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7/13/2016 9:23:51 PM

Snowing in Outer Space ????
7/14/2016 7:24:25 PM
Is it Snowing in Space? An Amazing First Time Discovery

Scientists observed for the first time the 'water ice line' of the star V883 Orionis.
Jewish massacre
7/14/2016 10:22:10 PM
Polish official criticized over Jewish massacre remarks

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's education minister has sparked criticism for appearing to deny Polish responsibility for two massacres of Jews in the 1940s.

Anna Zalewska's comments on Wednesday evening raised questions about the commitment by the populist ruling party, Law and Justice, both to historical truth and to opposing anti-Semitism.

Since coming to power last year, leaders of the Law and Justice party have sent mixed messages on where they stand on issues of tolerance. President Andrzej Duda, who hails from the party and remains an ally, has strongly condemned anti-Semitism at multiple state observances. But some ruling party members have appeared to pander to extreme nationalists at times.

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The comments concerned the Jedwabne massacre of 1941, when Poles burned alive more than 300 Jews in a barn, and the Kielce massacre of 1946, in which 42 people died. Anniversaries of both pogroms were marked with observances last week, with Duda condemning anti-Semitism at the Kielce event.

For decades, Polish society avoided discussions of those killings, or denied that Polish anti-Semitism motivated them. Sometimes Germans, who occupied Poland during World War II, were blamed for the Jedwabne killings. A turning point was the publication of a book, "Neighbors," in 2000 by Polish-American sociologist Jan Tomasz Gross, which explored the murder of Jedwabne's Jews by their Polish neighbors and resulted in widespread soul-searching and official state apologies.

In an interview on the public broadcaster TVN, Zalewska appeared uncomfortable as journalist Monika Olejnik asked her whether the massacres should be taught in schools.

"Jedwabne is a historical fact that has led to many misunderstandings and very biased opinions," Zalewska said.

The journalist firmly countered: "Poles burned Jews in a barn."

"That's your opinion repeated after Mr. Gross," Zalewska retorted. She added that the Gross book is "full of lies."

On Kielce, she said the perpetrators were anti-Semites, "but not quite Polish."

Rafal Pankowski, the head of Never Again, an anti-racism watchdog, told The Associated Press on Thursday that his group was "appalled by those comments which amount to denial of the historical truth about anti-Semitic pogroms."

Poland's chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, said the Jewish community "is stunned and hurt."

The Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish human rights group based in the U.S., voiced "shock and disappointment."

"Minister Zalewska's remarks are appalling, especially coming from a government leader who is responsible for ensuring the education of Poland's youth," said the group's CEO, Jonathan A. Greenblatt. "These pogroms are not matters of historical dispute, and her remarks only enable those who promote Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories claiming that Jews are trying to damage Poland's reputation with false accusations."

On another matter related to historical interpretation, the powerful ruling party leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, claimed that his brother, the late president Lech Kaczynski, who was an adviser to the pro-democracy Solidarity movement of the 1980s, was actually its "de facto" leader. Solidarity founder Lech Walesa countered Thursday that that is "nonsense."


Pakistan supports militants
7/14/2016 10:30:46 PM
Former Afghan spy chief says letters show Pakistan supports militants

By Hamid Shalizi

KABUL (Reuters) - The former head of Afghanistan's main intelligence agency released documents on Thursday which he said showed that Pakistani intelligence services helped leaders of the Taliban and the feared Haqqani network in 2014 and 2015.

Rahmatullah Nabil stepped down from the National Directorate of Security (NDS) in December last year after opposing Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's efforts to improve relations with Pakistan and include Islamabad in peace talks with the Taliban.

Nabil told a group of journalists in Kabul that he had released the documents to provide concrete evidence of Pakistan's collusion with the Taliban and the associated Haqqani group, which has been blamed for a series of kidnappings and high profile suicide bombings in the capital.

Pakistan's foreign office and the army's media wing did not respond to several written and telephoned requests for comment in which Reuters outlined the accusations leveled against Pakistan.

Neither the NDS nor the Afghan government was available for immediate comment on the letters.

The Afghan Taliban insurgency has in the past said it is fighting against the government and Western allies with the support of the Afghan people, and has no need of outside help.

Nabil did not say how the letters had been obtained. Reuters could not independently verify their authenticity.

Since retiring from the intelligence service, Nabil has been strongly critical of Pakistan, which is routinely accused by Afghanistan of sponsoring the Afghan Taliban, a charge it has consistently denied.

"For the past 14 years, no one has disclosed documents of this kind. Here, I'm proving it," he told reporters, to whom he released the letters. "They kill us every day and commit all kinds of atrocities, we have to show them."

One letter, addressed from a section of Pakistan's military intelligence service in the northwestern city of Peshawar, is headed "Arrangements of Secure Houses and Protection to Afghan Taliban and Their Leadership".

In the letter, dated August 2014, an official arranges for safe houses and vehicles to be provided for Afghan Taliban commanders forced out of a remote area of northern Pakistan while an army operation is conducted.

Another letter, dated March 2015, requests an update on Haqqani network personnel in Nowshera, Mardan and Swabi, in the border province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

A third letter addressed from the Directorate General Military Intelligence, Ministry of Defence, dated July 2014, is headed "Kabul Airport Attacks and Release of Payments".

The letter says four members of the Haqqani network are to be paid 2.5 million Pakistani rupees ($24,000) each for the "successful and comprehensive execution of assault on KB AP".


Authorities in Islamabad have long rejected accusations that Pakistan has provided support and sanctuary for the Afghan Taliban and its leaders, saying it has for years itself been a victim of terrorism, much of it from groups based in Afghanistan.

The release of the documents comes amid worsening tensions between the neighboring countries in recent weeks, with days of clashes last month during which troops on the border exchanged artillery fire.

It also came days after Pakistan faced heavy criticism in a Congressional Foreign Affairs Committee hearing in Washington.

Afghan President Ghani sharply criticized Pakistan during a visit to a NATO summit in Warsaw last week, and has accused it of conducting an "undeclared war" against Afghanistan.

In response, Islamabad said that Afghanistan was playing a "blame game" instead of cooperating effectively to stop terrorism.

Pakistan's critics say that it supports Islamist militants in Afghanistan to maintain influence and counter attempts by arch-rival India to gain a foothold, effectively surrounding it.


RE: France
7/15/2016 9:35:12 AM
Bastille Day attack in Nice: World reactions

A truck rammed into the crowd during Bastille Day celebrations in the French city of Nice during Bastille Day celebrations on July 14, 2016, killing at least 80 people and injuring hundreds. Following the attack, world leaders and renowned personalities expressed their sorrow and sent condolence messages to the families of the victims.

Reuters TV/Reuters

François Hollande

"France is weeping, grieved, but it is strong and will always be stronger that the fanatics who want to strike today. #Nice"

Barack Obama

"On behalf of the American people, I condemn in the strongest terms what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack in Nice, France, which killed and wounded dozens of innocent civilians. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and other loved ones of those killed, and we wish a full recovery for the many wounded. We stand in solidarity and partnership with France, our oldest ally, as they respond to and recover from this attack."

Justin Trudeau

"Canadians are shocked by tonight's attack in Nice. Our sympathy is with the victims, and our solidarity with the French people."

Getty Images

Angela Merkel

"All of us who have come together at the ASEM summit are united in our feeling of disbelief at the attack of mass murder in Nice. Germany stands in the fight against terrorism at France's side, united with many, many others. I am convinced that, despite all the difficulties, we shall win this fight."

Enrique Peña Nieto

"Mexico condemns all acts of violence such as occurred in Nice. We regret the loss of life and we stand in solidarity with the French people."

John Kerry

"Today's horrendous attack in Nice is an attack against innocent people on a day that celebrates Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. On behalf of all Americans, and especially the great many with close ties to France, I offer our deepest condolences to the friends and family of those who were killed and our hopes for a speedy recovery to those who were injured."

AP Photo

Hillary Clinton

"Every American stands in strong solidarity with the people of France, and we say with one voice: we will not be intimidated. We will never allow terrorists to undermine the egalitarian and democratic values that underpin our very way of life. This cowardly attack only strengthens our commitment to our alliance and to defeating terrorism around the world."

Narendra Modi

"Appalled by the horrific attack in Nice. I strongly condemn such mindless acts of violence. My thoughts are with the families of deceased."

Donald J. Trump

"Another horrific attack, this time in Nice, France. Many dead and injured. When will we learn? It is only getting worse."

Gabe Ginsberg/WireImage/Getty Images

Jennifer Lawrence

"Tragic and sad news once again, thoughts and prayers with all the victims and their families. #PrayForNice"

Jenson Button

"Another horrific attack, My heart goes out to all the people affected by this disgusting attack on innocent lives. #JeSuisNice"

Ted Cruz

"Tonight, our close ally France is reeling from yet another major attack apparently carried out by radical Islamic terrorists."

Jacopo Raule/WireImage/Getty Images

Paulo Coelho

"Is prayer enough? I don't know, but this is the only thing I can do tonight. God, give us strength. #PrayForNice"

Lea Michele

"So very sad to hear about the news in Nice. Sending all my love and prayers… #PrayForNice"

Boris Johnson

"Shocked and saddened by the appalling events in Nice, and the terrible loss of life."

Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Mia Farrow

"Sending love to friends in France. #Nice"

Amu Schumer

"Enough #PrayForNice"

Lily Allen

"So sad to learn of the situation in Nice right now. I wish senseless killings would stop happening, the world over."



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