Archive | Copy RSS feed for this section

Hang on to your cash. This dash to digitise payments is dangerous

14 Sep

Published in The Guardian, written by Brett Scott who  is a campaigner and former broker:

“In granting financial corporations complete control over the money system, our every economic interaction ends up logged in their databases for analysis. ”

Do we want this?



Diane Keaton Movie: Hampstead

12 Sep

Peter and I saw today this Diane Keaton movie about Hampstead. Peter had first to go to the Private Wollongong Hospital for an appointment with his podiatrist who is fitting him some insoles. These insoles might help him with his walking. The podiatrist spent with Peter a bit over an hour. It was already 11,45 when we left the hospital. This left us less than half an hour to make it to the GALA in Warrawong to see the movie. But we were lucky. We still made it on time. This movie was well worth seeing. I am glad we did make it.



“Starring Diane Keaton and Brendan Gleeson, Hampstead is a heartwarming romantic comedy set around the beautiful Hampstead Heath in London, a quiet piece of countryside in a vast metropolis. Living in a lovely old apartment on the edge of the Heath, American widow Emily Walters (Keaton) feels like she is drifting aimlessly through life. Then she meets Donald (Gleeson), who has lived harmoniously on the Heath for 17 years in a ramshackle hut. When property developers attempt to destroy his home, Emily steps up to defend Donald in the escalating battle and soon finds that, despite his gruff exterior, there is something special about this gentle and unconventional man.”

I copied this Article in “theguardian”, Australia edition, from Monday, 4 September 2017

5 Sep

I find of special interest the figures about military spending in this article:

South Korea holds live-fire drills and warns of more launches by North

South Korea has carried out a simulated attack on North Korea’s nuclear test site in a huge show of force after Pyongyang detonated what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb.

Seoul has also approved the complete deployment of a US anti-missile system in another sign it intends to address North Korean provocations with reminders of its own military firepower, while keeping the door open to dialogue.

South Korean intelligence officials said there were indications that the North was preparing to test fire another ballistic missile, though they did not say when they believed the launches would take place.

The army and air force drills, held at an undisclosed location on Monday morning, involved launching ballistic missiles in a simulated strike against North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site – the scene of Sunday’s controlled detonation of what Pyongyang claimed was a powerful hydrogen bomb capable of being loaded on to an intercontinental ballistic missile.

South Korean forces conducted the drill alone, but further joint exercises are planned with the US in an attempt to remind the North of the firepower ranged against it, according to South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff.

In addition, Seoul and Washington are considering the deployment of a US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, strategic bomber and other military hardware to the Korean peninsula in response to Sunday’s test.

Monday’s live-fire drills were held hours after James Mattis, the US defence secretary, said there would be a “massive military response” if North Korea threatened the US or any of its allies.

“Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam or our allies, will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming,” he said after meeting Donald Trump and his national security team.

Mattis added: “We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea. But as I said, we have many options to do so

Could North Korea trigger a nuclear war?

Switzerland, which has troops deployed in the demarcation zone between South Korea and North Korea, offered to help as mediator in the crisis, including by hosting ministerial talks. “It is really time now to sit down at a table,” Swiss president Doris Leuthard said. “Big powers have a responsibility.”

In a sign that South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, is hardening his stance towards Pyongyang, his government approved additional deployments of a controversial US missile defence system, possibly as early as this week.

Moon had initially opposed the introduction of terminal high-altitude area defence, or Thaad, which had been agreed to by his conservative predecessor Park Geun-hye.

He appears to have dropped his objections in light of North Korean ballistic missile and nuclear tests, and a dramatic rise in tensions on the peninsula since he took office in May.

Kim Hyun-wook, a professor at the Korea national diplomatic academy in Seoul, said Sunday’s nuclear test had convinced Moon to respond with a show of military might.

“He is getting tougher and tougher because the nuclear test showed that North Korea is moving closer to the ‘red line’,” Kim told the Guardian. “Moon will be flexible, but he knows that this is not the time for talks with North Korea.”

That red line would be crossed if Pyongyang perfected a long-range missile with the ability to carry a nuclear warhead to the US mainland, Kim said, adding that North Korea’s emergence as a genuine nuclear state would increase pressure on Seoul and Tokyo to develop their own nuclear deterrents.

“The US’s ability to defend Japan and South Korea is at the core of its alliances in the region, but if North Korea becomes a de facto nuclear state, then those countries would face pressure to develop nuclear deterrents independent of the US,” he said.

North Korea’s military spending is less than 1.3% that of the US


North Korea

$299 per person



South Korea

$860 per perso


$44bn per person


$346 per person



$118 per person


US annual defence budget

$1,817 per person


The first two Thaad batteries went operational, amid widespread opposition, in the central village of Seongju in late April. The deployment of a further four batteries was suspended pending the outcome of an environmental impact assessment.

South Korea’s environment ministry had approved Thaad’s “temporary” deployment after a government assessment concluded that the system’s powerful X-band radar posed no danger to the environment or the health of local people.

The new launchers will also be deployed in Seongju, about 190 miles ((300km) south of Seoul. Each Thaad battery comprises six launchers and a radar system. China has angrily opposed Thaad deployments, saying the system’s powerful radar could be used to spy on its missile programme and so represents a threat to its national security.

Moon and Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, will push hard for further sanctions against North Korea when the UN security council meets later on Monday.

Abe told Moon in a phone call on Monday that Sunday’s nuclear test was “a head-on challenge to the international community”, according to Japan’s deputy chief cabinet secretary, Yasutoshi Nishimura.

Abe said the international community should bring the “strongest possible pressure” to bear on Pyongyang, including additional sanctions. He said Japan would urge China and Russia to do more to pressure the North Korean regime to halt its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programmes.

Moon said South Korea vowed to maintain a strong bilateral security alliance with the US to counter provocations from the North, after Trump chastised Seoul for talking about “appeasement” towards Pyongyang.

That description is likely to have caused consternation in South Korea, where officials have maintained that they are combining economic and military pressure while not ruling out dialogue – essentially the stance being taken by Washington.

The US has reiterated that it is “100%” committed to defending South Korea and Japan – where it has tens of thousands of troops – under bilateral security treaties.

On Sunday, Trump hinted that Washington and Seoul were drifting apart on how to deal with the North Korean threat. The South, he tweeted, “is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing”.

Patrick Cronin, an Asia expert with the Center for a New American Security, said Trump’s comment was probably “intended to stiffen the spine of an ally”.

“I think Washington is very serious about showing some unexpected resolve,” Cronin told the Associated Press. “We need our ally and we need to remain ironclad. But at the same time, we can’t afford South Korea to go weak in facing down this growing danger.”

South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said land-based Hyunmoo-2A missiles and SLAM-ER long-range missiles fired by F-15K fighter jets had hit designated targets in the East Sea, the Korean name for the Sea of Japan.

Under an agreement with the US, South Korea is banned from developing ballistic missiles with a range of more than 800km (497 miles) and a payload exceeding 500kg (1,102lb).

Seoul is reportedly seeking double the warhead weight limit, according to media reports. The JoongAng newspaper quoted a spokesman at the presidential Blue House in Seoul as saying the two countries had agreed “in principle” on the need to improve South Korea’s missile defences.

Need something explained?Let us know which of these questions we can answer for you.

Nuclear Ban Treaty as a matter of human survival

5 Sep

Please go to the above page  and find out what can and must be done towards a Nuclear Ban Treaty! I absolutely agree that indeed human survival is at stake. Do we want that humans can survive or do we not care? That is the question.


Human Flow review – Ai Weiwei’s urgent look at the scale of the refugee crisis

2 Sep

Gorgeous shots in Greece, Calais and elsewhere, many filmed from drones, create a visual tone poem that proves both epic and highly human

“The international co-productions of the mid-20th century often boasted myriad shooting locations in far-flung places. Who would have guessed the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei would pick up where moguls such as Sam Spiegel left off.

Ai’s new film, Human Flow, while certainly epic in scope, is not exactly meant as entertainment. This is an urgent, deep soak in the current refugee crisis. There has been no dearth of documentaries about this topic, but this one comes closest to understanding the totality of the issue. . . . .”

I copied the above from The Guardian


For a World in Peace: IPPNW

2 Sep

Published on Dec 17, 2015

German original version: | Thirty years ago, IPPNW was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the public education and advocacy work of its members on the dangers and effects of nuclear war. Today, IPPNW is still actively engaged in working for a world free of the nuclear threat, for a world in peace and for social responsibility. This short film, by Kathy Becker and Jonathan Happ, explains the organisation’s work and the motivation of its members. More about IPPNW here:

Consequences of Fukushima: Dr. Alex Rosen (IPPNW Germany)

Published on Feb 28, 2017

6 years after the nuclear accident of Fukushima, people in Japan have to live with the consequences of the catastrophe: More than 100.000 people are living as nuclear refugees scattered across the country. Radiation levels are still high. 184 children from the Fukushima region have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Fukushima address by Dr. Alex Rosen, Vice-president of IPPNW Germany

Dirndl and Lederhosen

31 Aug

Dr. Axel Munz was today a guest in the Deutswche Welle. This is why I googled the following about dirndl and lederhosen and copied it. It says that 

  • Traditional Bavarian costumes have had a resurgence in popularity




Tradition makes a comeback for fashion-conscious Bavarians

By Catriona Davies for CNN
February 28, 2011 — Updated 1001 GMT (1801 HKT)
  • Traditional Bavarian costumes have had a resurgence in popularity
  • Prices for dirndls range from 50 euros to 2,500 euros
  • Young people wear the costumes for Oktoberfest, weddings and parties

CNN’s global series i-List takes you to a different country each month. In February, we visit Germany and look at changes shaping the country’s economy, culture and social fabric.

(CNN) — To an outsider, lederhosen and dirndl — the traditional costumes of Bavaria — may seem like an outdated symbol of a bygone age, last seen in “The Sound of Music.”

But the outfits — short leather dungarees for men and wide skirts with corsets for women — have become must-haves for the young and fashion-conscious of Munich in south Germany.

They are particularly popular at Oktoberfest, Munich’s annual beer festival attracting 6.4 million visitors, and increasingly at fashionable parties and weddings.

The German edition of Vogue magazine regularly features Bavarian costumes in its September issue, according to Simone Egger, a researcher in cultural studies, and shops open around the city every August specifically to sell Oktoberfest costumes.

When you see someone in dirndl or lederhosen they look wonderful.
–Lola Paltinger, fashion designer

Lola Paltinger, a designer who sells couture dirndls for 2,500 euros, or about $3,440, said: “When I first went to Oktoberfest everyone was in jeans. The only traditional costumes were dark, sad and unfashionable.

“Now they come in bright colors, modern designs and are more comfortable. It still has a wide skirt and a corset, but it’s one you can breathe, eat and drink in.”

Paltinger began designing dirndls as a project at her fashion college, and after an apprenticeship with Vivienne Westwood, began her own business.

She said: “I was sitting outside at the Oktoberfest with my friends talking about what we were going to do for our diplomas. The atmosphere of the Oktoberfest got to me and I just thought of doing traditional costumes.”

When she started her business 11 years ago, Paltinger sold about 20 dirndls a year. She now sells 1,000 a year, both custom-made and off-the-rack, and supplies 20 to 30 weddings.

She said: “When you see someone in dirndl or lederhosen they look wonderful, and you are really disappointed later when you see them in normal clothes. The dirndls in particular are very sexy and feminine.

“For women there are bright colors and modern styles, but for men you can’t really do lederhosen in a modern way. In my opinion, there’s nothing nicer than a real, traditional lederhosen.”

Of course, most people can’t afford to buy their outfits from designers like Paltinger. You can pick up a new dirndl for 50 to 60 euros or lederhosen for 120 euros, according to Karoline Graf of the Munich Tourist Office, and there is a thriving second-hand market.

Paltinger said: “Many, many shops sell dirndl and lederhosen in the run up to the Oktoberfest. Some of them just open up especially and sell them very cheaply, made in India. It’s a big business.

“Some people say it’s not good to sell cheap ones, but I think it’s really nice that so many young people want to wear them and pay homage to Bavarian tradition.”

Angermaier, a traditional clothes business with two stores in Munich and other temporary stores in high season, has seen lederhosen sales double over the past 10 years. Sales of dirndls have risen 500% over the same period.

Axel Munz, director of the company, said: “The customers have become younger and more trendy. Fashion has found its way into tracht (traditional costumes).

“People wear traditional costumes at weddings, special events or folk festivals, but mainly they wear it at the Oktoberfest.”

Egger, a researcher at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, wrote a diploma thesis on the popularity of traditional Bavarian costumes.

She said: “About 10 years ago I noticed all the young people wearing dirndl and lederhosen and thought ‘what’s going on?’ I’m a cultural scientist so I wanted to find out why.

“At the beginning, it was just for the Oktoberfest, but now it is for parties and sometimes weddings. Nowadays pretty much everybody in Munich and the surrounding region has at least one traditional outfit.”

She added: “The choice to wear traditional costumes appears to be more than just a fashion trend.

“Possibly, a mobile society wishes to demonstrate affiliation. In times of international networking, local and regional references become even more important.”

She added that the first to take up the fashion were 16 to 18-year-olds who felt free to wear traditional costume precisely because there was no pressure from their parents to do so.

Gabriele Hammerschick, chief buyer of traditional clothes for the clothes store Lodenfrey, said customers had become younger in recent years and bought dirndl and lederhosen all year round for weddings, parties, christenings, Christmas and of course, Oktoberfest.

She said people had rediscovered tradition for its permanence in a fast-paced world.

Graf said: “Twenty years ago, no young men or women would go out in traditional costume because it wasn’t fashionable.

“Now teenagers, students, people of all ages wear them.”