European intelligence warns of another 9/11 massacre

News4u-News Desk- European intelligence services have warned that the continent is moving towards a 9/11 with ISIS terrorists specifically training European units in Syria to send them back to the continent, battle hardened, for homegrown assaults.

A counterterrorism French official said that 2015 ‘was nothing’ compared to what was coming ‘particularly for France and London’ this year.

ISIS militants have all the necessary false documents, the mastery of the language, the sites and the weapons, the official said.

The warning came as one-year commemorations in Paris for the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks culminated in a tree planting ceremony at Place de la Republique, that became the rallying point for public outrage and outpouring of grief.

France has been in a jittery state in 2015 with several ISIS- inspired terrorist attacks culminating in the death of 130 people in multiple shootings and bombings of cafes and a theatre last month, , reports News.com.au.

The French official said that some of those responsible remain on the run, adding that they stop a lot of them, but it must be recognised that they are ‘overwhelmed’.

“Some will get through, some already have,” he added.

Former analyst for France’s Direction General de la Securite Exterieure intelligence service Yves Trotignon said that multiple European national threats were not new as Al-Qaeda plotted similar attacks in 2010 but were thwarted before their cells arrived from Afghanistan and Pakistan. (ANI)

European intelligence warns of another 9/11 massacre

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Stockholm

News4u-Travel Desk-Coffee and cake continues in Stockholm with fika, a regular afternoon ritual which involves consuming coffee with something sweet while pondering the questions of this existential galaxy with friends.

But Stockholm is a fine place to visit beyond the coffee shops, a city of broad skies and shimmering water spread across a chain of islands, connected by a web of elegant bridges.

At its heart is Gamla Stan, the city’s old town with a traceable history back to the Vikings in 1252, although sword-forging blacksmiths have since been displaced by excellent bakeries and waffle shops.

And the city has heaps of good restaurants, some with fabulous views over the city’s backdrop of woods and water – for a terrific all-you-can-eat feast, settle for a few hours by the steamed-up windows of Hermans Vegetarian Buffet.

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Stockholm, Sweden

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Seville

News4u-Travel Desk-Almost everything about Seville is different from Paris: the art, the architecture, the food, the streets, the trees, the music, the shops.

But it has all of these, and showcases them with the same passion and sensuality that has made Paris the world capital of romance. Orange trees line every central street, scenting the dry Andalusian air with their acidic fruit.

Flamenco music drifts from dimlit bars where locals and tourists sit side-by-side drinking good red wine at outrageously low prices. And best of all is the tapas, cooked in myriad bars and cafés, all crammed with customers ordering calamari and aioli or the local speciality of deep-fried eggplant drizzled in honey.

It has all the same pleasures as Paris, just done with an invigorating difference.

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Seville, Spain

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Travel Destination- Prague, the Czech Republic

News4u-Travel Desk- Nicknamed the crossroads of Europe, Prague has picked up influences from both east and west and blended them into a beautiful farrago of architecture that enchants people from all over the world.

This fairy-tale skyline rises above the historic Charles Bridge, which was for centuries the only means of crossing the river Vltava, placing Prague at the heart of continental trade up until the 19th century.

Crossing the bridge takes travelers from the ninth century Prague Castle into the Old Town, where the blackly gothic Tyn Church vies for attention with the baroque St.Nicholas Church, while both are overshadowed by the alethiometer-like Astronomical Clock.

And the city is studded with cozy boutique hotels, such as the intimate Cerny Slon (Black Elephant), which make a great base for losing oneself in the historic, cosmopolitan and romantic atmosphere.

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Prague, the Czech Republic

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Euro is poor yardstick for euro existential stress

News4u-News Desk- The Greek crisis is compromising currency traders’ reputation for being the first and fastest to react to big economic or political news.

The prices of southern euro zone government bonds and of European equities have fallen since European politicians began to talk openly about the possibility that Greece might default or even leave the euro. Yet, at $1.1370, the euro is trading closer to the top than the bottom of its three-month range against the dollar.

What is going on? FX traders can defend themselves by saying that currency options point to underlying pessimism about the single currency’s prospects. But that fails to explain why the gloom is not showing up in the spot market.

One problem is that exchange rates are always two-sided. So, the euro/dollar also reflects what Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is going to do, and when. Bond yield spreads and stock prices can be a purer expression of investors’ concern about the threat to a monetary union which was supposed to be irreversible.

Also, hedging flows are sometimes making the euro move in counter-intuitive ways. Many foreign investors who bought euro zone stocks and bonds earlier this year hedged their exposure to the single currency, which they anticipated would fall. When asset managers scale back on their investments, or the price of these assets fall, some of these hedges are unwound – by buying euros. That pushes up the exchange rate.

Finally, uncertainty is keeping traders from placing big bets against the euro. European creditors might cut Athens more slack at the last minute. Even if they don’t and Greece leaves the euro zone, remaining members could pool more sovereignty, strengthening the foundations of the single currency. In the fog of ignorance, speculative players are sitting still. This leaves the euro at liberty to benefit from the buoyant effects of the region’s current account surplus.

The euro’s resilience could crumble if Greece steps too much closer to the brink. But even then, the bond and stock markets are likely to be a better guide to how investors view the single currency project. Reuters

Euro

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Doordarshan set to go on air in Europe, Africa

News4u-News Desk-State broadcaster Doordarshan’s international channel is all set to become available to viewers in Europe, Africa and even Australia after Prasar Bharati on Tuesday entered into an agreement in that regard with German public service broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW).

An MoU was signed on Tuesday between Prasar Bharati and DW which will for the first time allow distribution of ‘India Channel’ on DTH Platform of Hotbird-13B Satellite through a ‘Free-to-Air’ basic package mode.

The move provides India with a platform to project its view point to a global audience in a cost effective manner, officials said.

Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar said that a consultative group could be constituted to suggest the content for Doordarshan’s international channel, which may perhaps be headed by the Foreign Secretary.

The MoU entails distribution of ‘India Channel’ on DTH Platform of Hotbird-13B Satellite - which has a reach across continents — and the reciprocal distribution of DW-TV on DD Freedish.

Hotbird-13B is a DTH platform which has a reach of 120 million homes across Europe, Northern Africa and the whole of Middle East, with a total of 1,543 TV channels of which 1,117 are Free-to-Air, officials said.

Twenty-four English channels are available on this satellite, prominent among which are BBC, CNN, CCTV, RT, France24, VOA TV, Euromans, Sky News, Bloomberg TV, Al Jazeera, etc.

“The MoU enables Doordarshan to considerably enhance its global reach at a minimal cost. It is a win-win situation for both broadcasters,” an official said.

Meanwhile, when a question was asked by a reporter at the press conference where MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin was also present as to whether tie-ups like the one with DW were part of an exercise to project Prime Minister Narendra Modi globally, the MEA spokesperson said that Modi needs no projection and is already a global leader.

One of the advantages of the agreement is that for the first time in the history of DD, DD-India will be available in a Free-to-Air basic package mode on a DTH platform in Europe and the Arabian countries, officials said.

“The offer by DW is on extremely favourable terms and DD- India does not even require a licence immediately. The licence can be obtained within a period of one year if the experiment is successful,” an official said.

The official added that Indians work in large numbers in the Middle-East, where the channel would be now available.

Officials said that the first broadcast of Doordarshan on this new platform was initially planned for August 15, but now another date of national importance, like October 2, is being considered.

Sources in Prasar Bharati said that the broadcaster will now plan a proper TV offering, known as Fixed Point Chart (FPC) in TV jargon, in consultation with the Ministries of External Affairs, Overseas India Affairs, Tourism and Culture so that programmes of specific interest are telecast in the areas covered.

Officials said that a dedicated DD-Overseas team, with experts who have worked for international TV channels, may be formed to ascertain details of the target market. ‘Content Strategy’, keeping in mind cultural and other sensitivities in the telecast countries would be developed by DD, officials added.

 

Doordarshan set to go on air in Europe, Africa

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Europe ‘missing out’ on fracking boom: British PM

News4u-News Desk- British Prime Minister David Cameron warned today that Europe was “missing out big time” on fracking and Britain would be making a “big mistake” if it shunned shale gas extraction.

Cameron said hydraulic fracturing- a controversial extraction method- could bring cheaper gas prices, as he compared the number of wells being drilled in the European Union to the United States.

A test drill in the countryside of Sussex, southeast England, has attracted a protest camp of hundreds, becoming the focus of a national campaign against the technique.

Cameron said Europe’s take-up of the technique compared unfavourably with the United States, where fracking has created an energy boom.

“In the whole of the European Union last year, 100 shale gas wells were dug. At the same time in the US there were 10,000,” he told an audience in Darwen, northwest England.

“The EU has about three-quarters as much shale gas as the US so we are missing out big time at the moment and I want to make sure that Britain does not miss out.”

Last month, French President Francois Hollande ruled out shale gas exploration during his term in office.

Fracking has also been the subject of fierce debate in Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives dropped plans in June for a draft law on the technique amid concerns by some coalition allies.

Britain reckons fracking could increase its energy security, create thousands of jobs and boost tax revenues.

It also believes the US shale gas boom shows it could reduce energy imports which have reached record highs in Britain- and bring down household fuel bills.

“We would be making a big mistake as a nation if we did not think hard about how to encourage fracking and cheaper prices right here in the UK,” Cameron said.

In the United States, “their energy costs in business and their gas prices are half the level of ours”.

Fracking involves using huge amounts of pressurised water mixed with chemicals to crack open shale- sedimentary rock containing hydrocarbons - to release natural gas. Environmentalists have warned that chemical-laced waste could contaminate fresh water resources, while fracking could cause minor earthquakes.

British Prime Minister David Cameron

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