Generous GI Bill isn’t keeping today’s veterans out of student loan debt – Veterans Today

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GI BILLDespite the generous benefits of the latest GI Bill, military veterans attending college are taking out substantial student loans, raising concerns among veterans’ organizations that they are unnecessarily diving into debt.

For most veterans, the GI Bill covers four academic years of tuition at public colleges and universities, and has programs to cover the vast majority of expenses at many private institutions. Veterans also receive a monthly living allowance — averaging about $1,300, depending on where they live — to help cover expenses while they attend school.

But data compiled for The Times by the Department of Education show that in one academic year — 2012, the latest available — 26% of undergraduates receiving veterans education benefits also took out federal or private education loans. The average loan was $7,400 — slightly more than for students who had never served in the military.

Veterans groups and lawmakers are concerned about borrowing by GI Bill users, who ideally should be able to graduate debt-free. “It’s a big issue,” said Walter Ochinko, policy director for the nonprofit organization Veterans Education Success. “We hear from a lot of veterans who have debt.”

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Source Article from http://www.veteranstoday.com/2015/10/31/generous-gi-bill-isnt-keeping-todays-veterans-out-of-student-loan-debt/

As Greenland Melts – Gulf Stream Cools – Veterans Today

greenland

Greenland Ice sheet melting down

For years, scientists have studied the impact of global warming on the Greenland Ice sheets but now on the ground researchers are documenting the full impact of the melting of Greenland’s ice sheet, one of the biggest and fastest-melting chunks of ice on Earth ~ which could eventually increase sea levels by about 20 feet as well as permanently alter the Gulf stream and effectively freeze Europe: Allen L Roland, PhD

 

The ice sheet is porous, like Swiss cheese,” Dr. Smith said. “We didn’t know that until this year.”

This summer in Greenland, these scientists set up their camp on the ice, where they hoped to capture the first comprehensive measurements of the rate of melting. See New York Times Interactive article ~

 Leap forward 10 years and the prospect of such calamitous tipping points in the North Atlantic or elsewhere no longer seem improbable. In fact, climate scientists have begun to note early indicators of possible catastrophes ~ such as altering the North Atlantic current and effecting the global conveyor belt.

Scene from Day after Tomorrow

Scene from Day after Tomorrow

Michael T Klare, Truthout explains this potential tipping point on October 28th, 2015  “Take the disruption of the North Atlantic Current, the pivotal event in The Day After Tomorrow. Essentially an extension of the Gulf Stream, that deep-sea current carries relatively warm salty water from the South Atlantic and the Caribbean to the northern reaches of the Atlantic. In the process, it helps keep Europe warmer than it would otherwise be. Once its salty water flows into sub-Arctic areas carried by this prolific stream, it gets colder and heavier, sinks to lower depths, and starts a return trip to warmer climes in the south where the whole process begins again.

So long as this “global conveyor belt” – known to scientists as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC – keeps functioning, the Gulf Stream will also continue to bring warmer waters to the eastern United States and Europe. Should it be disrupted, however, the whole system might break down, in which case the Euro-Atlantic climate could turn colder and more storm-prone. Such a disruption might occur if the vast Greenland ice sheet melts in a significant way, as indeed is already beginning to happen today, pouring large quantities of salt-free fresh water into the Atlantic Ocean. Because of its lighter weight, this newly introduced water will remain close to the surface, preventing the submergence of salty water from the south and so effectively shutting down the conveyor belt. Indeed, exactly this process now seems to be underway.

By all accounts, 2015 is likely to wind up as the hottest year on record, with large parts of the world suffering from severe heat waves and wildfires ~ which includes Greenland.

Could it be that the global conveyor belt system is already being affected? Apparently so according to Truthout ~

a stretch of the North Atlantic below Iceland and Greenland is experiencing all-time cold temperatures, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. What explains this anomaly? According to scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Pennsylvania State University, among other institutions, the most likely explanation is the arrival in the area of cold water from the Greenland ice sheet that is melting ever more rapidly thanks to climate change. Because this meltwater starts out salt-free, it has remained near the surface and so, as predicted, is slowing the northern advance of warmer water from the North Atlantic Current.

So far, the AMOC has not suffered a dramatic shutdown, but it is slowing, and scientists worry that a rapid increase in Greenland ice melt as the Arctic continues to warm will pour ever more meltwater into the North Atlantic, severely disrupting the conveyor system. That would, indeed, constitute a major tipping point, with severe consequences for Europe and eastern North America. Not only would Europe experience colder temperatures on an otherwise warmer planet, but coastal North America could witness higher sea levels than those predicted from climate change alone because the Gulf Stream tends to pull sea water away from the eastern US and push it toward Europe. If it were to fail, rising sea levels could endanger cities like New York and Boston. Indeed, scientists discovered that just such a slowing of the AMOC helped produce a sea-level rise of four inches from New York to Newfoundland in 2009 and 2010.

How likely is this tipping point to happen?

In its 2014 report on the status of global warming, the IPCC indicated that the likelihood of the AMOC collapsing before the end of this century remains relatively low. But some studies suggest that the conveyor system is already 15%-20% below normal with Greenland’s melting still in an early stage. Once that process switches into high gear, the potential for the sort of breakdown that was once science fiction starts to look all too real.See full story ~

This is an important story so the world awaits the findings of the Greenland on- the- ground researchers ~ for their report could well effect the fate of the Earth. 

“Men argue. Nature acts.” ~ Voltaire


Allen L Roland, PhD

 Heart c%nterEd rpiritual consultant and advisor Allen L Roland can be contacted at  allen@allenroland.com Allen is also a lecturer and writer who shares a weekly political and social commentary on his web log and website allenroland.com. He is also featured columnist on Veterans Today and  guest hosts a monthly national radio show TRUTHTALK on www.conscioustalk.net

 

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Source Article from http://www.veteranstoday.com/2015/10/31/as-greenland-melts-gulf-stream-cools/

SouthFront: Ukraine military report – Veterans Today

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South Front Analysis & Intelligence is a public analytical project maintained by an independent team of experts from the four corners of the Earth focusing on international relations issues and crises. They focus on analysis and intelligence of the ongoing crises and the biggest stories from around the world: Ukraine, the war in Middle East, Central Asia issues, protest movements in the Balkans, migration crises, and others. In addition, they provide military operations analysis, the military posture of major world powers, and other important data influencing the growth of tensions between countries and nations. We try to dig out the truth on issues which are barely covered by governments and mainstream media.

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The biggest story of the week is the apparent withdrawal of Ukrainian heavy armor from the front line on the Donbass. It is likely motivated by purely pragmatic reasons. Another winter in the front line would likely incapacitate the remnants of Ukraine’s tank fleet which relies on T-64 tank.

The personnel draw-down caused by the gradual demobilization and the end of mobilization waves means that the six “mobile” brigades will be the only formations to be maintained at full or near-full strength to serve as screening forces along the contact line. The rest of the UAF seems to be transitioning to the role of “static” formations capable of only positional defense.

The Ukrainian military is planning to spend (or steal) considerable resources to fortify the country’s coastline against a Russian amphibious assault. The most remarkable part of the new project is that while it was adopted in October 2015, it is supposed to be fully implemented by the end of December 2015! Time will tell whether this project amounts to anything more than an coastline version of the infamous “European wall” separating Ukraine from Russia along its land border.

The Ukrainian defence industry is gaining successes. The Ukrainian military managed to sink and badly damage one of the two Dozor armored cars currently undergoing testing. The incident took place while the vehicle attempted to cross a small water barrier. This is not the first time the Dozor-B has suffered a mishap during testing, though the sinking is arguably its most spectacular failure to date. The vehicle was supposed to enter service in 2014, right now the series production should begin at some point in 2016…

The Dozor story is indicative of problems endemic to the Ukrainian defense industry, including the prosaic shortage of qualified cadres many of whom simply left for better paying and more stable jobs in Russia, or simply quit because they did not wish to contribute to killing the people of the Donbass. And there is nobody to replace these experienced specialists.

The UAF did receive a small number of armored vehicles in recent days, with the National Guard and Border Guard now operating 11 “Kozak-2″ armored cars.

Of course, it begs the question why the UAF is persisting with two relatively similar vehicles, for the differences between the Dozor and the Kozak are largely cosmetic. The answer likely lies in whose pockets are being lined with the contract money. The Kozak and Dozor are made by different manufacturers, with different owners.

If a light four-wheeled vehicle is suffering from such quality problems, what of more sophisticated equipment such as APCs or battle tanks which represent a far greater technological challenge? The so-called “modifications” of Ukrainian armored vehicles are largely for show and have little practical effect. For example, the “RPG screens” fitted to so many Ukrainian vehicles don’t actually seem to bother RPGs all that much.

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Source Article from http://www.veteranstoday.com/2015/10/31/southfront-ukraine-military-report/

<2 class="entry-title">Civilian casualties in E. Ukraine drop by 55%, but landmines still threaten locals – UN

The truce agreed by Kiev and the rebels in eastern Ukraine on September 1 “largely held for the past two months,” a Humanitarian Bulletin on Ukraine, released by OCHA on Saturday, stressed.

“During September 2015, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recorded 43 civilian casualties in the conflict zone (nine killed and 34 injured) – a more than 55 percent reduction compared to an average monthly casualty figure of 95 between February 16 and August 15,” the paper said.

READ MORE: Tanks withdrawing from contact line in Lugansk People’s Republic

According to the UN body, the main risk for civilians has shifted from actual warfare to mines and unexploded ordnance.

“Landmines, ERW and IEDs accounted for 81 per cent of all civilian casualties (both killed and injured) in September,” the bulletin said.

De-mining efforts are being performed on both sides of the ‘contact-line,’ “the scope of contamination outweighs available capacity and resources,” OCHA said.

“Estimates by the mine action sub-cluster partners indicate that at least 30,000 hectares of land in eastern Ukraine might be contaminated,” the paper said.

Ukraine has been involved in a deadly military conflict since April 2014 when the government sent troops to southeastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions, in which rebels refused to recognize the new coup-imposed power in Kiev.

Over 8,000 people lost their lives in the fighting, while 1.4 million were displace within Ukraine and nearly a million fled the country, according to UN estimates.

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/news/320330-ukraine-ceasefire-civilian-casualties/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Italian school rejects girl with AIDS, family appeals to education minister

Italy’s education minister has personally intervened to ensure her readmittance.

The girl named Francesca, who was diagnosed with AIDS earlier this year when she was just ten years old, was accepted into a school in the southwestern Italian province of Campania near Naples in July. But after the institution found out that the girl had the disease, she was turned away and only offered distance education at home, her foster parents said.

The school’s headmaster said there were not enough places for pupils in classes, Italy’s branch of The Local reported her parents as saying. But they believed “the decision was based on hysterical and unfounded fears about AIDS contagion,” the media reported, adding that people with AIDS and HIV are protected from discrimination at work and at school by Italian law.

READ MORE: Chinese villagers sign petition to isolate HIV-positive child 

Having been outraged by the move, the foster parents appealed to Italy’s education minister through the local Avvenire newspaper, saying that “the state school system is discriminating” against the child. The top education official promptly reacted, promising that the girl would be accepted back into class next week.

I share your dismay and your frustration at the impossibility, for a girl of 11 years, which is actually the age of compulsory education, to be able to attend regular classes,” Minister Stefania Giannini wrote in a letter published by Avvenire.

Saying that she has tasked regional education offices with assessing the situation, the minister added that “we will evaluate if someone has made a mistake, and – if someone did – take the responsibilities.”

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/news/320329-italy-aids-girl-school/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Record radiation at Fukushima power plant could kill person in under 1 hour – reports

The mortal radiation reading was taken in a small room, using a remote-controlled robot, where a pipe leads to the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, JIJI Press reported, citing Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO).

The reading of 9.4 sieverts (Sv) per hour was taken during the September 4-25 checks. According to the operator, the highest levels of contamination were measured on the floor. TEPCO did not offer any further details. The company will start the decontamination process that it hopes to complete by December.

Immediate radiation exposure around the Fukushima nuclear power following the deadly incident reached 400 millisieverts (mSv) per hour in places. One millisievert is a thousandth of a sievert, therefore the new 9.4 Sv reading is 23.5 times higher than the radiation level recorded in March, 2011.

Just to compare, the typical average dose for a person is about 0.0036 Sv. per year. Combined career exposure limits for NASA‘s male astronauts by the time they are 55 years old is 4.00 Sv.

Earlier this week, a government commissioned study, said that nearly 40 percent of those involved in the emergency assistance operation at the Fukushima plant in March 2011 suffered radiation exposure exceeding the yearly public norm.

READ MORE: Record radiation at Fukushima power plant could kill person in under 1 hour – reports

A magnitude 9 earthquake triggered a tsunami that struck Fukushima on March 11, 2011. The disaster caused a triple meltdown at the nuclear plant, where so far almost 45,000 workers have been involved in a clean-up and decommissioning effort that is expected to cost billions of dollars and take about 40 years.

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/news/320319-fukushima-deadly-radiation-dosage-94sv/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

New Zealand 34-17 Australia: All Blacks crush Wallabies to retain Rugby World Cup

New Zealand had been the best team in the tournament and they started off at full tilt, pushing Australia back into their own half, dominating possession and looking dangerous going forward. The Wallabies defended desperately – competing well at the breakdown but unable to mount any offence and forced to backpedal as the All Blacks swarmed forward.

An injury to Kane Douglas pushed Australia further on the back foot, and New Zealand smartly chose to grind their opponents down through territorial advantage and fast recycling, reducing the threat of turnovers and keeping the game in Australia’s half.

With the first half drawing to a close, Australia had restricted the score to 9-3 and would have been justified in considering that a good score to take into the break.

© Eddie Keogh

In the 39th minute, the game changed as New Zealand switched their performance up a gear, changing the angle of attack in Australia’s 22-meter line and passing the ball to Richie McCaw and onwards to Milner-Skudder, who slid it over the corner for the first try of the game. Daniel Carter converted, and New Zealand went into half-time at 16-3.

If Australia thought the half time break would give them a chance to regroup, they were wrong. New Zealand made a brilliant play down the short side, recycling through the midfield with Ma’a Nonu getting a huge gap in midfield to thunder through and Nonu scored a 55-meter try to put New Zealand up 21-3. Carter missed the conversion, but the damage was done.

There’s always a comeback in games like these and Australia finally rallied around the 50th minute mark, pushing into New Zealand’s half and driving the lineout to the 22-meter line, the first time in the game they had possession there in the match.

A yellow card for Ben Smith for a tip-tackle – the first player to be sin binned in a World Cup final – gave Australia the advantage and they used it to maximum effect, scoring two tries in 10 minutes through David Pocock and Tevita Kuridrani.

© Toby Melville

At this point New Zealand looked shaken. Then, Ben Smith returned to restore numerical parity and the brilliant Daniel Carter took over. A drop-goal from 45 meters gave New Zealand breathing room before a penalty from near the half line pushed the score to 27-17. And just like that the Australian comeback was buried.

The Wallabies tried to rally again but the All Blacks shot back in style, Beauden Barrett scoring the final try in the 79th minute and Carter converting to give New Zealand a 34-17 win.

New Zealand are worthy winners, the best team in the tournament with Daniel Carter a deserving man of the match. Australia may have beaten any other team with that second half comeback and it would have made for a thrilling story, but the All Blacks were just too good.

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/sport/320318-newzealand-wins-worldcup-final/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

‘We are flying home:’ Grief & disbelief in Russia over shocking Sinai air crash

FOLLOW Russian passenger jet crashes over Sinai LIVE UPDATES

Kolavia flight 7K9268 from Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh resort to Russia’s St. Petersburg was carrying 217 passengers and 7 crewmembers. An overwhelming majority of people on board were Russian nationals. Three Ukrainians and one Belarus national are also reportedly among the crash victims. The catastrophe is the deadliest in Russian aviation history.

© Igor Russak

Those on the crashed Airbus A321 were mostly holidaymakers. The Egyptian Red Sea destination is popular among Russian tourists all year round. Most passengers were reportedly from St. Petersburg, but people from Russian cities such as Samara, Pskov, Novgorod and Ulyanovsk were also returning home.

Twenty-five children were believed to have been on board, along with 192 adults – nearly 140 of who were women. According to the officially released list of passengers, many were traveling in families, as many passengers had the same family names.

Personal social media accounts of people who were on board the doomed flight started to emerge. Others – both friends and people from all over Russia and beyond – posted condolences under images that just hours previously had simply been happy holiday shots.

One woman who was reportedly on board the crashed Airbus with her family, posted a photograph of her husband and child standing on airstairs next to the plane in the early morning hours.

Hello St. Petersburg, farewell Egypt. We are flying home,” her status on the popular Russian VKontakte social media said.

© Igor Russak

Many of the passengers killed in the crash had VKontakte accounts, where they had posted many pictures from their holidays at the Egyptian resort. “Time please stand still,” one of the captions read.

A couple from St. Petersburg had been celebrating their one year wedding anniversary at the resort, having traveled to Egypt to mark their special day. “She called us yesterday, said that they had a great time on holiday, that the weather was very nice. She also sent some pictures, the two of them were looking so young and beautiful,” a friend of the two victims told RT, adding that the woman would have turned 35 years old tomorrow.

Two young men who became friends with two girls who were flying to St. Petersburg from Sharm El-Sheikh on Saturday morning were devastated by the news, they told Russia’s LifeNews. “We became friends at the resort, stayed at the same hotel… It’s so difficult to realize what has happened,” one man told the reporters, adding that they have decided to help the families of the dead women.

The flight vanished from radar screens 23 minutes after taking off. At first there were conflicting reports of the plane’s fate. For several hours relatives of people on the Kolavia flight waited for information about their loved ones, with mixed reports coming from different sources. The news that everyone had been killed shattered their last hopes, turning the international airport in St. Petersburg into a hall of tears and despair.

© Igor Russak

My wife [was on board]. The kids returned earlier, they traveled [to Egypt] together, but the children came home earlier, and she [was supposed] to return today. I had a dream tonight, like I was washing her, and she had no leg,” one man at the airport told RT’s Ruptly news agency.

She sent me a text message around six o’clock in the morning, it said ‘I’m boarding now, Godspeed.’ That’s all,” the sobbing man added.

Medical crews, including some 40 psychologists, have been working at the airport to help people suffering from shock. Around 90 have sought medical assistance, Russia’s Health Ministry reported.

Specialists have started gathering DNA samples from the relatives, who were taken to a hotel from the airport on a special bus. Most of the bodies of their loved ones have been reportedly recovered from the wreckage in Sinai and were being delivered to Cairo morgues. Unconfirmed reports suggested a special flight is being organized to take relatives to the crash site.

November 1 has been declared a national day of mourning in Russia.

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/news/320304-sinai-plane-crash-relatives/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS