Tag Archive: Russia


Egypt closes Great Pyramid after rumors of rituals

http://news.yahoo.com/egypt-closes-great-pyramid-rumors-rituals-104026490.html

 

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s antiquities authority closed the largest of the Giza pyramids Friday following rumors that groups would try to hold spiritual ceremonies on the site at 11:11 A.M. on Nov. 11, 2011.

The authority’s head Mustafa Amin said in a statement Friday that the pyramid of Khufu, also known as Cheops, would be closed to visitors until Saturday morning for “necessary maintenance.”

The closure follows a string of unconfirmed reports in local media that unidentified groups would try to hold “Jewish” or “Masonic” rites on the site to take advantage of mysterious powers coming from the pyramid on the rare date.

Amin called all reports of planned ceremonies at the site “completely lacking in truth.”

The complex’s director, Ali al-Asfar, said Friday that an Egyptian company requested permission last month to hold an event called “hug the pyramid,” in which 120 people would join hands around the ancient burial structure.

The authority declined the request a week ago, al-Asfar said, but that did not stop concerned Egyptians from starting internet campaigns to prevent the event from taking place.

“It has been a big cause now on Facebook and Twitter for many people to write about,” al-Asfar said.

The closure was unrelated to the rumors, he said, adding that the pyramid needed maintenance after the large number of visitors during the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday last week.

The rest of the complex, which includes two other large pyramids, numerous tombs and the Sphinx, remained open Friday, though security appeared to be heavier than usual.

Dozens of police officers and soldiers were posted throughout the complex. Some patrolled on camel-back. One soldier stood next to his machine gun near a souvenir shop selling miniature pyramids.

Speaking by phone from the pyramids after 11:11 had passed, al-Asfar said he’d seen nothing out of the ordinary.

“Everything is normal,” he said. “The only thing different is the closure of the Khufu pyramid.”

Khufu is credited with building the Giza complex’s largest pyramid, now one of Egypt’s main tourist attractions. Khufu founded the 4th Dynasty around 2680 B.C. and ruled Egypt for 23 years.

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Palestine wins UNESCO seat

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/envoy/palestine-wins-unesco-seat-143002573.html

 

Palestine won full admission into UNESCO, the United Nations science, education and cultural heritage organization, in a closely watched vote in Paris Monday. Global diplomacy hands view the 107-14 vote as a benchmark carrying larger implications for the Palestinians’ bid for state recognition before the UN Security Council. Both the United States and Israel have strongly opposed both initiatives.

 

The United States, Israel, Canada, Germany, Sweden and Australia were among the 14 nations voting against the Palestinians’ UNESCO bid, while 107 countries–including France, Spain, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, India, Russia, China, South Africa and Indonesia–voted in favor. Fourteen nations–including the United Kingdom and Italy–abstained.

Washington, which called the UNESCO vote “premature” Monday, has threatened to cut off funding to UNESCO if Palestine is granted membership. The United States currently accounts for about one-fifth of the organization’s budget.

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also rejected the UNESCO vote, and warned it would set back peace process.

“This is a unilateral Palestinian maneuver which will bring no change on the ground but further removes the possibility for a peace agreement,” the Israeli ministry said in a statement.  “This decision will not turn the Palestinian Authority into an actual state yet places unnecessary burdens on the route to renewing negotiations.”

Palestine’s successful UNESCO bid comes as Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair is due to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House Monday.

Blair has been trying to advance the Quartet’s efforts to get the Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table, asking each side to lay out their specific terms for resolving the issues of borders and security for a two-state solution. Meanwhile, Israeli officials have been depicting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as an unworthy peace partner.

Abbas, in turn, has recently reiterated his periodic threat to dissolve the Palestinian Authority–a move that if carried out would presumably give Israel the burden of administering, funding, and coordinating security for the West Bank’s Palestinian population.

Arab strongman: With Gadhafi death, an era passes

FILE - This undated photo shows Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. A U.S. official says Libya's new government has told the United States that Gadhafi, 69, is dead. The official said Libya's Transitional National Council informed U.S. officials in Libya of the development Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011. His death on Thursday, confirmed by Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril, came as Libyan fighters defeated Gadhafi's last holdouts in his hometown of Sirte, the last major site of resistance in the country. (AP Photo/File)http://news.yahoo.com/arab-strongman-gadhafi-death-era-passes-151535237.html

CAIRO (AP) — He often looked like a comical buffoon, standing before audiences, bedecked in colorful robes, spouting words that most of the world considered nonsense.

Yet the death of Moammar Gadhafi was a milestone in modern Arab history, in some ways more significant than the overthrow of lesser autocrats in Tunisia and Egypt.

Gadhafi was the last of the old-style Arab strongmen — the charismatic, nationalist revolutionaries who rose to power in the 1950s and 1960s, promising to liberate the masses from the shackles of European colonialism and the stultifying rule of the Arab elite that the foreigners left behind after World War II.

He was swept aside by a new brand of revolutionary — the leaderless crowds organized by social media, fed up with the oppressive past, keenly aware that the rest of the world has left them behind and convinced that they can build a better society even if at the moment, they aren’t sure how.

Gadhafi was the last of a generation of Arab leaders such as Gamal Abdel-Nasser of Egypt, Hafez Assad of Syria and Saddam Hussein of Iraq who emerged from poverty, rising to the pinnacle of power either through the ranks of the military or the disciplined, conspiratorial world of underground political organizations.

None of the latter crop of Arab autocrats, including Assad’s son Bashar, Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh and even Egypt’s colorless, ousted president Hosni Mubarak, could rival them in their heyday in terms of charisma, flair, stature and power.

Their model was Nasser, the towering champion of Arab unity who ousted Western-backed King Farouk in 1952 and inspired Arab peoples with fiery speeches broadcast by Egyptian radio from Iraq to Mauritania.

But Nasser’s dreams of Arab unity and social revival crumbled in defeat in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, when Israel seized East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Golan Heights from Syria and the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula from Egypt. Nasser died three years later, and the fellow strongmen left behind led their countries instead into a political swamp of corruption, cronyism and dictatorship now challenged by the Arab Spring.

The hallmark of the Arab strongman was unquestioned power, the use of state media to promote a larger than life image and a ruthless security network that stifled even a whiff of dissent. That worked in an age before the Internet and global satellite television which opened the eyes of the strongman’s followers to a world without secret police and economic systems run by the leader’s family and cronies.

The Arab political transformation is far from complete. Autocratic rulers are facing challenges from their own people in Yemen and Syria. Bahrain’s Shiite majority is pressing the Sunni monarchy for reform. Rulers in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are maneuvering to contain the Arab Spring.

Iraq is struggling to build a democracy eight years after American-led arms brought down Saddam’s rule.

With Gadhafi’s passing, however, a milestone has been passed. The future belongs to a different style of ruler, whoever it may be.

It may be difficult to imagine that the Gadhafi of his final years — with his flamboyant robes, dark and curly wigs and sagging, surgically altered face — was a trim, handsome, vigorous 27-year-old when he came to power as a strong and vigorous leader. Over the years he had become a caricature figure associated with grandiose dreams such as a “United States of Africa” or seizing all of Israel and sending Jews “back to Europe.”

Even when he was younger, eccentricity was the mark of Gadhafi’s public persona.

A generation ago, President Ronald Reagan described him as the “mad dog of the Middle East,” and his fellow Arab leaders such as Egyptian President Anwar Sadat considered him a dangerous megalomaniac.

Journalists covered his speeches and international visits primarily for amusement.

Images of Gadhafi’s final moments — toupee gone, terrified, confused, powerless in the grip of men who may be about to kill him — make the ousted tyrant appear more pitiable than powerful.

All that was far from his image when he and his comrades toppled a Western-backed monarchy in 1969 in a bloodless coup, promising to transform his poor, backwater country into a modern state.

Promising a new era for his people, Gadhafi closed a U.S. air base, forced international oil companies to hand over most of their profits from Libyan oil to the Libyan state and shook the world with his unabashed support for terrorist or insurgent movements in Northern Ireland, Palestine, Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Oil gave him a reach beyond his sparsely populated desert land and enabled him to pursue his revolutionary dreams.

In the 1980s, the lobbies of Tripoli’s few hotels were populated by representatives of what the West considered the most dangerous groups on Earth — stiff North Koreans wearing lapel buttons of their leader Kim Il-Sung, Palestinian extremists huddled over cups of sweet tea, European anarchists and revolutionaries — all come to town to seek the oil-fueled largesse of the “Brother Leader.”

While insisting that Libya was the freest nation on Earth, Gadhafi ruthlessly suppressed dissent, dispatched agents to assassinate his opponents abroad and drove thousands of Libyans into exile.

It all came crashing down in the final battle in his hometown of Sirte. A man who came to power as an Arab revolutionary and self-styled leader of the oppressed and downtrodden died a brutal and inglorious death at the hands of the people he purported to lead.

___

Eds: Robert H. Reid is Middle East regional editor for The Associated Press and has reported from the Middle East since 1978.

Well in a few weeks school will start

Hello WordPress users. How are ya’ll? As you can tell by todays title school is about to start in a few weeks ,August 2nd, and I’m ready for it. Because as many of you know this is my last year of high school. Yes, I will be a senor this year and all I can think about is where did time go? It feels like only yesterday I walk into Grenada High School as a freshman.

After this year I’ll be heading off to college hopefully. I am happy about that but it’s going to be at first because I’ve spent pretty much my entire life in the Grenada School District. But, I don’t see myself spending the rest of my life here in Grenada.

Hopefully, this year will go over well and I’ll have a great school year.

Japan Plans Nuclear Regulatory Reform

TOKYO — Responding to criticism that lax oversight played a role in the Fukushima nuclear accident, Japan’s government could give its nuclear regulatory agency more independence as early as next year, the country’s minister of trade and industry said.

The minister, Banri Kaieda, said the government wanted to separate the agency from his ministry, which is in charge of promoting Japan’s nuclear industry. Cozy ties between government and industry are now widely blamed for allowing the Fukushima Daiichi plant to operate despite inadequate backup power systems or protections against large tsunamis before the devastating earthquake on March 11.

Mr. Kaieda made the vague pledge of reform on Monday in Vienna, during a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the global nuclear watchdog. At the meeting, the head of the I.A.E.A., Yukiya Amano, said that nuclear regulators must be “genuinely independent,” echoing a criticism that his agency has repeatedly made of Japan’s nuclear oversight in the past.

There has also been widespread criticism in Japan that the regulators’ lack of independence contributed to the nation’s clumsy handling of the nuclear accident in the early days of the crisis, when the government largely left the response up to the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company. Officials in the prime minister’s office have since complained that they were getting inadequate information from not only Tokyo Electric, but also from the ministry and regulators, who seemed to be shielding the company.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/22/world/asia/22japan.html

Mr. Kaieda said spinning off the regulatory body, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, from the ministry was one of several proposals being considered to strengthen oversight.

The I.A.E.A. has criticized the Japanese agency’s lack of independence several times, most recently in a report completed last week by an investigative team that visited the stricken Fukushima plant in May. In 2007, following an earthquake in another part of Japan that also damaged a different nuclear plant, the international agency called for creating a firewall between regulators and the ministry, which guided the establishment of Japan’s nuclear industry.

NATO targets Tripoli with daytime raid

http://beta.news.yahoo.com/nato-targets-tripoli-daytime-raid-103459345.html

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — NATO warplanes dashed into the Libyan capital Tripoli at midday Friday, pounding a target in the south of the city and sending a thick cloud of black smoke rising high into the air.

A series of explosions rumbled across other parts of the city as fighter jets could by heard flying overhead. Fire engines raced through the streets, sirens blaring.

It wasn’t clear what was hit or whether there were casualties. Friday is the main day of rest in Libya, with many people off work.

NATO has been ramping up the pressure on Moammar Gadhafi’s regime. Though most airstrikes happen under cover of darkness, daytime raids have grown more frequent.

Friday’s raids follow a barrage that struck multiple targets late Thursday night.

The fresh strikes blasted the capital as renewed diplomatic efforts to halt Libya’s civil war appeared to be gaining momentum, though there are no signs a breakthrough is imminent.

On Thursday, Russia’s envoy to Libya met with senior government leaders in Tripoli, but not Gadhafi himself, in an effort to stop the fighting.

Last week, the envoy Mikhail Margelov visited the Libyan rebel stronghold of Benghazi and said that Gadhafi has lost his legitimacy. However, the envoy also said NATO airstrikes are not a solution to Libya’s violent stalemate.

Libyan Prime Minister al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi said the Libyan government has held a number of “preliminary meetings” with officials based in the eastern rebel-held city of Benghazi. He said the talks took place abroad, including in Egypt, Tunisia and Norway, but he did not provide specifics.

A coalition including France, Britain and the United States launched the first strikes against Gadhafi’s forces under a United Nations resolution to protect civilians on March 19. NATO assumed control of the air campaign over Libya on March 31. It’s joined by a number of Arab allies.

Speaking by video link from Naples, NATO Wing Commander Mike Bracken said Gadhafi’s future at the helm of Libya was a what he called a “political decision.” Bracken was speaking to reporters in Brussels, NATO headquarters.

Later, NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said there were no indications Gadhafi would stop attacking the opposition.

“It is hard to imagine the end to attacks on civilians while the pro-Gadhafi regime is still in power,” Lungescu said in Brussels. “It is unfortunately still the case that pro-Gadhafi forces continue to show shocking determination to harm the Libyan people.”

What started as a peaceful uprising inside Libya against Gadhafi has grown into a civil war, with rebels now holding a third of the country in the east and pockets in the west.

Libya’s rebels mark Feb. 17 — four months ago Friday — as the start of their revolution against Gadhafi’s more than four-decade rule.

It was on that date that protesters emboldened by Arab uprisings in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt took to the streets in a number of Libyan cities. At least 20 people were reported killed in a crackdown by state security forces.

Fighting between government forces and the rebels had reached a stalemate until last week when NATO launched the heaviest bombardment of Gadhafi forces since the alliance took control of the skies over Libya.

___

AP writer Don Melvin contributed from Brussels.

 

Any Ideas

Here we are yet again. How are ya’ll? Now I know that my posts are kind of boring, so I’m asking ya’ll for any ideas of what I can blog about. (please nothing inappropriate). So. yea please post your ideas and tell me what you think about my blogs. Whatelse do I want to put. Oh! yea I’m now a senior. YAY! At last my final year of high school. Well, any this is it. I look forward to your comments and I hope ya’ll are enjoying my blogs.

Bye

http://new.music.yahoo.com/blogs/realityrocks/422572/why-lauren-alaina-will-outsell-scotty-mccreery/

Scotty McCreery was just declared the 10th “American Idol” winner, but as the past two seasons’ Crystal Bowersox and Adam Lambert can tell you, winning isn’t everything. Both of those runners-up have sold more albums than the respective contestants who beat them, and I have a feeling this season’s runner-up, Lauren Alaina, will continue that pattern when she and Scotty release their albums later this year.

Why, do you ask? Read on.

1) Lauren May Get More Airplay – “Idol” fans loved Scotty, yes, but country radio staffers don’t seem to be quite as enthusiastic. Stark Radio recently reported that country radio broadcasters are already resistant to Scotty; WFRE’s Jess Wright even said, “If Scotty McCreery gets signed, I’m gonna need to change my phone number,” and KUZZ’s Toni-Marie quipped, “I’m calling in sick the day they bring Scotty by on the radio tour.” These same programmers also seemed to think Lauren has a good shot, with the right material and proper handling.

2) Lauren May Get Better Material – For her first single, Universal Records honcho Jimmy Iovine gave her “Like My Mother Does,” a catchy, heartstring-plucking ballad about a young girl’s admiration for her mom. Aw. Scotty, on the other hand, got the grammatically awkward “I Love You This Big,” with a silly chorus a boy might sing to his mom at age 5, not age 17. Were the “Idol” powers-that-be, who clearly wanted a girl winner this year, trying to sabotage him by giving him the weaker song? I don’t know–but I don’t think “I Love You This Big” did him any favors, and if he gets material like that for his first album, those above-mentioned radio programmers aren’t going to change their minds about him.

3) Lauren May Get More Label & Management Support – It’s been proven that if the “Idol” powers-that-be don’t get the winner they wanted, they’ll proceed with their original plans anyway. For instance, Taylor Hicks won Season 5, but all the 19 Entertainment marketing efforts that year went into making Chris Daughtry a star. Way more support was given to Adam Lambert than Kris Allen, and we all see how much effort the “Idol” machine put into launching Lee DeWyze’s career. On this week’s final showdown it was obvious how hard Lauren was pimped over Scotty, and while that attempt failed, that doesn’t mean Lauren won’t get a bigger marketing budget and bigger push later on.

4) Lauren Has More Crossover Potential – Let’s face it, most modern country music nowadays doesn’t sound very country at all, save for a bit of steel guitar buried in the mix and the teeniest hint of twang in the singer’s Pro-Tooled voice. I personally like the fact that Scotty doesn’t try to mix too much pop in his country, and keeps it old-school, hearkening back to the classic hat acts of yore. But Lauren’s poppier style does seem more in tune with today’s country scene. Those radio programmers’ comments cannot be discounted, nor can the fact that two of “Idol’s” most successful alums ever are Carrie Underwood and Kellie Pickler. (Lauren has also been compared to that other mega-selling “Idol” lady, Kelly Clarkson.) Carrie and Lauren’s finale night duet almost seemed like a staged symbolic torch-passing, and Lauren later told reporters backstage that Carrie told her, “Wow, that was incredible. We should take that on the road!” So Lauren has the potential to become Underwood 2.0.

5) Girls Dominate The Charts – The biggest sellers right now are Adele, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Beyonce, Rihanna, and the like, and ladies rule the country charts, too (Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert, the female-fronted Lady Antebellum, and of course, Carrie Underwood). Girls don’t tend to do too well on “Idol” anymore–we’ve had four male winners in a row now–but they sure do well in the real world.

Of course, this is no diss on Scotty; he is the superior performer of the two, a real showman, so he may pick up even more diehard (read: record-buying) fans as he headlines the Idols Live Tour this summer. But hopefully getting all the way to “Idol” finale gave Lauren a confidence boost, and the sassy girl we saw back in Nashville, the one who had the guts to challenge Steven Tyler to a “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” duet, will soon reemerge onstage and on record. On “Idol” Lauren sometimes seemed like a butterfly turning back into a caterpillar, as the pressure of competing got to her, but now it’s time for her to her to break out of her cocoon. So don’t rule out Lauren just yet.

Pakistani troops retake naval base from militants

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110523/ap_on_re_as/as_pakistan

Fire and smoke rises from a Pakistani naval aviation base, following an attack by militants in Karachi, Pakistan, Sunday, May 22, 2011. Militants atta

By ADIL JAWAD, Associated Press Adil Jawad, Associated Press 2 hrs 29 mins ago

KARACHI, Pakistan – Pakistani commandos regained control of a naval base Monday from a team of Taliban militants who attacked then occupied the high-security facility for 18 hours — an exceptionally audacious act of insurgent violence that dealt a humiliating blow to the military.

The attackers — thought to number around six — destroyed at least two U.S.-supplied surveillance planes and killed 10 security officers, officials said. At least four of the attackers were killed, and two others may have escaped, said Pakistan Navy chief Nauman Bashir.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the assault in the city of Karachi. The militants said it was revenge for the May 2 American raid that killed al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden, and the insurgents were under orders to fight until the death.

“They do not want to come out alive, they have gone there to embrace martyrdom,” said spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan.

The insurgent team armed with grenades, rockets and automatic weapons stormed Naval Station Mehran under cover of darkness late Sunday, using ladders and cutting the wire to get into the facility, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said.

Once inside, they scattered around the compound, setting off explosions and hiding in the sprawling facility.

During the day Monday, the militants were holed up in an office building in a gunbattle with commandos, navy spokesman Irfan ul Haq said. Navy helicopters flew over the base, and snipers were seen on a runway control tower.

By the afternoon, Haq said the militants had been defeated. “Thanks be to God, the base is cleared and the operation is over,” he said. Commandos leaving the complex flashed victory signs to reporters.

Malik said he saw some of the bodies of the attackers, even showing a picture of one lying bloodied on the grass that he took with his cell phone. He said the were dressed in black and looked “like the Star Wars characters.”

Six Americans and 11 Chinese aviation engineers were on the base but escaped unharmed, he said.

The insurgents’ ability to penetrate the facility rattled a military establishment already embarrassed by the unilateral American raid on bin Laden and raised the possibility they had inside help.

It will also likely lead to more questions over the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. In 2009, Islamist terrorists stormed army headquarters close to the capital, holding hostages for 22 hours. But unlike the attack Sunday in Karachi, the attackers then failed to deeply penetrate the complex.

The unilateral U.S. raid on bin Laden’s compound in the northwest Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad has triggered a strong backlash against Washington, as well as rare domestic criticism of the armed forces for failing to detect or prevent the American operation. Pakistani leaders insist they had no idea the al-Qaida boss had been hiding in Abbottabad.

This is the third major attack the group has claimed since the bin Laden killing. The others were a car bombing that slightly injured American consulate workers in the northwest city of Peshawar and a twin suicide attack that killed around 90 Pakistani paramilitary police recruits.

At least two P-3C Orions, maritime surveillance aircraft given to Pakistan by the U.S., were destroyed, he said. The U.S. Navy puts the cost of the planes at $36 million each.

The United States handed over two Orions to the Pakistani navy at a ceremony at the base in June 2010 attended by 250 Pakistani and American officials, according to the website of the U.S. Central Command. It said by late 2012, Pakistan would have eight of the planes.

U.S. Embassy spokesman Alberto Rodriguez said the Americans were working as contractors to help support the P-3C aircraft but did not report to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Four of them were part of a Lockheed Martin contract engineering and technical support team, he said.

Karachi, a city of around 18 million people, has not been spared the violence sweeping the country, despite being in the south and far from the northwest where militancy is at its strongest. In April, militants bombed three buses taking navy employees to work, killing at least nine people.

The Pakistani Taliban and other militant groups have little direct public support, but the army and the government have struggled to convince the people of the need for armed operations against them. The militants’ identification with Islam, strong anti-American rhetoric and support for insurgents in Afghanistan resonates with some in the country.

Also Monday, Pakistani intelligence officials said a pair of suspected U.S. missiles hit a vehicle and killed four people near the Afghan border. It was the latest in an uptick of strikes following the bin Laden raid.

The attack occurred in Machi Khel area in North Waziristan, a tribal region home to several militant groups attacking U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The U.S. relies heavily on missile strikes to target foes in Pakistan. Pakistan objects to the attacks publicly, but is believed to support them in private.

The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters. They said they did not know the identities of the people killed.

___

Associated Press writers Ishtiaq Mahsud and Rasool Dawar in Dera Ismail Khan contributed to this report.

hello

hello! how are ya’ll? I’m back! I just thought I’d post something else before I get for good tonight. Well, today was about the same as any other day for me.(boring) One thing I did do ,however,that I haven’t done in a while was go to the beach. I’m really not much of a swimmer, but today while I was doing some house work I got this eurge to go to the beach, so I did. Lets just say I had fun. I’m not sure if I’ll go back to the beach this summer, but hey you never right? 🙂

In other news…….I may be going to a wedding either in July or August I’m not really sure though, so that’s something to look forward to.

Well that’s it for today see ya’ll later. 🙂

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