News from a World gone mad

yet there is still so much beauty


February 13, 2016

Switzerland’s Base Income Vote Turns Finance Reform Into a Democratic Spectacle

Swiss Parliament

Swiss citizens will decide whether they should receive over $2,500 a month for being Swiss.

Americans are so intensely and intimately familiar with the virtues and vices of representative democracy, it’s easy for us to forget that democracy has alternative forms. Switzerland is about to give us a valuable reminder. As U.S. presidential candidates regurgitate stump speeches in the lead up to Super Tuesday, the citizens of Europe’s famously neutral mountain kingdom will put the idea of basic income to a vote. The Swiss are having a referendum on whether they should be paid for being Swiss.

Unconditional base income is an idea that has gained some traction in more affluent countries. The essential notion is that a government supported by tax payers should be able to guarantee those taxpayers a specific annual allotment and that this will bolster or stabilize an economy. It’s a policy that would be nearly impossible to implement stateside because of the two-party system, but conceivable in Switzerland where politics can be, in a sense, circumvented in the name of democracy.

Only 27 states in the U.S. make allowances for direct democracy, but a number of federal referendums have taken place in Switzerland since it became a modern state in 1848. In 2014 alone, Switzerland held 14 different referendums on the topics of abortion, immigration, and the rail network. The income vote will come on June 5 and, rest assured, the whole world — well, all the economists anyway — will be watching.

full article at:inverse









Charming Bears And Fair Princesses. Fairy Tales Brought To Life Through Stunning Photography.

When was the last time you needed professional animal trainers for your photography? Meet Russian photographer Katerina Plotnikova. Katerina had a vision of contrasting fierce wildlife with angelic women in vintage princess-like dresses. From bears to snakes to tigers… we can’t even begin to imagine the challenges she must have faced during this shoot.  As you can see below, the results are absolutely worth it. Her work is visually stunning, full of emotion, and evocative of a world straight out of a fairy tale.

ful story and more stunning picture at:MestaSpoon













Teen girl sent by Boko Haram rips off suicide vest, refuses to bomb refugee camp

Girl was among thousands held captive for months by extremist group, local government official says

The Associated Press Posted: Feb 12, 2016 8:38 AM ET Last Updated: Feb 12, 2016 8:38 AM ET

Rescue workers transport a victim of a Boko Haram suicide bomb attack at a refugee camp in Nigeria earlier this week. One teenage girl sent by the extremist group to attack the camp ripped off her suicide vest and ran away.

Rescue workers transport a victim of a Boko Haram suicide bomb attack at a refugee camp in Nigeria earlier this week. One teenage girl sent by the extremist group to attack the camp ripped off her suicide vest and ran away. (Jossy Ola/Associated Press)

Strapped with a booby-trapped vest and sent by the extremist Boko Haram group to kill as many people as possible, a young teenage girl tore off the explosives and fled as soon as she was out of sight of her handlers.

Her two companions, however, completed their grisly mission earlier this week and walked into a crowd of hundreds at Dikwa refugee camp in northeast Nigeria and blew themselves up, killing 58 people.

Later found by local self-defence forces, the girl’s tearful account is one of the first indications that at least some of the child bombers used by Boko Haram are aware that they are about to die and kill others.

“She said she was scared because she knew she would kill people. But she was also frightened of going against the instructions of the men who brought her to the camp,” said Modu Awami, a self-defence fighter who helped question the girl.

full story :CBCNEWS

Saudi Arabia official: If all else fails, remove Syria’s Assad by force

Will Saudi Arabia send ground troops to Syria? 01:06

Story highlights

  • “I believe Bashar al-Assad is weak,” Saudi foreign minister says
  • Saudi Arabia will send ground troops to fight in Syria, but only as part of a U.S.-led coalition

Part two of Amanpour’s interview with the Saudi foreign minister, on the war in Yemen and human rights in Saudi Arabia, airs next week.

Munich, Germany (CNN)Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister says if the Syrian political process fails, President Bashar al-Assad will have to be removed “by force.”

“I believe Bashar al-Assad is weak and I believe Bashar al-Assad is finished,” Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview in Munich, Germany.

Saudi Arabia is prepared to contribute ground troops to the fight in Syria, but only as part of a U.S.-led coalition, he said.

“Bashar al-Assad will leave — have no doubt about it. He will either leave by a political process or he will be removed by force.”

“We will push as much as we can to ensure that the political process works. But if it doesn’t work, it will be because of the obstinance of the Syrian regime and that of its allies.”

“And should that prove to be the case, then it becomes clear that there is no option to remove Bashar al-Assad except by force.”

No time for celebrations

The political process has been in doubt, especially of late. U.N.-brokered talks were put on ice almost as soon as they started this month.

Hopes were buoyed here in Munich after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced an agreement that would, in theory, lead to a pause of sieges to allow humanitarian aid delivery, and an eventually de-escalation of hostilities.

Jubeir called the deal “very important.”

But U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson told Amanpour the time for celebration had not yet arrived.

Only after the deal is implemented, Eliasson said, will the U.N. be able to think about restarting peace talks. He emphasized that, though he was hopeful about the deal’s prospects, it was not yet a breakthrough, and he needed to see progress within a week to believe in the deal’s robustness.

full story at CNN








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