Forget The Cold War, The Summer Is Here

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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2nd cold war

The world breathed a great sigh of relief when the Soviet Union broke apart in 1991, but somehow we’re in the middle of another cold war that nobody wants or needs.

How did that happen?

As most things do, it all started with a huge mistake. That mistake was the West, particularly America, treating Russia like a defeated country after 1991, instead of the formidable nation that it still was despite the breakup of the USSR. Mikhail Gorbachev has acknowledged that fact.

Unfortunately Americans have no clue about foreign affairs and never have had. That, plus a ton of arrogance, led us to the Ukraine which America thought it could more or less capture as an ally to be slotted into NATO. They wanted a fully armed NATO nuclear arsenal on the Russian’s doorstep.

The Americans quite rightly didn’t like it when the Russians tried to do it to them in Cuba way back in the early 1960s, so what idiot thought that the Russians would like it when they did it to them?

Zbigniew Brzezinski

Whoever formulated the plan, it was heavily influenced by Zbigniew Brzezinski, former US National Security Advisor during President Carter’s administration. His theory was that the only way to prevent Russia becoming a great power again was to remove the Ukraine from its sphere of influence.

Thus America initiated an eastward expansion of NATO, using the EU to present the Ukraine with a choice between Russia and Europe. Some Ukrainians, like those in the Crimea favored Russia and others in other parts wanted closer ties with the EU.

Like many other countries, the prospect of joining the EU is attractive to a significant proportion of Ukrainians. But the way America tried to bring it about was just a step too far. The Ukrainian President, who had been duly elected, was removed in what would have been called a “coup d’etat” had it happened elsewhere, or had Russia been the culprit.

That is why a lot of the tensions between the West and Russia is centered on the internal troubles within the Ukraine.

If one looks into the history of the Ukraine another significant part of the puzzle presents itself.

ukraine-map

In much the same way as stupid English bureaucrats redrew borders in the Middle East without any consideration for the people who lived there, (for example, the Kurds), which resulted in wars and upheaval ever since, when the Soviet Union broke apart somewhere in the region of 25 million Russians were left outside the borders of Russia. A lot of them were in the Crimea in the Ukraine.

But the Ukraine had only been independent for three years in its history (1917-20), after the collapse of the tsarist armies.

The post-December 1991 Ukraine was thus a composite entity, its western regions had belonged to Poland between WWI and WWII; its eastern regions were Orthodox and Russian-speaking; and its Black Sea coast had been Ottoman.

The Crimea had never been Ukrainian until Nikita Khrushchev decreed it should be in 1954.

Thus, for anyone with any degree of understanding of foreign affairs, the troubles now being suffered by the various peoples in the Ukraine were both predictable and avoidable.

But the stupid bureaucrats in power were not able to predict it and thus the mess became inevitable.

Ukraine crisis

Sadly the situation has now deteriorated into what amounts to a civil war in the Ukraine. On one side there is the Ukrainian army plus “volunteer battalions”, supported by the US and its allies, and on the other the “separatist” militias who draw their support mainly from Russian-speakers in the east, and who are supported by Russia.

Outside of what is happening in the Ukraine itself, the US and EU implemented severe sanctions against Russia which have hurt, but not nearly as much as they were supposed to. In turn Russia announced counter-sanctions on food and looked to emerging markets, particularly China, to diversify its foreign trade and industrial cooperation.

And so the Cold War part two has begun and shows little sign of ending just yet.

In fact it looks like the Ukraine will remain in a mess until it gets its act together and decides whether it wants to remain on friendly economic terms with its huge neighbor Russia, or whether it will settle for becoming subservient to the whims of the US, via some kind of economic agreement with the EU.

It has a third option, though, perhaps its best option, and that is not taking sides, but rather remaining on friendly terms with both East and West.

However, they may never get the chance to choose option three. In plain language, I don’t think that the people who arrange assassinations and coup d’etats will let them do that.

Meantime, summer or not, the chill continues.

snow in summer sun

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At Last A Little Good News About The Banksters.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Bank Logos-2

Don’t get too excited, it is only a little, but it is good news.

In a recent ruling by British regulators, the top executives and managers at banks operating there (which is practically all the major banks) could have their bonuses clawed back for up to ten years after any finding of misconduct. It will also prohibit bonuses for nonexecutive directors and for the managers of companies that are receiving financial support from the government.

The move, which is long, long overdue and still does not go far enough, extends a seven-year clawback period that one regulator, the Prudential Regulation Authority, (part of the Bank of England), introduced for so-called variable pay (read ‘bonuses’) last year as part of tougher accountability rules.

Prudential Regulation Authority

The new rules announced by the authority, which is part of the Bank of England, and by another regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, are the latest effort by financial regulators in Europe to hold the banksters accountable for improper actions that could play a role in precipitating future financial upheavals.

The regulators say they are trying to “embed an accountable culture” in the City of London, which actually means that the authorities realize that the banksters have learned nothing from their previous catastrophic frauds and thefts. They know when the chance arrives these greedy and immoral people will try to do it all again.

bankster caricature

The new British rules, which apply to banks, building societies and investment firms regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority, including British units of United States banks and other financial firms based outside Europe, mean that senior managers, risk managers and others at banks will also be asked to defer more of their variable pay for a longer period, making it easier for regulators and financial institutions to recover bonuses if misconduct is uncovered.

Other countries in Europe are also enacting new regulations for their banksters. Dutch lawmakers, for example, capped bonuses this year for employees in the banking, insurance and other finance sectors that limits variable pay to 20 percent of their fixed salaries. The Dutch have also banned bonuses for executives at bailed-out banks.

European rules already limit bankers’ bonuses to the equivalent of their annual salaries, or to two times their base salaries if the company’s shareholders approve it. But they know they are so greedy that they will try to find ways round that.

breaking the rules

Already some banks are making moves to get round the limits by introducing role-based remuneration and other payments, so the regulators have their work cut out for them keeping a step ahead of the thieves.

What they really need to do is confiscate ALL their ill-gotten gains, impose severe additional financial penalties AND throw these criminals in jail – for a long time.

America, which always likes to consider itself as the leader of the world, should lead in this regard too. It would be better than starting another war in some far off God forsaken country.

Unfortunately I think it will be an equally long time, and a lot more frauds, before they get to that much needed stage.

And you can take that to the bank!

Give a man a bank

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Thinking Caps On Please – It’s Quiz Day!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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July is almost a week old and we haven’t had a quiz.

But we are about to rectify that right now.

Another twenty questions to wrap your brain around.

As usual, if you get stuck, you can find the answers waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below, but please NO cheating!

Enjoy and good luck.

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Quiz 9

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Q.  1.  What is the world’s biggest island?

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Q.  2.  In a speech on 5 March 1946 what did Winston Churchill say had descended over Europe?

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Q.  3.  What city is known as ‘The Pearl of the Adriatic’ ?

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Q.  4.  What is the official diameter of the center circle on a soccer pitch?

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Q.  5. What does the term ‘SAS’ refer to in terms of British Army Regiments?

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Q.  6.  What famous American painter and illustrator’s best-known works include the ‘Willie Gillis’ series, ‘Rosie the Riveter’, ‘The Problem We All Live With’, ‘Saying Grace’, and the ‘Four Freedoms’ series?

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Q.  7.  Where were the 2014 Winter Olympics held?

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Q.  8. Where will the 2016 Summer Olympics be held?

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Q.  9. Whose first novel was titled ‘Carrie’ ?

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Q. 10.  What was the name given to the prosperous peasants in Russia who were violently repressed by Stalin?

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Q. 11.  The famous ‘Stella Artois’ beer was originally brewed in which country?

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Q. 12.  After World War Two (WWII) ended into how many sectors was the city of Berlin divided? (A point for the correct answer and bonus points if you can correctly name the countries in charge of the sectors.)

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Q. 13.  What is the common name of the small piece of data sent from a website and stored in a user’s web browser?

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Q. 14.  In the well-known saying, what do ‘birds of a feather’ do?

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Q. 15.  What fruit is a cross between a grapefruit, tangerine and orange?

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Q. 16.  What is the name for the Eskimo people of Canada?

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Q. 17.  We all know to our cost about the recent ‘financial crisis’, but in what year was the infamous ‘Wall Street Crash’ ?

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Q. 18.  What are the two movies for which Jack Nicholson received the Best Actor Oscar?

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Q. 19.  What is ‘blood sausage’ better known as in places like the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand and the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador?

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Q. 20.  Who was ‘The Country Girl’ who after ‘High Noon’ went on to ‘Dial M for Murder’ and ‘To Catch a Thief’ before entering ‘High Society’ ?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1.  What is the world’s biggest island?

A.  1.  Greenland.

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Q.  2.  In a speech on 5 March 1946 what did Winston Churchill say had descended over Europe?

A.  2.  An Iron Curtain.

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Q.  3.  What city is known as ‘The Pearl of the Adriatic’ ?

 A.  3.  Dubrovnik, Croatia.

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Q.  4.  What is the official diameter of the center circle on a soccer pitch?

A.  4.  20 yards (18.3 metres).

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Q.  5. What does the term ‘SAS’ refer to in terms of British Army Regiments.

A.  5.  Special Air Service.

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Q.  6.  What famous American painter and illustrator’s best-known works include the ‘Willie Gillis’ series, ‘Rosie the Riveter’, ‘The Problem We All Live With’, ‘Saying Grace’, and the ‘Four Freedoms’ series

A.  6.  Norman Rockwell.

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Q.  7.  Where were the 2014 Winter Olympics held?

A.  7.  In Sochi, Russia.

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Q.  8. Where will the 2016 Summer Olympics be held?

A.  8.  The 2016 Summer Olympics, commonly known as Rio 2016, will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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Q.  9. Whose first novel was titled ‘Carrie’ ?

A.  9.  Stephen King.

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Q. 10.  What was the name given to the prosperous peasants in Russia who were violently repressed by Stalin?

A. 10.  Kulaks.

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Q. 11.  The famous ‘Stella Artois’ beer was originally brewed in which country?

A. 11.  Belgium.

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Q. 12.  After World War Two (WWII) ended into how many sectors was the city of Berlin divided? (A point for the correct answer and bonus points if you can correctly name the countries in charge of the sectors.)

A. 12.  There were four sectors, American, British, French and Soviet.

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Q. 13.  What is the common name of the small piece of data sent from a website and stored in a user’s web browser?

A. 13.  It is called a ‘cookie’.

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Q. 14.  In the well known saying, what do ‘birds of a feather’ do?

A. 14.  They ‘flock together’.

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Q. 15.  What fruit is a cross between a grapefruit, tangerine and orange?

A. 15.  The ‘Ugli fruit’.

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Q. 16.  What is the name for the Eskimo people of Canada?

A. 16.  They are known as ‘Iniut’.

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Q. 17.  We all know to our cost about the recent ‘financial crisis’, but in what year was the infamous ‘Wall Street Crash’ ?

A. 17.  1929.

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Q. 18.  What are the two movies for which Jack Nicholson received the Best Actor Oscar?

A. 18.  They were ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ and ‘As Good As It Gets’.

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Q. 19.  What is ‘blood sausage’ better known as in places like the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand and the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador?

A. 19.  It is better known as ‘Black Pudding’.

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Q. 20.  Who was ‘The Country Girl’ who after ‘High Noon’ went on to ‘Dial M for Murder’ and ‘To Catch a Thief’ before entering ‘High Society’ ?

A. 20.  Grace Kelly.

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The Greeks Can’t Afford To Bear Gifts These Days

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Greek financial crisis

I used to love listening to George W Bush when he talked about the ‘Grecians’. He was an idiot, but unlike some holders of his post I think he secretly knew it.

But, enough of that, let’s concentrate on the Grecians.

Their financial crisis is deepening and they’ve shut down all their banks. They’ve also imposed what are called ‘capital controls’, in other words what you can and cannot do with your own money –  assuming you could get to it in the first place.

Several Western countries, including the US and Britain, have issued travel warnings for Greece. Not a warning about the place being very dangerous, just a warning to have enough cash to be able to pay for things now that the banks are shut and presumably their ATMs as well.

queue at Greek ATM

This recent activity by the Greek government is because of the breakdown of talks between Athens and the European Union concerning the Grecians’ enormous debt that they clearly can’t afford to pay back. EU finance ministers rejected Athens’ request to prolong a financial assistance program.

It is also about a bit of timely government blackmail.

The Greek government has so far been unable to formulate any meaningful plans to curtail their spending significantly. The Greek people likewise have become used to living beyond their means and are reluctant to tighten their belts. The people are blaming the government and the government is blaming the people and nothing is really getting resolved.

So Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, shut the banks and said they would stay shut until July 6, conveniently the day after a nationwide referendum on whether to accept the bailout terms proposed to Greece by its creditors.

Some commentators also think that the banks may have been shut because they don’t have enough cash left. The Greek people think the same and are panicking to get their money out of the banks. Runs on banks inevitably lead to disaster.

As Greece is part of the Euro zone it does not have control of its own monetary system. In other words, unlike America which can simply print more money if and when it needs it, the Grecians have to rely on the European Central Bank giving them cash. and it has refused to give them any more Euros.

That decision could prompt Greece to default which would probably lead to it being kicked out of the Euro zone and possibly out of the EU itself, which would be an historic first and something that would be done very reluctantly.

Greek financial crisis cartoon

The rulers of the EU are in what is known as a ‘tight spot’. If they don’t take a tough line on the Grecians they can be sure other poor countries in the EU will follow suit. If they do take a tough line, then the upheaval will undoubted have an impact on the Euro currency.

A Greek default would also be another kick in the greedy teeth of the big financial institutions who own a good part of the massive €300 billion debt – you see there are positives in every situation if you look hard enough.

So it looks like emergency meetings and frantic discussions all over the place in Europe.

Despite the fact that Dubya is long gone from the political scene, I don’t think we’ve heard the last about the Grecians just yet.

By the way, Happy Independence Day to all my American visitors, bet you’re glad you’re not part of Europe these days.

Happy 4th July USA

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A Mish Mash Quiz Today.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Welcome to today’s quiz on the fasab blog.

Another challenging selection of questions for you.

And if you get stuck you can find the answers waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below, but please NO cheating.

Enjoy and good luck.

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quiz 05

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Q.  1.  M*A*S*H was a famous book, movie and TV series, but what do the letters M A S H stand for?

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Q.  2. Wind transports approximately how many millions of tonnes of dust from the Sahara to the Amazon every year?

          a) 4 million tonnes        b) 40 million tonnes        c) 400 million tonnes

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Q.  3.  What city is known as ‘The City Of Tigers’ ? (HINT: it is not in Asia.)

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Q.  4.  ‘Ring of Bright Water’ is a book about which creatures?

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Q.  5.  This one is the name of a rich fruit cake decorated with almonds, a town in Scotland, and the last name of a comic Australian movie character. What is it?

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Q.  6.  In which country is the legendary city of Timbuktu? (If you have been following the TV series American Odyssey you’ll know this one.)

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Q.  7.  A multi-point question. What currencies are used in the following countries?

           a) USA          b) Britain          c) Japan           d) Europe          e) China

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Q.  8.  What percentage of internet users quit waiting for a video to load after 10 seconds?

            a) 10%         b) 20%         c) 30%         d) 40%         e) 50%          f) 60%

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Q.  9.  What were the first names of the four main characters of the long running and highly successful TV series ‘The Golden Girls’ ? (Bonus points if you can also correctly name the actresses who played them.)

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Q. 10.  In 1929, US Army Air Corps Lieutenant General John MacCready asked Bausch & Lomb, a New York-based medical equipment manufacturer, to create aviation sunglasses that would ban the sun rays and reduce the headaches and nausea experienced by his pilots. What name were they given?

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Q. 11.  “The devil on two sticks” is a former name for which juggling-like game?

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Q. 12.  What are the four largest countries on Earth by area? (A point for each you name correctly and a bonus point if you get them in the correct order, starting with the largest.)

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Q. 13.  What is the painting, ‘La Gioconda’, more usually known as?

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Q. 14.  What is the name of the traditional Irish potato and cabbage dish?

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Q. 15.  What is the name of John Lennon’s widow?

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Q. 16.  With whom is the fictional character ‘Alfred Pennyworth’ associated?

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Q. 17.  Who is the largest American retailer of lingerie?

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Q. 18.  In the Bible what are the names of the first and last books of the New Testament?

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Q. 19.  What was the name of the flamboyant and controversial Australian actor who starred in many movies during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s and played characters like ‘Robin Hood’ and ‘George Custer’?

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Q. 20.  What was the name of the group that Paul McCartney went on to form in 1970 after The Beatles split up?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1.  M*A*S*H was a famous book, movie and TV series, but what do the latters M A S H stand for?

A.  1.  Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.

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Q.  2. Wind transports approximately how many millions of tonnes of dust from the Sahara to the Amazon every year?

          a) 4 million tonnes          b) 40 million tonnes          c) 400 million tonnes

A.  2. The correct answer is b) 40 million tonnes.

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Q.  3.  What city is known as ‘The City Of Tigers’ ? (HINT: it is not in Asia.)

A.  3.  It’s Oslo, Norway. (Apparently because the city was referred to as ‘Tigerstaden’ (the City of Tigers) by the author Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson around 1870, due to his perception of the city as a cold and dangerous place.

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Q.  4.  ‘Ring of Bright Water’ is a book about which creatures?

A.  4.  Otters.

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Q.  5.  This one is the name of a rich fruit cake decorated with almonds, a town in Scotland, and the last name of  a comic Australian movie character. What is it?

A.  5.  It is ‘Dundee’.

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Q.  6.  In which country is the legendary city of Timbuktu? (If you have been following the TV series American Odyssey you’ll know this one.)

A.  6.  Mali, Africa.

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Q.  7.  A multi-point question. What currencies are used in the following countries?

         a) USA       b) Britain       c) Japan       d) Europe       e) China

A.  7.  a) Dollar      b) Pound        c) Yen          d) Euro         e) Yuan Renminbi

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Q.  8.  What percentage of internet users quit waiting for a video to load after 10 seconds?

            a) 10%         b) 20%         c) 30%         d) 40%         e) 50%          f) 60%

A.  8.  The correct answer is e) 50%.

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Q.  9.  What were the first names of the four main characters of the long running and highly successful TV series ‘The Golden Girls’ ? (Bonus points if you can also correctly name the actresses who played them.)

A.  9.  They were Dorothy Zbornak (played by Bea Arthur); Rose Nylund (played by Betty White); Blanche Devereaux (played by Rue McClanahan); and Sophia Petrillo (played by Estelle Getty).

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Q. 10.  In 1929, US Army Air Corps Lieutenant General John MacCready asked Bausch & Lomb, a New York-based medical equipment manufacturer, to create aviation sunglasses that would ban the sun rays and reduce the headaches and nausea experienced by his pilots. What name were they given?

A. 10.  They were called Ray Ban.

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Q. 11.  “The devil on two sticks” is a former name for which juggling-like game?

A. 11.  Diabolo.

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Q. 12.  What are the four largest countries on Earth by area? (A point for each you name correctly and a bonus point if you get them in the correct order, starting with the largest.)

A. 12.  1)  Russia         2)  Canada          3)  United States          4) PR China

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Q. 13.  What is the painting, ‘La Gioconda’, more usually known as?

A. 13.  The Mona Lisa.

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Q. 14.  What is the name of the traditional Irish potato and cabbage dish?

A. 14.  Colcannon.

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Q. 15.  What is the name of John Lennon’s widow?

A. 15.  Yoko Ono.

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Q. 16.  With whom is the fictional character ‘Alfred Pennyworth’ associated?

A. 16.  He is butler to Bruce Wayne, aka Batman.

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Q. 17.  Who is the largest American retailer of lingerie?

A. 17.  Victoria’s Secret.

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Q. 18.  In the Bible what are the names of the first and last books of the New Testament?

A. 18.  They are the book of Matthew and the book of Revelation.

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Q. 19.  What was the name of the flamboyant and controversial Australian actor who starred in many movies during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s and played characters like ‘Robin Hood’ and ‘George Custer’?

A. 19.  He was Errol Flynn.

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Q. 20.  What was the name of the group that Paul McCartney went on to form in 1970 after The Beatles split up?

A. 20.  It was called ‘Wings’, have a taste….

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Handcuffs Explains A Lot – More Fasab Facts!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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You’ll understand the title of this post better in a moment when you read the latest collection of facts from the fasab archives.

A little bit of something for everyone I hope.

Enjoy.

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did you know2

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In Spanish the word

“esposas”

means both

“wives” and “handcuffs”.

That explains a lot.

handcuffs

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NASA was sued by three men from Yemen

for trespassing on Mars.

They claimed that they had inherited

the planet from their ancestors

thousands of years ago.

trespassing on Mars

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The Incas introduced the world to potatoes

via the Spanish conquistadors and

nearly a quarter of Europe’s growth

between the 1700s and the 1900s has been

attributed to the introduction of this crop.

potatoes

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According to scientists, about three quarters

of the species that make Australia home

have yet to be discovered.

wildlife in Australia

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When an unemployed painter named

Richard Lawrence tried to shoot Andrew Jackson,

his gun wouldn’t fire.

The 67 year old president began to

beat his would-be assassin with a cane

during which the assassin pulled out another gun.

This gun also misfired and the

disgruntled painter was dragged away.

Richard Lawrence tried to shoot Andrew Jackson

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There is actually high speed internet access

all the way up Mount Everest.

Everest

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In 2000, Congress passed the

National Moment of Remembrance Act

which requires all Americans to stop

what they are doing at 3pm on Memorial Day

to remember and honor those who have died

serving the United States.

National Moment of Remembrance Act

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At the start of World War I

the US Air Force only had 18 pilots.

A pilot checks his bomb placement after dropping a "flour bomb" during a target competition Sept. 22 at the Dawn Patrol Rendezvous World War I Fly-In on the grounds of the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. Activities included period re-enactors in a war encampment setting, era automobiles on display and participating in a parade, flying exhibitions by WWI radio-controlled aircraft, and a collector's show for WWI items.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt Joshua Strang)

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Rogue planets, also known as interstellar planets,

nomad planets or orphan planets, are

planetary-mass objects that have

broken from their orbits and

travel aimlessly through space.

The closest rogue planet to Earth yet discovered

is around 7 light years away.

Rogue planets

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You can get ice cream in lobster,

squid Ink, and caviar flavors.

lobster ice cream

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At 1,435 meters per second

the speed of sound in water is almost

five times faster than it is in air.

speed of sound in water

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Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones

attributed his popular song

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

to a dream.

He’s said to have recorded the acoustic riffs

just before falling back to sleep.

(The riffs were followed by 40 minutes of him snoring.)

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The Conservatives Win The UK General Election!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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UK General Election 2015

 

Like the last election in the UK, this one was a close run thing – but nowhere near as close as the pollsters predicted. At least this time there is an outright winner, the Conservative Party, with David Cameron still as Prime Minister.

No hung Parliaments, no dodgy coalitions between parties that obviously did not really like each other, and no more general elections for another five years.

Stability is always good.

Indeed the Conservative victory is already being seen as a positive step for the UK economy, with both shares and the pound sterling rising in value.

But during the next five years, although a degree of stability has been achieved, the UK is still in for challenging times economically.

Like the Unites States, the UK has been living well beyond its means for far too long. Eventually these delusions end in harsh reality. America will find this out too, but not until after their election next year.

austerity measures sign

 

At the start of the campaigning there was an unexpected degree of sense in being shown the two main parties. Election messages were warning of the need to cut spending, that Britain was still living beyond its means, and that there would be ‘difficult’ choices ahead.

However, as the election campaign progressed and the pollsters warned how tight the result was likely to be, all the political parties regressed into doing what they do best, regardless of what country they are in. In their desperation to get votes they ignored reality once again, started hiding the truth from their voters, and promised more goodies that the country can’t afford.

You know the sort of thing, better education, better health service, more jobs, etc., and to pay for it all less taxes.

Huh?

Yes, elections are full of ‘spend more and collect less’ promises.

In the non-political world we call them lies, because that’s what they are.

The smaller parties never suffered from the same restraints. Even from the beginning of their campaigns small parties like the Scottish SNP promised massive spending. They knew they would never be in a position to have to follow through on these boasts, but their message got out and, as always happens, many voters fell for it. The Scottish National Party (SNP) had a landslide victory in Scotland, winning 56 of the 59 seats – and all they promised was extra £180 billion ($280 billion) more spending over the next five years.

The two main parties soon countered with their own promises – the Conservatives talking about things like 30 hours of free child care a week for parents of 3 & 4-year-olds, no tax for people earning the minimum wage, an extra £8 billion (US$12 billion) for the National Health Service, free access to a doctor seven days a week, and a freeze rail ticket price increases for five years.

debt

 

On the face of it, the past five years have seen the UK economy growing, unemployment down below 6% and a booming housing market, particularly in the South East of the country. All part of the reason why the Conservatives have their victory.

But, returning to reality for a moment, Britain is now in the most debt it has been in, relative to its economy, since 1967. The financial crisis hit the UK hard. From 2009 to date, British government borrowing has been at a higher level than at any time since World War II.

The scariest part is that, whilst the governments all talked about “cuts” and “austerity”, not a penny of this money has been paid back.

And like American politicians, and others, they use deliberate deceit to cover their lack of progress. Well-worn phrases like “cutting the deficit” are designed to make people think that the government is paying back its debt, but in fact all that has been happening is that they have been borrowing a little less money this year than they did the year before.

If you are any good at math at all, you will know that in reality this means that the debt burden is increasing, not decreasing. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that Britain would, in all probability, not even begin to pay back its debts until sometime after 2020 – and that was even before all these new election promised of spending more!

eu referendum in uk

 

In addition to all that, one of the fundamental platforms that helped the Conservative Party to get elected was the promise of a referendum on Britain’s continued membership of the European Union. The result of that will have its own impact economically too.

Personally if I were them I’d drop the EU like a hot poker. For more than forty years Britain has been paying more into Europe than they have got out, a situation that is likely to continue as rafts of the poorer European nations continue to join.

So the next five years are shaping up to be very interesting for both Britain and America.

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