Saturday, January 28, 2017

Madrid and Rome revive bilateral ties to address European challenges By euroefe.es and Samuel White

The prime ministers of Spain and Italy, Mariano Rajoy and Paolo Gentiloni, met on Friday (27 January) for the first time in four years, in a bid to bring fresh impetus to high-level cooperation between the two countries. Euractiv Spain reports. Gentiloni replaced Matteo Renzi at the head of the Italian government last December after the former premier lost a referendum on wide-ranging constitutional reforms. He met his Spanish counterpart at Madrid’s Moncloa Palace on Friday afternoon. Renzi had been in office since February 2014, but during his tenure he did not hold any bilateral meetings with Rajoy in Spain or Italy. The last time a head of the Italian government visited Spain was in May 2013, when then-prime minister Enrico Letta met with Rajoy at the Moncloa Palace. So for the Spanish government, Gentiloni’s visit was an important step towards reviving high-level bilateral relations. Between two countries with such strong historical, cultural, social, economic and investment ties, this is a good sign. Madrid believes that the two countries’ respective domestic situations held them back from taking full advantage of these ties in recent years. The bulk of Friday’s discussions centred on this issue. The two heads of government also discussed the Malta summit on 3 February, to be attended by all EU leaders except the UK’s Theresa May, to discuss the bloc’s future after Brexit. They also exchanged views on the EU summit in Rome this coming March to mark the 60th anniversary of the signing of the treaty establishing the European Economic Community. EurActiv

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Francis Cabrel

Artist Ragnar Kjartansson among the twelve awarded the Order of the Falcon on New Years Day By Selma Ó

President Guðni Th. Johannesson, awarded twelve individuals the Order of the Falcon in an annual ceremony at the presidential residency Bessastadir yesterday. Six men and six women received the Order for their outstanding contribution to a variety of fields such as science, arts, search and rescue and culture. The Order of the Falcon is a national Order of Iceland, established by King Christian X of Denmark and Iceland in 1921. Benóný Asgrimsson helicopter pilot was awarded for his contribution to search and rescue, Bjorn G. Bjornsson set designer for innovation in his field, Professor Eirikur Rognvaldsson for his contribution to the preservation of the Icelandic language, Gerdur Gudmundsottir Bjarklind with the National Broadcasting service for her contribution to Radio, Gunnhildur Oskarsdottir for her contribution and support to cancer research and health education awareness, Kolbrun Halldorsdottir theatre director and president of the Icelandic association of Artists for her contribution to theatre and to Icelandic arts. Peggy Oliver Helgason, occupational therapist, for his contribution to children’s health in Iceland. Ragnar Kjartansson visual artist, for his contribution to Icelandic and international visual arts. Sigridur Sigthorsdottir architect, for her contribution to Icelandic architecture. Author Sigurdur Palsson for his contribution to Icelandic literature. Thorbjorg Arnorsdottir, head of Hali II in South Iceland for cultural contribution in her community in the south of Iceland. Thor Jakobson meteorologist, for his contribution for environmental science. The Order of the Falcon was established during a royal visit to Iceland in 1921, when King Christian X issued the royal decree founding the Icelandic Order. New statutes were incorporated for the Order in 1944, when Iceland became a republic. It may be awarded to both Icelanders and citizens of other countries for achievements in Iceland or internationally. The President of Iceland is the designated Grand Master of the Order. A council of five makes recommendations on awards to the Grand Master, who then grants the award. However, the Grand Master may award the Order without recommendations from the Order Council. The Grand Master and the Chairman of the Order Council then sign the Letters Patent, which are given to those who receive the awards. IceNews

Denmark earns two Oscar nominations By Ben Hamilton

Photo Credit: www.coastal.com
‘Under sandet’ shortlisted for Best Foreign Language Film and ‘Silent Nights’ for Best Live Action Short Film

Danish films this afternoon have received two Oscar nominations.
‘Under sandet’ (’Land of Mine’), already on a nine-film shortlist, has been nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, and ‘Silent Nights’ has been selected in the Live Action Short Film category.

Five out of seven for Denmark
The selection of Martin Pieter Zandvliet’s post-World War II drama makes it five out of seven years that a Danish film has been nominated – a run that started with Susanne Bier’s ‘Hævnen’ winning the award for 2010. Produced by Nordisk Film, ‘Under sandet’ follows a troop of German POWs digging up landmines in Denmark laid by their own army years earlier. It premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year before being released at Danish cinemas in December, where it sold 175,000 tickets. A US release is expected this year. Sweden’s ‘En man som heter Ove’ (‘A Man Called Ove’) also made the shortlist, but Norway’s ‘Kongens nei’ (‘The King’s Choice’) did not.
M&M: more Oscars than Eminem The pedigree of ‘Silent Nights’ is even better. Directed by Aske Bang, it is produced by M&M Productions, which has won four Oscars in the category – most recently for ‘Helium’ for 2013. And if Denmark was feeling particularly cheeky, it could claim a third nomination for American-Danish actor Viggo Mortensen. The 58-year-old has been shortlisted for Best Actor in a Leading Role for ‘Captain Fantastic’ – his second career nomination following a Best Actor nod for ‘Eastern Promises’ for 2007. The Oscars are on February 26. CPH Post Photo

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Irish soup kitchens plan expansion as homelessness crisis worsens By Nick Bramhill

A number of established soup kitchen operators in Ireland are planning to significantly expand their services and open up new food banks in the New Year in response to an increase in poverty-stricken households and homelessness. Some voluntary organizations have said the unprecedented demand for free meals and food parcels over the past year has stretched their resources to the limit. The Irish Soup Kitchens Centres, which runs 365-days-a-year operations in Drogheda, Co. Louth, and Navan, Co. Meath, said it's planning to open up four more outlets in Dublin in 2017. The charity's two centers already dish out up to 3,000 meals in total per week, along with sending out more than 500 food parcels on a weekly basis. Mark O'Neill, spokesman for the service, said, "The situation out there is desperate for an awful lot of people at the moment, and we've identified a big need for more soup kitchens in Dublin. We did a sandwich run in Dublin recently and the number of people we fed who were lying out in shelters and on the streets was unreal. “The homeless numbers are far worse than the official figures the government tells us – and unfortunately that problem is not going to just disappear overnight." It's a similarly grim picture at St. Clare’s Hospitality Food Kitchen in Carlow town, which began handing out free dinners three days a week, along with regular food parcels to the needy after it was set up by a local parish priest 18 months ago. Susan McWey, treasurer of the charity, said the service was recently expanded to a four-day a week operation, and will be increased to a five-day service early in the coming weeks due to the ever-increasing demand. "The people that need us are hungry every day, not just three days a week, so that's why the service has to be expanded. It's very sad that so many people need us, and it affects all walks of life,” McWey said. Brother Kevin Crowley of the Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin said the number of meals they now hand out on a daily basis has doubled since 2009. And he said a visible increase in child poverty in more recent times has resulted in an increase in financially-crippled mothers turning to service for baby food and diapers. Irish Central

Friday, January 20, 2017

Prince William to quit as helicopter pilot to become full-time working royal By Gordon Rayner

Photo Credit: AP
The Duke of Cambridge is to quit his role as an air ambulance pilot this summer so he can take up full-time royal duties in  support of the Queen, Kensington Palace confirmed today. The Duchess of Cambridge will also step up the number of royal engagements she undertakes, and the couple will move back to London with their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte. A spokesman for the family also confirmed that Prince George will go to school in London, starting in September, as The Telegraph reported last month. Since 2014 the family has been based at Anmer Hall in Norfolk, but from later this year their main home will be Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace, their official London residence. The Duke has told East Anglian Air Ambulance that he will not be renewing his two-year contract with them when it lapses in the summer. The Duke said: "It has been a huge privilege to fly with the East Anglia Air Ambulance. Following on from my time in the military,  I have had experiences in this job I will carry with me for the rest of my life, and that will add a valuable perspective to my royal work for decades to come. "I would like to thank the people of East Anglia for being so supportive of my role and for letting me get on with the job when they have seen me in the community or at our region's hospitals. "I would especially like to thank all of my collegues at EAAA, Babcock and Cambridge Airport for their friendship and support. "I have loved being part of a team of professional, talented people that save lives every day. My admiration for our country's medical and emergency services community could not be any stronger." With the Duke of Edinburgh in his 96th year and the Queen preparing to celebrate her 91st birthday in April, the onus has been on the Duke and Duchess for some time to take on a greater share of royal engagements. A Kensington Palace spokesman said: "Their Royal Highnesses are keen to continue to increase their official work on behalf of The Queen and for the charities and causes they support, which will require greater time spent in London. "Prince George will begin school in London in September and Princess Charlotte will also go to nursery and eventually school in London as well." Kensington Palace did not announce where Prince George will be sent to school, though he is widely expected to attend Wetherby pre-preparatory school in Notting Hill, where the young Princes William and Harry were once pupils. The Telegraph

Eurovision Song Contest 2017 - Kiev, Ukraine

Photo Credit: Courtesy
The Eurovision Song Contest 2017 will be the 62nd edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. It will take place in the International Exhibition Centre in Kiev, Ukraine, following Ukraine's victory at the 2016 contest in Stockholm with the song "1944", written and performed by Jamala. The contest is expected to consist of two semi-finals on 9 and 11 May and the final on 13 May 2017. Forty-three countries will participate in the 2017 contest. Portugal and Romania will return to the contest; both of whom were absent from the 2016 edition. Bosnia and Herzegovina, who had returned in 2016, have withdrawn due to financial difficulties. KYIV Post Wikipedia

Children’s jog raises hundreds for charity

A sponsored jog on the grounds of Victoria House Nursery, Victoria Road, Douglas, raised £1,400, which was split between Housing Matters and Save the Children. Children from the age of two took part. Housing Matters is a local charity that provides advice, guidance and support for those in housing crisis. IOM Today
Housing Matters Save The Children

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Lollapalooza music festival to launch in Paris this summer

[AFP] The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Weeknd and the Pixies will play the inaugural Paris edition of Lollapalooza as the longstanding US alternative culture festival expands. Lollapalooza will take place on July 22-23 at the Longchamp Racecourse in the west of the French capital, the Parisian government announced in November. Unveiling the lineup on Tuesday, promoter Live Nation said the headliners would include veteran Los Angeles alternative band Red Hot Chili Peppers, fellow US rockers Imagine Dragons and R&B sensation The Weeknd. Other performers will include indie rock icons the Pixies, the sultry baroque singer Lana Del Rey and Liam Gallagher, the volatile former frontman of Oasis. Lollapalooza Paris will also have a share of French artists including DJ Snake, the producer who has won vast success on the US dance music scene. Other French acts include psychedelic rockers La Femme and IAM, one of the formative French hip-hop acts. Lollapalooza was launched in the early 1990s by Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell during the US boom of alternative music, with the festival conceived as a traveling festival that would explore non-mainstream music and culture. After criticism that the festival was becoming increasingly commodified, Lollapalooza shut down but re-emerged as in 2005 as an annual event with a regular venue of Chicago. The Local-France Lollapalooza Paris Wikipedia

Italian conservative Tajani wins race to head European Parliament

Photo Credit: www.euronews.com

Centre-right politician Antonio Tajani was elected the new president of the European Parliament on Tuesday after defeating his socialist rival, a fellow Italian, in a daylong series of votes.

The new speaker, 63, a former EU commissioner and an ally of former premier Silvio Berlusconi, succeeds German Social Democrat Martin Schulz at a time of crisis for the European Union. Britain wants a divorce deal that needs the legislature's blessing while old adversary Russia and old ally the United States both pose new threats to EU survivors holding together. Schulz's tenure saw close cooperation with the centre-right head of the EU executive, Jean-Claude Juncker, but ended with recriminations over the end of a left-right grand coalition. That could spell trouble for the smooth passage of EU laws on a range of issues. And the win for Tajani, who beat centre-left leader and fellow Italian Gianni Pittella by 351 votes to 282 in a fourth-round runoff, gives the right a lock on three pivotal EU political institutions. That has stirred some calls for change from either Juncker at the European Commission or Donald Tusk, who chairs the European Council of national leaders. However, there is no clear consensus for such changes. Tajani, mindful of the scars left by an unusually bruising battle over a post which can be a powerful influence on which EU rules are made, promised to be "a president for all of you". His eventual victory came with backing from pro-EU liberals as well as from the ruling conservative parties of Britain and Poland, both of them sharply critical of the EU's failings. They bristle at the EU impinging on national sovereignty and see it as bureaucratic and wasteful.
Coalition
Tajani began a day of voting with a major advantage by making a coalition with the liberals, whose leader Guy Verhofstadt pulled out to form a common front against anti-EU populists. Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister and leading European federalist who is the parliament's point man on Brexit negotiations, highlighted the challenges the EU faces in dealing with Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as U.S. President-elect Donald Trump. The latter predicted this week that more countries would follow Britain's example and leave the bloc. The centre-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group, the second biggest after the centre-right European People's Party (EPP) group, had previously agreed, when Schulz was re-elected in 2014 with EPP backing, to support an EPP candidate this time round. That rift in the mainstream has been seen as giving a potentially greater voice to eurosceptics who have been bolstered by Britain's referendum vote last year to quit the EU. Verhofstadt said of his party's alliance with the centre-right: "It is a first and important step in the building up of a pro-European coalition ... that is absolutely necessary with Trump, with Putin, with many other challenges Europe faces." Parliament will also have to sign off on the exit deal with Britain, probably by late 2018 or early 2019, just as lawmakers are campaigning for an EU-wide legislative election in May 2019. Reacting to a call from Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday for Britain to keep extensive free access to the EU market while shedding many of its obligations, Verhofstadt said she was offering an "illusion" and dealing in "threats". (REUTERS) France 24 Photo

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

BRITISH ISLES & NORWAY • JULY 30th – AUGUST 11th, 2017

Connect with the peoples and places of the British Isles and bask in the region’s luminous seascapes, green grass and golden hills on Bright Horizons 32. Travel roundtrip Copenhagen to England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland with scientific experts and science buffs on HAL’s Zuiderdam July 30 – August 11, 2017. 2-Page Flyer Scientific American

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Notes

Photo Credit: Coconuss Network
It is freezing cold in Passau Germany today, yesterday and practically everyday since New Year's. Snowdrifts. Thank God the neighbor decided to shovel the driveway, so in turn I mopped the garage floor.  Last year, if I recall, we had one snowfall all winter till Spring and then a short-lived blizzard.  Brrrh. Can't even walk the pup cuz it's 10° in the morning and a whopping 20° in the afternoon.  I think one day all month we got mid 30s. So I am humbly complaining, but not at all depressed about the situation, cuz I know it's only temporary and soon enough we'll get back into the 40s. Although, end of January in Rome hits 55°. Can't have our cake every year.  We will return though.  Via del Corso. Baked boxed brownies today that turned out like chocolate cake.  Kitchen has been busy.  Baked a mushroom béchamel lasagna with delicious homemade noodles.  Makes such a difference.  The pup weighs 9,5kg. She needs to lose 500 grams. Her 'choco pet' Rome jacket no longer fits her.  She hasn't even gotten to wear it yet.  Incentive to lose weight.  Well, they've been plowing the roads with salt, so another reason why we haven't been walking.  Normally we walk about 35 minutes every day. Some good news arrived so we are counting our blessings, and keeping our loved ones in our prayers. Thankful for Facebook to keep us all connected.  2016 was a year of deep savings, a lil travel, and a tad too much food.  No weight loss, but changing course for 2017 with more daily walks, less carbs, and more veggie soups.  For example, cabbage soup with shredded carrots, grilled onions and garlic, sea salt and pepper.  Boiled dry garbanzo beans for bean soup and for hummus. My hummus is labor intensive - boil the beans and get rid of the skins. Makes for a glossy fresh hummus with lemon and roasted garlic, and Middle Eastern tahini (there is really a difference !!), with a sprinkle of Hungarian paprika. Wunderbar !!  Sonst, the winter weather has put a damper on study.  Awake early, sometimes 5:30am, but not as motivated.  Awaiting big tv shows, Germany's Next Top Model with Heidi Klum, and the stages of Deutschland Sucht den Superstar with Dieter Bohlen. Otherwise, seldom watch TV, if not CNN. Rosamunde Pilcher romance an exception, and French movies on ARTE or TV5Monde Europe. New Year's Resolution: More protein at meals, more exercise and more mojo, which will lead to more study. As I am semi-retired, I keep busy with housework and hobbies, the blog for example. I also write sometimes and read books, study language. There's plenty to do to fill a day. And some fun as time allows. Will celebrate Chinese New Year on Saturday 28. January.  The Year of the Rooster.   Happy New Years !!  

Monaco kicks off the FIA World Rally Championship

It’s the sport’s longest-standing fixture and canvases some of the most beautiful terrain in Europe. From Monday 16th to Sunday 22nd, the 85th edition of the famous Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo will test the drivers’ skills, nerves and determination as well as their cars in 17 high speed stages through the lower Alps and the French Riviera. 
Following two and a half days of reconnaissance, the Round 1 of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship will officially begin at 6.15pm on Thursday in Monaco’s Casino Square with two night stages: Entrevaux-Val de Chalvagne-Ubraye and Bayons-Bréziers. Drivers will then be pushed to the limit during the following day - the longest in the competition - as the teams head north of Gap for 160km of intense driving in the Hautes-Alpes and Isère: Agnières en Dévoluy-Le Motty, Aspres lès Corps-Chaillol and Saint Léger les Mélèzes-Ancelle-La Bâtie Neuve. The third day will feature a new version of the loop of Lardier et Valença-Oze and La Bâtie Monsaleon-Faye, which will both be run twice, and a second drive along Bayons-Bréziers before the final servicing in Gap. The final day of racing will see another four stages in which teams will twice contest on the Luceram-Col Saint Roch and La Bollène Vésubie-Peira Cava, which itself was a replica of the famous Col de Turini see in 2016. All in all, the route created by the Automobile Club de Monaco is vastly different - 85% - to last year’s race and is set to be a gruelling four days of hardcore racing. The prizing-giving ceremony, however, will take place as tradition dictates at 3pm in front of the Monaco Palais Princier. Riviera Insider

Kelsea Ballerini

Photo Credit: tourlala.com
Yeah Boy Kelsea Nicole Ballerini (born September 12, 1993) is an American country pop singer-songwriter. She is signed to Black River Entertainment, and released her first album The First Time in 2015. She received a nomination for Best New Artist at the 2017 Grammy Awards. Wikipedia Photo

Davos: Plastic companies devise plan to reduce pollution

Photo Credit: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Forty of the world's biggest companies assembled in Davos agreed on Monday to come up with cleaner ways to make and consume plastic as waste threatens the global ecosystem, especially in oceans. The plan was announced at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort, where powerful executives are gathering just days ahead of the inauguration of Donald Trump as US president, who views concern about such environmental issues with suspicion. The planet's dangerously polluted oceans will contain more plastic waste than fish by 2050 if urgent action isn't taken, the companies warned. Answering a call by British sailor and philanthropist Ellen MacArthur, multinationals such as Unilever and Procter and Gamble made a commitment to increase recycling and cut back overall use. Food-to-detergents giant Unilever said it would ensure that all of its plastic packaging "is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025". The Davos initiative said 20 percent of the world's plastic production could be profitably re-used and a further 50 percent recycled instead of infesting landfills and killing wildlife in the ocean. But even then, "without fundamental redesign and innovation, the remaining 30 percent of plastic packaging (by weight) will never be recycled and the equivalent of 10 billion garbage bags per year will be destined to landfill or incineration", the WEF said. "The 'New Plastics Economy' initiative has attracted widespread support, and across the industry we are seeing strong initial momentum and alignment on the direction to take," said MacArthur, who is a regular Davos presence along with celebrities such as Matt Damon. Other companies backing the initiative include Coca-Cola, Danone and Dow Chemical. "Plastics are the workhorse material of the modern economy -- with unbeaten properties," said Martin Stuchtey, a professor for resource management at Innsbruck University in Austria who is working on the programme. "Minor changes in material, format and treatment ... can make the economics of recycling viable and take us into a positive spiral of ... lower costs and better design," he said. The Local-Switzerland World Economic Forum

Monday, January 9, 2017

Hugo Veiga: The man behind the Dove Real Beauty Sketches campaign By Marina Watson Peláez

Photo Credit: www.publico.pt
[May 30, 2013]. Hugo Veiga is the man behind the latest commercial campaign for Dove – the most viral online video campaign ever. He told PDV how he believes women should be more confident about their looks. 
Laughter reverberates around the room when Hugo Veiga tells the audience that to succeed in the marketing world, you must have two qualities: passion and balls. Hugo Veiga, 33, is the man behind the latest commercial campaign for personal care brand Dove – the most viral online video campaign in history. The video takes place in a loft in San Francisco, where an FBI trained forensic artist asks several women to tell him how they see themselves, describing features like their hair and the shape of their faces, and then sketches them, without actually seeing them, based only on these descriptions. He then sketches them based on what other people have to say about the person – personal considerations such as: she had “nice eyes that lit up when she spoke”, or she had a “thin chin.” The differences between both versions, hung side by side, are jaw-dropping – and the second one always turned out to be more flattering, leaving most of the women almost in tears.
"The challenge was to create an inspiring project to support the concept of “real beauty”, which was inspiring and had a universal language,” Hugo tells PDV following a conference at the University of Communication and Media Studies in Lisbon. It was surprising because it’s an emotionally-charged film, so it doesn’t really have that much potential to become viral. We knew we had a very good project in our hands, but we never thought it would ever become the most viral video in history in just 5 weeks."
Veiga says that, as described in an article by the New York Times, it “seems to have gone beyond the skin and touched a nerve.” And that, according to him, sums up what the campaign is about.
"I think what marked me the most were the women’s reactions after the sketches. The portraits were like mirror reflections of all the internal conflicts these women had been struggling with during their entire lives."
The Portuguese copywriter was born in Porto, but works for Ogilvy Brazil, and has lived in São Paulo for the past 7 years. He started his career with an internship at McCann Erickson in Lisbon, after winning a national competition for young creatives. He now works alongside art director Diego Machado – a team which has been clinching prizes since 2011. They were awarded a silver and three gold medals at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Veiga said that advertising agencies need to hire creatives and not marketers, and also have to take on risks. “When we came up with this idea for Dove, we didn’t know if it would work,” he explains. “I didn’t know whether I could trust the portraits this man did to turn out accurate.” But the accuracy of the results were astonishing. He also told a room full of journalism and advertising students that nothing should ever stop them from taking an idea forward. “We increasingly have to multitask, be multifaceted and try to be as independent as possible, do everything possible to make an idea happen,” he added. Veiga says the bottom line of the advert is that women are more beautiful than they think, as they are very self-critical and do not value their beauty. “The message is: You are more beautiful than you think. Start to value the positive aspects you have and don’t give so much importance to imperfections,” he says.  Dove Real Beauty Sketches | You’re more beautiful than you think (3mins) [VIDEO] PDV
International New York Times

Sunday, January 8, 2017

American Football Today at 10:30pm.

It's gonna be football till probably midnight. 
May the best team win.  
 
Sonntag, 08.01.2017
22:30 bis 01:55
Sport

ran Football: NFL Playoffs - Wild Card Round - New York Giants at Green Bay Packers

USA 2017

Europe's harsh winter blamed for more than a dozen deaths in three countries

[AP] (Photos) Heavy snowfall and below-freezing temperatures have swept across Europe causing more than a dozen deaths, as well as grounding flights and crippling ferries in Italy and Turkey. The cold conditions in Poland have killed at least 10 people in the past few days, according to officials who said temperatures in some areas had dropped below -20 degrees Celsius on Saturday. In Belgium, one man died when his truck slid off a highway. Sub-freezing temperatures in Italy were blamed for the deaths of a half-dozen homeless people, while heavy snow and high winds resulted in re-routed flights, delayed ferries, cancelled trains and closed roads, media reported. With no indications of a let up, some schools were ordered to stay closed on Monday in southern Italy, because of snow up to one metre high, the ANSA news agency reported. The chill did not spare sunny Rome either, with the fountains in St Peter's Square freezing over. Temperatures dropped to -7 degrees in Greece's second largest city of Thessaloniki, and -10 degrees was expected on Sunday, according to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. Several Greek islands, otherwise known for their sunny and warm weather, were blanketed in snow with freezing temperatures. Heavy snow covered the Moria refugee and migrant camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. One of the camp's residents captured footage, which was passed to an aid worker, showing the snow-covered tents that continue to provide shelter for some of the migrants stranded in Moria. The man told the aid worker his tent had been destroyed and that he had never been that cold in his life. Heavy snow crippled Istanbul and national carrier Turkish Airlines cancelled more than 650 flights. The state-run Anadolu news agency reported that even the Bosphorus Strait running through Turkey's largest city was closed with ferries being halted. Britain has missed out on the cold and snow, sporting its usual grey cloudy skies and temperatures of 10 degrees Celsius. ABC Australia

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Germany's Gabriel says EU break-up no longer unthinkable By Paul Carrel

Germany's insistence on austerity in the euro zone has left Europe more divided than ever and a break-up of the European Union is no longer inconceivable, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel told Der Spiegel magazine. Gabriel, whose Social Democrats (SPD) are junior partner to Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives in her ruling grand coalition, said strenuous efforts by countries like France and Italy to reduce their fiscal deficits came with political risks."I once asked the chancellor, what would be more costly for Germany: for France to be allowed to have half a percentage point more deficit, or for Marine Le Pen to become president?" he said, referring to the leader of the far-right National Front."Until today, she still owes me an answer," added Gabriel, whose SPD favors a greater focus on investment while Merkel's conservatives put more emphasis on fiscal discipline as a foundation for economic prosperity. The SPD is expected to choose Gabriel, their long-standing chairman who is also economy minister, to run against Merkel for chancellor in September's federal election, senior party sources said on Thursday. Asked if he really believed he could win more votes by transferring more German money to other EU countries, Gabriel replied: "I know that this discussion is extremely unpopular." "But I also know about the state of the EU. It is no longer unthinkable that it breaks apart," he said in the interview, published on Saturday. "Should that happen, our children and grandchildren would curse us," he added. "Because Germany is the biggest beneficiary of the European community - economically and politically." (Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Stephen Powell) REUTERS

REO Speedwagon

Keep The Fire Burning