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Russia stands by Georgia actions Monday, 1 September, 2008

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BBC NEWS | Europe | Russia stands by Georgia actions.

Welders repair a gas pipeline in Russia (archive image)

Russia supplies roughly a quarter of the EU’s natural gas

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said his decision to recognise Georgia’s breakaway regions as independent is irrevocable.

On the eve of a special EU summit on Georgia, he warned that Russia was ready to retaliate against any sanctions the EU might impose.

Germany and the UK have differed in tone over how the EU should proceed, with Berlin warning against escalation.

Moscow’s envoy to London said sanctions would hurt the EU more than Russia.

Ambassador Yuri Fedotov told the BBC that Russia did not want any further confrontation and was not seeking a new Cold War.

He was speaking after UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown called in a newspaper article for a fundamental review of relations with Russia to prevent further “Russian aggression”. (more…)

Nasa ‘reviews shuttle shelf-life’ Monday, 1 September, 2008

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BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Nasa ‘reviews shuttle shelf-life’.

By Paul Rincon
Science reporter, BBC News

Space shuttle Discovery (Nasa)

Could this sight continue for several years to come?

Nasa will study whether the space shuttle can operate beyond its planned retirement in 2010, reports say.

The agency will look at what might be required to delay the retirement of its fleet until the shuttle’s replacement – Ares-Orion – begins flying in 2015.

The exercise is aimed at answering questions it expects on the matter from Congress and the incoming president.

News of the study comes from a leaked internal email obtained by a Florida-based newspaper.

Nasa chief Michael Griffin, who is reported to have ordered the study, had previously opposed extending the shuttle programme.

The agency’s administrator argued that the money and effort required to do so would stymie progress on the Ares rockets and the Apollo-style Orion capsules that will succeed the shuttle.

These are being developed by Nasa as part of its “Constellation” programme. The system is expected to carry astronauts to the Moon under the Vision for Space Exploration plans announced by President George W Bush in 2004. (more…)

Palin: Big Oil’s new champion Saturday, 30 August, 2008

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Press TV – Palin: Big Oil’s new champion.

Sarah Palin strongly supports oil drilling in Alaska and off the US coastline.

For many, John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin for presidential running mate came as a surprise. Political heavyweights such as Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty had to stand aside for the little-known Alaska governor with “telegenic” looks.

McCain’s choice may not have been predictable but it shows him moving further towards the interests of the industry most concerned about a Republican victory this November – Oil.

US oil firms have given John McCain three times more declared campaign money than to Democratic nominee, Barack Obama. Big oil contributions to the Republican Party outweigh oil money to the Democrats by a similar ratio.

Sarah Palin hasn’t been in the game long enough to have shown all her political colors but on one key issue she has made herself abundantly clear. Oil drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.

Palin describes it as “nonsensical” that the president should have to “ask the Saudis to ramp up production of crude oil” while “sister state” Alaska has the oil that “hungry markets” in America need. (more…)

198 Palestinians out of 11000 Saturday, 30 August, 2008

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Press TV – 198 Palestinians out of 11000.

By Daryoush Bavar, Press TV, Tehran

Israel on August 25th released 198 Palestinian prisoners out of some 11000 it holds in its jails. Among them were women and children.

Their release came just hours ahead of a Mideast visit by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. It was her seventh visit to the region since the November 2007 launch of the Annapolis conference, which sought to establish peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Since then, all of the attempts by Rice to broker a deal between the two have been to no avail.

A large number of the released prisoners were members of the Fatah movement led by Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas. The Palestinian Ministry of Detainees reported that nearly half of them would have finished their prison terms in 2009.

Their release also coincided with an ongoing Israeli detention and abduction campaign. Palestinian sources have revealed that Israeli soldiers kidnapped over 300 Palestinians in the West Bank in July 2008. Nearly the same number of Palestinians have reportedly been kidnapped since the beginning of August. (more…)

Darling warns of economic crisis Saturday, 30 August, 2008

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BBC NEWS | Business | Darling warns of economic crisis.

Chancellor Alistair Darling

Alistair Darling is under pressure to come up with solutions to the crisis

The UK is facing its worst economic crisis in 60 years, Chancellor Alistair Darling has admitted.

He told the Guardian newspaper that the economic downturn would be more “profound and long-lasting” than most people had feared.

Using strong language, Mr Darling acknowledged voters were angry with Labour’s handling of the economy.

Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said Mr Darling had “let the cat out of the bag” about the state of the economy.

Voter anger

The Chancellor admitted the government had “patently” failed to get its message across that it understood people’s concerns about rising living costs and growing job insecurity. (more…)

Job satisfaction: Achievable? Friday, 29 August, 2008

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Press TV – Job satisfaction: Achievable?.

by F. Mardi

Don’t let your job choose you; you choose your job!

Let’s look at these five points in reaching the top of Mount Job Satisfaction:
Long for the peak.
Assess yourself and the mountain.
Accept the challenge.
Don’t look down, just climb up.
Stay at the top.

In escape from Advanced Geometry, I fled the math major for science in high school. At the time I went to high school in Tehran, there were only two prestigious majors to choose between. Children of families like mine were expected to choose the math major in the second year of high school. At the age of sixteen, I was forced to make one of the most crucial decisions of my life. My high school major would determine my college major which in turn would determine my career.

From high school, I was admitted to university in Industrial Food Engineering. In Iran, students must be accepted to specific majors before they enter college, not while they study there. Four years of studying long hours, numerous trips to various factories and plants, and extensive lab work, now it was time to start working in the real world. Thank God I had to do an internship before receiving my degree. In just a week I had decided this was not for me. I envied the engineers in Research & Development; they had their hands on everything – from research through quality control to developing new products. It would have been a dream come true for me to start a career in a food plant and work my way up the chain, so that in about five years I could have a position I would enjoy. (more…)

The real cost of the convention Friday, 29 August, 2008

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Press TV – The real cost of the convention.

Over 100 years ago a man called William Hanna said, “There are two things that are important in politics. The first is money, and I can’t remember what the second one is.”

Hanna transformed how presidential elections are fought in the US. During campaigning for democratic candidate William McKinley, he went to big business and Wall Street and came back with over $3.5 million which helped push McKinley into the White House in 1897. Hanna was the forefather of Big Money Politics in the US.

Today, Big Money dominates American politics like never before. 2008 looks set to become the first $1 billion election campaign in history, with both Barack Obama and John McCain likely to raise over $500 million each in their bid to become president according to a former head of the Federal Election Committee (FEC). (more…)

NATO divided over Georgian conflict Wednesday, 27 August, 2008

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Press TV – NATO divided over Georgian conflict.
By Yusuf Fernandez, Press TV, Madrid

Georgian tanks near Tskinvali on August 8

On August 19, NATO foreign ministers convened in Brussels to discuss the Georgia crisis, following intense pressure from the US. The final declaration accused Russia of using “disproportionate” military force and “deliberately destructing civilian infrastructure”, but said nothing about the Georgian aggression against South Ossetia that began on August 8 and initiated the conflict.

THE AMERICAN VIEW

In recent weeks, the US political establishment has demanded that Russia be “taught a lesson”. American officials have called on NATO allies to punish Moscow for its military operations in Georgia. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned, “There need to be consequences for Moscow’s behavior.” Relations with Russia, which has had a partnership with NATO for more than a decade, will not be the same for years to come, he continued.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also stepped up her anti-Russia rhetoric. “We have to deny Russian strategic objectives, which are clearly to undermine Georgia’s democracy, to use its military capability to damage and in some cases destroy Georgian infrastructure and to try and weaken the Georgian state,” she said. “We are determined to deny them their strategic objective.” (more…)

Foreign direct investment and development Friday, 22 August, 2008

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Press TV – Foreign direct investment and development.

By Abdolreza Ghofrani

Giving credit, or as put by bankers and economists, the establishment of credit lines has been, for decades, a common practice in financial markets. Almost every country has used this catalyst to finance their ventures which has proved to be vital for their economies.

In recent years, this financial mechanism has gained widened dimensions and will certainly continue in the years to come. Fortunately, the scholars, economists and economic decision makers in different countries and particularly developing nations, have advised using this instrumental device in their countries.

Therefore, the use of FDI is not unprecedented and we see emerging economies and newly developed nations do not hesitate to seek new sources of Foreign Direct Investments. (more…)

Ajax Aftermath Friday, 22 August, 2008

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Press TV – Ajax Aftermath.

By F. Mardi, Press TV, Tehran

Are we still feeling the effects of Operation Ajax – the code name of a covert Anglo/American operation in Iran to re-instate an ousted monarch? What are the results? Are we still having to cope with the aftermath?

The most obvious result of Operation Ajax, launched 55 years ago in Iran, is a steady erosion of authority. It can be observed inside Iran, and internationally. The undermining of authority in Iran led to the Islamic Revolution 26 years later and lack of contentment on individual and social levels. Today the Iranian nation is aware and will not tolerate tyranny.

In the United States, the undermining of authority has been manifested differently. An initial headiness, a desire to overthrow more countries and control the fate of more nations has given way to a sense of regret – but only because they do not now control Iran; the rancor remains. (more…)