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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Financial/Algorithmic Trading, Wanna Cry Decryptor Ransomware, and More

Way back when someone told me about 'algorithmic trading'. I've always been skeptical about this field but it's still somewhat of a side interest:
- obviously, this isn't easy. If you've watched this field for long enough you'll realise that most traders struggle to survive in the game over the long term performance wise. There is often a lot of turnover in this area and it's a combination of various characteristics/attributes that make for a good trader not just one thing alone...
- most technical analysis suggests that this field is very difficult to be successful in unless you are engaging in 'front running' (like most HFT firms are)(check out a book called 'Random Walk Through Wall St' which studied long term performance of mutual/hedge funds versus the market and it's clear that even random picks can more often then not outperform 'professionals')
Million Dollar Traders Full Series 1 of 3 
Million Dollar Traders Full Series 2 of 3 
Million Dollar Traders Full Series (Anton Kreil)/Million Dollar Traders Full Series 3 of 3 
- there are lots of resources out there. Ironically, I think a lot of money is made teaching others how to trade (and selling associated technology/systems) and selling services on commission and fees rather then the actual act of trading itself
Black Algo Trading: Build Your Trading Robot - FREE @ Stackskills, Usually $299
- I think another way that professionals make profits is to effectively push novice traders into the market and hope they aren't as good as they are
- despite what is said of 'free market capitalism' a lot of the the major players do collude and make it more difficult for newcomers to enter their area of expertise
- most traders generally fall into one of several categories: reader (Buffet. They see value in a 'market sea'), manipulator (Soros. They lie, manipulate, and speculate), insider (trade based on inside information. Despite what is said occurs more often then we like to admit), novice (non-institutional investors generally fit into this category), passive (they don't really think that they can outpace the market so they just track broad indices)
- getting relevant data can be difficult. If you look into some of the major trading firms you'll realise how capital intensive their operations are and why it has to be that way. A tool/mechanism to provide you with tips from time to time is much more realistic for individual traders and less well resourced trading firms. I may provide some proof of concept code at another time (it's effectively not much more different from my news scanner work though)?
- as I said in my 'Convergence Report' we are now effectively trading in an era where algorithms are going up against algorithms. Don't think that just because your algorithm works effectively over past data that this will work up against the current and future market. If you've examined some funds
- there is no algorithm which has been able to effectively trade in turbulent/bear markets as yet based on what I've been hearing. Moreover, the only strategy for algorithmic traders during these periods is to unplug/sever the power or network connection in order to stem/curtail losses. Algorithmic (HFT in particular) trading in most cases only works only over tiny time spans/periods
- algorithmic trading is the area where most developers are interested. Suggest you try a dry run and test run on actual data (and past data) first before you actually try anything major. Not as easy as it sounds, especially once you factor in taxes and fees. At times, it feels like having a standard job would be easier?
- some areas you should definitely look into... 
- a lot of YouTube Channels out there for those that are interested in this particular area. They obviously cover standard trading strategies as well as automated ones
I Know First: Daily Market Forecast 
Python Quants
Quant Insti
High Frequency Trading 24
Indra Firmansyah
shivbhakta joshi
Sang Lucci
Khan Academy
FX Art of War
Love the PIPS
William Meeks
Hedge Fund Structure and Fees - YouTube
Reuters HFT Debate With Haim Bodek and Manoj Narang
Decimus Capital Markets, LLC
Numerical Method Incorporation Limited
Investments - Binary Options
Lex van Dam
Professional Trading Masterclass Video Series with Anton Kreil - What Do You Get On The Course?

Random Stuff:
- as an aside, I wonder who most people would blame for the recent ransomware attack? It would be really interesting for me what people though especially if the public knew all the facts?
Who is to blame for the massive ransomware attack
Ransomware virus 'WannaCry' plagues 100k computers across 99 countries
Global Ransomware Attack Spawned By NSA
Massive Ransomware Outbreak Thanks to NSA - WannaCry Worm Spreading Fast
Ransomware attack using NSA exploit is spreading Worldwide, Wannacry Decryptor
- if you're not aware building something like that is pretty simple (especially when you consider it was built via a 'kit'). What I'm worried about are more more sophisticated AI controlled attack mechanisms. For instance, in the past I wrote about Self-Replacing Secure Code, http://dtbnguyen.blogspot.com/2015/07/self-replacing-secure-code-our-strange.html The next step is obviously Self-Replacing and Replicating Attack Code... There are already commercial variants of this style of technology out there and most likely there are actual implementations of this behind closed doors. Architecture is pretty simple, fuzzer/tester, auto-code generator, dispatcher/networker component, anonymiser/polymorphism/obfuscator component, etc... (time to build something like this is less then a day if you just want to get it out there. More depending on how elegant or sophisticated you want it)
- funny animal stories
- found a new online scripting website. There's an interesting newspaper paywall bypasser script that looks interesting (haven't tried it out yet). Pretty basic how some of the paywalls out there work huh (I knew some of them were 'basic' but didn't realise how many)? I stumbled across many of the more common techniques to bypass by accident in the past (see below)...
- re-posting this as a favour to someone who sent an email through to me...
This is the heart of the matter. Somehow we are expected to go along with the sophomoric sophism that “If we have nothing to hide then we have nothing to fear,” yet at the same time we are asked to believe that the government must keep all manner of information secret from the public in order to carry out its work of “protecting” that public.
[137] The Unmentioned Global Mind Control, Standing Rock Raided, Facebook Monopoly & More
- once you realise what you're up against in competing against some US firms it can become very frustrating. You need migratory capabilities, backwards compatibility, financial backing/support, capability in execution, nous, etc... It's almost like their investment firms basically pick someone who's smart and then back them 'all the way' (it doesn't matter how long it takes but ultimately they believe they can turn things into a profit eventually like Google, Amazon, Twitter, Apple, Tesla, SpaceX, etc...)? In which case, if you're smart and can already bring in the results it comes down to a matter of connections in the US?
What's behind Snapchat's financial difficulties – Inside Story
The rise of the tech titans - Counting the Cost
- the more you work with some of the major ICT companies out there (Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, etc...)(either with them or with their technology) the more you realise how big an ungainly their operations often are. Apparently, some of them outsource certain components and there is little if any contact between core staff and contractors making resolution of particular problems almost impossible? Work with them (or their technology) enough and you'll also realise that they face a lot of the same problems that other organisations face (except they face them 'at scale'), they aren't all 'supermen/superwomen' (because that would blow out budgets and also doesn't really work well at a social level), part of the issue is that they may believe in something that mightn't be true (that they are somehow significantly better then others in their field when the reality is that the gap is small to non-existent when you're talking about the upper end of the field)?, etc...
- latest in science and technology
- latest in finance and politics
Putin - Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
Trump vs. Truth - Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
What change has Trump brought to Washington - Inside Story
China's mission to reinvent the Silk Road - Counting the Cost
- raw size and speed are among the other ways of dealing with higher end and costly deployments of stealthy equipment such as the JSF, LCS, etc... Their SAM system design makes a little more sense to me now? If you recall the details of the MH17 incident the SAM warheads explode above the aircraft where their RCS is 'more conventional' (less optimised for stealth) which means that technically all they need to do is to be able to guide their SAMs into the rough vicinity of stealth aircraft to be able to have a genuine change to 'neutralise them'. Only countermeasure is a genuine 'flying Dorito' type design which many countries already have in their UCAV programs
- latest in defense
Asia on the Brink! And Does the New York Times Have a Stick of Dynamite for Xi Jinping
China welcomes US 'path of dialogue' to North Korea - Inside Story
Kremlin Insider Reveals China and Russia's plan to Topple US Military
Will the sun shine on Moon's South Korea – Inside Story
Is Washington undermining its alliance with Ankara - Inside Story
Bosnia 1992 - The Omarska Camp - Al Jazeera World
Launched & lost - ISIS jihadist's spy drone flight goes wrong
US Airpower in this Global Thermonuclear War scenario
- once you gain enough traffic you somehow have to figure out how to turn it into sales (or increase your conversion rate)
converting into sales
- DarlingHQ is like Wine for Linux except this is for Mac OS X/Linux rather than Windows/Linux. Setup reminds me of Android Toolchain... Just pure pain at times... So much waiting, downloading, and compilation...
apple packages on linux
- one of the great ironies of the FOSS world is that despite me knowing multiple people who have actually built their own versions of Ansible, Chef, Puppet, etc... only a few of them ever really get the recognition and financial backing that they deserve?
- it's obvious that the conflicts between capitalism and certain good outcomes results in many, strange and often serious flaws. I wonder whether the subscription or the swamp the market model works better overall (swamp the market with a smaller number of large entrants with a large supporting cast or else more of the inverse?)?
Keiser Report - Fake Powers (E1069)
Keiser Report - Fake Healthcare (E1070)
- a new theory regarding Trump. Trump is so dumb that he must be 'faking it' and by implication is therefore a genius? LOL
The Mainstream News Media Will Be Extinct As We Know It In Five Years
Trump vs. Truth - Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
What change has Trump brought to Washington - Inside Story
Undocumented in Trump's America - Fault Lines
Can Mexico stand up to Trump - UpFront
Economic reality check - Donald Trump's first 100 days - Counting the Cost
Donald Trump proposes sharp tax cuts
Disability in the time of 'Trumpcare' - The Stream
- I've been watching the Hackintosh/OSx86 scene for a while. Kind of comical to be honest. Each time an attempt is made to seal things up someone eventually finds a way around it...
mac os x for x86 clones
Can I get Niresh's kernels without the distro?
- another 'new feature' of Windows 10?
- I've been trying to lookup details about the VST preset file format. There's not much out there. There's also the added conundrum that they are somewhat custom...
vst preset file format
How to save a vst preset...WHERE I WANT TO SAVE IT!!
automated vst preset generation
random vst patch maker
howto randomize param's in vst
VST Preset Generator
random patch generator/breeder in energyXT 1.4
automated vst preset generation
random synth1 patch generator
New file uploaded to synth1users
Synth1 BE Random Patch Generator.xls
Synth1 Preset Generator v1
max4live random vst preset
Device Randomizer 2.0
Ableton Live - How to randomize All Instrument's VST Parameters?
Bad news for FL Studio Flowstone users
How do you sell plugins?
random presets synth1
Ichiro Toda Synth1 VST Random Preset Generator !

Random Quotes:
- He reiterated his reason for biting the dust - to spend more time with his family and children - and warned young political wannabes that he could no longer recommend a career in politics.

"If a young person, 25, walked up to me today and said 'Look, I really loved your career, I've really admired what you've done in politics, I really want to go into politics,' I'm not sure I could put my hand on my heart any more and say 'Hey, look, go for it, go for it like I did,' " Senator Conroy said.

"Because it is a pretty tough, fierce media environment out there today, and that's a little sad, because I think being in politics is a noble profession."
- Contrary to findings published by the Canadian government and the European Commission, a recent study by Tufts University concluded that this agreement would have a negative impact on both jobs and economic growth.

“We have taken more realistic macroeconomic models than those used by our governments, the methodology is different,” Pierre Kohler, the author of the study, told EurActiv.fr.

“For example, when jobs are destroyed in the wake of trade liberalisation, unemployment will rise for a certain period of time, because workers have sector specific knowledge and cannot be transferred on the spot. This unemployment creates a loss in labour income, expenditure, demand, etc.

“In a context of protracted austerity and low growth as is currently the case in the EU, such loss cannot be compensated by foreign demand or government demand, and hence they cause welfare or GDP losses,” the economist said.

Kohler added that the models typically used for this kind of study assume that production capacities, labour and capital are put to optimal use. This is unrealistic in his view.

The study has been widely distributed by Attac and the Greens.
- Saturday's rallies, organizers said, were attempting to demonstrate a show of force in that debate: Many citizens do not automatically want their nation's economy to expand (it's an almost universally-accepted idea in modern economics that expanded trade will provide net economic expansion to both countries) but instead they care how those benefits are distributed.

"What's for sure [with trade deals] is there will be losers, as there have been losers from NAFTA and other trade deals," Maritta Strasser — a lead trade campaigner for the nongovernmental organization Campact, and a speaker at Saturday's reportedly 50,000-person rally in Frankfurt — told CNBC last month. "Even if, overall, the benefits would be better than the losses – how do we compensate them?"

The protests were timed to coincide with a Monday meeting of Germany's Social Democrats, who were expected to vote on whether to support CETA. German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel leads that party, and his group's decision could ultimately affect the future of all EU trade policy because of Germany's importance in the union. 
- A couple of weeks ago, President Vladimir Putin presented Xi Jinping with a whole box of Russian ice-cream during the G20 summit in Hangzhou. Xi was delighted, saying that he had come to love Russian ice-cream during his many visits to Moscow.

    “Every time I come to Russia, I always bring Russian ice-cream home with me. Your cream is better, and that’s why it tastes so good,” the Chinese President said.

Russian ice-cream became a popular treat in China in the last few years. And after such a PR campaign, it has an even greater chance to conquer the Chinese market of almost 1.4 billion consumers.

Chinese ice-cream salesmen continued the marketing launched by Putin, with an unusual advertisement. An image of the Russian leader eating an ice-cream cone appeared on mini-trucks in the Chinese region of Heihe, bordering with the Russian city  of Blagoveshchensk, according t the newspaper .
- Marcel H. Van Herpen, who heads the Cicero Foundation, a Dutch think tank which advises the EU, wrote late last month in the German parliamentary magazine "APUZ" that Russian "disinformation" had become "very innovative" under President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent once stationed in communist East Germany.

"That relates to the extremely lavish budget for the propaganda work of the Kremlin, the far-reaching modernization of the Russian propaganda machinery, the use of psychological know-how and the relative openness of the Western media world" to influence Western political decision-making, Van Herpen said.

The Dutch expert said a long-running subject at Russia's military academies was the Chinese method of "Sunzi" or "the art of warfare", developed in around 500 years BC, that used deception to erode resistance and defeat the enemy "without having to fight a battle."

He advised Western governments to significantly raise their budgets for "public diplomacy." These had been severely trimmed over the past 10 years while Russia had "constantly raised" its funding for its "propaganda machinery."
- Manufacturers and sellers of ink cartridges speculated that HP had pre-programmed a failure date of unbranded cartridges in the firmware of certain printers. The last firmware update was in March.

The "timebomb" went off on September 13.

HP has since confirmed that it did indeed add stronger protections around its "innovations and intellectual property" via a firmware update. It also says this measure had been pre-installed in its other printers.

"Beginning in 2015, HP implemented updates to the firmware related to the security chip in HP OfficeJet, OfficeJet Pro and OfficeJet Pro X printers that maintains secure communications between the cartridge and the printer," it says.

"These printers will continue to work with refilled or re-manufactured cartridges with an Original HP security chip. Other cartridges may not function."
- Manila: Firebrand Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has lashed out with fresh obscenities at foreign critics of his deadly anti-drugs campaign, while issuing a veiled threat to potential coup plotters saying "we're watching you".

The man known as the "Punisher" told local government officials in his home-town of Davao that he became enraged after reading that the European Union had passed a resolution condemning extra-judicial killings in his island-nation of 100 million people.
- According to Trenin, the deterioration of U.S.-Russian relations is viewed in starkly different terms in Washington and in Moscow. "If you put your ear to the ground in Washington, it's all because of Putin's authoritarianism at home, and increasing assertiveness abroad," Trenin said. He added that Washington views Russia's increased strength as a direct result of its large exports of oil and natural gas, and for this reason Russia's resurgence is seen as both undeserved and fragile.

"If you listen in Moscow, you get a very different story," Trenin observed. Prevailing opinion in Moscow regards the heightened tension between the United States and Russia as a natural consequence of Russia's increased strength. Russia's leadership believes that tensions inevitably arise when one power gains strength rapidly while another country's power diminishes, Trenin stated.

Both of these views are wrong, Trenin believes. "Despite what some people in Russia hope, the United States is not a declining power, Iraq notwithstanding," he stated. "As the world's most important nation, it will be around for a long time." On the other hand, he continued, Russia is more important than most Americans realize. "Despite what a number of people in the U.S. have concluded, Russia is not so much in decline; it is rather in the process of reformatting itself, emerging as a totally different economy and a totally different society than the Soviet one," Trenin said.
Washington: The radicalisation of Ahmad Khan Rahami is proof again that the American security and political establishment has yet to establish effective procedures and policies to thwart so-called homegrown terrorism.

Whether addressing action in the US or abroad, before or after the September 17 bombs in and near New York, presidential candidate Donald Trump's views and policies likely would inflame domestic and international resentment of the US; and those of Hillary Clinton probably will take so long, if ever to be effective, that a solution remains elusive.
- As I have detailed in a recently posted study, How American Media Serves as a Transmission Belt for Wars of Choice, atrocity porn doesn’t exist in isolation. Rather it is part of a well-established pattern. Whenever a U.S. president, whether Democrat or Republican, plots a military intervention in another country, media (particularly the MSM) dutifully parrot government-provided content. Among the key features analyzed:

    Deficiency of knowledge as the American norm: The less we know, them more likely we are to believe what we’re being told. Those least informed are most persuaded of the need to “do something.”
    Reliance on government sources, “ventriloquism,” and information incest: Unknown to the public, much MSM “information” comes from government sources. Ask White House aideBen Rhodes.
    Centralized corporate ownership: You can’t serve both God and Mammon, but Caesar and Mammon get along just fine. Propaganda interfaces with ratings dollars for six giant corporate conglomerates.
    “Para-journalism,” “infotainment,” and “atrocity porn” as a war trigger: Once government decides on war, they need to sell it. The MSM duly serves up made-to-order atrocities.
    Demonization “Hitler” memes and “weaponization” of media: It’s all black and white, no shades of gray. Compromise and negotiation have no role in confronting absolute evil. War is the default option.
    America and the “international community,” the “Free World,” and “American exceptionalism” and “leadership”: What normal Americans understand by our country’s “exceptional” character is very different from the malign use to which political and media elites put it.
    Disregarding “alternative” media, American samizdat: Accurate information is available in “alternative” media, but the MSM still decide if it exists or not.
    “We never make mistakes,” “stay the course,” and “MoveOn-ism”: U.S. policy has no rearview mirror. Authors of past disasters are not discredited. Those who said “tolya so” are ignored.

The media’s acting as a transmission belt for war is best understood by seeing the MSM as themselves an integral part of a multifaceted, hybrid public-private entity encompassing an astonishing range and depth. Centered in Washington with secondary concentrations in New York and Silicon Valley, it is variously known as the Establishment, the Oligarchy (as called by Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions), or the Deep State (as analyzed in depth by my longtime Congressional colleague Mike Lofgren). This entity includes elements within all three branches of the U.S. government (especially in the military, intelligence, and financial sectors), private business (the financial industry, government contractors, information technology), think tanks, NGOs, the “Demintern,” both political parties and campaign operatives, and an army of lobbyists and PR flacks. Students of history will note a startling resemblance to the old Soviet nomenklatura. 
- "Australia's Chinese community hasn't been more alienated since Pauline Hanson's first maiden speech 20 years ago than it is today. The failure to engage with the Chinese diaspora is all the more worrying given China is actively pursuing this group as a potential instrument of its own public diplomacy agenda.

Along with the reporting of the Mack Horton vs. Sun Yang stouch, she warned Australian and Chinese-language media in Australia are engaged in a war of words that can threaten social harmony.

"All this has serious implications for social cohesion in Australia's highly multicultural fabric. If this war of words between the two media sectors continues, there will be no winners – assuming Australia is serious about maintaining harmony," she wrote in The Conversation. Professor Sun has recently written a report for ACRI.

Others in the Chinese community are happy to see Mr Huang stand aside. One source said they were worried about the influence of Chinese-Australians who have links to the Chinese government, a group they call "hóng fěn" or red fans.
- Moscow (AFP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday appointed the country's hawkish former parliament speaker as the new head of his foreign intelligence agency.

Putin nominated former Duma boss Sergei Naryshkin -- widely reported to have served with him in the Soviet-era KGB -- to take over as head of the SVR from Mikhail Fradkov, days after a thumping win for the ruling United Russia party at legislative elections that will now see a new speaker take over.

The change comes with Russia locked in its worst standoff with the West since the Cold War over the crisis in Ukraine and Moscow's backing for Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

The spike in tensions has reportedly pushed the levels of spying from both sides back up to that seen before the fall of the Iron Curtain.

"You are well aware, as we all are, what situation we are in now and how important success for this service is for the stable, secure development of our country," Putin told Naryshkin in televised comments.

"It is important to head off threats that arise in relation to Russia promptly, not to let them grow but on the contrary to act in such a way so that they don't arise -- to neutralise these threats at an early stage."

Naryshkin is a long-standing Putin ally from the president's hometown Saint Petersburg who Russia media claims served as a KGB spy in the West.
- “McDonald’s is currently running the monopoly game and I’ve got an idea. If you win free food by purchasing food you would of bought anyway, why not put your tokens in a jar and take them to an area where you know there are people less fortunate than yourself,” Mr Lawson’s post read.

“I did it today and if all of us do it together we can be part of a small change. FEEL FREE TO SHARE #bethechange #monopolisecharity.”

One user said she received a “big hug” for handing her tokens over to a man sleeping rough.

Despite the mostly positive feedback to his idea, Mr Lawson, 38, said he was pushed back by McDonald’s yesterday.

“They pretty much said ‘you can’t do this, the tokens are supposed to be non-transferrable’,” Mr Lawson told 9news.com.au.

“The lady I spoke to was actually of the opinion that it was a good idea and she supports it, it’s just that there is a condition that the tokens are not transferrable.”
- A group of Russian hackers is launching cyberattacks to steal user credentials from at least 85 companies. Targets include Amazon, American Airlines, AT&T, Best Buy, Wells Fargo, DropBox, Dunking Donuts, Ebay, GoDaddy, Uber, Match.com, McDonald’s, Office Depot, PayPal, Pizza Hut, Steam, Apple Pay, and others.

Configuration files being used in the attacks were intercepted by a private darknet security group, and copies were provided to Epoch Times. Data is still thin on who the individuals behind the attacks are, although they appear to be common cybercriminals and not tied to any government operations. They were speaking Russian in their online chats, and were using Russian servers.

Ed Alexander, a darknet investigator who provided the information, said with the attacks on Apple Pay, in particular, he saw the hackers “capturing card numbers and full identities,” which even included answers to personal questions users are asked when they seek to recover lost passwords.
- Liviu Dragnea, leader of the Social Democratic Party of Romania (PSD), today launched the first phase of an economic plan aimed at generating at least 42,000 new jobs and raising employee incomes to a European standard.

Mr. Dragnea told a news conference he wanted every Romanian who works hard and contributes to the nation's development to join the middle class. "Romanians are entitled to the 'European dream' in their own country, so as not to work abroad," he said. It has been estimated that 2.5 million Romanian nationals currently work abroad, approximately half the size of the domestic work force.

The PSD, the largest party in Romania's parliament, relinquished office last year following street demonstrations in the aftermath of a devastating nightclub fire. Under its new leadership, the party is seeking a new mandate in elections scheduled for Dec. 11. The elections are expected to replace a caretaker "technocratic" government. Mr. Dragnea maintains that the current government's inexperience has resulted in freezing Romanian living standards, which had been rising quickly under the previous PSD government.

Terming the PSD the "party of the many", Mr. Dragnea called on Romanians to join him in elevating the nation's working class to the middle class and to secure a European-scale standard of living for all. He said this was a key to encouraging the return of the nation's expatriate workers. He said out-migration has affected some of the most vital sectors of society, pointing to the example of 13,000 more physicians needed in Romanian hospitals following the exodus to EU countries. He also cited Romania's automotive industry, which struggles to recruit skilled workers.

Linchpin of the re-industrialization plan is a EUR 10 billion (45 billion Romanian Leu) state investment fund, the Sovereign Fund for Development and Investment or SFDI (Fondul Suveran de Dezvoltare si Investitii, or FSDI), which is to be created from the assets owned by the state in 200 companies. The fund is expected to generate revenues of over 50 billion leu in the next four years, as dividends from those companies are reinvested, and private investments are attracted.

Mr. Dragnea said the SFDI will support large infrastructure projects, such as highways, hospitals, power facilities and railways that cannot be accessed from EU funds. Additionally, the Fund will capitalize large Romanian companies, set up new manufacturing companies as Greenfield projects in disadvantaged regions, which will create at least "42,000 new, well-paid jobs," he said. Romania used to have factories and strong industry in each of its 41 counties. Now, in most cities, these factories have closed and good paying jobs are scarce. The Social Democrats' program aims at rebuilding Romanian industry and opening new factories in these cities.
- The construction of a suspension bridge across the Amur River, which will connect the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk with China’s Heihe has begun, reports the Xinhua news agency.

The Chinese region will invest about $120 million in the project.

According to the construction director Xing Lixin, the bridge will be around a kilometer long and getting between China and Russia will take 20 minutes, which will significantly reduce the border crossing time.

The project has been thought about for 20 years, and Russia and China finally agreed to build the road in 2014. Since then, the two sides have been negotiating how it would be financed.

After the suspension bridge is finished, it will be connected to a railway bridge across the Amur River.

The bridge is likely to boost trade between Russia's Far East and China. The shortest distance between Heihe and Blagoveshchensk, which are known as sister cities, is 700 meters. However, cars now have to drive 3,500 kilometers to get to the neighbor country.

Border trade with China is a very important part for Blagoveshchensk’s economy. The city is home to a large Chinese expatriate community and is part of a free trade zone which also includes Heihe.
- A Chinese firm has reportedly developed and tested a radar system that uses quantum entanglement to beat the stealth technology of modern military craft, state media said.

The first Chinese quantum radar was developed by the Intelligent Perception Technology Laboratory of the 14th Institute in CETC, according to Xinhua news agency. CETC stands for Electronics Technology Group Corporation, a defense and electronics firm.

The radar was tested in mid-August, Xinhua said in a Thursday report.

The system was able to detect a target at a range of 100 kilometers in a real-world environment, the report said. The device employs single photon detection technology.

Quantum radar is a device that uses quantum entanglement photons to provide better detection capabilities than conventional radar systems. The method would be useful for tracking targets with a low radar cross section, such as modern aircraft using stealth technology or targets employing active countermeasures to jam or baffle enemy radar.

The technology may also find use in biomedicine, since quantum radar requires lower energy and can be used to non-invasively probe for objects with low reflectivity, such as cancer cells.

Earlier, China launched the world’s first quantum communications satellite, which uses quantum entanglement for cryptography.
- A US military aircraft has crashed into the sea off the coast of the southern Japanese island of Okinawa, according to local media reports. The coastguard is reported to have dispatched a helicopter and patrol boat to search for the plane.

The military aircraft, which is believed to be an AV-8B Harrier II ground attack aircraft, was stationed at the US airbase on the island of Okinawa. According to the Okinawa Times, the fighter plane crashed after taking off into sea off the island’s east coast.

The crash site is reportedly 150km east of the Kunigami prefecture, in the island’s north.

The 11th Regional Coast Guard is conducting a search for the plane, with a helicopter and patrol boat having reportedly been dispatched.

The crew of the aircraft has been rescued, the Japanese daily Ryukyu Shimpo reports, citing local officials.
- India is on the verge of signing a deal with France for 36 Dassault Rafale fighter jets, likely when French defense minister Jean-Yves le Drian arrives in New Delhi later this week.

The jets may end up lugging nuclear bombs, as officials told The Indian Express this month that the jets are “to be used as an airborne strategic delivery system.”

That’s a polite way of saying India’s jets could drop nukes — one mission which Dassault specifically designed the multi-role Rafale to do. There’s also precedent here, as France previously sold and supplied spare parts for India’s Mirage 2000s, which are the most important delivery platform for New Delhi’s nuclear weapons.

“We expect the same degree of cooperation from France when we modify and use the Rafales for that role,” a second military official told the Express.

But if you’re from Pakistan or China and you’re worried — don’t sweat. Thirty-six Rafales are not enough to give India an advantage over its nuclear-armed neighbors. India’s upcoming ballistic missiles pack significantly greater range and are far more difficult to stop.
- The fountain of any country’s national power is its economy. The only existential threat Russia now faces is a shrinking population, brain drain, alarming rates of alcoholism, and a hopelessly corrupt and oil-dependent economy. If, despite all this, Putin concludes with a straight face that the threat of NATO required him to dramatically escalate tensions with the West, then he is either completely blind to the real challenges his country faces or profoundly fearful of the day that those challenges overwhelm his ability to paper them over with social bribes and corruption. Although U.S. policymakers must invest in capabilities to address Russia’s disturbing use of new dangerous forms of conflict, such as cyber warfare, which is a threat to U.S. national security of the first order, treating Russia as an honest victim of Western aggression gives Putin’s circle of thugs more credit as global players than they deserve.
- An anti-riot droid equipped with a non-lethal, electric cattle prod has officially begun patrolling a terminal at one of China’s busiest airports.

Dubbed the ‘AnBot’, the security service machine built by China’s National University of Defense Technology was first unveiled to crowds in April at the Chongqing International Tech Fair.

AnBot is strikingly similar to Knightscope’s K5 robot already in operation in the US.

Although unarmed, the “autonomous data machines” are capable of detecting security breaches and recording potential intruders.
- A massive data leak from Yahoo! of account details of about 500 million users took place two years ago, according to the company.

Yahoo! said in a statement that the credentials was stolen in late 2014 by what it claims is a state-sponsored actor.

While Yahoo! was aware that at least 200 million user details were being sold on the dark web in August, it informed Verizon, which agreed to buy Yahoo! in July, of the theft just two days ago, according to a published report.

A reporter from the website Motherboard was told by Yahoo! on 1 August that it was aware of claims that user details were being advertised for sale on the dark web. But it did not put out any public notice of this until 22 September.

Yahoo! said the stolen account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (most with bcrypt) and encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers.

The company added that an ongoing investigation indicated that unprotected passwords, payment card data, or bank account information were not stolen.

It said payment card data and bank account information were not stored in the system found to be affected.

"Based on the ongoing investigation, Yahoo! believes that information associated with at least 500 million user accounts was stolen and the investigation has found no evidence that the state-sponsored actor is currently in Yahoo!'s network," it said.
- FBI agents conducting undercover investigations have now been given the green light to impersonate journalists, the Justice Department determined last week — effectively legalizing the government’s most notorious propaganda program, Operation Mockingbird. Last Thursday, the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General published what’s become the subject of outrage for journalists, civil and constitutional rights advocates, and legal experts — “A Review of the FBI’s Impersonation of a Journalist in a Criminal Investigation.” Allowing agents to infiltrate media organizations for any reason threatens to utterly undermine public trust, kill the very concept of journalistic integrity, and throttle the flow of information from sources and whistleblowers concerned with the legitimacy of journalists they contact.
- North Korea wants a nuclear arsenal for the same reason some other countries, especially smaller countries, would like to have one—to deter an attack by enemies. North Korea genuinely fears an American invasion and always has. The Kim dynasty has amassed its power, and oppressed its own people, by hyping this fear. From the regime’s beginnings just after World War II, its leaders have regarded their nation as a “shrimp among whales” whose survival relies on playing the bigger powers off one another. The first two Kims played this game very shrewdly.
- Gennady Gudkov, a former KGB colonel and currently an opposition politician, warned in an interview with RFE/RL's Russian Service that the Kremlin regime was going "from authoritarian to totalitarian."

The simulated democracy and managed pluralism that marked much of the Putin era are out. Monolithic rule, elite purges, and escalated repression are in.

With United Russia controlling 343 out of 450 seats in the Duma, the legislature will be, for all intents and purposes, a single-party parliament.

With a record-low turnout of 47.8 percent in the September 18 elections, the majority of Russians have clearly decided to opt out of electoral politics -- and the Kremlin has decided that it doesn't really need to mobilize them anymore. 

As Putin tosses old cronies like Vladimir Yakunin, Viktor Ivanov, and Sergei Ivanov under the bus, and replaces them with younger sycophants who owe their careers to him, the Kremlin is less a collective band of thieves and a more of a one-man band.

With the creation of a new 400,000-strong National Guard force that answers to Putin alone and is run by his uber-loyal former bodyguard Viktor Zolotov, the Kremlin leader now has his own personal Praetorian Guard that could put down any dissent in society -- or deter any attempt at a palace coup in the elite.
- "I will say this, that it continues to be an issue of great focus ... for the foreign intelligence community, attempting to generate insights into what foreign nations are doing in this area," said the admiral.

Younger, who spoke alongside his counterparts from the United States, Australia, and Canada, also suggested that the agency expects the threat of terrorist attacks by Islamist extremists against Western targets to persist, even if territory controlled by the Islamic State is recaptured, given the "deepening sectarian divide in the Middle East," according to Sky News.

"There are some deep social, economic and demographic drivers to the phenomenon we know as terrorism," he said. "Allied with the emergence state failure, I think that regrettably this is an enduring issue."
- Speaking with presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin for Vanity Fair, Obama said the grim situation in Syria "haunts me constantly."
"I would say of all the things that have happened during the course of my presidency, the knowledge that you have hundreds of thousands of people who have been killed, millions who have been displaced, (makes me) ask myself what might I have done differently along the course of the last five, six years," he said.
Obama's efforts to ease the humanitarian crisis in Syria have largely fallen short since an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad turned violent five years ago. The latest attempt with Russia to broker peace in Syria is unraveling amid mutual recriminations.
"The conventional arguments about what could have been done are wrong," he said. "But I do ask myself, 'Was there something that we hadn't thought of? Was there some move that is beyond what was being presented to me that maybe a Churchill could have seen, or an Eisenhower might have figured out?'"
"That's the kind of thing that tends to occupy me when I have the time to think about it," he said. "Usually, I'm pretty good about sorting through the options and then making decisions that I'm confident are the best decisions in that moment, given the information we have. But there are times where I think I wish I could have imagined a different level of insight."
- Female staffers adopted a meeting strategy they called “amplification”: When a woman made a key point, other women would repeat it, giving credit to its author. This forced the men in the room to recognize the contribution — and denied them the chance to claim the idea as their own.
“We just started doing it, and made a purpose of doing it. It was an everyday thing,” said one former Obama aide who requested anonymity to speak frankly. Obama noticed, she and others said, and began calling more often on women and junior aides.
As the Post points out, things have gotten much better for female staffers in Obama’s second term. There’s an even gender split among his top aides, and half of all White House departments are headed by women. “I think having a critical mass makes a difference,” White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said. “It’s fair to say that there was a lot of testosterone flowing in those early days. Now we have a little more estrogen that provides a counterbalance.”
- "A ransomware operator hardly understands what a certain file means to the victim, but by mass-encrypting entire folders, drives, and servers, a cybercriminal can demand any amount of money from hordes of victims and still get away with profit even if only a few favorably respond."

In response to a query as to why ransomware only seemed to affect Windows, Trend Micro senior architect Dr Jon Oliver told iTWire: "The majority of ransomware is currently affecting Windows – but this is changing. Linux servers are being attacked and ransomed. Basically any computer with value to you can be ransomed."

Asked about the spike in ransomware over the last two years or so, Dr Oliver said: " There has been a fundamental shift in the commodity malware underground. Sophisticated cybercriminals have found the ransomware business model profitable – and there has been a very large growth in ransomware."

He said there were a variety of business models being explored by cybercriminals when it came to ransomware-as-a-service. "They can rent you components and use your hardware or you can use their hardware. This is evolving."
- Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev arrived in Russia on Friday to continue his treatment for suspected heart problems, his office said in a statement.

Atambayev, 60, canceled a visit to the United Nations General Assembly this week after suffering chest pains during the first leg of his flight and had stayed in Turkey before flying to Russia.
- In an interview with Cuba’s Communist Party Granma newspaper, Abe described Cuba as a “great influence among the non-aligned countries” adding that he will strive to discuss a wide range of topics, including “nuclear disarmament,” the “situation in Asia” and the “reform of the UN Security Council” during his visit.

The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was formed in 1961 and was initially aimed at representing the interests of developing countries that did not want take sides in the Cold War and join either of the power blocs. North Korea has been a member of the group since 1976.   

In turn, Castro underscored the importance of the peace talks aimed at tackling the problem of nuclear proliferation through dialogue rather than coercion.

Apart from securing Cuba’s support in the conflict with North Korea, Abe intended to boost the bilateral trade, investment and lay the foundation for increase in tourist flows.

As a step on the road towards more intense cooperation, Abe’s government has agreed to write off a part of Cuba’s debt, decreasing it to $606 million, from which, $249 million remain in Cuba’s economy, as they will form an investment fund for Japan’s companies working there.

"I believe firmly that Japanese companies can, as reliable partners, make a notable contribution to a Cuba that is updating its socio-economic model," Abe stressed, following a meeting with Raul Castro on Thursday.

Meanwhile, South Korea has suggested excluding North Korea form the ranks of the UN member states as it “ridicules” the status of the General Assembly and the Security Council with its “unprecedented” violations of the international law and questionable human rights record.

“I believe it is high time to seriously reconsider whether North Korea is qualified as a peace-loving U.N. member, as many countries are already questioning,” said South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, taking the floor at the UN on Thursday.
- Professor Tanter said the site continued to be a "pretty high priority nuclear missile target" in the event of a major conflict between the United States and Russia or China.

    "It would be, as they say in the military, a lucrative target of many benefits," Professor Tanter said.

"Secondly it is itself involved in nuclear war planning. I think that's a totally awful thing for us to contemplate — you can't use nuclear weapons except in a fairly genocidal way."

The Defence Department said that "the facility makes an important contribution to national security."

A spokesperson said: "It provides intelligence on priorities such as terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and foreign military capability and weapons developments.

"It also supports monitoring of compliance with arms control and disarmament agreements, and provides ballistic missile early warning information."
- It all started with a magazine article about techno parties in the Persian desert, which German filmmaker Susanne Regina Meures read few years ago. A music fan herself, she couldn't get out of her mind the idea of people dancing their fears away while living under one of the most oppressive regimes in the world - one which has banned Western music.

To make a documentary film about Iran's forbidden techno scene, Meures had to be very secretive. She used a phone camera and hid the memory card in her bra - the only place that was safe from police who were constantly stopping her. Each time she left Iran, she was unsure whether she'd be allowed back in.

But these were minor problems compared to the reality which Iranian musicians and DJs face everyday. Anoosh and Arash, two Tehran DJs at the center of Meures' film "Raving Iran," guide her through the Kafkaesque bureaucratic procedures that deny them the right to release their "satanic" music.

Forced to go underground, Anoosh and Arash organize illegal parties far from the city center, sometimes in the desert. The film captures the spirit of these people, for whom a techno party is not just another weekend in the city - it's an act of rebellion and a statement of freedom.
- Typhoon fighter jets were scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland to intercept two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack bombers, the British Ministry of Defense said on Thursday.

While the Russian planes “at no point did…breach British airspace," the MoD says they were flying near a UK “area of interest” and thus were escorted by the Typhoons until they safely left the vicinity.

This incident is the latest in a series of encounters between the Russian and UK air forces, which have taken on a tenser atmosphere since the start of the Ukraine crisis. According to statistics obtained by the Mirror in February, between 2010 and 2015 there were 102 instances of Quick Response Aircraft being scrambled by the Royal Air Force, 50 of which were in response to Russian planes. The rest of the encounters were mostly with civilian aircraft.

In February, Typhoons from RAF Coningsby intercepted two Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers off the coast of Cornwall. At the time, then-Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I suspect what’s happening here is that the Russians are trying to make some sort of a point and I don’t think we should dignify it with too much of a response.”

RAF fighters have also been scrambled from NATO bases in Eastern Europe, in particular in Poland and the Baltic States. On May 17, British fighter jets from Amari Air Base in Estonia intercepted two Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jets who were allegedly “operating without transmitting recognized identification codes nor were they communicating with regional air traffic control centres," according to a statement on the MoD website.
- U.S. forces are using white phosphorus munitions in their fight against the Islamic State based on pictures and videos posted online by the Pentagon, but it is unclear exactly how the controversial armament is being employed.

White phosphorus shells are intended to make smoke screens or signals for advancing troops. When launched against soldiers and civilians, however, the munition can cause severe burn wounds that can be dangerous for medical personnel treating the injured.

International humanitarian law stipulates that white phosphorus munitions should only be used in areas devoid of civilians. Even using it against enemy combatants has raised concerns, given that the munitions can cause horrific injuries.

Photos posted on a Pentagon-managed public affairs website show a U.S. Army artillery unit in Iraq using white phosphorous munitions, specifically M825A1 155mm rounds. The M825A1 shell can create a smokescreen that lasts about 10 minutes and contains 116 felt wedges impregnated with white phosphorus that jettison and automatically ignite when they come in contact with the air.

Col. Joseph Scrocca, the public affairs director for the U.S.-led coalition, said Wednesday that the rounds are used for “screening and signaling.”
- For God’s sake, if your employee needs a drink, especially if she’s diabetic, just let her have it already.

That’s what Dollar General learned after a federal jury sided with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in a case against the retail giant.

The story goes like this. Back in September 2014, an insulin-dependent diabetic cashier in Dollar General’s Maryville, Tenn. store told her supervisor she needed to keep juice near the cash register in case of a hypoglycemic attack. According to testimony at the trial, the supervisor did not allow employees to do this, although the company has a policy that would allow it for those need.

One day, fearing an oncoming attack, the cashier drank a $1.69 (plus tax) orange juice before paying for it. After the symptoms passed, the cashier said she then paid for the juice. After a question about inventory arose, the employee confessed to her brazen crime of drinking before buying to the company’s district manager who then fired said employee for violating the chain’s “grazing” policy.

So back to the story.

The fired employee complains to the EEOC. The EEOC sues. The employee joins the lawsuit. The jury finds in favor of the plaintiffs and awards the employee $27,565 in back pay plus another $250,000 in compensatory damages. The EEOC is pleased. Very pleased.

“We are very pleased with the jury verdict,” EEOC General Counsel P. David Lopez said in a statement. “It is disappointing, however, that we continue to see cases where employers fail to train their employees on basic requirements under the ADA (American Disability Act). The Commission will continue to carry out its goal of ensuring equal opportunity in the workplace for persons with disabilities.”
- Hillary Clinton exhibited abnormal eye movements during her recent speech in Philadelphia and they were not photoshopped.

Her eyes did not always move in the same direction at the same time. It appears that she has a problem with her left sixth cranial nerve. That nerve serves only one function and that is to make the lateral rectus muscle contract. That muscle turns the eye in the direction away from the midline. 

It comes out of the base of the brain and runs along the floor of the skull, immediately beneath the brain before coursing upward to the eye. Dysfunction of that muscle causes the striking picture of the eyes not aiming in the same direction and causes the patient to suffer double vision.

Like all things medical, there is a long list of potential causes but in my opinion the most likely one, based on Clinton's known medical history is an intermittent lateral rectus palsy caused by damage to or pressure on her sixth cranial nerve.


I once again suggest that she undergo an independent neurologic exam and have proper studies to determine whether or not she still has a blood clot at the base of her brain, swelling of the brain, increased intracranial pressure and whether or not her 2012 traumatic brain injury was accompanied by a skull fracture with or without bleeding around or in the brain itself and if there are any residual areas of scarring of the brain.
- Akamai security spokesperson Martin McKeay told Krebs that he believed the attack was the largest the company had seen, and that it relied not on reflection or amplification of traffic, but garbage requests to the webserver. 

McKeay said the biggest attack Akamai had hitherto seen was 363 Gbps.

The biggest amount of attack traffic stemmed from Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE) protocol packets, Akamai's analysis showed. GRE is a Cisco-developed protocol used to encapsulate network layer protocols, for use with virtual private networking.

McKeay said that as GRE traffic can't have source addresses spoofed, this pointed to a very large botnet of compromised routers and internet-connected cameras and digital video recorders. 

“Someone has a botnet with capabilities we haven’t seen before,” McKeay said. 

“We looked at the traffic coming from the attacking systems, and they weren’t just from one region of the world or from a small subset of networks — they were everywhere,” McKeay said.
- "Since then, NATO has transformed its essence from a defensive alliance – intentionally and without the consent of its member states' parliaments – into a machine of aggression," in accordance with its new military doctrine approved in 1999.

"Now, NATO, in this modified form, stands on Russia's borders. In this new environment, American bases in Germany are not justified – not from the perspective of international law, nor from that of [German] state law.

"Instead, directly prior to Germany's reunification, they said – and the federal government took it for granted – that they consider their presence on German territory not in the context of NATO's defensive function, but in the context of their claim to global leadership."
- The error affected a Facebook metric called "average duration of video viewed", which was supposed to tell publishers for how long, on average, people had watched a video.

However, the metric did not include viewers who had watched for less than three seconds in the count.

Discounting the shorter views - including people who had ignored a video in their news feed - inflated the average viewing times for each video.

In a statement, Facebook said: "We recently discovered an error in the way we calculate one of our video metrics.

"This error has been fixed, it did not impact billing, and we have notified our partners both through our product dashboards and via sales and publisher outreach," it added.

The video-watching metric has now been renamed to more accurately reflect what it measures, the company said.

The metric is now called "average watch time" and Facebook started using this to gather statistics on video consumption late last month.
- Horses have joined a select group of animals that can communicate by pointing at symbols.

Scientists trained horses, by offering slices of carrot as an incentive, to touch a board with their muzzle to indicate if they wanted to wear a rug.

The horses' requests matched the weather, suggesting it wasn't a random choice.

A few other animals, including apes and dolphins, appear, like us, to express preferences by pointing at things.

Dr Cecilie Mejdell of the Norwegian Veterinary Institute, who led the research, said they wanted to find a way to ask the horse whether or not it liked wearing a blanket.

In Nordic countries, it is common for horses to wear a blanket in all weathers.

"I think our study adds to the knowledge on horse cognition - about what horses are able to learn and how they think," she told BBC News.

"Horses are often considered to be not very intelligent but this shows that using the right methods they can actually communicate and express their opinions and they can take choices that seem sensible to us even."
- UN chief Ban Ki-moon is "appalled by the chilling military escalation" in the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo, his spokesman says.

Stephane Dujarric said the secretary-general was alarmed by reports of air strikes involving incendiary weapons and bunker-busting bombs.

The Syrian government has stepped up strikes on rebel-held areas of the city since a ceasefire collapsed last week.

The UN Security Council is due to meet on Sunday morning in New York.

The meeting was requested by the US, the UK and France.

The UN says the attacks on Aleppo have left nearly two million people without water.

"Since the announcement two days ago by the Syrian army of an offensive to capture eastern Aleppo, there have been repeated reports of air strikes involving the use of incendiary weapons and advanced munitions such as bunker-buster bombs," Mr Dujarric said in a statement.

"The secretary-general considers this a dark day for the global commitment to protect civilians."
- The United States said on Monday it had sanctioned a Chinese industrial machinery and equipment wholesaler, a new step in tightening the financial noose around North Korea's nuclear program after its fifth nuclear test this month.

The US Treasury said it was sanctioning Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Co (DHID) and four of its executives, including the firm's founder, Ma Xiaohong, under U.S. regulations targeting proliferators of weapons of mass destruction.

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It accused the firm of acting on behalf of North Korea's Korea Kwangson Banking Corp (KKBC), which has been under US and UN sanctions for supporting proliferation of such weapons. 
- Australians will be able to save hundreds of dollars a year from October 1 as prices are cut for more than 2000 medicines covered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

And people will now be able to go online and calculate their savings, with non-concessional patients and those with multiple chronic conditions set to benefit most from the changes.
- According to Jim Jatras, “CNN is one of the worst elements of advocacy journalism” and any alternative media to that of the US mainstream is a “necessary antidote”.

“Let’s just remember Christiane Amanpour and her writing for Back to the Balkans, and her position on Syria and Libya too. That you’ve got one of the worst advocates for words of choice coming out of CNN and other mainstream American media. I think any foreign media and frankly the alternative media that is growing here in the US is a necessary antidote. I feel most like people in the Soviet Union used to do during the communist time – they needed to consult Samizdat in foreign media as a corrective to what they were hearing from the official media,” Jatras said.

Welch was rather emotional in his description of CNN, calling them a “stable of uninformed people,” who are “getting overpaid by people who want them to be propaganda mouthpieces” for people like Power “bashing Russia”.

“It is egregious, it is part and parcel; this is what they do. CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post. They are all onboard… They have even infected the domestic election season. They are using the election season as another wing of the ‘bash Russia’ campaign. It is all kind of on cue to soften up a population for eventual, potential war with Russia and it is very, very dangerous game that they are playing. They use the same players all the time; it is nothing new,” Welch said.
- The Joint Investigation Team, which is carrying the criminal probe into the MH17 case, includes Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine. The countries signed a non-disclosure agreement, which allows each of them to keep any information they review from being released to the public on security grounds.
- The researcher used the false name Jordan.

In the first of Jordan's sessions, he was ordered to make prolonged eye contact with Mr Kanta, something many autistic people struggle with.

Mr Kanta then began to taunt Jordan by telling him repeatedly his mother did not love him.

As the sessions went on the treatment became more confrontational with shouting.

Jordan said afterwards: "His hands were getting closer to my face, his body was getting closer to me, his face was getting closer to my face."

Mr Kanta was recorded as saying to him: "I'll go and slap you… you want I slap you?... or you want I punch you? Which one do you want?" 
- You could call it a long shot: a fledgling German political party has launched an online petition calling for a national referendum on the integration of Germany into the Russian Federation.

In case that shouldn't work, the petition's secondary goal, as it says on the website "Change.org," is to start a public debate on why there should be such a referendum. After all, the campaigners argue, it is "very clear" that the referendum on "the entry of Crimea into the Russian Federation is also founded on international law," and Russia represents an escape from the "noose of police state and EU dictatorship."

The "Pro Putin Party" is still a very small movement - at time of writing, just over 5,000 people have signed the online petition - and though over 18,000 people follow its Facebook page, the party itself does not yet officially exist - it doesn't even have its own website and the social media page simply says that its aim is to found such a party.

Nevertheless, pro-Putin arguments have been a consistent theme on both the far-left and far-right fringes of German politics for a long time, and have intensified since the war in eastern Ukraine began.

"[Pro-Putinism] is indeed an interesting phenomenon that we have observed for some time," said Ulrich Herbert, political history professor at Freiburg University and author of the book "History of 20th Century Germany." "I wouldn't lend them too much weight, but it is interesting."
- Only four percent of Germans and five per cent of Italians believe that foreign military bases would defend their countries better than their own armed forces, a Sputnik.Polls survey has found.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to a Sputnik.Polls survey, Europeans would not trust a foreign military base located in their countries to protect their national security. Only four percent of Germans and five per cent of Italians believe that foreign military bases would defend their countries better than their own armed forces. The data were collected following an Ifop public opinion poll commissioned by Sputnik news and radio broadcasting service. According to a 2015, US Department of Defense report, the US had 587 military sites overseas. US troops land with parachutes at the military compound near Torun, central Poland, on June 7, 2016, as part of the NATO Anaconda-16 military exercise © AFP 2016/ JANEK SKARZYNSKI This is Why US Will Keep Its Military Bases in Europe (It's Not About Russia) Most of the European sites are listed in Germany with considerable US Navy and Army forces also based in Italy. When asked who would more effectively defend their countries, 38 percent of Germans and 34 percent of Italians said that their respective national armed forces could do the job without these bases. At the same time, 37 percent of Germans and 34 percent of Italians said that their respective countries should be defended by both national armies and foreign bases. Also, 21 percent of Germans and 27 percent of Italian respondents replied "Don't know." The poll was conducted by Ifop, France's oldest market research and opinion poll institute, at the behest of Sputnik, from June 28 through July 4, 2016, in Germany and Italy, and surveyed 1,004 and 1,002 respondents, respectively. The sample is representative of the population in terms of gender, age, and place of residence. The poll has a maximum margin of error of 3.1 percent, with a 95 percent confidence level.
- The United States is unlikely to reduce its military presence in Europe since this is the most efficient instrument to control the continent along with North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, as well as trade routes in the Atlantic worth over $4 billion annualy, political analyst Andrey Koshkin told Radio Sputnik.

"Geopolitical configuration has forced the United States to hold on to Europe like to no other part of the world," he said. "This is what allows Washington to control North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, let alone trade routes across the Atlantic Ocean that yield more than $4 billion per year."
- However, on this occasion, WaPo has really excelled itself. Continuing the theme where Russian “disinformation” or “meddling” is responsible for every problem afflicting American foreign policy, it attempts to suggest how the influence of Russian broadcasters is the main reason why Serbia doesn’t wish to join NATO. Now, just repeat that sentence twice and let it sink in for a moment.

Pretty much anybody over thirty will remember the events of 1999, when the American-led military organization launched a 78-day bombing campaign against the country. Serbia claims 956 people were killed and 5,173 wounded during the bombardment, and even US-based Human Rights Watch estimates around 500 deaths. In addition, Belgrade contends that NATO caused economic damage of about $100 billion, while a group of international economists preferred a $29.6 billion figure. For a relatively poor country, these numbers when compared to overall GDP are humongous.

Furthermore, in the aftermath of the conflict Serbia, already shorn of Yugoslav territories it effectively controlled, lost jurisdiction over Kosovo and Montenegro. These issues are seen as a national humiliation, even today.

No matter which way you look at it, the damage wrought on Serbia by NATO was huge. And given how these events took place less than one generation ago, it’s pretty obvious that Serbs have legitimate reasons for not being hugely positive about the alliance. However, none of this matters much to WaPo, which has its “Russian propaganda” narrative to push, and doesn’t let facts get in its way.
- "In 2012, standing in front of a large audience, she collapsed, she suffered a cranial fracture, she was hospitalised, she crushed an artery to the brain. She subsequently demonstrated a consistent pattern of inability to finish events: her withdrawal from the 9/11 memorial ceremony, followed by a fainting collapse in which she had to be in effect pushed into an SUV; her repeated petit mal seizures; the apparent inability to have her two eyes moving in the same direction.

"All of these individual bits of data, you have to treat them as either coincidental ... or else as part of a pattern.

"I believe Hillary Clinton is suffering dementia. I believe it is deteriorating fairly rapidly before our eyes. I believe the last 15 minutes of this debate are as important as the first 15 minutes."
Australia might be missing out on up to $1 billion in uncollected taxes annually from Chinese agents who ship food back home to meet insatiable demand from a booming middle class.

There are 40,000 so-called Chinese 'daigou' in Australia making anywhere between $40,000 to $100,000 a year selling sought after products like baby milk formula, vitamins and organic cosmetics in China, according to industry consultants.
- According to the documentary “Chuck Norris vs Communism,” Romania's state censorship actually deleted scenes from the classic Soviet cartoon “Nu Pogodi” before broadcasting it on state TV during the 1980s. For instance, in the first scene of the second episode, the Rabbit carries three balloons: red, blue, and yellow. Because they matched the colors of the Romanian flag, censors cut out the scene to avoid associations about Soviet dominance over Romania.

“Nu Pogodi” (“Well, Just You Wait!” or “I'll get you!”) is probably the Soviet Union's best-loved, most famous cartoon. Produced in Russia by Moscow-based Soyuzmultfilm, it featured two main characters inspired by Tom and Jerry: the ‘hooligan” Wolf and the goody two shoes Rabbit. Today and on YouTube, it remains popular across the former Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, as well as in the former Yugoslavia.

While Romania was indeed a Soviet satellite state, the regime of Nicolae Ceaușescu tried to maintain the perception that his government was in charge, and that his brand of Communism, which included Romanian nationalism, was “the best.” Other instances spurring censorship highlighted in the “Chuck Norris” documentary included deleting scenes of abundant food (banned because of shortages in most consumer products, thanks to the shortcomings of Communism's planned economy).

Soyuzmultfilm has published all the “Nu, pogodi!” episodes online on YouTube, including a 2014 reboot. (These videos cannot be embedded outside YouTube, however.)

“Nu, pogodi!” was created in the traditions of Disney and Warner Bros. For other of cartoons made behind the Iron Curtain, check out more examples from Russia, Ukraine, and Hungary.
- Over the past 18 months, Europe has been engulfed by a migrant crisis, with a record 1.3 million asylum seekers registered in the EU in 2015, with almost 30 percent of them from Syria, according to estimates compiled by Eurostat in March. 

Following the Brexit, many (mainly far-right) European leaders said they could hold their own referendums.

In June, French politician Marine le Pen called for a ‘Frexit’ vote, while a similar mood was apparent in The Netherlands: Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch right-wing, populist PVV party, currently topping opinion polls, openly expressed hopes a ‘Nexit’ could follow a ‘Brexit.’ In the Czech Republic, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said in February that “if Britain leaves the EU, we can expect debates about leaving the EU in a few years too.”

At the end of June, a survey showed that 40 percent of Austrians want their own referendum on EU membership. In March, a poll in France showed that 53 percent of the country’s citizens wanted to hold a vote. In May, a poll conducted in Germany indicated that 29 percent of Germans were in favor of leaving the bloc.
- The standard issue Indian Small Arms Systems (INSAS) rifle is so unreliable that both the Indian Army and counter-insurgency forces have asked for Russian replacements. In fact, Indian soldiers and police, with the tacit approval of their commanders, already use Kalashnikov rifles captured from terrorists and criminals to get the job done.

The 300,000-strong Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has decided to completely shun the indigenous INSAS, and wants 100 per cent of its soldiers in Maoist-infested areas to be equipped with AK-47s. According to the CRPF, while the error percentage in AK guns is 0.02 per cent, in INSAS it is 3 per cent. “We have found that our men are more confident with the AK series rifles,” said CRPF chief Dilip Trivedi.
- President Robert Mugabe said the African Union was still concerned that it had no permanent seats on the Security Council.

Upon arrival in Harare from New York and this year's U.N. General Assembly late Saturday, the 92-year-old Zimbabwean leader told ZANU-PF supporters that the African Union wanted to be on the Security Council if veto powers of the five permanent members — China, France, the United Kingdom, the U.S., and Russia — were not removed.

"It is not all permanent members being tough. It is Britain, France and [the United States of] America," he said. "If they remain adamant, they must not cry foul when we agree to form our own organization with countries like China, India and other Asian countries. This is what we want to do next year in September, when we have made a commitment."

Quick Beef Stew Recipe, Random Stuff, and More

This is the latest in my series on quick, easy, and tasty meals:   http://dtbnguyen.blogspot.com/2017/11/chinese-style-congee-jook-recipe...