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Saturday, April 6, 2013

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Today in History

1199   English King Richard I is killed by an arrow at the siege of the castle of Chaluz in France.
1789   The First U.S. Congress begins regular sessions at Federal Hall in New York City.
1814   Granted sovereignty in the island of Elba and a pension from the French government, Napoleon Bonaparte abdicates at Fountainebleau. He is allowed to keep the title of emperor.
1830   Joseph Smith and five others organize the Church of Latter-Day Saints in Seneca, New York.
1862   Confederate forces attack General Ulysses S. Grant at Shiloh, Tennessee.
1865   At the Battle of Sailer's Creek, a third of Lee's army is cut off by Union troops pursuing him to Appomattox.
1896   The Modern Olympics begin in Athens with eight nations participating.
1903   French Army Nationalists are revealed to have forged documents to guarantee a conviction for Alfred Dryfus.
1909   Americans Robert Peary and Matthew Henson become the first men to reach the North Pole.
1917   The United States declares war on Germany and enters World War I on Allied side.
1924   Four planes leave Seattle on the first successful flight around the world.
1938   The United States recognizes Nazi Germany's conquest of Austria.
1941   German forces invade Greece and Yugoslavia.
1965   President Lyndon B. Johnson authorizes the use of ground troops in combat operations

Non Sequitur


Cyprus’ big depositors warned to get out before deposit confiscation

A quick follow-up to this post about deposit confiscation in the event of another bank bailout. It turns out there’s another element I should have anticipated, and didn’t.
Deposit confiscation + Corruption at high levels = Insiders get out ahead of time
It’s one of those “of course” realizations, isn’t it? This will happen 101 times out of 100, anywhere in the world.

A thought experiment

Let’s say that depositors in the First Bank of Bloated Greed NY (an imaginary bank) — and only those depositors — were due for a “haircut” (confiscation) to pay for a bailout because the bank put too much of its money (meaning “your money”) in Greek sovereign debt, or “Whale trade” derivatives, or catfood futures. And lost.
Let’s say there are $500 million in deposits at FBBG and instead of going to the taxpayers for the bailout, the FDIC decides to tax (confiscate) all deposits at that bank over the $250,000 guarantee (because rules allowing the confiscation of smaller deposits haven’t been decided on yet).
Those are large deposits indeed, and many of the men and women behind them are likely connected. How many of these depositors would be warned to get out by friends in the know? I’d guess that somewhere between 50% and 80% of the depositors would be tipped off eventually. They can’t tip off 100%, since that would spoil the show, so someone has to decide which schmucks should never be warned. (“How about these guys? They gave to the Green party last time.”)

In Cyprus, many big depositors were warned to get out

That’s apparently what happened prior to deposit confiscation in Cyprus. People who knew people who “knew” were told to get out. Zero Hedge (some added emphasis):
List Released With 132 Names Who Pulled Cyprus Deposits Ahead Of “Confiscation Day”
With every passing day, it becomes clearer and clearer the Cyprus deposit confiscation “news” was the most unsurprising outcome for the nation’s financial system and was known by virtually everyone on the ground days and weeks in advance: first it was disclosed that Russians had been pulling their  money, then it was suggested the president himself had made sure some €21 million of his family’s money was parked safely in London, then we showed a massive surge in Cyprus deposit outflows in February, and now the latest news is that a list of 132 companies and individuals has emerged who withdrew their €-denominated deposits in the two weeks from March 1 to March 15, among which the previously noted company Loutsios & Sons which is alleged to have ties with the current Cypriot president Anastasiadis.
Whew. That’s a lot of tipping off for a small country. Do click those links. The Russians were left a back door — they couldn’t take their money from the main Cyprus banks, but they could make withdrawals at the branches in London. Clicking through the Russia link, we find this from Reuters:
The two banks at the centre of the crisis – Cyprus Popular Bank, also known as Laiki, and Bank of Cyprus – have units in London which remained open throughout the week and placed no limits on withdrawals. Bank of Cyprus also owns 80 percent of Russia’s Uniastrum Bank, which put no restrictions on withdrawals in Russia. Russians were among Cypriot banks’ largest depositors.
That had to be deliberate. Now the Greek-language paper Sigma has broken a story about a list of depositors who were obviously warned, given the timing of their withdrawals, and has photos of the list; click to see it. The Zero Hedge writer closes:
So, ironically enough, in answer to our question from last week, “So Who Knew“, the answer appears to be everyone.
Why do you care? I’ll answer with a question. What are the odds that New York bankers and regulators are less corrupt than the family of the Cypriot president? Would you take those odds with money on the line?

The middle class — always the last to know, always the first to be fleeced. Sometimes I think it’s why they keep us around.

Fear of the youth vote, now in North Carolina

In November, repugicans won stole complete control of government in North Carolina. They have the governorship, veto-proof majorities in both legislative chambers and control of the elected Supreme Court. Now North Carolina repugicans have set about the business of using their new majority to maintain their majority.
Using means now familiar in other states, North Carolina repugicans are proposing several ways of making it harder to vote. But one of the tactics is new to me. repugican State Senator Bill Cook wants to make voting harder for college students in particular, and to do that, he's pushing a bill that ties students' voter registration to their parents' taxes. If the student registers to vote at their college address, the parents would get a tax hike. They could no longer claim the student as a dependent, so the family would pay more in taxes.
The local offshoot of the tea party poll-rigging group (un)true the vote sounds excited about the prospects. The Beaufort Observer quotes this statement from the *Voter Integrity Project of North Carolina:
We've gotten a bill into the Senate that Progressives are going to hate almost more than they hate Voter ID.
If other states pick up this legislation, it will shift the landscape of college town voting all across the nation and may even put "college states" like Massachusetts back into play because so many students use the same-day registration rules to vote in that state.
Here's the thing: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled back in 1979 that college students have the right to register and vote where they go to school. What North Carolina repugicans are proposing to do, then, essentially requires a student's parents to pay more if the student exercises that right.
Back in February, an Indiana repugican proposed revoking the right for students to register at their colleges. After college Democrats and repugicans in Indiana joined in pushing back, the sponsor promised to amend her bill so that it would be constitutional, by which she meant dropping the idea.
For now, North Carolina repugicans are going for it. Cook sent around a statement saying that his proposals will be appreciated by anyone who considers voting "a sacred duty." Also, he says, the new restrictions will save money. In addition to making families pay more if their students vote at school, Cook and his repugican colleagues want to cut early voting nearly in half and reduce the number of places for early voting to one, which is a recipe for longer lines. They want to eliminate all voting on Sundays, and no longer allow you to both register and vote on Election Day. They also want to require new ID you never had to show before and that thousands of people do not have (the former Democratic governor vetoed the proposal in 2011).

North Carolina repugicans Attempt to Violate the Constitution by Proposing an Official State Religion

A lifelong Spanish citizen and wise man raised and educated in the United States, George Santayana, once wrote that “Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them,” and although he only lived in America for 39 of his 89 years, it is quite likely he was talking about America. This month marks the 152nd anniversary of the beginning of America’s Civil War, and across the South there are repugicans who failed to learn the lessons of America’s deadliest  conflict and are following the précises steps the Confederacy took prior to seceding from the Union. Over the course of President Obama’s term, several states have threatened to defy federal laws and floated secession and violence against implementation of the Affordable Care Act, gun safety measures, and environmental protections to name a few.
The idea of nullifying federal laws that contradict repugican and wingnut fantasies is gaining momentum with the re-election of an African American man as President,  and was proposed as a state law in North Carolina this week. The latest denial of the legitimacy of the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution focuses on the Separation Clause in the 1st Amendment, and is another attempt by theocrats to install Christianity as the state religion. The repugicans in the state’s legislature are proposing an official state religion by exempting North Carolina from following the Constitution and several court decisions upholding the separation of church and state. They claim states are sovereign entities free to ignore the Constitution and the framers’ intent that the government is forbidden from “making laws respecting the establishment of a religion.”
The repugican bill is in response to a lawsuit stopping county officials from opening meetings with a christian rite, and is troubling because three months ago another repugican introduced a constitutional amendment allowing residents to carry concealed weapons for the sole purpose of “fighting federal tyranny.” The North Carolina bill specifically cites the Tenth Amendment they claim gives the state authority to defy the Constitution, and prohibits the federal government and courts from enforcing the 1st Amendment’s prohibition on state-sponsored religion. In Section 2 of the bill, it says “The North Carolina General Assembly does not recognize federal court rulings which prohibit and otherwise regulate the State of North Carolina, its public schools, or any political subdivisions of the State from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.” It is noteworthy that North Carolina also disqualifies any resident from serving in public office if they do not believe in god, in spite of a 1961 Supreme Court ruling that strictly prohibits christian-imposed bans on public servants who do not acknowledge the existence of a supreme being.
The idea of repeating the Confederacy’s “nullification” frenzy was the focus of two teabaggers in Mississippi who proposed legislation in January creating a permanent committee to negate federal laws repugicans did not like and refused to follow. The Mississippi law was first discussed as a means to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act in the state, but gained support at the prospect of gun registration that teabaggers claimed was the federal government “telling us we can’t have guns.” In January, Wyoming proposed nullifying federal laws and jailing federal law enforcement agents for five years and a $50,000 fine if they attempted to enforce gun safety laws that Texas, Virginia, Missouri, and Kansas followed with nullification and threats against federal law enforcement officials.
The North Carolina bill is especially troubling because with the rejection at the polls of extremist rhristian delusions advocated by repugicans spouting anti-women’s rights rhetoric on religious grounds instilled desperation in the theocratic crowd intent on ruling according to biblical edicts. The religion bill is the first blatant attempt to impose christianity on a state’s population, and like every other nullification attempt will be struck down in the courts, but the bill’s sponsors and backers claim states, local governments, and school districts have the right to impose christianity under the Tenth Amendment.  One of the bills co-sponsors is the legislator who introduced the “concealed carry” amendment giving North Carolinians the right to use lethal force to “fight federal tyranny” that is code for the Constitution’s Separation Clause.
For the past year, repugican-misled states, wingnuts, and gun-nuts have made provocative statements insinuating rebellion, revolution, and Civil War against the federal government unless their demands were met. Just a little over a year ago the Virginia repugican cabal sent out a newsletter threatening a revolution if President Obama was re-elected in November, and after the massacre in Newtown, gun-nuts grew enraged at the prospect of gun registration laws despite nine out of ten Americans support the proposal. Gun-nuts are dangerous indeed, but religious gun-nuts armed to “fight federal tyranny” on behalf of their right to impose religion on every citizen, including students, should raise red flags and frighten the life out of every  American whether they are religious or not. History is riddled with violence, civil wars, and crusades to impose religion on populations, and if any American thinks it cannot happen in the United States, then they too are “failing to learn the lessons of history,” and “are doomed to repeat them” by ignoring a real and present danger in North Carolina that, unfortunately, is not the most religious state in the Union.
With all the threats of secession, violent revolution, and armed citizens to “fight government tyranny,” America is entering a dangerous period that the nation last visited nearly 152 years ago. It is important to note that the so-called government tyranny religio-nut extremists, gun-nuts, racists, and anti-government advocates cite as worthy of nullification, secession, and armed rebellion are legally passed laws, Supreme Court rulings, and Constitutional amendments and nothing resembling tyranny. The Constitution’s Supremacy Clause is quite clear, and the First Amendment’s Separation Clause is unambiguous, but with North Carolina officially proposing the establishment of a state religion, and a constitutional amendment allowing residents to carry concealed weapons for the sole purpose of fighting federal tyranny, it is just a matter of time before well-armed religious maniacs open fire. The Civil War began after several states enacted nullification laws, and with religious gun-nuts infected with racial animus and hatred for non-believers, federal law enforcement agents, and judges for supporting the Constitution, the prospects of a second Civil War demonstrate that not only are wingnuts ignoring the lessons of history, it appears they are doomed to repeat them in the name of religion.

Yet, another repugican, holier-than-thou official, guilty of hypocrisy

From Huffington Post...

Dale Peterson, an Alabama repugican state official famous for flaunting his rifle in campaign ads promising to be tough on crime, was arrested Wednesday and charged with shoplifting a can of cashews. The arrest, first reported by Yellowhammer.com, marked the second time in six months that Peterson has been accused of stealing.

His new arrest occurred at a Sam's Club, where police said employees watched Peterson eat a can of cashews in the store, then place the empty can back on a shelf. Store security guards confronted Peterson on his way out. He was released from custody after posting $1,000 bond.

Peterson was charged in October with stealing paper towels and beer from a Walmart. Employees said he pushed his way through the checkout line without paying for the items in his cart, according to police. Peterson later said the incident was "a mistake."

Peterson's arrests are noteworthy in part because he made national news in 2010 for his tough-talking stance on crime during an unsuccessful run for Alabama agriculture commissioner. In a campaign ad that quickly went viral, Peterson suggested his opponents were "thugs and criminals," and accused them of "stealing yard signs in the dark," and "bragging about receiving illegal money on Facebook."

Hey, repugicans, I hate to insult you - but your representatives are stupid

From Daily Kos...

I know this has been covered before, but I just have to ask the question:

    Building managers and legislative staffers have sought to reassure some concerned Tennessee lawmakers that recent renovations at the state Capitol did not install special facilities for Muslims to wash their feet before praying.

    "I confirmed with the facility administrator for the State Capitol Complex that the floor-level sink installed in the men's restroom outside the House Chamber is for housekeeping use," Legislative Administration Director Connie Ridley wrote in an email. "It is, in layman's terms, a mop sink."

Exactly how screwed up do you have to be to assume that a new map sink in your capitol building was, in fact, a secret advancement of Sharia law?

  But, repugican Sen. Bill Ketron, r-Murfreesboro, confirmed that he had spoken to Humphrey about whether there were religious reasons for the new sink after the issue was raised by Rep. Judd Matheny, r-Tullahoma. […]

    Matheny and Ketron were the main sponsors of a 2011 bill that sought to make it a felony to follow some versions of the Islamic code known as Shariah law.

Holy janitorial accessories, Batman, some of our state legislators have way, way too much time on their hands.

Did you know ...

Do wingnuts even want to win?

That U.S. medical costs top other developed nations

That the majority of U.S. rivers and stream polluted by fertilizer

Exxon bypasses the government and controls the no-fly zone over the Arkansas oil spill

The Federal Aviation administration (FAA) has had a "no fly zone" in place in Mayflower, Arkansas since april 1 at 2:12 pm and will be in place "until further notice," according to the FAA website and it's being overseen by ExxonMobil itself. In other words, any media or independent observers who want to witness the tar sands spill disaster have to ask Exxon's permission. - steve horn's daily kos

Missouri bill lets pharmacies refuse to stock drugs

 Pharmacies in Missouri would be shielded from requirements to stock specific drugs, such as emergency contraception, if legislation passed Thursday by the Senate ultimately becomes law.The measure, which was sent to the House by a 24-9 Senate vote, was touted by its sponsor as a way to protect the rights of business owners.
“You go into a clothing store, and they can stock whatever they want to. I just want to make sure that pharmacies have the same right to do that,” said sponsoring Sen. David Sater, a Republican pharmacist from the southwest Missouri town of Cassville. “It’s a freedom of doing business.”
Although the legislation doesn’t specifically mention birth control, Sater said his measure was prompted by efforts elsewhere to require pharmacies to fill particular prescriptions such as emergency contraception.
Some Democrats said that’s why they opposed the legislation.
“I understand the business side of this … that it’s important that pharmacies be able to stock those drugs that they are going to be using,” said Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City. But “there are a few of us who have concerns that this might be used by folks to not stock birth control, or what’s commonly known as Plan B.”
The morning-after pill is basically a high-dose version of birth control pills that prevents ovulation if taken within a few days after sex. Because a prescription is required for those younger than 17, it is sold from behind pharmacy counties at a cost of around $35 to $60 a dose.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit group that tracks laws on reproductive health, five states have laws requiring pharmacies or pharmacists to fill valid prescriptions, though courts in two of those states have ruled that the law cannot be enforced against pharmacies that refuse to dispense emergency contraception.
A greater number of states have laws specifically allowing pharmacies or pharmacists to refuse to dispense emergency contraception.
Missouri law currently is silent on the topic.

Vader Finds the Lack of US Border Patrol's Effectiveness Disturbing

Vader, of course, is the sophisticated airborne radar system developed to track the Taliban in Afghanistan and now used along the US border with Mexico.
Vader, which stands for Vehicle Dismount and Exploitation Radar (what? What did you think it was named after?), recently showed that US Border Patrol agents caught fewer than half of people sneaking into the United States illegally:
According to internal reports, Border Patrol agents used the airborne radar to help find and detain 1,874 people in the Sonora Desert between Oct. 1 and Jan. 17. But the radar system spotted an additional 1,962 people in the same area who evaded arrest and disappeared into the United States. [...]
The radar is sharp enough to detect and track individuals on foot from a Predator five miles overhead. It uses a synthetic aperture radar to collect high-contrast black-and-white images and to follow scores of moving targets in real time. The processed signals are transmitted from the drone to a ground station, where the figures are displayed as moving dots on a detailed map.
"It's a match made in heaven for border security," said a former U.S. law enforcement official.
He said the radar had helped Border Patrol agents watch migrants and smugglers gathering on the Mexican side of the border before they start trekking north. But not all of the agents are happy to get a precise head count for the first time of how many people they are missing.
"The rank-and-file guys are afraid it will make them look bad," the official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the program are not public.
Force choking would probably improve morale! Brian Bennett of the Los Angeles Times reports: Here.  

Society news

Global population data spanning the years from 1900 to 2010 have enabled a research team from the Autonomous University of Madrid to predict that the number of people on Earth will stabilize around the middle [...]
Graduates are taking up jobs that don’t fully use their skills and as a result are causing high turnover for employers, claims new research published today in the journal Human Relations, published by SAGE. The [...]

Montreal police arrest young woman for instagramming photo of anti-police mural

Jennifer Pawluck, a 20 year old woman from Montreal, was taken into police custody yesterday and questioned after she posted a photo of a graffiti mural on her Instagram. The mural showed a caricature of a Montreal police spokesman called Cmdr. Ian Lafrenière, with a bullet hole in his head.
After she posted the image to Instagram, police came to her house and took her in for questioning, releasing her several hours later. The police say that there are secret reasons they detained her, beyond taking a picture of graffiti and posting it, but they won't say what they are.
Pawluck participated in the mass student demonstrations in Montreal and was part of the ensuing mass arrests. She will have to appear in court on April 17, and is barred from going with a kilometer of police HQ and from communicating with Cmdr Lafrenière. She has not been charged.
Lafrenière is the head of the service's communications division and frequently appeared in the media during the student protests.
Pawluck said that when the picture was taken, she didn’t know who Lafrenière was, but she found the image interesting.
Montreal police confirmed that a young woman was arrested at her home Wednesday and brought to the police station to be questioned by investigators. They did not name Pawluck.

Man Arrested for Driving under the Influence of Awesome Music

British police carPolice in Bristol, UK pulled over a man who was driving erratically. They thought Aaron Cogley was drunk, but according to his defense attorney, the suspect was "carried away because of the intoxicating effects of drum and bass music." This Is Bristol reports:
After hauling him out of his vehicle it transpired he was neither drunk nor on drugs but intoxicated by the top tunes blaring from his stereo, Bristol Crown Court was told. [...]

Mr Hollier said Cogley headed from Marlborough Street into Dighton Street, "cut up" a motorist and rounded a corner so sharply the whole van rocked on its chassis.
Mr Hollier told the court Cogley then drove slowly through two sets of red lights in Stokes Croft before swerving from lane to lane as he headed towards Montpelier Station. Police rushed the vehicle and Cogley was arrested and breathalysed, but blew a zero reading.
Mr Hollier said: "When asked about it he said he was listening to drum and bass and was in a hurry."
Mr. Cogley has been convicted and sentenced to community service, fined and banned from driving for a year.
Stay safe, kids. Don't listen to early 80s Madonna while operating machinery. You won't be able to maintain self-control.

Deejays suspended for "dihydrogen monoxide" April Fools joke

From the "How big of an idiot do you have to be to not know this ..." Department:

Jim Leftwich says: "Two Deejays for "Gator Country 101.9" warned that 'dihydrogen monoxide' was coming out of peoples' water faucets. Georgians panicked. The DJs were 'suspended indefinitely.'"

FYI: 'Dihydrgeon Monoxide' is water
UPDATE: They're back on the air!

Studios regret sending Google a list of every pirate site on the Internet for publication

The movie studios send a lot of takedown notices to Google, demanding that the search engine remove links to sites and files they don't like. Google publishes all the notices they receive, and this has Fox and other studios upset. Now, they're sending takedown notices demanding removal of their takedown notices.

Thai's break Hula-Hoop record

The world record for most number of people simultaneously hula-hooping was recently broken at Thammasat University stadium, near Bangkok. The Thai crowd broke the previous record, held by Taiwan, with a new record of 4483 people hula-hooping for 7 minutes. The event was organized by the public health ministry to promote exercise and good health.

Exhaled breath is unique fingerprint

Schlieren image of breathExhaled breath is unique fingerprint

Scientists report that compounds present in breath are unique to individuals - a "breathprint" - and could be exploited in a range of medical applications.

A Bornean Tribe's Last Stand Against Corporate Greed

The Penan Peace Park
The Penan tribe of Sarawak, Borneo have been losing their rainforest to loggers and plantations for decades. The Penan Peace Park project offers them new hope. More

Vintage Railway Scenes From The Glory Days Of Train Travel

Throughout the Victorian period and the early part of the 20th century, railways were a source of great civic pride and prestige for both private citizens and the companies controlling them.

And while newer networks tend to be more environmentally friendly than their forebears, the march of progress and modernisation has brought utilitarian trains and often soulless, unimaginative architecture. This article looks at 20 classic railway scenes across the world, spanning the past 180 years. 

The Tunnel That Saved Bosnia

vIn the aftermath of the Cold War, Bosnia became a red-hot battleground teetering on the edge of destruction—until one man and his family dug their countrymen to freedom.

In 1990, Communism was falling apart. The Soviet Union was on the brink of collapse, Eastern European nations were peeking out from behind the Iron Curtain, and people were literally dancing on the remains of the Berlin Wall. But the end of the Cold War wasn't all blue jeans and Bruce Springsteen. In some parts of the world, Communism was preserving order in extremely volatile areas. This was especially true in Yugoslavia, a federation of Slavic peoples—including Serbians, Bosnians, Croats, Albanians, and Macedonians—created after World War II.

When the Communist government in Yugoslavia fell in 1990, war broke out along ethnic lines. Primarily, that meant the Serbs fighting the Bosnians, Croats, and Albanians. The war crimes perpetrated by the Serbs against the Bosnians were so brutal that the United Nations declared them genocide in 1992.

At the center of all this madness was the picturesque Bosnian city of Sarajevo. Filled with gorgeous alpine mountains and graceful valleys, Sarajevo had wowed the world in 1984 when it hosted the Winter Olympics. For decades, Sarajevo had served as an important example of Bosnians living together peacefully with Serbs and Croats. But all of that ended on April 5, 1992. Serbian tanks rolled across Bosnia and opened fire on Sarajevo. Then the Croatian army, which also wanted control of the city, did the same. Suddenly, Sarajevo's citizens were being attacked from all sides. It was the beginning of a disastrous four-year siege.
Tunnel Vision

As bombs rained down on Sarajevo, Serb snipers hid in the hills while Serb tanks blocked every road leading out of the city. The people of Sarajevo were trapped and starving, living in their basements and rationing their last cans of food. The city would have fallen if not for one man—Bajro Kolar.

vKolar was a typical middle-class family man living in Butmir, a tiny community in the Sarajevo suburb of Ilidza. His house had the strategic advantages of being beyond Serb lines, as well as being close to the Sarajevo airport, which made it perfect for hoarding fresh supplies. When the Bosnian army approached him with the idea of building a tunnel from his cellar into a garage in Sarajevo, Kolar didn't hesitate to say yes.

In early 1993, Kolar, his wife, his son, and about 200 soldiers began burrowing through nearly 2,500 feet of soil—digging every inch by hand. The tunnel was less than 5 feet high, so miners had to crouch low with their picks and shovels. They reinforced the walls with wood and steel beams, like an old-fashioned coal mine, and even laid a railway track on the floor. Working in eight-hour shifts, the diggers completed the tunnel that July.
Saving a City

The Sarajevo Tunnel was the Trojan Horse of the Bosnian War. Historians estimate that more than 1 million trips were taken through the shaft, allowing the import of about 20 million tons of food. Machine guns and crates of ammunition also flowed through the Tunnel, helping the Bosnian army defend itself against the well-armed Serbs.

vThere was nothing romantic about the Tunnel, though. Dark, dirty, and cold, the passage was so narrow and crowded that a one-way trip could take as long as two hours. And the constant explosions outside vibrated through the walls and threatened the support beams. It was miraculous that no part of the passage ever collapsed.

Among those who passed through the tunnel was Alija Izetbegovic, then-president of Bosnia. For the sake of his country, Izetbegovic needed to make appearances on both sides of the Serb lines, and the Tunnel was the only dependable route. But it wasn't easy. At one point, Izetbegovic was wheelchair-bound, and he had to roll through the corridor on its primitive railway tracks.

When the war ended, the Tunnel's story became international news, and the Kolars were showered with honors. Today, the house serves as a museum, and it's easy to find. The locals eagerly give directions, and taxis and tour buses make regular visits. While the Western press has given the landmark many names—the Tunnel of Life, the Tunnel of Hope—in Bosnia, all you have to say is Tunnel (pronounced TOO-nell), and everyone knows what you're talking about.

Awesome Pictures


Sycamore Canyon

Dog rescued by cows after six freezing nights trapped between stacks of hay bales

A dog which survived six freezing nights trapped between a stack of hay bales is back with her owners after being rescued by a herd of cows. The owners of border collie Harley presumed she was dead after a week missing in temperatures as low as -5 degrees C. But Leyonee Donald, 33, was stunned when her dad John Forbes found Harley after some help from his inquisitive cows. Leyonee, who lives in Potterton, just outside Aberdeen, Scotland, said: “We were staying up with my parents and Harley had gone wandering.
“I’d left the back door open, but she never returned and when we woke up on the Thursday morning she still wasn’t there and that’s when the panic set in because she hadn’t done that before. We called the police and appealed on Facebook for people to look for her, while we looked around the farm and beyond.” After spending nearly a week searching the countryside around Buckie in Moray, Leyonee had given up hope of ever seeing six-year-old Harley again until she received a welcome phone call from her father. Leyonee said the phone call came out of the blue.

She said: “We had been through all the emotions – guilt for losing her, then anger at her for running away – as it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. By Tuesday morning it was getting a bit stressful so me and the kids were coming back through to Aberdeen when all of a sudden my father called to ask where we were. My mum was with us and he said to her ‘does she not want to come back and pick up the dog then?’ and we were like, ‘the dog? Where?’. So we rushed back, and there she was. She’d got herself on top of a large stack of hay bales and fallen through a hole which had taken her right down to the bottom and she was trapped.

“My dad had found her while he was seeing his cows on Tuesday morning. They were really restless and mooing a lot. Animals have amazing instincts and they were all pointing towards the hay bales so my dad thought Harley might be around there and started shouting for her. He heard this tiny little bark and he then realized Harley was trapped between the bales. The annoying thing, was that my father and I had both been around that area a number of times shouting on her, but she doesn’t really bark. Plus if she was making any noise it would have possibly been muffled by the bales.” Harley was given the all clear after a quick check-up at the vets and, once taken home, was treated to her favourite slap-up meal – roast chicken with gravy.

Animal News

Sight is such a spontaneous activity that we are unaware of the complexity of the brain mechanisms it implies. For instance, we easily recognize objects, which appear to look always the same, without realizing that [...]
The analysis of DNA inherited from a single parent has provided valuable insights into the history of human and animal populations. However, until recently we had insufficient information to be able to investigate the paternal [...]

Surprisingly Naked Animals

Wе all love little fluffy pets. It doesn't matter whether it's a rabbit, a puppy, a kitten, or a baby horse. But sometimes an animal is born ending up bald. Some people are attracted to bald animals and they grow them deliberately.

And that doesn't matter as long as they are treated well. Unfortunately that isn't always the case. Here are some of the crazy hairless animals found within a domestic setting.

Beautiful Photos Of Waxwing Birds

The waxwings form the genus Bombycilla of passerine birds. Waxwings are characterised by soft silky plumage. They have unique red tips to some of the wing feathers where the shafts extend beyond the barbs. These tips look like sealing wax, and give the group its common name.

Male and female waxwings have the same plumage. All three species have mainly brown plumage, a black line through the eye and black under the chin, a square-ended tail with a red or yellow tip, and a pointed crest.

A Stolen Goat Walks into a Bar…

vThe Fairmont Hot Springs Resort in Butte, Montana, was missing a pygmy goat from its petting zoo. The staff didn't realize that the kid had been kidnapped, instead of just wandering off, until they saw a newspaper report of a goat in a bar.
Steve Luebeck, general manager at Fairmont, said staff knew the animal was missing, but they hadn’t realized it had been stolen until they saw Wednesday’s article in The Montana Standard that reported a goat had been brought into an Uptown bar at 1:30 a.m. Sunday.
A patron called police, and an animal control officer took the goat to the shelter.
The goat was returned to the petting zoo on Wednesday.
“She made it home, and she’s safe and sound,” Casagranda said.
Luebeck said nothing like it had ever happened at the petting zoo, which goats and miniature horses call home. He said he hoped anyone who knows about the incident will come forward with information. He said if livestock were stolen from a rancher, it wouldn’t be considered a joke.
Luebeck said they would press charges against the kidnappers -if they knew who they were. More

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“Lynx Portrait” by Mario Moreno