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Archive for the ‘science’ Category

ENVIRONMENT: "historic" agreement between Palestinians and Israelis to save the Dead Sea

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

 

It never ceases to fall. Each year, the Dead Sea sees its lower level of one meter. Old bathing facilities are now far from the shore. At this rate the Dead Sea has completely disappeared in 2050.

To save her, a historic agreement was signed Monday, Dec. 9 in Washington between Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan. The project is to pump salt water in the Red Sea and the Dead Sea route. Objective: 200 million cubic meters per year. "We had a report in 2012 which considered that it was feasible, but now that we have the agreement, there remains the problem of funding. Who will be the main donor? We do not know yet, "raises Pierre Berthelot, scholar of water.

Strong symbol

Another part of the project, the construction of a desalination plant in Aqaba, in southern Jordan. The agreement, obtained after eleven years of negotiations, will allow a better distribution of water in the region. But it is also a powerful symbol. The Palestinians and Israelis who find common ground.

"This agreement was signed with the blessing of Prime Minister Netanyahu but also that I know by King Abdullah and President Abbas. They show us that when leaders really want to reach an agreement that is possible to achieve, "said Silvan Shalom, Israel's Minister of Water and Energy. His Palestinian counterpart, Shaddad Attili, also welcomed the news. "We showed that we could work together in spite of our political problems," he said, at a time when Palestinians and Israelis are trying to revive the process peace under the aegis of the United States.

Environmental threats

Israela agreed to sell 20 to 30 million cubic meters of desalinated water each additional year to the Palestinian Authority. The latter accused the Hebrew aggravate shortages State.

Several environmental advocacy organizations have warned against the possible adverse effects of the arrival of water from the Red Sea on the fragile ecosystem of the Dead Sea .

With AFP

EDUCATION: Ranking Pisa: the Champion Education inequality

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

 

The poor performance of France in 2012 ranked Pisa (Programme for International Student Assessment) of the OECD are not a surprise. "You'll see in December, we will have new studies Pisa. France wins totally in the performance of his students. Over ten years, it becomes dramatic, "had advanced the Minister of Education, Vincent Peillon, October 10, on the set of Grand Journal de Canal Plus.

The Minister was right. In the new edition, published Tuesday, December 3, the classification that assesses the skills of 15 years in the areas of reading, mathematics and science, France was , demoted to 25th place of the 65 participating countries or economies.

Increasingly inequality

In the previous Pisa in 2009, in which 75 countries and economies participated, France then occupied the 22nd place in the overall ranking, not far from Germany, which now leads to 16th. 

The "performance" of French students in mathematics decreased notably 16 points between 2003 (511) and 2012 (495), which passed the nine countries France whose performance is higher than the OECD average for countries whose performance is in the average of the OECD.

More alarming, the French education system favor the gap between "very good" and "very bad" students. "In France, the system Education is more unequal than it was nine years ago. In other words, when you belong to a disadvantaged background, today there is less chance of success in France in 2003, "the study says. In addition, according to the OECD, students from immigrant families are at least twice more likely to fail at school in France.

Left and right, we refer the death poor performance responsibility. Laurent Wauquier former UMP minister of Higher Education, there are two reasons to downgrade France. "First, we try to treat all children in exactly the same way. […] The results of single college made the massacre and those we need to stimulate and those that need support. " Then "dropping takes place today in France especially at the primary level," said he said Tuesday on BFMTV and RMC.

"The education bill 10 years right"

The former UMP minister of Education Luc Chatel has also scathing against the Ayrault government. "When teachers are selected at a higher level requirement was better results. The government is doing the opposite: the last competition to recruit 60,000 additional posts, we lowered the bar was recruited students 8/20, "Has he said on France 2.

"The criticism Tuesday by Luc Chatel against the current government are perfectly intolerable and displaced under bankruptcy […]", do you reply to the Party socialist. "France has received the education bill 10 years in power right. The results of our education system, assessed by the Pisa test between 2009 and May 2012, show how the majority has abandoned the previous e education, "said the PS in a statement.

Vincent Peillon, who called the results "disturbing" and "unacceptable," but wanted to keep his optimism. "The time has come to gather around […] of our teachers", "our school has significant strengths" and results "remain positive", has he found requesting that "we do not fall into lamentation."

With AFP and Reuters

SYRIA: The United States will destroy sea part of the Syrian chemical arsenal

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

 

Part of the Syrian chemical arsenal, particularly products considered "priority" will be destroyed at sea on a vessel owned in the United States, announced the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Saturday, November 30. "The Director General (OPCW) said that the disposal operations (CW, Ed) will be carried out at sea on a ship of the United States using the hydrolysis technique, "said the organization based in The Hague in a statement. "A ship is currently being modified to accommodate the operations and support operations OPCW verification," she has said.

On November 15, the Executive Council of the OPCW had adopted a roadmap for the destruction of the Syrian chemical arsenal by the mid-2014, with a plan detailing possible methods destruction of these weapons from Syria, on land or at sea But despite the consensus on the destruction of the Syrian chemical arsenal out of the country at war, no country has so far accepted , it takes place on its soil.

Under the agreement, the most dangerous Syrian weapons must be transported out of the country at war before December 31. The majority of chemical weapons and other precursors used in the composition of toxic products, with the exception of the isopropanol can be used in the manufacture of sarin, must be removed from of country by 5 February 2014. Production facilities declared by the scheme will be destroyed between 15 December and 15 March 2014, according to the organization.

With news (AFP)

A victory not so easy to Michelle Bachelet

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

 

In his last campaign rally in Santiago Thursday, Michelle Bachelet danced cumbia, mambo and hummed songs of historical Chilean left. An atmosphere worthy of a victory tonight as the former president … [2006 - 2010] seems assured of a return to the palace of La Moneda, the outcome of the election presidential election, the first round will be held Sunday, November 17.

Four years after leaving the reins of the country-party center-right National Renovation (RN) Sebastián Piñera, Michelle Bachelet, 62, enjoys a popularity , indisputable, which exceeds that of Nueva Mayoría [New Majority], the coalition of the left which she defends the colors. According to the Institute CEP, it inherits 47% of the vote, far ahead of the candidate of the right Evelyn Matthei, supported by Alianza, credited as 14%. Some studies even predict his victory in the first round …

"The mother of all Chileans"

Chileans have never stopped plebiscite that they have dubbed the "mother of all Chileans" for his spontaneity and natural touch. The first woman president in the country's history has left office with a peak popularity more than 80%, but could not imagine in 2010 for a second consecutive term, according to the Chilean Constitution. Michelle Bachelet was then flown to New York to head UN Women, an organization that defends the rights of women worldwide.

During the past three years, Chileans have continued to watch his back, highly publicized in March. Strengthened by its international stature, the new candidate is then told ready to "take the challenge" of another term, by giving priority to "overcome ined Galite in Chile. "

Over the past twenty years, the country has experienced a period of growth and prosperity, fueled by the extraction of copper, has risen to the ranks of developed countries. But his rise was accompanied by an unequal distribution of wealth.  

Reduce inequalities Protests have increased in the country under the mandate Piñera to require changes in the economic and political model: students demanding free education , workers demanding reforms to the Labour Code and a better wage. Officials, such as postal workers or garbage collectors have even launched strikes to pressure the government a few days before the election.

For now, only the program Michelle Bachelet seems to meet all these expectations. On the social level, the candidate promised to reform higher education, providing free , and putting an end to private schools, but also to open kindergartens and schools. To achieve this, it will allocate annually 1.5 to 2% of GDP.

In terms of health, the applicant, a doctor by training, plans to legalize abortion in cases of rape or risk to the mother or the unborn child - a practice totally banned in several countries in Latin America. It also promises four billion dollars for the construction of new hospitals, clinics and physician recruitment. And further agrees to open a national debate on the right to gay marriage.

On the fiscal side, she wants to gradually increase the tax on companies with 20 to 25% and end the Fondo de Utilidades Tributables (FUT), a mechanism that allows some companies to re reduce their tax bill. It also intends to terminate the opportunity for companies to defer indefinitely the payment of tax on reinvested profits, a measure adopted in 1984 under Pinochet.

Constitutional reform, but if the voice seems wide open for access to the presidency, paths lead to the various reforms ahead sown institutional barriers, as it was the case for Sebastian Piñera.

At issue: the de1980 Constitution, in force since the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. If it has been amended several times, the text remains unchanged, including the electoral system, which does not favor the party out on top. C ' Therefore, the revision of the Constitution has become a major theme of the campaign, offered by almost all new candidates. To achieve this, some propose to go through a constituent assembly, while Michelle Bachelet prefer consider parliamentary channels.

In this case, the favorite of the election requires a two-thirds majority in both Houses of Parliament. But all observers agree that this challenge is far from won. Aware of the issue, the daughter of General Bachelet, died in custody during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), focused on mobilizing voters, both Presidential the laws, which take place on the same day, "because I need a Congress able to take the plunge for the changes Chile a need, "she warned.

The dream of "Yellow Dogs" Iranian murdered in Brooklyn

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

 

They fled Iran to go after their dream rock. Invited in 2010 by the SXSW festival in Texas, the Soroush and Arash Farazmand (guitarist and drummer respectively) brothers had decided not to return home. The musicians had sought asylum in the United States and began to make a name in the grunge bars in Brooklyn.

In Iran, where rock is an "illegal activity" deemed contrary to religion, Yellow Dogs [Yellow Dog Ed] occurred in garages and basements for underground concerts . But the United States, post-punk their sound weird and exotic words were warmly welcomed. Prominently in Rolling Stone, they were invited to play all over the country with the other two members of their group: Siavash Karampour singer and bassist Koory Mirz. There are three weeks, the entire group produced the famous Brooklyn Bowl. On its website, the club described the Yellow Dogs as a "roaring life, spirit, tension and imagination" group.

Monday, November 11th in the morning, the two brothers were found dead, shot to death, along with their roommate and Iranian musician and songwriter Ali Eskandarian, 35. Their killer, Ali Akbar Mohammadi Rafie, a former member of another Iranian group, the Free Keys, has committed suicide shortly after the incident.

Shot dead in their apartment

According to the spokesman for the police, John J. McCarthy, interviewed by the New York Times, Rafie accessed the apartment through the roof. He had placed his gun in a guitar case. It was first shot Ali Eskandarian through a lounge window. Then in the chest Soroush, 27, who was lying in bed. Then came the turn of Arash, 28, shot in the head while he was on his computer.

Another resident of the apartment, the Iranian street-artist Sasan Sadeghpourosko, was shot twice in the shoulder and elbow, but survived. Rafie smashed the door of another apartment in the building, finding himself born in born with Pooya Hosseini, also a musician. The latter fought with him and escaped unharmed. Rafie is then returned to the roof of the building where he was shot in the head.

Salehezadeh Ali, who was the manager of the group and lived in the same block, told Reuters they had cut off contact with Rafie after he e , ty excluded Free Keys for stealing money. "When he was fired from his own group, we almost severed all ties with him. We were not really friends with him, "said Ali Salehezadeh in a telephone interview from Brazil. Himself had trouble finding a possible motive for the killings. "I do not know if it is right for them, for us, or for revenge because a member of the Free Keys live with us."

"Good boys"

Bassist and singer Koory Mirz Siavash Karampour were not there at the time of the attack. Monday, they posted a message on the group's Facebook page to announce the news, thanking their fans for the many messages of condolence still kept coming Tuesday.

Brian Kiernan Devine Jr., a member of a film crew who made a documentary about the group, said he was "shattered" by the news. "This is the youth group of the warmest, sincere and idealistic we had the chance to know artists. They managed to escape from Iran, were granted political asylum in New York to pursue their creative dreams (…) All this to be slaughtered in their beds. It is incomprehensible. This is madness. "

Yanira Lantigua, cashier of a local grocery store where young people would do their errands, calls "lovely and quiet boys who have never had a cross word." Monday, around 1 am, she heard the police helicopters flying over the area. It made him a shock to learn that she knew the victims. "They came to buy sandwiches and coffee as recently as a few days ago," she tells FRANCE 24. "The brothers were inseparable. They were really good boys. "

Alireza Tabiban an Iranian expatriate based in Austin, Texas, who had met and had seen them twice in concert, describes them as "very cool boys who just wanted to play their music and have fun. "He added that his family and friends in Tehran would be horrified by the details of this story. "There are not many murders by firearms [in Iran], since it is illegal to possess weapons," he told FRANCE 24. Mehdi Saharkhiz, an Observer FRANCE 24 who met the group in 2010 and spoke of them with passion, tweeted Monday: "This is hell. I still can not believe it. "

Slaughtered on the rise

The Yellow Dogs had built a solid fan club in the United States and beyond. The last member of the group to be granted asylum in the United States had received his papers there are only a few months. The rockers were planning a tour of Europe and Turkey, where they hoped to happen to their family and friends. "Our parents have never seen us play!" Confided Soroush Farazmand in April 2012 in an interview with eMusic.

Before leaving Iran, the group formed in 2006 in Tehran appeared in a documentary about the underground music scene of the Iranian capital, "Persian Cats". The film won the Special Jury Prize at Cannes in 2009. That same year, in a CNN report, Siavash Karampour judged its affiliates as "closer than [his] brothers."

In the last interview that Soroush Farazmand gave before being killed, he explained to Vice magazine: "We have decided to live in Brooklyn because it's a place where we can grow. "Their apartment 318 East Williamsburg became a gathering place for artists and Iranian musicians.

"It was a small group of punk underground from Iran who was turning heads," explains Ali Salehezadeh their manager in an interview with Reuters. "They always said, 'If you want to get there, we must do so in New York,'" he relates. "But they have not been so lucky."

Adapted by Steven Jambot in Paris.

WEATHER: Massive evacuations in Vietnam with the approach of Typhoon Haiyan

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

 

More than 200,000 people were evacuated in Vietnam with the approach of Super Typhoon Haiyan must hit the country on Sunday, two days after sweeping the central Philippines where he made many victims.

The typhoon, the most powerful ever to have products on the planet with winds reaching peaks of 315 km / hour, could have done about 1,200 deaths, according to the local Red Cross.

"This is an estimate. Others (the authorities) must make a precise count "casualties caused by this storm with waves and winds incredible force said Saturday AFP the secretary general of the Philippine Red Cross Gwendolyn Pang.

In Vietnam, it should touch the ground in the center of the country Sunday morning. The authorities began mass evacuations in at least four coastal provinces, according to the official news website VnExpress.

"More than 200,000 people were evacuated to shelters, some shelters are overcrowded," said he added.

Some 170,000 soldiers were mobilized to participate in rescue operations after the arrival of the typhoon.

Many schools were closed and people living in coastal communities most vulnerable to the storm have been moved to places higher up . Images of state media showed women, children and elderly crammed into shelters.

Haiyan, considered the strongest typhoon of 2013 and one of the most powerful ever to hit land for decades, should have lost some of its strength when it hit Vietnam.

But it remains in the category of super typhoon, with a potential "serious developments," said Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung at an emergency meeting Friday. Some 6.5 million Vietnamese could be affected

Central Vietnam has recently been hit by two typhoons, Wutip and Nari, which caused flooding and damaged hundreds of thousands of homes. 

"Haiyan two or three times more powerful than Wutip or Nari and should do more damage," he told AFP Michael Annear, representing the Red Cross in Vietnam.

The Red Cross reported that about 6.5 million Vietnamese people could be affected by the typhoon.

The national carrier Vietnam Airlines has warned that some flights may be delayed or canceled Sunday.

All ships were recalled in ports and authorities ordered hydroelectric dams to enhance security "to limit the human and material consequences," according a statement posted on the government website. 

The extent of damage caused by Haiyan Philippines was still unknown Saturday as the worst affected areas were cut off from the world, electricity networks and phone had been destroyed.

With news

UNITED STATES: New Jersey: a loop after a mall shooting

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

 

New shooting in the United States. A mall in New Jersey was completed on the evening of Monday, November 4 in Paramus, after a gunman opened fire without casualties.

Several witnesses reported shots at 9:20 p.m. [2:20 GMT Tuesday], CNN reported. American police are looking for a man dressed in black who might be the shooter.

The suspect still wanted

Many shops rushed to close their curtains, but according to officials in Bergen County, interviewed by CNN, the suspect has not been arrested in the mall "Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall", located twenty miles from downtown New York.

Employees and traders panic rushed outside the center after the incident, which reminded them of the tragedy of September in Nairobi, carried ,. e by Islamist Shebab At least 67 people were killed in the upscale mall Westgate.

With news

SPY: Listening Merkel: Snowden prepared to testify from Russia

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

 

In the case of listening to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Edward Snowden could be heard in Russia, but former U.S. intelligence refugee consultant in Russia prefer testify before Congress in the United States, announced Friday, November 1 lawyer and a German MEP.

Wanted by Washington after his revelations about the National Security Agency (NSA) for which he worked, Edward Snowden can not go to Germany for fear of losing his refugee status, but can testify without leaving Russia, told his Russian lawyer Anatoly Koutcherena. 

Berlin "ready to listen Snowden"

"Under international agreements, Snowden may testify in Russia, but the German authorities to decide. Snowden did not go to Germany. This is impossible because it does not have the right to cross the Russian border. If he does, he may lose his refugee status, "said the lawyer in the Echo of Moscow radio.

His revelations have provoked strong reactions in Europe, especially in Germany, where information about the alleged spy cell phone Chancellor Angela Merkel came as a shock.

Following his meeting with U.S. fugitive in Russia, in an undisclosed location, the German MEP Hans-Christian Ströbele told Berlin that the launcher preferred alert rerait testify before the U.S. Congress. But the American has also expressed willingness to testify before the German parliament, according Ströbele. Berlin said he was "willing to listen" Snowden said for its part, the German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich.

"The U.S. government will cease its harmful behavior"

Office Ströbele released Friday a photo of his meeting with Snowden and added that the American had forwarded a letter to the German government, the Bundestag (lower house of the German Parliament) and parquet. "I am confident that with the support of the international community, the U.S. government cease its harmful behavior (to me)," he has written in this letter. "I look forward to speaking with you in your country when the situation will be resolved, has he added.

Interviewed by the first German television channel ARD, the deputy Ströbele said the American had "showed that he knew a lot […]. It is ready in principle to help clear "business, has he added.

"The meeting went well," observed the Russian lawyer stating that the German deputy asked if he could Snowden including "witness" ,. espionage in an alleged mobile phone Angela Merkel "It's Putin to decide"

Snowden "is ready to cooperate with everyone, you see, there is no prohibition. It is itself decides who to contact and when, "the lawyer added, quoted by the Interfax news agency.

"It's Putin to decide"

The Kremlin declined to comment Friday, though Putin was asked in the past as long as Edward Snowden continues his revelations could "harm the United States" and if he remained in Russia. "It is not a matter for the Kremlin," said the spokesman of the President, Dmitry Peskov.

Questioned by AFP, the independent analyst Pavel Felgenhauer, for his part felt that the U.S. was under the control of fugitive Russian special services and its flexibility was limited e by the Kremlin. "It's Putin to decide what Snowden has the right to say. He asked to Snowden as long as they do not harm America, but there is that Putin knows what the parameters are, "he says.

According to his lawyer, Edward Snowden has adapted to life in Russia, he goes to the museum and the theater, and found work in Russia must deal from Friday a recognized website, whose name was not revealed.

In an interview with German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung published Saturday, Mr. Snowden said he did not regret making his revelations, while conceding that which cost him more in his current situation was "not to have regular contact with his family and loved ones."

With news

Amnesty wants to disrupt the relay of the Olympic flame in Russia

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

 

The start of the Olympic torch promises to unfold under high tension. While Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Sunday will kick off the relay of the Olympic flame will travel 65,000 miles across the country to the opening of the Olympics in Sochi on the 7th February 2014, Amnesty International will launch at that time a global campaign against violations of human rights in Russia

Arriving from Greece, the birthplace of the Olympics, the flame is expected Sunday at Moscow-Vnukovo airport at 10:45 GMT in the presence of Russian leaders and the French Jean-Claude Killy, Chairman of the Coordination Commission for the Games of Sochi, southern Russia, from 7 to 23 February 2014.

A ceremony is then provided on the Red Square, where the Russian president will officially launch the relay of the Olympic flame in Russia.  "Drawing attention to the extent of violations of human rights"

The NGO Amnesty International has already announced Monday - the day when the Olympic Torch Relay will begin its journey through the streets of Moscow - a global campaign to denounce violations of human rights in Russia. "The Olympic flame can shed light on violations of human rights that the authorities prefer to hide with the celebrations," the NGO said in a statement .

"Supporters of Ottawa to Puerto Rico via Warsaw, Paris, Brussels, and Moscow will hold demonstrations in public places and in front of the Russian embassy to draw attention to the magnitude of human rights freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly in Russia, "Amnesty said in a statement.

In Moscow, the NGO plans to hold a rally on Pushkin Square in the heart of the capital, but the Russian authorities refused, she has said.  

Extensive safety device

Thousands of police will be mobilized from 6 to 8 October in Moscow where the Olympic flame arrives Olympics in Sochi. "Around 12,000 police personnel assigned to the Ministry of Interior and volunteers will be mobilized for public order and public safety during the Olympic torch relay in Moscow" ,, police said in a statement.

In addition to the police, about 6,000 security officers will be mobilized for the event, said on his part the Russian daily Izvestia Friday. The Russian Army will also participate in security operations.

The Sochi Olympics are an event that is particularly Vladimir Putin, who has used his influence to get the organization that wishes to make a showcase of Russia which he is the strong man for 13 years.

With news

AUSTRIA: Austrian Legislative: the ruling coalition threatened by the Greens and the extreme right

Monday, September 30th, 2013

 

Around 6.4 million Austrians vote Sunday, September 29 to elect 183 members of their National Council, the lower house of Parliament. The ruling coalition, consisting of the Social Democrats of the SPÖ and the conservative ÖVP, should be re-elected for five years, according to the latest polls which credits about 50% of the vote (28% to 22-23% for SPÖ and ÖVP).

But rushed on the left by the Greens and their right by two Eurosceptic parties, the two major training center should nevertheless reap the worst score in history. They could even beings forced to deal with a third party. Despite favorable economic performance, the two traditional allies pay the price of many corruption scandals and infighting that prevented the vote of some reforms, such as education.

Euroscepticism strength

The extreme right, represented by the FPÖ (Freedom Party) is credited with it 20% of the vote. The training promotes the breakup of the euro area and promises to improve pensions, to establish a minimum wage, while denouncing the bailout countries of southern Europe. Activists have for their FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache, a cult of personality. "Love your neighbor. To me, it means our Austrians ", claim the campaign posters. Some members of the conservative party ÖVP would even be willing to ally with the FPÖ to create a right-wing coalition, however improbable, since a configuration would involve leaving the euro area.

At this traditional party adds a newcomer, the Austro-Canadian Frank Stronach, 81, and founder of the automotive supplier Magna. The billionaire has created a party in his name, hostile to the euro, immigration and Islam. Nearly 10% of voters would be willing to vote for it, so that despite the personal rivalry between Heinz-Christian Strache and Frank Stronach, an alliance between the two movements is not eurosceptic excluded.

To a coalition with the Greens?

The composition of the future coalition government would then depend on the scores of two small parties, the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) founded by the late Jörg Haider in a split the FPÖ in 2005, and the Neos Liberal Party. They are credited with nearly 4% of the vote.

If ever these formations are entering the National Council, the team led by the Social Democrat Werner Faymann could turn to the Greens to form a unique tripartite coalition in Austria. Environmentalists, credited with 15% of votes were in fact marked points in leading an anti-corruption campaign.

Preliminary official results will be available from 17:30 GMT.

With news