DIBATTITO - Evento organizzato da Regione Umbria
Posted: 30 Aug 2014 07:13 AM PDT
Traveling from Shanghai to San Francisco in under two hours may sound like a fantasy, but China believes it’s figured out how to design an underwater vehicle that can make the idea a reality.
More worryingly, though, is the possibility that the technology will be used to develop even more dangerous weaponry.
According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the super-fast technology was developed by scientists at the Harbin Institute of Technology, and would allow underwater submarines or torpedoes to exceed the equivalent speed of sound under water – about 3,600 miles per hour.
The idea is based on the old Soviet concept of supercavitation, which involves creating a large air bubble around an object so that it could avoid facing too much friction and travel through water quickly.
Professor Li Fengchen said that when the vessel hits the water, one of its mechanisms continuously sprays a “special liquid membrane” all over the object’s surface. This membrane eventually wears off, but by the time the vessel reaches 46 miles per hour, it’s going fast enough to enter supercavitation state and generate an air bubble capable of helping it cover previously unknown distances.
“Our method is different from any other approach, such as vector propulsion,” Li told SCMP. “By combining liquid-membrane technology with supercavitation, we can significantly reduce the launch challenges and make cruising control easier.”
In theory, this means a trip across the Pacific Ocean would take only 100 minutes, while a transatlantic voyage could be undertaken in less than an hour.
Despite the claims of progress, Li added that there are still significant hurdles scientists have to overcome, such as creating precise steering controls and an engine strong enough to power the whole operation.
Many details surrounding the technology remain unknown, since the project is still categorized as a military secret. Supercavitation could still be used to create fast-moving torpedoes and other weapons, and the US, Russia, Germany, and Iran are all working on the same issue.
Still, Li said there could be ways to use the breakthrough to benefit more than just militaries. It could pave the way for fast underwater transportation, or help create swimsuits that allow for unprecedented mobility.
“If a swimsuit can create and hold many tiny bubbles in water,” he said, “it can significantly reduce the water drag; swimming in water could be as effortless as flying in the sky.”
Posted: 30 Aug 2014 05:09 AM PDT
The skeleton of a fetus left inside mother for 36 years.Doctors have removed the skeleton of a 36-year-old fetus that had been inside an Indian woman.
The skeleton was found inside a 60-year-old woman in Maharashtra after she came to a medical center complaining of pain in the abdomen.
“The woman suffered a miscarriage because the fetus had been growing outside of her uterus. She became pregnant at the age of 24, in 1978,” said head of surgery at the N.K.P. Salve Institute of Medical Sciences in the city of Nagpur. Doctor Murtaza Akhtar.
The skeletal remains are matured including numerous parts of a rib cage, leg and arm bones and sections of a skull, spine and pelvis.
The medical team could successfully remove the calcified mass that was lodged between the woman’s uterus, intestines and bladder.
The case is the longest ectopic pregnancy which has been reported so far, said doctors.
An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the egg implants outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tubes.
Posted: 30 Aug 2014 05:06 AM PDT
Researchers and Internet sleuths believe that they have already uncovered the location of next year’s secretive elite Bilderberg Group meeting.
It is claimed that the 63rd Bilderberg confab, at which prominent political, financial and business figures will gather, is to be once again held in Europe. The exact location is said to be the Interalpen-Hotel Tyrol, a remote “five-star hotel conference centre” in the Austrian mountains.
The location of the 2015 gathering has reportedly already been confirmed by Austrian police, who spoke with the Austrian press agency APA. While the police spokesperson declined to give precise details about security requirements, it was confirmed that preparations are underway. The police, according to the Austrian report, will also be preparing for protests.
Interalpen-Hotel is surrounded by forest and mountains, close to a ski resort, and not too far away from Innsbruck airport. Its ‘Meetings And Events’ brochure, states that “the hotel lies at an altitude of 1,300 metres in an exclusive setting in the Tirolean Alps and offers panoramic views of magnificent mountain peaks.”
The venue, owned by Swiss manufacturing giant The Liebherr Group, has a 400-capacity conference centre with “a magnificent Alpine backdrop”. The hotel previously hosted the Bilderbergers in 1988, 27 years ago. If the latest reports are correct, 2015 will mark the third occasion that the conference has been held in Austria.
The meeting is usually held in early June. Enquiries to the hotel revealed that it is already fully booked on the first two weekends of June (4th-7th and 11th-14th).
It seems that the elites have returned to form following this year’s relatively transparent location in Copenhagen Denmark, where reporters were able to get up close and personal with attendees as they wined and dined.
If the Interalpen-Hotel is indeed used as the venue for 2015, it will be reminiscent of the 2011 meeting in St. Moritz, Switzerland, when Bilderbergers retreated into the mountains, shielded by winding roads and forest cover.
The uncovering of Bilderberg has come earlier than ever before, perhaps reflecting the intense scrutiny that the group has come under in recent years. It should be noted, however, that Bilderberg has been known to throw out red herrings and double book different hotels to throw reporters off the scent, and with 10 months notice, a new venue could easily be arranged.
While the mainstream media habitually fails to afford Bilderberg the press coverage it demands – characterizing the group as a mere “talking shop” – innumerable examples of the organization having a direct impact on global policy have been documented in recent years, leading to charges that the group is fundamentally undemocratic in nature.
In 2010, former NATO Secretary-General and Bilderberg member Willy Claes’ admitted that Bilderberg attendees are mandated to implement policy decisions that are formulated during the meeting.
Bilderberg has influenced major global events ahead of time, picking Presidents and Prime Ministers on a regular basis with total contempt for the democratic process.
In 2013, Italian lawyer Alfonso Luigi Marra requested that the Public Prosecutor of Rome investigate the clandestine organization for criminal activity, questioning whether the group’s 2011 meeting in Switzerland led to the selection of Mario Monti as Prime Minister of Italy.
In 2009, Bilderberg chairman Étienne Davignon even bragged about how the Euro single currency was a brainchild of the Bilderberg Group.
Posted: 30 Aug 2014 04:59 AM PDT
A group of child abuse victims in the British town of Rotherham have launched a legal compensation suit amid growing outrage in the country over the failure of authorities to stop 16 years of abuse.
Attorneys for 15 child sexual abuse victims in the northern English town announced on Wednesday that they are seeking up to $165,000 each in compensation for the official negligence.
David Greenwood of Switalskis Solicitors, who is acting on behalf of the 15 victims, said they were seeking compensation because local officials and police did not act to stop the abuse sooner.
“Rotherham Council and South Yorkshire Police missed clear opportunities to prevent the sexual exploitation of dozens of girls in Rotherham,” he said.
A report out Tuesday estimated that some 1,400 children in the town of the 250,000 had been sexually exploited by gangs of Asian men (mostly Muslims).
The South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner Shaun Wright, who was the local council member in charge of children’s services during some of the time when the abuse took pace, resigned from the Labour party over the scandal.
But Wright insisted he would not leave his current post as regional police chief despite calls for him to quit over the extent of the abuse.
Some victims were doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone, according to the report.
The estimated figure was extrapolated from a random sample of 38 children who were known to the social services and police because of past difficulties, plus a range of other case files and reports.
The head of the local council, Roger Stone, resigned immediately after the publication of the report which detailed “blatant” failures, including officials ignoring numerous reports of exploitation or blaming the victims.
No council officers, however, are facing disciplinary action over what happened.
Posted: 30 Aug 2014 04:49 AM PDT
NATO is reportedly working towards the creation of an expeditionary force composed of 10,000 troops from seven different member states as a result of escalating tensions with Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.
According to the Financial Times, the force’s creation will be spearheaded by Britain and involve contributions from Denmark, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Norway, and the Netherlands. Canada is also interested in joining the group, but it’s not known what its final decision will be.
Although no formal announcement has been made, British Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to declare its formation at the upcoming NATO summit in Wales on September 4th.
Many specifics have yet to be worked out or announced, but planners are reportedly implementing ways to increase the number of soldiers involved even more if necessary. Air and naval units will be integrated into the group, as well as ground troops led by British commanders.
As noted by the Times, the creation of the force comes as a response to Russia’s involvement in the ongoing Ukrainian crisis, with the ultimate goal being to “create a fully functioning, division-sized force for rapid deployment and regular, frequent exercises.” NATO has accused Russia of deploying more than 1,000 troops into Ukraine to bolster separatists in the eastern part of the country.
Russia, however, insists that it does not have troops operating inside of Ukraine and has dismissed NATO’s assertions.
Despite the fact that NATO has opted not to act militarily in Ukraine, unnamed sources told Foreign Policy on Friday that there are no plans to confront Russia with anything more than stronger sanctions, Jonathan Eyal of the London-based Royal United Services Institute said the group needs to demonstrate that its eastern European members are just as integral to the alliance as other states.
“We need to end the idea of different zones of security in Europe,” he told the Financial Times. “We need to be talking about prepositioning, regular rotation of troops and making it very clear that we do not accept that the eastern Europeans are in some different category of membership of NATO.”
The revelation also arrives just a few days after NATO’s Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed interest in forming “a more visible presence” in Eastern Europe in the form of facilities capable of rapidly receiving “response forces” needed to counter Russia.
For his part, Russia’s envoy to NATO, Aleksandr Grushko, said any attempt to stretch further into the region would impact Moscow’s own security planning.
Posted: 29 Aug 2014 01:39 PM PDT
Ukraine’s Cabinet has asked the country’s parliament to consider dropping the country’s non-aligned status and seek membership of NATO.
Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk’s government submitted to the parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, a draft bill that would cancel Ukraine’s non-aligned status and revive the country’s quest to join NATO, a path ditched by ousted President Viktor Yanukovich in 2010.
The move followed a decision by Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council. It also coincided with an emergency meeting of NATO ambassadors in Brussels to discuss the ongoing crisis in east Ukraine.
If passed, the law would ban Ukraine from joining any political unions which would prevent it from eventually achieving “its key and sole goal” – membership in the European Union, Yatsenyuk said, the government’s press service said in a statement.
Following the adoption of the law, Ukraine will be forbidden from being a member of the Eurasian Customs Union and Eurasian Economic Community, and any other unions “which are in essence nothing but Russia’s Soviet Union,” Yatsenyuk stated.
The premier asked President Petro Poroshenko to classify the draft bill as urgent and called on the parliament to immediately consider it.
Defense Minister Arsen Avakov praised the decision as a “very correct one.”
“If the parliament approves it, the path to NATO will be open,” Avakov said on his Facebook page. “Only madmen would counter such a decision in the current situation.”
NATO said it would respect Kiev’s possible decision to seek membership of the military alliance.
“This is a fundamental principle that each and every nation has an inherent right to decide itself, on its security policies and its alliance affiliations,” the bloc’s chief, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, told the media at an extraordinary meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission.
He indicated that the military alliance would be open to discussing Ukraine’s application if it meets the conditions for membership.
“I am not going to interfere with political discussions in Ukraine, but let me remind you of NATO’s decision taken at the Bucharest Summit in 2008 according to which Ukraine will become a member of NATO, provided of course that Ukraine so wishes and provided that Ukraine fulfils the necessary criteria,” he said.
However, the issue was not discussed at Friday’s gathering in Brussels, Rasmussen added.
During the meeting, NATO reiterated its earlier accusation of Russia being “engaged in direct military operations inside Ukraine” and supporting “separatists.” It claimed that “Russia continues to maintain thousands of combat-ready troops close to Ukraine’s borders,” Rasmussen said in a statement.
“This is a blatant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
“At the Wales Summit next week, we will meet President Poroshenko to make clear NATO’s unwavering support for Ukraine,” Rasmussen said.
Earlier this week, NATO released satellite images that were offered as “proof” that Russian combat troops were taking part in special operations in eastern Ukraine. The images – as before – were provided by a commercial company, DigitalGlobe, operating civilian satellites.
Moscow called such evidence “ridiculous.”
“You know, it has become ridiculous… If earlier, someone would at least put their names on those images, be it [Supreme Allied Commander Europe Philip] Breedlove, Rasmussen, or even [NATO Spokesperson] Lungescu, now, they are hesitant,” Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said, RIA Novosti reported. “It makes no sense to seriously comment on this.”
However, NATO is using the pretext of a Russian “threat” to push for a “readiness action plan” that will bring the military bloc closer to Russian borders than ever, despite objections from some members of the alliance.
Rasmussen said earlier that would attempt to overcome internal opposition and agree to the deployment of military bases near the Russian border.
The military bloc is also establishing four trust funds to finance the modernization of the Ukrainian army. Some member states, Rasmussen said, have already said they were planning to make their donations to these funds.
Posted: 29 Aug 2014 01:33 PM PDT
Moscow has responded to accusations of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, saying there is no proof to support the allegations.
“No facts about a Russian military presence on Ukrainian territory have ever been presented. There have been reports about satellite imagery exposing Russian troops’ movements, however they turned out to be images from video games. The latest accusations happen to be much of the same quality,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, referring to accusations by Ukraine and a number of its Western allies.
Lavrov made the remarks at a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Moscow on Friday.
Lavro’s comments came after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) released satellite images allegedly showing Russian tanks and armored vehicles crossing into Ukraine from Russia.
A Russian civilian told the Press TV correspondent, “This war is nothing but brothers killing brothers, if the people in the east want to be a part of Russia, it is their decision, Kiev should not tell them what to do.”
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the pro-Moscow protesters to allow Ukrainian soldiers trapped in Novoazovsk to flee the coastal town.
Alexander Zakharchenko, a leader of pro-Russia forces, also said that he had agreed to offer a “humanitarian corridor” for the Ukrainian troops to leave the battlefield in the restive eastern parts.
However, Zakharchenko added that Kiev’s forces should abandon their armored vehicles and ammunition before leaving.
Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions in the east have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Moscow forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations to silence pro-Russians in mid-April.
Violence intensified in May after the two flashpoint regions of Donetsk and Luhansk held local referendums, in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine.
Posted: 29 Aug 2014 01:07 PM PDT
Overconsumption of salt in Brazil increases risk of cataracts and damage to the retina. In Brazil cataracts, clouding of the lens, grows faster than the population over 60 years, although the disease is related to aging. According to the Penido Burnier Institute ophthalmologist, Leoncio Queiroz Neto, one of the factors contributing to this growth is the high consumption of salt.
Just to give you an idea, a survey of IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) shows that Brazil continues to consume more salt than recommended, even after the recent reduction of sodium in some processed foods. The WHO (World Health Organization) recommends 5 grams of salt/day but in Brazil on average daily consumption is more than double, 12 grams.
According to Queiroz Neto, apart from the early appearance of cataracts, this habit can damage the retina.
Salt, he explains, regulates extracellular fluids and substances in our body. The abusive use may anticipate cataract formation because it hinders the maintenance of osmotic pressure between the crystalline cells and forms deposits that make it opaque. The expert says that the Brazilians do not take seriously the influence of habits on eye health because the effects are not immediate.
Proof of this is a survey developed by the physician with a sample of a thousand people about solar protection. The study shows that less than 1% protect the eyes from the sun in outdoor activities, and only 40% used sunglasses with lenses that block ultraviolet radiation.
In addition to controlling salt intake he says to prevent cataracts it is important to use lenses with ultraviolet protection in outdoor activity, even during the winter and cloudy days. Dark lenses without protection are worse than not using anything he says, because they allow greater penetration of radiation into the eyes.
Hypertension can affect the retina
Queiroz Neto says that vascular retinal changes related to high salt intake are due to hypertension. Earlier, he comments, the change is imperceptible because it is characterized by arteriosclerosis, or degeneration and narrowing of the arteries in the back of the eye. The problem is the lack of control of hypertension. It can trigger disc edema, formation of new vessels and retinal cell death due to ischemic occlusion of the central retinal vein or bleeding that causes serious vision loss.
Treatment depends on the type of change. For those who have atherosclerosis is indicated avoid smoking another great enemy of vision. Queiroz Neto says that ischemic occlusion of the central retinal vein and the formation of new vessels may predispose to glaucoma. In this case it is essential that laser treatment is performed to eliminate neovascularization.
The sooner the treatment is done, the better the result. In cases of bleeding the treatment is associated with the use of laser therapy and anti-angiogenic therapy but the results are not always satisfactory. Therefore, the recommendation to those who have hypertension is to consult an ophthalmologist annually and perform physical activities that help keep the pressure under control.
Tips to reduce salt
Queiroz Neto says that 70% of the salt we consume comes from processed foods and the reduction of sodium by the industry is gradually being implemented. So it is essential to read the packaging since the same type of product may have great differences in the amount of sodium. Other tips from the doctor to reduce consumption are:
Posted: 29 Aug 2014 12:42 PM PDT
This is the first photo of Iran’s homegrown Bavar-373 missile defense system.Iran has finished manufacturing a homegrown missile defense system, which is as powerful as the S-300 system that Russia refused to deliver to the Islamic Republic.
The Fars news agency published on Friday the first images of the long-range Bavar-373 missile defense system, saying that it is meant to carry the message of self-sufficiency of Iranian armed forces to the world.
Last February, commander of Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili said the missile is expected to be ready by March 2015.
He said the infrastructure for manufacturing Bavar-373 were prepared and the “bottlenecks” in the project were removed.
Under a contract signed in 2007, Russia was obliged to provide Iran with at least five S-300 defense systems.
However, Moscow refused to deliver the system to Iran under the pretext that it is covered by the fourth round of the United Nations Security Council sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear energy program.
Over the past years, Iran has attained self-sufficiency in producing important military equipment and systems.
On August 24, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani unveiled two marine cruise missiles, Ghadir and Nasr-e Basir, as well as two unmanned aerial vehicles, Karrar-4 and Mohajer-4, during a ceremony in Tehran.
The Islamic Republic has so far designed and manufactured a variety of indigenous missiles, including Sayyad-2, Khalij-e-Fars (Persian Gulf), Mehrab (Altar), Ra’d (Thunder), Qader (Mighty), Nour (Light) and Zafar (Triumph).
Iran unveiled its first domestically-manufactured long-range combat drone, the Karrar (Striker), on August 23, 2010. Since then the country has manufactured a variety of other high-tech surveillance and combat unmanned aerial vehicles.
The Islamic Republic has repeatedly assured its neighbors that its military might poses no threat to other countries, insisting that its defense doctrine is based on deterrence.
Posted: 29 Aug 2014 12:22 PM PDT
A woman and the body of a person killed in an artillery attack on Lugansk.At least 2,593 people have been killed in eastern Ukraine since the start of the Kiev’s military operation against anti-government forces there started in mid-April, according to a new estimate by the Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights.
The death toll includes civilians, members of the Ukrainian troops and also fighters in the anti-government forces.
“The trend is clear and alarming. There is a significant increase in the death toll in the east,” Ivan Simonovic, U.N. Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights, told journalists.
“The current number of killed is 2,593 – close to 3,000 if we include the 298 victims of the MH17 (Malaysian airliner) plane crash,” he said.
The report, issued on Friday, August 29, 2014, and covering the period July 16 to August 17, condemns the killing and wounding of civilians in urban areas, which have lately turned into battlefields.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has called on both sides of the conflict to lay down their arms.
“There is an urgent need to end the fighting and violence in the eastern regions, before more civilians are harmed or forced to flee, or face intolerable hardships trapped inside the conflict zones,” she said.
Pillay has urged all of the military units fighting in eastern Ukraine against “deliberately targeting civilians.”
“All those involved in the hostilities in the affected areas of the east must at all times comply with the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution. This is particularly important in densely-populated areas,” she said.
The report says half the population of the cities of Lugansk and Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, have now left. However, evacuation has not been easy and not all of those wanting to flee were able to do so.
Some civilians lost their lives while trying to escape the violence, as the report says refugees were targeted and killed on their way out of conflict zones.
“Supposedly ‘safe’ corridors established by the Ukrainian forces to enable residents to flee from these cities traversed areas where the fighting was ongoing. Civilians using these corridors were subsequently killed or injured,” the UN HR office statement on the report reads.
The report accuses the anti-government forces in Ukraine’s east of allegedly preventing residents from leaving war zones, conducting attacks from densely-populated areas, and obstructing the international investigation into the crash of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.
Both sides have been blamed for deaths of civilians, abductions and torture.
The report also focuses on pro-Kiev volunteer battalions under the Ministry of Defense or under the Interior Ministry. According to the document, those forces are responsible for multiple human rights violations.
“The relevant ministries should exercise more control over these volunteer battalions, in particular instructing them in international humanitarian law,” the report reads.
It also urges Kiev against reprisals targeting the populations of territories which were once under the control of the anti-government forces.
“Military prosecutors and the Security Service of Ukraine have already investigated over 1,500 cases of various offences committed by local officials and citizens in the east, and more than 150 people have been prosecuted,” the report reads. “Residents of these regions back under the control of the government report the fear of reprisals, the lack of confidence that their own cases will be investigated, and fear that impunity will continue with no accountability.”