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Posts Tagged ‘Poland’

Death count rises as big freeze shuts down eastern Europe

February 2, 2012 Comments off

smh.com

Fisherman's tents on the Moscow River in Moscow, Russia. The death toll from a severe cold spell in Eastern Europe has risen to 79.Frozen fish … fishermen’s tents on the Moscow River, where the temperature has fallen to minus 21 degrees as eastern Europe suffers a severe cold spell. Photo: AP

BELGRADE: Rescue helicopters have evacuated dozens of people from snow-blocked villages in Serbia and Bosnia and airlifted in emergency food and medicine as a severe cold spell kept eastern Europe in its icy grip.

The death toll from the cold rose to 83 on Wednesday and emergency crews worked overtime as temperatures sank to minus 32.5 degrees in some areas. Parts of the Black Sea froze near the Romanian coastline and rare snow fell on Croatian islands in the Adriatic Sea. In Bulgaria, 16 towns recorded their lowest temperatures since records started 100 years ago as four more people were reported dead from hypothermia. In Russia, temperatures fell to minus 21 in Moscow.

In central Serbia, choppers pulled out 12 people, including nine who went to a funeral but then could not get back over icy, snow-choked roads. Two more people froze to death in the snow and two others are missing, bringing that nation’s death toll to five.

”The situation is dramatic. The snow is up to five metres high in some areas, you can only see Read more…

Poland warns of war ‘in 10 years’ as EU leaders scramble to contain panic

September 16, 2011 1 comment

euobserver

Germany, France and the European Commission are scrambling to contain panic and “quash rumours” about a eurozone break-up amid repeated off-piste messages from other senior EU politicians.

But even amid their desperate efforts, the finance minister of Poland, the country that currently represents the EU to the world as holder of the bloc’s rotating presidency, warned of war on the continent within 10 years if the eurozone collapses.

Speaking to MEPs in Strasbourg on Wednesday morning (14 September) he warned of the need to act rapidly to prevent grave danger for the EU. Making reference to a recent report entitled ‘Euro Break Up – The Consequences’ by Swiss financial giant UBS, he declared: “There is no doubt we are in danger. Europe is Read more…

Europe is facing the worst drought in century

April 26, 2011 Comments off

thewatchers

Traditional Easter fairs in the east and the north of the Netherlands have been cancelled because of the risk of fires posed by the extraordinarily dry weather affecting northern Europe....

Traditional Easter fairs in the east and the north of the Netherlands have been cancelled because of the risk of fires posed by the extraordinarily dry weather affecting northern Europe. In the eastern half of the country, one of Europe’s biggest traders, outdoor family barbecues, smoking and camp fires are a strict no-no.

In the Swiss canton of Zurich, officials began moving trout this week from the river Toess before their habitat dried up. This year threatens to bring “one of the most significant droughts since 1864,” the year when records began in Switzerland. The drought in western Switzerland over the last 12 months is as severe as those recorded in 1884 and 1921. Several cantons have also imposed bans on lighting fire in and close to forests. A grass shortage could also lead to a Read more…

U.S., NATO worry about European defense cuts

February 28, 2011 Comments off

www.twincities.com

BERLIN — First, Germany announced that it would suspend its draft, ending one of the touchstones of its post-World War II society. Then Britain and France, frequent rivals since at least the Norman Conquest, announced plans to share military equipment and research. And smaller countries across Europe are cutting defense budgets and shrinking militaries that were never large to begin with.

European policymakers say that the cuts are necessary given their financial straits, and that training, not sheer numbers, is what matters in a post-Cold War world.

But some top officials, including the U.S. defense secretary and the NATO secretary general, worry that the changes could burden the United States by reducing the number of European troops available for NATO missions and other military efforts around the world. NATO’s ability to function as a collective defense pact may be Read more…

Robert Kaplan on the New New Great Game

February 26, 2011 Comments off

The U.S. can maintain its global primacy if it (among other things) plays Russia off China, India, Iran and Turkey off Russia and Turkey off Iran. That’s the analysis of globe-spinner extraordinaire Robert Kaplan, along with his brother Stephen (apparently recently retired as a top CIA official).

The essay, America Primed, is in the new edition of The National Interest and doesn’t deal too explicitly with the Caucasus or Central Asia. But it’s all about how the U.S. (assisted by the “Anglosphere,” other English-speaking countries like Canada, the U.K. and Australia) can maintain dominance on the Eurasian continent. And that requires American leadership to make sure that no other country — in particular China, Russia or Iran — gets too powerful. What does that entail, specifically?

For one, playing India off Russia (and “punishing” Pakistan):

Out of national pride, and because of its own tense relationships with China and Pakistan, India needs to remain officially nonaligned. But that will not stop New Delhi from accepting more help from Read more…

Biometric ATM gives cash via ‘finger vein’ scan

January 10, 2011 1 comment

Poland’s cooperative BPS bank says it’s the first in Europe to install a biometric ATM — allowing customers to withdraw cash simply with the touch of a fingertip.

The digit-scanning ATM, introduced in the Polish capital of Warsaw, runs on the latest in “finger vein” technology — an authentication system developed by Japanese tech giant Hitachi.

The company says that an infrared light is passed through the finger to detect a unique pattern of micro-veins beneath the surface – which is then matched with a pre-registered profile to verify an individual’s identity.

“This is a substantially more reliable technique than using fingerprints,” Peter Jones, Hitachi’s head of security and solutions in Europe, told CNN.

“Our tests indicate there is a one in a million false acceptance rate — that’s as good as iris scanning, which is generally regarded as the most secure method.”

Unlike fingerprints, which leave a trace and can be potentially reproduced, finger veins are impossible to replicate, according to Jones, because they are beneath the surface of the skin.

“And before you ask, no — it doesn’t work with fingers that have been chopped off,” he added.

While the technology represents a step forward in reducing cases of identity fraud, Jones said that this is just one of many factors that have encouraged the Polish bank to adopt it. Read more…