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Sherman A1

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Gender: Male
Current location: U.S.
Member since: Sat May 13, 2006, 07:37 AM
Number of posts: 38,958

Journal Archives

Campaigners seek reform of Swiss militia system

A political campaign has been launched to reform the Swiss militia system to include both men and women in a community service.

This content was published on April 26, 2022 - 16:56

The compulsory “citizens serviceExternal link” would benefit society and the environment, according to the promoters.

“The current system of civilian and military protection must be improved and modernised to tackle the challenges of the 21st century – and the commitment of everyone is necessary,” the campaigners said on Tuesday.

They specified that foreign residents in Switzerland, as well as women and men considered unfit for the armed forces, should be asked to serve in the service.

Under the current system, only able-bodied Swiss men complete compulsory military service, while others opt for a civilian service.


Swiss president to meet Boris Johnson in London

Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis, who holds the rotating Swiss presidency this year, will meet British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in London on Thursday.

This content was published on April 25, 2022 - 16:04 April 25, 2022 - 16:04

The visit will focus on ways of deepening political, economic and scientific cooperation between the two countries “with a view to gauging the potential in terms of bilateral relations”, the foreign ministry said in a statementExternal link on Monday.

The focus would be on trade, financial services, research and innovation, and mobility, it said.

Other topics on the agenda include Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine and its consequences, as well as the policies of Switzerland and the UK regarding Europe.

In view of the war in Ukraine, the two sides will discuss ways of strengthening European security and the rules-based international order.


Swiss charity raises millions for Ukrainian war victims

The Swiss Broadcasting Corporation’s charity has collected more than CHF115 million ($120 million) for the victims of the war in Ukraine.

This content was published on April 26, 2022 - 12:03 April 26, 2022 - 12:03

Swiss SolidarityExternal link said on Tuesday that the public had donated CHF115,132,116 since March.

The money is to be used for aid projects in central and western Ukraine providing mainly food, water, medical care as well as small handouts in cash, according to the humanitarian charity.

Programmes to help Ukrainian refugees in Poland, Romania and Moldova are also to benefit.

A record CHF50 million had been donated during a special fundraising day on March 9.


Basel biologist wins science prize for thalidomide insights

Structural biologist Nicolas Thomä has been awarded this year’s Otto Naegeli Prize for medical research, considered one of the most prestigious scientific awards in Switzerland.

This content was published on April 26, 2022 - 12:49

German-born Thomä, from the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI) in Basel, is particularly concerned in his research with the degradation of disease-causing proteins, the FMI said in a statementExternal link on Tuesday. He and his team showed how some small molecules contribute to targeted protein degradation by functioning as “molecular glues”.

“Such molecular glues have the potential to target proteins that were previously thought to be undruggable,” the FMI wrote.

Research from Thomä’s laboratory explained how the molecular glue thalidomide and its analogues function at the molecular level.

From 1957 thalidomide, marketed by West German company Chemie Grünenthal, was used to treat nausea during pregnancy. It gained notoriety at the beginning of the 1960s when it was discovered that it caused birth defects, usually involving babies’ limbs, whereupon it was withdrawn from the market. Later, however, the active ingredient experienced a renaissance in the fight against various forms of blood cancer. This is because thalidomide can mark disease-causing proteins as waste and release them for degradation, which causes the cancer cells to die.


Finland joins Ukraine-focused defence talks

Finland is meeting with 40 other countries on Tuesday for US-hosted defence talks at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

26.4. 03:46

Updated 26.4. 04:15

A Finnish defence ministry official is representing Finland at Ukraine talks hosted by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Ramstein, Germany on Tuesday.

Finland's Ministry of Defence said the talks would focus on the overall situation of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine as well as aid for the war-torn country.

Discussion will also explore Kyiv's long-term defence needs.

While the US extended the invite to Finnish Minister of Defence, Antti Kaikkonen (Cen), the ministry's permanent secretary, Esa Pulkkinen, was scheduled to attend the meeting.


Norway Arrests Activists Blocking Tanker from Unloading Russian Oil

Norwegian police said they had arrested 20 Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion campaigners who on Monday blocked a tanker from delivering Russian oil to an Exxon Mobil terminal.

In a protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine, activists had fastened their red rubber dinghy to the Ust Luga's anchor chain, Greenpeace said, as they sought to prevent it offloading an estimated 95,000 tonnes of oil.

"Oil is not only at the root of the climate crisis, but also of wars and conflicts. I am shocked that Norway operates as a free port for Russian oil, which we know finances Putin's warfare," Greenpeace Norway head Frode Pleym said.

The group called on the Norwegian government to ban imports of Russian fossil fuels and said that Exxon Mobil's XOM.N Norwegian Esso unit should cancel any contracts for such imports from Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow describes as a "special military operation".


Maersk Raises Full-year Guidance, But Says Shipping Boom Will Stabilize in H2

Shipping group Maersk, often seen as a barometer for global trade, on Tuesday cautioned the container market may normalize in the second half of the year, even as it raised full-year guidance driven by high container freight rates.

The shipping industry has seen record profits in recent quarters as a surge in consumer demand, pandemic-related bottlenecks in U.S. and Chinese ports and more recently an airspace closure following Russia's invasion of Ukraine prompted a spike in freight rates.

But the forecast from Maersk, one of the world's biggest container shippers with a market share of around 17%, according to intelligence provider Alphaliner, is likely to be seen as a negative sign for the global economy.

Maersk said in a trading update on Tuesday that container volumes declined 7% between January and March. The company now expects growth in global container demand to slow this year to between minus 1% and plus 1%, compared to its previous expectation of 2-4% growth.


I went down to the paint store to get thinner........

It didn’t work………..

Coalition leaders to discuss housing plan for Ukrainian refugees

The coalition leaders will consider a plan this evening, from the Minister for Housing, on how to provide more accommodation to people from Ukraine who are fleeing the ongoing Russian invasion.

Latest figures show that 25,173 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Ireland as of yesterday morning.

Of that number, 16,788 have been provided with accommodation by the State. However, it is expected around 33,000 Ukrainian refugees will have arrived by the end of next month.

Minister Darragh O'Brien's plan, which goes to Cabinet tomorrow, seeks to speed-up the assessment and refurbishment of both State and privately owned large vacant properties which could house refugees.


Unsecured Openings Led to the Flooding and Sinking of Tugboat -NTSB

Unsecured openings in the deck of a towing vessel led to its flooding and sinking off the coast of Puerto Rico, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said Thursday.

The agency's latest marine investigation report details the NTSB’s investigation into the December 24, 2020, flooding and sinking of the towing vessel Proassist III near Puerto Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. The towing vessel was transiting northbound off the coast of Puerto Rico when its stern compartments began flooding. The three crewmembers on board were unable to pump out the water and eventually abandoned the vessel. No injuries were reported. The vessel was declared a total loss at $968,000.

Shortly after departing Laguna de las Mareas, Guayama, the Proassist III encountered worsening weather conditions and seas began washing on deck. More than two hours after their departure, the crew noticed the vessel was down by the stern and found about 3 feet of water in the flanking rudder compartment. Roughly 40 minutes after the crew discovered the water and attempted to pump it off, the flanking rudder and steering rudder compartments were filled with water. A post loss examination of the vessel showed openings in the vessel’s watertight bulkheads and a lack of gaskets and securing mechanisms for flush hatches and door openings on the deck.

NTSB investigators did not find any hull structural defects that could have allowed for the significant flooding and concluded a cover for an aft deck opening must not have been in place. Recently implemented regulations for towing vessels required all openings to be secured when operating offshore. The regulations also require maintaining the watertight and structural integrity of the vessel. However, deficiencies found in the post loss examination of the Proassist III indicated that the vessel was not adequately maintained. The U.S. Coast Guard’s Concentrated Inspection Campaign found three other vessels owned by the Proassist III owner had hull and deck integrity issues, signaling the company did not have an effective maintenance program.

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