Denis Voronenkov..critic of Vladimir Putin..assassinated in Kiev street

•March 26, 2017 • 3 Comments

http://www.afr.com/news/world/europe/denis-voronenkov-russian-critic-of-vladimir-putin-assassinated-in-kiev-street-20170323-gv5d8w

A former Russian lawmaker who fled to Ukraine last year was gunned down on a sidewalk in Kiev on Thursday morning, the latest in a string of politically hued killings of critics of the Russian government abroad, going back more than a decade.

The killing coincided with a fire and explosion at a gigantic Ukrainian army ammunition depot in the country’s east that authorities blamed on Russia, suggesting an escalation of Russian special operations inside Ukraine.

Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, said it was “no accident” that the killing of the lawmaker, Denis Voronenkov, occurred at the same time as the ammunition depot explosion. Ukraine’s military said a drone may have touched off the blast, near the city of Kharkiv, sending tank shells firing in all directions and forcing the evacuation of 20,000 people.

The assassination comes two days after a lawyer representing the family of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian auditor who died in prison after uncovering a $US230 million ($300 million) fraud, suffered severe head injuries after plunging from his Moscow apartment building.

Though Kiev police said it was too early to determine a motive in the killing, Poroshenko blamed the Russian government for “an act of state terrorism.”

Voronenkov was a member of the Russian parliament before defecting to Ukraine last year with his wife, Maria Maksakova, a fellow Russian politician and a Bolshoi opera singer, saying they were escaping political prosecution.

In Kiev, the couple had kept a high profile, speaking out frequently against Russian policy in Ukraine. But Russian authorities accused them of corruption, and said they had left to avoid prosecution.

In Ukraine, Voronenkov had promised to testify for the prosecution in a criminal case against Ukraine’s former Russia-aligned president, Viktor Yanukovych, and to provide an insider’s information about Russian government deliberations and actions during the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denis_Voronenkov

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nobody knows who killed him or why..a putin critic so you assume he killed him..but espionage works in ways a little bit more intertwined than that..

“Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, said it was “no accident” that the killing of the lawmaker, Denis Voronenkov, occurred at the same time as the ammunition depot explosion. Ukraine’s military said a drone may have touched off the blast, near the city of Kharkiv, sending tank shells firing in all directions and forcing the evacuation of 20,000 people.”

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Will humans have to upgrade their bodies to survive on Mars?

•March 26, 2017 • 7 Comments

http://www.themarshalltown.com/will-humans-have-to-upgrade-their-bodies-to-survive-on-mars/28379

Living and boning in space — particularly on Mars — has fascinated our degenerate species for decades. Recently, SpaceX founder Elon Musk decided to put his very large amount of money where his mouth is by announcing his plans to colonise the Red Planet. NASA also likes to talk about its Journey to Mars in the 2030s, and there are a handful of other, shadier plans to colonise the Red Planet championed by celebrities, billionaires and even the UAE.

But there’s a big difference between putting a few boots on the ground and setting up a long-term base on another planet. Regarding human colonization of Mars, there are a host of concerns — in particular, how will humans fare, both physically and psychologically, in such a harsh environment? In a paper published recently in the journal Space Policy, Konrad Szocik, a cognitive scientist at the University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszow, Poland, argues that sending astronauts to live aboard the ISS is not adequate training for life on Mars. In fact, Szocik surmises humans will have to alter their bodies in a pretty extreme way in order to physically and emotionally sustain themselves in a Martian colony.

Other Mars enthusiasts, including Elon Musk, disagree.

“My idea is that [the]human body and mind is adapted to live in the terrestrial environment,” Szocik told Gizmodo in an email. “Consequently, some particular physiological and psychological challenges during [the]journey and then during living on Mars probably will be too difficult for human beings to survive. For instance, we should take into account the high risk of health problems during that mission and no direct professional medical support and care.”

In his paper, Szocik explores some of the preventative treatments other researchers have suggested astronauts undergo before heading to Mars. He notes that some have suggested “placing the crew into a coma before the journey”, which could reduce energy requirements, prevent muscle atrophy, and provide extra shielding from deep space radiation, and even “removing the appendix to avoid great dangers”.

Indeed, in 2012, researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) enumerated the potential risks and rewards of performing appendectomies and cholecystectomies — the removal of the gallbladder — before sending astronauts into extended periods of spaceflight. The logic is pretty simple: If someone’s appendix or gall bladder bursts in space, surgery could more worse than unpleasant — it could be impossible.

Szocik also argues that the first crewed missions to the Red Planet could take a heavy psychological toll. Though early colonisers would presumably undergo intense psychological screening, the pressures of isolation in a high-risk environment are daunting. But early results from NASA’s HI-SEAS experiment, which mimics this isolation by sealing off small crews in a dome near the top of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii, are promising. Recently, a crew that spent a year in this pseudo-Martian environment emerged pretty upbeat and positive, despite being trapped among each other’s foul odours and character flaws.

“It is true that psychological issues (‘behavioural health’ in NASA’s terminology) will be a major concern,” Mark Shelhamer, former chief scientist at NASA’s human research program, told Gizmodo. “In that sense, the ISS is not a great venue for simulating a Mars mission. ISS is isolated and confined (though not as much as a Mars spacecraft will be). However, crews rotate so that there is a set of new faces every three months, and there is a very robust and effective psychological support structure in place (astronauts can speak to friends, family, physicians and psychologists on Earth at any time, with no communication lag).”

Overall, Szocik argues that no Earthly preparation can necessarily give someone everything they need to survive Mars in the longterm. “I think that medicine can be insufficient and that there will be necessary some permanent solutions like genetical and/or surgical modifications,” Szocik said, adding that we should use the idea of transhumanism — that by harnessing science and technology, we can enhance ourselves to survive in vastly different environments — to prepare.

This concept isn’t exactly new: Futurists have long proposed that humanity will need to use biology, nanotechnology, information technology and cognitive science to make us more equipped for life in space. But while accelerating our own biological evolution in order to boost our chances of survival on Mars admittedly sounds badarse, not everyone’s convinced it’s feasible, ethical or necessary.

“Already, people have suggested selecting astronauts for genetic predisposition for such things as radiation resistance,” Shelhamer said. “Of course this idea is fraught with problems. For one, it’s illegal to make employment decisions based on genetic information. For another, there are usually unintended consequences when making manipulations like this, and who knows what might get worse if we pick and choose what we think needs to be made better.”

While he admits Szocik’s ideas are interesting, Shelhamer feels they’re ultimately unnecessary. “I think we can give astronauts the tools — physical, mental, operational — so that they are, individually and as a group, resilient in the face of the unknown,” he said. “This is what I’m working on now, but it’s still in the very early stages. What kind of person thrives in an extreme environment? What types of mission structures are in place to help that person? This needs to be examined systematically.”

Would-be future Martian president Elon Musk was even blunter when asked to comment on the idea that humans would have to alter their biology to survive on Mars, calling the entire premise “ridiculous”. “Being in deep space or Earth orbit for long periods is far worse than Mars,” Musk told Gizmodo over a Twitter DM. “Buzz Aldrin is still doing fine, as are the other astronauts.”

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perhaps get humans there first before you worry about turning us all into cyborgs..

“Poland, argues that sending astronauts to live aboard the ISS is not adequate training for life on Mars. In fact, Szocik surmises humans will have to alter their bodies in a pretty extreme way in order to physically and emotionally sustain themselves in a Martian colony.”

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Denmark rids itself of foreign debt for first time in 183 years

•March 24, 2017 • 1 Comment

http://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/denmark-rids-itself-of-foreign-debt-for-first-time-in-183-years-1.3017088

A debt milestone for Denmark.

The country will pay off its last foreign currency loan worth $1.5 billion (€1.4 billion) on Monday – ridding itself of any FX debt obligations for the first time in at least 183 years.

Data from the Danish central bank shows the last time the central government was near paying off all its foreign currency loans was back in 1894 – when FX debt totalled less than 1 per cent of GDP.

The country first raised its foreign debt in 1757 when it issued a loan worth half a million rigsdaler from Germany and the Netherlands. Historically, Denmark has raised foreign currency debt to bulk up its FX reserves but vast amounts of currency intervention in recent years – designed to keep a lid on its krone peg with the euro – led Danish FX reserves to hit an all-time record back in 2015.

“The central government has not needed to raise any loans in foreign currency, and the loans have been gradually repaid”, the central bank said on Monday.

The country’s foreign debt bill first swelled to finance the wars of the 19th century and later as the Danes embarked on deficit-financed spending in the 1980s but obligations have been steadily shrinking since the financial crisis.

Still, Denmark’s last FX repayment also does not mean the country is without any central government debt, only that it is all now denominated in krone.

Denmark’s overall debt-to-GDP ratio is one of the lowest among Europe’s major economies, standing at 38 per cent and is expected to fall to around 36 per cent in 2018 according to the European Commission.

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lucky denmark..

“The country’s foreign debt bill first swelled to finance the wars of the 19th century and later as the Danes embarked on deficit-financed spending in the 1980s but obligations have been steadily shrinking since the financial crisis.”

what happens to countries who become financially independent?

“Still, Denmark’s last FX repayment also does not mean the country is without any central government debt, only that it is all now denominated in krone.”

ahhh..so they are free..but not really..

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Moscow & New Delhi aim for $30bn annual turnover by 2025

•March 24, 2017 • 3 Comments

https://www.rt.com/business/381228-russia-india-trade-boost/

Longtime partners Russia and India will boost long-term investment in the hi-tech, civil aviation, and defense sectors with the goal of increasing bilateral trade to an ambitious $30 billion annually by 2025, Russia’s trade and industry minister told RT’s Ruptly news agency.

“We are constantly searching for new ways to strengthen our trade ties to reach the target of $30 billion in annual turnover by 2025, the figure that was agreed on by our leaders earlier,” Russian Trade and Industry Minister Denis Manturov told RT’s Ruptly news agency during his visit to India.

Education, science, and a mutual transfer of technologies are key to building trust between Moscow and New Delhi, in addition to improving their political relationship, he added.

“There are areas where we’ve been working with each other for decades, including arms trade, the energy sector, and the chemical and metallurgical industries,” Manturov said, mentioning a Rosneft deal to purchase a 49-percent stake in Essar Oil, one of the largest energy corporations in India.

The massive deal also included the purchase of the Essar-owned Vadinar refinery, which is capable of producing 20 million tons of petroleum products a year, as well as chain of 2,700 gas stations in the world’s second most populous country.

Both Russia and India are currently keen to diversify mutual trade, Manturov continued, citing India’s transfer of biotechnologies to Russia’s pharmaceutical industry as an example.

“We also expect that the development of [Russian] civil aviation industry would involve contribution of Indian manufacturers of aircraft components,” the minister said, adding that Moscow welcomes India’s investment in Russian Helicopters, one of the largest defense contractors in the world, as measured by annual revenues.

To help India modernize its military, both countries will look at options for establishing joint ventures that would produce critical parts of Russian-made weapons systems used by India’s armed forces, Manturov said.

Russia and India have had close political and military ties since the days of Soviet-Indian partnership, and India is now a booming market for Russia’s most successful industries. Rosatom, Russia’s government-owned nuclear power corporation, has recently inaugurated its second reactor at the Kudankulam power plant in southern India. Two other reactors are currently being built at the same site.

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BRICS..keeping it real..

“Both Russia and India are currently keen to diversify mutual trade, Manturov continued, citing India’s transfer of biotechnologies to Russia’s pharmaceutical industry as an example.”

tech transfers are on the way..

“Education, science, and a mutual transfer of technologies are key to building trust between Moscow and New Delhi, in addition to improving their political relationship, he added.”

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Goldman Sachs confirms plans to move London jobs to Europe

•March 24, 2017 • 1 Comment

https://www.rt.com/business/381634-goldman-jobs-europe-brexit/

Hundreds of people working for Goldman Sachs in London will be moved to Europe as the company executes its Brexit contingency plans, Goldman’s Europe CEO Richard Gnodde told CNBC.

When asked whether the bank’s European expansion would reflect the moving of jobs out of London or the hiring of new personnel on the continent, Gnodde said it will be a “combination of things.”

“For this first period, this is really the period where we put in place these contingency plans, this in the hundreds of people,” said Gnodde, when asked to put numbers to anticipated headcount increases on the continent.

“We’ll hire people inside of Europe itself, and there will be some movement,” he said, explaining that the upcoming period will see investment in infrastructure, people, systems and technology.

Talking about Britain’s exit from the European Union, Gnodde said the apparent lack of a transition process or period for financial services firms means contingency plans are being relied upon.

British Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger Article 50 on March 29, formally starting the UK- EU divorce process.

“Whatever the outcome, London will remain for us a very significant regional hub and a significant global hub,” the banker said.

According to him, operations in several European cities will be expanded as part of the contingency plans.

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“Hundreds of people working for Goldman Sachs in London will be moved to Europe as the company executes its Brexit contingency plans, Goldman’s Europe CEO Richard Gnodde told CNBC.”

and hundreds will stay..london city will always be the hub..

Whatever the outcome, London will remain for us a very significant regional hub and a significant global hub,” the banker said.”

indeed..

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Hackers threaten to wipe millions of Apple devices

•March 24, 2017 • 1 Comment

http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/article/616461/hackers-threaten-wipe-millions-apple-devices-demand-ransom/

A group of hackers is threatening to wipe data from millions of Apple devices in two weeks if the company doesnt pay them US$150,000.

The group, which calls itself Turkish Crime Family, claims to have login credentials for more than 627 million icloud.com, me.com and mac.com email addresses. These are email domains that Apple has allowed for users creating iCloud accounts over the years.

Even though the Turkish Crime Family hasn’t been in the media spotlight before, its members claim that they’ve been involved in selling stolen online databases in private circles for the past few years.

The group said via email that it has had a database of about 519 million iCloud credentials for some time, but did not attempt to sell it until now. The interest for such accounts on the black market has been low due to security measures Apple has put in place in recent years, it said.

Since announcing its plan to wipe devices associated with iCloud accounts, the group claimed that other hackers have stepped forward and shared additional account credentials with them, putting the current number it holds at over 627 million.

According to the hackers, over 220 million of these credentials have been verified to work and provide access to iCloud accounts that don’t have security measures like two-factor authentication turned on.

This was determined by testing the credentials using automated scripts and a very large number of proxy servers to avoid getting banned by Apple, the hackers said.

Initially the group asked Apple for the equivalent of $75,000 in Bitcoin or Ethereum cryptocurrency. The ransom value has been raised to $150,000 and the group intends to increase it further if Apple doesn’t pay in three days.

News website Motherboard reported seeing alleged emails between the hackers and Apple in which a member of the company’s security team said that the company does not plan to reward cybercriminals for breaking the law and that the communications have been archived and sent to the authorities.

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put it in the cloud..

it will be safe in the cloud..

“all your clouds are belong to us”

*sigh

“the group asked Apple for the equivalent of $75,000 in Bitcoin or Ethereum cryptocurrency. The ransom value has been raised to $150,000 and the group intends to increase it further if Apple doesn’t pay in three days.”

dont hold your breath..

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Google hopes to make people immortal

•March 24, 2017 • 9 Comments

http://www.express.co.uk/news/science/781136/IMMORTALITY-google-ray-kurzweil-live-forever

Google’s Director of Engineer Ray Kurzweil believes that we are little more than a decade away from taking major steps towards immortality.

The tech specialist, who has long supported the notion of immortality, says that medical advancements and improved technology in the coming 12 years will see humans being given the option to live forever.

Mr Kurzweil said: “I believe we will reach a point around 2029 when medical technologies will add one additional year every year to your life expectancy.

“By that I don’t mean life expectancy based on your birthdate, but rather your remaining life expectancy.”

By 2045, the 69-year old says, humans will be able to live forever.

He continued: “The nonbiological intelligence created in that year will reach a level that’s a billion times more powerful than all human intelligence today.”

The Google chief says that one of the steps that will allow us to live forever will be the invention of nanotechnology that can be placed in our bodies.

Once inside, the minuscule bots will be a significant improvement on our immune system and will be almost 100 per cent effective at fighting disease.

Another step will be connecting our brains to the internet or a cloud network, which will be as big of a step in evolution as when our ancestors developed the frontal cortex 2 million years ago, according to Mr Kurzweil.

He said: “We’ll create more profound forms of communication than we’re familiar with today, more profound music and funnier jokes.

“We’ll be funnier. We’ll be sexier. We’ll be more adept at expressing loving sentiments.”

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we can be gods..we ARE gods..do you really think the slaves will ever be included in this?

“By 2045, the 69-year old says, humans will be able to live forever.”

really?

“The nonbiological intelligence created in that year will reach a level that’s a billion times more powerful than all human intelligence today.”

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