Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6825 on: Jun 10th, 2012, 08:31am »
'Homeland' Boss Howard Gordon Reveals Show's 'Interesting' Relationship With the CIA, Military
The former "24" EP says the Showtime drama uses several key people to help inform the series' arcs.
2:57 PM PDT 6/4/2012 by Philiana Ng
Showtime's Homeland has a unique connection with several government entities.
"We have an interesting relationship with the CIA and the military," showrunner Howard Gordon tells The Hollywood Reporter as part of the annual drama showrunner Emmy roundtable. "By and large they are surprisingly supportive."
The Claire Danes-led series does take a slight leap of faith. "The whole premise of Homeland, when you think about it, is the CIA operating on U.S. soil, which, as far as we know, isn't something that really happens," Gordon reveals.
The key to making sure the depictions onscreen remain true to the specificities of the CIA world is to employ people whose knowledge and experience is in that area.
"We have an adviser who has been a station chief. She became the person we would vet things through, and she actually provided a storyline that we used," the 51-year-old former 24 executive producer revealed. "I do have a lot of friends and people I'm in touch with who are active and retired military, and they are surprisingly supportive about the show."
"And we have a writer on staff named Alex Cary, who actually was a British soldier for 10 years," Gordon added.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6826 on: Jun 10th, 2012, 08:34am »
Published on Jun 7, 2012 by ZLtrailers
Ridley Scott, director of "Alien" and "Blade Runner," returns to the genre he helped define. With PROMETHEUS, he creates a groundbreaking mythology, in which a team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a thrilling journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6827 on: Jun 11th, 2012, 07:48am »
Roswell 2012 UFO Conference Features National Atomic Testing Museum Curator
Karen Green, curator of the National Atomic Testing Museum, will speak about UFOs and Area 51 at the Roswell 2012 UFO Conference, to be held June 28 - July 1, at the Roswell Museum & Art Center in Roswell, New Mexico.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRLog (Press Release) Jun 10, 2012
The designer of the National Atomic Testing Museum's wildly popular exhibit about UFOs and Area 51, Karen Green, will be a featured speaker at the Roswell 2012 UFO Conference, to be held June 28 to July 1 at the Roswell Museum & Art Center, 100 West 11th Street, in the Bassett Auditorium. Green, who is the curator of the Smithsonian-affiliated National Atomic Testing Museum, will speak about "Area 51: Myth or Reality."
Green will give two presentations at the Roswell 2012 Conference, which features a total of sixteen lectures over four days by a number of well-known authors and UFO researchers. The conference is free and open to the public and will be held concurrently with Roswell’s annual UFO festival. The conference Web site is Roswell2012.com.
Green's presentations will enable her audience to learn about Area 51, the most secret place in America. She will also speak about how the National Atomic Testing Museum’s “Area 51” exhibit was created. This is the first ever museum exhibit on Area 51 and was developed with the help of people who actually worked at the top secret military facility.
Over four years in the making, the exhibit explores both the myths and the reality of Area 51 and addresses the secrecy that surrounds this unique place. The audience is encouraged to take a walk down the "extraterrestrial highway" and experience highlights from this interactive, educational and entertaining exhibit where visitors decide for themselves what is myth and what is reality.
Among other exhibits at the National Atomic Testing Museum is metallic debris from a reported 1986 UFO crash in Dalnegorsk, Russia. Earlier this year, media headlines throughout the U.S. announced, “Russian Roswell UFO Artifact Featured at National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas.” For most Americans, it was their first exposure to one of the world’s most intriguing UFO stories since the reported crash of a UFO near Roswell in July 1947.
The Dalnegorsk exhibit description reads: “Three Soviet academic centers and 11 research institutes analyzed the objects from this UFO crash. The distance between atoms is different from ordinary iron. Radar cannot be reflected from the material. Elements in the material may disappear and new ones appear after heating. One piece disappeared completely in front of four witnesses. The core of the material is composed of a substance with anti-gravitational properties.”
Also scheduled to speak about Area 51 at the Roswell 2012 conference is nationally-known UFO expert Dennis Balthaser, who has appeared on many television documentaries. Balthaser, a Roswell resident, was most recently featured on the History Channel’s "Decoded" series. He writes extensively about UFOs and the paranormal, and speaks throughout the U.S. Considered one of the leading authorities on the Roswell UFO Incident, Balthaser will present two lectures related to Area 51: "A Closer Look at Area 51," and "Scrutinizing Roswell, Area 51, Underground Bases, and the Pyramids of Giza." He will also speak on “The 1947 Roswell Incident” and “Underground Bases.”
Another important Roswell researcher, Dr. Donald Burleson, will also be speaking at the Roswell 2012 Conference. Burleson, a retired college professor, currently serves as state director for the Mutual UFO Network in New Mexico. He has written a number of books about the Roswell Incident and the UFO phenomenon in general. He will present lectures on: “UFOs and the Murder of Marilyn Monroe,” “Famous UFO Cases I’ve Worked On,” and “UFO Secrecy and the Fall of J. Robert Oppenheimer.”
Texas UFO researcher Noe Torres and his co-author, E. J. Wilson, will present three lectures during the conference, including a “virtual field trip,” using photos and video clips, to the Foster Ranch UFO debris field, located in Lincoln County, over 100 miles northwest of Roswell. They will also speak about "Aliens in the Forest: The Cisco Grove UFO Encounter" and "Russia's Roswell Incident," which deals with the 1986 Dalnegorsk UFO crash mentioned earlier.
The Roswell 2012 Conference also features a presentation by the Laredo Paranormal Research Society (LPRS), which uses cutting-edge scientific instruments to investigate paranormal phenomena, such as UFOs, mystery orbs, spirit entities, and more. LPRS director Ismael Cuellar and his group will demonstrate how they've used high-tech equipment to detect a mysterious black triangle UFO hovering over Laredo recently, as well as mystery orbs seen in Laredo and also in Marfa, Texas.
Also scheduled to appear is historian John LeMay, an archivist for the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico, located in Roswell, who also serves as the vice president of the board for the society. John has written a number of books about the history of Roswell and Southeast New Mexico, including his just-released Legendary Locals of Roswell, co-written with Roger K. Burnett. John’s new book highlights the lives and careers of nationally and internationally known celebrities who were born in Roswell and went on to a life of fame and achievement. John is also the author of The Real Cowboys and Aliens: UFO Encounters of the Old West, co-written with Noe Torres, and Roswell USA: Towns That Celebrate UFOs, Lake Monsters, Bigfoot, and Other Weirdness, as well as a number of other books.
The conference will take place at the Roswell Museum and Art Center, one of the city’s most noteworthy destinations for visitors. The 50,000 square-foot museum, founded in 1935, is sometimes overlooked by tourists during the annual UFO festival due to the focus on the privately-owned Roswell UFO Museum. The Museum and Art Center includes twelve galleries dedicated to the exhibition of art and history, the Patricia Lubben Bassett Art Education Center, and the Robert H. Goddard Planetarium. Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Museum and Art Center is southern New Mexico’s preeminent museum, lauded for the quality of its exhibitions, programs, and collections.
Apart from the free lectures at the museum, the Roswell 2012 Conference will also feature narrated van tours with Noe Torres and E. J. Wilson. The authors will take interested persons on a trip back into time, figuratively speaking, revisiting over a dozen locations in Roswell that were directly involved in the 1947 UFO incident. Sites include the former base hospital where the so-called “alien autopsy” was allegedly conducted and the aircraft hangar where the wreckage and bodies were supposedly stored for several days. The two-hour, narrated van tours feature professional audio narration, recordings of eyewitness testimony, plus special musical and sound effects – all in the comfort of air-conditioned vans provided by Blue Sky Transport of Roswell. The van tours have been called “a Disney type experience for adults.”
Torres and Wilson, whose book Ultimate Guide to the Roswell UFO Crash forms the basis for the tours, will travel with the tour groups to provide guidance. Tours cost $40 per person and will be offered daily during June 23 – July 1. Transportation for the tours will be provided by Blue Sky Transportation of Roswell, owned by Cort Nichols, who hopes to make the narrated van tours a regular feature of the city’s annual UFO festival. For more information about the tours, visit RoswellTours.com.
Torres is a state section director for the Mutual UFO Network in Texas and has written or co-written seven books about famous historical UFO cases. He has appeared on the History Channel’s UFO Hunters television series, George Noory’s Coast to Coast AM radio show, the Jeff Rense program, and many other media outlets. He is a frequent lecturer at UFO conferences and has been a featured speaker at five previous Roswell UFO festivals. His Web site is RoswellBooks.com.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6828 on: Jun 11th, 2012, 07:52am »
Originally published Sunday, June 10, 2012 at 9:01 PM
Borrowing spree leaves many European banks vulnerable
Despite the big bailout for Spain, there are still many other eurozone banking systems — most notably Italy's — whose banks also rely heavily on borrowed money and are growing more vulnerable.
By LANDON THOMAS Jr
The New York Times
LONDON — Europe may have sidestepped its latest catastrophe, for the moment at least, by hammering out a 100 billion-euro bailout plan for Spain's failing banks over the weekend.
But the intervention will do little to address the problem that continues to plague the Continent's increasingly vulnerable financial institutions: namely, a longstanding addiction to the borrowed money that provides the day-to-day financing they need to survive.
It is a weakness that afflicts many other eurozone banking systems — most notably Italy's, whose fragile economy is even bigger than Spain's and whose banks also rely heavily on borrowed money. .
In Spain's case, the flight of foreign money for safer harbors, combined with a portfolio of real-estate loans that has deteriorated along with the Spanish economy, led to the collapse of Bankia, the mortgage lender whose failure triggered the country's current banking fiasco.
Europe hopes this latest bailout — money that will be distributed to Spain's weakest banks via the government in the form of loans, adding to their long-term debt — can resolve the problem. But investors and analysts worry that highly indebted banks in other weak countries like Italy might face similar constraints in the months ahead.
Last month, the ratings agency Moody's downgraded the credit standing of 26 Italian banks, including two of the country's largest, Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo. Moody's warned that Italy's most recent economic slump was creating more failed loans and making it very difficult for banks to replenish their coffers through short-term borrowing.
Because they have suffered no epic real-estate bust, Italian banks have long been seen as healthier than their bailed-out counterparts in Ireland and Spain. And bankers in Italy have been quick to argue in recent days that Italian banks should not be compared to Spain's.
But as economic activity throughout the region comes to a near halt, especially in perpetually growth-challenged Italy, the worry is that bad loans and a possible flight of deposits from the country will pose a new threat to banks that are already barely getting by on thin cushions of capital.
And Italian banks cannot avoid the stigma of their host government's own staggering debt load. Italy's national debt is 120 percent of its gross domestic product, second only to Greece among eurozone countries by that dubious distinction.
Also hanging over Europe's banks are the losses that would hit them if Greece were to drop the euro, throwing most of their euro-denominated loans into a state of default. Banks in France and Germany would be hurt the most, as they have been longstanding lenders to Greece. In a recent analysis, Eric Dor, an expert in international finance at the IESEG School of Management in Lille, France, calculates that French and German banks would be out 20 billion and 4.5 billion euros respectively.
Credit Agricole, for example, via its Greek subsidiary, has about 23 billion euros in Greek loans on its books. If Greece were to leave the euro, the losses could exceed 6 billion euros, analysts estimate.
Because it was the financial excesses of banks in Ireland, and now Spain, that forced their home countries to eventually seek bailouts, finding a Europewide solution to overseeing financial institutions has become a pressing priority for the eurozone's leadership. Otherwise, Europe will be able to address the weaknesses of member country banks only when the time comes to rescue them.
The recent belabored negotiations by Brussels, Madrid and Frankfurt over how much help to give Spain and how to do it illustrated just how slow and difficult it will be to move toward a common European bank oversight system.
But as the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, said in a speech in New York on Friday, there is little time to waste.
"European banks are at the epicenter of our current worries and naturally should be the priority for repair," she said.
Lagarde, who from her earliest days at the fund has focused on banking problems in Europe, left little doubt as to how this issue should be addressed.
"Let me be clear," she said in her speech. "The heart of European bank repair lies in Europe. That means more Europe, not less. Less Europe will be bad for the continent and bad for the world. So, policymakers in Europe need to take further action now to put the monetary union on a sounder footing."
At the root of the issue is a simple fact: Just like the countries in which they operate, most European banks are highly leveraged. They are heavily dependent on borrowed money to operate day-to-day, whether making loans or paying interest to depositors.
For decades, the loans European banks have made to individuals, corporations and their own spendthrift governments have far exceeded the deposits they have been able to collect — the money that typically serves as a bank's main source of ready funds.
To plug this funding gap, which analysts estimate to be about 1.3 trillion euros, European banks have borrowed heavily from foreign banks and money market funds. That is why European banks have an average loan-to-deposit ratio exceeding 110 percent — meaning that on any given day, they owe more money than they have on hand.
In Spain, this problem has been even more acute. Bankia, before it failed, had a loan-to-deposit ratio of 160 percent, one of the highest levels in Europe. Even the strongest banks in the country like Santander, the global banking giant, have a fairly risky ratio of 115 percent, while big Italian banks like Unicredit rely on bulk borrowing to a similar or higher degree.
In the United States, the comparable figure is about 78 percent, which means that the biggest U.S. banks have a surplus of deposits and extra cash that they must put to work. (That can pose its own perils, as JPMorgan Chase recently demonstrated with its disastrous trading bets.)
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6829 on: Jun 11th, 2012, 07:58am »
Assad forces renew Homs assault
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:16am EDT
AMMAN (Reuters) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces have renewed efforts to impose control in Homs province, killing at least 35 people in one of the biggest bombardments since a failed U.N.-mandated ceasefire in April, opposition activists said on Sunday.
They said the Syrian army used artillery, mortars and rockets to hit opposition strongholds in the city of Homs and the towns of Qusair, Talbiseh and Rastan in central Syria.
Free Syrian Army rebels had been intensifying attacks in the area, the Syrian Network for Human Rights and other opposition campaigners said.
Assad's forces also carried out raids on neighborhoods in and around Damascus to try and flush out rebels who have been stepping up operations near security compounds in the capital.
United Nations efforts to bring peace to Syria - where a 15-month-old uprising against Assad has turned increasingly violent - have largely come to nothing, with both sides blaming the other for breaking the ceasefire.
Soldiers and militias loyal to Assad have killed at least 10,000 people, according to U.N. figures. The Assad government puts its own losses at more than 2,600 dead. Assad has blamed unspecified foreign-backed terrorists for the violence.
Among reports on the weekend violence, activist Abu Qassem said at least 500 rockets and shells had fallen on Rastan, 25 km (15 miles) north of Homs, since Saturday, and army helicopters were firing machineguns into the area.
"The Free Syrian Army is far outgunned, but it is responding by mounting guerrilla attacks while trying to avoid direct exchange of fire," he said.
Rastan was once a reservoir of Sunni Muslim recruits for the military, whose senior ranks are dominated by members of Assad's minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shia Islam.
After Syria's revolt broke out in March last year and pro-democracy demonstrators in Rastan were killed, Sunni officers from the town began defecting.
Talbiseh to the south came under shelling and heavy mortar fire from loyalist troops after some soldiers from surrounding roadblocks defected on Saturday and drove two armoured personnel carriers into the town, according to opposition sources there.
"Five people have been killed, including a woman and her one-year-old daughter. They were among the few civilians who had not fled Talbiseh," activist Abu Mohammad said by satellite phone.
Army shelling was also reported on Homs, concentrating on the neighborhood of al Khalidiya, inhabited mostly by Sunni tribal families from the desert, activists said.
FIGHTING IN THE CAPITAL
In Damascus, Syrian forces bombarded the northern district of Qaboun and later entered it in armoured vehicles, storming houses, following attacks on Friday on buses carrying troops and pro-Assad militia, opposition sources said.
"Qaboun came under bombardment for the first time since the uprising. Security forces in the nearby Airforce Intelligence compound fired on the neighborhood with anti-aircraft guns and large calibre mortar bombs," said Abu Fida, an activist in Qaboun who did not give his real name for fear of arrest.
Attacks on loyalist buses and army roadblocks were also reported in the last three days in the Damascus neighborhoods of Barzeh and Mezze.
Western countries, unwilling to launch the kind of military intervention which toppled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi last year, are struggling to work out how to address the violence in Syria. While they want Assad to step down, he retains the support of Russia.
The absence of a clear and unified opposition, and concerns about an intensifying civil war which would suck in neighbouring countries has also complicated the picture.
The main Syrian opposition umbrella group, the Syrian National Council, operates from exile and its control over the different rebel factions inside Syria is limited.
On Sunday, it elected Kurdish activist Abdelbasset Sida as its leader for a three-month term at a meeting in Istanbul.
Sida, who has been living in exile in Sweden for many years, succeeds Burhan Ghalioun, a liberal opposition figure who had presided over the council since it was formed last August.
(Additional reporting by Mariam Karouny in Istanbul; Editing by Myra MacDonald)
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6830 on: Jun 11th, 2012, 08:03am »
June 11, 1644: The Barometer Gets Its First Practical Airing By Tony Long June 11, 2012 | 6:30 am Categories: 15th-16th-17th centuries, Inventions
1644: Italian physicist Evangelista Torricelli demonstrates the principles of the mercury barometer, an instrument he invented the previous year.
In 1641, Torricelli was working as an assistant to Galileo, then quite old and near death, performing vacuum experiments with mercury, when he noticed that the height of the liquid in a vacuum tube varied from day to day based on changes in atmospheric pressure.
Remaining in Florence after Galileo’s death, Torricelli continued with his mentor’s work while developing what would become a very valuable scientific instrument.
The barometer is used for measuring atmospheric pressure, which is especially helpful in weather forecasting. A falling barometer heralds an approaching storm, while a rise in air pressure generally means fair weather.
The principles established by Torricelli have changed little over the centuries and today’s modern barometers closely resemble those produced in the 17th century.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6835 on: Jun 12th, 2012, 08:51am »
New York Times
June 11, 2012 Greek Antiquities, Long Fragile, Are Endangered by Austerity By RANDY KENNEDY
KYTHIRA, Greece — A jarring public-awareness ad that has appeared recently on Greek television news shows a little girl strolling with her mother through the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, one of the country’s cultural crown jewels. The girl skips off by herself, and as she stands alone before a 2,500-year-old marble statue, a hand suddenly sweeps in from behind, covering her mouth and yanking her away.
An instant later, she reappears, apparently unharmed but staring forlornly at an empty plinth: The kidnappers weren’t after the girl — they were after the statue.
The ad, produced by the Association of Greek Archaeologists, is most immediately a reminder of an armed robbery of dozens of artifacts from a museum in Olympia in February, amid persistent security shortcomings at museums across the country. But the campaign’s central message — “Monuments have no voice. They must have yours” — is a much broader attack on deep cultural budget cuts being made as part of the austerity measures imposed on Greece by the European economic establishment, measures that have led in recent weeks to an electoral crisis, a caretaker government and the specter of Greece’s departure from the euro zone.
Effects of the cultural cuts are already being felt by the public, as museum galleries and sometimes whole museums suffer from sporadic closings.
But Greek and international archaeologists and curators warn that the real consequences of the cuts will not become fully apparent for years and will be far more dire for ancient artifacts and historical scholarship. Over the last six months dozens of the country’s most experienced state archaeologists — those with the highest number of years of service and highest salaries, 1,550 euros a month, or a little less than $2,000 — have been forced into early retirement as part of a 10 percent staff reduction within the government’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Through regular retirements and attrition over the last two years, the archaeological staff has shrunk even more, to 900 from 1,100, according to the association, the union that represents the archaeologists.
At a time when taxes are being raised, pensions are being cut and the national unemployment rate stands at more than 21 percent, this exodus has faded quickly into the bleak economic landscape. But scholars say the cuts are beginning to cause precisely what the television ad dramatizes: the disappearance of antiquities. The primary culprits are not museum robbers and looters of antiquities sites, but two even more treacherous forces that now have fewer checks on their power: the elements and developers’ bulldozers.
In a dry riverbed one late April morning on the island of Kythira, Aris Tsaravopoulos, a former government archaeologist who was pushed out of his job in November, pointed out a site where a section of riverbank had collapsed during a rainstorm a few months earlier. Scattered all along the bed as it stretched toward the Mediterranean were hundreds of pieces of Minoan pottery, most likely dating to the second millennium B.C., some of them painted with floral patterns that were still a vivid red.
Mr. Tsaravopoulos, who directed archaeological projects and supervised foreign digs on the island for more than 15 years, said he believed the site might be part of a tomb or an ancient dumping ground. (Extensive digs in the mid-1960s by British archaeologists helped establish that the island was a longtime colony of Minoan Crete.) The collapse of the bank had already caused some of the artifacts to wash out to sea. Filling the pockets of his khaki vest with larger pieces of pottery to date and place in storage, Mr. Tsaravopoulos said, “The next big rain will carry away more, and before long it will all be gone.”
In years past Mr. Tsaravopoulos would have organized an emergency dig at such a site. Now, he said, he can no longer do anything but alert already overburdened colleagues in the state archaeological service, with little hope any rescue work will be done in time: Since his forced retirement last fall, Kythira, a sparsely populated island slightly larger than Malta and six hours southwest of Athens by ferry, had not been visited by a government archaeologist.
Of course, long before the economic meltdown, sites were lost or poorly kept, partly as a result of the immensity of the task of preserving the county’s past. In Kythira alone, there might well be dozens of such unexplored sites; the Greek truism that you can’t turn a corner without tripping over an antiquity often seems almost literally true. (The country has 19,000 declared archaeological sites and monuments and 210 antiquities museums.)
“I believe that this ministry could double or triple the number of archaeologists it hires — and the number of guards — and still be understaffed,” said Pavlos Geroulanos, Greece’s culture and tourism minister until the May 6 elections brought in a caretaker government. Mr. Geroulanos has overseen the layoffs and forced retirements as his annual operating budget has dwindled 30 percent over the last three years. “There’s so much out there, and so much work to be done,” he said.
But now Greece’s already hidebound and inefficient archaeological bureaucracy, for years among the largest in Europe (where the state plays a central role in the field in many countries), is confronting a drop in resources so sharp that it is beginning to cede the responsibility for cultural heritage it has had for more than 150 years.
In Messenia, on the Peloponnesian peninsula, excavation work has come to a halt on a fifth- or sixth-century B.C. mountaintop temple discovered in 2010 not far from the well-known Temple of Epicurean Apollo, a Unesco World Heritage site. Xeni Arapogianni, the state archaeologist who oversaw the region and directed the initial excavation of the newly discovered temple, was forced into early retirement last fall before she could complete research for publications about the find.
“There’s still work that needs to be done there, but no one goes to do it,” Ms. Arapogianni said in an interview. “A department cannot function without a director.”
She added that the temple was not important simply as another place that might someday dot a tourist map but because the history of fifth-century temple cults in the region is still an emerging field of research, and the site could provide crucial insights. “This is not just another temple,” she said.
To many Greek archaeologists and university colleagues from other countries who dig with the government’s permission, an even more troubling repercussion of the austerity budget is that research leaves of absence for government archaeologists are being canceled, and money for their research excavations is no longer being provided unless they can find other sources to share the cost.
One effect is that Greek archaeologists are being pushed to focus almost exclusively on the more bureaucratic side of their jobs: inspecting construction sites for the presence of buried antiquities. It is a crucial task, but one that, even with the slowdown of development during the crisis, consumes almost all their time now. This means that scholarship is put on indefinite, and in some cases probably permanent, hold.
An American archaeologist with decades of experience in Greece, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of alienating government officials at such an uncertain time, said: “Nobody in Greece digs nearly as much as the government archaeological service. And if they aren’t able to publish what they find, they might as well not be doing it at all; they might as well just rebury it.”
Despite its relatively low pay, the profession of archaeology has long been held in high esteem in Greece; it is a job that children aspire to, like becoming a doctor. And in a country where the public sector has been plagued for decades with corruption, archaeologists have retained a reputation as generally honorable and hard-working.
“They used to say that we were a special race,” said Alexandra Christopoulou, the deputy director of the National Archaeological Museum. “We worked overtime without getting paid for it — a rarity in Greece — because we really loved what we did.”
Veteran Greek archaeologists tend to view the crisis with a grim resolve to make do with the resources at hand. But many in the next generation are unable to do even that. The archaeological service has all but stopped hiring, and the hundreds of young archaeologists who work on part-time contracts are finding those contracts renewed more infrequently.
Gely Fragou, a 31-year-old Greek archaeologist trained at the University of Southampton, in England, worked for several years on short government contracts, but the last one expired in 2010. She continues to hope for work, but she said that several friends have taken day jobs to make ends meet: One works in a bakery, another on an assembly line, and a third as a trash collector in Athens. “If it wasn’t for my family,” she said, “I would have left Greece.”
Mr. Geroulanos, who served as the culture minister for two and half years, an unusually long stretch amid Greece’s shifting political alliances, said the deep staff cuts were unavoidable in order to make the strongest case that his ministry could live within its means, as the rest of Greece is now having to do.
“We’re at a time now,” he said in an interview in his office in Athens, “where I can safely say that every dollar given to the ministry will be well spent.”
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6836 on: Jun 12th, 2012, 08:54am »
Workload Grows for Logistics Crews in Afghanistan Jun. 11, 2012 - 05:32PM By DAN LAMOTHE
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan — The drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan has required an expansive effort to sort, identify and ship unused equipment stored in theater as the Marine Corps withdraws thousands of troops from Helmand province this summer.
The work will be done by several Marine units as the Corps continues to partner with Afghan forces to build their ability to maintain and distribute their own gear, said Brig. Gen. John Broadmeadow, commander here of 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), out of Camp Pendleton, Calif. Troops at Camp Leatherneck and Camp Dwyer, the Corps’ two largest bases in Afghanistan, are sorting everything from radios to rifle scopes and packaging them for shipment to the U.S.
“Sometimes, it’s just a bunch of things in a box that somebody used a year and a half ago, and it has been sitting in a box ever since,” Broadmeadow said during a May interview. “We bring in technical experts from all over the place, properly classify it, package it up and send it home.”
Broadmeadow’s command already has sent home more than $136 million in unneeded gear, Marine officials said. About two flights leave the base each week packed with gear, and at least 90 pallets of it are staged for shipment at any time, Broadmeadow said.
Marine Corps Logistics Command, out of Albany, Ga., and other units are coordinating the eventual return of vehicles, aircraft and other large items in a separate but related effort.
The sorting mission is one of many for Broadmeadow’s command, which included about 3,400 of the estimated 15,800 Marines in Helmand province as of May. Marine logisticians continue to build roads and bases and train their Afghan counterparts, even as the Corps shrinks its footprint in theater.
In one example this spring, Marines with 9th Engineer Support Battalion, out of Okinawa, Japan, built a new road, Route Tiffany, in the volatile Sangin district that connects to Route 611, the main highway in the region. In just a few weeks there, the Marines uncovered nearly 20 improvised explosive devices.
One blast ripped into a vehicle, killing Cpl. Michael Palacio on March 29 and wounding two of his fellow Marines. Palacio, 23, was assigned to Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, according to the Pentagon.
“They lived on that road,” Broadmeadow said. “There was no [patrol base] or anything else while they were building it, and they were out there for a month in about as austere conditions as you can think.”
The push to send equipment home has taken on an increased emphasis, however. First Marine Division (Fwd.) must stay focused on combat operations, so the Corps is working to get ahead of the game before units come off the battlefield by sending teams of Marines to infantry units to examine their equipment, Broadmeadow said.
The Corps also sent a separate 600-man team known as the “R4OG” to Afghanistan this spring to prepare gear to be sent home. The acronym stands for Retrograde and Redeployment in support of Reset and Reconstitution Operational Group. It’s commanded by Col. James Clark, a veteran logistician who commands Combat Logistics Regiment 17, out of Camp Pendleton.
Clark told Marine Corps Times in April that his group was focusing on items that are typically repaired by Marine expeditionary forces.
“A lot of radios, some ordnance items, and other odds and ends,” he said. “We’ll receive those from units that are off-ramping from Afghanistan, or excess supplies they may have. We’ll pack them, and then we’ll be responsible for doing all the systems stuff to make sure they go to whatever MEF happens to be on the tab to receive those items.”
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6838 on: Jun 12th, 2012, 09:00am »
Germany wants U.S. fiscal woes, China on G20 agenda
Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:01am EDT
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany does not want discussions on the first day of a meeting of G20 leaders in Mexico next week to be confined to the euro zone crisis, a senior German official said on Tuesday.
"The euro zone will be a topic, but we think we should talk about other issues like fiscal consolidation in the United States and currency flexibility in China," the official told reporters, requesting anonymity.
The official said Germany also expected the leaders of the G20 leading economies to agree an action plan for medium and long-term strengthening of global growth. The official added that combating a rise in protectionist measures would also be discussed at the gathering in Mexico.
(Reporting by Noah Barkin, writing by Gareth Jones)