Posts Tagged ‘EVENTS’

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

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.

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SAUDI ARABIA: Women Driving: Saudi women to run the emancipation

Friday, October 25th, 2013

 

"Driving is a choice." Behind this lies a banal slogan fight is far from it: the Saudi militant million for the right to drive. The women are so called Wahhabi kingdom, Saturday, Oct. 26, to drive to challenge the political and religious authorities of the country in the world where they are deprived of this right.

"On October 26, the women in Saudi Arabia say they are determined (…) and that this issue must be resolved," he told AFP Manal Al Sharif icon Women movement to drive for two years now. On 17 May 2011, the Saudi 32 years, computer consultant, was posting a YouTube video of her driving a car. This weapon is earned him taste the Saudi jails for nine days and revive an old fight over 20 years.

It all began in November 1990, during the war in the Gulf. While women of the U.S. military lead on military bases in the kingdom, 47 Saudi decided to organize a convoy through the streets of Riyadh, said CNN. Immediately arrested, some even lose their job. In a country steeped in patriarchal and religious traditions, Islam is then waved to give a societal taboo law. In 1991, the Grand Mufti of the Kingdom and issues a fatwa prohibiting women from driving. The reason? Leave them alone in vehicles must lead to the "diversity" and thus the "social chaos."

"The fact that a woman driving a car is a source of many evils and unfortunate consequences. This leads in particular to meet men when they are not on their guard. This encourages them to commit grave sins, because where such activity is prohibited, "asserted while Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Baz, the Washington Post reports. Following the recommendations of the highest religious authority, Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud al-then Minister of the Interior issues a decree endorsing the fatwa. Women's driving becomes illegal.

A promising mobilization

On the eve of the operation "driving is a choice," the mobilization is already waiting for you. "More than 50 videos showing women being drive" have been uploaded since the launch of the campaign on social networks, said Manal Al Sharif, who now lives in Dubai ,. An online petition launched in early September collected 16,000 signatures before being blocked two weeks later, said the Middle East Online website.

Saturday, October 26, no parade of women driving is expected, the law banning any gathering. Each activist who received the precious abroad is invited to drive individually and post photos and videos on social networks.

Faced with the unprecedented media coverage of the movement, a hundred religious has already Risposte gathering in front of the royal palace in Jeddah on Tuesday 22 October. Last month, the Conservative Sheikh Saleh al-Luhaydan protested by advancing either religious arguments but pseudo-medical. "The conduct automatically affects the ovaries and pelvis back, he has advanced the sabq.org site. This is why children born to women who drive regularly suffer from physical disorders to varying degrees. "

A first step to extract more rights

Given the hypocrisy of Saudi society, thirty three female members of the influential Advisory Council Majlis al-Shura, named in January by King Abdullah, decided to act. Dr. Al-Shalan Latifah, Dr. Haya Al-Manee and Dr. Mona Al-Mushait thus filed an appeal on 10 October to lift the de facto ban on women driving, recalls the USA Today website.

This recommendation does lead one day to a royal decree? This is the wish of Saudi who believe that only the king can reform society. "The king said that this is the company to decide. But this is impossible, the religious will never agree. It is for him to decide because it is a political issue, "the indignant blogger Tamador Al Yami on the site" Madame Le Figaro ".

But the Wahhabi kingdom, women's rights have always aroused great controversy. In the 1960s, the opening of the first girls' schools had raised such a storm of protest, including radical clerics that King Saud had to send the army to the protected. Although some argue that "society is not ready", Saudi Arabia carries shy but many advances in recent years. In 2009, King Abdullah has opened the first coeducational university, the University of Science and Technology. In September 2011, the king granted them the right to vote and representation in the municipal elections of 2015. And in recent months, domestic violence is now prohibited by law. Small steps to some, but not for such a giant conservative regime.

Obtain the right to drive, the first step towards the emancipation? Manal Al-Sharif believes hard as iron. Saudi women dream of "a more important right", that "to be considered major" and no longer depend on the permission of a male guardian - father, brother or husband - to travel, work or even get married. A long struggle which should nevertheless lead. Saudi Arabia signed the UN convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Sooner or later, it will ratify.

SYRIA: Friends of Syria want to unite the Syrian opposition to Geneva II

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

 

This is a crucial meeting. Friends of Syria meet Tuesday, October 22 in London to try to convince the Syrian that the future international conference in Geneva on political transition in Syria, scheduled for November 23 opposition is only possible way to achieve peace. The "Eleven of London" - Germany, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, United States, France, Britain, Italy, Jordan, Qatar and Turkey are particularly insist that the opposition has " united and strong. "

The exiled opponents of the Syrian National Coalition (CNS), the main interlocutors of the "Friends of Syria" will be represented by President Ahmad Jarba, elected in July, with particular Mostafa Sabbah his unfortunate opponent in the election, says does one Western diplomatic source. The delegation should represent a broad spectrum of the Coalition, "beyond the current leadership."

The political solution to end the crisis

After giving up military strikes against the regime of Bashar al-Assad and passed a resolution at the UN in late September providing for the removal of chemical weapons from Syria, proposed Moscow, Western and Arab countries now advocate "political solution" as the only way out of the crisis. It is the purpose of the Geneva-2.

Originally scheduled for June, was postponed due to differences over the fate of President Assad and the involvement of Iran. It should bring together leaders of the regime and the opposition to form a provisional government, with the full executive powers and defense, and to end a conflict that killed more than 115,000 died two and a half years.

On the British side, one does not wish to leave the regime of Bashar al-Assad appear to be the only possible alternative to the jihadist groups fighting on the ground and some of which are related to Al-Qaeda. The Coalition has spent too much time in internal discussions, the officials complain that note that, under the authority of Mr. Jarba, progress has been made.

"We hope that the opposition will united to the conference. It is important that it is united and strong to influence the outcome ", said Friday the spokesman of French Foreign Ministry Romain Nadal, hoping that the Coalition will" play a major role. " "For us, this is a legitimate political interlocutor. We work with them to prepare, "he has said.

The Syrian National Coalition sets conditions

To sit at the negotiating table in Switzerland, the Syrian National Coalition noted that the express condition was that "Bashar al-Assad and his clique in power no longer participate in the political life in Syria in the transition period and in the future. " A condition that Bashar al-Assad has already raised an objection of inadmissibility. In an interview Monday, October 21 at the TV station Al Mayadine, the Syrian president said his side he saw in his hand "no obstacle" , that it is seeking a new term in the presidential election still officially held in Syria in 2014.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said it will be difficult to deal Bashar al-Assad, bolstered by its recent military successes and the divisions more open in the opposition. In addition, on the ground, the Syrian National Coalition appears discredited after the defection in recent days 70 rebel groups in southern Syria.

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FRANCE: The French Parliament adopted narrowly draft pension reform

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

 

The proposed pension reform Ayrault government, including key measures are progressive lengthening of the contribution period to 43 years and the introduction of a hardship account was voted Tuesday, October 15 at the National Assembly in the first reading. The bill "guarantees future and justice of the pension system" was adopted by 270 votes against 249. "We take the torch of social conquests past and we reconnect with the ambition of a cohesion model that forged the identity of our country," said Minister of Foreign Affairs social, Marisol Touraine.

But the allies of the Socialist Party have been lacking. Only the Socialist Group voted for this bill and did not fill up his troops with 17 of its members abstained. The absolute majority of 289 MPs is therefore not achieved, which is extremely rare for a text of this magnitude.

Described as a "historic mistake" reform

The Left Front has voted against an "anti-social" text, the UMP and also IDUs, for different reasons, accusing the government of "deceit" and "denial" with this re , as not returning including the legal age of retirement, maintained at 62 years.  

The formal vote in the Chamber took place while thousands of protesters in front of the Palais Bourbon in Paris and elsewhere in France, challenged again qualified reform "historic mistake."

The bill will then be discussed in the Senate on October 28, the government's goal is to permanently adopt the reform before the end of the year.

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SYRIA - REPORT: Advanced Jihad in Syria: Turkey closes border post

Friday, September 20th, 2013

 

The crossfire between rebels and jihadis the Free Syrian Army (SLA) are perfectly audible from Turkish territory. Concerned about the progress of jihadists linked to Al-Qaeda near its doors Ankara decided to close Thursday and until further notice the border post of Oncüpinar a strategic crossing point with Syria close to Azaz. This small town located 30 km northwest of Aleppo is controlled from Wednesday by fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (EIIL).

Turkish side, a line of trucks carrying humanitarian aid to Syria, extends for several kilometers. This is also where dozens of Syrian families are worried about their families back home. "I do not know what happens on the other side, there are problems with the fighters, but I'm not one of them so I do not know," ty moigne a man interviewed by FRANCE 24 carefully.

But off the record, refugees do not mince words. They accuse the Islamists have become their new tormentors extremists. Shared by Abu Ahmed, a Syrian smuggler who has since received dozens of calls Thursday inhabitants of the town of Azaz opinion. People who want to flee the fighting between moderate the Free Syrian Army and the jihadists who now gaining ground troops.

Reinforcements sent by ASL

According to ASL, is literally besieged Azaz, jihadists have set up checkpoints around the city. The people are terrified, trapped and can not leave the city to cross the border illegally.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that the situation was calm in the city and announced the dispatch of reinforcements ASL site. "The Tawheed Brigade will seek to calm the situation," he told AFP a spokesman for the unit which is one of the big components of the ASL. "We will make every effort to resolve the dispute and find a formula would satisfy all parties," he added.

Sending Tawheed Brigade was made at the request of the Battalion of the storm from the north, also under the ASL, based in the city.

According to activists, the jihadist Azaz assault began with an attack against the hospital in the city where they would remove a German physician. Another version says that the incident began when soldiers of the Battalion of the storm north escorting a German journalist prevented jihadists to remove.

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LITERATURE: The author of "Fifty Shades of Grey" among the best paid in the world

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

 

The British novelist E.L. James, author of the trilogy of "soft porn" entitled "Fifty Shades of Grey", made a sensational debut in the annual list of the highest paid writers in the world established by the magazine American Forbes.

With an estimated $ 95 million between June 2012 and June 2013 sales revenues of this erotic saga mocked by some as the "mum porn" (literally the e erotica for mothers), EL James and ahead of regulars classification as James Patterson, Danielle Steel and Stephen King. 

On its website, Forbes said on Monday that the e-book format has played a key role in this success as a planetary smash allowing readers / readers to buy this book to re , sulphurous reputation in a very discreet and devour away from prying eyes.

AFP

FRANCE - SOCIAL: A new plan for departures scheduled at Air France

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

 

Air France-KLM, engaged in a major restructuring since 2012, Wednesday to inform the representatives of a new voluntary redundancy plan, Phase 2 Transform 2015 which has already led removing 5,600 positions within the airline.

The CEO of the Franco-Dutch group, Alexander Juniac, warned Friday that further staff reductions would be announced to unions on Wednesday during a central works council ( CEC).

"We have an order of magnitude of the potential redundancy at Air France," he said, stating that "these measures are difficult." But, he said, none will be "forced". They take the form of voluntary redundancy plans, part-time and unpaid leave.

Trade unions have welcomed the announcement of no surprise that further restructuring was expected in September. For Beatrice Lestic, secretary general of the CFDT, "there is no real surprise on this announcement here." "We expect to have the encryption overstaffed," she told AFP. "Most of the measures will be detailed more in September at the CEC on 4 October," she said. However, she noted that, under Transform 2015, an agreement was signed with the direction "with a commitment to the company not to use forced departures."

"I think we'll be on relatively high levels as management expects numerical departures from 2,500 to 3,000 people," said for his part Didier Fauverte, secretary general of the CGT Air France. He recalled that a voluntary departure plan had been implemented two years before the agreement on Transform 2015. "In the space of four years, we will have lost between 12 and 15,000 people. It's getting a lot, "he judged.

Weakness of short and medium haul

"From an operational point of view, particularly in the ports, as it becomes more tense. There are fewer people in contact with the passengers, "he said, adding not be" convinced that the savings are in the right place. "

The first phase of Transform 2015 has already resulted between June 2011 and June 2013 a decline in enrollment of 5.3%, or 5,600 people. The numbers have increased from 106,300 to 100,700 employees, including temporary workers.

Transform 2015 is intended to achieve in three years two billion euros in savings, in part due to additional economic efficiency by 20% and reduce debt to 4 , 5 billion at end 2014 against 6.5 billion in January 2012.

In spring, however, the management had warned that the plan would be amplified, the group still suffering from the weakness of short and medium-haul network at Air France and cargo for the whole group . Network short and medium-haul KLM will, he spared by the new measures.

The short and medium-haul Air France, affected by competition from low-cost airlines, recorded last year 800 million against 700 million loss in 2011.

In the cargo business, the Group will further reduce its capacity, leaving more and more cargo aircraft in favor of cargo hold.

Restructuring implementation for a year and a half at Air France has yet resulted in significant improvement in earnings in the second quarter of 2013. From April to June, the group divided by five net loss, less than 163 million euros.

At the same time, it has generated an operating profit of 79 million euros against a loss of 79 million a year earlier, which "for a second quarter, is the first five years, "said the CEO.

UNITED STATES: New York City: Anthony Weiner again embroiled in a sex scandal

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

 

Anthony Weiner was caught in compromising revelations again. Two years after a previous sex scandal that forced him to resign from Congress, the Democratic candidate for mayor of New York had to explain Tuesday after publication message and pornographic photos he sent to a young woman of 22 years.

The politician, aged 48, admitted in a press conference that he has maintained the correspondence on the Internet under the pseudonym "Carlos Danger". According to him, these developments are covered by the confessions of two years ago: "I said that new posts and new photos would surface and that is what happened today."

In 2011, Anthony Weiner was forced to abandon the policy following the release of a photo on Twitter by mistake he had admitted, a student, and showing close-in slip. A few months later, he would have started a new virtual relationship with a young woman whose identity has not been revealed.

"As I said before, the things I did were wrong and they hurt my wife. Our marriage has faced challenges that went well beyond my resignation from Congress, "apologized the Democratic candidate.

At his side, his wife Huma, a former associate of Hillary Clinton, once again brought him his support: "Anthony has made terrible mistakes before his resignation Congress, but also after. I love him, I forgave him. I believe in him and as we have always said, we move on. "

Following this new scandal, the newspaper "New York Times" and three of his opponents in the election, November 5, at the head of the mayor of New York asked him to withdraw his candidature. In response, Anthony Weiner said he intends to continue his campaign. "All this is behind me," is it justified.

According to a survey released last week, is currently in the best position for the Democratic nomination for mayor of New York, the primary of which is scheduled for 10 September, but the case could make him losing the confidence of voters.

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THE FRANCE 24 INTERVIEW: Thein Sein: "There is no ethnic cleansing in Burma"

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

FRANCE 24

In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24, Burmese President Thein Sein has denied reports that communal violence between Buddhists and Muslims in Burma had soured in recent months to the point of represent an "ethnic cleansing".

"This is information made from scratch, it is a smear operation conducted against the government," insisted the head of state, the first Burmese president to visit France. "Contrary to what is said, the government was able to contain the violence and the situation is back to normal in the country."

Organizations defending human rights strongly denounce the repression exercised against Muslims in Burma, in particular against the stateless Rohingya minority, a community considered the most persecuted in the world. The European Parliament has called on June 13 to the end of "persecution" against the Muslims, citing arrests, arbitrary detention, torture, rape, destruction of property or places worship.

"Less than 100 political prisoners in Burma"

Asked about the release of political prisoners, announced Monday, July 15 during a visit to London, Thein Sein said that since his election in 2011, thousands of prisoners were recovered freedom. "I think now there are less than 100 political prisoners in the country. If they are because of their belief or political position, then they will be released, "he promised.

A position which illustrates the transition to democracy that Thein Sein meant to embody. The President has also initiated reforms since coming to power. But the international community, these reforms could be hampered by the military, present in the Burmese Parliament. A fear that Thein Sein responded by ensuring that the military posed no threat. "The soldiers obey orders. They resist any change due to the democratic process, "said one who has himself been a senior member of the military in the past. The military junta in power in Burma for more than 20 years, has officially left the place in 2011 to civilian rule, after a rigged election by the international community.

As for the future presidential election to be held in 2015, the president finally said he had nothing to say on the potential application of the Nobel Peace Aung San Suu Kyi , released in 2010 Burmese jails. Thein Sein also ensures failing personally prepared for this election.

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