Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Why the Russian Economy Collapse is a Good Thing?

Russia faces its gravest economic crisis since 1998, when the country defaulted on its debt following financial crash in Asia.

 Putin’s economy is in crisis

The country's currency, the ruble, is plunging against international currencies, causing panic among domestic consumers and global investors to withdraw capital. For Russian President Vladimir Putin, the meltdown poses perhaps his sternest test of leadership.

He can expect little help from Washington or from Europe. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday that President Barack Obama will sign a measure by the end of the week applying new sanctions against Russia because of its actions earlier this year in Ukraine.

What is happening to Russia's economy? Russia's crisis has been triggered by a sharp plunge in oil prices since this summer and international sanctions over Russia's March annexation of Crimea. The ruble is collapsing. The currency lost 10 percent of its value and fell to a record low on Tuesday, dipping to more than 80 rubles to the dollar before rebounding to 68 rubles -- it is down more than 60 percent this year.

"The end is near for Russia's economic and financial stability," said Carl Weinberg, chief economist with High Frequency Economics, in a note. "This is an unrecoverable spiral. The combination of economic and financial sanctions by NATO governments and the crash of global oil prices has killed Russia's economy."

How will the drop in oil prices impact Russia?

How is Russia responding to the crisis? The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) surprised financial markets overnight by abruptly jacking up interest rates from 10.5 percent to 17 percent. The goal is to shore up the ruble, including the exchange rate with other currencies; maintain fiscal stability; forestall inflation; and discourage global investors from pulling their capital out of Russia. Of particular concern for policymakers is whether Russia has enough money in reserve to weather the decline in oil prices and its growing isolation from global capital markets.

The CBR has made a number of moves in recent months to soften the blow from sanctions and the drop in energy prices, with limited effect. The ruble continued to fall Tuesday ever after the massive rate hike, while gauges of financial risk, such as the price of credit insurance on Russian debt, are flashing red.

"No one expected the ruble to hit 60 this year against the dollar, let alone 70 or 80 even," said Timothy Ash at Standard Bank in a research note. "And no one is positioned for this. This will impart huge short-term damage to Russia. There is now a huge credibility gap for Russian policymakers in the eyes of the market."

Russian Economy

What are the risks for Russians? The spike in interest rates could slam the brakes on Russia's troubled economy, slowing growth and pushing up the country's already high rate of inflation, now around 9 percent, even higher. The Russian stock market has fallen more than 25 percent since yesterday.

Some Russians are panicking, with reports of people looking to put their money into other financial assets, or even big-ticket goods such as washing machines.

What happens next? Russian officials are meeting today to discuss the turmoil. Russian President Vladimir Putin is also scheduled Thursday to address the nation in an annual live TV call-in show, offering him a chance to discuss any plans for stabilizing the ruble and the economy. One key question for Russians and global investors: Would the Kremlin consider implementing controls to stem a flight of capital?

Yet even capital controls might not stem the crisis in Russia. IHS economist Chuck Movit says that monetary policy alone is unlikely to contain the damage, noting that the ruble's strength depends chiefly on oil prices and the impact of sanctions. Other analysts worry that Putin also could resort to other measures, such as escalating the conflict in Ukraine, to distract public attention from Russia's economic problems.

"Any further escalation would probably trigger further sanctions, from which Russia would again be the loser," said economist Andrew Kenningham of Capital Economics in a report.

How is the Russian crisis affecting the rest of the world? Russia, one of the world's largest oil exporters, has enormous currency reserves and is not in immediate danger of default. Alexander Moseley, a senior portfolio manager at asset management firm Schroders, notes that Russia has enough liquidity to repay its external debts.

Meanwhile, the country does not carry much public debt, and its credit profile is solid. The sanctions against Russia and instability in the region has also reduced its financial and trade links with the rest of the world. For now, that is expected to damp the global reverberations. Russia accounts for only 2.7 percent of world GDP, according to Capital Economics.

Still, financial crises are hard to contain, especially when they involve a large economy. Russia's economy is unbalanced -- nearly one-seventh of its GDP comes from oil -- and risks tumbling into recession. That would stunt global growth, with China also slowing down and Europe fighting its own deflationary spiral. Such a slowdown would almost certainly impede the U.S. economic recovery just as it is gaining strength.

Putin is also unpredictable. If Russia's economy continues to founder, he could even consider reneging on the country's foreign debts, High Frequency Economics suggests. That would put global lenders, including U.S. banks, investors, insurance companies and other major financial actors, on the hook for major losses.

"Russia is in a full-blown currency crisis, and currency crises end when either the central bank overreacts with overwhelming policy steps to support the currency or the underlying source of stress ends," Moseley said by email.

Economic Background

General forecasts for Russian growth were being downgraded well before the Ukraine crisis sent investors running for the exits. Putin had left the Russian economy overly reliant on exports of oil and gas. Calls for greater action to scale back government involvement in the economy, tackle corruption and stimulate local investment had largely gone unheeded.
Russia's decision to back separatist rebels following the removal of Ukraine's pro-Moscow government had markets worried before Moscow formally annexed Crimea in March. Worried by rising tension between Moscow and the West, the ruble and Russian stocks hit the skids in late January. The flight of capital accelerated.

After months of largely symbolic sanctions aimed at Russian officials -- including asset freezes and travel bans -- first the U.S., then Europe, were stung into serious action by the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine in June, and Moscow's continued support for rebels blamed for the crash.
They took measures to prevent Russia's biggest banks and companies raising funds in the West, and targeted the country's key energy and weapons industries with restrictions.

Moscow responded by banning various food imports from Europe and the U.S. That hurt European food exporters, and dealt another blow to investor sentiment. However, it also drove up food prices in Russia, further fueling inflation that was already on the rise due to the devaluation of the ruble.

At about the same time global energy prices started to fall, completing the perfect storm for Russia. The oil crash accelerated last month when OPEC decided not to cut its production target. Assuming oil holds at current levels -- and that is far from certain -- Russia's economy will contract by about 5% next year. That is as bad as it got during the country's financial crisis of 1998.

Why Collapse of the Russian Economy is a Good Thing?

Why indeed I wish Russian economy to collapse?

Because it is, unfortunately, the only way to stop Russian aggression against Ukraine, against humanity. More than 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers fell in the battle. Russia lost from 1,000 to 5,000, while most of the bodies are buried secretly to avoid the public attention to the publically rejected notice that Russian troops are involved in the conflict directly.

Russian president Putin keeps his finger on the Nuclear weapon button, so direct military operations led by NATO or USA, might end in worldwide disaster. However, being largely depending on gas exports, Russia has limited monetary reserves to support the falling currency, broken business structure, and newly captured Crimea and part of the Eastern Ukraine.

Russian propaganda is strong, both internal, and external. Who is responsible for this economic collapse? Ukrainians, fighting for freedom, homosexual perverts, residing in Europe, and dummy Americans.

Is there a future for the Russian economy? Definitely, yes, but not before Putin and his gang’ members will be removed from power. Really, who will invest in the economy, where any business or company can be stolen, ruined, or nationalized in favor of the criminal interests of the rulers’ team?

Sources and Additional Information:

Monday, November 24, 2014

How Marijuana Cures Incurable Leukemia

Brave Mykala is Cancer Free

Pediatric cannabis therapy is saving children. Are you surprised? But, that is the modern reality.

Brave Mykala had T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a rare, aggressive, and overall deadly form of childhood leukemia. It accounts for 15-18% of childhood leukemia cases. Her DNA has been altered in some way, and it caused her bone marrow to start producing leukemia white blood cells. She fell unwell May 2012, and July 2012 doctors discovered a basketball sized mass of lymphoblasts in her chest. The mass was so large that she was not able to be sedated for risk of death from the pressure on her esophagus and heart.

After all approved treatments failed to stop spreading the disease, she got permission to start the experimental Cannabis Oil treatment July 26th, 2012. By August 2nd, 2012, Lymphoblast percentage in her blood smear dropped from maximum 33% to ZERO.

From this date, Mykayla was in remission. You may here the expert opinion, that cannabis is inappropriate for children. Well, it is hard to disagree. However, cancer is inappropriate for children even to the higher degree.

The anti-tumor effects of cannabinoids and THC have been demonstrated for quite some time now.  In the 1980’s, cannabinoid receptors were discovered in the human brain, which made it obvious that our body has to synthesize something that binds to these receptors. Our bodies produce these compounds in our own endocannabinoid system, which is now known to be responsible for a number of biological functions.  This is why the plant has such a wide therapeutic potential for multiple diseases, including cancer.

Numerous studies have demonstrated again and again the anti-tumoral effects of cannabis. Studies have shown that cannabis completely kills cancer cells, and it has a great impact on rebuilding the immune system. Cannabis has the potential to replace a multitude of pharmaceutical drugs, and it remains a mystery as to why human trials are not under way.

In the United States, there are only two approved treatments for cancer, radiation and chemotherapy.  Scientists have discovered that chemotherapy fuels cancer growth and kills the patient more quickly, yet nothing has been changed.  Both are extremely toxic to the human body. Thanks to a growing awareness related to cannabis medical use, and its high rate of success with individuals choosing to try it as a cancer treatment, more people are starting to realize the healing power of this plant. Coupled with all of the success stories, are hundreds of scientific studies that prove cannabis kills cancer, it’s really becoming a no-brainer.

When you are an adult with cancer, you have the choice to use the two recommended options or refuse treatment and select alternative methods. When you are a child, your parents do not have the option to refuse the approved way without facing legal repercussions, which can include loosing custody of the child.

What is Leukemia?

Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood or bone marrow, most often white blood cells. White blood cells are part of the immune system and play a key role in defending the body against infections.
Leukemia does not refer to a single disease, but rather covers a broad spectrum of diseases. Leukemia can be classified as either chronic or acute, depending on the rate of progression, and by the type of white blood cells that are affected. Acute lymphocytic (or lymphoblastic) leukemia is the most common leukemia that occurs in children.

Most forms of leukemia are treated with chemotherapy. However, treatment becomes less effective when leukemia spreads – usually to the central nervous system, skin and gums, and sometimes in the form of tumors.

Furthermore, treatment outcomes vary greatly and, in many instances, leukemia will eventually resurface after a period of remission.

Latest Studies

One of the latest studies in UK confirmed that compounds derived from marijuana can kill cancerous cells in patients with leukemia.

"Cannabinoids have a complex action; it hits a number of important processes that cancers need to survive," explained study author Dr. Wai Liu, an oncologist at St. George's University of London. "For that reason, it has really good potential over other drugs that only have one function. I am impressed by its activity profile, and feel it has a great future, especially if used with standard chemotherapies."

Dr. Wai Liu studied six different non-psychoactive cannabinoids (compounds derived from marijuana that do not get the user high like its THC component does). He found that certain non-psychoactive cannabinoids “resulted in dramatic reductions in cell viability” and “caused a simultaneous arrest at all phases of the cell cycle,” according to the study summary posted online.

In 2012, researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco found that CBD — a non-psychoactive chemical compound found in cannabis — can stop metastasis in some kinds of aggressive cancer.

How THC Kills Cancer Cells

The social and legal restrictions on Marijuana use still affect amount of efforts and funding for the related anti-cancer research.  

Insight into how THC (the main psychoactive component of the cannabis plant) cures Cancer is explained by molecular biologist, Dr. Christina Sanchez, in the video above. A scientist at the Compultense University in Madrid, Spain, she relayed her long-time studies and enlightening findings with Cannabis Planet TV.

If you want to understand the Cannabis components action against cancer in more details, here is the explanation provided by biochemist Dennis Hill in more details.

First let us look at what keeps cancer cells alive, and then we will come back and examine how the cannabinoids CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) unravels cancer’s aliveness.

In every cell, there is a family of interconvertible sphingolipids that specifically manage the life and death of that cell. This profile of factors is called the “Sphingolipid Rheostat.” If endogenous ceramide (a signaling metabolite of sphingosine-1-phosphate) is high, then cell death (apoptosis) is imminent. If ceramide is low, the cell is strong in its vitality.

Very simply, when THC connects to the CB1 or CB2 cannabinoid receptor site on the cancer cell, it causes an increase in ceramide synthesis, which drives cell death. A normal healthy cell does not produce ceramide in the presence of THC, thus is not affected by the cannabinoid.

The cancer cell dies, not because of cytotoxic chemicals, but because of a tiny little shift in the mitochondria. Within most cells there is a cell nucleus, numerous mitochondria (hundreds to thousands), and various other organelles in the cytoplasm. The purpose of the mitochondria is to produce energy (ATP) for cell use. As ceramide starts to accumulate, turning up the Sphingolipid Rheostat, it increases the mitochondrial membrane pore permeability to cytochrome c, a critical protein in energy synthesis. Cytochrome c is pushed out of the mitochondria, killing the source of energy for the cell.

Ceramide also causes genotoxic stress in the cancer cell nucleus generating a protein called p53, whose job it is to disrupt calcium metabolism in the mitochondria. If this were not enough, ceramide disrupts the cellular lysosome, the cell’s digestive system that provides nutrients for all cell functions. Ceramide, and other sphingolipids, actively inhibit pro-survival pathways in the cell leaving no possibility at all of cancer cell survival.

The key to this process is the accumulation of ceramide in the system. This means taking therapeutic amounts of CBD and THC, steadily, over a period of time, keeping metabolic pressure on this cancer cell death pathway.

Gaining Recognition

Though federal law still prohibits the use of Cannabis, as much as 25 States have legalized its use for medical purposes for certain medical conditions.

Official government site Cancer.Gov lists the following positive effects of Cannabis for cancer patients, stating that Cannabinoids may be useful in treating the side effects of cancer and cancer treatment.

The possible effects of cannabinoids include:
* Anti-inflammatory activity.
* Blocking cell growth.
* Preventing the growth of blood vessels that supply tumors.
* Antiviral activity.
* Relieving muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis.

”The cannabinoids in cannabis prevent cancer cells from spreading, and they contribute to cancer cell death because they hit some receptors that are generally up-regulated in cancer cells,” confirms Professor Marja Jäättelä, who heads the Cell Death and Metabolism Research Unit at the Danish Cancer Society. “This has been demonstrated in several studies. There is no doubt that cannabinoids are very effective at killing cancer cells.

Sources and Additional Information:

Friday, November 7, 2014

4 Surprising Facts about the Berlin Wall

Nov. 9 marks the 25-th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the iconic barrier that completely enclosed East Berlin between 1961 and 1989 and symbolized the height of Cold War tensions.

Around the world, the international German community and others are marking the milestone with celebrations and shared memories. In Germany, artists have recreated the Wall with illuminated white balloons along the path that the structure once traced.

Here are several interesting facts related to the Berlin Wall:

1.       Exodus from East Germany

The Berlin Wall was erected more than 15 years into the Cold War. More than 2 million East Germans, most of them skilled laborers and professionals, fled to the West between 1949 and 1961. The Soviet Union had rejected East Germany’s original request to build the wall in 1953, but with defections through West Berlin reaching 1,000 people a day by the summer of 1961, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev finally relented. The residents of Berlin awoke on the morning of August 13, 1961, to find barbed wire fencing had been installed on the border between the city’s east and west sections. Days later, East Germany began to fortify the barrier with concrete.

2.       Berlin Wall Construction

Construction of the Berlin Wall began on August 13 1961 as a way of separating the three zones controlled by France, Britain and America from the zone controlled by the Soviet Union. After World War II, Germany has been split into four zones, each occupied by one of the four Allied powers that defeated the Nazis. The zones controlled by France, Great Britain and America became West Germany, or Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Federal Republic of Germany). The Soviet-controlled zone became East Germany, or Deutsche Demokratische Republik (Germany Democratic Republic). Germany's capital, Berlin, was situated in Soviet-controlled East Germany, but as this city was the administrative area for the Allied forces, it too was split into four. This meant that France, Great Britain and America controlled West Berlin, whereas the Soviet Union controlled the East. Relations between America and the Soviet Union soured considerably during much of the second half of the Twentieth Century. The Berlin Wall was a symbol of this hostility, a physical representation of what was called the Iron Curtain.

The wall construction had four phases, which included a wire fence, improved wire fence, concrete wall, and an improved concrete wall, which consisted of 45,000 sections 12 feet (3.6 meters) high and about 4 feet (1.2 meters) thick and more than 87 miles (140 kilometers) long.

3.       How People Escaped from East Germany

It is estimated that about 5,000 people escaped East Germany through the Berlin Wall. Several hundred more died trying. The wall’s anti-escape features were extensive. Along with barbed wire, the top of the fence was also lined with smooth pipe to make it harder to climb. In addition, the area surrounding the wall had dogs on long tethers, anti-vehicle trenches, and more than 116 watchtowers.

Official figures show that at least 136 people died trying to cross the border. People attempting to get from East to West were regarded as traitors and guards were instructed to shoot at them if they attempted to cross, although not to kill them.

So, here some of the most creative ways for people to escape from East Germany:

* On a tightrope
East German acrobat Horst Klein made one of the most daring escapes over the wall in early 1963. Thanks to his acrobatic skill, Klein was able to turn an unused high-tension cable that stretched over the wall into his route. He moved hand-over-hand while dangling from the cable 60 feet over the head of patrolling guards, then when his arms became fatigued, he swung his whole body up over the cable and inched his way along. Klein’s dismount was not particularly graceful – he fell off the cable – but he landed in West Berlin.

* Down a zip line
On March 31, 1983, friends Michael Becker and Holger Bethke took Klein’s idea one step further by letting gravity do the heavy lifting for them. The pair climbed to the attic of a five-story building on the eastern side of the wall and fired an arrow tied to a thin fishing line over a building in West Berlin. An accomplice grabbed the arrow and reeled in the line, which was connected to a slightly heavier fishing line, then to a quarter-inch steel cable. Once the steel cable was attached to a chimney on the western side of the wall, Becker and Bethke zipped across the quarter-inch cable using wooden pulleys.

* Without a windshield
When Austrian lathe operator Heinz Meixner pulled up to Checkpoint Charlie on May 5, 1963, something must have seemed odd about his red Austin Healey Sprite convertible. Namely, it was missing its windshield. (A closer inspection would also have revealed that his mother was hiding in the trunk.) When the East German guard directed Meixner to pull over to a customs shed, Meixner instead floored the accelerator and ducked. His tiny car slipped right under the three-foot-high barrier dividing the East from the West.

* With a passport from HEF
A 1986 Los Angeles Times piece by Gordon E. Rowley described Meixner’s driving escape, but it also detailed a decidedly low-tech method of crossing the border. According to Rowley, some border crossers simply approached the guards and flashed their membership cards for Munich’s Playboy Club. The cards so closely resembled diplomatic passports that the guards often waved them through.

* On a speeding train
These clever escapes all worked, but in the wall’s early days, brute force was an option, too. In December 1961, a 27-year-old train engine driver named Harry Deterling piloted what he dubbed “the last train to freedom” across the border. Instead of slowing down his passenger train as it approached the fortifications, Deterling throttled it up to full speed and ripped through the wall. The train skidded to a stop in West Berlin’s Spandau borough, allowing Deterling, seven members of his family, and 16 other people aboard the train to remain in the West. The train’s engineer and six other passengers chose to return to East Germany.

* In a hot air balloon
The escape orchestrated by Hans Strelczyk and Gunter Wetzel in 1979 sounds like it came straight out of a comic book. Strelczyk, a mechanic, and Wetzel, a mason, used their mechanical expertise to build a hot air balloon engine out of old propane cylinders. Their wives then pieced together a makeshift balloon from scraps of canvas and old bed sheets, and on September 16, 1979, the two couples, along with their four children, floated up to 8,000 feet and drifted over the wall to freedom.

* In a well-aged tunnel
In May 1962, a dozen people escaped from the East by way of Der Seniorentunnel, otherwise known as “the Senior Citizens’ Tunnel.” Led by an 81-year-old man, a group of senior citizens had spent 16 days digging a 160-foot-long and 6-foot-tall tunnel from an East German chicken coop all the way to the other side of the wall. According to one of the diggers, the tunnel was so tall because the old men wanted “to walk to freedom with our wives, comfortably and unbowed.”

* In a uniform
Movies tend to portray East German border guards as soulless automatons who were dead-set on keeping everyone on their side of the wall, but many of the guards were just as desperate to escape as their fellow East Germans. One perk of being a border guard was that a soldier could simply wander over the border to freedom, and a lot of them did. Over 1,300 made the jump in the first two years of the wall’s existence. The most famous of these escapes was made by 19-year-old guard Conrad Schumann on August 15, 1961, just the third day of the wall’s construction. Since the “wall” was really just piles of barbed wire at that point, Schumann jumped over the wire in his uniform while toting his machine gun. A photographer caught Schumann’s flying leap, and the jump to freedom became an iconic Cold War image. Schumann eventually settled in the southwestern state of Bavaria and worked as a machine operator. He committed suicide in 1998.

4.       The fall of the Berlin Wall happened by mistake

At a press conference on the evening of November 9, 1989, East German politburo member Günter Schabowski prematurely announced that restrictions on travel visas would be lifted. When asked when the new policy would begin, he said, “Immediately, without delay.” In actuality, the policy was to be announced the following day and would still have required East Germans to go through a lengthy visa application process. Schabowski’s confused answers and erroneous media reports that border crossings had opened spurred thousands of East Berliners to the Berlin Wall. At the Bornholmer Street checkpoint, Harald Jäger, the chief officer on duty, faced a mob growing in size and frustration. Receiving insults, rather than instructions, from his superiors and nervously expecting results of his cancer diagnostic tests the next day, the overwhelmed Jäger opened the border crossing on his own, and the other gates soon followed.

Sources and Additional Infromation: