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Mystery "Warm Blob" In the Pacific Ocean Could Be Causing California's Drought

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Mr D from 63 writes A mysterious "warm blob" in the Pacific Ocean could be the reason why US West coast states like California are experiencing their worst ever drought, a new study says. From the article: "Nick Bond, a climate scientist at the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean at the University of Washington, began watching the blob a year and a half ago. 'In the fall of 2013 and early 2014, we started to notice a big, almost circular mass of water that just didn't cool off as much as it usually did, so by spring of 2014 it was warmer than we had ever seen it for that time of year,' Bond said in a news release about the studies appearing in Geophysical Research Letters."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Two local journalists reportedly killed near Donetsk

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"A car carrying two local journalists was destroyed by an anti-tank missile. It is not possible to recover the bodies at the moment due to heavy fire coming from the Ukrainian side. Currently we're trying to determine what news outlet the slain journalists were working for," a DNR militia source told the Sputnik news agency.

Another source, also a DPR representative, told the Donetsk News Agency that the two journalists died near the town of Peski, in the Donetsk region late on Sunday. The source also said the journalists were killed by a shell that hit their car and presumed the attack was carried out by the Ukrainian military.

There has been no immediate reaction from Ukrainian authorities on Sunday evening.

An investigation has been launched into the incident, according to the DPR Defense Ministry.

"For now, the circumstances of the incident are being clarified. A more detailed and comprehensive account will be given tomorrow," said a DPR Defense Ministry spokesman Eduard Basurin.

​China-led Asian investment bank welcomes 5 new members

RT -

"With the consent of the existing founding members, the Netherlands, Brazil, Finland, Georgia and Denmark officially became founding countries of the AIIB on April 12," the ministry said in a statement on its website, adding that the total number of founders has now reached 46.

The founding members have a priority over others, as they possess the right to establish the rules for the bank’s activities.

READ MORE: Spain, S.Korea and Austria approved as founding members of China-led bank AIIB

Applications to join the bank with the rights of founding members were filed by 52 countries, including Russia. The final list of AIIB founding members will be announced April 15.

The United States and Japan are the two big holdouts who have abstained from joining the AIIB. Earlier media reported that China had rejected the request of North Korea; however, the country’s Foreign Ministry hasn’t confirmed this information, saying that it "doesn’t possess any relevant information." Taiwan has applied for membership in the AIIB despite the animosity and lack of formal diplomatic relations between the island and continental China.

READ MORE: Beijing calling: Australia & Denmark defy US by applying to join China-led bank

Experts consider AIIB a potential competitor to such global financial institutions as the US-led IMF and World Bank. However, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said earlier in March that the IMF and the World Bank would be "delighted" to cooperate with the AIIB. Beijing has repeatedly said that AIIB will be a fine complement to the existing international financial institutions.

In October 2014, 21 countries signed the agreement on establishing the AIIB, which is intended to finance infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific Region. The bank plans to rapidly increase its initial subscribed capital of $50 billion to $100 billion.

Watch DARPA Artificial Intelligence Search For Crime On the "Dark Web"

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An anonymous reader shares this bit of news from DARPA. "Of late, DARPA has shown a growing interest in open sourcing its technology, even if its most terrifying creations, like army robot wildcats designed to reach speeds of 50Mph, are understandably kept private. In a week’s time, the wider world will be able to tinker with components of the military research body’s in-development search tool for the dark web. The Memex technology, named after an mechanical mnemonic dreamt up just as the Second World War was coming to a close, has already been put to use by a number of law enforcement agencies, who are looking to counter crime taking place on networks like Tor, where Hidden Services are protected by the privacy-enhancing, encrypted hosting, often for good, often for bad. In its first year, the focus at Memex has been on tracking human trafficking, but the project's scope stretches considerably wider."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Patriarch Kirill addresses Russian Orthodox believers on Easter Sunday

RT -

Beloved in the Lord my brothers the archpastors, all-honourable fathers, pious monks and nuns, dear brothers and sisters!

It is with joy that I greet you with the ancient and yet eternally new and life-affirming victorious exclamation:


This wondrous resonance of truly life-creating words contains the foundation of our faith, the gift of hope and the fount of love.

Just yesterday, together with the Lord’s disciples, we grieved at the death of our beloved Saviour, while today with the whole world, both visible and invisible, we sing triumphantly: ‘For Christ has risen, the everlasting eternal joy!’ (Canon of Holy Pascha). Just yesterday it would seem that the last hope for salvation had been lost, while today we have acquired firm expectation of eternal life ‘in the never-fading Kingdom of God.’ Just yesterday the ghost of corruption prevailed over creation, casting doubt over the meaning of our earthly life, while today we proclaim to each and all the great victory of Life over death.

The divinely-inspired apostle Paul spoke of the significance of the miracle that took place on that distant, and yet forever near to every Christian night; he tells us directly that this event has the greatest importance for our faith, for ‘if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain’ (1 Cor 15:14). The Lord’s Passover is the very heart and invincible power of Christianity: as St. Philaret of Moscow says, it ‘creates hope, ignites love, inspires prayer, calls down grace, illumines wisdom, destroys all calamities and even death itself, gives vitality to life, makes bliss not a dream but a reality, glory not a phantom but the eternal lightning of the eternal light illuminating all things and defeating nobody’ (Homily on the Day of Holy Pascha, 1826).

Belief in Christ’s Resurrection is inextricably harnessed to the Church’s belief that the incarnate Son of God, in redeeming the human race and tearing asunder the fetters of sin and death, has granted to us genuine spiritual freedom and the joy of being united with our Maker. We are all in full measure communicants of this precious gift of the Saviour, we who have gathered on this radiant night in Orthodox churches to ‘enjoy the banquet of faith,’ as St. John Chrysostom puts it.

Pascha is the culmination of the Saviour’s path of thorns crowned with suffering and the sacrifice of Golgotha. It is not fortuitous that in both the writings of the Fathers and liturgical texts Christ is repeatedly called the ‘First Warrior in the battle for our salvation.’ ‘For I have given you an example,’ (Jn 13:15), the Lord says to his disciples and calls upon us all to follow the example of his life.

Yet how are we to imitate the Saviour? What sort of spiritual heroism can we apply to the realities of modern-day life? Today, when we utter the word ‘heroism,’ an image often arises in peoples’ minds of a legendary warrior, a historical figure or famous hero from the past. Yet the meaning of spiritual heroism lies not in the acquisition of resounding fame or the gain of universal recognition. Through spiritual deeds, immutably linked to our inner endeavours and the limiting of oneself, we can know by experience what true and perfect love is, for the willingness to sacrifice oneself, which lies at the foundation of all spiritual deeds, is the highest manifestation of this feeling.

The Lord has called us to the feat of active love embedded in losing oneself in service to our neighbour, and even more so to those who especially need our support: the suffering, the sick, the lonely and the downcast. If this law of life, which is so clearly manifested and expressed in the earthly life of the Saviour, becomes the inheritance of the majority, then people will be truly happy. Indeed, in serving others, we gain incomparably more than we give: the Lord then enters our hearts and by communicating with divine grace all of human life is changed. As there can be no holiness without labour, as there can be no Resurrection without Golgotha, so too without spiritual feats the genuine spiritual and moral transformation of the human person is impossible.

When spiritual heroism becomes the substance not only of the individual but of an entire people, when in striving for the celestial world the hearts of millions of people are united, ready to defend their homeland and vindicate lofty ideals and values, then truly amazing, wondrous things happen that at times cannot be explained from the perspective of formal logic. The nation acquires enormous spiritual strength which no disasters or enemies are capable of overcoming. The truth of these words is evidently attested by the Victory in the Great Patriotic War, achieved by the self-sacrificing heroism of our people. We shall mark the seventieth anniversary of this glorious date in the current year.

In afflictions and temptations we are called upon to preserve peace and courage, for we have been given the great and glorious promise of victory over evil. Can we be discouraged and despair? No! For we comprise the Church of Christ which, according to the Lord’s true word, cannot be overcome by the ‘gates of hell’ (Mt 16:18), and Divine Revelation bears witness to us by foretelling that ‘God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away’ (Rev 21:4).

I prayerfully wish you all, Your Graces my brothers the archpastors, all-honourable fathers, dear brothers and sisters, strength of spirit and steadfastness in faith, peace and unfailing joy in the Lord, the Conqueror of death. Imbued by the light of Christ’s Resurrection and in communing with the mystery of the Paschal miracle, let us share our exultant joy with those who are close to us and those far from us in testifying to all of the Saviour who has risen from the tomb.

May we all the days of our life be forever warmed, comforted and inspired to good deeds by the ardent words of the good news of Pascha which impart to us the true gift of the joy of life:



​Saudi Arabia rejects Iran’s calls for ceasefire in Yemen conflict

RT -

"How can Iran call for us to stop the fighting in Yemen? ... We came to Yemen to help the legitimate authority, and Iran is not in charge of Yemen," Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said Sunday at a joint press conference in Riyadh with his French counterpart, Laurent Fabius.

Faisal called on Iran to stop providing political and military support to the Houthi rebels, a Shiite rebel group, that has taken control of swathes of the country, including the capital, Sanaa, in recent months.

On Thursday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei decried Saudi airstrikes as a “crime and genocide.” In a speech Thursday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies to halt aggression in Yemen and commence peace negotiations.

“To the countries in the region, I say, let's adopt the spirit of brotherhood. Let's respect each other and other nations,” Rouhani said. “Do not kill innocent children. Let's think about an end to the war, about a ceasefire and humanitarian assistance to the suffering people of Yemen.”

Moscow is calling for a diplomatic solution to the conflict, emphasizing that foreign military intervention would only lead to more civilian deaths. Last Friday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov met with the newly appointed Saudi ambassador, conveying the “necessity for a ceasefire” to create favorable conditions for a peaceful national dialogue.

The US has meanwhile accused Iran of aiding the Houthis.

“There are obviously supplies that have been coming from Iran.” US Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday. “There are a number of flights every single week that have been flying in. We trace those flights, and we know this. We are well aware of the support that Iran has been giving to Yemen.”

READ MORE: Iran's Khamenei accuses Saudi Arabia of genocide over Yemen airstrikes

For its part, Iran has denied backing the rebels. On Thursday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Saudi charge d’affaires to lodge a complaint against allegations of Iran’s involvement in Yemen.

Saturday Yemeni militiamen in Aden said they captured two Iranian military officers advising Houthi fighters. The two officers are allegedly members of an elite unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

Tehran has denied these reports, according to Iranian state news agency IRNA. “Iran has no kind of military force in Yemen," Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian was quoted as saying on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia and nine other Sunni majority states began an airstrike campaign against Houthi positions throughout the country at the end of last month. Ousted Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia as rebels advanced on Aden, where he had been staying since being forced out of Sanaa in February.

According to the International Federation of the Red Cross, up to 1,042 people have died in the conflict so far. Even getting aid to conflict-torn areas and retrieving the dead has proven dangerous and outright impossible at times.

“Our paramedics face being targeted while doing their job. There are dead and wounded left in the street whom we cannot reach," Abdullah Radman, a doctor with the International Committee of the Red Cross, told Reuters.

French Intelligence Bill: 5 Web Hosting Providers Threaten To Leave the Country

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albert555 (3986073) writes Five popular French web hosting providers, including Gandi and OVH, said on Thursday that the new French intelligence bill might push them to leave the country (French) in order not to lose their customers. The five companies are protesting against the "real-time capture of data connection" and their analysis by the intelligence services using "+black boxes+ with blurred lines". The web hosting providers believe that this project "will not reach its goal and will potentially put every French citizen under surveillance, that will result in the destruction of a major segment of the economy of our country," by pushing their customers to turn to other less intrusive territories. If the bill is passed as it is, "we have to move our infrastructure, our investments and our employees where our customers want to work with us". The companies have provided a listing of dozen cities where they "will suppress jobs instead of creating new ones."; "These are thousands of jobs (...) that startups and large companies will also create elsewhere," they add. The press release was addressed to the French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, and was co-signed by Gandu, OVH, IDS, Ikoula and Lomaco.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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