Archive for the ‘Norway’ Category

Britain honors sailors killed in WWII

March 9, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
March 9, 2008

It was a fight to the finish with a German U-Boat in 1940.  HMS Hunter lost.  Every man in her crew was lost without ceremony.  She was one of two British vessels sunk during the first Battle of Narvik in the opening stages of World War II.

On Saturday, the Royal Navy finally honored the men of HMS Hunter by laying a wreath and standing at attention above the watery grave of 110 brave men.

The 2,100-ton destroyer went down on April 10, 1940, as the Royal Navy tried to block Germany’s advances in and around Norway.


HMS Hunter as completed in 1936
.
HMS Hunter was discovered by accident during NATO at sea training on March 1 of this year.  The exercise included British, Dutch and other NATO warships off the Norwegian coast, according to Britain’s Defense Ministry.

Saturday, a small armada of ships, their crews at attention, passed almost over the grave of HMS Hunter and paid respects.  Ships sailed past the site of the sunken destroyer in a line and a wreath was floated above the wreck.

“Finding HMS Hunter was a poignant moment and being able to pay our respects along with our Norwegian and Dutch allies is particularly fitting to those who lost their lives,” Maj. Gen. that the sunken ship was the HMS Hunter, one of two British vessels lost during the first Battle of Narvik in the opening stages of the war.

Germany lost four destroyers in the battle.
In this photo provided by British Royal Navy, a wreath floats ... 
In  this photo provided by British Royal Navy, a wreath floats above the sunken WWII British warship HMS Hunter as a flotilla pass by the war grave during a memorial service for the lost souls, with more than 1000 British and Norwegian military personnel present during the service in the Ofotfjord, off Narvik, Northern Norway, Saturday, March 8, 2008. The British Royal Navy destroyer, HMS Hunter, was sunk by the German Navy, April 10. 1940, and was discovered by chance during military maneuvers on March 1, 2008, in the Norwegian fjord.
(AP Photo / British Royal Navy)

Most of the information from this report originated with the Associated Press.

Photo of HMS Hunter from author’s collection.

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France is healthcare leader, US comes dead last

January 9, 2008

WASHINGTON (AFP) – France is tops, and the United States dead last, in providing timely and effective healthcare to its citizens, according to a survey Tuesday of preventable deaths in 19 industrialized countries.

The study by the Commonwealth Fund and published in the January/February issue of the journal Health Affairs measured developed countries’ effectiveness at providing timely and effective healthcare.

The study, entitled “Measuring the Health of Nations: Updating an Earlier Analysis,” was written by researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. It looked at death rates….

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_
ylt=AgrM_z7dz7ZFsNZ0BL0WOI2s0NUE

Cash-Flush China, Russia Arouse Unease As Investments Spread

October 20, 2007

Reinhardt Krause
Investor’s Business Daily

Globalization faces a big test: the rapid rise of state-run investment arms by China, Russia and other cash-rich nations.

These countries want to earn better returns on their massive currency reserves, but some in the West fear sovereign wealth funds may try to control strategic assets or invest for geopolitical reasons.

Cooler heads seemed likely to prevail at an Oct. 19-22 meeting of the Group of Seven nations — the U.S., Japan, U.K., Canada, France, Germany and Italy. G-7 finance chiefs planned to just ask China and other nations to give more data on state-run fund activities.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ibd/20071019/bs_ibd_ibd/20071019general

Cell phones, Web spread news of Myanmar

September 26, 2007

By DOUG MELLGREN, Associated Press Writer

OSLO, Norway – Cell phones and the Internet are playing a crucial role in telling the world about Myanmar‘s pro-democracy protests, with video footage sometimes transmitted one frame at a time.

Reporters Without Borders said Wednesday the junta has cut some cell phone service.

On the other side of the world in Oslo, a shoestring radio and television network called the Democratic Voice of Burma has been at the forefront of receiving and broadcasting such cyber dispatches by satellite TV and shortwave radio.

Chief editor Aye Chan Naing said the station, founded in 1992 by exiled Myanmar students, is able to pass on nearly real-time images and information about anti-government protests…

Read it all:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070926/ap_
on_re_as/myanmar_media;_ylt=
AoT19oMpJKQ_DaNFM.8WZ4ms0NUE

Permanent President Putin?

September 5, 2007

James T. Hackett
The Washington Times
September 4, 2007

Russia may be a democracy, but it is rapidly morphing back into an authoritarian state. President Vladimir Putin looks very much like a man running for re-election. The question is whether he plans to scrap the constitution and become president for life or rule from behind the scenes and return to office later.

The constitution adopted in 1993 by the new Russia states in Chapter 4, Article 81, “No one person shall hold the office of president for more than two terms in succession.” Mr. Putin was elected in 2000 and won re-election by a landslide 71 percent in 2004. He will complete two terms next year, so is ineligible under the constitution to stand for re-election.

Elections to the Duma will be held Dec. 2, after which the political parties will nominate their candidates for the presidency. That election will take place March 2, with the new president taking office May 7. Barely six months before the election, Vladimir Putin dominates Russian politics like a colossus, with polls showing an approval rate as high as 80 percent.

Videos have been released showing Mr. Putin in campaign mode, a vigorous 55, horseback riding and fishing, stripped to the waist. For months he has taken step after step to appeal to the majority of Russians who yearn for a return to the great-power status their country lost when the Soviet Union collapsed. He has been taking advantage of the booming global market for energy, renationalizing the oil and gas industry and using the proceeds to rebuild the Russian military.

For years Russia has been developing the Topol-M mobile ballistic missile, the Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile, the S-400 missile interceptor, a new evading warhead, fifth-generation fighter planes and missile-launching submarines. Progress was slow and funds were scarce, but the surge in oil and gas wealth made it possible to overcome problems and accelerate these programs.

Now Mr. Putin is using his improving military to throw his weight around, confronting countries from Georgia to Norway. He has resumed long-range nuclear bomber flights, refuses to cooperate with Britain on a KGB murder, claims the North Pole for Russia, sells air defense missiles to Syria and threatens to target NATO countries by basing missiles in Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave.

Instead of joining Europe and America to oppose the threat of militant Islam, Mr. Putin has turned to China, Iran and other authoritarian regimes against the West. He is recreating the Warsaw Pact in Central Asia — the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Known as a “dictator’s club,” it is led by China and Russia and includes four former Soviet republics but expected to grow with Iran and other countries seeking to join.

All this is fine with most Russians, who have the strong leader they wanted. A poll by the Yuri-Levada Institute published in February found 68 percent of Russians said their top priority was “security.” Democracy was hardly mentioned. Other findings were that 75 percent consider Russia a Eurasian state, while only 10 percent think they are part of the West.

Mr. Putin has said he will honor the constitution.  Nevertheless, he could decide to emulate his friend, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, and make himself president for life. Amending the Russian constitution requires large majorities of both the Federation Council and Duma, which he undoubtedly could get from these rubber-stamp bodies, but it would require payoffs or concessions he may not want to make.

So he appears to be grooming First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov as his successor. Since the constitution bars him from running more than twice “in succession,” but leaves open the possibility of a later return, he may plan to have Mr. Ivanov run next year for one term and then replace him. Meanwhile, he would expect to control the country as a “gray eminence” from behind the scenes.

But that is easier said than done. Mr. Ivanov is a highly capable former KGB officer and defense minister. If he wins the vast powers of the Russian presidency, it may not be easy for a former president to control him. Once out of power, Mr. Putin may find it hard to get back in. Of course, he could anoint a more pliable candidate to serve as caretaker president.

Russian democracy is at risk. For the future of his country, Mr. Putin should honor the constitution and retire permanently next year.

James T. Hackett is a contributing writer to The Washington Times based in Carlsbad, Calif.

The essay above was used with permission.

Related:

Cold War Redux?
(Our own commentary on Mr. Putin and Russia)

Multitasking Makes you LESS Efficient, a Dangerous Driver: Experts Say

August 20, 2007

By Farnaz Javid and Ann Varney
ABC News
First published on the web: August 14, 2007

Whether it’s driving while talking on your cell phone, sending e-mails during a business meeting or listening to music while you’re working, it seems multitasking has become a way of life.

Employers, parents, even kids are trying to get more done in less time.

But, does multitasking really make you more efficient? And what happens to your brain when you’re trying to complete two important tasks at once?

Read the rest at:
http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Story?id=3474058&page=1

Our Related Essay from 2003!

We Could be Moving Too Fast

By John E. Carey
Fist Published in The Washington Times
August 8, 2003

A friend commented to me yesterday on the hectic nature and “rat race” of American life.  I was reminded of a piece I did for The Washington Times a few years ago.  It needed no dusting off.  We are still moving too fast.

For a long time I’ve suspected American society moved just too fast.  Recently a kindergarten teacher confirmed my suspicion. When I recounted happy memories about my own kindergarten experience, including “nap time,” the teacher told me: “There isn’t time for a nap anymore. We are getting these kids ready for life.”

Now I understand why my generation is such a failure. Too much nap time.

The telephone may also be an indicator we are rushing toward unhappiness and stress. Ever hear anyone say, “Gotta get the other phone. Sorry.  I’ll call you back”?

Another favorite conversation killer is, “We’re real busy here. Gotta go. Bye.” Not only are these communications rude and grammatically incorrect, they indicate a warp speed psychology in American life.

And cell phones, fortunately, are everywhere; allowing us to multiplex our minds and our lives. Cell phoning while driving. Cell phoning while eating. Talking on the cell phone at a wedding. I’ve even recently observed fast food restaurant guests talking to each other across the table on their cell phones. Do we really need to communicate this much? Are we discussing Plato or the meaning of life? Not usually. We are often scheduling more work, explaining why we are late, or just wasting time and space on the frequency band.

We drive way too fast. Even while going to work, people cut in and out of lanes at a breathtaking pace. Are they late or can’t they wait to get to work? One wonders. A recent survey reported the average American driver admits he takes dangerous risks behind the wheel to save precious time.

In suburbia the soccer Moms and Dads are notoriously overworked and on the run. The kids’ schedules drive everyday life and especially the weekends. Soccer, ballet, Girl Scouts, Little League, the amusement park, trips to the mall and other activities mean some families have more than one SUV to handle the workload of transporting preteens to everything and everywhere. Kids have even been known to suffer nervous breakdowns because they are so overscheduled.

My best suburban family of friends recently drove three hours to a one-hour wedding and then three hours back so they could get to the next scheduled event.

We are in such a hurry to pack more into life that TV sitcom writers have added many more pages of additional script for a single episode than ever before. Fortunately, the robotlike actors can speak faster than my VCR [we can now update this to a CD Player] on fast forward. This, of course, also means our kids (not robots, these) now utter every sentence as if the house were on fire and they were making the 911 call. And the speed-talking on TV allows more life-enhancing commercials.

So if we didn’t go this fast what would we miss? Or stated another way – why are we doing this and is it sane, normal and healthy? Does this life at the speed of sound give us better “quality of life?” More “family time?” More vacation? More money? Time to read a book? In most families, none of the above.

Usually we are just competing with other speed demons. Psychological pressure grows when we fear we can’t keep pace and can’t compete. Experts say the average white-collar worker fears for his job if he takes more than a week or two off at one stretch. This results in speedy weekend vacations with lots of driving and not much rest. Suburban parents often tell me little Judy or Tommy won’t get into the best middle school if he doesn’t pack more into “the early grades.” No nap time for you slackers.

Statistics do not confirm that all this rushing into, during and after school is building a generation of American geniuses. On the contrary, the school systems and cultural ways of life in several other nations are beating our pants off. And one of the best compensated team of teachers and school officials is right here in our nation’s capital. They also have some of the most embarrassing statistics on educating students. But this may not be due to trying to pack more quality education into the day.

Family life isn’t much improved either, surveys and statistics tell us. Families are more fractured, and a generation of single parents has exploded onto the scene and become an acceptable part of the norm.

Married people say they are “too busy” to have children.  They are too busy to stay married also because fewer than one-half of our marriage age population is married.  Most are divorced or living together.

And working quickly is not the same as efficiency. My favorite lawyer takes on too much work then tries to work faster, harder, later. Then he’ll make a silly mistake in an easy correspondence. He’ll make up for it the next time by writing a skilled, researched masterpiece. But trust me, there is another mistake out there soon.

Do we get more vacation time? Not compared to just about any European. The legally mandated vacation time in Sweden is 32 days per year. If you live in Denmark, France, Austria or Spain you get 30 days off by law. The Japanese get 25 vacation days annually. Even in China, the workers get a longer vacation than you: 21 days.

The Germans are the most widely traveled and well-compensated with vacation time of any people in the world. Most get 30 days off, but some get up to 48. And Paris shuts down and empties out for a month in the summer because everyone goes on vacation.

Well, Paris has more open stores and restaurants these days because lots of Americans are there for a few days in summer (maybe even a whopping week). The French keep Paris open on a limited basis during vacation season these days just to be rude to Americans and take their money.

Do we get longer vacations? The average Italian vacation is 42 days. How long was your last big one?

We Could Be Moving Too Fast

August 7, 2007

By John E. Carey
Fist Published in The Washington Times
August 8, 2003

A friend commented to me yesterday on the hectic nature and “rat race” of American life.  I was reminded of a piece I did for The Washington Times a few years ago.  It needed no dusting off.  We are still moving too fast.

For a long time I’ve suspected American society moved just too fast.  Recently a kindergarten teacher confirmed my suspicion. When I recounted happy memories about my own kindergarten experience, including “nap time,” the teacher told me: “There isn’t time for a nap anymore. We are getting these kids ready for life.”

Now I understand why my generation is such a failure. Too much nap time.

The telephone may also be an indicator we are rushing toward unhappiness and stress. Ever hear anyone say, “Gotta get the other phone. Sorry.  I’ll call you back”?

Another favorite conversation killer is, “We’re real busy here. Gotta go. Bye.” Not only are these communications rude and grammatically incorrect, they indicate a warp speed psychology in American life.

And cell phones, fortunately, are everywhere; allowing us to multiplex our minds and our lives. Cell phoning while driving. Cell phoning while eating. Talking on the cell phone at a wedding. I’ve even recently observed fast food restaurant guests talking to each other across the table on their cell phones. Do we really need to communicate this much? Are we discussing Plato or the meaning of life? Not usually. We are often scheduling more work, explaining why we are late, or just wasting time and space on the frequency band.

We drive way too fast. Even while going to work, people cut in and out of lanes at a breathtaking pace. Are they late or can’t they wait to get to work? One wonders. A recent survey reported the average American driver admits he takes dangerous risks behind the wheel to save precious time.

In suburbia the soccer Moms and Dads are notoriously overworked and on the run. The kids’ schedules drive everyday life and especially the weekends. Soccer, ballet, Girl Scouts, Little League, the amusement park, trips to the mall and other activities mean some families have more than one SUV to handle the workload of transporting preteens to everything and everywhere. Kids have even been known to suffer nervous breakdowns because they are so overscheduled.

My best suburban family of friends recently drove three hours to a one-hour wedding and then three hours back so they could get to the next scheduled event.

We are in such a hurry to pack more into life that TV sitcom writers have added many more pages of additional script for a single episode than ever before. Fortunately, the robotlike actors can speak faster than my VCR [we can now update this to a CD Player] on fast forward. This, of course, also means our kids (not robots, these) now utter every sentence as if the house were on fire and they were making the 911 call. And the speed-talking on TV allows more life-enhancing commercials.

So if we didn’t go this fast what would we miss? Or stated another way – why are we doing this and is it sane, normal and healthy? Does this life at the speed of sound give us better “quality of life?” More “family time?” More vacation? More money? Time to read a book? In most families, none of the above.

Usually we are just competing with other speed demons. Psychological pressure grows when we fear we can’t keep pace and can’t compete. Experts say the average white-collar worker fears for his job if he takes more than a week or two off at one stretch. This results in speedy weekend vacations with lots of driving and not much rest. Suburban parents often tell me little Judy or Tommy won’t get into the best middle school if he doesn’t pack more into “the early grades.” No nap time for you slackers.

Statistics do not confirm that all this rushing into, during and after school is building a generation of American geniuses. On the contrary, the school systems and cultural ways of life in several other nations are beating our pants off. And one of the best compensated team of teachers and school officials is right here in our nation’s capital. They also have some of the most embarrassing statistics on educating students. But this may not be due to trying to pack more quality education into the day.

Family life isn’t much improved either, surveys and statistics tell us. Families are more fractured, and a generation of single parents has exploded onto the scene and become an acceptable part of the norm.

Married people say they are “too busy” to have children.  They are too busy to stay married also because fewer than one-half of our marriage age population is married.  Most are divorced or living together.

And working quickly is not the same as efficiency. My favorite lawyer takes on too much work then tries to work faster, harder, later. Then he’ll make a silly mistake in an easy correspondence. He’ll make up for it the next time by writing a skilled, researched masterpiece. But trust me, there is another mistake out there soon.

Do we get more vacation time? Not compared to just about any European. The legally mandated vacation time in Sweden is 32 days per year. If you live in Denmark, France, Austria or Spain you get 30 days off by law. The Japanese get 25 vacation days annually. Even in China, the workers get a longer vacation than you: 21 days.

The Germans are the most widely traveled and well-compensated with vacation time of any people in the world. Most get 30 days off, but some get up to 48. And Paris shuts down and empties out for a month in the summer because everyone goes on vacation.

Well, Paris has more open stores and restaurants these days because lots of Americans are there for a few days in summer (maybe even a whopping week). The French keep Paris open on a limited basis during vacation season these days just to be rude to Americans and take their money.

Do we get longer vacations? The average Italian vacation is 42 days. How long was your last big one?