foxcrawl

Mar 202017
 

Passports around the world come in the shades of four primary colors, and each country has its own reason for choosing one of them.

passport colours world

Passports come in 4 different colours (pic: money.cnn.com)

Red
This is the most common colour. Passports with red covers are usually selected by post-communist countries. Citizens of Slovenia, China, Serbia, Russia, Latvia, Romania, Poland and Georgia have red passports. Most of the European Union nations feature passport covers of burgundy or varying shades of red, Brightside.me reveals.

Blue
This is the second most common colour for a passport. A blue cover symbolizes the “new world”. 15 countries in the Caribbean have blue passports. As for the South American nations, this color represents the connection with Mercosur, a trade union. This includes Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.

Green
Most Muslim countries have green passports. There are a few exceptions: Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Green is considered the favorite color of Prophet Muhammad and a symbol of nature and life.

Black
These are the rarest passports. They can be found in some African countries such as Botswana, Zambia, Burundi, Gabon, Angola, Chad, Congo, Malawi etc. New Zealand’s citizens have black passports as well, because black is country’s national color.

Mar 202017
 

During a hearing in Congress on Monday, FBI Director James Comey confirmed officially for the first time that the Bureau is investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential elections.

fbi director james comey

FBI Director James Comey (public domain)

Mr Comey said: “That includes the nature of any links of individuals associated with the Trump campaign and Russia. This will also include whether any crimes were committed.”

Comey described the investigation as “open and ongoing”. He drew attention at the hearing that leaks of classified information is a crime.

The United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence invited James Comey and his counterpart from the supervisory agency for communications (NSA), Mike Rogers, to testify about any possible ties between Russia and Trump’s camp.

Republican Congressman and Committee Chairman, Devin Nunes, has already suggested that there is no evidence that Trump’s team was involved in a campaign of destabilization.
Source: The Telegraph

Mar 202017
 

David Rockefeller, a former banker, philanthropist and world’s oldest billionaire according to Forbes Magazine, died on Monday at age 101. He passed away peacefully at his family’s home in Pocantico Hills, New York. The cause of Rockefeller’s death was congestive heart failure.

David Rockefeller dead

David Rockefeller (photo: wikimedia commons)

His grandfather was the legendary oil tycoon John Davidson Rockefeller Sr. (1839 – 1937) known as America’s first billionaire and Standard Oil founder. His mother, Abigail Greene “Abby” Aldrich, was a prominent art enthusiast and co-founder of the museum MoMa.

His birthplace in the middle of Manhattan, where his family owned the largest private residence in New York, later became the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

David Rockefeller lost his five siblings decades ago and cremated one of his children who died in a 2014 plane crash.

Rockefeller’s fortune was estimaded at $3.2 billion – thus being “only” the 604th billionaire in the world, but rich enough to own several properties and a large private art collection.

A Harvard graduate, David Rockefeller used to donate millions of dollars for charity each year.

He confessed in an interview with Forbes that he had a wonderful life being convinced that material things can contribute to a pleasant life. However, he admited that without good friends and close relatives, life would be really empty and sad, and material things cease to be important.
Photo credit: http://blogs-images.forbes.com/katiasavchuk/files/2014/11/rockefeller3.jpg [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Mar 202017
 

A passenger plane crashed at Wau airport in South Sudan on Monday. According to initial reports, all people on board were feared dead, then radio station Juba claimed that at least 9 people were pulled out alive from the burned-out wreckage and taken to the local hospital.

UPDATE: Miraculous survival! CNN reveals that all 43 people aboard the commercial airliner that made a crash-landing in poor weather conditions in Wau, survived with minor injuries!

plane crash south sudan

South Supreme plane broke-up on impact with runway (pic: Bull Maliik / Facebook)

“It is miraculous, completely,” said Ateny Wek Ateny, the South Sudanese presidential spokesperson. “There are only minor injuries. There was no single death.”

The crash occurred on the runway as the plane came down for landing at 3 p.m. local time. The pilot overshot the runway, dropping onto an unpaved ground. The plane’s right wing hit a car and a fire started on the right side of the plane. The pilot opened the door near the tail, which was not on fire. “The crew managed to evacuate everyone.”

The jet was operated by South Supreme Airlines and departed country’s capital of Juba earlier in the day.

Firefighters rushed to the scene of the accident in efforts to put out the flames. Various images show the disintegrated fuselage of the plane with just the tail fin visible.

South Supreme Airlines is a young airline which began operating flights from September 2013.

Mar 192017
 

An application for mobile phone comes to the aid of those who lose their loved animals. The app, which was launched by three young people from Iasi, Romania, scans all announcements about lost animals and sends alerts to all users in the area indicated by ads’ owner.

lost dog

Lost animal can be found via petfinder app (pic: westmifflinpolice.com)

The application “Găsitorii” ((Pet)-Finders) is free and very easy to use. To announce the loss of a dog for example, the owner must upload a photo of the animal along with some details about its age, breed and name. Within just minutes, the alert goes public.

“Both the picture and information must be ok. After approval, we notify people within a radius of a few kilometers that person X lost an animal in the neighborhood,” says Andrei Nastasiu, one of the developers of the application.

The team rolled out the app after 6 months of volunteering work. The idea came to life after one of the team members lost his dog and looked for it for about two weeks.

For the time being, the app is available only to the IOS users, but an Android version is set to be launched soon.

Mar 192017
 

Political tensions between Turkey and the Netherlands move into the economic area. After a harsh high-level diplomatic row between the two countries, a Turkish farming association decided to expel a group of 40 cows imported from Holland.

holstein cow

Dutch Holstein cows boycotted by Turkish meat producers (pic: wikipedia)

Members of the Ankara-based Beef and Lamb Producers Association decided to send 40 cows back to the Netherlands, arguing that they do not want to increase the political crisis between the NATO partners.

Bulent Tunc, the president of the red meat producers association, told journalists in Ankara that the gesture was a symbolic one.

“Holstein Cows have become common in our country, but this breed begins to cause serious problems. No more animal products from the Netherlands,” he told the Anadolu Agency. He added that his country must deal with raising its own cows. Furthermore, he explained that if the Dutch authorities refuse to take back their cows, then the animals will be killed and the meat given to the people.

Political tensions between Turkey and Europe peaked a week ago when the Dutch government barred the plane carrying Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from landing in the Netherlands. The dispute escalated into a diplomatic incident on Saturday evening, when Turkey’s family minister was prevented by police from entering the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam.

The Turkish officials were due to participate in a rally supporting a controversial referendum that aims at giving more powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan has accused Dutch officials for being “descendants of Nazis” and in reply, the Dutch Prime Minister said his allegation is beyond all reasonable limits.

Also German authorities have prevented the development of such political meetings on its territory last week, triggering additional disputes despite the already heightened tensions between the two countries.

“Mrs. Merkel supports terrorists,” said the Turkish president, while Angela Merkel has described Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement as “absurd”.

Recently, Erdogan launched a virulent attack against Netherlands accusing it of responsibility for the Srebrenica massacre more than 20 years ago.

Mar 192017
 

Passengers waiting on the platform of a railway station in the United States put themselves into serious danger as the train cleared the tracks of a thick blanket of snow left behind by storm Stella.

amtrak train snow blast

Commuters unimpressed by the dangerous snow blast (capture: Youtube)

Despite seeing the fast-moving Amtrack locomotive plowing through the deep snow, many people did not even bother to seek shelter, on contrary, they remained on the platform, took out their cell phones and began filming. The amount of snow blasted away was so high that it turned literally into a white tsunami that engulfed the platform.

The video footage was viewed over 9,000,000 times after being posted on YouTube where it triggered heated debate in the online community. While some slam the train operator for not slowing down before entering station, others put the blame on the passengers who were expected to stay in the waiting room until the train came to a stop.

Video: Amtrak train plows snow off railway tracks

Feb 272017
 

About 5,000 Romanians have created the European Union flag during an anti-Government protest at the Victory Square in central Bucharest on Sunday.

romanian protests eu flag

Creative Romanians form EU flag at anti-graft rally in Bucharest (screengrab Digi24)

The crowd marked the 27th consecutive day (& night) of rallies since January 31 when Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu’s cabinet passed the controversial emergency decree decriminalizing the corruption offences. The decree was meanwhile retracted under the street pressure but people are still staging protest as they lost confidence in country’s government.

The demonstrators have created a giant flag of the European Union using blue & yellow-colored paper illuminated from beneath by flashlights of their mobile phones. They chanted “Europe!” and sang the national anthem while carrying pins with the emblematic hashtag label “#Rezist”.

“Tonight we are sending out a message to Europe. We are pro-European Union and the Union must be with us,” said a participant. Another protester said he joined the rallies for the 16th night and “certainly won’t be the last one”, he assured.

Hundreds of people gathered also in other major cities across the country including Cluj-Napoca, Timisoara, Brasov and Sibiu to express solidarity with their country fellows in Bucharest. They shouted various slogans such as “Justice! No corruption”,”We don’t give up!”, “Resignation!”, “You thieves” and “This crooked government must leave”.

When it comes to anti-graft protests, Romanians seem to develop a strong culture and creativity as they previously formed also the country’s tricolor flag during a massive gathering earlier this month.

According to Reuters, Transparency International ranks Romania among the EU’s most corrupt countries and Brussels keeps its justice system under a special monitoring system called MCV. The EU has praised prosecutors and magistrates for their struggle to crack down on corruption, but has noted a trend in parliament to weaken the anti-graft law.

Video: Romanians form EU flag at anti-government rally in Bucharest

Feb 262017
 

TRAPPIST-1 life and human habitation. NASA announced the discovery of a new solar system, called TRAPPIST-1, located at a distance of “just” 39 light years from us, and the news of the existence of seven potentially-habitale Earth-like planets sparked numerous assumptions and discussions. Because many people dream of travelling to these alien worlds, the big question is: how would Trappist-1 life be different than life on Earth?

trappist-1 life sky view

Artistic impression of Trappist-1 sky view (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Astounding sky views
One of the upside of living on a habitable planet of Trappist-1 is the night-sky view which would be spectacular because of the other six planets constantly looming in the vicinity. “You wouldn’t see them [other 6 planets] like we see Venus or Mars, like dots of light. You would see them really as we see the moon. A neighboring planet might appear twice as large as the full moon seen from Earth,” said Belgian astronomer Michaël Gillon quoted by Space.com.

The very short distance between the orbits of the seven planets is caused by the fact that their parent star is an ultracool dwarf star. It’s about 2,000 times dimmer than the sun, and only slightly larger than the planet Jupiter.

Sunset-like view
Despite orbiting close to their star, the natural lighting on TRAPPIST-1 planets would appear very dim to a human visitor.

Ultracool dwarf stars produce significantly less radiation than sun-like stars, and most of TRAPPIST-1’s light is radiated in the infrared wavelengths rather than visible wavelengths, according to Amaury Triaud of the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge in England, a co-author on the paper describing the discovery.

Short years and long-lasting days and nights
Planets of the Trappist-1 system need just a few days to complete a full orbit around the dwarf star, with the most distant planet finishing this cycle in about 20 days.

While the years are much shorter, the days & nights are extremely long – almost eternal, due to the tidal block which means that same side of each planet will always be exposed to light from the star, just as the Moon always shows the same face to Earth. The Trappist-1 planets rotate but so slow that the days & nights last “forever”.

The initial enthusiasm that the seven planets could host life seems to fade away in front of the 40-light-years distance. Transporting people to Trappist-1 requires development of new groundbreaking technologies that go beyond the horizon of application of physics and engineering known so far.

Trappist-1 night sky view

Planets in TRAPPIST-1 system would definitely offer amazing night sky views (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Feb 262017
 

A Pakistani airline is under investigation after a passenger who flew from Karachi to Medina (Saudi Arabia), claimed that a number of additional passengers were standing along the aisle during the 4 hour flight!

Pakistan Airlines standing passengers

PIA carried 7 passengers standing during international flight to Medina (public domain)

The Dawn newspaper revealed that Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK-743 carried 416 passengers on January 20, despite the fact that the Boeing 777 aircraft had a capacity of 409 including jump seats.

Taking seatless passengers is seen as a risky job because they wound have no access to oxygen masks and would block the evacuation of others in case of an emergency situation. According to preliminary investigations, the standing passengers had handwritten tickets (!!!), while their names did not appear in the official list delivered by the airport staff to the flight crew.

The safety breach is now shared between the pilots and the cabin personnel who blame each other. Chief flight attendant Hina Turab says she warned captain Anwer Adil that there will be chaos because of extra passengers and was replied that people must be allowed aboard because they paid their tickets. Moreover, the captain accuses the stewardess for closing aircraft’s doors despite knowing that there are additional passengers aboard.

PIA spokesman Danyal Gilani said the company is probing the case, promising that all those responsible will be sanctioned.

The airline had been previously accused of taking two additional passengers in the toilet of a plane during another flight from Lahore to Karachi.

In December 2016, a plane flying from Chitral to Islamabad crahsed killing all 48 people on board. According to the newspaper Pakistan Today, PIA has suffered eight fatal aviation accidents since 1996 with a total of 327 fatalities.