Monday, January 31, 2011

Unrest may spread to Syria

The next big test comes Saturday, when protests are planned to take place in Syria.
In anticipation of what might be a repeat of the unrest seen in Egypt and Tunisia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad signaled that he understood the need for change.

Opposition movements are calling for mass protests on Saturday against the rule of President Bashar Al-Assad.
The groups are organizing on Facebook, with several pages promoting protests in Damascus, Aleppo and other cities.

Israel: 2 Grad rockets explode in Ofakim and Netivot

The Israeli military says two rockets fired from Gaza have exploded in Israeli towns. No one was hurt, but there was some damage.

The attacks came a few minutes apart late Monday. One rocket hit Netivot, 9 miles (14 kilometers) east of Gaza, and the second exploded in Ofakim, 15 miles (25 kilometers) from Gaza.

The military says the range indicates the rockets were Grads. Israel charges that Iran supplies Gaza militants with Grads.

Jumblatt's new bloc backs Hezbollah

“The National Struggle Front [in the parliament] has the same principles, which are based on the history of the party and the struggle for Arabism,” Jumblatt said.

"Now the [policy of the] party is in line with [the policies of] Syria and the Resistance," he added.

He made the remarks at the first extraordinary general assembly of the bloc, after the split of his Democratic Gathering bloc in the parliament, a Press TV correspondent reported on Sunday. (Press TV)

Council of the European Union: conclusions on Egypt

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Council meeting - Brussels, 31 January 2011

The Council adopted the following conclusions:

"1. The Council recognizes the legitimate democratic aspirations and grievances of the Egyptian population. These should be listened to carefully and addressed through urgent, concrete and decisive measures.

2. The Council deeply regrets the considerable loss of life during demonstrations in Egypt over the last few days. It also notes with deep concern the high number of people injured and arrested as well as the use of violence. The Council calls on all parties to show restraint and avoid further violence. It urges the Egyptian authorities to immediately release all peaceful demonstrators who have been detained. The Council also calls upon the Egyptian authorities to restore all communication networks without delay and to guarantee unhindered access to all media, including the Internet.

3. The Council urges the Egyptian authorities to respect and protect human rights including freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. It urges them to take appropriate measures to assure the security of all citizens and their property and to protect the cultural heritage. It calls for an immediate end to looting.

4. The Council urges the authorities to seek a peaceful and constructive way forward based on a serious and open dialogue with all political forces ready to abide by democratic norms and with civil society.

5. The Council urges the Egyptian authorities to embark on an orderly transition through a broad- based government leading to a genuine process of substantial democratic reform with full respect for the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, paving the way for free and fair elections.

6. The Council reiterates its support for a democratic, pluralist and stable Egypt as a key partner of the EU, mindful of its important regional role, and sharing the goal of building stability, peace and prosperity in the Mediterranean and Middle East region. The EU is committed to accompanying, through a partnership, the Egyptian transformation process by mobilising, reviewing and adapting existing instruments to support political, economic and social reforms. The EU stands ready to assist the Egyptian people in this transformation process, taking into account future developments."


Oil shippers fear Egypt violence might close Suez Canal

Oil shippers are bracing themselves for the possible closure of the Suez Canal, as political protests and violence across Egypt threaten to spill over into the busy waterway that links the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. "There are rumors, but nothing is confirmed," one source said. A closure of the canal would likely drive up the cost of chartering oil tankers, since tankers would have to reroute oil around the Cape of Good Hope in Africa. (Link)

Nissan shuts Egyptian plant, Moody's cuts rating

Japan’s Nissan said it has closed its factory in Egypt for at least a week because of the anti-government protests there. The plant, which assembles mostly four-wheel-drive vehicles, is in Giza, near Cairo.

Because of the unrest a number of Japanese firms have postponed business trips by their employees to Egypt, as well as Jordan and Yemen following advisaries from Japan’s foreign ministry. (Euronews)

3rd Generation Solar Power: the innovative system of Zenith Solar

French Industry Minister Eric Besson poses for photographers during his visits at the Zenith Solar Central in southern Israel near the city of Ashdod on January 31, 2011.

ZenithSolar has developed a modular and easily scalable high concentration photovoltaic system (HCPV). The core technology is based on a unique, proprietary optical design to extract the maximum energy with minimal 'real estate'.

The Domino Effect

Leaders across the Arab world are living in fear that the unrest could head their way.

Jimmy Carter, 1979: The Shah has to go. Jimmy Carter, 2011: "Mubarak has to go"

Former President Jimmy Carter said Sunday that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will likely be forced to step down because "the people have decided," according to a news report.
“This is the most profound situation in the Middle East since I left office,” Carter said Sunday at a Baptist church in his hometown of Plains, Ga. (Link)

Graffiti on Western Wall

As worshippers braved the rains and visited the site of the Western Wall on Monday morning, a man burst onto the scene with yells and curses. He railed against Israel’s “occupation,” and then spray-painted the word “Palestine” on the stone wall separating the men’s prayer section from the visitors’ section, and on the barrier adjoining the women’s prayer section. The man was described by onlookers as being “odd,”News-1 reported. He was arrested by police stationed at the holy site. (Arutz Sheva)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

EU Legal Observers barred from Turkey's Kurdish KCK trial

European observers were barred from a Turkish court room on Friday, after judges denied the right of 102 defendants to use the country’s minority Kurdish language in what are alleged to be political prosecutions.

Representatives of ten EU countries in an official delegation of the Party of European Socialists were denied access to the ‘KCK’ trial at the Sixth Heavy Penalty Supreme Court in Diyarbakir, Turkey, in which they were due to be international observers. Link

Egypt: Anonymous poster campaign backing Omar Suleiman to take over the presidency

CAIRO - Egyptian police are investigating an anonymous poster campaign backing intelligence chief Omar Suleiman to take over the presidency from incumbent Hosni Mubarak.

Is Saudi Arabia next?

Following heavy floods in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Saudi cleric Sheikh Nasser al-Omar expresses criticism towards Saudi ministers who refuse to take responsibility and resign (link).

Obama like Carter? How to lose yet another ally

The Obama Administration, in failing to throw its weight against an Islamic takeover (of Egypt), is guilty of the same mistake that led President Carter to fail to support the Shah, opening the door for the Ayatollah Khomeini to take over Iran (