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North Korea Puts Yorkshire Terriers In Zoo

Posted by Rattana_S On February - 28 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

A zoo in North Korea has reportedly welcomed its newest animal attraction – a pack of Yorkshire Terriers.

The miniature dogs have been introduced to Central Zoo in the capital Pyongyang, according to state media.

Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) said the dogs are now learning “several feats”, although it did not elaborate on the type of tricks they might perform.

North Koreans not familiar with ‘Yorkies’, which were bred in Yorkshire to catch rats and mice by scuttling around clothing mills, were given a helpful guide to the pint-sized pet.

“Each one has long hair – tan on its head and legs and blue grey on its body,” KCNA reported.

“It is 22-24cm tall and weighs 2.5-3.5kg. It lives about 14 years on an average.”

A picture released by KCNA appeared to show three Yorkshire Terriers in seemingly good condition.

However, Central Zoo was previously condemned by travel publication Lonely Planet, whose website claims most of the animals kept there “look pretty forlorn”.

“Worst off are the big cats, nearly all gifts of long-dead communist big wigs around the world – the wonderful lions, tigers and leopards are kept in woefully inadequate compounds, and many have lost the plot as a result,” it says.

“The zoo’s two elephants and its hippo all look exceptionally lacklustre as well.”

Footage uploaded to YouTube in December 2012 by documentary maker Alun Hill appeared to show bears and elephants trudging around largely concrete enclosures, and tigers staring at visitors from behind bars.

According to the video, the zoo houses more than 6,000 animals of about 650 different species in 60 animal shed and aquariums.

Qantas meets unions over 5,000 job cuts

Posted by Rattana_S On February - 28 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Qantas is meeting unions anxious about 5,000 planned job cuts, as rival Virgin posts a half-year loss citing tough conditions across the airline industry.

Australia’s national carrier Qantas announced the redundancies as part of a A$2bn ($1.8bn; £1bn) cost-cutting drive following its own losses.

The cuts will affect employees from various divisions and voluntary redundancies will also be on offer.

But unions complain of a lack of clarity on the details of the job cuts.

“There’s still a lot of uncertainty and a real lack of clarity about where at least 2,000 of those jobs will be cut from,” said Nathan Safe, president of the Australian and International Pilots Association to the Australian media.

Mr Safe added he will be seeking more information from the airline in the coming days.

Matt Rocks from the Transport Workers Union of Australia told the BBC: “What we need to see is a turnaround strategy for the airline, and then perhaps we’ll see an improvement in Qantas’ fortune.”

Domestic rivalry

Qantas has been lobbying for government support, as its main competition in Australia, Virgin Australia, is owned by three national carriers – Singapore Airlines, Etihad and Air New Zealand.

Qantas has argued that Virgin has access to extra funding from these partners, creating an uneven playing field in its home market.

Virgin Australia has reported a net loss of A$83.7m for the six months to December 2013, which is a reversal from the A$23m in profit it earned for the same period a year earlier.

Virgin’s chief executive John Borghetti said the loss reflects tough conditions across the entire industry.

He also blamed Australia’s carbon tax, which cost the airline A$27m during the last 6 months of 2013.

Boeing to sell phone that can self-destruct

Posted by Rattana_S On February - 28 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

It’s the smartphone every “Mission Impossible” fan would love to have.

Boeing (BA, Fortune 500) is set to debut a new secure phone for government agencies and defense contractors that will self-destruct if it’s tampered with. It just won’t be won’t be quite as dramatic as the old television show. There won’t be any smoke or explosions, but the contents of the device will be completely erased.

“Any attempt to break open the casing of the device would trigger functions that would delete the data and software contained within the device and make the device inoperable,” explained a company filing with the Federal Communications Commission, posted on the FCC’s Web site Wednesday.

The company is giving few details about the phone, which will be called “Boeing Black.” Pricing and an exact release date have yet to be disclosed, though it is expected to be out by this summer. But it won’t be available your local Verizon (VZ, Fortune 500) or AT&T (T, Fortune 500) storefront.

“It’s geared towards defense and security customers. It’s not aimed at the consumer,” said Boeing spokeswoman Rebecca Yeamans. The phone will use Google’s (GOOG, Fortune 500) Android operating system, but calls and stored data will be encrypted.

Yeamans said the security measure would use a combination of software and hardware on the phone.

While Boeing Black will be the company’s first foray into cell phones, the company has a long-established history of providing secured communications, according to Yeamans.

“It seems like a new endeavor for Boeing but for a long time we’ve been in business of connecting our customers and providing trusted communications to them,” she said. To top of page

Simferopol, Ukraine (CNN) — Ukraine’s parliament demanded Friday that Russia halt any activity which can be interpreted as an attack on sovereign Ukrainian territory.

The resolution was voted through as fears mount that Ukraine’s Russian-majority Crimea region may seek to secede. Kiev suspects Russia of fomenting tension there.

Writing on his Facebook page, Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov accused Russian forces of staging an “armed invasion” in the Black Sea peninsula, claiming they had blocked one military air base and entered the Crimean capital’s main airport overnight.

Around noon Friday, armed men in uniforms still stood guard outside the Simferopol airport. Airport operations did not appear affected.

“We are checking to make sure that no radicals come to Crimea from Kiev, from the Ukraine,” said one man, who didn’t give his name.

“We don’t want radicals, we don’t want fascism, we don’t want problems.”

Avakov claimed that the armed men who blocked the military airbase, in Sevastopol, were troops from Russia’s Black Sea fleet, stationed in the port city. They were camouflaged in uniforms without military insignia, he said.

Russia has not responded to Ukraine’s latest allegations. But it continued snap military exercises on Ukraine’s doorstep.

Deepening schism

Since President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted Saturday following the deadliest demonstrations in the country’s history, Ukraine has been showing a deepening schism.

Those in the west generally support the country’s interim government and its tilt toward the European Union.

And many in the east prefer things as they were — a Ukraine where its larger neighbor, Russia, casts a long shadow.

And nowhere is that feeling more intense than in Crimea, which has an ethnic Russian majority. It’s the last big bastion of opposition to the new political leadership.

Ousted President to speak

Yanukovych, who has not been seen since his ouster, is now in Russia, where authorities have accepted his request for security, according to the state-run RIA Novosti news agency. It attributed the information to anonymous government sources.

He is expected to give a news conference Friday in the southwestern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, near the border with Ukraine.

He has already rejected Ukraine’s newly appointed unity government, saying he is still the country’s legitimate elected leader, so his reappearance may only fuel the rising tensions in Crimea.

Voting out the premier

On Thursday, dozens of armed men seized government administration buildings in Simferopol, the Crimean capital. They planted Russia’s flag atop the parliament building.

Then, in a vote of no-confidence, pro-Russian members of the Crimean parliament dismissed the government of Premier Anatolii Mohyliov, who was perceived as pro-Kiev.

The lawmakers also scheduled a referendum on greater autonomy for the region within Ukrainian territory.

The date of the referendum? May 25 — the day Ukraine is scheduled to hold its presidential and local elections.

Amid the dizzying developments, Kiev has gone about its business of governing.

On Thursday, lawmakers approved opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk as Prime Minister. He made clear that he believes the country’s future rests in closer ties to Europe, not Russia.

Russian maneuvers

As tensions simmer in the Crimea, Russia alarmed some observers by announcing surprise military exercises Wednesday in its western and central areas.

Those continue Friday, Russia’s Defense Ministry said, with more than 80 combat helicopters set to take to the skies in Russia’s Western Military District, which borders Ukraine, for search and rescue drills.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday against provocations by any party.

“I’m closely watching Russia’s military exercises along the Ukrainian border,” he said. “I expect Russia to be transparent about these activities, and I urge them not to take any steps that could be misinterpreted or lead to miscalculations.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had told him the snap military exercises were pre-scheduled and unrelated to the events in Ukraine.

He also said Lavrov had reaffirmed to him a commitment that Russia would “respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

Kerry said that was a commitment Russian President Vladimir Putin had previously made to President Barack Obama when they spoke last week.

Crimea was handed to Ukraine by the Soviet Union in 1954. Just over half its population is ethnic Russian, while about a quarter are Ukrainians and a little more than 10% are Crimean Tatars, a predominantly Muslim group oppressed under former Soviet leader Josef Stalin.