Poster appeal launched to find remaining Nazi war criminals


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The Simon Wiesenthal Centre launched a poster campaign in several German cities appealing for help in tracking down the last surviving Nazi war criminals not yet brought to justice, and promising compensation to those who provide useful information.

About 2,000 posters depicting the entrance gate of Auschwitz were put up in Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne asking the public to come forward with information that may lead to the arrest of Nazis some seven decades after the end of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.

“Unfortunately, very few people who committed the crimes had to pay for them,” said Efraim Zuroff, the US-based Jewish centre’s top Nazi hunter. “The passage of time in no way diminishes the crimes…”

Underneath the black-and-white picture of the death camp on the poster, the following words are emblazoned in German on a blaring red background: “Late, but not too late. Millions of innocents were murdered by Nazi war criminals. Some of the perpetrators are free and alive! Help us take them to court.”

A reward of €5,000 will be paid for information upon indictment of a suspect, €5,000 upon conviction, and a further €100 a day spent in prison – up to 150 days – for a total of €25,000, Zuroff said.

Zuroff, who is the director of the centre’s Israel office, estimated there were still about 60 people alive in Germany fit to stand trial for the crimes they allegedly committed. They are suspected of serving as guards at Nazi death camps or being members of death squads responsible for mass killings, particularly early in the war before the death camps were established.

Overdue. But, then, you already know that. So do a bunch of hypocrites in Washington and London who collaborated with keeping many of these thugs free at the end of World war 2.

Pic of the Day

xi-jinping-in-the-rain

China’s president was making an unannounced trip to visit a construction site. American journalists say this has provoked a furor of discussion in China over national leaders behaving like ordinary folk. I don’t doubt the discussion has happened. But, ascribing some new qualitative level to either the act or the discussion is hogwash.

Nothing new. Part of the “amazement” fits the ongoing Cold War attitude towards China and the Chinese nation. Part fits American xenophobia. Part reflects – unfortunately – how little coverage is ever found in the media of the United States about one of the largest economies in the world. One of our biggest trading partners.

I’m a news junkie. So, I see many news sources every day from around the world, around Asia, around Europe. They’re all accessible here in the States – either on the Web or on TV from DirecTV or channels on my AppleTV [again from the Web]. Most Americans have the same access – and don’t take the time to look and see much of the world around us.

As self-limiting as our pundits and politicians would ever wish us to be.

So, he rolled up his pants cuffs, grabbed an umbrella, and carried on with his walkabout at the job site. His wife probably gave him hell when he got home for looking so untidy.

France’s next miracle beauty cure – snail slime?

The French have long appreciated snails on a plate with butter and garlic. But one rural snail farmer believes the humble molluscs have more to offer alive than dead.

Louis-Marie Guedon says the mucus secreted by snails are full of collagen, glycolic acid, antibiotics and other compounds that regenerate skin cells and heal cuts.

Guedon, from Champagnolles in the west-central region of Charente-Maritime, believes it could presage a cosmetic revolution and has developed a secret technique to harvest the slime.

He is busy turning the innovation into France’s first industrial-scale snail mucus extraction operation with a target to harvest 15 tonnes of it next year…

He has secured three supply contracts with local cosmetics labs and a Paris company that mixes cosmetics for some of the biggest names in consumer beauty products.

“This client has already ordered three tons of slime,” Guedon said…

Snail mucus has already cropped up in beauty products sold in Asia and South America, but has yet to catch on in Europe. For the truly adventurous, a spa in Tokyo offers facials using real live snails.

Let me be clear on two sides of the questions raised here:

I have little confidence in the testing performed by cosmetics companies to validate their claims of endless beauty, eternal youth.

OTOH, I truly enjoy just about any kind of snail from the landlubbers mentioned in the first paragraph – with butter and garlic, perhaps an added touch of extra-virgin olive oil – to scungilli, sea snails in a traditional tomato sauce.

Why does Goldman Sachs own a coal mine in Colombia?


Reuters/Brendan McDermid

In 1913, Congress determined that a cabal of Wall Street bankers had captured control over the US economy. Having bought up large shares of railroads, utilities, and manufacturers, these titans of finance had acquired the power to pick whether a business thrived or failed, and could effectively direct the nation’s commerce. “[I]t is fraught with peril to the welfare of the country,” wrote the Pujo Committee, the investigating body.

In the century since, banks have mostly been prohibited from direct involvement in non-banking activities—transporting and storing goods, for example, or running commercial businesses. But today, a handful of banks are back in the game of real stuff and services. Goldman Sachs, for example, owns a coal mine in Colombia and a giant metals warehouse in Detroit. Morgan Stanley owns and operates electric power plants outside Reno and delivers cargoes of liquefied natural gas to Argentina.

This fall, the Federal Reserve will decide whether to allow these two banks to continue owning and operating these businesses. Experts say that if Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley get their way, the result could vastly expand the reach and influence of the entire banking industry—even as lawmakers hustle for ways to rein in these same giants.

The banks stand to gain the most rights in markets for essential commodities, like oil, gas, metals and electricity. Over the last decade, the Fed has allowed a handful of commercial banks to directly enter these industries, largely through circuitous back road legal processes. Its decision in this instance could open a highway for everyone.

“This would concentrate even more power among a few,” said Saule Omarova, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law and author of “The Merchants of Wall Street,” a seminal paper on the legal and policy implications of banks’ physical operations. “What we have here is essentially the same story as J.P. Morgan controlling railroads and infrastructure in the early 20th century—it’s just a different level of sophistication…”

The only provision of Dodd-Frank, the financial reform bill Congress passed in 2010, that would stop banks from running commodity businesses is the Volcker Rule, which forbids banks from betting with their own money. Regulators are still finalizing the rule, but the latest version would not affect these activities. A legislative aide who worked on the rule said lawmakers would have addressed the issue had they known the extent of banks’ physical operations.

Omarova says the Fed can act in the public’s interest, if it chooses. The Fed “does not need to meet an especially high burden of proof to order the banks to get out of physical commodities,” she said. “The question is, will the Fed exercise that power? Who is setting the terms of the conversation at the Fed? The public has no idea.”

And Congress hasn’t a clue.

We are a nation willing to leave the “people in charge” to continue whatever it is they do. Polls determine that Congress has a lower reputation than a boil on your dog’s butt. We know the average American refuses to accept our president’s determination that security is more important than privacy.

Isn’t it about time to throw the bums out if they don’t change their ways?