Archive for 09/16/2011

NASA: Huge Defunct Satellite Falling Faster Than Expected, Will Plummet to Earth Around September 23rd

09/16/2011 Leave a comment

By Tariq Malik – “NASA space junk experts have refined the forecast for the anticipated death plunge of a giant satellite, with the U.S. space agency now predicting the 6 1/2-ton climate probe will plummet to Earth around Sept. 23, a day earlier than previously reported.

The defunct bus-size spacecraft is NASA’s Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite (UARS), which launched in 1991 and was shut down in 2005 after completing its mission. The satellite was expected to fall to Earth sometime this year, with experts initially pegging a weeks-long window between late September and early October, then narrowing it to the last week of this month.

That window, NASA now says, has been trimmed to just three days.

‘Re-entry is expected Sept. 23, plus or minus a day. The re-entry of UARS is advancing because of a sharp increase in solar activity since the beginning of this week,’ NASA officials wrote in a status update today (Sept. 16). The projection is a day earlier than a previous forecast released by NASA yesterday.

NASA spokeswoman Beth Dickey confirmed with earlier today that the reason UARS is expected to fall early in its re-entry window is because of the sharp uptick in solar activity. Solar effects from the sun can create an extra drag on satellites in space because they can heat the Earth’s atmosphere, causing it to expand, agency officials have said.” Read more.

France: Muslims May Be Arrested for Violating New Law Prohibiting Praying in Streets of Paris

09/16/2011 Leave a comment

By Henry Samuel – “Claude Guéant said that ban could later be extended to the rest of France, in particular to the Mediterranean cities of Nice and Marseilles, where ‘the problem persists’.

He promised the new legislation would be followed to the letter as it ‘hurts the sensitivities of many of our fellow citizens’.

‘My vigilance will be unflinching for the law to be applied. Praying in the street is not dignified for religious practice and violates the principles of secularism,’ the minister told Le Figaro newspaper.

‘All Muslim leaders are in agreement,’ he insisted.

In December when Marine Le Pen, then leader-in-waiting of the far-Right National Front, sparked outrage by likening the practice to the Nazi occupation of Paris in the Second World War ‘without the tanks or soldiers’. She said it was a ‘political act of fundamentalists’.

More than half of right-wing sympathisers in France agreed with Marine Le Pen, at least one poll suggested.

Nicolas Sarkozy’s party denounced the comments, but the President called for a debate on Islam and secularism and went on to say that multiculturalism had failed in France.

Following the debate, Mr Guéant promised a countrywide ban ‘within months’, saying the ‘street is for driving in, not praying’.

In April, a ban on wearing the full Islamic veil came into force. Holland today became the third European country to ban the burka, after Belgium, despite the fact fewer than 100 Dutch women are thought to wear the face-covering Islamic dress.

Yesterday, Mr Guéant said the prayer problem was limited to two roads in the Goutte d’Or district of Paris’s eastern 19th arrondissement, where ‘more than a thousand’ people blocked the street every Friday.

However, a stroll through several districts in Paris on a Friday suggests that Muslims spill into the streets outside many mosques.” Read more.

Flashback: In France, far right seizes on Muslim street prayers – “A call to prayer goes up from a loudspeaker perched on the hood of a car, and all at once hundreds of Muslim worshippers touch their foreheads to the ground, forming a sea of backs down the road. The scene is taking place not in downtown Cairo, but on a busy market street in northern Paris, a short walk from the Sacre Coeur basilica. To locals, it’s old news: some have been praying on the street, rain or shine, for decades. But for Marine Le Pen — tipped to take over from her father this weekend as leader of the far-right National Front party — it is proof that Muslims are taking over France and becoming an occupying force, according to remarks she made last month.” Read more.

Palestinian Leader: PA to Proceed with Full UN Membership Bid Because President Obama Endorsed Palestinian State

09/16/2011 Leave a comment

By Roee Nahmias – “The Palestinian Authority will be seeking full United Nations membership in its statehood bid later this month, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas said Friday.

‘I’m going to the UN in order to demand our legitimate rights and secure full membership for the state of Palestine,’ the Palestinian president said in Ramallah. ‘We hope to secure full membership.’

‘We are going to the Security Council,’ Abbas added, but then made it clear that ‘all options are open’ and that a final decision has not been made yet.

Abbas said the Palestinians will be aiming to ‘secure independence in the 1967 borders and its holy capital, Jerusalem.’ He also urged his countrymen to avoid violence, saying ‘we must avoid force.’

‘We are the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and we intend to keep going until we secure full independence,’ he said.

Abbas added that the Palestinians are proceeding with their United Nations statehood bid in September because US President Barack Obama said previously he wanted to see a Palestinian state.” Read more.

Radioactive Cesium From Fukushima on Tour of Pacific Ocean, Will Eventually Reach the Atlantic

09/16/2011 Leave a comment

By Julian Ryall – “Scientists from the government’s Meteorological Research Institute and the Central Research Institute of the Electric Power Industry announced their findings at a meeting of the Geochemical Society of Japan this week, adding that some of the cesium will also flow into the Indian Ocean and, eventually, reach the Atlantic.

The scientists estimated that some 3,500 terabecquerels of cesium-137 was released into the sea directly from the plant between March 11, when the earthquake and tsunami struck, and the end of May. Another 10,000 terabecquerels of cesium fell into the ocean after escaping from the reactors in the form of steam.

One terabecquerel is a trillion becquerels, the standard measure of radiation, and the Japanese government has set the permissible level of iodine-131 for vegetables and fish at 2,000 becquerels per kilogram (2.2lbs).

Cesium is considered a more serious threat, however, because of its relatively long half-life. Cesium has a half-life of around 30 years, can accumulate in muscles and is a known cause of cancer.” Read more.

Categories: Man-Made Disasters
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