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More than 130 melon-headed whales, a member of the dolphin family usually found in the deep ocean, beached in Japan on Friday, sparking frantic efforts by locals and coastguards to save them.

Rescuers were battling to stop the creatures' skin from drying out as they lay on a beach about 100 kilometres (60 miles) northeast of Tokyo, while some were being carried in slings back towards the ocean.

Television footage showed several animals from the large pod had been badly cut, with many having deep gashes on their skin.

An AFP journalist at the scene said that despite efforts to get the dolphins into the water, some were being pushed back onto the beach by the tide soon after they had been released.

A number of the creatures had died, he said, and were being buried.

"We see one or two whales washing ashore a year, but this may be the first time to find over 100 of them on a beach," a coastguard official told AFP.

 

 

Withdrawal from the leading credit organization of Moldova – Banca de Economii (BEM) of one billion dollars at one go was not possible otherwise it would have provoked crisis of the whole banking business of Moldova, the experts consider.

In opinion of Slava Rabinovich, CEO at Diamond Age Investment Advisors Limited (company is incorporated in London, works in Moscow and the CIS)

“It is definitely impossible to convert (to exchange) quickly the amount equivalent to 100 million dollars, 1 billion dollars/euros in such countries as Moldova. I believe, if doing it officially, it will take up to six months.

For Russian banking system it is possible but not for Moldova. I doubt this can be done in general.”

The expert is assured it is impossible to transfer such substantial amounts of money without being monitored by regulatory agencies. “All transactions in US dollars are done via American correspondent accounts in American banks, and euro transactions – via European. They can and must conduct financial monitoring to detect money laundering,” the investment analytic declared.

The government of Moldova started the process of sanitation of Banca de Economii in 2013 right after the bank was on the verge of bankruptcy. Debts of the credit organization according to different estimations ranged from 5 to 10 billion lei. However, in November of the same year the Central Bank of Moldova took over provisional administration of BEM, having suspended the bank new investors from the decision-making process.

 

 

Zimbabwe have agreed to tour Pakistan for a five-match one-day series next month, the first Test-playing nation to visit in six years, Pakistan's cricket chief said Thursday.

"Zimbabwe's final reply is that yes we want to come to Pakistan and although there are some details to be finalised we hope that they will come to play five one-day matches -- three in Lahore and two in Karachi -- next month," said Shehryar Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board.

The visit would make Zimbabwe the first team from the ten Test-playing countries to tour Pakistan in six years.

Foreign teams have refused to tour Pakistan over security fears since a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March 2009.

Pakistan has had to host all its home matches in United Arab Emirates instead.

Security in Pakistan has improved since last year's military operation against the Taliban insurgency in the troubled northwest.

 

 

 

 

The sprawling palace compounds from which Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi ruled for four decades have been reduced to garbage dumps and pet markets by the 2011 revolution which toppled him.

In the heart of Tripoli, the once feared but now humbled Bab al-Aziziya compound resembles a wasteland.

During his rule, Libyans would be nervous just walking anywhere near the fortress-like seat of the Kadhafi regime.

"People were afraid even to look at the walls, for fear of being arrested," said Hassan, a Tripoli taxi driver.

All that remains of the compound, which had been hit in a 1986 US air strike before being pounded by NATO four years ago, are a few ruined buildings, the green flooring of Kadhafi's home and a dug-up network of underground tunnels.

The monument of a gold-coloured fist clenching a US fighter plane was vandalised and sent off to Misrata, a rebel bastion during the revolt which ousted and killed Kadhafi.

At a safe distance from his people, Kadhafi lived behind fortified walls with his wife, their children, close advisers and guards.

 

 

 

 

With its Anglican Church and English gardens, Monte da Palhagueira is a British outpost in southern Portugal, an "El Dorado" for European retirees due to its generous tax incentives and sunny climate.

But there are conditions to living there -- residents must be more than 55-years-old and have a sizeable nest egg of British pounds.

"Here I have a life without stress, I do yoga and go for long walks with my dog," said Sally Kerr, a slender-framed 64-year-old, as she scans a panoramic view of green hills from the rooftop of her villa in the retirement community.

She moved to Portugal two years ago after leaving behind a demanding job as a security manager at the Sellafield nuclear power plant in northwest England.

 

Her husband David, 65, a passionate golfer, stayed behind in England and flies out to be with her on weekends. He plans to join her permanently once he retires.

The country's mild climate played a key role in their decision.

"Even in winter I can take my tea on the terrace. And the cost of living is about 30 percent less than in Britain," said Kerr as she watered her plants.

With its cobbled narrow streets and white-washed houses nestled on a hill and surrounded by olive and palm trees, Monte da Palhagueira is modelled on the ancient towns of the Algarve, Portugal's southernmost province which is popular with British holidaymakers.

But life in the town resembles Little England. English dominates, even if Portuguese language courses are offered to newcomers.

The nurses and doctors at the town's nursing home are British as is the town's priest. In fact, virtually everyone is British except the gardeners and housemaids.

The Daily Telegraph and other British newspapers are delivered daily.

 

- 'Corner of paradise' -

 

George Rush, 78, a retired aeronautical engineer who wears thick glasses, is a voracious reader.

He also spends his time preparing the village's quarterly newsletter, "The Full Monty", named after a 1997 British comedy-drama about a group of unemployed men who become strippers.

"I can't imagine passing my time sitting in an armchair until the end of my life, brains have to work. Writing, learning a new language, is better than just waiting for death," said Rush.

His wife Paulette, a retired Latin teacher who was born in Belgium, is also happy with life in the village.

"It's our little corner of paradise, we never get bored here, people talk on their doorstep, in England we would have a much more lonely life," she said.

Living in the retirement community has a price: to have the right to live in one of its 33 villas spread out over 22 acres costs between 79,000 and 350,000 British pounds (108,000 to 478,000 euros/$118,000 to $520,000) depending on their size.

The properties are available under a "loan and accommodation agreement" -- so if an occupant dies or decides to move the amount paid is refunded and the property reverts back to the Amesbury Abbey Group, a family-run firm that runs similar retirement communities in Britain.

"It is the same as in England except that it is warmer here," said the director of the company, David Cornelius-Reid.

"The arrangement allows families to avoid having to resell the home and have to pay taxes and notary fees," he added.

- Fiscal incentives -

 

 

Prime-Minister-Harper-without-text-and-noise-1

1. Your legal service that helps people gain permanent residence in Canada, the U.S. and other countries is one of the most efficient and fastest growing services. Please tell me a few words about yourself. How did you start your career as a lawyer, and your business?

I started off my career as a lawyer working under the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. After a number of years serving in the Canadian Government, ultimately retiring as Chief of Staff to Canada’s Minister of State (Finance), I chose to enter private practice. It is a natural progression to go from working to make a country, in my case Canada, the best it can be, to facilitating others who wish to live in and improve Canada through investment opportunities.  I realized there was demand from people around the world looking for trustworthy services to facilitate migration to North America.  My firm, Sussex Investment Immigration Inc., uses strategic partnerships with experienced professionals who are experts in each respective country’s immigration rules in order to facilitate migration to Canada, the U.S. and Antigua and Barbuda.

2. What are the most attractive proposals for people who want to start a new life abroad? Is it easy to become resident in the U.S. and Canada?

Everyone chooses to migrate for different reasons. As such, the proposals differ depending on the needs of the clients.  The U.S.’s EB5 program is ideal for those who wish to invest in the U.S. in order to acquire a green card to work and live in the U.S. for them and their family; however, U.S. citizens are taxed on international revenue irrespective of their residence.  While the program can lead to U.S. citizenship the process will take a number of years.  Canadian citizenship on the other hand provides access to the same quality of life, as well as similar education and job opportunities; however, once citizenship is acquired, Canadian taxation is based on residency and source of income.  The Canadian process also takes time.  Whereas, someone who seeks quick citizenship, visa free travel to a number of countries, and tax shelters should select Sussex Investment Immigration’s Antigua and Barbuda program.

Migration is made easier with experienced support from Sussex Investment Immigration.

3. Why do you propose residence in these countries specifically?

Many people see Canada and the United States of America as lands of opportunity – the land of milk and honey – the Promised Land. People who choose to migrate often look for a place where they can improve their current way of life.  While each family chooses to move for different reasons, the reason to move must outweigh the reasons to stay in their original country where people have familiarity.

North American residents have some of the highest quality of life in the world. People come to Canada or the U.S. in search of better employment opportunities. Other people move here to leave poverty behind, while others seek better medical treatments. For many people, moving to Canada and the U.S. provide more personal liberties such as freedom of expression, freedom of association, religious freedom, freedom of mobility.  Some people move to North America looking for political asylum and protection. Others want to live in democratic countries with clean environments.  Some choose these countries because of their world class education systems, while others choose the economic stability and strong job opportunities.

Whatever the reason people move, it represents a fresh start under some of the best political systems in the world that makes it much easier for immigrants to start a new life and make their dreams come true. After all, Canada and U.S. were formed and made by immigrants of many backgrounds.

4. Apart from the legalization of stay in Canada, you offer real estate in newly built apartments there. Can you amplify a little on this offer?

Some clients seek assistance in obtaining a place of residence or a conservative investment in residential real estate.  Specifically for the Toronto market, Sussex has teamed up with one of Canada’s leading developers, Tribute Communities, who has won builder of the year awards and best in customer satisfaction.  This relationship helps Sussex meet its clients’ real estate needs.

 

 

 

GoDaddy, which has built its reputation trying to make Web hosting sexy, storms into Wall Street with a stock offering Wednesday aiming to revive the public markets' appetite for technology.

Arizona-based GoDaddy is expected to raise more than $400 million in an initial public offering (IPO) which marks the end of a noticeable drought for the sector, which has been pumped up by cash from private equity investors.

GoDaddy, known for its provocative television ads with scantily clad women and its sponsorship of race car driver Danica Patrick, will be only the fourth IPO for the tech sector so far this year, according to Renaissance Capital.

The company has kept an unusually public profile for a tech firm, gaining attention for example with its Super Bowl "beauty and the nerd" featuring model Bar Refaeli.

The world's biggest domain name registrar, GoDaddy is heading to Wall Street even though many of its peers in the sector have been raising cash in private markets, sparking fears of a bubble.

In recent months, Uber, Dropbox, Airbnb and Pinterest have lifted their valuations with private equity funding.

 

 

 

Higher levels of pesticide residue in fruit and vegetables are associated with lower quality of semen, according to a study published on Tuesday.

Its authors said the research was only an early step in what should be a much wider investigation.

In a first recommendation, they urged men not to stop eating fruit and veg, and pointed to organically-grown food, or food that is low in pesticides, as options for lowering any apparent risk.

The US team analysed 338 semen samples from 155 men attending a fertility centre between 2007 and 2012.

The volunteers were aged between 18 and 55, had not had a vasectomy, and were part of a couple planning to use their own eggs and sperm for fertility treatment.

The men were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their diet, asking them how often, on average, they consumed portions of fruit and vegetables.

These portions were then placed into categories of being low, moderate or high in pesticide residues, on the basis of US Department of Agriculture data.

Peas, beans, grapefruit and onions, for instance, fell into the low category, whereas peppers, spinach, strawberries, apples and pears were in the high category.

The data factored in whether the items had been peeled and washed before being eaten.

Men who had the greatest consumption of high-category fruit and vegetables had a total sperm count of 86 million sperm per ejaculate.

This was 49 percent less than men who ate the least. They had a sperm count of 171 million per ejaculate.

In addition, men with the lowest pesticide residue intake had an average of 7.5 percent of normally-formed sperm -- but this tally was nearly a third lower, at 5.1 percent, among those who had the highest intake.

There were no significant differences between the low-and moderate-residue groups.

- 'Unnecessary worry' -

"To our knowledge, this is the first report on the consumption of fruit and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residue in relation to semen quality," said the study, published in the journal Human Reproduction.

"These findings suggest that exposure to pesticides used in agricultural production through diet may be sufficient to affect spermatogenesis in humans."

The study acknowledged limitations: men attending fertility clinics are prone to having semen quality problems, and the diet in this case was assessed only once and could have changed over time.

 

 

 

 

The 19-country eurozone economy appears to be gaining momentum as a closely-watched survey found business activity at a near four-year high in March.

In its monthly survey, financial information company Markit says its purchasing managers' index for the region rose to 54.1 points in March from 53.3 in February. That puts the index at its highest level since May 2011. Anything above 50 indicates expansion.

Markit says the upturn was largely fueled by new orders and that the improvement was broad-based across sectors. The survey found Germany, the currency bloc's biggest economy, doing particularly well and France improving.

 

 

 

The Islamic State jihadist group claimed responsibility Thursday for an attack on foreign tourists at Tunisia's national museum that killed 21 people, as the security forces swooped on suspects.

The authorities said they had identified the two dead gunmen behind Wednesday's assault, which prompted calls for a show of national unity against extremism in the birthplace of the Arab Spring.

In an audio message posted online, IS said that "two knights from the Islamic State... heavily armed with automatic weapons and grenades, targeted the Bardo Museum."

It threatened more attacks, saying: "What you have seen is only the start."

Trade unions and other civil society groups called for a silent demonstration outside the Tunis museum where the attack killed 20 foreigners and at least one Tunisian.

"The security forces were able to arrest four people directly linked to the (terrorist) operation and five suspected of having ties to the cell," the president's office said in a statement.

Authorities say as many as 3,000 Tunisians have gone to Iraq, Syria and Libya to fight in jihadist ranks, including with IS, raising fears of battle-hardened militants returning home to plot attacks.

The presidency said soldiers would be deployed to beef up security in major cities following the museum assault.

But "we are not under siege", a presidential source said.

As international outrage grew over the worst post-revolution attack in the cradle of the Arab Spring, President Beji Caid Essebsi vowed to fight extremists "without mercy to our last breath".

The leader of the Islamist opposition party Ennahda, Rached Ghannouchi, said he was convinced that "the Tunisian people will stay united in the face of barbarity".

- Appeals for unity -

The media also called for solidarity, with newspaper La Presse appealing for "total unity and a sense of responsibility shared by all".

Panic had broken out as gunmen in military uniforms opened fire at visitors as they got off a bus and then chased them inside the museum.

The dead included three Japanese, two Spaniards, a Colombian, an Australian, a British woman, a Belgian woman, two French, a Pole and an Italian, Health Minister Said Aidi said.

He said a policeman was also killed but did not mention a second Tunisian victim initially reported by the authorities.

Dozens more people were wounded in the assault, in a massive blow to Tunisia's heavily tourism-dependent economy.

At least two major cruise ship operators suspended stopovers in Tunis following the attack.

After cowering in fear in the museum during the night, two Spanish tourists were discovered alive and well, officials said.

In a show of defiance, the government said the National Bardo Museum would reopen early next week.

Prime Minister Habib Essid named the two gunmen killed by security forces as Yassine Abidi and Hatem Khachnaoui.

He said Abidi was known to the police.

Tunisia has seen an upsurge in Islamist extremism since the 2011 revolution that ousted longtime strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and sparked the Arab Spring uprisings around the region.

The museum assailants were "probably" Tunisian, the interior ministry said.

Nine of the slain tourists were from the MSC Spendida cruise ship, whose owners said a special psychologist unit had been set up for passengers.

MSC Cruises and Italian operator Costa Crociere said they would divert cruise ships which had been due to berth in Tunis.

- Attack sparks outrage -

The attack appeared to be the worst on foreigners in Tunisia since an Al-Qaeda suicide bombing of a synagogue killed 21 people on the island of Djerba in 2002.

It was also the first time civilians have been targeted since the revolution.