Judging by recent statements out of Russian media, the Kremlin has been closely monitoring just where the Pentagon intends to send the some 12,000 troops ordered to permanently depart Germany, after the Trump administration slammed Berlin for not shouldering its fair share of NATO defense spending.
While its believed the majority will be returning home, with a little less than half to return be redeployed around Europe, on Friday Poland indicated some will be deployed right near Russia’s doorstep. As the Defense Postreported:
Washington will deploy at least 1,000 soldiers in Poland and oversee forces on NATO’s eastern flank, Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said Friday after the US announced a massive troop pullout from Germany.
Blaszczak told a Polish public radio broadcaster, “At least 1,000 new soldiers will be deployed in our country,”
“We will have an American command in Poland. This command will manage the troops deployed along NATO’s eastern flank,” he said.
“It will be the most important center for ground forces in our region,” he said. “We will soon sign the final pact with the Americans.” The Trump administration has long been in negotiations as part of an ongoing deal with Warsaw which cements closer defense ties, something which has riled Moscow.
Further angering the Kremlin is that Secretary of Defense Mark Esper last week said the Germany withdrawal will reinforce NATO’s south-eastern flank near the Black Sea, due to the redistribution of American forces. It’s expected that many could go to Baltic countries as well as Italy.
Meanwhile, last month it was reported that the Polish proposal to rename a base “Fort Trump” — which would host US troops in the East European country - has crumbled over disagreements over funding and precisely where the soldiers would be garrisoned.
Workers at a popular safari park are on edge after baboons were spotted wielding tools like knives, screwdrivers, and even a chainsaw. And to make matters worse, the primates are having a blast using the tools to terrorize visitors’ cars.
The baboons at Knowsley Safari Park in Merseyside, England, have long enjoyed the ignominious reputation of being extremely destructive mischief-makers who were previously infamous for nabbing objects from the cars of visitors, including side-view mirrors and windshield wipers.
One mechanic in nearby Sale said that he’s had two customers this year alone who needed work done after the monkeys went to town on their cars.
“The kids start chirping up saying they want monkeys all over the car, and the next thing you know, you’re driving home with no registration plate,” the mechanic said.
However, some local workers worry that the creatures are possibly being given the weapons and power-tools “for a laugh” by equally mischievous park-goers, reports the Sunday Times.
“We’re not sure if they are being given weapons by some of the guests who want to see them attack cars, or if they’re fishing them out of pick-up trucks and vans,” one worker said.
Given the primates’ history of thievery, it would make sense that the baboons themselves are taing it upon themselves to find goods hidden in toolboxes scattered across the 550-acre safari park.
“One of the baboons was seen lugging around a chainsaw,”the worker added.
However, given the frequency with which the baboons have been sighted walking about with knives or screwdrivers in-hand, suspicion has been raised about how they are suddenly so well-supplied to wreak havoc.
“The baboons have been found with knives and screwdrivers. I do wonder if it’s some of the guests handing them out,”a source told Daily Record.
The safari park, which hosts a range of individual creatures including rhinos, lions and tigers, reopened last month after being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Aquariums and other zoos were also given the green light by the U.K. government to resume operations following the lockdown.
On the park’s website, potential visitors are assured that while proper public health measures are in place and people are restricted to their cars, a similar guarantee can’t be made about the problems caused by the baboobs.
“If you take a drive through our Baboon Jungle, we’re unable to return any car parts that our cheeky baboons may take,” the website noted, adding that a “car friendly route” is also an option.
Managers at the safari park are skeptical about whether the tales of knife-wielding baboons stalking park grounds is true, shrugging it off as an urban myth.
“We believe many of these stories have grown in exaggeration as they’ve been retold, with embellishment to make the objects that are sometimes found in the enclosure seem more exciting and unbelievable,” the park said.
France Remains The World’s Most Nuclear-Dependent NationTyler DurdenMon, 08/03/2020 — 02:45
France is getting greener.
A series of measures have been announced aimed at making the economy more environmentally friendly such as a ban on outdoor heaters at bars and restaurants, more efficient domestic heating systems and two regional parks. Most importantly though, as Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes, the country has set a goal to reduce nuclear’s share of electricity generation from its current 70 percent to 50 percent by 2035.
The change in direction comes amid the controversial construction of the Flamanville EPR nuclear reactor by state-utility EDF which is more than a decade over schedule and is expected to cost €12.4 billion compared to an initial budget of €3.5 billion. It is finally expected to start operation in 2023. France also appointed former green politician and nuclear critic Barbara Pompili minister for the environment earlier this month.
It operated 58 reactors last year, second only to the United States’ 97, and they accounted for 71.7 percent of total electricity generation. The U.S. reactors had a 19.3 percent share of total electricity generation.
After France, the countries most reliant on nuclear power are all concentrated in Eastern Europe. Reactors generate between 50 and 55 percent of all electricity in Slovakia, Ukraine and Hungary. Sweden is also high up on the list with just over 40 percent, with Belgium (39 percent) and Switzerland (37.7 percent) close behind.