Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Another Good Day For Mr. Putin



Paranoia and dysfunction has engulfed both Atlantic Treaty, the United States and Britain.
As Trump discussed the pulling U.S. out North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO): The news just keeps on getting better for President Vladimir Putin. On either side of the North Atlantic, the United States and Britain, the two great English-speaking democracies are now undergoing simultaneous political breakdowns. To the Kremlin the political turmoil and dystopia that pervading in the west  will give Moscow advantage.

Mr. Trump privately said he wanted to withdraw from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Current and former officials who support the alliance said they feared Mr. Trump could return to his threat as allied military spending continued to lag behind the goals the president had set.In the days around a tumultuous NATO summit meeting last summer, they said, Mr. Trump told his top national security officials that he did not see the point of the military alliance, which he presented as a drain on the United States. In London, Theresa May on Tuesday suffered the worst defeat in the modern parliamentary era by a prime minister, as lawmakers shot down her Brexit deal with the European Union by a staggering 432 votes to 202.

The United States, meanwhile, remains locked in its longest-ever government shutdown, which is now entering its 26th day, is nowhere near ending and is the culmination of two years of whirling political chaos sparked by President Donald Trump with his obbession of building 'big and beautiful wall' around US-Mexican borders. It's hard to believe that the two nations that perceived by the rest of the world as champions of the diplomacy, democracy and beacons of stability, have dissolved into such bitter civic dysfunction.


The political self-recrimination is a far cry from the days when President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher bonded to face down totalitarian threats to Western, liberal democracy. Now the threat to the political solidity of the West is coming partly from inside, the fractured political consensus that makes it impossible to address vital questions like Britain's relations with Europe and immigration in the US. Supporters of Trump in the US and Brexit in Britain see their revolts as uprisings against distant or unaccountable leaders who no longer represent them or share their values. But the disruption that some see as a reinvention of democracy is viewed by skeptics as deeply corrosive to the international political architecture that has prevailed for over 70 years. The meltdown in Britain has some foreign investors wanting to know if Britain has "lost its mind," said Tina Fordham, chief global political analyst for Citigroup. "Even though ... I've been writing about magical thinking in politics and anticipating all of this -- I too am astonished that reason is not prevailing," Fordham told media on Tuesday.

Theresa May spotted few hours after a big defeat in Brexit 432 to 202 votes in Parliament.
While the political stalemates in London and Washington are not an exact match, some common factors combined to lay siege to what have long been two of the world's most resilient democracies. The allies are experiencing the reverberations of populist revolts that erupted in 2016 -- in the Brexit vote and the election of Trump -- and are now slamming into legislatures and breeding division and stasis. The result is that Britain and the United States are all but ungovernable on the most important questions that confront both nations. That's music to Putin's ears. Kremlin may seeks to avenge the fall of the Soviet empire, which himself  President Putin experienced as a heartbroken KGB agent in East Germany. Russia has been accused of meddling in both the Brexit vote and the US election in 2016 -- the critical events that fomented the current crisis of the West. Over the last five years, Putin has defied Western scorn about Russia's frayed economic power and made the best of a bad hand, working to re-establish influence in the former Soviet orbit.

Russia successful reclaimed Crimea back from Ukraine and restored Moscow's political beachhead in the Middle East. In the last two years, Putin has had a witting, or unwitting, ally in Trump, whose attacks on NATO and US allies and decision to pull US troops out of Syria played into Russia's goals. Some already making a claim that the political distemper in the West was sown by a Russian intelligence operation masterminded by Putin. His success is adding urgency to the question that special counsel Robert Mueller has spent nearly two years investigating -- whether Trump's campaign cooperated with Moscow to influence the election in 2016.


In another win for Putin, America is tying itself in knots in a surreal national debate over whether Trump -- who incidentally is a vocal supporter of Brexit -- is working on behalf of Russia, following a bombshell New York Times report. "This is why it is so not normal to have to ask, well, whose side is the President on? Russia's side or our side?" Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, asked on CNN's "New Day" on Tuesday. "It is the accumulation of what seem like unusual, head-scratching, disparate kinds of utterances from him, when you start to see a pattern, when he basically spouts Putin's lines." Trump's mysteriously cozy relationship with the Russian leader was on display at the Helsinki summit last year. He also often seems to adopt a Putinesque worldview despite his claims that no President has been tougher on Russia than he is. But on Monday, adding to an unreal atmosphere in Washington, Trump had to take the extraordinary step of saying he was not working for Russia.

Trump's enlistment of rural, conservative voters against metropolitan elites echoes the arguments of leaders orchestrating Britain's exit from Europe. Now, in both nations, the unwillingness of rebels to dilute the purity of their goals is causing gridlock and resistance in Congress and in Parliament. In the United States, Trump is mounting a defiant stand on his border wall, which triggered the partial government shutdown. It's just as important for Trump to keep faith with voters with whom he bonded over the wall as it is for Brexiteers to honor the 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU. This is the case even though both aspirations, which have taken on mystical properties, are becoming more elusive. With the US President not bending and with Democrats adamant they won't fold, 800,000 government workers could be without pay for days to come, and halfhearted attempts to break the partisan deadlock have failed. Britain, meanwhile, is mired in the worst political crisis since World War II. While a slim majority voted to leave the EU, there is no consensus on how to do it, and about half the country still wants to stay in the bloc.

The voluble Trump and the plodding May could not be more different in personality and political style. The Prime Minister is a creature of the Conservative Party establishment and spent years climbing to the top. Trump never went native in Washington. He's still the ringleader of a populist movement that sent him to power in a stunning political upset. But they are both leaders who once set on a course are loath to turn back, and often speak in slogans like "Build the wall" and "Brexit means Brexit," which sound good but don't help them follow through on their goals. While persistence can be a strength, it can also backfire.

Trump has been saying the same thing for days -- that Democrats are soft on the border and need to capitulate. But he's failed to rally a coalition of Americans behind his border wall. Effectively he's led the Republican Party into a political dead end. May repeatedly insists that her rejected deal is the only way to honor the 2016 referendum, right up until its massive defeat. But she has failed to build public support for her approach. If anything, she's more locked into a failed political position than Trump is on the shutdown. And the deeper the trans-Atlantic dysfunction gets, the better it is for Putin

Monday, January 14, 2019

A Canadian Citizen Robert Schellenberg Given A Death Penalty Over 222 kg Drugs

Schellenberg, a 36-year-old former oil worker, was first detained in Liaoning province in 2015. And jailed for 15 years later fined US$22,000 in November last year for smuggling 200kg of methamphetamine in China and on Monday he was given a death sentence.
Robert Schellenberg caught up with 222 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine which is a synthesized drugs. The west with its spectrum of waging secret war to depolarized Chinese society, have opted with many things in targeting youths with any sort of psycho-illusion that seeks to smearing phony democracy among the oriental population.  The west already got a bad reputation when they did the same thing on the Chinese people long back in history during what known Opium War when the Chinese imperial mighty raise up to free the people from the destructive practices of Dutch East India Company. It speculated that today it seems they repition it for the third time to debilitate the precious youth of China.

Robert Schellenberg certainly faced a grim future. His recent drug-smuggling sentence meant another decade or so in a Chinese prison, after a years-long criminal record back home in British Columbia. But at least now the Canadian’s family could visit him for the first time in four years, and an appeal of his conviction was in the works. Those glimmers of hope vanished in a terrible flash Monday, as a court in China sentenced the 36-year-old to death, dramatically underlining fears that his case has become the latest bargaining chip in China’s bitter feud with Canada.

Justin Trudeau vows to 'intercede' for Schellenberg's death row in China for drug trafficking.
Experts link his case to Canada’s arrest of an executive with China’s Huawei technology giant, while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the sentence – meted out at a hastily conducted retrial – a matter of “extreme concern.” For friends and family, the news was simply tragic. Despite a checkered past as a small-city drug dealer, with addiction problems of his own, they called Schellenberg a thoughtful, warm human being. “Worse case fear confirmed,” his aunt, Lauri Nelson-Jones, told the National Post on Monday. “Our thoughts are with Robert at this time. It is rather unimaginable what he must be feeling and thinking. It is a horrific, unfortunate, heartbreaking situation.” Schellenberg was sentenced just two months ago to 15 years in prison for his part in an alleged operation to dispatch 200 kilograms of crystal meth from the port city of Dalian in Liaoning Province, Northeast of China to Australia, the case unfolding mostly in obscurity since his 2014 arrest.


But late last month, Chinese media suddenly publicized his appeal hearing, and then the appeal court unexpectedly ordered a retrial at the urging of prosecutors who wanted a tougher penalty. The retrial was scheduled for barely two weeks later, and the verdict and sentence were reportedly handed down Monday with little deliberation. Unlike one of the other accused in the case, Schellenberg’s death sentence did not come with a two-year suspension, which usually results in the penalty being commuted to life in prison, noted Margaret Lewis, a law professor at New Jersey’s Seton Hall University and an expert on the Chinese legal system. He can appeal, and all death penalties are reviewed – and invariably confirmed – by the Supreme People’s Court, but without political intervention, his prospects look grim, she said. “Unless there is some dramatic turn of events, this is marching toward execution in the not too distant future,” said Lewis. “This is the most severe sentence allowed under Chinese law. It is death, with execution (after) crossing the Ts and dotting the Is.” Trudeau said Monday the government will do all it can to help Schellenberg. “It is of extreme concern to us as a government, as it should be to all our international friends and allies, that China has chosen to arbitrarily apply [the] death penalty,” he told reporters in Ottawa. Chinese authorities have responded furiously to the detention of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who is under house arrest in Vancouver as Canadian courts consider a U.S. request to extradict her on fraud-related charges. Chinese officials have threatened both Cananda and US with "grave consequences" if the "extremely egregious" arrest of Meng Wanzhou, an executive at one of its biggest tech companies, isn't reversed. Meng was detained, at the request of the US, on suspicion of violating Iran trade sanctions.


Sunday, January 6, 2019

Astronaut Accidentally Call From International Space Station

Dutch Astronaut Andre Kuipers accidentally placed a call from International Space Station.
A Dutch astronaut accidentally dialed 911 from the International Space Station, according to a Netherlands news report. This wasn’t a butt dial, but instead the accidental omission of one number while attempting to dial for an outside, and then international, line. The process requires astronauts to dial the number “9” for an outside line, followed by “011” for an international line. The zero, unfortunately, was missed.


The amusing mistake was made by Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers, who talked about the faux pas with Dutch public broadcaster Nederlandse Omroep Stitching. According to the report, Kuipers hung up after missing the “0,” but the call was noted by Mission Control at NASA. The following day, NASA officials sent an email to the ISS asking whether someone had dialed 911. The call had apparently triggered an alert at NASA, which checked on the room where the call had been issued but found nothing. Kuipers apparently confirmed that emergency services had accidentally been dialed. The accident was made possible by VoIP phone services that are installed on the International Space Station. Astronauts aboard the floating space lab have been able to make calls to Earth for the better part of a decade thanks to modern Internet voice services, as well as better connectivity in space. According to NASA, astronauts are able to make calls whenever they’d like, such as to family. This is far from the first time someone has accidentally placed the wrong call from the ISS — astronaut Tim Peake mistakenly called the wrong number once, asking the woman who answered, “Hello, is this planet Earth?” Story Timeline.


Monday, December 31, 2018

The Best Places You Could Spend New Year's 2019 Bash

From the biggest beach parties to the most spectacular fireworks on the planet, here are our suggestions of where you could spend a New Year's night in style.



NEW YEAR'S EVE AROUND THE WORLD 2019

From the biggest beach parties to the most spectacular fireworks on the planet, here are our suggestions of where you could spent a New Year's night in style.

 

The New Year’s Eve celebration can be too expensive, too crowded, too much pressure to have the greatest moment of your life. OK, you could hunker down at home – or you could make it really memorable by hitting up one of the best New Year’s Eve parties in down town or chose to go for the special holiday's trip at your favorite destination around the planet.

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HONG KONG, CHINA


THE MAIN EVENT
A spectacular pyro-musical display lights up Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour at the stroke of midnight with lasers, fireworks and choreographed LEDs exploding across this frenetic city’s famous landscape. Our tip: forget joining the crush on the waterfront. Instead, watch the show from a traditional junk on the water, or one of HK’s many world-class rooftop bars.

THE LOCAL VIEW
There are a number of quieter venues on the Kowloon side of the water that offer great vantages without big crowds. Wooloomooloo Prime steakhousein Tsim Sha Tsui has 270-degree, 21st-floor views of the harbour, which can be enjoyed from the balcony or the dining room’s floor-to-ceiling windows. Another hot spot is Red Sugar the Kerry Hotel’s swanky cocktail lounge, with its expansive outdoor terrace.

WHERE TO STAY
This year, it’s got to be Hong Kong’s most exciting new hotel, The Murray. Foster + Partners-designed rooms afford spectacular harbour panoramas; don’t miss the refreshing lemongrass G&Ts at ground-floor bar Murray Lane.

 

 

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

 

Sydney Harbour’s firework extravaganza is watched by more than a million people gathered along the foreshore – but a better idea is to join the boatfuls of revellers bobbing in the water. You can hire out a boat, bring your own bubbles and start the countdown early. Landlubbers might prefer to reserve an outside table at one of the waterfront restaurants by Sydney Harbour Bridge for a front-row seat.


THE LOCAL VIEW
Alternatively, motor out to Cockatoo Island and set up a moonlit picnic in preparation for the show; you can even camp or glamp there for the night, as long as you book a spot in advance. New Year’s Eve without the end-of-night battle for a taxi? Yes, please.

WHERE TO STAY
All about the pyrotechnics? The Four Seasons Hotel Sydney overlooks Sydney Harbour, the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. For a more local feel, book the new Paramount House Hotel in inner-city foodie hub Surry Hills. An industrial concrete-and-copper aesthetic meets furniture, bathroom products – and beer – by independent Aussie makers.

 

 

 

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COPENHAGEN, DENMARK

THE MAIN EVENT
When the clock strikes 12, the ordinarily restrained Danes gather at Town Hall Square for a rowdy, BYO bacchanal of popping champagne corks, whooshing rockets and fizzing Roman candles. For a slightly more orderly take, twinkly Tivoli Gardens lights up the sky with its own Firework Festival; its restaurants are all serving New Year’s dinners; and the roller coasters are open – plus, plenty of glögg stalls serve liquid courage.

THE LOCAL VIEW
Watch how Copenhageners abandon hygge for hedonism on New Year’s Eve as thousands of merry folk take to the streets to light their own fireworks just after midnight. A favoured local spot to watch the mayhem – which is loud, raucous and just a tad nerve-wracking – is Queen Louise’s Bridge, which stretches across The Lakes, in the heart of the city.

WHERE TO STAY
The new Sanders, on a quiet street just a short walk from ever-lively Nyhavn, is enchanting. Style-wise, it combines Danish mid-century modern and British Colonial (wickerwork here and there, palms in pots), and there’s a fifth-floor conservatory with views over the city.

 

 

 

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BARCELONA, SPAIN


THE MAIN EVENT

Barcelona is a city of night owls, so the revelry doesn’t really start gearing up until about 11pm. That’s when crowds gather at Plaça d’Espanya to watch the midnight pyrotechnics on Montjuïc, the hill just above. A few yards from here, Poble Espanyol, the open-air architectural museum, hosts a huge dance party until 6am.

 

THE LOCAL VIEW
One of the stranger traditions – other than eating a grape for each chime at midnight (seriously, everyone does it) – takes place at Plaça de Catalunya, in the city centre. As soon as the New Year has been rung in, the assembled thousands throw their Cava bottles into the middle of the square. If that sounds slightly frightening, head instead for the most popular club bashes: Pacha rages from 12.10am to 6.45am, or try Sala Apolo, beloved for resisting scandalous New Year price hikes. The party here kicks off at 12.30am.

 

WHERE TO STAY
Join the creative crowd at Soho House Barcelona, in a palm-tree-lined square just off the seafront. Along with its speakeasy bar/cinema and basement spa, don’t miss the roof terrace for poolside views of Port Vell marina.

 

 

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BERLIN, GERMANY


THE MAIN EVENT
Berlin’s anything-goes energy is well and truly buzzing at this massive open-air party between the Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column. One of Europe’s largest outdoor celebrations, this jamboree sees around a million people gathering along the event’s 1.6-mile stretch. Better still, it’s free of charge and keeps pumping until 3am. Expect live music, DJs, laser shows, food and, of course, fireworks.

THE LOCAL VIEW
Berlin’s not short of world-class clubs, but the rooftop garden at House of Weekend comes into its own on New Year’s Eve, offering astonishing views of the pyrotechnics and the city’s skyline. Plus, you don’t have to worry about that infamous Berghain bouncer.

WHERE TO STAY
Make yourself at home in Gorki Apartments, on the edge of bubbling Prenzlauer Berg. These cool-looking spaces are all different, but each has its own edgy glamour: a rustic wooden dining table might be surrounded by a mix of chairs found at a flea market; in the corner there could be a piece from Dixon or Knoll.

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AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS


THE MAIN EVENT
Conveniently compact and always-down-to-party Amsterdam is an amalgam of impromptu street frolics on 31 December, but if there’s one reliable place to be at midnight, it’s the Magere Brug (‘Skinny Bridge’). Here, merrymakers gather to watch countdown fireworks bursting over the River Amstel, then continue their festivities all across town. Nieuwmarkt (Chinatown), in particular, is known for its rambunctious atmosphere.

THE LOCAL VIEW
Amsterdam’s EDM heads know there’s only one place to be on NYE – the Awakenings party at the Gashouder. This epic rave in an industrial gas holder built in 1902 features international DJs (full line-up to be announced this month) and this year keeps on dancing until 8am.

WHERE TO STAY
Percolating its way through 25 historical buildings – from 17th-century canal-side mansions to artisans’ workshops – the Pulitzer Amsterdam has soaked up 400 years of stories from previous residents, including grand families and a friend of Rembrandt’s. Bedrooms come in all shapes and sizes, but the mood is one of calm and comfort, with muted pastels and luscious touches of lime and purple. Connects with both the old bones and the vital, contemporary spirit of the city.

 

 

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LISBON, PORTUGAL


THE MAIN EVENT
The big blowout in Europe’s new capital of cool is at Praça do Comércio, the main square right on the Tagus River. In typically Portuguese fashion, the fiesta runs late: live music starts up at around 10pm and continues after the midnight fireworks. Plenty of locals – armed with their own fizz and plastic cups – can be found drinking and dancing in the heart of the action, so it doesn’t feel like a tourist trap.

THE LOCAL VIEW
Lisbon’s central Bairro Alto district is always a party locale – thank the lax open-container laws – and NYE here is no exception. Partygoers often head here after the Praça do Comércio fireworks, and the neighbourhood is also home to some outstanding fado houses, where you can watch traditional Portuguese music with dinner. Popular spots include O Faia and Cafe Luso– but they’re not cheap.

WHERE TO STAY
Catch 360-degree city views from the rooftop bar of Verride Palácio Santa Catarina, which stands in solitary splendour at the top of one of Lisbon’s seven hills. This new hotel, tucked behind a handsome 18th-century façade, combines heritage and contemporary with muted colours, raw linens and pale silks; bedrooms overlook the Tagus at the front.

 

 

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KOH PHANGAN, THAILAND


THE MAIN EVENT
There are parties on the beaches of Thailand’s islands all year round, but the wildest of them all is New Year’s Eve on Koh Phangan, home to the world’s most famous full-moon party. Revolving around Sunrise Beach in Haad Rin, the maelstrom starts as soon as it gets dark and romps on well beyond sunrise and into the following afternoon.

THE LOCAL VIEW
Go for cocktails and a dinner of freshly caught and grilled fish over on the Sunset side of the island, and don’t even think of joining the party until just before midnight. Then head back to Sunset Beach for a dawn swim.

WHERE TO STAY
The stylish Anantara resort is halfway up the east coast of Koh Phangan, some distance from the party, but the journey home, on a boat through turquoise waters as the sun is coming up, might possibly be the greatest taxi ride you’ve ever taken.

 

 

 

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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL


THE MAIN EVENT
It’s practically midsummer in Rio de Janeiro this time of year, which is why many partygoers shun sweaty indoor clubs and take the party to the beach instead. A whopping two million people gather on the 2.5-mile-long Copacabana for samba, Champagne and fireworks on New Year’s Eve – to find a good spot, start staking your place from 10pm. Note that it’s busiest in front of Rio’s landmark hotel, Copacabana Palace, as this is the location for main-stage concerts. It’s customary to wear white in Rio on NYE – said to bring luck for the New Year. But perhaps leave your favourite clothes at home, unless you don’t mind getting doused with Champagne, sprayed F1-style by rapturous crowds.

THE LOCAL VIEW
Lifeguard stations along the beach are called ‘postos’; in-the-know types recommend setting up between Postos 5 and 6. This is the final stretch of Copacabana, so it’s not quite as crowded; plus, it’s walking distance from the parties at neighbouring Ipanema, where many revellers head after the countdown fireworks.

WHERE TO STAY
To go all out, Copacabana Palace has exclusive views of the action (and a price tag to match). For something more affordable but with similarly breathtaking views, the Mama Ruisa hotel is a lovely guesthouse with a vintage, homely feel.

 

 

 

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CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA


THE MAIN EVENT
The mother of all celebrations in the Mother City is on the V&A Waterfront, where there’s everything you could possibly require in one handy spot: dinner, live music, dancing, fireworks. Plus, there are views of Table Mountain and the Atlantic shore. It’s spectacular – but if you want a party with a more local flavour, you have to head for the sand.

THE LOCAL VIEW
A sunset picnic on Clifton 4th Beach, a gorgeous cove in the affluent Clifton neighbourhood, is a popular choice for Capetonians. Then it’s time to hit one of the city’s many glam beach clubs. The hottest ticket: Pacha’s elite soirée at Grand Africa, on the Grand’s private beach, facing Robben Island.

WHERE TO STAY
Sitting atop the V&A Waterfront’s much-feted Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, The Silo is the very definition of a destination hotel. Rooms are a happy marriage of vibrant silks and velvets in deep purple and bottle green, while the ballroom-worthy bathrooms are lit by Egyptian-crystal chandeliers. There’s no other hotel like this in Cape Town right now – certainly nowhere approaching its punchy price tag or bravado.

 

 




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Happy New Year 2019

THOUGHTFUL  NEW  YEAR  WISHES  FOR YOUR  LOVED  ONES

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