Saturday, May 28, 2016

Arrival of Archbishop Irenaios of Crete on Santorini

His Eminence Archbishop Irenaios of Crete arrived on the Greek island of Santorini on 27 May 2016.You may view an exceptional video of the event on Twitter @Businessblogger.
The Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church will take place at the Orthodox Academy of Crete in Chania from 19-27 June.Crete is under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,not the Church of Greece.The much admired Archbishop Irenaios has been selected as a member of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's delegation to the Council.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Tonight's music videos

Tonight's music videos are available on Twitter @Businessblogger.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Major Orthodox Theological Institute Supports Holy and Great Council - resolution passed

Following discussions held at its Assembly held on 18 May,2016,the School of Pastoral and Social Theology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki,Greece,issued a resolution saluting the decision to convene the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church on the Feast of Penetecost (18-27 June,2016),now less than a month away,at the Orthodox Academy of Crete,Kolymbari,Chania,Crete,and praying for the fruition of its works.
The School goes on to say:
after an interlude of several centuries,the Synodical Institution is being restored,on a Pan-Orthodox level,by the "dutiful responsibility" of the Ecumenical Patriarchate as the presiding Church and in cooperation with all other Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches,especially their Primates.This event fills all with joy and hope,with regard to the witness of Orthodoxy in the contemporary world.*
The School then notes the following:
1.By the convocation of the Council the unity of the Orthodox Church is affirmed and,in great measure,insularity is overcome,which over the last few centuries,principally on account of ethno-phyletism,threatened ecclesiastical unity and troubled the Orthodox Church.
2.Thus,a response is offered to the accusation that the Orthodox Church is unable to function synodically on a Pan-Orthodox level and that the Synodical Institution,this fundamental ecclesiological principle,has in some way been debilitated over the last few centuries,a claim that is inaccurate.
3.The local Orthodox Churches are proceeding with decisiveness towards greater Pan-Orthodox cooperation in order to contend with lasting pastoral,social,canonical problems,such as that of the Orthodox Diaspora,marriage,and other issues noted in inter-Orthodox and inter-Church deliberation.As it stands before these new challenges,which in many ways are currently putting ecclesiastical discourse to the test,it is of utmost necessity for the primary,Pan-Orthodox,synodical instrument to make responsible decisions.
4.Inasmuch as the Orthodox flock has,at present,spread throughout the world,proper pastoral concern must be expressed through innovative and appropriate synodical decisions.The competent pastors of the Church cannot remain indifferent to these new problems,structures and challenges (ethics,bioethics).
5.Hence,with the Holy and Great Council,a new beginning is inaugurated,which we hope and pray will continue.Moreover,His All-Holiness,the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew,himself publicly announced as much at the last Synaxis of Primates.For many decades,from the beginning of the twentieth century until today,the expression of the Synodical Institution,as both a theological principle and ecclesiastical practice,has been renewed.
We as responsible academics,are all obligated to assist the Church in her work because this is precisely how we express theology,not only as an academic vocation,but as ministry (diakonia) to the living ecclesiastical community,as it is implied and elucidated in the contemporary world.
With greetings in the Risen Christ,we pray for the success of the Council.
On behalf of the Faculty Assembly of the School of Pastoral and Social Theology,
The President
Professor Konstantinos P. Chrestou

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Orthodox Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria Theodoros II serves Vespers in Cairo,Egypt

Exercise Eager Lion 2016 USAF B-52H flyover show of force

Exercise Eager Lion 2016 - Jordanian Armed Forces Air Assault Operation – Black Hawk Helicopters

Exercise Eager Lion - Zarqa, Jordan (May 16, 2016) - US,Jordan

Exercise Eager Lion 2016: Air Assault Course - US,Jordan

US,Jordan Prepare for Regional Crisis with Desert Drills

As part of the annual US Central Command-Jordanian Exercise Eager Lion,US and Jordanian Marines,as well as Italian soldiers,trained in the Jordanian desert last week.Jordan has been the most active Middle Eastern member of the anti-ISIL Operation Inherent Resolve.Last year,its pilots flew more missions against ISIL in Iraq and Syria than all the other Middle Eastern members combined,so it is evident why these bilateral military drills are so critical to both countries.They believe they must be able to respond effectively to a regional security crisis together.*
Every other year,Eager Lion is open to substantial multilateral participation.In 2015,19 countries participated;and even more are anticipated next year.*
On 18 May,the troops,who are Joint Tactical Air Controllers and Joint Forward Observers,assembled on a desert hilltop under the scenario of gathering data to provide to aircraft and artillery,so that 30,000 pounds of explosives could be dropped on an enemy column of armoured vehicles preparatory to an infantry assault.*
The US Marine JTACs from Kilo Company,Battalion Landing Team,3rd Battalion 6th Marine Regiment,24th Marine Expeditionary Unit,trained with their allies for two weeks to gain familiarity with each others' tactics and procedures.These Fire Support Teams,or FiSTs,mitigate the enemy advantages by directing fire from artillery,naval guns and aircraft.They shape the battlefield,destroying and neutralising targets so the ground unit can move,said 1st Lieutenant Bryan C. McDonald,Fire Support Officer with Kilo Company.He praised his Jordanian and Italian allies as being efficient.*
In this case,the fire support came from 2 US Air Force B-52H Stratofortress strategic bombers and AH-64 Apache helicopters,along with 2 sections of Royal Jordanian F-16s and AH-1 Cobras,besides mortars.The mortars were used first.
The FiST marks targets with ground-based lasers,infrared lasers or smoke rounds so aircraft can identify them easily.*
Exercise Eager Lion 2016 ran from 15-24 May.The scenarios simulated a coordinated,partnered military response to conventional and unconventional threats,including chemical,biological and nuclear.Six thousand troops-three thousand each from the US and Jordan-participated this year.Eager Lion is the largest exercise US Central Command participates in.
General Joseph L. Votel,US Army,is US CENTCOM Commander.Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve,under the command of Lieutenant General Sean McFarland,US Army,is a subordinate command under US CENTCOM.*
The 24th MEU is currently embarked on ships of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group,which has been deployed to maintain regional security in the US 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Frescoes by Theophan the Greek in the Church of the Transfiguration of the Saviour,Novgorod,Russia - Фрески Феофана Грека в церкви Спаса Преображения на Ильине улице в Новго...

The NATO Foreign Ministerial:Policy and Strategy for Europe and Beyond

The NATO Foreign Ministers meeting runs from 19-20 May in Brussels.NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg held a Pre-Ministerial news conference on Wednesday,outlining the topics to be discussed and the direction NATO policy on them is taking,and some strategic concepts for its implementation as well.*
Tomorrow we will welcome Montenegro Foreign Minister Dukanovic to sign the Accession Protocol,Mr.Stoltenberg announced in his prepared statement.Following that ceremony,Montenegro will,as of tomorrow,participate in all NATO meetings as an observer,or Invitee.Once all the Allies have ratified the Protocol,Montenegro will become the 29th member of the Alliance.A clear sign that NATO continues to help build stability and security in the Western Balkans.*
We will discuss what NATO can do to support Iraq.We are already training several hundred Iraqi officers in Jordan.We have received a request from Prime Minister al-Abadi to expand our training mission to Iraq itself.And we will consider that request from Prime Minister al-Abadi.*
We have already decided to enhance our forward presence in the eastern part of our Alliance.Our military planners have put forward proposals for several battalions in different countries in the region.No decision has been taken on the numbers and locations.But we are now considering the scale and the scope of our presence in the east.*
Our Ministerial meeting will begin exactly fifty days before we meet at our Summit in Warsaw.The decisions we take at this Ministerial meeting will help pave the way to the Summit.At the Summit,we will take the necessary decisions to protect our citizens at home and to project stability beyond our borders.*
Tomorrow is an historic day for the Alliance,for Montenegro and for the Western Balkans,Mr.Stoltenberg said in the Q&A session with reporters.It says that NATO's door is open.It's another step in the successful policy of enlargement of both NATO and the EU,and the enlargement of NATO over many years has contributed to stability,peace and security in Europe.And now Montenegro is going to be part of that.Any sanctions or reactions from Russia will be absolutely unjustified,because it's about respecting the sovereign decision of a sovereign nation,Montenegro,to decide on its own path-and that should be respected by everyone.*
NATO is not contemplating combat operations in Libya,but institution-building.We will continue to discuss how we can help them.*
Some of the proposals from our strategic commanders are for battalions in the Baltic countries.It has to be a multinational presence because it sends a very clear signal that an attack on one Ally will be an attack on the whole Alliance.The importance of this forward presence is not that it's going to be so very big,but that it is a multinational presence sending a very clear signal that we are going to stand united;and the forward presence has to be combined with the increased ability to reinforce if needed,so you have to also understand that the forward presence is linked to the high readiness,the higher responsiveness of our forces,and we have already decided to triple the size of the NATO Response Force-and part of that is the new Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF),or the Spearhead Force,a brigade-sized force which can deploy on a very short notice.Add to that that we are already investing in infrastructure;in prepositioning equipment;ammunition;and that the US is in the process of quadrupling its funding for the US presence in Europe:so this is a big thing altogether-a forward presence in the eastern part of our Alliance is just one element in a more comprehensive approach.*
We will decide on the future of the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan beyond 2016,and will also decide on the funding for the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces.I think that NATO Allies providing funding is extremely important and we will continue to do so.*
I strongly believe that the Summit of NATO in July will recognise the progress that Georgia is making and will reiterate our strong commitment to provide both strong political support to Georgia;but also to provide practical support,working with Georgia to implement reforms,build institutions and to enhance Georgia's ability to modernise its armed forces.So we will continue to work with Georgia;we will continue to defend Georgia's right to make its own decisions;and we continue to work on reforms and help Georgia moving towards NATO membership.*
I have to tell you about the Minsk Agreement on Eastern Ukraine that of course I am concerned,because after we saw a lull in the fighting last year and the beginning of this year-I think the ceasefire was mostly respected-we have seen gradually an increase in the numbers of violations of the ceasefire,and that is undermining the whole Minsk Agreement because it is based on the ceasefire.So my message is,the ceasefire has to be respected;heavy weapons have to be withdrawn;and the international observers have to have full access to the area so they make sure that the Minsk Agreement is fully implemented.*
I'm really looking forward to the opening of a new NATO Training Centre in Kuwait and I visited the site of the facility.It's a big,big building where we're going to have different kinds of training,capacity-building activities for the region.And I think that's just one example of how we are increasing our cooperaton with the Gulf countries.*
In Turkey,we have positioned Patriot Missile batteries;AWACS aircraft;port visits by NATO ships.NATO member countries have bilateral agreements with Turkey to fly out of Incerlik Air Base.This is a very joint effort of NATO Allies and Turkey in the fight against ISIL and also providing the necessary assurance measures for Turkey,all at the same time,NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg pointed out to journalists in Brussels,Belgium.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Chandra Movie Captures Expanding Debris from a Stellar Explosion - NASA

Chandra Movie Captures Expanding Debris from a Stellar Explosion: Astronomers have observed the debris field from this explosion − what is now known as Tycho’s supernova remnant − using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the NSF’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) and many other telescopes.

Hostage Rescue in Afghanistan Draws Praise From Carter - Operation Freedom's Sentinel Success

Hostage Rescue in Afghanistan Draws Praise From Carter: Defense Secretary Ash Carter commended U.S. and Afghan special operations personnel for the professionalism and skill they demonstrated in a hostage rescue mission in Afghanistan’s Paktika province.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Emerging Market Equities Outlook

A number of factors should be considered when evaluating the wisdom of equity investing in the emerging markets today.Andrew Swan,head of Asian Equities and portfolio manager with BlackRock,the world's largest money manager,lists the following:
1.Valuations are very,very defensive;
2.Most investors are out of the asset now;
3.The Fed is changing directions,getting more dovish.*
Improving momentum in the EM has just been for the past two months,said Mr.Swan.What you've seen is currencies appreciate and capital starting to come back to these markets.I do see growth weakening for the moment outside of Asia.*
Exports have been a very big headwind.If we do get a weaker dollar and higher materials pricing,global trade could start to pick up later this year,and that would benefit the EM,Mr.Swan pointed out.*
iShares Emerging Markets ETF (EEM),iShares Asia/Pacific Dividend ETF (DVYA)

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Stavropoleos - Romanian Orthodox Easter Chant

Patriarch Bartholomew Seeks Meeting with Turkish President Erdogan - treatment of Ecumenical Patriarchate and other religious minorities at issue

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is seeking a meeting with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan,the Catholic publication Agenzia Fides reported.The newsletter quoted sources in Turkey as saying that the Patriarch is sending a letter to Mr.Erdogan asking to discuss in person the issues of the Halki Theological School,closed since 1971 when Turkey outlawed private educational institutions,and the overall treatment of religious minorities in Turkey.*
Relations between the Turkish authorities and religious minorities are again experiencing a critical moment,Patriarch Bartholomew reportedly said at a news conference at the Phanar,the Patriarchate headquarters in Istanbul.The Patriarch's close associate,the Turkish citizen,member of the Greek community and Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Mr.Lakis Vingas,said trials were started for the cancellation of property titles,and this situation worries us.*
For example,a case was recently brought in Ankara,the Turkish capital,by Turkish institutions such as the Forestry State Administration to roll back the return of two parcels of land in Goksu and Umit Tepasi to the Halki Theological School.The FSA wants the land returned to the Treasury.This is being perceived as a resurgence of harassment of the Patriarchate by the Turkish institutions.The actions are coming even while Turkey is trying to join the European Union,which will hardly be favourably impressed by them.*
Members of The Order of St.Andrew,Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,are personally chosen for their honourary titles as a gesture of appreciation by His All-Holiness for their exemplary service to the Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate in particular.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

2016 Mercury Transit Path - NASA

Satellites to See Mercury Enter Spotlight on May 9 - rare solar transit

Satellites to See Mercury Enter Spotlight on May 9: From an Earth-based perspective, Mercury will appear to cross the face of the sun between about 7:12 a.m. and 2:42 p.m. EDT on May 9, 2016. Space-based solar telescopes on SOHO, SDO and Hinode will all observe the transit.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

SACEUR Change of Command Ceremony - remarks by incoming SACEUR, 04 MAY 2016

SACEUR Change of Command Ceremony - remarks by NATO Secretary General, 0...

Canadian Tactical Air Insertion - NATO

NATO ships exercising with the Georgian Coast Guard in the Black Sea

U.S. F-15 Strike Eagles Go To Greece

SecDef Sets Forth Strategy at EUCOM Change of Command Ceremony

General Curtis M. Scaparrotti,US Army,assumed command of US European Command on 3 May in Stuttgart,Germany and NATO forces as Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) on 4 May in Mons,Belgium.He replaces General Philip Breedlove who is retiring after three years in the conjointly held posts.Described as being intelligent,deliberate and personable,General Scaparrotti has previously held commands in Iraq,Afghanistan,the Pentagon and the Republic of Korea.*
At the EUCOM change of command ceremony at Stuttgart's Patch Barracks,US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter described the US view of the challenges faced by NATO and the steps being taken to address them.EUCOM covers 51 countries in Europe and Eurasia,including Israel,Afghanistan and the NATO allies.
Under General Breedlove's leadership,Mr.Carter said,NATO forces have been writing a new playbook.They've been innovating to counter new challenges like cyber and hybrid warfare;integrating conventional and nuclear deterrence;and adjusting our posture and presence so that we can be more agile in responding to new threats.The NATO force that General Breedlove leaves behind is stronger than the one he inherited.*
We haven't had to prioritise deterrence on NATO's Eastern Flank for the past 25 years;but while I wish it were otherwise,now we have to,despite the progress that we've made together since the end of the Cold War.We must demonstrate to potential foes that,if they start a war,we have the capabilities and capacity to ensure they regret it;because for a force to deter a conflict,it must show that it can dominate a conflict.*
Russia has appeared in recent years intent to erode the principled international order that has served us,our friends and allies,the international community,and Russia itself,so well for so long.Russia continues to violate the territorial integrity of Ukraine,Georgia and Moldova,and actively seeks to intimidate its Baltic neighbours.At sea and on land,in the air and space and cyberspace,Russian actors have engaged in challenging international norms-and,most disturbing,Moscow's nuclear sabre-rattling raises troubling questions about Russian commitment to strategic stability;their respect for norms against the use of nuclear weapons;and whether they respect the profound caution that nuclear age leaders showed with respect to the brandishing of nuclear weapons.*
In response,the US is taking a strong and balanced approach to counter Russia's aggression.We're strengthening our capabilities,our posture,our investments,our plans and our allies and partners,all without closing the door to working with Russia where our interests align,and we will continue to make clear that Russia's aggressive actions only serve to further its isolation and unite our alliance.Since Russia began its illegal attempt to annex Crimea a little over two years ago,the US has made valuable investments in reinforcing our NATO allies.For example,we're contributing to NATO's Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF),and stepping up our training and exercises under Operation Atlantic Resolve.
Our recent budget submission builds on that significantly.To further reinforce our NATO allies and build our deterrence posture in the face of Russia's aggression,this budget significantly increases funding for our European Reassurance Initiative,making a total investment of 3.4 billion dollars for this year,fiscal year 2017,which more than quadruples the amount we requested last year.This will allow us to increase the amount of warfighting equipment as well as the number of US forces,including reserve forces,rotating through Europe to engage with friends and allies.This increase supports head-to-toe rotations that maintain the persistent presence of an Armoured Brigade Combat Team,which will give us a total of three BCTs continuously present in Europe.It supports more training and exercises with our European allies and friends.It supports more warfighting gear,including forward-stationing equipment for an additional Armoured Brigade Combat Team by the end of 2017.It also supports the pre-positioning of equipment for a division headquarters and other enablers in Europe,such as this equipment,and along with assigned Army Airborne and Stryker Brigade Combat Teams,and Marine Corps heavy vehicles and equipment already in Europe.
All this will allow us to rapidly form a highly capable combined arms ground force of division-plus strength that can respond theatre-wide if necessary-and it helps strengthen our regional air superiority posture,among other things allowing us to keep an additional F-15C tactical fighter squadron based in Europe,and also improve airfield infrastructure to enhance operations for Air Force fighters and Navy Maritime Patrol Aircraft-all this to reinforce our enduring commitment to the security of our European partners.
Our budget also reflects how we're doing more in more ways with our NATO allies given increased Russian submarine activity in the North Atlantic.It includes building toward a continuous arc of highly capable Maritime Patrol Aircraft operating over the Greenland-Iceland-UK Gap and Norway's North Cape.It also includes delivering Europe's first stealthy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft to our British allies and,given Russia's use of hybrid warfare,as exemplified by the so-called "little green men" in Ukraine,we're investing in more rotational presence of US Special Operations Forces exercising and training here in Europe.And,as we look to address the threats of the future as well as today,we're making significant investments in new technology-and when coupled with revised operational concepts,these technologies will ensure that we can deter and if necessary win a high-end conventional fight in an Anti-Access Area Denial environment across all domains and warfighting areas:air,land,sea,space,cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum.
These include new unmanned systems;enhanced ground-based air and missile defences;new long-range anti-ship weapons;the Long Range Strike Bomber;and also innovations in technologies like the electromagnetic rail gun;lasers;and new systems for Electronic Warfare;space and cyberspace.Finally,our budget also invests in modernising our nuclear deterrent.With these commitments,we will continue to build our capacity to deter a potential adversary like Russia,Mr.Carter stated in Stuttgart,Germany.