Thursday, December 31, 2015

21 MRE Days

From the Army Times:
"Army needs volunteers to eat only MREs for 21 days straight"
Three weeks, nothing but MREs. It's not a far-flung mission, nor is it a lost wager — it's how Army researchers hope to discover how new knowledge of the digestive process could improve future Meals, Ready-to-Eat. The work could even help protect soldiers from sickness while deployed. Here's what you need to know about the ongoing study, run by the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine's military nutrition division:
1. "Gut health" goals. Researchers want to learn how MREs effect the trillions of bacteria housed in soldiers' digestive systems — microorganisms that, when fed properly, can benefit overall wellness. By finding a base level of these bacteria under study conditions, researchers can determine how to improve MREs when it comes to minding what study head Dr. J. Philip Karl calls "gut health." "There's a lot of interesting and new research looking at gut bacteria, and how those gut bacteria interact with the human body," Karl said, adding that an "explosion" in research technology over the last decade allows researchers to "really get an understanding that we never have before."
2. Nutrient addition. As the study continues into 2016, Karl's team plans to determine what bacteria fuel — indigestible carbohydrates, for instance — might be lacking in the MRE menu. By working with fellow researchers at the Army's Combat Feeding Directorate, they can begin to incorporate these nutrients into the meals. Plant-based materials proven to benefit the bacteria could be extracted and included in a First Strike energy bar, for example. "Research will give us some idea of what we think will work, we'll go and test do make sure it's doing what I think it's doing, and at that point it starts to get incorporated into the rations," Karl said.
3. Reaping the rewards. Soldiers may not notice the tweaks made to MRE recipes, but the changes could effectively weaponize the rations for use against other digestive threats, Karl said. "We think we can manipulate the bacteria in a way that helps the bacteria fight foreign pathogens — things that could cause food-borne illness, for example," he said. "Oftentimes, war fighters are overseas and they eat something off the local economy that can cause [gastrointestinal] distress. Potentially, what we could do by increasing the amount of beneficial gut bacteria is to help prevent some of that." Karl also pointed to emerging research into the cognitive benefits of "gut health," which could improve soldier readiness in the often-extreme conditions that require a regular diet of MREs.
4. Study basics. Participants must be within a reasonable drive to ARIEM's Natick, Massachusetts, location, and be willing to go without anything but MREs, water and black coffee for three weeks — no other food or drink, including no alcohol. The study, which includes multiple blood draws and other medical scans, requires a six-week commitment. Full details and registration information are available here. Not all of the 60 or so participants will be asked to change their diets — half will be part of a control group subject to medical screenings but maintaining their regular eating habits for a month.
5. MRE makeover. Even the most dedicated prepackaged-food fan might sour on the offerings during a 21-day trial, so Natick research dietitians Adrienne Hatch and Holly McClung came up with a book of recipes pulling from multiple MRE offerings. Study participants can craft everything from specialty beverages ("Canteen Irish Cream Latte") to main dishes ("Bunker Hill Burritos") to desserts ("Fort Bliss-ful Pudding Cake") as they try to keep their palates fresh. Hatch, who had little experience with MREs before the study kicked off over the summer, said she'd heard a few negative comments from soldiers enforcing negative MRE stereotypes, but "working with this cookbook project has shown me a lot about what the MRE can offer."
^ As a military brat I have eaten many different kinds of MREs  - mostly for fun when I was younger. I didn't really care for them, but I know that there are many people (soldiers and civilians) that collect and eat them on a regular basis. I think this is a good study. It is important to try and improve the food you give to soldiers. The fresher and better it tastes the better your fighting force will be. ^

New Years Cancelled!

From the BBC:
"European capitals tighten security ahead of New Year celebrations"
Security is being stepped up in major European cities ahead of New Year celebrations, with officials wary of possible terror plots. New Year fireworks and festivities have been cancelled in the Belgian capital Brussels because of an alert. Extra measures will also be in place in cities including Paris, London, Berlin and Moscow. Earlier this week, Austrian police claimed a "friendly intelligence service" had tipped them off that major European capitals were at risk of being attacked over the holiday period.  Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said the Brussels decision had been taken "given information we have received". Last year 100,000 people turned out in Brussels to welcome in the New Year. In these circumstances, we can't check everyone," Brussels Mayor Yvan Mayeur said.  Earlier in the week, police arrested two people suspected of planning attacks during the festive season and seized propaganda for so-called Islamic State (IS) as well as military clothing and computer equipment. Belgium has been on high alert since the terror attacks of 13 November in Paris. Several of the perpetrators are thought to have been based in Belgium.  On Wednesday Turkish police arrested two suspected IS members over an alleged plot to attack celebrations in Ankara.   They reportedly entered Turkey from Syria and were planning two separate attacks on crowded areas, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.  Security will also be stepped up in Istanbul, with local media reports saying that some officers will be wearing Father Christmas outfits and other disguises to patrol crowds undetected.  In Paris a New Year fireworks display has been abandoned, but the traditional gathering on the Champs-Elysees will take place amid tight security.  Projections on the Arc de Triomphe will be shorter than normal, four giant screens will be placed at intervals to avoid creating tightly packed crowds and the fireworks display has been cancelled.  "We have decided to mark the New Year in a reflective manner and without fanfare," Mayor Anne Hidalgo said.  November's gun and bomb attacks in the city killed 130 people and at least one of the suspected attackers remains on the run.  The US military has said some IS commanders in Iraq and Syria who had links to the Paris attacks and were planning further attacks on the West have died in bombing raids over the past month.  Security is also being tightened in cities where the authorities say there is no specific intelligence about a possible attack. Authorities in Moscow will completely close off Red Square, where crowds normally count down to midnight. In Berlin, backpacks and fireworks will be prohibited and bags searched on the "fan mile" in front of the Brandenburg Gate, which has reportedly been closed off since Christmas.  Up to a million people are expected to attend the celebration. Berlin's interior minister Frank Henkel encouraged party-goers to not allow fear to sour their celebratory mood. "Caution is a good counsellor, fear is not," he told broadcaster RBBLondon's Metropolitan Police will deploy 3,000 officers in the inner city, including extra armed officers.  More than 100,000 people are expected to watch the Mayor of London's fireworks show, a ticketed event.
^ The Europeans have "made fun" of Americans for years  - since the 9/11 attacks - and now they are finally waking -up and seeing the world's reality. Sadly it is only after many of them have been attacked. I do not understand how or why a capital city would cancel a celebration like New Year's. It just shows that they are scared and are willing to do anything to hide rather than live. They are letting the terrorists dictate how they should live and that's just plain sad. Spain did the same thing several years ago when they were bombed and rather than continuing to fight the terrorists they quickly left Iraq and let others protect them. That's exactly what the terrorists wanted and they got it. I am proud that New York City still celebrated (and continues to celebrate) New Year's with the Ball Drop on Times Square. They held it in 2001 even after thousands of innocent people were killed that past September. It showed the city, the country and the world that they would not going to be told how they should live or celebrate things. I do believe there should be tightened security with more police, soldiers, etc, but by not celebrating the New Year the way you always has is just plain sad. ^

DM Love

From the DW:
"Germans still hoarding old Deutschmarks, as central bank issues reminder"
You can exchange them for legal tender in euros, but Germans still hold deutschmarks. The Bundesbank says the combined stash of notes and coins is worth 6.6 billion euros, 14 years after Europe adopted the euro as cash.  Germany's deutschmark currency (DM), yearned for by some adults but almost unknown amongst children, can still be swapped for euros at the rate fixed back in 2001. Germany's central bank, the Bundesbank, reminded hoarders and the forgetful on Friday that they would trade the old currency for genuine cash. It cited a survey conducted by YouGov in late November, which found that 54 percent of residents in Germany still had banknotes and particularly old coins at home. The Bundesbank's official rate remains at one euro for 1.95583 DM - the rate of nearly two for one set in 2001 - if notes or coins are brought to the Frankfurt institute or its regional branches. It advises against mailing them. The deutschmark launched in 1948 under Allied rule in post-war western Germany went on to replace former East Germany's "Ostmark" in 1990, during the year of German reunification.  Its sidelining as a cash and non-cash currency 11 years later is still lamented by euroskeptics. The euro is now used in 19 countries, including Germany as founding member of the euro zone. Roughly 24 billion individual DM-coins, as small as one pfennig, remain in circulation. That represents about half of all DM coins ever issued, said the Frankfurt-based Bundesbank on Friday. Those unrecovered included five and ten mark coins minted for commemorative occasions and often held by traders because of their potential to be smelted to extract their silver content. Also, some more rare coins could amass considerably greater values than their exchange rates as collector's items. Only four percent of DM-banknotes were still in circulation, the Bundesbank added. The notes had been particularly popular outside Germany: for example, in former Yugoslavia's successor states, five and ten-DM notes had been used in recent years as a "second currency." In all, the combined value of deutschmarks still in circulation as cash amounted to 6.6 billion euros ($7.2 billion), the bank said. After Germany's initial late 2001 rush to convert into euros, the figure has declined steadily. In late 2002, Deutschmark cash remnants had a combined value of around 9.4 billion euros.
^ I don't really get the love the Germans have for the Deutsch Mark. I lived in both West Germany and Germany and used Marks (as well as Dollars.) As the article says the Mark has only been used in half of Germany since 1948 and in all of Germany since 1990 so it's not like there is a long tradition of using the currency (unlike the US Dollar which the US has used since 1792.) I guess after the hyperinflation of the 1920s and the devaluation of the 1940s the Mark gave West Germans a ray of hope and prosperity that lasted until 2002. I know many Europeans do not like the Euro and all the issues it has caused since it was launched. It has also limited the amount of currencies that collectors can now collect.  I still have a good amount of West German, East German and German Marks (bills and coins) but I am not hoarding them, but they are part of my collection. ^

Special Israel

From Yahoo:
"Israel approves special budget for Arab citizens"

Israel on Wednesday approved a reported billion-dollar budget meant to improve the living conditions of its Arab citizens, who have long suffered discrimination and are among the country's poorest residents. The government did not release the exact amount approved, but Israeli media reported it was between 10 and 15 billion shekels ($2.5 billion to $3.8 billion), to be spread over four to five years. It will be devoted to education, transportation, housing, culture, sports and other areas.
Israel's Arabs make up a fifth of the country's 8.4 million population, but have long complained of unfair treatment in areas such as housing and employment opportunities. "This is a significant addition meant to assist minority populations and to reduce gaps," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. Experts have long warned that Israel's long-term economic health is at risk so long as it doesn't improve the economic standing of its Arab citizens, one of the country's fastest growing populations. Arab legislators cautiously welcomed the initiative, but said it falls short of fully addressing the community's needs. Yousef Jabareen, an Arab member of Israel's parliament, said the plan was a step in "the right direction." But he said "it does not address all the socio-economic needs of the community and falls short of bridging the historical gaps between Jews and Arabs in Israel." He said Arab lawmakers had lobbied for an investment twice as large as the amount reportedly approved. The budget approval comes amid an outburst of violence that has killed 21 Israelis and more than 130 Palestinians, including 89 said by Israel to be assailants.
^ When you take into account the fate of Jews in most Arab countries (the ones that didn't kill or deport them in the past) vs. the way Arabs in Israel are treated there is no comparison. Israeli Arabs have it much better. Of course with that said, it is good that Israel continues to improve itself and the lives of their citizens.  ^

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Hug Lady

From the Stars and Stripes:
"Legendary grandmother who committed life to hugging soldiers dies"
She was known simply as the "hug lady" and for a generation of soldiers deployed from Fort Hood to Iraq and Afghanistan, the diminutive grandmother was a steadying presence over the past 12 years Elizabeth Laird doled out hundreds of thousands of hugs, embracing soldiers as they shipped off and then greeting them in kind when they arrived back home. She made her hugs available at all hours of the day, regardless of the weather, becoming a military legend along the way. "This is my way of thanking them for what they do for our country," Laird told last month. "I wasn't hugging in 2003. I used to just shake their hands. But one day, a soldier hugged me, and that's the way it started." For much of that time Laird was quietly waging a battle of her own against breast cancer, as The Washington Post's Colby Itkowitz reported after Laird was hospitalized in early November. On Thursday, Laird succumbed to her illness, passing away at Metroplex Hospital in Killeen, Tex., according to Fox News. She was 83. Col. Christopher C. Garver, a military spokesman, released a the following statement on Laird's passing: "On behalf of the Soldiers, Airmen, Civilians, and Families of III Corps and Fort Hood, I want to extend our sincere condolences to the family of Mrs. Elizabeth Laird, known throughout Central Texas as "The Hug Lady." She has long been associated with Fort Hood for her dedication, support, and genuine care for our Soldiers, Families and Civilian employees. For more than a decade, she has been personally saying farewell to our troops as they deploy and greeting them as they return. It is with heavy hearts that we express our gratitude for Elizabeth, not only for her service with the U.S. Air Force, but also in recognition of her tireless efforts to show her appreciation for our Soldiers and her recognition of their many sacrifices. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and loved ones; she will be deeply missed. In a 2011 profile of Laird, the Fort Hood Sentinel referred to her as "a bit of a celebrity to the soldiers." She told the paper that she considered the military her extended family and recounted being invited to a Thanksgiving meal at a Fort Hood dining facility: "I looked around at all the soldiers sitting there, and I told Ray, you know, this is my family," Laird told the Sentinel. "They are so wonderful, and I just feel like a part of them belongs to me, and I hope I belong to them." Her legacy lives on in a GoFundMe page set up by Dewees to help pay for Laird's medical bills. The page raised almost $95,000 from more than 3,000 people over the past month, or about $85,000 more than family members originally asked for. In the page's description, Dewees estimates that his mother hugged close to 500,000 troops. Asked by the Sentinel what prompted her to start offering hugs, her answer was straightforward: "I volunteered," she said. The paper noted that Laird had volunteered before, joining the Air Force when she was 18. "I grew up in World War II, and I wanted to do something for my country," she told the Sentinel. "It was a different time back then," she added. "Your movie stars went to war and they were out on the front lines. It was a very different atmosphere."
 ^ This is one of those stories that shows how a few ordinary Americans show their love and support to the men and women in the military that risk their lives for us everyday. It also shows that you don't have to spend money to show your appreciation. Sometimes just a hug or a handshake means more to the soldiers. ^

Camp Trial

From the BBC:
"British teenagers face trial over 'Auschwitz theft'"

Two British teenagers accused of stealing artefacts from the Auschwitz death camp during a school trip are to face a trial, prosecutors have said. The pupils, from the independent Perse School in Cambridge, were allegedly seen by guards picking up buttons and fragments of a spoon from the ground. In June, the school said they had been fined after admitting responsibility. But Polish prosecutors said the boys had changed their minds and would now face a trial.  The pair, who were aged 17 at the time of the alleged theft, have withdrawn their admission of guilt, explaining that they were not aware the items had special cultural significance. They had originally accepted a fine and suspended probation, their school said in June. The artefacts, which also included a rusted hair clipper and glass fragments, were allegedly picked up in an area where new arrivals at the Nazi death camp were stripped of their belongings. Krakow Regional Prosecutor's office spokeswoman Boguslawa Marcinkowska said the indictment had been sent on Tuesday to the Regional Court in Krakow. She said it was likely the pupils would have to appear in court as they had changed their position and their intention to voluntarily submit to punishment.   The maximum penalty for the crime is a 10-year prison sentence. No-one at the Perse School was available for comment.

^ I'm a little confused. If these teens stole the artifacts from inside a building, exhibit or museum than I could see them getting in trouble and facing jail time, but as far as  I understand they took artifacts from the ground. While that act is sacrilegious it shouldn't involve jail time (unless there are signs stating that it is illegal to take artifacts from the ground.) ^

Doped Games

From the BBC:
"Athletics doping crisis: Russia 'unlikely' to return by Rio Olympics"

Russia is unlikely to return to international competition in time for next year's Rio Olympics, says European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen. Russia's athletics federation was banned by the International Association of Athletics Federations for alleged involvement in widespread doping. An IAAF inspection committee is due to visit Russia in January. "For the moment they have to fulfil the conditions, but I cannot really see them competing in Rio," Hansen said. The committee is likely to report back to the IAAF Council at the earliest at its meeting in Cardiff, Wales, on 27 March, less than five months before the Olympics.  "They must have a cultural change," Hansen told Athletics Weekly magazine. "They must get rid of all those people from before. "We know some good people in Russian athletics and I'm sure they will be elected. We hope that some new people will come in who really understand that this must be changed."  The IAAF voted to suspend Russia's federation (Araf) on 13 November after the publication of an independent World Anti-Doping Agency report that alleged "state-sponsored doping".
^ I highly doubt the IOC will actually ban Russia from the Olympics in Rio. The IOC talks tough, but in the end they are only in this not for the sport, but for all the kick-backs they can get. I'm sure the team going to Russia to investigate Russia's doping will come back with an all-clear at the last minute. The IOC did nothing when Israeli athletes were murdered at the 1972 Olympics nor did they even allow an official 40th commemoration at the London Olympics. The whole concept of the Olympics is a good one (bringing countries together for sports) but in practice the IOC is a joke. The cities that host the Olympics are the ones that give the most kick-backs, gifts, etc. to the IOC and not the ones that qualified to host the Games. All you have to do is look at how Sochi was before their Winter Games or see how Rio is one big mess getting ready for there's. With all of this said I should state that I do watch the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympics and the ParaOlympics and watch how many medals the US and Canada get, but I don't watch any of the sports. ^

Open France

From the BBC:
"France opens archives of WW2 pro-Nazi Vichy regime"
France is opening up police and ministerial archives from the Vichy regime which collaborated with Nazi occupation forces in World War Two. More than 200,000 declassified documents are being made public on Monday. They date from the 1940-1944 regime of Marshal Philippe Petain. During the war the Vichy regime helped Nazi Germany to deport 76,000 Jews from France, including many children. France is also opening files from its post-liberation provisional government. The Vichy documents come from the wartime ministries of the interior, foreign affairs and justice, as well as the police.  Some of the archives relate to war crimes investigations conducted by the French liberation authorities after the defeat of Nazi Germany.  Previously only researchers and journalists could see some archives, with special permission. But public access is provided after 75 years have elapsed, under French law - and that is now the case, for 1940-dated documents. The current mayor of Vichy, in central France, told The New York Times that he was concerned about the enduring stigma attached to his city. It was where Petain - a World War One hero - established his collaborationist regime. Former French Resistance fighter Lucien Guyot told the paper that the Petain government "went far beyond the Germans' expectations, in particular with the deportation of 'foreign' Jews, including children, to concentration camps, and they chased us down with a vengeance". In 1995, then French President Jacques Chirac officially recognised the French state's responsibility in the deportation of Jews. "These dark hours forever sully our history and are an insult to our past and our traditions," he said. "Yes, the criminal folly of the occupiers was seconded by the French, by the French state."

^ I know there were numerous collaborators throughout German-occupied Europe, but France was one of a few where the government officially collaborated.That is why I never understood why France was given part of Allied-occupied Germany and Austria after the war. The Free French should have been too busy combing there own country and territories of those that helped the Germans. I remember when my French class went to Vitry (outside of Paris) for a week on an exchange. We were in a history class in the local school and the teacher decided to discuss Vichy France (it was clearly aimed at us as the students were given copied sheets rather than reading from their textbooks.) Everything was conducted in French and at the time I wasn't fluent (it was in April and I had just started learning French that past November) but some of the other American students told me what it was about. I also took the copied page with me and still have it today. It basically says that France collaborated with the Germans to save the French nation and its' people. It didn't mention the fact that the French did in a few months what took the Germans years to do - strip the Jews and Gypsies of their rights. It also didn't mention that the French made the Germans deport foreign and French Jewish children to the death camps because the French Government didn't want to house and feed  them. I worked at the Holocaust Museum and have since learned a lot about France's role in the Holocaust. This archive should have been made available to the public years ago (as should every other Holocaust archive around the world.) It is 70 years since the Holocaust ended and the few survivors along with their relatives deserve to know the full truth  - as does everyone else. ^

Sunday, December 27, 2015

My 2015 Trips!

January: New York
June: Colorado
September: Colorado
November: New York, Massachusetts
Considering what has happened this year that has made me stay local it's amazing I could make any trips at all - especially across the country twice.

Ramadi Freed

From the BBC:
"Iraqi forces 'retake Islamic State Ramadi stronghold'"
Iraqi forces have retaken a former government compound in Ramadi from where Islamic State (IS) group militants have been resisting an army offensive, the military has said. The complex was "under complete control" and there was no sign of IS fighters, a spokesman said. He said this heralded the defeat of IS in the city, although he admitted there could be pockets of resistance. The government has been trying to retake Ramadi for weeks. The mainly Sunni Arab city, about 55 miles (90km) west of Baghdad, fell to IS in May, and was seen as an embarrassing defeat for the army.  In recent days, troops have been picking their way through booby-trapped streets and buildings as they pushed towards the city centre, seizing several districts on the way. After sniper fire from the compound stopped and aerial surveillance detected no human activity, Iraqi soldiers moved in.  The military spokesman, Sabah al-Numani, told Reuters: "The complex is under our complete control, there is no presence whatsoever of [IS] fighters in the complex. "By controlling the complex this means that they have been defeated in Ramadi. The next step is to clear pockets that could exist here or there in the city."  Controlling this compound is key to retaking Ramadi. Iraqi soldiers are slowly clearing it as they fear it may have been rigged to explode. Troops are also busy in the surrounding neighbourhood, where pockets of resistance remain. The authorities will hail this week's offensive as a success - in stark contrast with the security forces' hasty retreat from Ramadi last May. However, it took months to mount this ground campaign, in co-ordination with coalition air strikes. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the army would soon move to retake the northern city of Mosul - and that will be the biggest prize. But it is the largest population centre under the control of IS in Iraq, and the battle there will be much tougher.  There had been no clear indications of the number of IS militants who had been defending the city, although some reports put it at around 400. No official toll of Iraqi army casualties has been given.
^ It's about time the Iraqis started winning something by themselves. ^

2015 Deaths

1st:  Staryl C. Austin, 94, American air force brigadier general
1st: Mario Cuomo, 82, American politician, Governor of New York (1983–1994), heart failure
1st: Donna Douglas, 82, American actress (The Beverly Hillbillies, The Twilight Zone), pancreatic cancer
1st: Géry Leuliet, 104, French Roman Catholic prelate, world's oldest Catholic bishop, Bishop of Amiens (1963–1985).
7th: Rod Taylor, 84, Australian actor (The Time Machine, The Birds), heart attack
8th: Curtis Lee, 75, American singer ("Pretty Little Angel Eyes"), cancer.
9th: Robert V. Keeley, 85, American diplomat, Ambassador to Mauritius (1976–1978), Zimbabwe (1980–1984) and Greece (1985–1989), stroke.
9th: Józef Oleksy, 68, Polish politician, Prime Minister (1995–1996), cancer
10th: Taylor Negron, 57, American comedian and actor (Angels in the Outfield, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Bio-Dome), cancer
12th: Darrell Winfield, 85, American rancher and model, Marlboro Man (1968–1989)
13th: Robert White, 88, American diplomat, Ambassador to Paraguay (1977–1980) and El Salvador (1980–1981).
14th: Robert White, 88, American diplomat, United States Ambassador to Paraguay (1977–1980) and El Salvador (1980–1981).
15th: Ethel Lang, 114, British supercentenarian, nation's oldest person (since 2013), last living Briton born during reign of Queen Victoria.
15th: Harvey Sweetman, 93, New Zealand World War II pilot.
19th: Peter Wallenberg, Sr., 88, Swedish financier and industrialist, patriarch of the Wallenberg family
20th: James L. Fowler, 84, American military veteran, founded the Marine Corps Marathon
21st: George Goodwin, 97, American journalist, Pulitzer Prize winner (1948).
23rd: Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, 90, Saudi royal, King (since 2005), complications from pneumonia
27th: Charles H. Townes, 99, American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate in Physics (1964)
28th: Yves Chauvin, 84, Belgian-born French Nobel Prize-winning chemist (2005).
28th: Edward Saylor, 94, American World War II veteran, member of Doolittle's Raiders.
29th: Danny McCulloch, 69, English bassist (The Animals), heart failure
29th: Peter Towe, 92, Canadian diplomat, Ambassador to the United States (1977–1981)
29th: Alexander Vraciu, 96, American World War II Navy fighter ace, Navy Cross recipient
30th: Richard Clark Barkley, 82, American diplomat, Ambassador to East Germany (1988–1990).
30th: Kenji Goto, 47, Japanese journalist and ISIS hostage, beheading.
30th: Zhelyu Zhelev, 79, Bulgarian politician, President (1990–1997).
31st: Richard von Weizsäcker, 94, German politician, President of West Germany (1984–1990) and Germany (1990–1994).
1st: Marie-José Villiers, 98, British-born Belgian WWII spy and countess
5th: Val Logsdon Fitch, 91, American Nobel Prize-winning physicist (1980).
6th: Kayla Mueller, 26, American activist, humanitarian aid worker, ISIS hostage.(death announced)
9th: Roman Frister, 87, Polish-Israeli journalist and Holocaust survivor
9th: Max Yalden, 84, Canadian civil servant and diplomat
11th: Bob Simon, 73, American television journalist (60 Minutes), traffic collision.
12th: Cornelis Pieter van den Hoek, 93, Dutch resistance fighter, recipient of the Military William Order.
14th: Alan Howard, 77, English actor (The Lord of the Rings), pneumonia
14th: Philip Levine, 87, American Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, pancreatic cancer
15th: Eileen Essell, 92, English actress (Duplex, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Producers)
16th: Feliks Tych, 85, Polish historian, director of the Jewish Historical Institute (1995–2006).
21st: Aleksei Gubarev, 83, Russian Soviet-era cosmonaut.
24th: Mefodiy Kudriakov, 65, Ukrainian Orthodox hierarch, Metropolitan of Kyiv and Primate of the UAOC (since 2000).
26th: Rowley Richards, 98, Australian WWII Army medical officer
27th: Leonard Nimoy, 83, American actor and director (Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, Fringe), COPD.
27th: Anna Szatkowska, 86, Polish resistance fighter
4th: Emory Bass, 89, American actor (Dark Shadows, 1776, Angie).
5th: Jim McCann, 70, Irish musician (The Dubliners).
7th: F. Ray Keyser, Jr., 87, American politician, Governor of Vermont (1961–1963).
9th: Windell Middlebrooks, 36, American actor (Body of Proof, The Suite Life on Deck, Scrubs), pulmonary embolism.
10th: Claude Sitton, 89, American Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper reporter, heart failure.
11th: Jimmy Greenspoon, 67, American keyboard player and composer (Three Dog Night), melanoma
12th: Carl, Prince of Wied, 53, German royal, heart attack
13th: Lilian Bader, 97, British WAAF aircraftwoman and teacher
13th: George Connell, 84, Canadian academic and biochemist, President of the University of Toronto (1984–1990).
13th: Jeff Rees, 94, British WWII RAF officer
16th: Buddy Elias, 89, German-born Swiss actor (Sunshine, The Monuments Men
16th: Arthur A. Hartman, 89, American diplomat, Ambassador to France (1977–1981) and the Soviet Union (1981–1987), complications after leg surgery
16th: Paul Rogers, 96, American WWII soldier (Easy Company).
20th: Malcolm Fraser, 84, Australian politician, Prime Minister (1975–1983).
20th: Walter Grauman, 93, American director (633 Squadron, Murder, She Wrote).
20th: Viktor Viktorovych Yanukovych, 33, Ukrainian politician, People's Deputy (2006–2014), drowned
21st: Jørgen Ingmann, 89, Danish musician ("Apache"), 1963 Eurovision Song Contest winner
21st: Alberta Watson, 60, Canadian actress (La Femme Nikita, 24, The Prince and Me), cancer.
23rd: Gary Dahl, 78, American entrepreneur, inventor of the Pet Rock, COPD
23rd: Søren Kam, 93, Danish Nazi war criminal.
23rd: Lee Kuan Yew, 91, Singaporean politician, Prime Minister (1959–1990), pneumonia.
24th: Ian Isles, 96, British WWII army officer and actuary.
26th: Dinkha IV, 79, Iraqi Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East (since 1976).
26th: Tomas Tranströmer, 83, Swedish poet and translator, Nobel Prize laureate in Literature (2011), stroke
28th: Leon Bass, 90, American educator and WWII soldier
28th: Denis Eadie, 98, British WWII army officer
1st: Robert Walker, 54, Canadian-born American animator and director (Aladdin, Brother Bear, Mulan, The Lion King), heart attack
2nd: Robert H. Schuller, 88, American televangelist (Hour of Power).
3rd: Algirdas Vaclovas Patackas, 71, Lithuanian politician and poet, signatory of the 1990 Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania
5th: Tony Hutton, 82, British Royal Navy officer, organized the refugee evacuation effort following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus
6th: Romualdas Ozolas, 76, Lithuanian politician, signatory of the 1990 Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania
7th: Kardam, Prince of Turnovo, 52, Bulgarian royal, lung infection
7th: Dickie Owen, 88, British actor (Zulu, The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang).
7th: James B. Rhoads, 86, American public servant, Archivist of the United States (1968–1979).
8th: Jean-Louis Crémieux-Brilhac, 98, French resistant, civil servant and historian
9th: Betty Tackaberry Blake, 92, American WWII aviator
10th: Raúl Héctor Castro, 98, Mexican-born American politician and diplomat, Governor of Arizona (1975–1977), Ambassador to El Salvador (1964–1968), Bolivia (1968–1969) and Argentina (1977–1980).
10th: Judith Malina, 88, German-born American actress (Dog Day Afternoon, Awakenings, The Addams Family) and director, lung disease
11th: Guy Hannen, 90, British WWII army officer and auctioneer.
11th: Peter Jones, 95, British WWII army officer.
12th: Bill Etches, 93, British WWII army officer (St Nazaire Raid).
13th: Günter Grass, 87, German novelist (The Tin Drum), Nobel Prize laureate in Literature (1999), lung infection.
14th: Norman H. Bangerter, 82, American politician, Governor of Utah (1985–1993), stroke.
14th: Meir Rosenne, 84, Israeli lawyer and diplomat, Ambassador to France (1979–1983) and United States (1983–1987).
14th: Percy Sledge, 73, American R&B singer ("When a Man Loves a Woman"), liver cancer
15th: Joseph A. Bennett, 47, British actor (The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles), suicide by hanging
15th: Jonathan Crombie, 48, Canadian actor (Anne of Green Gables), brain hemorrhage
17th: Viktor Korshunov, 85, Russian actor, People's Artist of the USSR
21st: Sydney Valpy Radley-Walters, 95, Canadian WWII tank commander
22nd: Gennadi Vengerov, 55, Belarusian-born Soviet actor (Enemy at the Gates), lung and bone cancer
24th: Władysław Bartoszewski, 93, Polish politician and resistance fighter, Auschwitz concentration camp prisoner, Minister of Foreign Affairs (1995, 2000–2001).
25th: Christine Stewart, 74, Canadian politician, Secretary of State (1993–1997) and Minister of the Environment (1997–1999).
26th: Józef Paczyński, 95, Polish WWII prisoner, barber of Rudolf Hoss.
27th: Suzanne Crough, 52, American actress (The Partridge Family).
28th: Jack Ely, 71, American singer ("Louie Louie").
29th: Jean Nidetch, 91, American businesswoman, founder of Weight Watchers
29th: Dan Walker, 92, American politician, Governor of Illinois (1973–1977), heart failure
30th: Rutger Gunnarsson, 69, Swedish bassist (ABBA, Elton John).
30th: Nigel Terry, 69, British actor (The Lion in Winter, Excalibur, Troy), emphysema
1st: Grace Lee Whitney, 85, American actress (Star Trek, Irma la Douce, Some Like It Hot).
2nd: Stuart Archer, 100, British army colonel, recipient of the George Cross (1941).
2nd: Nick Mead, 93, British WWII Royal Navy officer
2nd: Maya Plisetskaya, 89, Russian ballet dancer, heart attack
4th: Ellen Albertini Dow, 101, American actress (The Wedding Singer, Patch Adams, Wedding Crashers), pneumonia
9th: Elizabeth Wilson, 94, American actress (The Birds, The Graduate, 9 to 5), Tony Award winner (1972)
14th: B.B. King, 89, American Hall of Fame blues guitarist, singer and songwriter ("The Thrill Is Gone"), complications from Alzheimer's disease.
15th: John Jarvis-Smith, 93, British WWII naval officer and shipbroker
18th: Halldór Ásgrímsson, 67, Icelandic politician, Prime Minister (2004–2006), heart attack
19th: Happy Rockefeller, 88, American socialite and philanthropist, Second Lady of the United States (1974–1977), First Lady of New York (1963–1973).
20th: Mary Ellen Trainor, 62, American actress (Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, The Goonies), pancreatic cancer
22nd: John Mosley, 93, American football player (Colorado A&M Aggies) and WWII RAF officer (Tuskegee Airmen).
22nd: Michael Osborne Waddell, 92, British WWII army officer
23rd: Hugh Ambrose, 48, American historian and author (The Pacific), cancer
23rd: Anne Meara, 85, American comedian (Stiller and Meara) and actress (Archie Bunker's Place, The King of Queens).
23rd: John Forbes Nash, Jr., 86, American mathematician, laureate of the Nobel Prize in Economics (1994), subject of A Beautiful Mind, traffic collision
28th: Gyles Longley, 96, British WWII army officer.
29th: Betsy Palmer, 88, American actress (I've Got a Secret, Mister Roberts, Friday the 13th).
1st: Alexandra Prinzessin von Hannover, 77, German politician
1st: Jacques Parizeau, 84, Canadian politician, Premier of Quebec (1994–1996).
2nd: Irwin Rose, 88, American biologist, Nobel Prize laureate in Chemistry (2004).
2nd: Kenneth Tempest, 93, British WWII Royal Air Force navigator
4th: Leonid Plyushch, 77, Ukrainian Soviet dissident and mathematician.
7th: John Hurry, 95, British WWII air force officer.
7th: Sir Christopher Lee, 93, British actor, voice artist, and singer (Dracula, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars), heart failure.
8th: Elizabeth Peet McIntosh, 100, American spy, heart attack.
9th: Igor Kostin, 78, Romanian-born Ukrainian photographer, took first pictures of Chernobyl disaster, traffic collision
10th: Hugo Höllenreiner, 81, Sinti Porajmos survivor.
11th: Ron Moody, 91, British actor (Oliver!, The Animals of Farthing Wood, EastEnders).
12th: Monica Lewis, 93, American singer and actress (Earthquake), voice of Chiquita Banana (since 1947).
18th: Allen Weinstein, 77, American historian, Archivist of the United States (2005–2008), pneumonia
20th: JoAnn Dean Killingsworth, 91, American actress and dancer (Lullaby of Broadway, Red Garters), first person to play Snow White at Disneyland, cancer
20th: Anthony Sydes, 74, American child actor (Miracle on 34th Street, Cheaper by the Dozen, Johnny Comes Flying Home).
23rd: Dick Van Patten, 86, American actor (Eight Is Enough, Spaceballs, Robin Hood: Men in Tights), complications from diabetes
25th: Sir Graham Dorey, 82, Guernsey judge, Bailiff of Guernsey (1992–1999).
26th: Norman Poole, 95, British WWII paratrooper
26th: Yevgeny Primakov, 85, Russian politician and diplomat, Prime Minister (1998–1999).
29th: Bill Cross, 97, British WWII soldier
3rd: Amanda Peterson, 43, American actress (Can't Buy Me Love, Explorers).
5th: Yoichiro Nambu, 94, Japanese-born American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate.
6th: Rachel Margolis, 93, Lithuanian WWII partisan and Israeli biologist
8th: Dewitt Lowrey, 93, American WWII soldier.
10th: Omar Sharif, 83, Egyptian actor (Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, Funny Girl), heart attack
16th: Denis Avey, 96, British World War II veteran and memoirist
28th: David Faber, 86, Polish-born Holocaust survivor and author (Because of Romek).
4th: Les Munro, 96, New Zealand pilot, last surviving pilot of Operation Chastise.
5th: Ellen Vogel, 93, Dutch actress (The Knife, Zonder Ernst, Twin Sisters).
8th: Sir Alec Atkinson, 96, British WWII air force officer and civil servant
20th: Armin, Prince of Lippe, 91, German nobleman, head of the former reigning family of the Principality of Lippe
23rd: Augusta Chiwy, 94, Congolese-born Belgian nurse, volunteer in the Siege of Bastogne.
23rd: Paul Royle, 101, Australian prisoner-of-war, escapee from Stalag Luft III.
24th: Marcy Borders, 42, American 9/11 survivor, subject of "Dust Lady" photograph, stomach cancer
29th: William McCormick Blair, Jr., 98, American diplomat, Ambassador to Denmark (1961–1964) and the Philippines (1964–1967), hypertension
30th: Marvin Mandel, 95, American politician, Governor of Maryland (1969–1979), Speaker of the House of Delegates (1964–1969).
1st: Dean Jones, 84, American actor (The Love Bug, Company, Beethoven), Parkinson's disease
1st: Ben Kuroki, 98, American bomber crewman
1st: Jiří Louda, 94, Czech heraldist, designer of the current Coat of arms of the Czech Republic
3rd: Daniel Thompson, 94, Canadian-born American inventor, creator of the automatic bagel maker and the folding ping pong table
3rd: Yevgeny Ukhnalyov, 83, Russian artist, co-creator of the current coat of arms of Russia
4th: Jean Darling, 93, American silent film actress (Our Gang), radio personality and author
6th: Fred Ohr, 96, American World War II flying ace
6th: Calvin J. Spann, 90, American fighter pilot (Tuskegee Airmen).
9th: Einar H. Ingman, Jr., 85, American Army Medal of Honor recipient (Korean War).
10th: Radim Palouš, 90, Czech dissident
13th: Sir James Belich, 88, New Zealand politician, Mayor of Wellington (1986–1992).
13th: Jane Jacobs, 91, American baseball player (AAGPBL).
13th: Gary Richrath, 65, American guitarist and songwriter (REO Speedwagon)
16th: Allan Wright, 95, British World War II flying ace
18th: William E. Paul, 79, American immunologist and AIDS researcher, acute myeloid leukemia
19th: Mishael Cheshin, 79, Israeli judge, member of the Supreme Court (1992–2006), cancer
19th Georg Eder, 87, Austrian Roman Catholic prelate, Archbishop of Salzburg (1989–2002)
19th: Todd Ewen, 49, Canadian ice hockey player (St. Louis Blues, Montreal Canadiens, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim), suicide by gunshot to head.
22nd: John J. McNeill, 90, American Jesuit priest and gay rights activist
24th: Patrick O'Donnell, 75, Canadian general, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (1993–1995).
24th: Hugo Saint-Cyr, 36, Canadian actor (Watatatow, October 1970), bone cancer
25th: John Galvin, 86, American army general, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (1987–1992).
28th: Siert Bruins, 94, Dutch war criminal
30th: Robert M. Polich, Sr., 94, American WWII bomber pilot
1st: Jacob Pressman, 95, American Conservative rabbi, co-founder of American Jewish University
2nd: Naim Araidi, 65, Israeli Druze academic and poet, Ambassador to Norway (2012–2014), cancer
2nd: Eric Arturo Delvalle, 78, Panamanian politician, President (1985–1988).
2nd: Alan Prince, 100, Canadian bureaucrat, Director of the Nuclear Safety Commission (1975–1978), oversaw the clean up of Kosmos 954
3rd: Denis Healey, 98, British politician, Secretary of State for Defence (1964–1970), Chancellor of the Exchequer (1974–1979), heart attack
6th: Árpád Göncz, 93, Hungarian writer and politician, President (1990–2000).
9th: Ben Abraham, 90, Polish-born Brazilian Holocaust survivor, author and journalist            
10th: Alvin P. Adams, Jr., 73, American diplomat, Ambassador to Peru (1993–1996), Haiti (1989–1992), and Djibouti (1983–1985), heart attack
12th: Joan Leslie, 90, American actress (High Sierra, Sergeant York, Yankee Doodle Dandy).
14th: Nurlan Balgimbayev, 67, Kazakh politician, Prime Minister (1997–1999), cancer
14th: Mathieu Kérékou, 82, Beninese politician, President (1972–1991, 1996–2006).
14th: Robert M. White, 92, American meteorologist, director of the National Weather Service (1963–1965), ESSA (1965–1970), NOAA (1970–1977), complications of dementia
15th: Kenneth D. Taylor, 81, Canadian diplomat, Ambassador to Iran (1977–1980), awarded U.S. Congressional Gold Medal for role in "Canadian Caper", colorectal cancer
21st: Rhoda Leonard, 87, American baseball player (AAGPBL).
24th: Maureen O'Hara, 95, Irish-American actress (How Green Was My Valley, Miracle on 34th Street, The Quiet Man).
25th: David Cesarani, 58, British Jewish historian, Holocaust specialist, complications from spinal surgery
30th: Al Molinaro, 96, American actor (The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Joanie Loves Chachi), complications from infected gall bladder
31st: Thomas Blatt, 88, Polish writer and Holocaust survivor following escape from Sobibór, complications from dementia
1st: Fred Thompson, 73, American politician and actor (Die Hard 2, Law & Order, Sinister), U.S. Senator from Tennessee (1994–2003), minority counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee, lymphoma
1st: Günter Schabowski, 86, German politician, editor-in-chief of Neues Deutschland, First Secretary of the East Berlin SED, prematurely announced the fall of the Berlin Wall
3rd: Judy Cassab, 95, Austrian-born Australian painter and Holocaust survivor, only woman to win two Archibald Prizes (1960, 1967)
5th: Ritch Brinkley, 71, American actor (Murphy Brown, Cabin Boy, Beauty and the Beast).
5th: Czesław Kiszczak, 90, Polish soldier and politician, last Prime Minister of the People's Republic of Poland (1989) and Minister of Internal Affairs (1981–1990).
7th: Eddie Hoh, 71, American rock drummer (The Mamas & the Papas, The Monkees, Donovan)
7th: Yitzhak Navon, 94, Israeli politician, President (1978–1983)
10th: Helmut Schmidt, 96, German politician, Chancellor of West Germany (1974–1982), complications from surgery
17th: Milton Crenchaw, 96, American aviator (Tuskegee Airmen), cardiovascular disease and pneumonia
17th: Sir John Leahy, 87, British diplomat, High Commissioner to Australia (1984–1988).
23rd: Ankie Stork, 94, Dutch World War II resistance fighter
29th: Oʻtkir Sultonov, 76, Uzbek politician, Prime Minister (1995–2003).
30th: Eldar Ryazanov, 88, Russian film director (Carnival Night, The Irony of Fate, Promised Heaven), respiratory and heart failure
2nd: Anthony Valentine, 76, British actor (Colditz, Coronation Street, Escape to Athena).
2nd: Luz Marina Zuluaga, 77, Colombian beauty queen, Miss Universe (1958).
2nd: George T. Sakato, 94, American soldier, Medal of Honor recipient
2nd: Sandy Berger, 70, American political consultant, United States National Security Advisor (1997–2001), cancer
4th: Robert Loggia, 85, American actor (Jagged Edge, Scarface, Big), Alzheimer's disease
5th: Dimitar Iliev Popov, 88, Bulgarian politician, Prime Minister (1990–1991).
5th: Tibor Rubin, 86, Hungarian-born American Medal of Honor recipient and Holocaust survivor
5th: Peter Cochrane, 96, Scottish WWII army officer
12th: Gregory Baker Wolfe, 93, American diplomat and academic
18th: Andreja Preger (sr), 104, Hungarian-born Serbian pianist and Holocaust survivor.
18th: Stuart Milton Hodgson, 91, Canadian politician, Commissioner of the Northwest Territories (1967–1979).
22nd: Carson Van Osten, 70, American artist, Disney Legend
25th: George Clayton Johnson, 86, American writer (Logan's Run, The Twilight Zone, Star Trek), prostate and bladder cancer
26th: William O'Callaghan, 94, Irish Army lieutenant general, Force Commander (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon).