi.”

Obama’s remarks came as he concluded hisfinal world tour as president. For Obama, it was the last time he’d take questions on foreign soil, a staple of his overseas trips that his administration has seen as an important symbol of America’s commitment to a rigorous free press.

On his final day in Peru, Obama chatted briefly with Russian President Vladimir Putin about Ukraine and the Syria crisis, though Obama said the U.S. accusation that Moscow tried to influence the U.S. election didn’t come up.

The four-minute conversation, likely their last face-to-face interaction, came amid intense speculation about whether Trump’s election might herald a more conciliatory approach to Russia

Putin, speaking later in Lima, said he and Obama had a difficult working relationship but “always respected each other’s positions — and each other.” He said he’d thanked Obama and told him he’d be welcome in Russia “at any time.”

Questions about Trump trailed Obama throughout his final overseas trip, as anxious world leaders quizzed him on Trump’s stances on trade, foreign policy and the NATO alliance. Obama sought to reassure the leaders of Australia, Canada and other U.S. allies their longstanding ties with America wouldn’t falter under Trump.


France 24 : French police thwart terror plot, seven arrested

French police thwart terror plot, seven arrested


France said it had foiled a militant plot and arrested seven people in the southern port city of Marseille and the eastern city of Strasbourg.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the seven people of French, Moroccan and Afghan origin, aged 29 to 37, had been detained on Sunday.

Two were arrested in Marseille. Most of the others, he said on Monday, were arrested in Strasbourg – a city where one of oldest and largest Christmas markets is set to open this week.

“An attack has been foiled … The scale of the terrorist threat is enormous and it is not possible to ensure zero risk despite everything we are doing,” he added.

He gave no information on the target of the planned attack. But a source close to the inquiry told Reuters that Strasbourg had not been targetted.

The mayor of Strasbourg said it appeared that the plot had focused on “the Paris region”.

Islamist militants killed 17 people in Paris in January 2015 in an attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket. Another 130 people were killed when gunmen and suicide bombers attacked the capital in November 2015, and 86 more were killed when a man drove a truck into crowds in the city of Nice on July 14.

Islamic State, whose strongholds in Syria and Iraq are being bombed by French jets, has urged followers to continue attacking France.


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Check out @WebMD’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/WebMD/status/799356853125783552?s=09