Archive for the ‘World News’ Category

February 19, 2012

(Reuters) – Iran has stopped selling crude to British and French companies, the oil ministry said on Sunday, in a retaliatory measure against fresh EU sanctions on the Islamic state’s lifeblood, oil.

“Exporting crude to British and French companies has been stopped … we will sell our oil to new customers,” spokesman Alireza Nikzad was quoted as saying by the Ministry of Petroleum website.

The European Union in January decided to stop importing crude from Iran from July 1 over its disputed nuclear program, which the West says is aimed at building bombs. Iran denies this.

Iran’s oil minister said on February 4 that the Islamic state would cut its oil exports to “some” European countries.

The European Commission said last week that the bloc would not be short of oil if Iran stopped crude exports, as they have enough in stock to meet their needs for around 120 days.

Industry sources told Reuters on February 16 that Iran’s top oil buyers in Europe were making substantial cuts in supply months in advance of European Union sanctions, reducing flows to the continent in March by more than a third – or over 300,000 barrels daily.

France’s Total has already stopped buying Iran’s crude, which is subject to fresh EU embargoes. Market sources said Royal Dutch Shell has scaled back sharply. Shell had no comment on the announcement.

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Among European nations, debt-ridden Greece is most exposed to Iranian oil disruption.


Robert Saiget
December 6, 2011

Chinese President Hu Jintao on Tuesday urged the navy to prepare for military combat, amid growing regional tensions over maritime disputes and a US campaign to assert itself as a Pacific power.

The navy should “accelerate its transformation and modernisation in a sturdy way, and make extended preparations for military combat in order to make greater contributions to safeguard national security,” he said.

Addressing the powerful Central Military Commission, Hu said: “Our work must closely encircle the main theme of national defence and military building.”

His comments, which were posted in a statement on a government website, come as the United States and Beijing’s neighbours have expressed concerns over its naval ambitions, particularly in the South China Sea.

Several Asian nations have competing claims over parts of the South China Sea, believed to encompass huge oil and gas reserves, while China claims it all. One-third of global seaborne trade passes through the region.

Vietnam and the Philippines have accused Chinese forces of increasing aggression there.

In a translation of Hu’s comments, the official Xinhua news agency quoted the president as saying China’s navy should “make extended preparations for warfare.”

The Pentagon however downplayed Hu’s speech, saying that Beijing had the right to develop its military, although it should do so transparently.

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December 2, 2011

Missiles that “allow coverage of entire Syrian coastline” reportedly delivered in accordance with 2007 contract.

MOSCOW – Russia has delivered anti-ship cruise missiles to Syria, the Interfax news agency cited an unnamed military source as saying on Thursday, days after a United Nations commission of inquiry called for an arms embargo on Damascus.

Economic and diplomatic pressure has isolated Syrian President Bashar Assad following a nine-month government crackdown against protesters in unrest the United Nations says has killed more than 4,000 people.

Moscow has spoken out against further sanctions imposed by Western and Arab League states, and it has defended its right to sell Syria weapons — tens of millions of dollars worth last year.

“The contract was completely fulfilled, almost ahead of time,” Interfax cited the source as saying of the deal, estimated at $300 million. The source did not say when the deliveries had taken place.

Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said in February that Moscow was pressing ahead with the deal despite Israeli concerns, indicating the missiles might have been delivered earlier this year.

“This weapon allows coverage of the entire coastline of Syria from possible attack from the sea,” Interfax quoted the source as saying.

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Saeed Shah in Islamabad
December 2, 2011

Pakistan’s military commanders have ordered their troops to return fire if they come under attack from Nato forces, raising the prospect of further deadly clashes along the country’s border with Afghanistan.

General Ashfaq Kayani, Pakistan’s army chief, gave the new order in response to the recent deaths of 24 soldiers when their border posts came under fire from Nato helicopters.

Kayani is under immense pressure from within his own ranks over the two-hour bombardment by the helicopters of an ally, to which the Pakistani air force did not respond. The incident piled further humiliation on a military still stung by the US special forces operation in May that killed Osama bin Laden deep inside Pakistan.

“I want to emphasise and leave no ambiguity in the rules of engagement for everyone down the chain of command,” Kayani said in a letter to his troops.

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Nick Allen
The Telegraph
November 30, 2011

Archaeologists in Mexico have confirmed the discovery of a possible second Mayan reference to the date 2012, offering further ammunition for doom-mongers predicting an apocalypse next year.

Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History acknowledged the reference had been found in a 1,300-year-old inscription made on a carved brick fragment at a ruin at Comalcalco in the south of the country.

Most experts have previously cited only one surviving Mayan reference to the date, on a stone tablet from a nearby site at Tortuguero.

Speculation that the ancient Mayans foretold a cataclysmic event was fuelled by publicity surrounding “2012,” a Hollywood disaster movie released in 2009, but the idea has been dismissed by most archaeologists and astronomers.

Mayan civilisation reached its height from AD300 to AD900 AD. Its Long Count calendar begins in 3,114BC, marking time in roughly 394-year periods known as Baktuns. Thirteen was a significant, sacred number and the 13th Baktun ends around Dec 21, 2012.

According to the Tortuguero inscription Bolon Yokte, a mysterious Mayan god associated with both war and creation, is supposed to “descend from the sky” at that time.

But, following the latest discovery, the institute said the thinking of the Maya had been “twisted”.

It said the Maya saw time as a series of cycles that began and ended with regularity, but with nothing apocalyptic at the end of a given cycle.

The Comalcalco brick is believed to have been laid facing inward or covered with stucco, suggesting it was not meant to be seen.

However, David Stuart, a specialist in Mayan epigraphy at the University of Texas at Austin, said: “Some have proposed it as another reference to 2012, but I remain rather unconvinced.

“There’s no reason it couldn’t be also a date in ancient times, describing some important historical event in the Classic period.”

Press TV
November 30, 2011

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has threatened staff at Buckingham Palace that she will deduct of the wages of those staff who join the nationwide strike action.

The warning came after trade unions ordered 140 administrative and reception staff to walk out their jobs in a show of solidarity with other public sector workers, who did not turn up at work in protest at the coalition government’s plans to reform their pensions.

The Queen vowed to dock the pay of striking servants that include administrative and reception staff at Buckingham Palace and other royal residences.

The Palace staff had been told to walk out by Britain’s biggest civil service union, the Public and Commercial Services (PSC) Union.

“They were balloted. So we certainly expect them to walk out”, said Richard Simcox, for the PCS.

Other staff among the Royal Household’s 1,200 employees are members of other unions, such as Unison and the First Division Association, that have also voted to strike.

“We would not pay employees who do not attend work unless they are sick or on agreed leave arrangements”, said a spokeswoman for the Queen.

The strike is the biggest test so far of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government, which sparked the unions’ fury by making public sector workers pay more into their pensions and work longer.

16 Things Libya Will Never See Again

Posted: November 28, 2011 in World News

Federal Jack
November 28, 2011

1.There is no electricity bill in Libya; electricity is free for all its citizens.

2.There is no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given to all its citizens at zero percent interest by law.

3.Having a home considered a human right in Libya.

4.All newlyweds in Libya receive $60,000 dinar (U.S.$50,000) by the government to buy their first apartment so to help start up the family.

5.Education and medical treatments are free in Libya. Before Gaddafi only 25 percent of Libyans were literate. Today, the figure is 83 percent.

6.Should Libyans want to take up farming career, they would receive farming land, a farming house, equipments, seeds and livestock to kickstart their farms are all for free.

7.If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they need, the government funds them to go abroad, for it is not only paid for, but they get a U.S.$2,300/month for accommodation and car allowance.

8.If a Libyan buys a car, the government subsidizes 50 percent of the price.

9.The price of petrol in Libya is $0.14 per liter.

10.Libya has no external debt and its reserves amounting to $150 billion are now frozen globally.

11.If a Libyan is unable to get employment after graduation the state would pay the average salary of the profession, as if he or she is employed, until employment is found.

12.A portion of every Libyan oil sale is credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens.

13.A mother who gives birth to a child receive U.S.$5,000.

14.40 loaves of bread in Libya costs $0.15.

15.25 percent of Libyans have a university degree.

16.Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project, known as the Great Manmade River project, to make water readily available throughout the desert country.