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H.Res.893 – Recognizing the memorials and monuments to the Katyn Massacre are important historical reminders of the heinous acts that took the lives of approximately 22,000 innocent Polish prisoners of war at the order of Joseph Stalin.
115th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. RES. 893
Recognizing the memorials and monuments to the Katyn Massacre are important historical reminders of the heinous acts that took the lives of approximately 22,000 innocent Polish prisoners of war at the order of Joseph Stalin.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
May 15, 2018
Mr. Sires (for himself and Ms. Kaptur) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources

RESOLUTION
Recognizing the memorials and monuments to the Katyn Massacre are important historical reminders of the heinous acts that took the lives of approximately 22,000 innocent Polish prisoners of war at the order of Joseph Stalin.
Whereas nearly 10,000,000 Americans today claim Polish ancestry, providing unwavering support for close United States-Poland relations;
Whereas Poland is a valued ally in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and over 2,000 United States military personnel are deployed in various operations in Poland;
Whereas Poles have been an integral part of America’s history, settling in the United States before American independence, where Polish generals Taddeus Kosciuszko and Casimir Pulaski bravely fought for independence and freedom for both the United States and Poland;
Whereas Poland was invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in World War II, and many Polish-Americans were refugees from the devastation of World War II and the persecution created by the dual occupation of Poland by Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia;
Whereas in 1940 in the Katyn Forest and NKVD headquarters in nearby Smolensk, Russia, 22,000 Polish prisoners of war were murdered on the orders of Joseph Stalin, including Chief Rabbi of the Polish Army Baruch Steinberg, and over 400 other Jewish servicemen of the Polish armed forces;
Whereas until the 1990s, the Soviet Union denied its implication in the crime and worked to cover up the atrocities committed during the Katyn Massacre;
Whereas in 1951, the House of Representatives established a Select Committee to Conduct an Investigation and Study of the Facts, Evidence, and Circumstances of the Katyn Forest Massacre;
Whereas the Committee determined unanimously that the Soviet Union was responsible for the executions, and recommended a trial before the International World Court of Justice;
Whereas memorials have been erected around the country to honor the tens of thousands of victims of the Katyn Massacre, including in Baltimore, Maryland, Niles, Illinois, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and Jersey City, New Jersey; and
Whereas these memorials stand as an irreplaceable reminder for not only Polish-Americans, but all Americans of the crimes committed by totalitarian regimes: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, that the House of Representatives—
(1) recognizes the memorials and monuments to the Katyn Massacre are important historical reminders of the heinous acts that took the lives of approximately 22,000 innocent Polish prisoners of war at the order of Joseph Stalin; and
(2) applauds the sacrifices and contributions of Polish-Americans to the prosperity, diversity, and strength of the United States.

It’s a genetic test, but no body parts or blood are being analyzed

Italy Launches DNA Profiling Of Wine

La Repubblica

 

It’s a genetic test, but no body parts or blood are being analyzed — it’s bottles of wine instead.

 

A team of researchers have developed a system they say will revolutionize the concept of traceability used in proving the origins of agricultural products: in this case, the vine, the quality of yeast used in the fermentation of the must (pulp) in Malvasia, Muscat and Nero d’Avola grapes, among others.

 

This research, funded by the Rural Development Plan for the Sicilian Region, has revolutionized the current approach (DOC, DOP, IGT) which monitors the production process and leaves too much room for discretion to those who make the wine.

 

“Today, wine is history, it’s culture, it’s the area’s heritage,” says Francesco Carimi, project manager for the CNR. “This (method) is crucial for attributing definitive identity. Our research team interviewed elderly farmers, scrambling to pick up wild vines from ancient history, and comparing descriptions of medieval Latin texts to identify the plants. It was hard work, but it was fascinating.”

The Premier Romano Prodi\’s sale of Alitalia to the French in favour of an operation that cost more than €3 billion of public money (2008).

Air France Manoeuvres and Alitalia’s Future as Regional Airline

Doubts of Air France partner KLM.

 

 

Source: Corriere della Sera, by Antonella Baccaro, English translation by Giles Watson

 

ROME – The future of Alitalia is in the balance today at a meeting of the Air France-KLM board, when the majority shareholder could opt to increase its 25% holding in the Italian airline. Sources deny the issue is on the table and it will not be easy to discover the actual intentions of the French, just a month before the end of the lock-up period during which the partners are obliged to sell holdings only to each other.

 

For now, it’s all a matter of tactics. Silence has descended on the feelers Alitalia put out through Rothschild to Etihad to see if there was any interest in acquiring a holding. The United Arab Emirates-based company has excellent relations with Paris and could well flank Air France-KLM but any expression of interest would enable Alitalia to raise the asking price with the French, with whom Etihad would be in direct competition. For similar reasons, rumours of interest from Aeroflot are unlikely to up Alitalia’s price ticket. The Russian carrier is part of the Skyteamgroup, led by Air France-KLM.

 

Whichever way you look at it, the French call the tune, albeit with some serious doubts. These regard not so much the benefits of acquiring Alitalia, whose market the French cannot hand over to Lufthansa or British Airways, as the costs that such an operation would entail. The Dutch are understood to be blowing cool on the move, likely because they remember the snub they received in 1998 when they came within an ace of acquiring the Italian carrier. Yet there is more to this than pride: Air France-KLM has just announced a new round of 2,800 voluntary redundancies, reductions in mid-range flights, withdrawal from the B747 programme and the postponement of break-even until 2014.

 

Significantly, the French press reported a few days ago that any doubling of the Alitalia shareholding would come with stiff conditions: no assumption of debt; capital to be injected only after the Italian partners have done so first; and a free hand with planning for the airline. The deal could involve a capital increase with Air France-KLM underwriting its own quota and also, either alone or with Etihad, taking up the unoptioned portion. If the cost came to €200 million, Air France-KLM would have to fork out €50 million for its quota and up to twice that figure to acquire control, while staying below 50% so as not to consolidate Alitalia’s debts. On the financial front, the condition could be to make the capital increase only when the banks have agreed to release a further €200 million in finance to Alitalia. These figures are the minimum required for Alitalia to stay afloat.

 

Strategically, strengthening Air France-KLM’s shareholding would torpedo the part of CEO Gabriele Del Torchio’sproject that aims to expand intercontinental services and brings Alitalia back to the original recovery plan to make the company a regional carrier. Alitalia partners are mainly concerned about recouping the investment made in 2008. It is unlikely that politics can change the course of events this time, even though developments will unfold in an unrelentingly pre-electoral atmosphere. Evidence of this came yesterday in a surprise statement by Renato Brunetta. The People of Freedom (PDL) group leader tackled the media impact of a possible sale to the French, against whom in 2008 Silvio Berlusconi organised a band of “captains courageous” of Italian industry. Mr Brunetta played down the incident: “If Italian capitalism was unable [to save Alitalia – Ed.], I think there should be another transfusion of blood”. Former transport minister Altero Matteoli took a different tack: “Alitalia needs to be recapitalised. Air France-KLM is very welcome if this helps to recapitalise the Italian carrier. They should certainly not exceed 50% so an act of courage is required from the Italian partners”.

Italy to leave 500 to 700 troops in Afghanistan after NATO pullout

HERAT, Afghanistan, June 20 (UPI) — Several hundred Italian troops will remain in Afghanistan after Western troops withdraw at the end of 2014, Italian Defense Minister Mario Mauro said Thursday.

 

Mauro made the announcement in the Afghan city of Herat during a meeting with his counterparts, DismillahMohammadi of Afghanistan and Thomas De Maiziere of Germany, Italy’s ANSA news agency reported.

 

Mauro said between 500 and 700 Italian troops would stay in western Afghanistan, while De Maiziere said about 800 German forces would remain in northern regions of the country.

 

Italy now has about 3,000 troops in the country.

 

“We can’t turn our backs on this country if we don’t want the atrocious dictatorship of the past to return,” Mauro said in declaring the Italian troops would stay.

 

The German foreign minister said NATO and Afghan leaders first had to decide “on what coalition troops can and cannot do.”

 

After the withdrawal, Italy plans to assist and train Afghan troops.

Finally, the scientific team looked at making the system robus

Polish and Italian get advanced language recognition system

 

Recording real, um, conversations for, like, smarter language recognition software.

European researchers have developed the most advanced spontaneous language understanding (SLU) system for both Polish and Italian. In fact, it is the first one.

 

European researchers have developed the most advanced spontaneous language understanding (SLU) systems for both the Polish and Italian languages. It is the first time SLUs of this level were developed for these languages, according to the Luna project behind the work.

 

Spontaneous language understanding is far more advanced than the traditional interactive voice response (IVR) systems that people may already be familiar with. In traditional IVRs, the user is required to answer questions with specific words or short sentences proposed by the systems.

 

But with SLU, language systems are designed to respond to spontaneous speech: real conversations between people that include the sentence fillers and pause words like ‘um’ and ‘er’.

You know what I mean?

 

“With spontaneous language understanding, machines know the meaning of what you are saying, it is considerably more intuitive and pleasant than simple menu-driven speech applications,” explains Silvia Mosso of Loquendo in Italy which is coordinating the research.

 

Up to now, these sorts of systems have been unavailable in Polish or Italian, but the EU-funded Luna project has created fully functional prototypes that should be ready for commercial development shortly after the project finishes later in 2009.

 

To achieve this level of sophistication, the project investigated language and semantic modelling for speech understanding, and research into automatic learning, where the software ‘studies’ a series of sample conversations, called a corpus.

 

Finally, the scientific team looked at making the system robust and studied the portability of Luna components across the languages. The upshot is that it will be easier to take the advances developed in the project and apply them to other languages.

 

SLU systems already exist for languages like English and French, but Luna’s work means it will be easier to apply these techniques to a host of other languages, and Italian and Polish were a test run.

Original conversations

 

The polish system will be used for public transport. “People will be able to ring a public transport company and get travel information for their itinerary. The Italian system will focus on an IT helpdesk service for a public administration.

 

“So people will be able to call and say ‘my printer is not working,’ and they will be able to get help for that,” reveals Mosso, Luna’s coordinator. “The advantage is that these systems can be applied to other types of helpdesks, or other types of transportation.”

 

It will still be necessary to record the original conversations, which ‘teach’ the machine the correct responses, for any target language, but the Luna system means that it will become much easier to create high-performance automatic telephone services.

 

The Luna project received funding from the ICT strand of the Sixth Framework Programme for research.

Italians meat amid economic crisis

Students and protesters march in front of the Colosseum during a demonstration to protest against the cuts in the education budget and against the austerity measures in Europe.

 

Poverty-stricken Italians

 

Edited time: May 22, 2013

 

As a severe recession and unprecedented unemployment sweeps Italy, millions of people are struggling to make ends meet. The number of those receiving food assistance has doubled in the past two years, according to a government report.

 

The data comes from national statistics institute ISTAT, which published an annual report demonstrating, among other issues, that Italy is witnessing youth unemployment of nearly 40 percent – the highest in Europe.

 

A reported 23.9 percent of young Italians are neither in the job market nor receiving education, the report stressed. In southern Italy, one in three young people aged 15-29 fell into this category.

 

Just over half (57.2 percent) of youths who graduated were currently employed, with the Europe-wide average standing at 77.2 per cent.

 

Fourteen percent of Italy’s population – 8.6 million people – is living on food assistance, a number that has doubled over the past two years, according to the report.

 

Nine poverty indicators were taken into account while carrying out the study; if a family meets more than four, it is considered to be seriously deprived. Some 15 million people – 25 percent of Italy’s population – are living in families that meet three or more of the poverty indicators, the research found.

 

The recession, which has now lasted almost two years, has taken a heavy toll on Italians, who are increasingly digging into their savings, ISTAT stressed. The savings rate, traditionally high in Italy, is currently far below that of France and Germany, Reuters reported.

 

Italians’ purchasing power also fell by 4.8 percent last year, an “exceptionally steep” decline caused largely by aggressive tax hikes aimed at battling the economic crisis gripping the country.

 

The study results come just a few days after thousands gathered in Rome to protest austerity measures and high unemployment. Demonstrators urged Prime Minister Enrico Letta to create jobs to pull the country out of recession. Protesters held banners reading, “We can’t wait anymore” and “We need money to live.”

 

According to a Friday poll conducted by the SWG institute, the government’s approval rating has dropped to 34 percent, down from 43 percent at the start of May.

It was a bad day for Italy’s hackers.

Four Arrests and Searches Throughout Italy as Postal Police Swoop on Anonymous Hackers

Arrestees suspected of belonging to criminal hacking ring

 

It was a bad day for Italy’s hackers. Postal police officers have dismantled a suspected criminal hacking organisationthat exploited the notoriety of the Anonymous movement to launch attacks on the computer systems of key infrastructures, institutional websites and leading companies. Four arrests were made. Investigators believe that those detained are the leaders in Italy of the international Anonymous movement.

 

ARRESTS – The hackers arrested are thought to be responsible for attacks on websites belonging to the government, the Vatican and Parliament. Four suspects have been placed under house arrest and about ten searches were carried out. Investigators believe that the four detained belong to Anonymous, although they also used the movement’s logo for their own personal purposes. The operation, codenamed Tango Down, was conducted by the postal police’s national centre for cybercrime and the protection of critical infrastructures (CNAIPIC), and coordinated by the Rome public prosecutor’s office.