BREAKING: ‘Explosive Device’ Goes Off in Germany City 

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BERLIN –  An “explosive device” blew up in the center of the Bavarian city of Ansbach, killing one person and injuring 11 others, the city’s mayor told local media early Monday.

Mayor Carda Seidel was quoted by Munich’s Focus magazine as saying that the explosion late Sunday night was near the entrance to an open-air music festival.

The website for a group of local newspapers, nordbayern.de, reported that Seidel said it was not yet clear if it was an attack.

German police told the dpa news agency earlier that the explosion was outside a cafe in Ansbach, which is near Nuermberg.

Ansbach police could not immediately be reached for comment. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Lured to Their Slaughter’: The Sunday People Cover for Sunday, July 24, 2016

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Munich Shooter: 18-year-old German-Iranian

MUNICH — A gunman carried out a shooting rampage Friday in a busy shopping area of Munich, killing at least nine people and wounding several others in an act of “suspected terrorism” before he committed suicide, police said early Saturday.

The rampage prompted authorities to lock down the southern German city and launch a massive manhunt for suspected perpetrators. Police later determined that the attack at Munich’s Olympia shopping complex was apparently carried out by a lone gunman and that he committed suicide about half a mile away.

[Map: Where the Munich mall shooting happened View Graphic ]

There were no immediate details about the victims of what a police spokesman said “looks like a terrorist attack.” The Associated Press quoted Munich police spokesman Peter Beck as saying 10 people were killed in total, including the shooter.

In the absence of information about the identities of the dead and injured, about 50 family members of various ethnic backgrounds gathered at a Munich sports hall early Saturday to await official word on the fate of missing loved ones.

Much of the city was placed on lockdown as police conducted their manhunt. Despite initial reports of multiple attack sites, police could not confirm attacks in any other locations besides the shopping area.

Officials did not immediately specify how the attack unfolded or describe the full scope of the bloodshed at the Olympia mall.

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But a senior security official told The Washington Post that four people were killed inside a McDonald’s restaurant and one was fatally shot outside. The official said another victim died at a hospital.

The initial investigation was pointing “in all directions,” police spokesman Marcus de Gloria Martins told reporters in Munich.

German officials said investigators were looking into the possibility that the attack might have been motivated by anti-immigrant sentiments, as well as the prospect that Islamist extremism was behind it. Language against foreigners can be heard on a recording from the scene of the shooting, but it was not immediately clear who was speaking. A German television station said a witness told a colleague that the shooter shouted “Bloody foreigners!” at the scene of the McDonald’s attack. There was no immediate confirmation of that account.

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German news media reported that police found a body, possibly that of the McDonald’s shooter, about a half mile from the scene and were checking a backpack for explosives.

Hours after the attack, Martins said police were still assuming that “up to three perpetrators” were involved. “We’re definitely not assuming that it’s more than three, but it might also be that it’s fewer than that,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] President Faily McWorsethancarter Cracks Jokes During Munich Press Conference 

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As news reports of a gun massacre in Munich crossed the Atlantic Ocean on Friday, the President of the United States was cracking jokes.

Barack Obama delivered a brief update to reporters at the White House about the still-unfolding shooting rampage that left the German city on lockdown.

Eight are confirmed dead, and 10 injured.

The president was speaking to law enforcement agents at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, adjacent to the White House.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Shots Fired at a Munich Shopping Center with Police Investigation Underway 

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A major police operation is ongoing in Munich, around the city’s Olympic Park, with German media reporting ‘multiple deaths’.

People were seen running from the shopping mall to get away.

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Munich is in lockdown tonight as at least five people have been killed and 10 injured in a shooting rampage involving three gunmen.

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3682B31400000578-3703705-image-a-65_1469210326274A huge manhunt has been launched across the city, including snipers in helicopters, to catch the gunmen who are still on the loose.

Terrified shoppers were seen running for their lives from the Munich Olympia Shopping Centre, in the district of Moosach, after hearing gunshots.

Witnesses said that the gunman screamed ‘I’m German’ and ‘f*** foreigners’ before shooting.

A video purporting to show the shooter, dressed in black, firing 20 shots has been posted on Twitter. The footage shows him outside a McDonald’s directly outside the shopping centre.

In unverified footage, a man with dark hair, wearing a black t-shirt and denim trousers, appears to take aim at people outside a McDonald’s restaurant near the Olympia-Einkaufszentrum metro station.

He raises his arms, apparently holding a shotgun, and appears to fire at people outside the restaurant, who can be seen running for cover. Read the rest of this entry »


Matisse Painting Looted by Nazis Returned to Jewish Art Dealer’s Heirs

HANDOUT - A handout picture provided by Wolf Heider-Sawall/Art Recovery Group/dpa shows the representative of the Rosenberg family, Christopher Marinello, who receives the painting 'Seated Woman' by Henri Matisse on behalf of the family in Munich, Germany, 15 May 2015. The painting is one of the most famous works of the controversial art collection of Cornelius Gurlitt. (ATTENTION: Editorial use only. Mandatory credit: Wolf Heider-Sawall/Art Recovery Group/dpa) Photo by: Wolf Heider-Sawall/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

A valuable piece of modern art is finally being returned to the heirs of an art dealer who fled the Nazis.

“The pieces had been stashed in the apartment because Gurlitt’s father, an art dealer named Hildebrand Gurlitt, had helped broker deals between Nazis who traded modern art—works Nazis derisively called ‘degenerate art.’”

The artwork, Matisse’s Seated Woman,was eventually intercepted by German authorities in 2010 after they stopped an elderly man, Cornelius Gurlitt, on a train from Zurich to Munich for carrying a large amount of money on him, NPR reports. They then inspected his apartment, where they found more than 1,000 works by artists including Chagall, Degas and Renoir, worth an estimated $1 billion.

The pieces had been stashed in the apartment because Gurlitt’s father, an art dealer named Hildebrand Gurlitt, had helped broker deals between Nazis who traded modern art—works Nazis derisively called “degenerate art.” Read the rest of this entry »


Dawn of a Robot Revolution as Army of Machines Escape the Factory

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For FT.comChris Bryant writes: Cleaning the Sydney Harbour Bridge used to be a dangerous, dirty and laborious job. As soon as a team of workers, operating a sandblaster, reached one end of the iconic structure they had to start again to keep 485,000 square metres of steel pristine.

“Ten years ago it took five minutes for a robot just to recognise the object in front of it was a table…”

Now two robots called Rosie and Sandy, built by SABRE Autonomous Solutions, blast away paint and corrosion all day long without a break. They determine which area needs most attention via a laser scan and move about on rails.

Agility: rapid advances in technology, including machine vision, tactile sensors and autonomous navigation, make today’s robots, such as this model from DLR, increasingly useful

Agility: rapid advances in technology, including machine vision, tactile sensors and autonomous navigation, make today’s robots, such as this model from DLR, increasingly useful

“A sand blaster can slice through flesh. Automating jobs like that is a good thing, it helps improve the quality of human work,” says Roko Tschakarow, head of the Mobile Gripper Systems Division at Schunk, which supplies the lightweight robot arm for the Sydney robots.

“Many aspects of robotics are now reaching a critical mass . . . service robotics is coming.”

— Alin Albu-Schaeffer

Rosie and Sandy are at the forefront of a wave of new autonomous robots that have broken out of the factory and could be coming to your workplace soon.

Coming online: some 95,000 new professional service robots, worth some $17.1bn, are set to be installed for professional use between 2013 and 2015

Coming online: some 95,000 new professional service robots, worth some $17.1bn, are set to be installed for professional use between 2013 and 2015

At the Automatica robot and automation fair in Munich this week the organisers devoted a whole section to so-called “service robots” for the first time.

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for manufacturing, engineering and automation demonstrated a Care-O-Bot that sweeps office floors and empties waste paper bins. Pal Robotics showed Stockbot, which walks the aisles in a shop or warehouse to check inventory at night.

Efficient worker: Pal Robotics models on show at the Automatica expo. Some of the group’s models are designed to walk shop or warehouse aisles to check inventory at night

Efficient worker: Pal Robotics models on show at the Automatica expo. Some of the group’s models are designed to walk shop or warehouse aisles to check inventory at night

Oppent’s autonomous vehicles ferry laundry or waste around hospitals, YaskawaMotoman’s dual arm robot prepares laboratory samples and OC Robotics, a Bristol-based company, supplies snake-arm robots to inspect hazardous or confined spaces such as nuclear power plants and inside aircraft wings.

Compared to the size of the industrial robotics market, service robot applications are still somewhat niche. Robot researchers are also wary of overpromising after several false technological dawns in the past. Read the rest of this entry »


The Dead’s Envy for the Living

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Dying civilizations are the most dangerous, and Iran is dying

Dying civilizations are the most dangerous, and Iran is dyingMany commentators, most eloquently Bret Stephens at the Wall Street Journal, draw a parallel between the appeasement of Hitler at Munich in 1938 and the appeasement of Iran at Geneva. There is another, more chilling parallel: Iran’s motive for proposing to annihilate the Jewish State is the same as Hitler’s, and the world’s indifference to the prospect of another Holocaust is no different today than it was in 1938. It is the dead’s envy for the living.

Dying civilizations are the most dangerous, and Iran is dying. Its total fertility rate probably stands at just 1.6 children per female, the same level as Western Europe, a catastrophic decline from 7 children per female in the early 1980s. Iran’s present youth bulge will turn into an elderly dependent problem worse than Europe’s in the next generation and the country will collapse. That is why war is likely, if not entirely inevitable.

Read the rest of this entry »


Tuesday News Dump

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Ben K – Ace of Spades HQ


Munich II

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James Jay Carafano writes: No, that’s not a facile, partisan jab. What just went down in Geneva is, in fact, a replay of the greatest diplomatic tragedy of the 20th century.

The Munich deal rested on the ridiculous notion that Hitler could be satiated. The new pact builds on the equally ludicrous idea that Iran would give up the means to build a nuclear weapon that will serve as the tip of its foreign-policy spear.

The saddest part of this negotiated fiasco is that everyone agrees why Iran came to the bargaining table. The sanctions worked; the mullahs had run out of cash, and Tehran determined that the easiest way to get the funds flowing was to get the West to back off.

This is where the realists and the idealists part company. Realists knew that the sanctions were good for only one purpose: to weaken the regime to the point where it would collapse or be overthrown.  They crossed their fingers, hoping that would happen before Tehran got a nuke it could turn on the West. Regime change remains the only realistic option to bombing or bearing the danger of living with a nuclear-armed Iran.

Read the rest of this entry »


First glimpse of newly uncovered, Nazi looted art collection released on German website

The Austrian home of German Cornelius Gurlitt in Salzburg, Austria, on Nov. 11, 2013. The German government said some 590 artworks discovered in Gurlitt's Munich apartment may have been looted by the Nazis from Jewish collections.

The Austrian home of German Cornelius Gurlitt in Salzburg, Austria, on Nov. 11, 2013. The German government said some 590 artworks discovered in Gurlitt’s Munich apartment may have been looted by the Nazis from Jewish collections.

Josie Le Blond in Berlin and Damien McElroy report:  The German government has bowed to international pressure and begun publishing an online list of works from a huge art trove found in a Munich flat.

Twenty-five of the 1,406 paintings discovered in Cornelius Gurlitt’s home will be displayed on a website created to help establish the provenance of works seized by the Nazis, following calls from Jewish groups and art experts.

The government has been heavily criticised for keeping silent for 21 months about the cache – thought to be worth up to $1.4 billion – notably by families whose relatives were robbed by the Nazis.

Mr Gurlitt has been seen in public for the first time since the discovery was made public two weeks ago.

Handout photos made available by German prosecutors on the German Federal official website www.lostart.de shows 25 paintings found in a Munich apartment. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

Handout photos made available by German prosecutors on the German Federal official website http://www.lostart.de shows 25 paintings found in a Munich apartment. CLICK TO ENLARGE. http://www.lostart.de/AFP/Getty Images

The 80-year-old collector, who has been in hiding, was spotted in a winter coat and scarf as he wandered around a Munich shopping centre.

He was reported Tuesday to have written to the news magazine Der Spiegel asking that his name never appear again on its pages.

Read the rest of this entry »


Van Gogh expert sheds new light on lost sunflower paintings

Van Gogh: Six Sunflowers, 1888, oil on canvas. Photograph: Mushakoji Saneatsu Memorial Museum

Six Sunflowers, 1888, oil on canvas. Photograph: Mushakoji Saneatsu Memorial Museum

 writes: One day in Arles in August 1888, Van Gogh was planning to paint from life. But the models he had hired failed to show up, and a harsh, hot mistral was blowing, making conditions for painting outdoors unbearable.

So he improvised: he took bunches of Provençal sunflowers, then at their golden-blooming best, and arranged them in locally made, half-glazed earthenware pots. He started work on Monday morning and by Saturday he had made four sunflower pictures. Read the rest of this entry »


Video: “Mr. Secretary, would you please explain what an ‘incredibly small’ strike is?”


From The Greenroom:

“Compared to Iraq, Kosovo, Libya, it’s small — it is not any of those things,” the secretary said at the House Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday morning. “That doesn’t mean it would be anything less than what I’ve suggested previously, and the military has suggested, that Assad will know — we don’t do pin pricks.”

Of course, this was still in the “Syria is Munich all over again!” paradigm. We’re now in the “What’s Munich again?” paradigm. Try to keep up, all you Winstons out there.