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International referee officiates match drunk

A scandal ensued after a Belarus league match between Vitebsk and Naftan.

Renowned international referee Sergey Shmolik officiated the entire match drunk. By the ninetieth minute, he couldn’t leave the pitch on his own two feet. Vitebsk’s administrator escorted him off the field. All the while, Shmolik tried to slip loose from his grip. The referee officiated at Wembley for England’s victory over Luxemburg in 1999.

As Shmolik was dragged off the pitch, he waived to fans and received a loud round of applause.

On July 15, the Belarus Football Federation will decide how much Shmolik drank. It’s likely the referee’s 247th match in the league will be his last. A blood test taken at the stadium’s medical unit Shmolik had a blood-alcohol content of 2.6 — or about one glass of vodka.

Shmolik says he took painkillers after the match as his spine hurt and went to the medical unit on his own initiative. Experts said Shmolik did in fact have a spinal injury.

Fans say Shmolik probably drank before coming onto the field. He kept cool until the thirtieth minute. Then he began moving awkwardly, half-slouched over. During halftime, a football inspector at the match told him he needed to move more. At the sixty-eighth minute, the referee stood in the central circle waiting for the end of the match. He was escorted off the field. READ MORE

Tunguska meteoroid turns 100 years old. Part 2

Scientists still don’t know what happened June 30, 1908 in the Siberian taiga near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River

A KP journalist visited the epicenter of the explosion of the Tunguska meteoroid near Vanavara village. Today, the territory is home to the Tunguska State Preserve. Employees and guides say they don’t believe a meteoroid actually fell. Numerous expeditions to the area over the past 100 years haven’t revealed a single fragment of the cosmic body.

Maybe it wasn’t a meteoroid?

An age-old argument continued our first night at “The Harbor.” The base had been established by the Tunguska researcher Leonid Kulik 100 years ago. I was told that the debate had been going on for years.

“One can say that finding a fragment in the taiga is the same as a needle in a haystack,” said Sergey Tarasov, a senior employee at the preserve. “But this isn’t our first year here. We’re sure there are no fragments of the meteoroid in the taiga. And in terms of all these expeditions… Well, people just want to travel into the wilderness and all the trips are paid for by the treasury. Not too long ago, Italian researchers said the meteoroid is at the bottom of Cheko Lake. They say half a million euro is needed to the drill the lake. But I can tell you without doing any drilling that there’s nothing there. Look the shore is covered with trees. Some are over 100 years old. If the meteoroid had fallen by the lake, the blast wave would have torn them right down.”

So it seemed everyone was basically split into two camps. One side believed the legendary explosion was natural phenomena unrelated to the cosmos like an explosion of a methane cloud. The other side said the taiga catastrophe was in fact the result of experiments conducted by the electrical wizard Nikola Tesla.

Electrical wizard

Interestingly, Moscow’s scientists joined the debate last week. They were unlikely participants in the heated debated of Vanavara’s hunters and fisherman.

“We did in fact accept the conjectures that Nikola Tesla may have been party to the incident on June 30, 1908,” said Andrey Alkhovatov, deputy chairman of the “100 Years of the Tunguska Phenomenon. New Approaches” Conference’s Organizational Committee and candidate of Mathematical Sciences. It’s well known that the electrical wizard Tesla, who lived in the U.S. at the time, made a number of experiments transmitting electric energy wirelessly across long distances. There are descriptions of his experiments where the thunderous discharges from his laboratory stretched over 5 meters and the accompanying thunder was heard for 25 kilometers. And so the legend was born that the taiga explosion was the result of one of his unfortunate experiments.”

It seems Tesla wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times in 1908 stating: “Even now, my wireless energetic facilities can turn any region on Earth into an area unfit for life.” Maybe Tesla demonstrated his machine to a potential buyer in late June? Many witnesses claimed to have seen pulsating, strangely silver clouds in Canada and North America that night. Their accounts are similar to those who saw Tesla’s experiments at his Colorado Springs laboratory.

“Although I have enormous doubt about this version,” said Olkhovatov, “Nikola Tesla was indeed a mysterious figure. So we accepted this version at the conference.”

The scientists also discussed the possibility that underground phenomena caused the catastrophe.

“There is a certain phenomenon known as an ‘earthquake fire,'” said Olkhovatov. “It is a strange glowing that gives way in seismically active regions. It can also take on various forms, including flying balls of fire. Taiga inhabitants saw them June 30, 1908. And the 100-year-old catastrophe occurred during a period of increased seismic activity. So the Tunguska meteoroid may have actually ‘flown’ from underground and not from the sky.”

Comet or asteroid?

Behind the scenes, participants at another conference last week, “100 Years of the Tunguska Phenomenon: Past, Present and Future,” talked about Tesla’s involvement in the 1908 event.

“There are over 100 versions about what happened,” said Sergey Yazev, senior scientist at the Sun and Earth Physics Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences and candidate of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. “But we don’t way them all the same. For instance, I wouldn’t take seriously the version that physicist Nikola Tesla made the explosion. The bright ball of fire that was seen June 30, 1908 by thousands of witnesses didn’t fly from the U.S. to Siberia through the North Pole, as would have been the case if the magnificent inventor had been involved, but rather the other way around — from the north of Baykal to the northwest. There are essentially only two main versions in the scientific community. A cosmic body fell for sure. And it was either a comet’s icy nucleus or a stone asteroid.”Most specialists believe a comet’s nucleus crashed into the taiga. This explains why no fragments were found. If the Tunguska body was made of ice, it’s easy to explain what happened to the half million tons that fell from the sky. They simply turned into steam after the explosion. READ MORE

My tragic life without China

KP journalist tries to live one week without Chinese goods and fails miserably

“Everyone needs to study Chinese! China is going to control the world – and very soon,” my editor told us repeatedly. After spending a little over a week in China, he returned to Russia devoid of patriotism and optimism. Each conversation ended with China taking the West by storm. I couldn’t handle it any longer.

“OK! That’s enough!” I said. “China has what, a population of one billion or so? And…? Stop being so dramatic!”

But this was just the conversation he had been waiting for.

“Look around you,” he said. “Wake up! China’s already here in Moscow. It’s impossible to live without Chinese goods. You couldn’t go one week without ‘Mаde in China!'”

I thought otherwise. “Try me,” I said.

And the deal was done. I had one week to prove I could live without Chinese goods.

“This is the perfect chance to inject some patriotic journalism into the editorial room,” I thought.

Little did I know what lay in store.

My electronic soul mate

First thing’s first. I had to sort through my stuff to see what Chinese goods I was already using.

“There shouldn’t be much to worry about,” I thought. “My apartment’s quite spartan as is. The only thing I really need here is my computer.” But when I examined my electronic soul mate more closely, I was horrified at the sight of the tag: “Made in China.”

“Oh my God!” I said to myself. “A week without my computer?! I haven’t gone a day without it for the last 7 years…” READ MORE

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