“Bahrain begins trial of hundreds”

Tue Jun 14, 2011 6:20PMPRESS TV

Opposition groups in Bahrain say hundreds of people are put on trial
in the country, but the ruling regime claims that it has begun trials for
22 people over their role in anti-regime demonstrations.

The defendants faced charges ranging from calling for regime change,
spreading photos to hurt the country's reputation, and carrying swords.
Activists also said on Tuesday that Bahrain's Polytechnic University has
dismissed around 47 students over political statements they had posted on
Twitter and Facebook.

Meanwhile, a number of defendants alleged they have been tortured
in detention and forced to sign confessions. Anti-regime activist Jaber
Ibrahim al-Alawiat, who was “severely tortured” by Bahraini forces while in
detention, died a day after he was released, witnesses said. Thousands of
anti-government protesters have been staging demonstrations in Bahrain
since February, demanding ouster of the ruling Al Khalifa family following
its brutal crackdown on popular protests.

.On March 14, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates deployed troops
to the kingdom to help Bahraini forces to suppress the nationwide protests.
Scores of people have been killed and many more arrested in the Saudi-
backed crackdown on protests in Bahrain -- a longtime ally of the US and
home to a huge military base of the US Navy's Fifth Fleet.

'Israeli deputy FM secretly visits Egypt'
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon has secretly visited
Egypt and met with top officials from the ruling military council, a
report says.

The visit, which took place two weeks ago, is the first time an Israeli official
has visited Egypt since the country's former President Hosni Mubarak was
toppled in February. The Israeli foreign ministry has denied the visit, Israeli
daily Ma'ariv reported on Tuesday. Ayalon met with head of Egypt's ruling
military council Mohamed Hussein Tantawi and Egyptian Foreign Minister
Nabil al-Arabi, according to the report.

Unity deal between Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, the reopening of
the Rafah crossing, and gas deals between the two sides were among their
discussions. Following the visit, the Rafah crossing border was closed and
Egypt resumed exporting natural gas to Israel at artificially low prices.
On May 28, Egyptian authorities opened the crossing to human traffic,
allowing Palestinians to enter and exit the Gaza Strip for the first time in
four years. However, Egypt abruptly closed the crossing again on June 4
without informing Palestinian border authorities and reopened it one day
later, but it implemented a number of restrictions including a reduction in

the number of individuals allowed through the gates.

Bahraini activist given jail term

Thu May 5, 2011 4:34PM PRESSTV

An ad hoc Bahraini court has convicted a human rights activist of

attempted murder of a policeman, handing him down a five-year

prison sentence.

The sentence was issued against Abdullah Mohammed Habib on

Thursday, the Associated Press reported. The court was set up in March --

the month, when the government imposed a martial law against the popular

revolution in Bahrain.

Late last month, four demonstrators were sentenced to death by a military

court for the alleged killing of two police officers during the protests.

Anti-government protesters have been holding peaceful demonstrations

across Bahrain since mid-February, calling for an end to the over-40-year

rule of the Al Khalifa dynasty.

On March 14, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates deployed police

and military forces in the kingdom at Manama's request to help quell the

nationwide protests .According to local sources, scores of of people have

been killed and hundreds arrested so far during the clampdown on peaceful


The foreign deployments are reported to have contributed to a rise in the

violence against the protesting public.

Recent reports say Riyadh is sending more troops to Bahrain ahead of

planned anti-government rallies there.

The 14th of February Youth -- an opposition group named after the

day when the revolution began -- has called Friday “the Day of Sacred

Defense,” when the public is expected to stage mass protests. In recent

developments, several people have been arrested throughout the Persian

Gulf kingdom, including three in the village of Karzakan. A large fire has

also been reported in the town of Sitra after an early-morning raid on

factories by regimeforces.


Bahraini women sexually

assaulted' presstv friday

Saudi-backed forces in Bahrain have sexually assaulted women

during attacks to arrest human rights activists in the country, a new

report reveals.

A Bahraini woman identified as Fatima, a close relative of prominent

Bahraini rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, said she was sexually

assaulted by Saudi-backed forces in her house, Press TV reported.

The regime forces assaulted Fatima after storming into her house to arrest

her husband, she said in an interview accompanied by rights activist

Zainab al-Khawaja.

Zainab, the daughter of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, ended a 10-day hunger

strike after international activists said they needed her to speak up for

those detained in the crackdown .Her father was arrested earlier in April.

Bahraini forces have arrested hundreds of activist so far during the

clampdown on peaceful protests.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has


voiced "deep concern" about the continued detention of activists in the


Pillay also cited the prosecution of scores of medical professionals, and the

death sentence handed down to four protesters after a closed-door military

trial, said UN spokesperson Farhan Haq. Anti-government protesters have

been holding peaceful demonstrations across Bahrain since mid-February,

calling for an end to the over-40-year rule of the Al Khalifa dynasty. On

March 14, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates deployed police

and military forces in the kingdom at Manama's request to help quell the

nationwide protests. According to local sources, scores of people have

been killed and hundreds arrested so far during the clampdown on peaceful

protests. The foreign deployments are reported to have contributed to a ise

in the violence against the protesting public. Recent reports say Riyadh is

sending more troops to Bahrain ahead of planned anti-government rallies


Bahrainis to hold Day of rage on Friday

Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:1AM PRESSTV

Bahraini opposition activists have announced plans for another "Day of Rage" on
Friday in defiance of the martial law imposed since last week.

Nine demonstrations -- whose plans were circulated by email and internet -- are arranged to be held
across crisis-hit Bahrain on Friday.
One of the rallies is expected to be heading toward the airport and another aims for Manama's
Salmaniya hospital.
Government crackdown on peaceful demonstrations in Bahrain has recently been aided by troops
from Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Press TV has learned through reports that the Saudi forces have forcefully taken about
100 people out of the hospital and shot them dead.
On March 16, Saudi forces stormed the Salmaniya hospital where hundreds of people were
receiving treatment for injuries suffered in clashes with government forces a day earlier.
At least 20 Bahrainis have so far been killed, almost 100 missing and about 1,000 others injured in
anti-government protests that began in mid-February against the two-century long rule of al-Khalifa
The Bahraini demonstrators maintain that they will hold their ground until their demands for freedom
and constitutional monarchy are met. They also call for a proportional voice in the government.

Iran slams 'brutal' Israeli Gaza hit

Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:20AM PRESSTV

Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast has condemned a
string of new Israeli military strikes which have killed a number of Palestinians
including children in the impoverished Gaza Strip.

Mehmanparast blasted Tel Aviv for the recent spate of attacks on the blockaded coastal sliver,
saying it was a repeat of Israel's “brutal” aggression on the coastal enclave. “The illegal Zionist
regime (Israel) uses the current warmongering atmosphere in the region as a pretext to achieve its
own ominous objectives,” The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said on Thursday.
He noted that Israel has once again slain innocent people in Gaza. “As in the past, the Iranian
nation will stand by the resistant Palestinian people and insists on the firm determination of free
nations in the world to defend holy ideals of the Palestinians,” the official added.
At least 10 Palestinians, including four children, have been killed and more than 50 injured after
Israel launched air strikes on the Gaza Strip on Tuesday. The Israeli attacks began with the
unprovoked killing of two Hamas security personnel on March 16.
Israeli forces have carried out large numbers of ground and air attacks on Gaza since the end of
Operation Cast Lead against the enclave.
More than 1,400 Palestinians were killed during the three-week Israeli land, sea and air offensive in
the impoverished coastal sliver during the winter of 2008-2009. The offensive also inflicted USD 1.6
billion damage to the Gazan economy.
Israel laid an economic siege on the Gaza Strip in June 2007, after Hamas took control of the
Some 1.5 million people are being denied their basic rights, including freedom of movement, and
their rights to appropriate living conditions, work, health and education. Poverty and unemployment
rates stand at approximately 80 percent and 60 percent, respectively, in the Gaza Strip.

Egypt to hold march of millions Friday
Egyptians plan to hold another march of millions on Friday, March 4, 2011.
Egyptian opposition activists have called for another million-man march on
Friday to pressure interim Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq to step down.
The call comes as a military tribunal has sentenced a man who took part in last Friday's
anti-government protests to 5 years in prison.
An Egyptian rights organization says the man was convicted and sentenced in an unfair
trial, which only took five minutes.
Thousands of Egyptians protested in downtown Cairo last Friday, demanding that the
government be purged of all remnants of ousted President Hosni Mubarak's regime
Since Mubarak's ouster on February 11, Egyptians have called on the ruling military to
hand over power to a civilian government elected by the people. They have also urged
the release of all political detainees and the disbandment of military courts.
Two senior members of Egypt's opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, were
released on Wednesday, a day after a sit-in in front of the Egyptian Supreme Council of
the Armed Forces.
Meanwhile, a new constitution which has undergone 10 major changes is planned to be
put to a referendum on March 19.
The popular revolution in Egypt has concerned the US and Israel, whose unshakeable
support for Mubarak's regime was always taken for granted and with the rise of Islamic
groups in Egypt see their interests at stake.Move Panel

US, Allies Exposed
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday warned America and its allies that
they should not be tempted to intervene militarily in North Africa and the Middle East or
else “the regional peoples would rise up and send their soldiers back home in body
bags.Addressing supporters in Lorestan, he said times have changed. “Today is
different from ten years ago when America attacked Iraq and Afghanistan under the
pretext of fighting terror. America and its allies who plunder the wealth of other peoples
are indeed the most abhorred among the comity of nations. They are trying to create
the conditions for military intervention in some countries.”
Ahmadinejad and ten ministers arrived in the western province on Wednesday as part
of the government’s third round of provincial tours. The president said regimes that
pretend to uphold regional people’s rights should know that their deceitful acts have
been exposed. “Their (Western) plots have been neutralized and nobody buys their
claims about advocating civil rights, simply because they themselves are responsible for
the crimes committed worldwide, IRNA reported.
US, Allies Exposed...
The president made reference to the revolts in the Middle East and North Africa.
“Today if some nations have risen against dictators and despots, it does not mean that
they prefer the US and its allies… The people in this region and beyond consider
America and its allies to be behind all crimes and destruction in the world. America and
its partners support dictatorships and are hostile to popular governments.”

US Bases Defending Dictators
Ahmadinejad said world public opinion should know that America backs the very
foundations of dictatorships across continents. “Who has given weapons to the
murderers of the people in this region? What do the US military bases do in the Middle
East, Muslim states, North Africa and Europe? The claim by the US and its allies of
supporting the masses is not true.
“Have the military bases really been set up to defend the people or defend dictators?
The target of new machinations of the US and its partners are aimed at controlling the
oil and gas resources in North Africa and the Middle East,” he told the rally.

Lacking High Moral Ground
He said those who produce, stock and use atomic bombs simply do not hold the high
moral ground to take a stance against Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.
“They produce nuclear weapons, have military bases in at least four European countries
in contradiction to international law, have arsenals of atomic bombs...Today, the
security of the people of Europe is in danger. Arrogant powers have atomic bombs and
have stocked them in other countries,” he complained.
Iranians will stand against the excessive demands of arrogant powers and will not
retreat from its declared stance, he said.
“Arrogant powers better realize that they have only one option to rescue themselves:
respect the rights of other nations, accept their independence and put an end to
oppression. If arrogant powers want to go back to colonial intentions with new deception, the people of Iran and the region will slap them in the face.”
History has it that when the going gets tough US governments have always sacrificed
their friends for their greed and narrow interests, Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.
“If and when necessary America has victimized dictators for its own interests. We saw
this in Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East. At present, we see that those rulers who
depended on America for years oppressed their own people, are being victimized by
America when their people have revolted against them. Anywhere you see the violation
of human rights it is linked to the US, the Zionist regime and their allies. They should be
brought to justice,” he declared.
Ahmadinejad said the very existence of the occupying power in Palestine is the biggest
crime against human rights and human dignity.
“America and its allies should stop their deceitful acts. The world has awakened and
waves of awareness are everywhere. I must add that a stifling atmosphere prevails in
some states in America and people regularly protest against corruption, oppression and
prejudice,” he concluded.

Israeli fire injures 3 Palestinians

A number of Israeli tanks rolled into Gaza on Wednesday.

At least thirteen Palestinians, including children, have been injured in two
separate Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip, medics say.
The incident took place during a brief incursion by Israeli forces into eastern
Gaza City on Wednesday, a Press TV correspondent reported.
Eleven Palestinians were injured after an Israeli tank shell hit eastern part of
the Gaza City.
The incident came shortly after a number of Israeli tanks and bulldozers
rolled into the Palestinian territory in an apparent effort to destroy
agricultural lands along the occupied border zone.
Three members of the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad,
and three children are among the injured. "Three of our fighters were
injured while firing two mortar shells towards Israeli tanks which were
operating inside the (Gaza) border," a statement released by the group said.
Separately, two Palestinian workers were shot and injured by Israeli gunfire
as they were collecting cement particles left behind from the houses that
were destroyed in north of the town of Beit Lahiya near the border during the
Israeli war on Gaza at the turn of 2009.
Since March 2010, more than one hundred Palestinians have been shot by
Israeli soldiers while collecting construction material.

Iran censures brutality of 4 Arab States

Members of Iran's Parliament (Majlis) condemn the violent crackdown on pro-democracy protesters by Libya, Yemen,
Bahrain, and Morocco.

Members of Iran's Parliament (Majlis) have condemned the recent violent
crackdown on pro-democracy protesters by the governments of Libya,
Yemen, Bahrain, and Morocco.
In a statement issued by 191 Iranian lawmakers, the recent brutal onslaught
by rulers of the four Arab countries were censured, Mehr News Agency
reports. “The regretful events in Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and Morocco
and the ruthless slaughter of unarmed people of these countries by the
authoritarian rulers is reminiscent of crimes that all dictators throughout
history have committed in order to stay in power,” read the statement.
“Their [the dictators'] fate, from Pharaoh to [former Iraqi dictator] Saddam
[Hussein], [ousted Egyptian dictator Hosni] Mubarak and [deposed Tunisian
ruler Zine El Abidine] Ben Ali has been a humiliating collapse,” it said.
In the statement, the Iranian lawmakers also condemned the “silence and
ambiguous positions of the United States” specially with regards to the
violence carried out by the Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi, stating that such
vague positions reflect the fact that the US sacrifices human rights in pursuit
of its interests.
The parliamentary statement also urged the Organization of the Islamic
Conference (OIC) to “take practical steps” to stop the rulers of the these
repressive countries from killing their people.

‘University of Tehran ranks first in Islamic

TEHRAN -- The University of Tehran ranks first in the world of Islam,
Jafar Mehrad, president of the Islamic World Science Citation Center
(ISC) told the Persian service of MNA on Wednesday. ISC published a
list detailing the ranking of top universities at the Ministry of Health and the
Ministry of Science, Research, & Technology.
ISC, a newly established rating center, ranks the universities of the Islamic
countries. The ranking was done during a period of June 22, 2010 to
December 22, 2010.
Mehrad also said that Iran stands second in the regional countries in scientific

Iran announces Book of the Year Awards

TEHRAN -- The winners of the 28th edition of Iran’s Book of the Year
Awards were announced during a ceremony in Tehran on Tuesday. Vice
President Mohammadreza Rahimi, Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance
Mohammad Hosseini, several other officials, and a number of cultural
figures attended the ceremony, which was held at Vahadat Hall.

The following is a list of the winners in various categories:
* Bibliography “A Bibliography of Handwritten Books at the Ayatollah
Golpayegani Public Library” by Abolfazl Hafezian and Ali Sadrainia
* Philosophy and psychology “The Rational Principles in the Realm of
Riwaya” by Javad Khorramian Esfahani
* Religion (Five winners were announced in this category.)
1. “Nozaht al-Abasr wa Mahsen al-Aasaar” by Ab al-Hassan Ali ibn Mahd
at-Tabar al-Mamati corrected by Mohammad-Baqer Mahmudi
2. “Anis al-Mojtahedin” by Mohammad-Mehdi Naraqi corrected by
Nematollah Jalili, Gholamreza Naqi and Valiollah Qorbani
3. “Mosu al-Imama fi Nosus Ahl-usa-Sunna” by Shahbeddin Marashi Najafi
corrected by Mahmud Marashi and Mohammad Esfandiari

4. “Principles of Mysticism in Theory” by Yadollah Yazdanpanah
5. “The Elements of Gnosticism” by Stuart Holroyd and translated into
Persian by Abolqasem Esmaeilpur

Protesters camp near Mubarak's palace

Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:37PM PRESSTV

Angry protesters in Cairo's Liberation Square wave flags amid outburst of fury at speeches by Mubarak and

Egyptian protesters have gathered in front of the presidential palace and
the building housing state television and radio channels in Cairo following
President Hosni Mubarak's refusal to step down.

At least 10,000 protesters have gathered in front of the building of the state television, while
thousands others are setting up camps close to Mubarak's presidential palace, a Press TV
correspondent reported.
More protesters are marching towards the presidential palace in Cairo's suburb of Heliopolis
amid tight security measures by troops guarding the building, the report said.
In a televised speech broadcast by state television on Thursday afternoon, the 82-year-old
president dampened widespread speculations that he would abandon power after 30 years
in office, and instead transferred some powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman.
During the speech, hundreds of protesters took off their shoes and brandished them at
the screen on which they had seen Mubarak's speech, and shouted "Down with Mubarak,
leave, leave!"
Others called for an immediate general strike and demanded of the army, which has
deployed large numbers of troops around the protest: "Egyptian army, the choice is
now, the regime or the people.” "I am committed to carrying out whatever is necessary
to ensure the peaceful transfer of power in accordance with the constitution," the vice
president said.
According to the United Nations, at least 300 people have so far been killed and thousands
more have been injured during nationwide protests in Egypt.


Iranian caretaker Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has called for joint
investments with Malaysia for exploring new East and Central Asian

"We can use the capacity of the markets of the counties in Eastern and Central Asia by
making joint investment and production," IRNA quoted Salehi as saying in a meeting
with Malaysia's Deputy Parliament speaker Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar on
Wednesday in Tehran. Salehi hailed the positive Tehran-Kuala Lumpur relations and
called for expansion of cooperation between the Muslim nations.
He said that Iran and Malaysia could exhaust their capacities "in favor of the Muslim
world." The Malaysian senior lawmaker, for his part, said that his country welcomes
joint investment with the Islamic Republic, especially in producing 'halal' food products.
"Both Iran and Malaysia could exchange their experiences in different fields," he
stressed. During his stay in Iran, the Malaysian official met with senior Iranian officials,
including Iranian Parliament (Majlis) Speaker Ali Larijani and the country's other senior

Karbala : 20 killed 71 wounded in 2 blasts near Karbala

Karbala : 20 killed 71 wounded in 2 blasts near Karbala Iraq. The first blast occured at a
terminal in a car at Al-Ibraheemi in which 10 people killed and 50 wounded.

Thousands defy violence, mark Chehlum in Iraq
Wednesday January 26, 2011 (1209 PST)

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims marched and beat their
heads and chests in ritualistic mourning in a major rite in Iraq's
holy Shi'ite city of Kerbala on Tuesday, after attacks that killed
dozens in recent days.

The Chehlum event, which draws Shias from across Iraq, neighbouring Iran and other

Muslim countries, has been a frequent target of al Qaeda, but pilgrims in Karbala
sounded defiant on the climactic day of the commemoration. It was a stern security
test for a government formed in late December after months of political bickering
following an inconclusive March election, as US troops prepare to withdraw from Iraq
by year’s end.
“I’m happy to finish the rituals and I’m not afraid at all because when I left Baghdad
I was expecting death at any moment, but that would never deter me,” said Aqeel
Fadhil, 38, a taxi driver who wore a black dishdasha robe and carried a black flag
bearing a portrait of Imam Hussain. Chehlum marks the end of a 40-day mourning
period for Imam Hussain (RA), grandson of the holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
and a central figure of Shia Islam, who was killed in a 7th century battle. His followers
believe he was buried in Karbala.

On Tuesday, there were no major attacks by mid-afternoon. “We know risks are
looming, we know enemies are everywhere, but we are more determined to do rituals
every year,” said 50-year-old Burhan Raad, a government worker who travelled to
Kerbala from Diyala province with three relatives. The Shia-led government deployed
120,000 police and soldiers during Arbain to protect the hundreds of thousands,
perhaps millions of pilgrims.

Health tips

Walking is one of the simple ways to keep you healthy, fit & energetic. To walk around
you don’t need to pay a monthly fees. You can do this while talking with your buddies
too. You can quite easily continue this process even when you are rushed for time. So
the following will help you to realise some advantages of walking.
• Walking can make your muscles quite responsive, which helps the glucose to work
within your cells & not to accumulate in your blood. It’s able to avert the diabetes &
other diabetes related ailments.
• Study has revealed that daily walkers suffer from less blood pressure related
problems, heart attacks, cholesterol ailments than the people who prefer to sit all the
time. Among women, study has also revealed that walking is quite able to defend the
heart better than various other robust workouts.
• If you really want to boost up your immune system then don’t waste any more time to
get into the habit of regular walking.
• 90 days of regular walking can also lower your ageing affects. It can make you
healthy as well as active.
• Regular walking will help you to reduce your cravings & distract your mind from
some unhealthy habits. Walking can also be a mood elevating option.
• When you want to reduce your weight & get into a good shape then walking could
be a very good option for you. It will also help you to get rid of your anxiety as well as
• Walking is also quite effective in keeping you energetic for the full day. It will help
you get a sound sleep.
• Research has revealed that walking can reduce the problem of staggering memories
among people who are over 50. Physical activities always cherish your brain.


'Leader decides on Iran-US talks'

Iran's Judiciary chief says the conditions of Iran-US talks will be only decided and announced by the leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khameni.

"The conditions of the talks with the Untied States will be only decided by the leader of the Islamic Revolution and not by any other individual in the country's other branches of power," Iran Labor News Agency quoted Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani as saying on Sunday. The Iranian judiciary chief downplayed recent foreign threats made against the Islamic Republic, saying such threats are not nothing new and have been posed on the country for more than 30 years. Larijani, however, warned that Iran's response against foreign aggressors "will not be limited to Iran's borders," if such threats are put into action. "While the United States carries out military threats and imposes unilateral sanctions against Iran, it talks about negotiations with Iran and this illogical stance is certainly not acceptable." The United States and Israel say they have a military option against Iran on the table if Iran does not stop its uranium enrichment activity. Iran insists that its nuclear program is completely in accordance with the International Atomic Energy Agency's rules and regulations and as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Iran reserves the right to continue its enrichment work. Iranian military officials have vowed a crushing response to any military movement against Iran's nuclear facilities.

'sanctions chance for self-sufficiency'

Iran's president says the government is fully prepared to deal with sanctions, and will turn them into an opportunity for economic boom and self-sufficiency.

“The sanctions are aimed at putting pressure on the Iranian nation”, said Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a joint meeting of government and parliament. “If they say they have no intention of pressurizing the (Iranian) nation, they are lying. They want to exert pressure on the government by pressuring the nation”, added the president. He added the Iranian nation is very experienced and will not capitulate to such pressures. “The enemies will take to the grave the longing to put the slightest pressure on the Iranian nation”, President Ahmadinejad underscored. “They have announced time and again that they want to isolate the Iranian nation”, he added. “However, on behalf of the Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic (of Iran's) establishment, I tell you that the Iranian nation can isolate a hundred like you”, said the president. President Ahmadinejad then touched upon a ban on gasoline sales to Iran, and underlined countries seeking to keep gasoline from reaching Iran are, in fact, slapping sanctions on themselves. He further underlined Iran has always favored negotiations, adding the Tehran Declaration which was the result of fair and logical talks is a clear example of that. President Ahmadinejad reiterated that Iran will not step back an iota from its inalienable rights.

After Bushehr Activation, Iran Unveils New ‘Karar’ Bomber Drone

One day after the activation of the nuclear reactor in Bushehr, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveiled another new achievement: a long-range drone, dubbed Karar, which reportedly can bomb targets at high speed.The unveiling of the aircraft comes as Iran marks on Sunday its annual Defense Industries Day. Television footage showed the president applauding as a blue cloth which had been covering the drone was pulled back to reveal a short aircraft painted in military-green with the words "Bomber jet" written on its side.Images were then broadcast on television showing the aircraft flying. Ahmadinejad made a speech at the ceremony, held in a hall of Tehran's Malek Ashtar University, but did not mention the drone.State television's website reported that the drone has "different capabilities, including carrying bombs to destroy targets." It said the plane can fly for a "long range at high speed."The website cited Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi as saying that the Karar is a "symbol of the versatility and advancement of Iran's defense industries."
The unveiling of Karar, the nickname of Imam Ali, the first Muslim Shiite imam, comes two days after Iran test fired a domestically built surface-to-surface missile, Qiam (Rising).

Cancer-promoting protein discovered

Canadian scientists have uncovered a new protein that blocks DNA damage in the cell and thus help spread various cancers, a breakthrough that could pave the way for medical strategies to improve cancer therapies.The findings by Toronto University researchers - Daniel Durocher, Anne-Claude Gingras and Frank Sicheri - show how cells regulate their genetic material. Their findings have improved understanding of familial breast and ovarian cancer, as their research shows that the new protein, called OTUB1, inhibits the action of BRCA1, a DNA repair protein that often mutates itself into these cancers, a university statement said Friday. ”In recent years, we have been very good at finding proteins necessary for DNA repair. (But) what we did not appreciate was that gatekeepers existed to inhibit the capacity of the cell to repair DNA. The obvious question now is: Can we enhance the ability of the cell to repair DNA by blocking OTUB1?” the statement quoted lead researcher Daniel Durocher as saying.

Dubai Camel Dairy Hopes to Milk Health Food Market

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – The camels know the drill by heart. Just after dawn, they file on their own — always in groups of 12 — into metal stalls for milking. Workers attach automated pumps. The milk flows into a system of chilled pipes that empty into a sealed metal vat.The next stop someday could be markets in Europe, and possibly beyond, under ambitious plans backed by Dubai's ruler to expand the reach of the playfully eccentric brand name Camelicious.European Union health regulators in July cleared the United Arab Emirates to become the first major exporter of camel milk products to the 27-nation bloc. If onsite inspections and other EU tests pass muster, the first batches of powdered camel milk could be heading to European shelves next year — and at some point possibly to Asia and America.
"We know this isn't what you'd call a mainstream product in the West," said David Wernery, legal adviser for the Camelicious brand, whose parent company goes by the more staid name of Emirates Industry for Camel Milk & Products. "We're thinking about health food stores and alternative markets. It's probably going to be a niche thing at first."It would be something of a coming-out party for the small but passionate community that describes camel milk in awed tones.It has at least three times more vitamin C than cow's milk and is considered an alternative for the lactose-intolerant. Researchers have studied possible roles for camel milk in fighting bacteria, tumors and diabetes, as well as traditional uses such as a treatment for liver disease across the range from central Asia to North Africa

Gazan Fisherman Shot by Zionists

GAZA STRIP (Dispatches) – Zionist naval forces have shot and injured a local fisherman during a patrol of the Gaza Strip's coastline, Palestinian medical sources say. The 22-year-old victim came under attack on Saturday while sailing, the Palestinian Ma'an news agency reported. Muawiya Hassanein, the director of ambulance and emergency services in Gaza, said his colleagues had transferred the victim to the medical care facility. Fishing remains a staple source of livelihood for the 1.5 million Gazans, who have been under an Israeli blockade since mid-June 2007. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the World Food Program warned on Thursday that Tel Aviv had been tightening restrictions on fishing and farming by the locals for the past 10 years.

updated *****************************

Larijani blasts US call for Iran talks
Iran's parliament (Majlis) speaker blasted a recent US call for talks with Iran on Afghanistan as "unacceptable" and deceitful. Speaking at the first public session of the Majlis after a two-week summer break, Ali Larijani insisted that the fake US claim of interest in talks with Iran, following their tireless efforts to push through an anti-Iran sanctions resolution at the UN, amounts to yet another scandal for the Americans, Iran's Mehr news agency reports Sunday. "You have committed crimes in Afghanistan," said Larijani of the US, expressing fierce opposition to what he described as "US and NATO aggression in Afghanistan, oppressing the Afghan people." "We don't share a common path to negotiate with you," he emphasized. The Speaker went on to commend a recent initiative by Iran's Majlis to pass a bill requiring the government to adopt retaliatory measures against countries participating in the US-baked sanctions against Iran. The US should know, he said, that the Majlis will closely monitor their behavior, so they should not assume that by using a different tone they can "fade the extent of their betrayal against the Iranian nation." In early August, US President Barack Obama proposed to hold talks with Iran on Afghanistan, claiming that since the two countries have "mutual interest" in fighting the Taliban, "Iran should be a part of that (the talks) and could be a constructive partner."

Ban to visit flood-devastated Pakistan
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is to visit flood-ravaged Pakistan as the international body confirms the first death from cholera following 2 weeks of devastating floods. Ban Ki-moon is expected to visit Pakistan on Sunday and discuss relief efforts for the 20 million people affected by the worst floods in the country's history. Ban will visit "the flood-affected areas (and) demonstrate the support of the UN and the international community to the government and people of Pakistan," AFP quoted UN spokeswoman Ishrat Rizvi as saying. Ban's visit comes as the UN confirmed the first cholera death case while at least 36 thousand people are being treated for cholera. The outbreak is further complicating relief efforts in flood-hit areas. The Red Cross has also warned that flood survivors could soon start dying due to the lack of clean drinking water. In a televised address on Saturday, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said, "The outbreak of epidemics in the flood-hit areas is a serious threat, which can further compound the already grave situation." Heavy rains and floods over the past two weeks have affected about 20 million people and claimed over 16 hundred lives.
New gel speeds up healing 5 times
Scientists have developed a gel which could increase up to five times the speed of healing of both chronic wounds and diabetic ulcers. The gel was developed by a team led by David Becker, a professor of cell and developmental biology at University College, London. The British-developed gel has made a major impact on the treatment of chronic wounds by interrupting the way in which cells communicate. According to Becker, there is an abnormal amount of a certain protein produced in inflammation in most chronic wounds. The gel, named Nexagon, prevents the production of the protein that blocks healing. It allows cells to move faster to the wound to begin healing it. "As that protein is turned off, cells move in to close the wound," Becker further explained. Made from bits of DNA that can block the protein's production, the gel is clear and has the consistency of toothpaste. The gel has so far been tested on just 100 patients and speeded up the recovery process by five times.

FIFA OKs Iranian team's Islamic garb
FIFA has ruled that the Iranian female youth football team can continue competing in the 2010 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Singapore wearing uniforms deemed appropriate in Islam. There had been a controversy over the headscarves worn by the members of the Iranian team, but it has been resolved by the FIFA ruling. Iranian athletes lost to Turkey in their Group A opening match of the Girls' Preliminaries on Thursday, and their next match in the six-nation tournament is against Papua New Guinea on Sunday, AP reported. To comply with the regulations, Iranian designers have created a white apparel with red-and-green details in the colors of the Iranian flag. The compromise outfit consists of a cap that covers all the hair, long-sleeved tops, below the knee pants, and long stockings. In line with a 2007 ban on wearing headscarves, FIFA had barred the Iranian team from participating in the Youth Olympic Games. The decision drew much criticism from Iranian officials, who have stated that wearing headscarves does not pose any difficulty for Iranian women athletes. Around 3,600 athletes aged 14-18 are competing in 26 sports at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympic Games, which opened on August 12 and run until August 25.
Having watched the Iranian girls' game against Turkey, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said that he was pleased the team made the trip to Singapore to participate in the games.

Paracetamol linked to childhood asthama
Teenagers could double their risk of developing asthma by taking paracetamol, a widely used over-the-counter pain reliever, even once a month, scientists in New Zealand have said. Adolescents who use the painkiller at least once a year have a 50 percent increase in risk compared with those who don’t, a study found. The international report, covering 300,000 teenagers in 50 countries, also found paracetamol users were more likely to suffer from eczema and allergic nasal conditions, the Daily Mail reported Friday. Scientists believe paracetamol may cause changes in the body that leave children more vulnerable to inflammation and allergies.The study adds to mounting evidence of a link between the painkiller and asthma, with previous research into adults and babies suggesting its use increased the risk of the disease. A report in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine says paracetamol has not been proven to cause asthma, but there was a ‘significant association’. More exposure to the drug resulted in a greater chance of developing the condition. The study, headed by Dr Richard Beasley of the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, sent written and video questionnaires to more than 300,000 children aged 13 and 14 asking them how often they used paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen. High use was at least once in the last month and medium at least once in the last year, compared with those who never used it. Those using the drug monthly had double the risk of asthma, while those taking it at least once a year had a 50 percent rise in risk. For medium users, the risk of eczema was 43 percent higher than non-users while high users were two-and-a-half times more likely to suffer skin rashes. There were similarly higher risks of allergic nasal disorders among users. Beasley said if further research proved a link, limiting the use of paracetamol among teenagers could cut asthma cases by up to 40 percent. He said “If the associations were causal, they would be of major public health significance. Randomised controlled trials are urgently required to investigate this relationship further and to guide the use of antipyretics (fever reducing medication), not only in children but in pregnancy and adult life.” Charity Asthma UK, however, said while the research had found a link, there was no need for parents to stop their children using the drug at this stage.

09/08/2010 updated**************************************

Moon bone dry despite surface water

Water can be found on or near the surface of the moon but the core of the moon is almost completely dry, a new study has revealed. According to the study, which analyzed the data available from NASA's Apollo missions, the moon's interior is much less dry than previously thought. "Lots of publications about water being found on the moon talk about ice that resides on the lunar surface...This is not what we're talking about. We're talking about water that was initially in the moon as it formed," the study's lead researcher and professor Dr. Zachary Sharp from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque said on Thursday.

Drought-hit Russia bans grain exports

Record drought in Russia has prompted the country's prime minister to place a temporary ban on grain exports until the end of the year. "In connection with the unusually high temperatures and the drought, I consider it right to impose a temporary ban on the export from Russia of grain and other products produced from grain," Vladimir Putin told a government meeting on Thursday. The ban comes as wildfires and drought across western and central Russia have destroyed 10 million hectares of crop. The world's third largest wheat exporter has reportedly lowered its annual 90 million tons of forecast to a range of 70 to 75 million tons this year. From August 15 until December 31 exports of wheat, corn, barley, rye, and other grain products will be halted, the prime minister's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday. The Kremlin also seeks to ask fellow members of a tripartite customs union -- Belarus and Kazakhstan -- to make a similar move. The Economic Development Ministry has been instructed to submit a proposal to the relevant commission, a governmental press release said. The announcement has sent wheat prices soaring on US exchanges and caused double-digit gains in Europe.

Israel getting ready for 'future wars'

A recent Israeli military helicopter crash in Romania reveals that Tel Aviv has operated other air exercises in European countries to prepare for "future wars." An article published on Israeli media outlet Ynet on Thursday said that the European states "never know what hides behind the training sessions held" in their territories. Hungary, Romania, Greece, Italy and Germany are among the locations where the Israeli Air Force has held military drills so far. "In most cases, these training sessions do not include joint drills between Israel's Air Force and the hosting Air Force; rather, the host country provides [Israeli] Air Force with a training platform for two weeks or longer," according to the article. The Romania incident, which killed six Israeli soldiers and one Romanian officer in July, shed light on the secret air operations carried out by the Israeli military in other countries. The Israeli media described the July operation as part of routine air force drills, but the objectives of the maneuver were not discussed. The article concluded that as the Israeli helicopters are "navigating through thousands of kilometers and unfamiliar routes while refueling in midair," Tel Aviv is getting ready to launch another military conflict in the near future.

Floods kill 60 in Indian Kashmir

Flash floods triggered by torrential rains have killed about 60 people and injured over 200 others in the town of Leh in the Ladakh region in the Indian-administered Kashmir. "So far we have some 60 dead," Kashmir Tourism Minister Nawang Rigzin Jora told AFP from Leh on Friday. Relief workers are finding it difficult to reach the Himalayan town as the runway of the civil airport in Leh has been cut off and roads are completely damaged. Some 4,000 members of the Indian Army have been dispatched to the flood-ravaged areas and have launched a massive rescue operation. Authorities expect the causality toll to be high as many buildings have been washed away in the downpours.

'Silk Railroad' to be constructed

The Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki says the three Persian-speaking countries in the region are to revive the Silk Road via linking their railroads. "The project links the railroads of Tajikistan to Iran via Afghanistan. Thus the Silk Road will be revived as China is to link its railroad to Tajikistan through Kazakhstan," he said during an interview with Iranian TV on Thursday. Mottaki said the project was mentioned in the statement of the tripartite summit of Persian-speaking heads of states in Tehran, adding that the transport ministers of the countries in the region are to study the project during a meeting in Dushanbe in October 2010. The one-day tripartite summit of Persian-speaking heads of states kicked off in Tehran on Thursday with the participation of the presidents of Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. At the end of the summit, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon signed a declaration with their Iranian counterpart on different political, cultural, economic and anti-terrorism issues. Iran has embarked on a series of projects to revive the Silk Road. The projects continue irrespective of Iran's exclusion from Western-backed plans to restore the Silk Road, the 6,000-kilometer-long trading route between Europe and Asia that is thought to date back almost 3,000 years.

Gaza flotilla ships return to Turkey

Three Turkish relief ships of a Gaza-bound flotilla that was attacked by Israeli forces last May have finally returned to Turkey. The lead aid ship, the Mavi Marmara, reached the port of Iskenderun on Saturday morning. Another ship with the convoy, the Gazze, arrived on Saturday evening. The third one, the Defne-Y, had docked at Turkey's Iskenderun on Friday, according to Solar Ship Rescue Services Director General Murat Dalyan. On July 23, Israel decided to allow the three ships to return based on a joint decision made by all circles of power. The Israeli military attacked the Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea on May 31, killing nine Turkish citizens on board the Turkish-flagged M.V. Mavi Marmara and injuring about 50 other people who were part of the team on the six-ship convoy.
Israel also arrested and later released nearly 700 activists from 42 countries who were on board the ships of the Freedom Flotilla, which was attempting to break the siege of Gaza in order to deliver 10,000 tons of humanitarian assistance to the long-suffering people of the territory.

'If attacked, Iran will annihilate US'

A top Iranian commander has warned that in the event of a US-led military attack on Iran, the Islamic Republic will go after the United States until its "annihilation." "If Americans attempt to launch an attack against the sacred establishment of the Islamic Republic, they will encounter our firm and decisive defense and we will not let them off," commander of the anti-aircraft post of the Khatamolanbia Headquarters Brigadier General Ahmad Miqani said Saturday. He went on to add that the US had been issuing threats against Iran for the past 31 years and "such threats are propaganda and psychological warfare." "Over the past decade the US has militarily attacked Iraq and Afghanistan and killed hundreds of thousands of people but in the end it suffered defeat," Brig. Gen. Miqani was quoted by IRNA as saying. The remarks come after Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said on Sunday the US military is prepared to risk a potentially devastating war in order to stop Iran from building nuclear "weapons." The US, which possesses and has used nuclear weapons in the past, accuses Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program. Tehran rejects the charges, arguing that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the International Atomic Energy Agency it has the right to use nuclear technology.

25/07/2010 updated********************************

Israeli planes pound southern Gaza

Israel war planes have launched an airstrike on the southern Gaza Strip, targeting Palestinian tunnels across the border between the blockaded enclave and Egypt.
Missiles from Israeli aircraft destructed two tunnels early on Monday, but left no casualties, AFP quoted Palestinian security officials as saying. Israel frequently strikes the tunnels in the Hamas-run coastal enclave while an Israeli blockade has pushed the populated territory on the verge of a humanitarian crisis with almost half of its 1.5 million residents depending on food aid handouts. Tel Aviv's crippling siege has left Gazans with no other option but to set up a network of tunnels on the border with Egypt, which in collaboration with Israel keeps the Rafah border crossing -- the only terminal not in Israel control -- sealed off. Israel accuses the Palestinians of using the burrows to smuggle weapons for the resistance movements in the region. But the Palestinians dismiss the claim, saying the tunnels are used to push in Gazans' very basic needs, including food and fuel. Israel eased its land blockade of the Gaza Strip to soothe the international outrage sparked by its deadly attack on an aid convoy on May 31, while its naval blockade remain fast in place. It has vowed to stop any other aid ship trying to break the siege on Gaza.The Gaza Freedom Flotilla was stormed in international waters by Israeli navy commandos who killed nine Turkish activists onboard the civilian convoy. Egypt also made an effort to brush away a picture where Cairo is viewed as Israel's main accomplice in its siege of Gaza and indefinitely opened its Rafah crossing.

Four killed in Iran plant blast

Four people have reportedly been killed following an explosion at a petrochemical factory on Iran's southern Kharg Island. High pressure in the central boiler of the factory is believed to have triggered the blast on Iran's largest oil terminal, IRNA reported on Sunday, citing administrative officials at the adjacent coastal Bushehr province.
"At present the fire is under control and rescue teams are aiding the wounded," said Provincial Disaster Management Authority Gholamreza Keshtkar, without elaborating on the number of those injured in the incident. Keshtkar said that three bodies had been identified, adding that search for the body of the fourth victim continued. Iran is OPEC's second largest oil exporter and the world's fifth producer. Despite the large output of around 4.2 million barrels of oil per day, Iran's oil industry has maintained a clean safety record. The Kharg Island, located some 750 miles (1200 kilometers) south of Tehran, was once the world's largest offshore crude oil terminal.

Attack on Iran likely: Ex-CIA chief

A former CIA director says military action against Iran now seems more likely because no matter what the US does diplomatically, Tehran keeps pushing ahead with its 'suspected' nuclear program. Michael Hayden, a CIA chief under President George W. Bush, says that during his tenure a strike was 'way down the list' of options, reports the Associated Press. But he tells CNN's 'State of the Union' that such action now 'seems inexorable.' U.S. officials have said military action remains an option if sanctions fail to stop Iran from continuing its nuclear program. Iran has been under pressure from the West, particularly the US, to halt its peaceful nuclear activities. Iran has also shrugged off US-pushed UN Security Council sanctions, pressing ahead with its peaceful atomic work. Meantime, the United States' double standards on the nuclear issue is the talk of the international community as the country has turned a blind eye to the Zionist regime of Israel's nuclear arsenal while fulminating against Tehran's civilian nuclear program.

Men face miscarriage depression too

Vitamins lower miscarriage risk

Taking vitamin supplements before and during the first trimester of pregnancy lowers the risk of miscarriage in expectant moms. Miscarriage, the most common type of pregnancy loss, is the term used for a pregnancy that ends spontaneously within the first 20 weeks of gestation. Most chromosomal abnormalities, hormonal problems, infections and maternal health problems are among the major factors contributing to the condition. According to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, vitamins reduce the risk of developing birth defects in babies born to mothers who take such supplements early in their pregnancy. Prenatal use of vitamins and multi-vitamins also cuts the risk of miscarriage by 57 percent. "Because miscarriage occurs very early in pregnancy, it is important for women of reproductive age, who may become pregnant, to eat a balanced diet and use vitamins," recommended Reem Hasan, the leader of the research team. Scientists therefore urge all women of childbearing age to follow healthy lifestyle behaviors and take vitamin supplements.

Shameful defeat awaits US in 3rd war'

A senior Iranian military official has described a third US war in the Middle East as another heavy defeat for the country in the region. “The United States, which has already suffered two heavy, disgraceful defeats against Hezbollah and Hamas in the region, can start a new war with a third country to endure another defeat,” Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri told Mehr News Agency on Sunday. Jazayeri made the statements after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made mention of the possibility of an imminent US and Israeli war against two Middle Eastern states in the near future. "They (Iran's enemies) have decided to attack two of the regional Arab states, which are our allies, with the help of the Zionist regime to create a fear of decision-making in Iran," IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying on Friday night. Political analysts, however, believe Syria and Lebanon could be the two targets of Israel and the US in the region. The Iranian top military official slammed recent remarks made by the Commander of US forces in Iraq, General Raymond Odierno, who had claimed that Tehran is behind training militant groups in Iraq with the aim of what he called destabilizing the volatile state. "There's a very consistent threat from Iranian surrogates operating in Iraq," AFP quoted Odierno as saying in Baghdad in mid-July General Jazayeri reiterated Iran's support for the establishment of peace and security inside Iraq, citing Tehran's support for Baghdad as “strategic.” “The Islamic Republic's interests in Iraq are actually that of the Iraqi nation,” he concluded.

Explosion rocks Baghdad's Green Zone

A bomb has exploded near the prime minister's office in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone as the Iraqi capital witnesses a rise in deadly violence. The incident occurred when a bomber detonated his explosive-laden vehicle on Monday morning, leaving at least five people wounded, AFP reported. The blast comes a day after a string of bomb attacks across Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul killed nine people and wounded at least 24 others, security officials said. US and Iraqi officials have warned of a hike in violence as negotiations on forming a new governing coalition have dragged on, giving militants the opportunity to step up their terrorist attacks in the war-torn country. Four months into the March 7 general elections, which gave no single bloc an outright majority in Iraq's 325-member parliament, the two major rival blocs -- incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law coalition and former Premier Iyad Allawi's al-Iraqiya alliance -- have not yet agreed on who should be the next prime minister.

Frozen eggs also effective in IVF

Despite the general belief, a new study suggests that frozen eggs are as effective as fresh ones for women who are intending to become pregnant through egg donation. In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is an advanced assisted reproductive technology in which an egg cell is removed from a woman's body, fertilized in the lab and replaced in the womb of another woman. Donated fresh eggs are commonly applied for IVF means these days; their use, however, is associated with various challenges, mainly the fact that the recipient's uterus should become ready to receive the egg at the same time the donor ready to have hers harvested. According to the study published in Human Reproduction, the success rate of pregnancy is similar in women who are implanted with frozen and fresh eggs. "We believe that these data may represent a breakthrough in the current practice of (egg) donation," said lead researcher Ana Cobo. Physicians are forced to prepare not more than two women to receive fresh eggs from a single donor as they are not aware of the number of eggs which are produced by the donor. Frozen eggs, however, can be split between more recipients, lowering the price of getting pregnant. Frozen eggs also provide physicians with more time to check the donor and egg for certain infections, a concern commonly faced while using fresh eggs.
Scientists concluded that the use of frozen eggs is not only more convenient but also potentially cheaper than that of fresh eggs. They, however, stressed that frozen eggs are prone to become contaminated while being cooled down or in storage, stressing that the freezing should be conducted in a sterile environment. "Egg freezing is a great thing," said Nicole Noyes of the New York University Fertility Center, stressing that "This field is going to explode," as soon as it is no longer considered as an experimental technique.

22/06/2010 updated********************************

NASA: Solar storm to hit earth in 2013

NASA scientists predict a solar storm will hit the earth in 2013 mostly affecting electronic devices leading to a major catastrophe. The once-in-a-generation storm, caused by extremely high levels magnetic energy released by solar flares, "will disrupt communication devices such as satellites and car navigations, air travel, the banking system, our computers, everything that is electronic," says Richard Fisher, head of NASA's Heliophysics Division, quoted in a June 14 Daily Telegraph article. "Large areas will be without electricity power," says Fisher who emphasizes that the emergence of the storm is certain, though its degree of severity cannot be accurately foretold. The National Academy of Sciences warned two years ago that a strong solar storm could cause "twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina," which devastated US Gulf of Mexico coastal city of New Orleans in 2005, killing thousands and living an estimated damage of over $125 billion. The storm, which will cause the sun to reach temperatures of more than 10,000 F (5,500 C), occurs "only a few times over a person's life."

Pakistan arrests German man in burqa

Pakistani soldiers in the tribalYour browser may not support display of this image. areas

The Pakistani police have arrested a German man wearing a burqa and carrying a gun who was leaving an area near Miranshah, North Waziristan, where many militants are active. The police said the 30-year-old German, who was in a car with two other men and a six-year-old girl, was intercepted at a checkpoint in Bannu, some 140 kilometers southwest of Peshawar on Monday. The other two men were wearing blue-colored Afghani burqas, local police station chief Farid Khan said, adding that they were handed over to an intelligence agency for further investigation. The German man was also carrying some maps, Khan told AFP. Last week, a US construction worker armed with a pistol and a sword was arrested further north in the mountains of Chitral. He purportedly told police he was on a mission to hunt down and kill al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Son-in-law of Imam Khomeini dies

Mohammad Hassan Arabi, the son-in-law of Imam Khomeini, the Founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, has passed away in the holy city of Qom. He died on Monday after leading a spiritual life, the office of the late Imam Khomeini said in a statement issued on June 21. He was about 86 years old. Born into a religious family in the city of Qom in Iranian calendar year 1303 (March 1924-March 1925), he married Farideh Mostafavi, one of Imam Khomeini's two daughters, in Iranian calendar year 1332 (March 1953-March 1954). He stood by Imam Khomeini during the years that the architect of the Islamic Republic system fought the last authoritarian monarchy in Iran, the statement added. The funeral ceremony is scheduled to be held in Qom on Tuesday.

Iran equipped with modern weapons

A senior Iranian military commander has shrugged off anti-Iran sanctions, saying the Islamic Republic is equipped with the most advanced military weapons. "In the defense industry, we are equipped with the most advanced military weapons through our independence and self-sufficiency," IRNA quoted the Commander of Iran's Ground Forces Brig. Gen. Ahmad-Reza Pourdastan as saying on Monday. On June 9, the UN Security Council imposed a fourth round of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, broadening earlier financial and military restrictions. The new sanctions include the sale of arms to Iran, but the Islamic Republic has stressed that it has reached self-sufficiency in producing the military equipment the country needs. He said the Iranian youth would strongly counter any threat against the country and added, "They will stop the enemies from making selfish decisions." He praised the great potentials of Iranian armed forces who defend their country by following the guidelines of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei. "Enemies have failed to achieve their goals," he added.

New software slashes CT radiation

Researchers have made a new software program that reduces the radiation dose of a colon scan to half, improving the quality of CT images. Recent studies suggest that multiple computed tomography or CT scans can increase the risk of cancer, especially at a younger age. Dr. Daniel Johnson from the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, studied a technique launched by General Electric (GE) medical equipment maker in 2008 called Adaptive Statistical Iterative Reconstruction (ASIR), Reuters reported on Monday. The software allows radiologists to reduce the noise or "fuzz" in an image, allowing a clearer picture using less radiation. The team studied image quality using both standard and reduced radiation doses on 18 patients. They saw no significant difference in image quality between the patients who got the test with the standard dose, and those who got less radiation with the ASIR technique. The study revealed that there was much less fuzz when images were made with the ASIR technique. "The fact that we can now screen patients with an increasingly lower dose can allay concerns, attract more patients to be screened and ultimately save tens of thousands of lives each year," said Dr. Johnson, whose study is published in the American Journal of Roentgenology. "This new technique allows doctors to use far less radiation than even a typical abdominal CT scan without compromising image quality," he further explained. Other medical equipment makers are working on a similar product but GE is in lead with the technology.  

Blair: No need for Gaza aid convoys

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is urging charities to stop launching aid flotillas to the blockaded Gaza Strip, and use Israeli-run crossings instead. "If we implement this policy so that the things that people are trying to bring in by flotilla you can bring in through the legitimate existing crossings, do it that way,” Blair told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Monday."That is the more sensible way to do that,” he added. The remarks come amid reports of more ships seeking to sail from Lebanon to break Israel's naval blockade in the next few days despite Tel Aviv's Sunday announcement that it was easing the land blockade on the Gaza Strip, and that it would allow all goods except for arms and weapons-related material into the territory. The move seemed to be aimed at evading mounting international pressure triggered by Israel's deadly attack on a Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla on May 31, where at least nine activists onboard the aid fleet were killed. Blair said he had been discussing the easing of those restrictions with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu long before the fatal onslaught on the Flotilla. The envoy for the Quartet for Middle East Peace, however, sympathized with Israel over its alleged security concerns which keep the blockade in place. “Where I divide from some others in the international community is that I think that Israel has got a genuine security concern that it is entitled to meet,” he said. “For me, the fact that Israel says, 'Look, we're not going to allow things into the [Gaza] seaport, but you can bring them to Ashdod, and we can check them, and then they can come on to Gaza,' I think that is a reasonable position." 

11/06/2010 updated *******************

Sanctions not affecting Iran-Russia ties

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says a new UN Security Council resolution against Iran will not halt Russia's ties with the Islamic republic. Lavrov, who was accompanying Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on a visit to Uzbekistan, said Moscow will go on with a contract to deliver the S-300 air defense system to Iran. "As far as military-technical cooperation is concerned, the resolution introduces limits to cooperation with Iran on offensive weapons and defensive weapons do not fall under these limits," AFP quoted Lavrov as saying on Thursday. The Russian top diplomat also noted that Moscow was in talks to build more nuclear reactors for Iran, and that the fresh sanctions would not affect Russia's economic ties with Tehran. "We have secured absolute protection for all the principally important channels of trade and economic cooperation which exist between Russia and Iran," he said. "The resolution does not put up any barriers to these ties, including not only the completion of the Bushehr project but also the construction of any number of new light water reactors such as the Bushehr type," Lavrov stated. "Our Iranian partners and us have such plans," he said.

At IAEA, Iran slams Israel nukes

While the US and the EU have refused to put Israel's nuclear program under the spotlight, Iran's ambassador to the IAEA says Israeli nukes pose a major threat to piece and stability across the world.  
Iran's Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Ali Asghar Soltanieh slammed Israel's nuclear weapons program on Thursday. "Its (Israel) nuclear weapons capabilities shall undoubtedly increase the potential threat to peace and security of the Middle East and the world at large," he said. Israel, which has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), is widely believed to be the only nuclear power in the Middle East, with around 200 warheads in its arsenal, but has maintained a policy of deliberate ambiguity about its capabilities. Arab nations along with Russia have also censured Israel at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board meeting, for preventing the Middle East from becoming a nuclear-free region. Speaking on behalf of the Arab group, Sudan's Ambassador to the IAEA Mahmoud al-Amin told the closed-door session that Israel was a "nuclear danger."  
The IAEA meeting was held only a day after the UN Security Council (UNSC) imposed a fourth set of sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program. The imposition of new sanctions is a "clear indication that others, particularly the United States, are following the path of confrontation, as if the [former US President George W.] Bush era is continuing, and that is very disappointing and the slogan of change has not translated into the action," Soltanieh told Press TV after the meeting. The forth round of UNSC sanctions came after Iran, Turkey, and Brazil signed a declaration on May 17, according to which Iran would ship 1,200 kilograms of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey to be exchanged for 120 kilograms of 20 percent enriched nuclear fuel rods to power the Tehran research reactor, which produces radioisotopes for cancer treatment. The nuclear declaration gives Iran a guarantee since the low-enriched uranium is to be stored in Turkey and would be returned if Iran does not receive the 20 percent enriched nuclear fuel within one year. Despite the fact that Iran agreed to conduct the fuel swap in a third country -- a demand by the West that Iran had previously rejected due to guarantee concerns -- on June 9 the UNSC passed a resolution imposing new sanctions on Iran. Tehran says it sees the declaration as a confidence-building measure that provides an opportunity for cooperation between Iran and the West.

Sanction 'not to halt' Iran's enrichment

A day after the UN Security Council voted on a US-drafted resolution for new anti-Iran sanctions, Tehran's IAEA envoy reiterates that Iran's nuclear enrichment will not be suspended. Iran's Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Ali-Asghar Soltanieh expressed regret about the persisting trend of misleading assessments made by the West regarding Iran's nuclear policy. "It is regretful that this small number of Western countries do not want to learn a lesson from their past mistakes…they suppose that by passing the new resolution, the Islamic Republic would falter in its decision," Soltanieh said in an interview with IRNA on Wednesday. The Iranian envoy criticized the new sanctions resolution for not having any "legal basis," adding that it would only strengthen the Iranian nation's resolve in defending their rights to such technological achievements. Describing the fresh sanctions as a new failure for the US, Soltanieh said, "Iran will never put a halt to its enrichment program and will continue these activities under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency."  

Iran sanctions prove West useless tool

Iran's Minister of Commerce says the economic sanctions designed to change the country's stance on its nuclear program have proven to be ineffective. Mehdi Ghazanfari, who is currently in China to attend the Shanghai World Expo 2010, criticized the Wednesday passing of a new round of United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran over its uranium enrichment activities. "Sanctions [adopted by Western countries] have turned into a useless tool and have certainly lost their efficacy," ISNA quoted him as saying on Friday. He added that Iranian businessmen and economic experts have learned to survive economic sanctions ever since they came to being more than thirty years ago. "Sanctions will leave its mark on [the country's economy], but Iranian businessmen will turn a blind eye to such moves," Ghazanfari noted. The Iranian official made the comments only two days after the 15-member UNSC put to vote a US-crafted resolution for fresh sanctions on Iran over its uranium enrichment activities. The session ended with Brazil and Turkey voting against the resolution and Lebanon abstaining from the vote.

300 faulty genes are involved in autism

While the leading role of eight or nine genes in the development of autism had long been known, a new study says 300 genes are involved in this disease. autism is a complex neurobiological disorder altering an individual's ability to communicate and develop social relationships. Some of the newly identified genes are responsible for developing connections between brain cells, while others are involved in sending signals within brain cells. The discovery of so many faulty genes can explain the unique manifestation reported in different autistic patients, the study found. Scientists hope their findings would pave the way for the development of new genetic tests effective in the early diagnosis of autism. These findings can also be used in the development of new drugs to ease some of the symptoms of autism, particularly in severely ill patients.

Iran scholar 'offered $10m by US'

Amid conflicting reports on the fate of an abducted Iranian researcher, new intelligence suggests he was offered financial incentives by the US. In an audio tape obtained by Iran's intelligence sources, Amiri said he was offered 10 million dollars to appear on CNN and announce that he travelled to the US on his own free will. Press TV reported on Thursday that the Iranian lecturer, who is believed to have been abducted by US and Saudi agents in 2009, was also asked to express opposition to the Iranian government, adding that he had sought asylum in the US. Earlier on Monday, a video surfaced in which Amiri said he had been abducted by US and Saudi intelligence agents while on pilgrimage tour of Mecca last year. Soon after the release of the first tape, a second video showed Amiri contradicting his previous statements.  
The new report comes as the Iranian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that it would pursue Amiri's case through legal and political channels.

07/06/2010 updated ********************

The ladies DARS Arusha condemns attack on Gaza aid convoy

Do not let your share, as a result of your rule, be wealth that you derive (personal) gain from, nor rage that you satisfy (by revenge), but (let it be) the killing of injustice and the revival of equity.   Imam Ali (AS)

On 31 May 2010, Israeli warships raided six Gaza-bound vessels carrying pro-Palestinian activists and 10,000 tonnes of much needed aid for the blockaded Gaza strip. Up to 20 people have been reported to be killed and many more injured.


    • Taking a stand to condemn the oppressive measures of the Israeli government is the least we can do in support of the people of Palestine. However, this is not enough. Let us work together to take responsible and moral action so that we can collectively make a difference. Here are some suggestions:
    • Write articles in your local or regional newspapers
    • Participate in television, radio and online discussion forums
    • Call various government departments and voice your opinions and concern
    • Pray for the people of Gaza
    • Sign the petition below

Let's make the world's outcry too loud to ignore. Join the petition for an independent, international investigation into the raid, accountability for those responsible, and an immediate end to the blockade in Gaza -- click to sign the petition, and then forward this message to everyone:

We pray to Allah (SWT) to alleviate the sufferings of the distraught and innocent people across the world.

Iranian aid ships to set sail for Gaza

Two Iranian aid ships carrying humanitarian relief and medical supplies for the people of Gaza will set sail for the coastal sliver in the upcoming days. Iran's Red Crescent announced Monday that the cargo will include food, medicine and appliances and it will be accompanied by a group of Iranian doctors and relief workers. "The aid consists of food and medical supplies, which will be transported into Gaza via the Rafah border in Egypt before the week is through," the country's Red Crescent Director Abdolraoof Adibzadeh said. The Rafah border crossing is the only escape route from Gaza that does not lead to Israel. "Iran is also preparing to dispatch a navy hospital ship for the people of Gaza, which will have onboard doctors, nurses and all the medical equipment required for emergency surgeries and procedures,"

Mass demolitions feared in al-Quds

Ethnic cleansing of al-Bustan neighborhood in al-Quds (Jerusalem) continues with new plans to demolish 88 Palestinian homes to build "green space" for the area. The residents of al-Bustan fear imminent demolitions as Israeli police were observed taking photos and film footage of Palestinian homes.  
The presence of over a dozen police has sparked fears that Israeli officials are contemplating mass demolitions in the coming weeks, Maan news agency reported Sunday. Head of the Defend al-Bustan Committee, Fakhri abu Diab, said residents were terrified that the filming meant local authorities had decided to implement a long-standing plan to demolish some 88 homes in the neighborhood in order to turn it into a national park.

9 killed as 'Phet' strikes Karachi

Nine people are killed as tropical storm Phet strikes Pakistan's largest city Karachi, as the toll from the storm in Oman climbs to 24. The heavy rainfall late Sunday caused flooding in and around the provincial capital of Karachi, although it weakened after hitting Sindh's Thatta and Badin coastal districts in south of the country. Officials say the storm claimed at least seven lives from electrocution. The officials said tens of thousands of Pakistanis were evacuated to safer locations although some refused to leave their homes, AFP reported. Hundreds of relief camps have been established in the affected areas. However, many people who reported to the camps decided to return home, complaining of inadequate food and medical supplies. Nadeem Ahmed, the head of the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), said all relevant agencies and the armed forces were on alert to respond to the emergency.

Israelis threw 4 injured into the sea

Activist Idris Simsek, who was on board one of the six ships of the Freedom Flotilla during the Israeli attack, claims that four wounded activists were thrown into the sea. The Israeli troops also put immense psychological pressure on the activists of the Freedom Flotilla, the Turkish daily Today's Zaman quoted Simsek as saying in an article published on Saturday. Simsek said they expected some harassment from the Israeli forces but did not expect an armed attack. He went on to say that he witnessed that the person who waived the white flag to surrender was shot by the Israeli troops. Erol Demir, another activist who was on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, said there is film footage of the chaos and the carnage on the ship and stated that the footage will show the real face of the Israeli military to the entire world. “They even shot those who surrendered. Many of our friends saw this. They told me that there were handcuffed people who were shot,” he added. Hakan Albayrak, a journalist from the Turkish daily Yeni Safak who was also on the ship, said, “It was an outright massacre what Israel did out there. They attacked us in international waters… We had no weapons. I think we lost more people.” The Israeli military attacked the Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea early on May 31, killing nine Turkish citizens on board the six ships and injuring about 50 other people. The fate of three other Freedom Flotilla activists is still unknown. Israel also arrested nearly 700 activists from 42 countries on board the ships of the Freedom Flotilla, which was attempting to break the siege of Gaza in order to deliver 10,000 tons of humanitarian assistance to the long-suffering people of the territory.

30/05/2010 updated.**************************

3 dead in Iran oil well blaze

Three people have been killed and 12 injured in an oil well 'conflagration' in the city of Qasr-e-Shirin in southwesternIran. "Firefighters are still battling the blaze which has not been brought under control yet", said Qasr-e-Shirin Governor Bahram Taymouri. He said the fire broke out at 6:35 a.m. local time on Saturday due to a 'gas leak' from drilling gear.  
"Six of the injured are in critical condition", said the top official. He underlined other oil facilities in the city are safe as they are far away from the blazing oil well.

Letter shows Obama dishonest with Iran

There is now conclusive evidence that US President Barack Obama is not honest in dealing with an Iranian nuclear fuel swap declaration brokered by Turkey and Brazil in Tehran almost two weeks ago. The evidence comes in the form of a letter from President Obama to his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva dated April 20, 2010. "Washington supported mediation by Brazil and Turkey when it did not expect them to succeed and turned its back when they accomplished exactly what the Obama administration said it sought from Iran", wrote In the letter, the White House strongly encouraged the intermediaries to negotiate with Iran for a single purpose, namely to persuade the Islamic Republic to send 1200 kg of its low enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for fuel rods for the Tehran Research Reactor, added . (The full text of the letter is available at

Bone marrowI transplant can treat OCD

In a ground-breaking discovery, bone marrow transplant has shown promising results in treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a common mental health disorder. OCD is an anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Compulsions, including hand washing, counting, checking or cleaning care, are often performed with the hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away. According to a study published in Cell, bone marrow transplant can successfully and permanently reverse the behavioral disorders commonly reported in OCD mice. "There's a direct correlation, in essence, between the immune system and behavior," said lead researcher Mario Capecchi, adding that microglia are in charge of controlling the behavior and interacting with nerve cells in the brain.

Israel orders Navy to block Flotilla

Israel has tasked its Navy with intercepting the relief convoy of nine ships which is set to break the Tel Aviv-imposed siege of the Gaza Strip. A number of Israeli warships were deployed on Saturday to confront the Freedom Flotilla, which is to depart from the Cypriot coast for the impoverished coastal sliver,The Hindu reported. Press TV's correspondent Ashraf Shannon also said that there was a heavy presence of Israeli gunboats by Gaza's seashore. The fleet consists of Turkish, Irish, British, and Greek vessels and was to take some 750 activists and around 10,000 tons of construction material, medical equipment and school supplies to Gaza. Organizers, however, said on Saturday that at least two of the vessels are unlikely to make it as their hydraulic systems had broken down "under suspicious circumstances,” the German Press Agency (DPA) reported. Under pressure from Tel Aviv's, Cypriot officials have refused to let the broken vessels to dock for repairs. Twenty-five international politicians, activists and artists were also barred from joining the group on Friday. Best-selling Swedish author Hanning Mankell, who was prevented from joining the fleet in Cyprus said "restricting our freedom of movement will just contribute to further drawing the world's attention to the protracted and total limitation of the freedom of movement for inhabitants in Gaza."Mankell called for the lifting of the blockade of Gaza. According to the DPA report, the fleet will be deciding whether to set sail on Saturday or Sunday.  
Tel Aviv has imposed a land, air, and sea blockade on Gaza since mid-June 2007, when the Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas gained control of the territory. The restrictions have deprived the enclave's nearly 1.5-million people of food, fuel, and other necessities. Israel has threatened to either jail or deport activists and politicians onboard the ships, should they reach the strip. 

Oil spills unimpeded after 40 days

The massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is spreading out as the oil is still gushing out from the BP's damaged well 40 days after the explosion. The so-called "top kill" method, which British Petroleum has employed since Wednesday, has proven to be a failure with the company's top executive Tony Hayward saying the chances to plug the leak are only 60 to 70 percent. In the "top kill" method, heavy fluids and other material are pumped into the well shaft to stop the oil flow. "The top kill operation continues and will carry on throughout the day today. We're not putting any time constraints on the operation - it will progress as operations teams deem appropriate through the day today and longer if necessary," company spokesman Tom Mueller said in an email on Saturday, refraining from setting a date for the completion of the operation, reported Reuters. BP on Friday said that it needed until Sunday to say whether the top kill procedure is conclusive. Officials say At least 6 million gallons of crude have entered the sea since the Deepwater Horizon rig blew up on April 20, killing 11 workers. A US probe has put the leak at 12,000 to 25,000 barrels a day. But some experts believe the damaged well is gushing at least 70,000 barrels of oil a day. BP has admitted that the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is an "environmental catastrophe." The US media have accused BP of denying access to photographers and trying to block information about the biggest oil spill in US history.

Humans' big brains linked to stem cells

Researchers say they have discovered a new type of stem cell in the human brain that might be responsible for big and complex brains in human beings. Scientists say the newly-discovered stem cells, originally formed in an area of the brain known as the subventricular zone, will help make the neocortex, the outer layer of the brain, via producing more neurons. Animals also have the stem cells but humans are likely to have more of the active ones, quoted Arnold Kriegstein, a researcher at the University of California as saying recently. The neocortex in humans is more expanded and is believed to give distinctive abilities such as language and consciousness. According to researchers, the cells have revealed distinct multiplication properties and showed unprecedented movements. "We don't entirely understand the significance of the movements, but they are very distinctive and characteristic of these kinds of cells," explained Kriegstein. Scientists are planning to look into how these new stem cells collaborate with other specialized neural cells in the subventricular zone to create the neocortex.

First human infected with computer virus

A British researcher has allowed a chip in his arm to become infected with a computer virus, marking himself as the first human to be contaminated with such viruses.Mark Gasson, a scientist in the University of Reading's School of Systems Engineering, has contaminated a high-end radio frequency identification (RFID) computer chip implanted in his left hand with computer viruses.  
According to a study that will be presented at the IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society, this act aims to point out the risks involved with the increasing use of sophisticated implantable medical device technology. "Our research shows that implantable technology has developed to the point where implants are capable of communicating, storing and manipulating data," said Gasson. He stressed that implantable devices such as pacemakers, defibrillators and cochlear implants are vulnerable to become infected with computer viruses, adding that this would disrupt the proper function of the device causing life threatening conditions. Viruses can be transferred wirelessly from implant devices to the computers they communicate with, the experiment showed. These viruses are also capable of accessing secure areas.


Iran to produce systems similar to S-300

Iranian Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi says Iran plans to produce missile defense systems similar to Russia's S-300 system. Asked if Iran has plans to produce an S-300 defense system, Vahidi said on Wednesday, “We don't need to produce the S-300 system, but we have plans on the agenda to produce similar weapons.” He also stated that Iran has developed a medium-range air defense system.“All parts of the system have been domestically produced,” the defense minister added. Vahidi explained that the defense system has “three radars and a domestically produced missile that has high agility and a range of more than 40 kilometers.”Meanwhile, on Wednesday Iran's ambassador to Russia, Seyyed Mahmoud-Reza Sajjadi, told the Mehr news agency, “Russian officials are committed to their [S-300] deal with Iran.”

Hijabi schoolgirl expelled in Spain

A state-run school in Madrid has expelled a teenage girl for refusing to remove her Islamic hijab.Najwa Malha, 16, was expelled from the Camilo Jose Cela school, near Madrid, for violating the dress code. Malha says she deeply feels discriminated against.Malha, born in Spain to Moroccan immigrant parents, began wearing a hijab two months ago to express her religious beliefs. The Association of Moroccan Workers and Immigrants in Spain has condemned the move. It says the school's decision has violated Malha's right to an education.

Tehran oil show officially opens

The 15th international exhibition of oil, gas & petrochemical industries and products has been officially inaugurated in Tehran Permanent International Fairgrounds. Iran's First Vice PresidenMohammad-Reza Rahimi and Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi have attended the opening ceremony of the five-day show considered the biggest in the oil and gas sector in the Middle East and second largest in the world."The exhibition is a clear sign of the failure of a few hegemonic countries that persist with the same illusion about sanctions against Iran," Iran's SHANA news Agency quoted the manager of the show Hossein Parsan as saying on Thursday. In a message to the exhibition, Mirkazemi said Wednesday that a few countries have deprived themselves of investment in Iran's oil and gas sector as they have ignored Iran's key position in the energy field."The interest shown by hundreds of international firms from across the world to participate in Tehran International Oil and Gas Exhibition proves the failure of those countries that have sanctioned themselves, ignoring Iran's role in the energy sector," Mirkazemi said. The Iranian oil minister referred to Iran's decision to draw $200 billion of investment in the country's oil and gas sector as a sign of the Islamic Republic's national determination, strength and solidity. Earlier in March, Mirkazemi said that US-led sanctionsagainst the country have failed as the country has managed to become self-sufficient in oil production and products. A total of 435 domestic and 907 foreign companies from countries such as Spain, England, Italy, Germany, Brazil, China, Denmark, Russia, Japan, SaudArabia,France, South Korea, Canada, Mexico, Norway, India, and Vietnam are present in the exhibition.

Iran major donor in Afghan build-up

Iran's role in the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan has gained significance after delivering more than $350 million in aid on civil projects. Since 2001 Iran has provided more than 350 million dollars in aid to Afghanistan. These contributions made Iran one of the major donor states after the removal of the Taliban in 2001, a Press TV correspondent reported Thursday. Most of the aid has been spent on building roads across the country. The Dogharun-Herat trade route is one of Iran's major projects. The 123-kilometer road was built at an estimated cost of 60 million dollars. The road is now a major trade route between Iran and Afghanistan. “Our construction efforts are under way. We are investing heavily iroabuilding projects as well as welfare and energy,” Iran's Ambassador to Kabul, Fada Hossein Maleki, said. The contribution of Iran has always been welcomed by the Afghans. However, experts say some of the projects have not been implemented well because of inexperienced Afghan workers. “The Afghan government has not done enough for thmplementation of some of the projects and this has created some problems,” Vaheed Mujde, an Afghan political expert, said. Iran has also invested heavily in the Afghan healthcare system. There are dozens of Iran-led health projects across Afghanistan. The Fatima al-Zahra medical center in Kabul is one such project. This center has been equipped with modern facilities and provides medical aid to more than 300 patients every day.  
Many analysts say Iran's role has proved to be more constructive in the past eight year than certain western countries claiming Afghanistan's reconstruction and development to be their number one priority. So far the international community has pledged about 50 billion dollars of aid to rebuild Afghanistan. However, dissatisfaction continues to be rife as the average Afghani man in the street does not see anything which could be put down to the impact of the 'aid.' Corruption and the lack of secure spending grounds for any aid given coupled with ineffective utilization of foreign aid, analysts argue, are the root causes of the dissatisfaction felt by all and sundry.

NASA unveils dramatic new Sun images

NASA has recently unveiled the first images and videos captured by its Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) to unlock mysteries of the Sun to scientists. NASA's February-launched SDO took the pictures and videos exclusively for illustrating the full range of the Sun's magnetic activity in unparalleled detail. The spacecraft's images show never-before-seen detail of material streaming outward and away from sunspots and extreme close-ups of activity on the sun's surface. Its high-resolution measurements of solar flares in a broad range of extreme ultraviolet wavelengths offer unprecedented capability to scientists. "These initial images show a dynamic sun that I had never seen in more than 40 years of solar research,” said Richard Fisher, director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. During its five-year mission, it will examine the sun's magnetic field and also provide a better understanding of the role the sun plays in Earth's atmospheric chemistry and climate.

ADHD drugs increase sudden death risk

Stimulant medication commonly prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) places healthy children at an increased risk of sudden death. Apart from ADHD, many children and teens take stimulant medication for non-approved uses, such as improving focus and enhancing performance at work or in school. In 2006, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urged physicians to avoid prescribing medications such as amphetamine, dextroamphetamine (Adderall), methamphetamine or methylphenidate (Ritalin) in children with underlying cardiac abnormalities. A new study, however, revealed such medication should not be used in those with a positive family history of sudden death.


Settlers deface mosque in West Bank

Jewish settlers have desecrated a mosque in the flashpoint West Bank town of Nablus and set afire two vehicles outside the Muslim worship house. Unknown vandals forcibly entered the Bilal Ben-Rabah Mosque in the village of Hawara overnight Wednesday and sprayed graffiti, including a Jewish Star of David alongside the name of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) written in Hebrew on the mosque walls. The Palestinians say residents of the nearby Yitzhar settlement ascended upon the village at 2 am local time (2300 GMT) and committed the offenses.

Iran urges UN to pursue US threats

An Iranian lawmaker says the United Nations must look into US President Barack Obama's threat to launch a nuclear attack on the Islamic Republic. "The United Nations must pursue the US threats against Iran and the United Nations Human Rights Council must condemn the threats," Zohreh Elahian, a Member of the Parliamentary National Security and Foreign Policy Commission said on Wednesday.  
According to the Iranian lawmaker, "the whole world will be insecure if other nations give in to US bullying." "If the international community fails to show a reaction to the US threats against Iran today, it will be some other countries' turn in future," she added. Elahian further pointed out that Obama's oft-repeated slogan of change was only a guise to deceive and placate public opinion. Iran's Ambassador to the UN Mohammad Khazaei said Tehran submitted an official complaint to the UN on Tuesday over the US threat. The Iranian envoy also pointed out that the US threat is tantamount to "nuclear blackmail." According to Khazaei, such threats of nuclear attack are an "inhumane" breach of international treaties and principles outlined in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Last week, Obama released a new US Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) that, among other things, restricts the use of nuclear arms against non-nuclear states with the exception of Iran. In a recent interview with The New York Times, Obama clearly said the NPR loophole would apply to what he called "outliers like Iran and North Korea."

Tehran summit promotes nuke-free world

Tehran says its upcoming denuclearization conference aims to send the message that nuclear weapons have no place in the world — particularly in the Middle East. "We would continue to send this very strong message from the capital of Iran, Tehran, the center of the Middle East, that nuclear weapons do not have a place at all in this very sensitive part of the world," Mohammad Mehdi Akhoundzadeh, Iran's deputy foreign minister, told Press TV ahead of the international conference on nuclear disarmament scheduled for April 17th and 18th. Officials from more than 60 countries as well as representatives from various international and non-governmental entities have been invited to the two-day conference dubbed "Nuclear energy for all, Nuclear weapons for none.” Akhoundzadeh, who is the secretary general of the summit, also said that the conference did not mean to overshadow the nuclear summit held earlier in the US. "This is a process, this is not a project. Some may think that this is to overshadow what's going on in Washington but we don't look at it that way," he reiterated.

Too much bread causes heart disease

Women who eat lots of high glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates are more vulnerable to developing cardiovascular diseases in the long run, a new study says. GI is an indicator of how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels. Low GI foods such as beans, lentils and nuts, hence, release sugar into the bloodstream more slowly, making the individual feel 'fuller' for a longer time.White bread, doughnuts, rice, ice-cream and refined breakfast cereals, such as cornflakes, are classified as high GI foods. According to the study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, women eating the most carbohydrates overall are at a double risk of heart disease; 25 percent of women belong to this group.

'US covering up nuclear violations'

A senior Iranian lawmaker says the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington is intended to cover up US infringements of international nuclear treaties. "There are more than 10,000 nuclear weapons in the United States. This is an obvious infringement," ISNA quoted Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the chairman of the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, as saying on Wednesday.  
The Iranian official further referred to Tehran's readiness for a nuclear fuel swap with the West. "We are still ready for the nuclear fuel swap due to 850,000 patients who are in need of radio medicines produced by the Tehran research reactor," Boroujerdi added. "The Islamic Republic began producing 20 percent-enriched uranium in the presence of the IAEA representative, after Tehran faced the West's lack of interest in nuclear fuel swap," he went on to say. A nuclear deal, first proposed by the US and then backed by the UN nuclear watchdog, requires Tehran to send most of its low-enriched uranium abroad for further processing and conversion to fuel rods for the research reactor. Iran says it would agree to the proposal if guarantees are provided by the West that the fuel would be shipped to the country in a timely manner. This proviso has been shrugged off by the other side, which is infamous for failing to fulfill its commitments in the past. Iran's nuclear work is under the close inspection of the UN nuclear watchdog, which has confirmed the non-diversion of nuclear material in its numerous reports. 

Pope Benedict XVI urged to step down

A US priest has urged Pope Benedict XVI to step down amid scandals of child sexual abuses by former clergies that has engulfed the Roman Catholic Church. An ardent critic of sexual abuses committed by Catholic priests, the Rev. James Scahill of the parish of St. Michael's Church in Massachusetts used his last weekend's sermon to call on the 82-year old Pontiff to resign for the good of the Catholic Church.  
"If he can't take the consequences of being truthful on this matter, his integrity should lead him, for the good of the church, to step down and to have the conclave of cardinals elect a pope with the understanding that the elected pope would be willing to take on this issue, not just in promise," Scahill said, according to a CNN report on Tuesday. Scahill dismissed the idea of blaming the media for spotlighting the church's child sex abuses and molestations, arguing that the media's conduct forced the church to openly deal with the controversial issue. "I have met with countless victims of abuse. I have lives I can relate this to, and you know anyone with an ounce of intelligence knows the media has not created this scandal," he said. "The institutional church has brought this onto themselves." The revelation of sexual abuses in the church over the years has caused a great fury among followers of the Catholic Church as well as others.

Walking fights menopausal weight gain

Walking for 45 minutes a few times a week can effectively stave off weight gain, a condition that often accompanies menopause, a new study finds. According to the study published in Menopause, a regular 45-minute walking program can help overweight inactive women not only to shed off pounds but also to increase their lean body mass, and subsequently improve their quality of life.Breaking up the 45-minute walking into shorter jaunts can also lead to similar results, the study found. While premenopausal women involved in such program succeeded to lose more weight and fat mass, the exercise trimmed away the weight size more effectively in postmenopausal individuals.


Leader: Nowruz, ideal chance to convey Eastern culture

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the Iranian New Year, Nowruz, is a fitting occasion to bring regional nations and governments closer together. "This (Nowruz) event and its continuity can serve as an appropriate ground for bringing governments and nations in the region closer together," said Ayatollah Khamenei in a meeting with regional leaders and representatives taking part in the first International Nowruz Celebrations in Tehran on Saturday. The leader emphasized that the global recognition of Nowruz can in fact serve as sort of a "cultural gift and conveyance from nations that mark Nowruz to other nations, particularly the West." Ayatollah Khamenei reiterated that at a time "when, unfortunately, the cultural current remains from West to East," the international recognition of Nowruz provides the opportunity to "transfer and export the high values of eastern culture to Western nations. "

Millions unplug world-wide to save the Earth

The fourth annual Earth Hour has started in Australia, as more than 120 countries are preparing to join the hour-long symbolic switch-off. Millions of people around the world will turn out the lights at 8:30 p.m. local time on March 27 to reduce energy consumption and call for action on climate change. Organizers of the event, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), expect this year to be the biggest Earth Hour since it started in Australia's biggest city in 2007 and became an annual global event. Some 4,000 cities in more than 120 countries will participate in the 4th Earth Hour, which started in the remote Chatham Islands and will end just across the International Dateline in Samoa 24 hours later. "We have everyone from Casablanca to the safari camps of Namibia and Tanzania taking part," said World Wildlife Fund CEO Greg Bourne.

In Iran, Leader demands major industrial leap

Leader of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says Iran's current "valuable" industrial advancements are only the beginning, urging officials to aim for a major leap. "In spite of valuable progress in the industrial field, [plans should be implemented] for a major leap toward improving the quality of domestic products relying on intensified work, effort and tireless pursuit," Ayatollah Khamenei said after visiting the production line for a national diesel engine. The Leader said Iran has managed to shed a "dangerous illusion" that industrial development alongside an intellectual life was impossible while adhering to spiritual, religious and moral values. "We [have shown that we] can live logically and rationally while developing, in adherence to moral values and religious practices," he said.

Multiple blasts rock Iraq's Karbala

Multiple bombing attacks have struck Iraq's shrine city of Karbala, leaving at least a dozen people killed and tens of others injured. The first blast occurred at around 12:45 pm (0945 GMT) on Monday when a parked vehicle exploded in front of a restaurant frequented by pilgrims to the holy city which hosts the shrine of the third Shia Imam. A second explosion followed about 15 minutes later and some 100 meters away in the al-Belladiyat neighborhood in the center of Karbala — which lies 110 kilometers (70 miles) south of Baghdad. At least 12 people were killed and 32 injured in the bombings, one of which targeted the city's educational administrative offices, said the DPA news agency, which also reported a third bombing near another provincial compound. The number of casualties could rise as emergency teams rushed the dead and wounded to hospitals, medics said.

Erdogan: Nuclear armed countries urge Iran sanctions

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has once again dismissed sanctions as a proper solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. Erdogan said at a Monday joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Ankara that he was opposed to new sanctions against Iran. He said diplomacy was still the best possible means of solving the issue. "We are of the view that sanction is not a healthy path and... that the best route is diplomacy." Erdogan then wondered why the international community refused to impose sanctions against the Middle East's sole nuclear weapons power, in an apparent allusion to Israel. "We are against nuclear weapons in our region. But is there another country in our region that has nuclear weapons? Yes, there is. And have they been subjected to sanctions? No," Erdogan said.

Gender affects stress coping methods

Age, gender and personality trait are among the major factors influencing the methods of coping with stress in different individuals, a new study finds. According to a study published in Psychophysiology, the physiological response to stress is linked to the individual's desire of maintaining self-esteem and securing social bonds. Defensiveness has been defined as a coping style characterized by avoidance, denial or minimization of distress, negative emotions and information perceived as threatening.  
"Today, it is possible that most people view social exclusion as a threat to their existence. A strong defensive reaction is useful to maintain one's self-esteem faced with this potential threat," said lead researcher Bianca D'Antono. In women, a strong defensive reaction to judgment from others or a threat to self-esteem is associated with an increased risk of developing high blood pressure and heart rate and subsequently cardiovascular events. As for men, the risk is reported to be higher among the elderly with low defensive reactions, the study found.

Iran ready to cooperate with new airlines

The Islamic Republic of Iran voices readiness to cooperate with new aviation companies, as the country braces for redoubled effort and work in the new Iranian year (started March 21). "With the equipment and facilities available at the airports (across the country), we are ready to receive new firms," Mohsen Esmaeli, the Managing Director of Iran Airports Company, told IRNA news agency on Monday. He also added that a "safe flight" requires advanced radar and navigation systems in the air and on the ground, which should be supported by the Company. "The Company's services in managing safe flights comply with international standards," noted the official, adding that there is still some way to go until the true realization of satisfactory flights for passengers. Esmaeli said some 1,000 domestic and 180-190 international flights were recorded each day during this year's Nowruz holidays. The figures show a massive increase in comparison with the same period last year.  
HRW urges Libya to reveal fate of Imam Moussa Sadr

Human Rights Watch has urged Libya to reveal the fate of missing people in the country, including the prominent Shia cleric Imam Moussa Sadr. The call by the New York-based rights watchdog comes as the 22nd Arab League summit opens in Libya with Israel's expansion policies in Jerusalem al-Quds high on its agenda. Lebanese President Michel Sleiman has boycotted the summit in Sirte amid a lingering dispute with Libya over the disappearance of Imam Moussa Sadr, and has sent his country's envoy to Cairo instead


Israel plans 50,000 new homes in al-Quds

Israel is planning tens of thousands of new housing units across Jerusalem al-Quds particularly focusing on the illegally annexed East al-Quds. The plans for nearly 20,000 of the apartments are already in advanced stages of approval and implementation, while plans for the rest are to be submitted to the planning committees, the paper detailed.  
The new buildings include 1,600 homes in the ultra-Orthodox Ramat Shlomo settlement in East al-Quds which were approved on

Obama admits Americans losing faith in gov't

US President Barack Obama has acknowledged that many Americans no longer believe in his administration and US governments in general. Obama admitted that people are deeply suspicious of the administration which came to power on a hope and change platform. Obama made the disappointing comments during a Wednesday speech in the state of Missouri on his endangered health reform plan for which he has been touring to gather support. "People have lost faith in government — they had lost faith in government before I ran (for president), and it has been getting worse," he told a rally in the city of St. Louis.

Iran policies contrary to US interests, Obama says US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that Iran's policies were against US national interests, adding that Washington will keep existing sanctions against Tehran in force. In a letter to the Congress of the United States, President Obama informed lawmakers about his decision to make the National Emergency on Iran, which will be expired on March 15, saying that the emergency will continue in effect for one year.  
"The actions and policies of the Government of Iran are contrary to the interests of the United States in the region and pose a continuing unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States," Xinhua quoted the US president as saying in his letter.

Climate change aggravates pollen allergies

Apart from its various environmental effects, climate change can extend the pollen seasons, making allergy symptoms last longer, a new study finds.  
"By studying a well-defined geographical region, we observed that the progressive increase of the average temperature has prolonged the duration of the pollen seasons of some plants and, consequently, the overall pollen load," said lead researcher Walter Canonica.  
According to the study presented at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI ) in New Orleans, these changes also aggravate reactions to allergens, making hay fever-related sneezing, congestion and runny noses last longer.

Too much or too little sleep ups belly fat

Sleeping too little or too much can place young adults at an increased risk of putting on weight along their waistlines, a new study finds.  
Previous studies had linked insomnia and lack of sleep to weight gain and higher risks of developing diabetes and heart disease in the long run.  
According to the study published in Sleep, black and Hispanic adults younger than 40 who slept for five hours or less each night are more likely to gain abdominal fat particularly the visceral fat that accumulates around the organs. The same finding was reported in those who slept for eight hours or more each night; the condition, however, was less substantial

Iran ready to lend oil expertise, supplies to Zimbabwe

Oil Minister Masoud Mir-Kazemi has said that Iran is prepared to supply Zimbabwe with crude oil and refurbish its refineries. Mir-Kazemi made the remarks in a Tuesday meeting with Zimbabwean Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Didymus Mutasa in Tehran. "Zimbabwe is eager to utilize Iran's expertise for refurbishing of one of its refineries and to buy crude oil (from Iran)," Mir-Kazemi said. He added that Iran has expressed its readiness to train the work force in the Zimbabwean oil industry in order to enable them to run and manage the country's oil operations in the future. Mutasa, on his part, expressed optimism that Iran could supply the oil needed by Zimbabwe. 


Iran's science progress fastest in world: Canadian report

A Canadian firm evaluating the global output of science and technology says scientific advancements in Iran have grown 11 times faster than any other country in the world.

Science-Metrix — a Montreal-based company dedicated to the quantitative and qualitative evaluation and measurement of science, technology and innovation — has released its most recent report on "geopolitical shifts in knowledge creation" since 1980.

In the report, Science-Metrix says the number of scientific publications listed in the Web of Science database shows that the standard growth in the Middle East, particularly in Iran and Turkey, is nearly four times faster than the world average.

Read more…

Iran launches advanced Jamaran destroyer

Iran's Navy on Friday took the delivery of the first indigenously designed and developed guided missile destroyer Jamaran in the presence of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
The Mowdge Class vessel has a displacement of around 1,420 tonnes and is equipped with modern radars and electronic warfare capabilities.
Jamaran, a multi-mission destroyer, can carry 120-140 personnel on board and is armed with a variety of anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles.
It has a top speed of up to 30 knots and has a helipad. It also features highly advanced anti-aircraft, anti-surface and anti-subsurface systems.
The vessel has also been equipped with torpedoes and modern naval cannons. The destroyer's launch marks a major technological leap for Iran's naval industries.
More ships in its class are under construction.

Toll of Pakistan's avalanche reaches 80

The number of people killed in a deadly avalanche in northern Pakistan has increased to 80, according to the local police.
The Thursday avalanche buried Ziarat village in Dasu, the main town in the Kohistan district, officials said on Saturday.
At least nine missing people have been found alive.
Helicopters have been airdropping the food and other necessary items near the village as they could not land due to the high mountain range and heavy snowfall.
Police arrived at the scene more than 24 hours after the avalanche slapped into the poorly developed region, said senior police officer Mohammad Ilyas.
Pakistan's northwestern region received heavy snowfalls earlier this month after a prolonged dry spell, which led to fears of drought conditions in many areas.

Happy individuals less prone to heart disease

In line with previous researches, a new study found that being happy, enthusiastic and positive can ward off cardiovascular diseases.
Previous studies had found that negative emotions such as depression, anger and hostility are important risk factors contributing to heart attack and stroke.

According to the study published in the European Heart Journal, the most anxious and depressed are at the highest risk of experiencing heart disorders.
Happy individuals are, however, at a 22 percent lower risk of developing the condition as they sleep better, adopt a healthier life style, are less stressed and are able to move on from upsetting experiences.
Scientists believe happiness can also reduce the risk of heart diseases through cutting the blood levels of stress hormones.
While the study was not able to prove happiness is protective, scientists stressed that individuals should enjoy themselves in order to lower their risk of heart disease.
"Essentially spending a few minutes each day truly relaxed and enjoying yourself is certainly good for your mental health and may improve your physical health as well," said lead researcher Karina W. Davidson.
She added that apart from controlling major risk factors such as blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure values, individuals can lower their risk for heart disease by simply changing their positive affect levels.

Leader says Iran will never seek atom bomb

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said Friday that the country neither believes in atomic bombs nor is it seeking to develop such weapons.
The Leader said the continuation of allegations by the West that the country is pursuing military objectives in its civilian nuclear program signals that the propaganda campaign against Iran has failed. Iran has announced many times, he said, that its fundamentals and religious principles consider weapons of mass destruction as "illegal and haraam" — meaning forbidden and prohibited according to Islamic rules.
The West accuses Iran, a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of seeking a nuclear weapon. Tehran, however, rejects the allegation and says its program is aimed at the civilian applications of the technology.
Iran in no way believes in an atomic bomb, and it does not seek one, Ayatollah Khamenei said.
The Leader made the remarks during the inauguration ceremony of Iran's first domestically-built destroyer.

Niger coup denounced by International bodies

The Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)deplores the military intervention in the landlocked west African nation of Niger.

US exports to Iran plunge by 5%

US exports to Iran have plunged by 50 percent after President Barack Obama took office in 2009, a report by US Census Bureau shows.
The figures indicate total US exports to Iran stood at $281.8 million in 2009 from $683.2 million in 2008.
Iran exported $66.7 million of goods to the United States in 2009, which was down from $104.1 million at the end of 2008.
This is while, US exports to Iran increased more than tenfold during George W. Bush's term as president.


Iran will deliver telling blow to global powers on Feb. 11'

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the nation will deliver a harsh blow to the "global arrogance" on this year's anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.
"The Islamic Revolution opened a window to liberty for the human race, which was trapped in the dead ends of materialism," Ahmadinejad said during a cabinet meeting on Sunday. "If the Islamic Revolution had not occurred, liberalism and Marxism would have crushed all human dignity in their power-seeking and money-grubbing claws. Nothing would have remained of human and spiritual principles," he added.
Ahmadinejad said that in the three decades of its history, the Islamic Revolution had inspired some great developments in the world. The Iranian president made the remarks as the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution approaches. Iranians are expected to pour into the streets on February 11 to celebrate the occasion in public rallies across the country, as they have done annually over the past three decades.

Iraq bomb attack kills 41, wounds 106 pilgrims

Forty one Shia pilgrims have been killed and 106 others wounded in the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad as they were on their way by foot to the holy city of Karbala in central Iraq.
A female suicide bomber blew herself up at a rest station in Baghdad on Monday
"At 11.45 am (0845 GMT), a woman wearing an explosives-filled belt blew herself up in the middle of a crowd of pilgrims going to Karbala,"

Study finds overweight seniors live longer

Individuals who carry a few extra pounds after the age of 70 tend to live longer than their normal-weight peers, a new study finds. According to the study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, overweight seniors with no underlying disease such as diabetes or osteoarthritis, caused or exacerbated by carrying extra pounds, have a higher survival rate that normal weight individuals.

Iraq to sue US, Britain over depleted uranium bombs

Iraq's Ministry for Human Rights will file a lawsuit against Britain and the US over their use of depleted uranium bombs in Iraq, an Iraqi minister says. Iraq's Minister of Human Rights, Wijdan Mikhail Salim, told Assabah newspaper that the lawsuit will be launched based on reports from the Iraqi ministries of science and the environment. According to the reports, during the first year of the US and British invasion of Iraq, both countries had repeatedly used bombs containing depleted uranium. According to Iraqi military experts, the US and Britain bombed the country with nearly 2,000 tons of depleted uranium bombs during the early years of the Iraq war. Atomic radiation has increased the number of babies born with defects in the southern provinces of Iraq. Iraqi doctors say they' have been struggling to cope with the rise in the number of cancer cases —especially in cities subjected to heavy U-S and British bombardment. The high rate of birth defects and cancer cases will move in the coming years to the central and northern provinces of Iraq since the radiation may penetrate the soil and water by air. The ministry will seek compensation for the victims of these bombs.

Iran celebrates Islamic Revolution anniversary

Special ceremonies are being held in Iran and other countries to mark the first day of the Ten-Day Dawn period that culminated the overthrow of the Pahlavi regime. The celebrations started on Monday on the occasion of the beginning of the 31st anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. On February 1, 1979, the late leader of the Islamic Revolution and founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, arrived at Mehrabad International Airport, returning from a 15-year exile. He was warmly greeted by millions of enthusiastic Iranians. Ten days later the Islamic Revolution became victorious in Iran. The downfall of the Pahlavi regime marked the end of 2,500 years of monarchic rule in Iran. On the first day of the Ten-Day Dawn celebrations, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and members of his cabinet renewed their allegiance to the ideals of the late Imam Khomeini. They were accompanied by the Imam's grandson, Hassan Khomeini.
"More than 100 foreign reporters have requested visas in order to cover the ceremonies,"

Competitive sports ups low back pain in kids

Being involved in competitive sports in childhood increases the risk of developing lower back pain in the long run, a new study finds. According to the study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, college students who had been involved in competitive sports since elementary school are more likely to have experienced at least a single episode of low back pain in their life than their less-competitive peers. The more years children spend in competitive sports, the greater their risk of suffering back pain becomes. The pain is also reported to be more serious and debilitating among these students, the study found.

Deep brain stimulation treats depression

US medical researchers say they are studying the use of deep brain stimulation to offer hope to people suffering from a variety of disorders. The technique can ease symptoms of depression, epilepsy, obsessive-compulsive disorder, headaches, chronic pain and stroke that have not responded well to other treatments, according to new and increasing research.

Week 30/01/2010

Bangladeshi cabbie in NY returns cash left in taxi

Mukul Asadujjaman: "I did the honest thing"

A Bangladeshi taxi driver in New York City has gone out of his way to track down the person who left thousands of dollars in cash in the back of his cab.Mukul Asadujjaman, a medical student, drove nearly 80km (50 miles) to an address he found with the money. He left his phone number when he found no-one at home. The money belonged to an Italian grandmother visiting the US.

15 killed in Najaf bombings

At least 15 people have been killed and 80 others injured in a series of bomb blasts in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf.
Three explosive devices were detonated in two different places of the sacred city on Thursday. Two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) went off at a crowded market place near the shrine of Imam Ali (PBUH), while a car bomb exploded near a mosque teemed with worshippers.

Haiti death toll may exceed 100,000

Haitian government officials say the death toll from Tuesday's 7.0 magnitude earthquake may surpass 100,000. The nation's capital, Port au Prince, is currently without water and electricity. The country is in dire need of trained rescue workers as well as vehicles to clear the debris from collapsed buildings and other structures.
People are manually digging through the rubble in search of survivors and bodies.

Iran says nuclear scientist assassinated Zionist style

The Iranian president says a familiar assassination method practiced by Israel was seen in the recent assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that the enemy is trying to obstruct Iran's path to scientific success.
Iranian nuclear physics scientist Dr. Massoud Ali-Mohammadi was killed in a remote-controlled bomb attack in the Iranian capital on Tuesday.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry had earlier said that Iran had found traces of US and Israeli involvement in the assassination of Ali-Mohammadi.
"The style of bombing and assassination of the martyred Dr. Ali-Mohammadi was a Zionist one," said the Iranian president. The president added that the enemy knows that a developed Iran would culturally and not militarily conquer the world.
"They [the enemies] want to make sure that Iran does not advance," President Ahmadinejad said. "The enemy cannot remove the knowledge from the Iranian nation by killing its elite," the president added.

Iran launches website on its nuclear program

Iran's Foreign Ministry has launched a new website to publish the latest developments about Iran's nuclear program.
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki officially launched the website in a ceremony held in the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday, IRNA reported.
"The website will gather and update information about different political, legal, historic and geographical developments in the nuclear sphere," Mottaki said.
He added that the website will show that "there is a minority in the world that eyes maximum interests through monopolizing everything, including science and technology."
Iran's top diplomat also stated that there is also a majority in the world that could achieve their goals only after gaining permission from the minority.
He stressed that Iran has adopted a rational and transparent policy to defend its nuclear rights and will continue to do so.

Thousands of Hindus take 'holy bath' in India

Hundreds of thousands of Hindus have taken a dip in the icy waters of the Ganges River in one of northern India's holiest cities. Hindus believe that bathing in the river on certain occasions washes away their sins and boosts India's fortune.

Poland recovers stolen Monet painting

Poland has found a Claude Monet painting, which was stolen from the country's National Museum in Poznan one decade ago. The French painter's Beach in Pourville was cut from its frame and replaced with a copy painted on cardboard. The painting was valued at $1 million at the time of its theft, but Sobocinska could not estimate its current value.

Smoking linked to back pain

Smokers, especially younger smokers, are more likely to report low back pain than people who have never smoked.
To know if smoking increases the risk of low back pain, a problem that affects an estimated 8 in 10 adults during some point in their lives, researchers identified and reviewed 81 studies from around the world involving smokers, former smokers, or never-smokers and low back pain conducted between 1966 and 2009. Of these, 40 studies involving more than 300,000 adults and adolescents met the standards for the analysis. The researchers subjected the data of the individual studies to further statistical analysis to tease out the strength of relationships even as the studies reported various outcomes. They determined that even though the data did not prove smoking leads to low back pain, the analysis of previous literature suggested a "fairly modest" association between smoking and low back pain.