Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Oil spill on Yellowstone River disrupts farms

A 12-inch Exxon pipeline ruptured on Friday night about 150 miles downstream from Yellowstone National Park near the town of Laurel, Montana, southwest of Billings, dumping up to 1,000 barrels, or 42,000 gallons, of crude oil into the flood-swollen river.

Toxic fumes from the oil overcame a number of people who reported breathing problems and dizziness and were taken to local hospitals. But state and federal officials on Tuesday said they lacked a tally of health problems or the number of riverside homes that were evacuated after the accident.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Qatar ranked above India, China in innovation index

Qatar has been ranked 26th in the Global Innovation Index, securing the highest position in the Middle East ahead of even the world's two largest emerging economies China (29) and India (62). The report, prepared jointly by business school INSEAD and few other institutions, said that Qatar improved its world ranking by nine places vis-a-vis its 2010 position.
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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Syria: Tanks and troops deployed in restive Hama

Troops are said to be taking up positions at key entrances to Hama, and in the city centre.Syrian tanks and troops are being deployed in the restive city of Hama after the sacking of its governor, reports say.
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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Are Palestinians 'ready' for statehood?

Under the 1933 Montevideo Convention,  the closest thing in international law to a codified definition of what it means to be a country, an entity must have the following things to qualify for statehood:
 (a) a permanent population; 
(b) a defined  territory;
(c) government; and 
(d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.
A, c, and d definitely apply to the Palestinian territories. B depends on your definition of "defined," but a theoretical Palestinian state certainly wouldn't be the only one in the world with some unresolved border disputes. So if the Palestinian Authority were to declare itself an independent state, as it plans to in the next few years, would it meet the criteria?
A new U.N. study says yes, the Palestinians qualify for statehood, but also to suggest yet another set of criteria for the process, crediting the PA with achieving sufficient progress in the following areas over recent years:
1. governance, rule of law & human rights;
2. livelihoods & productive sectors;
3. education & culture;
4. health;
5. social protection; and
6. infrastructure & water
Applying this set of qualifications to Palestinian statehood raises the question of what aspiring states not currently recognized by the U.N. would pass the bar: Taiwan certainly, perhaps Northern Cyprus too. A better question: what currently-recognized states wouldn't make the cut. There are more than a handful of U.N. member states with lower standards of governance, economic development, and healthcare than the Palestinian Territories.
The U.N. has welcomed South Sudan's vote for independence, but is there any chance that one of the world's least developed regions would make the cut for sovereignty if it had to demonstrate the kind of economic and political progress seen on the West Bank in recent years?
source: FP 

Yemen leader Saleh agrees to step down under Gulf plan

President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen has agreed to step down under a 30-day transition plan aimed at ending violent unrest over his 32-year rule.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Iran Eager to own an RS satellite Soon

Iran intends to design and build a remote sensing (RS) satellite jointly with Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO) member states, according to Head of Iranian Space Agency (ISA) Hamid Fazeli. He said, "Iranian scientists have always taken part in APSCO meetings. Designing and building a RS satellite is one of the fields for cooperation."

"We plan to gain a larger share in building the satellite," Fazeli added. Iran has recently sent the first life-capsule into orbit. The launch aimed at testing the function of programming systems and subsystems. In addition, Kavoshgar 4, carrying the capsule, and three other satellites were unveiled by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in February.

The Islamic Republic launched its first domestically-built satellite, Omid (hope), into orbit in 2009. The Omid data-processing satellite was designed to circle the Earth 15 times every 24 hours and to transmit data via two frequency bands and eight antennas to an Iranian space station.

Iran is one of the 24 founding members of the United Nations' Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, which was set up in 1959.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Libya pounded from Air and Sea

The UK, US and France have attacked Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi's forces in the first action to enforce a UN-mandated no-fly zone.
Pentagon officials say the US and the UK have fired more than 110 missiles, while French planes struck pro-Gaddafi forces attacking rebel-held Benghazi.
Col Gaddafi has vowed retaliation and said he would open arms depots to the people to defend Libya.
Cruise missiles hit air-defence sites in the capital, Tripoli, and Misrata.
Libyan state TV said 48 people had been killed and 150 wounded in the attacks. There was no independent confirmation of the deaths.
A French plane fired the first shots against Libyan government targets at 1645 GMT on Saturday, destroying a number of military vehicles, according to a military spokesman.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Iran sets up centre for satellite images

Iran opened its first centre to receive satellite images, a new stage in its space programme that coincides with celebrations marking the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution. According to Defence Minister, Ahmad Vahidi, equipments used in the centre have been manufactured by Iranian engineers.

Iran does not have an operational satellite of its own but announced in December, 2011, that it would launch two satellites -- Fajr (Dawn) and Rasad-1 (Observation-1) by the end of the Iranian year in March 2011.

The Kavoshgar-4 rocket can carry a payload up to 120 kilometres.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


An amibitious project to pipe salt water from the Red Sea into the arid coastal city of Aqaba, Jordan, could turn the region into an oasis. A 50-acre demonstration facility, which will combine two technologies -- seawater greenhouses and concentrated solar power -- to grow crops, produce carbon neutral energy and desalinate seawater, has received approval from the government of Jordan and could be operational by 2012, with full-scale commercial use going online in 2015.
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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Buried Secrets in the Heart of Tel Aviv

Archaeologists from Tel Aviv University have unearthed some very interesting historical artifacts at an ancient fortress in the city. The fortress, Tel Qudadi, located at the mouth of the Yarkon River, was first excavated over 70 years ago, but the finds were never discovered. New evidence from the site indicates a linkage between ancient Israel and the Greek island of Lesbos.
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