Straight dealing

first_imgAs Congress begins to debate an international agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear ambitions for the next 15 years, analysts at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) say many questions remain that will determine the ultimate success or failure of this deeply controversial deal.Is the agreement strong enough to truly constrain Iran, and does it prevent or promote the spread of nuclear arms in the Middle East? How should and will the United States and coalition partners respond if Iran cheats? Is the partisan divide over the deal damaging to this country and to the deal’s credibility?David E. Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times and a senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, put those queries and more to panelists Tuesday night on the crest of next week’s Congressional vote.Critical of the deal, William Tobey, a former deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation at the National Nuclear Security Administration and now also a senior fellow at the Belfer Center, cautioned that recent statements by top Iranian ministers and advisers denying that inspectors will be permitted to access so-called military sites are signs the deal “may already be eroding.”“Unless there’s a full understanding of who did what, where, and when, then there can’t be a baseline for effective verification, and we won’t know that this activity has ceased, and we won’t know that it won’t recur,” he said.Tobey also noted that most of the meaningful restrictions on Iran fall away in just 10 to 15 years, and that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) still hasn’t gotten an explanation for a dozen possible weapons activities in which Iran has engaged.Even supporters acknowledge the deal has some weaknesses.“The big risk is that in year 15, most of these restrictions on the Iranian program begin to lapse, so the Iranians could reconstitute a civil nuclear program, and they could possibly use that as a cover to develop a covert nuclear weapons program. We have to mitigate against that risk,” said R. Nicholas Burns, the Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations and director of the Future of Diplomacy Project at HKS.In implementing the deal, he said the United States must take a hardline stance should Iran cheat on its end of the bargain.“I think President Obama should be more clear than he has been about his determination that he will use military force if there’s a fundamental Iranian violation of this agreement,” said Burns, who testified before Congress four times this summer as a cautious proponent of the deal.Audience members packed into the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum for “The Iran Nuclear Deal: For & Against.” Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerMatthew Bunn, professor of practice and co-principal investigator of the Project on Managing the Atom at HKS, said the deal does a “pretty good job” over 10 to 15 years in reducing Iran’s stockpiles of enriched uranium and an “even better” job on its plutonium cache and covert sites. But “over the longer term, it’s weaker, there’s no doubt about it,” than it might have been.“Overall, the chance that we’re going to have some unstable nuclear arms race in the Middle East goes down, in my judgment, as a result of this deal,” said Bunn.Troubling are two compromises struck very late in the negotiations process in Vienna, the lifting of a United Nations ban on conventional arms transfers to Iran in five years, and a ban on ballistic missiles, which ends in eight years, Burns said.“I regret that those compromises had to be made,” said Burns, a former ambassador. As soon as those bans expire, the United States should push hard to reimpose them because, he said, “We cannot trust the Iranians with more powerful weaponry, given their track record.”Panelists agreed that Iran is more likely to try to cheat at the margins, rather than do something bold. It’s a strategy that would make it harder for the United States to rally China, Russia, France, Britain, and Germany to take swift punitive action, given their trade interests with Iran.“In some ways, the strongest reason that Iran has not to cheat is that the agreement is so advantageous to it. It gets international blessing for its program and gets to get right up to the brink of a nuclear weapon in 10 to 15 years,” Tobey countered.Despite near-complete opposition by Republicans in both houses of Congress, Obama now appears to have more than 40 Democratic supporters of the deal, enough to prevent a veto override, assuring the deal will survive.But the prospect of an agreement with Iran has only further stoked the deeply political divisions in Washington.Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, now running for president, said Wednesday that while she supported the deal, its success will depend on the United States having a broader strategic framework with Iran. “‘Distrust and verify’ would be her approach,” Sanger co-wrote in The Times.On Tuesday, former Vice President Dick Cheney called the deal “shameful” and said it will almost surely lead to a nuclear attack by Iran. “It is madness,” Cheney told supporters.Obama’s speech last month at American University declaring that resistance to a deal would assure future conflict with Iran further fueled bitter feelings and skepticism toward consensus.“I thought he overplayed his hand by saying that if this deal is rejected, we’ll have war,” said Burns. “I don’t think so at all.”The panelists concurred that passing the deal without bipartisan support is harmful to the deal’s credibility and damaging to U.S. democracy.Without a majority vote, Tobey said the deal is less legitimate and weakens its enforceability. “Of course, it’s bad for the deal and bad for the country if the deal is essentially the product of a vote of disapproval in both houses of Congress.”“I’ve been disappointed, maybe not shocked, but disappointed by the partisan nature of this debate,” Burns said. “I think we as citizens in the United States had a right to expect that an issue of this gravity … that members would vote their heads and they’d vote their consciences, [and that] they wouldn’t just vote along strict party lines.”“It seems to me,” Bunn said, that “we need to have in the United States an ability to talk about difficult national security issues in a rational way. And that’s not the kind of debate that we’re having about this deal in the last few weeks.”last_img read more

Historical Battle near Stubica for a weekend on the hills of Zagorje

first_imgThe purpose of the European Tree of the Year competition is to highlight the importance of old trees in natural and cultural heritage, in which 15 countries participate. Voting runs from February 1 to 28, and you can vote on this one LINK. “Battle of Stubica” will be held on Saturday, February 9, 2019, on the very date of the 446th anniversary of the Peasant Revolt. The event begins at 11 a.m. with a cultural and artistic program and gathering of armies before the battle itself, which begins at 14 p.m. In addition to the main program, visitors will have the opportunity to visit the fair of old crafts and try local specialties. After the battle, the program will end with the band Psihomodo pop. Also, the mentioned event is a great example of how events should be developed through a storytelling concept As part of the event, free bus transportation from Zagreb will be organized. You can find all the information HERE. The event is the winner of the Simply the Best award for the best historical display and tourist event in 2015, and this year’s edition will include one new location – Stubički Golubovec Castle in Donja Stubica. The most famous symbol of the Peasant Revolt is certainly Gupčeva lipa, which was nominated for the European Tree of the Year by the Public Institution for the Management of Protected Areas of Nature of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County. Under the canopy of the linden tree, Matija Gubec, according to folklore, gathered his like-minded people and led them in the fight for justice. In 1957, Lipa was declared a protected natural monument. The Peasant Revolt from the 16th century is taught in all Croatian schools, it is written in various history books, and all present participants in this event can experience the great injustice that was inflicted on the peasants. The battle is being reconstructed by the Society of the Knights of the Golden Chalice, and its importance for the Gupčevo region and the entire Krapina-Zagorje County was recognized by the Croatian Tourist Board, which included it in the event of a national character. The depiction of the battle is not only a reconstruction of the struggle, but an event of an educational-historical character. Gupčeva lipa / European Tree of the Year For the eleventh year in a row, the reconstruction of the Battle of Stubica is being organized on the hills of Zagorje. This battle is of great historical importance and this event serves as a memorial to the uprising of the little man in the fight for “justice”.last_img read more

BLOG: Pennsylvania Conference for Women

first_img November 19, 2015 SHARE Email Facebook Twitter BLOG: Pennsylvania Conference for Women Equality,  First Lady Frances Wolf,  The Blog Today my husband and I attended the Pennsylvania Conference for Women at the convention center in Philadelphia. At the conference, a number of women making an impact in the world including Gloria Steinem, Jessica Alba,  and Joanne Ryder, shared their stories.This conference was conceived ten years ago by the Pennsylvania Commission for Women under then-Governor Ed Rendell and has since grown to reach thousands of Pennsylvania women. This year, there were approximately 9,000 women in attendance. It is a gathering dedicated to the issues that matter in a career – networking, professional development and personal growth.But it’s also a gathering dedicated to the things issues that matter to a healthy functioning society. It is a gathering place for women who want to make Pennsylvania better.That’s precisely what my husband wants for our commonwealth. But it’s what we can’t have as long as we have gender inequality in Pennsylvania. Despite our half-century old equal pay law, women make only 76 cents for every dollar men make.That is just plain wrong. Tom and I are the proud parents of two talented daughters, one of whom is an architect and one who is a geologist. Tom has smart and talented women serving as his Chief of Staff, as his General Counsel, and in a number of important positions in his executive staff and cabinet. He also recently announced the launch of the new Pennsylvania Commission for Women, which is made up of a very talented and dedicated group of Pennsylvanians, who will act as tireless advocates on behalf of Pennsylvania’s women and girls.It’s wrong from a moral and political sense that women are not given the same opportunity as men. But it’s not only unfair, it’s just plain bad policy.Gender inequality keeps Pennsylvania from deriving the full benefits of its talented population. It keeps us from taking full advantage of all the human skills, experience and insights we have here right in our own backyard.Discrimination of any sort shrinks our talent pool and it just doesn’t make sense.From a purely self-interested point of view, we need to make sure the talent pool we draw from is as large as possible in our businesses, in our schools, and in our government.We need to work together to stamp out discrimination and resolve to level our playing field not just because discrimination is morally repugnant, but because it’s also smart policy. Pennsylvania should embrace the practice of fairness to show that we are smart and sensible.We need to work to make the world a fairer place. That is clearly good for not only the women of Pennsylvania, but for all Pennsylvanians.I’m proud of the work my husband does every day to make Pennsylvania a more fair community.center_img Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf By: First Lady Frances Wolflast_img read more

iPhone X vs Pixel 2 XL: 5 reasons why Apple wins this round

first_imgApple’s tenth anniversary iPhone, the iPhone X, is all set to go on sale today. The $999 iPhone has seen a lot of hype, a lot of praise and a lot of issues in production as well. Whether or not the company has the numbers to meet the demand remains to be seen. But the iPhone X has a competition in Google’s Pixel 2 XL, which will be shipping from November 15. A lot of consumers in the market for a premium flagship will be torn between the two biggest flagships right now.Now, the iPhone X does not come cheap. That’s more so the case in India where it starts at Rs 89,000 and goes up to Rs 1,02,000. The Pixel 2 XL, on the other hand starts at Rs 73,000. Many would be deliberating whether the iPhone X is worth the super premium price tag it comes with. A lot of people who have the means to buy the X will have made up their minds by now. But for those who want to know why Apple’s flagship makes more sense than Google’s, we have five good reasons. We’ve played around with both the smartphones so we will also have an argument for why the Pixel 2 XL should be your choice over the iPhone X as well so stay tuned for that. For now, here’s why you should consider the iPhone X. It’s all about that displayThere’s no going around it. The iPhone X has a gorgeous display. It is, after all, one of the biggest highlights of the device. This is the first iPhone to sport an edge-to-edge display. It is also the first to sport an OLED panel. For a lot of Apple fans out there who have been a little anxious to see something different from the Cupertino giant, the iPhone X cannot be any more different.advertisementThe screen is everything you would expect from an OLED display. The colours are sharp, vivid, and a delight to look at. You’ll spend a lot of time admiring the crisp colours, especially in the dark. If OLED is what you’re looking for then the iPhone X delivers. Also, with all the flak Google has been receiving about the Pixel 2 XL’s P-OLED display, your best bet between the two would be on the X.As a bezel-less phone, the X fits in more content into the frame than ever before. In fact, the iPhone X has a bigger screen to body ratio than the Pixel 2 XL. You won’t complain about the bezel-less-ness of the iPhone X as much as you would about the Pixel 2 XL. Yes, the X does have a pretty obnoxious notch right on top, but after a few hours with the device, you will get used to it. The notch alone should not be a deal breaker for those considering Apple’s flagship.  Face ID is the futureFacial recognition isn’t new. Companies like Samsung have had the technology for years now. But there is something about Apple’s Face ID with TrueDepth technology that makes it far more reliable, secure than any other facial recognition feature in a smartphone before. This is where the company justifies the distracting notch above the display. The notch houses a number of sensors like IR camera, dot projector, proximity sensor, among others. Most of the sensors inside help in making Face ID a lot more accurate and a lot more foolproof than your average facial recognition.Face ID is at the core of what the X is about. Not only is this the default way to unlock the iPhone now, but Apple Pay and Animojis also work using Face ID sensors. With all the sensors packed inside the notch, you would expect Face ID to work flawlessly, and for the most part it does.Also Read: iPhone X quick review: Great hardware, superb screen but you may miss home button for a whileApple says its Face ID tech is more secure than any other facial recognition camera seen on a smartphone. The jury is still out on that. But from our time with the X, Face ID was pretty on spot. Setting it up is fast and simple. It will unlock only when you look directly at it, and won’t work if you’re facing away from the front-facing camera or if your eyes are closed. The IR camera also detects your face in darkness. So far so good. There are some instances when Face ID refuses to unlock under direct sunlight due to interferences with the IR camera, but for the most part Face ID has been flawless.advertisementPerformance has never been this goodPowering the iPhone X is Apple’s A11 Bionic chip along with 3GB of RAM. The device has already blown away benchmark tests, but real life performance is what you need to know about. And the iPhone X is a beast. This is a fast phone there’s no denying that. This is probably the fastest iPhone yet. In our time with the device, we found the experience to be extremely fast and fluid with barely any performance issue.The UI is snappy in general. Sure, iOS 11 has more than a few bugs that can make the phone lag at times, but you can be assured a few software updates will take care of that soon enough. Look, if you’re spending $1000 on a phone, you expect the device to perform, and the iPhone X’s hardware delivers on that.Apple AR ups the gameAnother feature baked into the iPhone is Apple AR. The company’s own augmented reality technology makes use of the iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera and A11 Bionic chip to create sophisticated AR effects. The sensors inside the iPhone X do a lot to accurately map and overlay virtual objects or scenes on your real-life environment. The TrueDepth camera will also allow third-party apps to create more realistic 3D effects. Snapchat’s face filters, for example, adapt to your face a lot more accurately than on any other phone. As more and more developers use Apple’s ARKit to bring out AR apps, users will have more options to play around with the cameras sensors. You will be able to, for example, use AR to check out how virtual furnitures will look in your real home setting. We tested some AR apps available in the App Store and the level of accuracy and mapping were pretty mind blowing to say the least.It’s just plain funWith the iPhone X, Apple has introduced a few new features like the Animoji and new gestures that change the way you interact with the iPhone. The home button is gone which means Apple had to improvise and add new ways to close and switch between apps. One gesture lets you flick apps from the bottom of the display to close them, which was quite satisfying, while another gesture lets you toggle between them with ease. There’s no doubt that you’re going to have fun with the new UI that tries to get the most out of the edge-to-edge display.Animoji as the name suggests is Apple’s animated emoji feature. Essentially, the iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera maps your face on to emojis like monkeys, foxes, poop among many others. Speak and the Animoji will speak, move and your Animoji will move as well. You can share your Animojis with your family and friends and have a good laugh. It’s a novel idea, at least for now.These are just some of the new features and improvements that make the iPhone X a reasonable choice to consider over the Pixel 2 XL. Like we mentioned earlier, Google’s flagship has a few advantages that make it a great device as well and we’ll let you know about it soon. advertisementlast_img read more