Friday, November 30, 2012

Hamas says Gaza conflict, U.N. recognition go together

DOHA, Qatar (Reuters) - Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said the de facto recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state won by his rival Mahmoud Abbas should be seen alongside Gaza's latest conflict with Israel as a single, bold strategy that could empower all Palestinians.

Meshaal said the short war which claimed 162 Palestinian lives and five Israelis was concluded on terms set by his Islamist movement and ended its isolation, creating a new mood conducive to reconciliation with Abbas's nationalist Fatah.

In an interview with Reuters in Doha, he compared Israel's mood of dejection with the jubilation of Palestinians in Gaza and across the Israeli-occupied West Bank led by Abbas, insisting that "for the first time a ceasefire was achieved on conditions set by Hamas, and in the presence of the Americans".

Meshaal strongly backed the diplomatic initiative by Palestinian Authority President Abbas to upgrade Palestinian status at the United Nations to observer state which the General assembly endorsed on Thursday in New York.

Diplomatically, this puts the stateless Palestinians on a par with the Holy See, but politically it would help "unify Palestinian national efforts" as part of the reconciliation process with Abbas's nationalist Fatah movement, Meshaal said.

"I told Abou Mazen (Abbas) we want this move to be part of a national Palestinian strategy" that includes "the (armed) resistance which excelled in Gaza and gave an example of the ability of the Palestinian people to resist and steadfastly confront the occupier", a confident Meshaal said.

The coming to power of Hamas allies in the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which played the key role in brokering the recent ceasefire, and "the defeat of the enemy in Gaza" have created a new environment that should allow Palestinians to form a unity government.

"I am optimistic", Meshaal said, "there is a new mood that allows us to achieve reconciliation". Dressed in a black suit and an open neck shirt, he was speaking at a hotel in Doha, where he has lived since leaving Syria earlier this year.


"When we reconcile, unite and end the divisions and have one political marja'eya (the Islamic word for leadership) and one political system, then we will be stronger and better and we can achieve more, and our response to the Israeli aggression in all its forms will be better", the Hamas politburo leader said.

The Fatah controlled PA in the West Bank was expelled from Gaza after Hamas won a bloody civil war in 2007, after emerging as the victors in the 2006 Palestinian general elections.

Meshaal, who survived a Mossad assassination attempt in Amman in 1997 when Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was last in power, has been reenergized politically by the Arab Spring uprisings that have swept the region and installed a string of sympathetic Islamist leaders.

When he appeared alongside President Mohamed Mursi of Egypt in Cairo after the ceasefire, his confident and relaxed body language would have confused any casual observer as to which one of them was the leader of Egypt.

Gaza, long subject to an Israeli military and economic blockade, is breaking out of its isolation, with recent high level visits from Qatar, Turkey, Egypt and the Arab League.

"There is a new Arab presence, there is a different kind of support. Gaza did not seem isolated in this war", he said, as it was in the devastating 2008-09 conflict with Israel.

Meshaal, 56, said he had no intention to continue as Hamas leader despite calls on him "internally and externally" to carry on. The group, whose 1988 charter formally calls for the destruction of Israel, has been holding a leadership ballot for several months to decide who will succeed Meshaal.

Hamas ambivalence towards the Palestinian Authority, which it has sometimes derided as an Israeli subsidiary, mirrors its ambiguity on the future shape of a Palestinian state.

Under Meshaal's leadership, the Islamists have evolved in an uneasy balance between maximalism and pragmatism - refusing to renounce pre-1948 "Palestine", but willing to accept de facto a state on the lands Israel captured in the 1967 Six Day War - the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.

"As for the Palestinian state we believe it (should be) on all our Palestinian land," but there was a wish to unify the Palestinian and Arab positions on a common program. Hamas accepted establishing a state on the ?67 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital, and the right of return (of refugees) preserved. "We accepted it but not at the expense of recognizing Israel or giving away Palestinian rights but as a common factor."


Meshaal said Israel would give nothing in negotiations unless Palestinians were demonstrably strong on the ground.

"Any Palestinian who wants a Palestinian state, even along the 67 borders, has to know that the road to that is (armed) struggle and exerting all forms of Arab and Palestinian pressure on the Israeli enemy".

"Negotiating without powerful cards on the ground has no meaning," said Meshaal. "It will turn into begging. This enemy doesn't give anything unless under pressure".

Abbas had a diplomatic moment in the sun at the U.N. on Thursday, but nothing else to show for a negotiating strategy that has seen successive Israeli governments expanding Jewish settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, with little prospect remaining of a viable Palestinian state.

Some analysts see this pushing Fatah and Hamas together.

The Hamas leader has also won over some non-Islamists by coming out strongly against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's attempt to crush the 20-months long uprising against his rule.

Relations with non-Arab Shi'ite Iran, a main financier and supplier of arms to Hamas, also suffered according to Meshaal.

"No doubt, Iran supported us for a long time and its support was big," said Meshaal, who peppers his arguments with verses from the Koran or classical poetry. "We have clearly differed with Iran over Syria and there is no doubt that the Syrian crisis has affected our relations with Iran."

Meshaal voiced gratitude to Iran and Syria for hosting him for many years when the group was shunned as a "terrorist" organization by the U.S. and Israel, but said it could not compromise its principles.

"We don't interfere in other people's affairs, but we cannot support any regime or leader who is locked in a bloody battle with his own people," said Meshaal who lived in exile in Damascus until he left earlier this year.

"When the Syrian crisis began we advised Syrian officials to resort to a wise policy to resolve the issue and address the aspirations of their people because they were legitimate. They insisted on their military option... At a certain moment we felt that they wanted us to have a position to support the official policy so we rejected that and we left Damascus in January."

Meshaal said Assad would not be able to win the battle against his own people and that it was only a matter of time before change came through.

"God only knows how things will unfold but history taught us that the people will win in the end," added Meshaal.

Born in Silwad near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Meshaal has steered Hamas through the upheaval unleashed by the Arab Spring uprisings, deploying what associates describe as deft diplomatic skills to navigate the turbulence.

The Hamas leader in exile said he would pay a historic visit to the Gaza strip next week, after years abroad, to mark the Islamist's movement 25th anniversary. "I will be returning to my country. This is my dream."

Asked if he was worried Israel might try to assassinate him, he said: "God is my main guarantor and protector. I only rely on God, nobody dies before his time is up. And the one with a cause doesn't fear death."

(Editing by Philippa Fletcher)


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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Will my Samsung Galaxy II work as a phone while in Japan?

Q Will my Samsung Galaxy II work as a phone while in Japan?
David Boggis
A Yes - but be circumspect about how you use it.
Let's start with the phone aspect. The EU is applying downward pressure on roaming charges within Europe: by 2014 it will cost only 15p a minute to make a call, 4p a minute to receive a call, and 5p per text.
In contrast, charges outside the EU are astronomical: my provider, Orange, charges ?1.50, 90p and 50p for the corresponding services from Japan. You can buy a ?travel bundle? that slightly reduces the cost. My strategy is to leave the phone on, in order to receive urgent calls, but never to make calls - and never, ever, to use roaming data services.
The... read more


today, 00:35 in Travel, Views: 3


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Former head of iPod, Tony Fadell, talks about his early days at Apple, his feelings about Scott Forstall, and the future

Tony Fadell talks about the early days of the iPod, the loss of Scott Forstall, and the future of Apple

Tony Fadell, former head of iPod at Apple, recently did an interview about his new product, the Nest thermostat, but also touched on the challenges of bringing the original iPod to market. The interviewer, Leo Kelion, pushed Fadell hard on his feelings about recently ousted senior vice-president of iOS, Scott Forstall](, which whom Fadell is rumored not have gotten along, and about how Apple will fare now, sans-Forstall. Here's the's horrible BBC video embed:

Get Adobe Flash player

So, in sum, Fadell seems to be enjoying his schadenfreude spritzers, thinks Apple will be just fine, and likes where he's going with the Nest.

Source: BBC


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Israel Metaphorically Defeated in Gaza

"In a colossally miscalculated act, Israel launched military strikes on the enclave because they thought that Hamas would soon run out of missiles and rockets supplies and that the city would soon fall prey to dereliction and destruction. However, they were disillusioned to see that things did not happen as they preferred and that even their impenetrable Iron Dome was not that advanced to intercept the torrential salvo of Iranian-made Palestinian missiles."

At a time when the beleaguered Gaza became haunted by Israeli bombs and the innocent women and children were brutally killed by Israelis, US President Barrack Obama together with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a journey to a number of South East Asian countries including Myanmar the land of pagodas and jungles, a poverty-stricken country which has recently witnessed a state-sponsored ethnic cleansing of the Muslim population in the Rakhine region.

Obama prided himself of being the first sitting American president to visit the country in the high hopes of consolidating the changes which have taken place in the country. With the promise of more financial assistance, Mr. Obama vowed to ?support you every step of the way.?

Some international groups have viewed Obama?s visit to Myanmar with cynicism and criticism, believing that the trip is a premature reward for a country that still incarcerates political dissidents and persecutes Muslim minority.

Critics argue that Obama's trip may be regarded as an endorsement of a despotic regime.

Myanmar refuses to recognize Rohingya Muslims as citizens and says the only solution to the crisis is to send the one-million-strong community to other countries.

The government has systematically persecuted the Rohingya Muslims for years, deprived them of their basic human rights and brutally killed them in throngs in recent months.

I for one entertained the hope that Obama would seriously bring up the plight of the benighted Muslims in Myanmar and the systematic persecution of this minority. However, much to everyone?s chagrin, Obama only made a perfunctory reference to the issue and instead extended a hand of friendship to Burmese President Thein Sein and made a personal pilgrimage to the home of the opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi whose efforts in the past for the liberation of the country were massively dwarfed by her abject ignorance of the carnage of Myanmar Muslims.

This apartheid attitude is not limited to the Burmese Muslims. It is more markedly discernible in dealing with blockaded Gaza which is considered the largest virtual prison in the world.

That Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi has thrown his full-throated support behind the Gazans and has slammed the Israeli strikes against the defenseless people there was certain to provoke ire from Washington which looked on Egypt as a peace-brokering agent between the two parties. Hence, US diplomats have urged him to refrain from taking sides and instead strive towards a Zionist-friendly truce. It seems that Morsi will not have the luxury of supporting the Gazans and ignoring the demands of Washington. In fact, Egypt has to pay a heavy price for defending the Gazans i.e.? risking ?losing billions of dollars in US military and economic aid.??

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a conservative voice of high caliber, warned Egypt on Sunday to "watch what you do and how you do it.? You're teetering with the Congress on having your aid cut off if you keep inciting violence between the Israelis and the Palestinians."

Israel has reportedly pounded Gaza over 1,500 times since Wednesday while Palestinian resistance fighters keep raining down their rockets and missiles on the southern Israeli cities of Nirim, Ein Hashlosha and Ashdod as well as the southern region of Eshkol. So far, over 130 Palestinians have been killed and more than 1,000 injured in the Israeli attacks.

The invasion of Gaza was a colossal mistake and it will definitely damn Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu though some may vainly believe that the whole situation will prove to be in the best interests of the bellicose premier. Further to that, the invasion of the defenseless city and the killing of the innocent Palestinian women and children will only open up a wound exacerbated by Israeli animosity towards the Muslims in the world.

Despite all this, in a commendable move, some 100 prominent Israeli intellectuals have signed a petition, calling for a long-term ceasefire with the Hamas government. Dubbed as ?We have to talk?, the petition calls for a long-term ceasefire and for talks, either directly or through an international mediator, ?because the residents of the South, like the people of Gaza, have the right to look up to the sky with hope and not with fear.?

In a colossally miscalculated act, Israel launched military strikes on the enclave because they thought that Hamas would soon run out of missiles and rockets supplies and that the city would soon fall prey to dereliction and destruction. However, they were disillusioned to see that things did not happen as they preferred and that even their impenetrable Iron Dome was not that advanced to intercept the torrential salvo of Iranian-made Palestinian missiles.

When Israel found the situation too precarious to handle, they pleaded with their powerful lobby on Capitol Hill to help craft a Zionist-friendly truce. To this end, Clinton travelled to Jerusalem, Ramallah and Cairo in an effort to hammer out an agreement between the two sides and resolve the conflict. An Israeli source said Hillary was expected to meet Netanyahu on Wednesday. A State Department official says:

"Her visits will build on American engagement with regional leaders over the past days - including intensive engagement by President Obama with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Morsi - to support de-escalation of violence and a durable outcome that ends the rocket attacks on Israeli cities and towns and restores a broader calm."

Needless to say, the truce supported by Washington and some regional regimes such as Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia will not ensure the rights of the Gazans and there is no guarantee that Israel will not re-tread its gory path of mayhem.


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US suspends embassy account on Vietnam website (The Arizona Republic)

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Suit targets 'locator' chips in Texas student IDs

Austin, Texas ? To 15-year-old Andrea Hernandez, the tracking microchip embedded in her student ID card is a "mark of the beast," sacrilege to her Christian faith ? not to mention how it pinpoints her location, even in the school bathroom.

But to her budget-reeling San Antonio school district, those chips carry a potential $1.7 million in classroom funds.

Starting this fall, the fourth-largest school district in Texas is experimenting with "locator" chips in student ID badges on two of its campuses, allowing administrators to track the whereabouts of 4,200 students with GPS-like precision. Hernandez's refusal to participate isn't a twist on teenage rebellion, but has launched a debate over privacy and religion that has forged rare like-mindedness between typically opposing groups.

When Hernandez and her parents balked at the so-called SmartID, the school agreed to remove the chip but still required her to wear the badge. The family refused on religious grounds, stating in a lawsuit that even wearing the badge was tantamount to "submission of a false god" because the card still indicated her participation.

On Wednesday, a state district judge is expected to decide whether Northside Independent School District can transfer Hernandez to a different campus.

"How often do you see an issue where the ACLU and Christian fundamentalists come together? It's unusual," said Chris Steinbach, the chief of staff for a Republican state lawmaker who has filed a bill to outlaw the technology in Texas schools.

The concept isn't new, but hasn't exactly caught on nationwide. In 2005, the American Civil Liberties Union raised concerns about a similar initiative at a California school. That same year, a suburban Houston school district began putting the chips in its student IDs, and served as the blueprint for Northside's pilot program that began this fall.

Ronald Stephens, executive director of the nonprofit National School Safety Center, said he didn't believe the technology to be widespread but predicted "it'll be the next wave" in schools. The chips use radio-frequency identification (RFID) transmitters and only work on campus.

The Northside school district spent roughly $261,000 to equip students at one high school and one middle school with SmartIDs, a decision made with safety and efficiency in mind, said district spokesman Pascual Gonzalez. Imagine quickly accounting for students in the event of a lockdown, he said, or cafeteria lines moving faster as scanners instantly identify who's picking up that lunch tray.

Yet the biggest motivation was financial. In Texas, school funding is based on daily attendance. The more students seated in homeroom when the first bell rings, the more state dollars the school receives. If a student is lingering in the hallway or the library when roll is called, the marked absence hurts the school's bottom line.

But with the locator chips ? the district doesn't like to call them "tracking" ? a clerk in the main office can find out if a student is elsewhere on campus, and if so, include them in the attendance count. Every student found amounts to another $30 in funding, based on the school's calculations. In that way, those moving red dots that represent students on the clerk's computer screen are like finding change in the couch cushions.

Gonzalez said the district has estimated another $1.7 million in funding if the program delivers on expectations, somewhat lessening the sting of losing $61.5 million after state lawmakers cut public school funding in Texas by nearly $5 billion last year.

"Nobody is sitting at a bank of monitors looking for the whereabouts of 3,000 students," Gonzalez said. "We don't have the personnel for it, nor do we have the need to do that. But when I need to find (a student), I can enter his random number and I can find him somewhere as a red dot on that computer screen. 'Oh, there he is, in Science Room 22' or whatever. So we can locate students, but it's not about tracking them."

Hernandez's family isn't convinced. Nor is a Virginia-based civil rights group, The Rutherford Institute, which took up Hernandez's cause and filed the lawsuit against the district.

The organization declined to make the Hernandez family available for an interview prior to Wednesday's court hearing.

John Whitehead, the organization's founder, believes the religious component of the lawsuit makes it stronger than if it only objected on grounds of privacy. The lawsuit cites scriptures in the book of Revelation, stating that "acceptance of a certain code ... from a secular ruling authority" is a form of idolatry.

Wearing the badge, the family argues, takes it a step further.

"It starts with that religious concern," Whitehead said. "There is a large mark of Evangelicals that believe in the 'mark of the beast.' "

Republican state Rep. Lois Kolkhorst has filed bills since 2005 to ban the chips in Texas public schools. Steinbach, her chief of staff, is hopeful the bill will now get more traction with the attention surrounding Hernandez's case.

Yet despite the lawsuit, proposed legislation and concern from outside groups, there are no signs of a groundswell of opposition in San Antonio from parents whose children have the chips in their campus IDs.

Gonzalez said that of the 4,200 students, the Hernandez family is the only one who has asked out of the program.

Follow Paul J. Weber on Twitter:


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Engadget Giveaway: win a Sonos Play:3 and Sonos Bridge bundle!

Engadget Giveaway win a Sonos Play3 and Sonos Bridge bundle!

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Missing Moon Rocks From Apollo 11 Landing Found In Minnesota

  • Transit Of Venus

    This image provided by NASA shows the Solar Dynamic Observatory's ultra-high-definition view of Venus, black dot at top center, passing in front of the sun on Tuesday, June 5, 2012. The next transit of Venus won't be for another 105 years. (NASA/Solar Dynamic Observatory/AP)

  • Transit of Venus

    This image provided by NASA shows the image captured by Hinode on June 5, 2012 of the transit of Venus -- the last instance of this rare phenomenon until 2117. Hinode is a joint JAXA/NASA mission to study the connections of the sun's surface magnetism, primarily in and around sunspots. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages Hinode. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass., is the lead U.S. investigator for the X-ray Telescope. (JAXA NASA/AP)

  • Stars Brewing in Cygnus X

    A bubbling cauldron of star birth is highlighted in this image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Infrared light that we can't see with our eyes has been color-coded, such that the shortest wavelengths are shown in blue and the longest in red. The middle wavelength range is green. Massive stars have blown bubbles, or cavities, in the dust and gas--a violent process that triggers both the death and birth of stars. The brightest, yellow-white regions are warm centers of star formation. The green shows tendrils of dust, and red indicates other types of dust that may be cooler, in addition to ionized gas from nearby massive stars.

  • Dusty Space Cloud

    This image shows the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy in infrared light as seen by the Herschel Space Observatory, a European Space Agency-led mission with important NASA contributions, and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. In the instruments' combined data, this nearby dwarf galaxy looks like a fiery, circular explosion. Rather than fire, however, those ribbons are actually giant ripples of dust spanning tens or hundreds of light-years. Significant fields of star formation are noticeable in the center, just left of center and at right. The brightest center-left region is called 30 Doradus, or the Tarantula Nebula, for its appearance in visible light.

  • Dunes in Noachis Terra Region of Mars

    This enhanced-color image shows sand dunes trapped in an impact crater in Noachis Terra, Mars. Dunes and sand ripples of various shapes and sizes display the natural beauty created by physical processes. The area covered in the image is about six-tenths of a mile (1 kilometer) across. Sand dunes are among the most widespread wind-formed features on Mars. Their distribution and shapes are affected by changes in wind direction and wind strength. Patterns of dune erosion and deposition provide insight into the sedimentary history of the surrounding terrain.

  • Viewing the South Pole of Vesta

    This image obtained by the framing camera on NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows the south pole of the giant asteroid Vesta. Scientists are discussing whether the circular structure that covers most of this image originated by a collision with another asteroid, or by internal processes early in the asteroid's history. Images in higher resolution from Dawn's lowered orbit might help answer that question. The image was recorded with the framing camera aboard NASA's Dawn spacecraft from a distance of about 1,700 miles (2,700 kilometers). The image resolution is about 260 meters per pixel.

  • In, Around, Beyond Rings

    A quartet of Saturn's moons, from tiny to huge, surround and are embedded within the planet's rings in this Cassini composition. Saturn's largest moon, Titan, is in the background of the image, and the moon's north polar hood is clearly visible. See PIA08137 to learn more about that feature on Titan (3,200 miles, or 5,150 kilometers across). Next, the wispy terrain on the trailing hemisphere of Dione (698 miles, or 1,123 kilometers across) can be seen on that moon which appears just above the rings at the center of the image. See PIA10560 and PIA06163 to learn more about Dione's wisps. Saturn's small moon Pandora (50 miles, or 81 kilometers across) orbits beyond the rings on the right of the image. Finally, Pan (17 miles, or 28 kilometers across) can be seen in the Encke Gap of the A ring on the left of the image. The image was taken in visible blue light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 17, 2011. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.3 million miles (2.1 million kilometers) from Dione and at a Sun-Dione-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 27 degrees. Image scale is 8 miles (13 kilometers) per pixel on Dione.

  • X-Ray image of Young Stars

    Combining almost opposite ends of the electromagnetic spectrum, this composite image of the Herschel in far-infrared and XMM-Newton's X-ray images obtained January 20, 2012, shows how the hot young stars detected by the X-ray observations are sculpting and interacting with the surrounding ultra-cool gas and dust, which, at only a few degrees above absolute zero, is the critical material for star formation itself. Both wavelengths would be blocked by Earth's atmosphere, so are critical to our understanding of the lifecycle of stars . (AFP / Getty Images)

  • Active Galaxy Centaurus A

    Resembling looming rain clouds on a stormy day, dark lanes of dust crisscross the giant elliptical galaxy Centaurus A. Hubble's panchromatic vision, stretching from ultraviolet through near-infrared wavelengths, reveals the vibrant glow of young, blue star clusters and a glimpse into regions normally obscured by the dust. (NASA / ESA / Hubble Heritage)

  • Ring of Fire

    This composite image shows the central region of the spiral galaxy NGC 4151. X-rays (blue) from the Chandra X-ray Observatory are combined with optical data (yellow) showing positively charged hydrogen (H II) from observations with the 1-meter Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope on La Palma. The red ring shows neutral hydrogen detected by radio observations with the NSF's Very Large Array. This neutral hydrogen is part of a structure near the center of NGC 4151 that has been distorted by gravitational interactions with the rest of the galaxy, and includes material falling towards the center of the galaxy. The yellow blobs around the red ellipse are regions where star formation has recently occurred. (NASA / CXC / CfA / J. Wang)

  • Festival of Lights

    WISE, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, has a new view of Barnard 3, or IRAS Ring G159.6-18.5, that is awash in bright green and red dust clouds. Interstellar clouds like these are stellar nurseries, where baby stars are being born. (UCLA / JPL-Caltech / NASA)

  • Pacman Nebula

    In visible light, the star-forming cloud known as NGC 281 in the constellation of Cassiopeia appears to be chomping through the cosmos, earning it the nickname the "Pacman" nebula after the famous Pac-Man video game of the 1980s.

  • Remains of a Supernova.

    This undated handout image provide by NASA combines data from four different space telescopes to create a multi-wavelength view of all that remains of the oldest documented example of a supernova, called RCW 86. NASA announced the findings Monday, Oct. 24, 2011, and said the exploded star was observed by the ancient Chinese in the year 185, and visible for eight months.

  • View from above

    This image provided by NASA shows a night time image photographed by the Expedition 29 crew from the International Space Station on Oct. 16, 2011. It features airglow, Earth's terminator, Rocky Mountains, Denver-Colorado Springs (center-right), Santa Fe-Albuquerque (low-center-right), US Great Plains cities: Dallas-Oklahoma City, Kansas City and Chicago.

  • Messier 78

    Messier 78 Nebula brings into focus a murky region of star formation. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope exposes the depths of this dusty nebula with its infrared vision, showing stellar infants that are lost behind dark clouds when viewed in visible light. Messier 78 is easily seen in small telescopes in the constellation of Orion

  • An image released on October 3, 2011 show the Antennae Galaxies (also known as NGC 4038 and 4039) are a pair of distorted colliding spiral galaxies about 70 million light-years away, in the constellation of Corvus (The Crow). This view combines Atacama large milllimetre/submillimetre array (ALMA) observations, made in three different wavelength ranges during the observatory's early testing phase, with visible-light observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Most of the ALMA test observations used to create this image were made using only twelve antennas working together -- far fewer than will be used for the first science observations. The first phase of operations at the ALMA complex in Chile's Atacama desert are underway on October 3, 2011 following ten years of construction. Alma's purpose is to study processes occurring a few hundred million years after the formation of the Universe when the first stars began to shine. Alma consists of an array of linked giant antennas on top of the highest plateau in the Atacama desert. AFP PHOTO/ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO) (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 1a Supernova Remnant

    This undated photo shows a classic type 1a supernova remnant. Researchers Saul Perlmutter and Adam Riess of the United States and US-Australian Brian Schmidt won the 2011 Nobel Physics Prize on October 4, 2011 for their research on supernovae.

  • North America Nebula

    A swirling a landscape of stars known as the North America Nebula. In visible light, the region resembles North America, but in this image infrared view from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, the continent disappears.

  • WISE Telescope

    In this undated image taken by the WISE telescope a massive star is shown plowing through space dust. The result is a brilliant bow shock, seen here as a yellow arc.

  • Mercury Messenger

    At 5:20 a.m. EDT on March 29,2011, the Messenger probe captured this historic image of Mercury. The image is the first ever obtained from a spacecraft in orbit of the solar system's innermost planet. (NASA)

  • SuperMoon

    The full moon rises near the Lincoln Memorial on March 19 in Washington. The full moon was called a "Super Perigee Moon" since it was at its closest to Earth in 2011. The last full moon so big and close to Earth occurred in March 1993. (Bill Ingalls, NASA / AFP / Getty Images)

  • Celestial Shamrock

    This image from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, features a region of star birth wrapped in a blanket of dust, colored green in this infrared view. Designated as LBN 149.02-00.13, this interstellar cloud is made up of a shell of ionized gas surrounding a void with an extremely hot, bright star in the middle. (UCLA / JPL-Caltech / NASA)

  • Martian Gullies

    This image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows portions of the Martian surface in unprecedented detail. The photo shows many channels from 1 meter to 10 meters wide (approximately 3 feet to 33 feet wide) on a scarp in the Hellas impact basin. Some larger channels on Mars that are sometimes called gullies are big enough to be called ravines on Earth. (NASA / AFP / Getty Images)

  • Cassini of Saturn/Titan

    Saturn's largest moon, Titan, center, is 3,200 miles in diameter. The smaller moon Enceladus, far right, just over 300 miles across, appears just below the rings. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera at a distance of approximately 524,000 miles from Titan. (SSI / JPL / NASA)

  • Discovery from the ISS

    The space shuttle Discovery is seen from the International Space Station as the two orbital spacecraft accomplish their relative separation. During a post undocking fly-around, the crew of each vessel photographed the opposing craft. (NASA)

  • NGC 2841

    This NASA image shows what the Hubble Space Telescope revealed in a majestic disk of stars and dust lanes in the spiral galaxy NGC 2841. A bright cusp of starlight marks the galaxy's center. Spiraling outward are dust lanes that are silhouetted against the population of whitish middle-aged stars. Much younger blue stars trace the spiral arms. NGC 2841 lies 46 million light-years away in the constellation of Ursa Major (The Great Bear). (Hubble Heritage / ESA / NASA)

  • Tempel 1

    This image obtained by NASA's Stardust spacecraft shows Comet Tempel 1 at 11:39 p.m. EST on Feb. 14, 2011. The NASA spacecraft's flyby of the comet showed erosion on Tempel 1's surface since it skimmed by the sun in 2005 and revealed the first clear pictures of the crater made by a Deep Impact probe. (Cornell / JPL-Caltech / NASA)

  • Sun and Flares

    A pair of active regions on the sun were captured in extreme ultraviolet light from the Solar Dynamic Observatory spacecraft over a three-day period. The magnetic field lines above the regions produced fluttering arcs waving above them, as well as a couple of flares. Another pair of smaller active regions emerges and trails behind the larger ones. (Solar Dynamics Observatory / NASA)

  • North America Nebula -- Feb 16, 2011

    This view of the North America nebula combines both visible and infrared light observations, taken by the Digitized Sky Survey and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, respectively, into a single vivid picture. The nebula is named after its resemblance to the North American continent in visible light, which in this image is represented in blue hues. Infrared light, displayed here in red and green, can penetrate deep into the dust, revealing multitudes of hidden stars and dusty clouds.

  • Arp 147 composite black holes -- obtained Feb 15, 2011

    This composite image of Arp 147, a pair of interacting galaxies located about 430 million light-years from Earth, shows X-rays from the NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory (pink) and optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope (red, green, blue) produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute. Arp 147 contains the remnant of a spiral galaxy, right, that collided with the elliptical galaxy on the left. This collision has produced an expanding wave of star formation that shows up as a blue ring containing an abundance of massive young stars. These stars race through their evolution in a few million years or less and explode as supernovas, leaving behind neutron stars and black holes.

  • Sun Eruptions -- Jan. 28, 2011

    This still caught the action in freeze-frame splendor when the sun popped off two events at once. A filament, left, became unstable and erupted, while an M-1 flare and a coronal mass ejection, right, blasted into space. Neither event was headed toward Earth.

  • M51 -- obtained Jan. 19, 2011

    This image shows a dramatic view of the spiral galaxy M51, dubbed the Whirlpool Galaxy. Seen in near-infrared light, most of the starlight has been removed, revealing the Whirlpool's skeletal dust structure. This image is the sharpest view of the dense dust in M51. The narrow lanes of dust revealed by Hubble reflect the galaxy's moniker, the Whirlpool Galaxy, as if they were swirling toward the galaxy's core.

  • Giant Supernova -- released on Jan. 14, 2011

    While searching the skies for black holes using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers discovered a giant supernova that was smothered in its own dust in this image released on Jan. 14. In this artist's rendering, an outer shell of gas and dust -- which erupted from the star hundreds of years ago -- obscures the supernova within. This event in a distant galaxy hints at one possible future for the brightest star system in our own Milky Way.

  • The silhouette of the space shuttle Endeavour, Feb 9, 2010

    The silhouette of the space shuttle Endeavour appears over Earth's colorful horizon in this image photographed by an Expedition 22 crew member on Feb. 9, 2010.

  • Mars' moons Phobos (large moon) and Deimos, released Dec. 11

    Mars' two moons have been photographed in the same frame for the first time. The European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter snapped this image, which was released Dec. 11, 2009. The larger moon is Phobos. The much smaller one is Deimos.

  • Hubble photo of new galaxies (Tuesday=Dec. 8, 2009)

    Scientists said Dec. 8, 2009, that the Hubble Space Telescope spotted several thousand never-before-seen galaxies that were formed 600 million years after the Big Bang. Here, a photo shows some of them. They appear in the image as the faintest and reddest objects.

  • Central Milky Way Galaxy; image released on Nov. 10, 2009

    This is one of the most detailed images to date of the heart of the Milky Way. The galaxy's center is within the white spot near the right edge of the photo. NASA released the image Nov. 10 to mark the 400th anniversary of the telescope. It is a composite of images from three observatories: the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes and the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

  • NGC 2623, the result of a galactic collision, added Oct. 13

    This Hubble Space Telescope image shows an object known as both NGC 2623 and Arp 243, which was formed by a collision of two galaxies. The galaxies' cores have merged into one; the tails streaming from the object are full of young stars. NGC 2623 is about 250 million light-years away in the constellation of Cancer.

  • Barnard's Galaxy, added Oct. 15, 2009

    This portrait of Barnard's Galaxy, one of the Milky Way's closest neighbors, was taken by a telescope at the European Southern Observatory in La Silla, Chile. The red features in the photo are nebulae where new stars are being born. The galaxy has about 10 million stars; the Milky Way has an estimated 400 billion.

  • Saturn during equinox in August 2009

    The Cassini spacecraft became the first to photograph an equinox on Saturn, a 15-year event that took place Aug. 11. This photo is a composite of images that Cassini shot over eight hours. New equinox images of the planet show strange formations in its rings and suggest that in some places, the rings are much thicker than expected.

  • Shadows in Saturn's A ring, August 2009

    Clumps of debris cast shadows that are visible in the middle of this image of Saturn's A ring. The shadows suggest that the clumps are about 2,000 feet tall. Scientists have believed for years that the rings were about 30 feet thick, but based on the new images, scientists now think that they're more than 2 miles deep in some spots. "Isn't that the most outrageous thing you could imagine? It truly is like something out of science fiction," said Carolyn Porco, leader of the Cassini imaging team.

  • Jupiter's Scar, July 25, 2009

    A new photo released in July from the Hubble Space Telescope is the clearest yet of what astronomers are calling a scar on the surface of Jupiter. An object, possibly a comet, struck the planet recently, creating the strange dark patch. It happened on the 15th anniversary of another comet strike.

  • Kohoutek 4-55 nebula, photographed May 4, 2009

    This planetary nebula, named Kohoutek 4-55, was photographed May 4 by the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. The nebula, dubbed a "giant eye," contains the outer layers of a red giant star that died. The camera, which is the size of a baby grand piano, has captured several memorable images since it was installed in 1993.

  • Black hole light show, added April 14

    In this sequence of photos released in April, a jet of gas spews from a massive black hole in the center of the M87 galaxy. The gas fades and brightens, with a peak that even outshines the galaxy's core. The outburst is coming from a blob of matter, dubbed HST-1, and scientists are so far at a loss to explain its weird behavior.

  • Galaxy Triplet ARP 274, Added April 6

    This photo was snapped by the Hubble Space Telescope after winning a public competition to determine what the next space portrait should be. It shows Arp 274, a system of three galaxies -- two larger ones on the right, and a smaller and less intact one on the far left.

  • Hubble pic of galaxy tug of war, story reported on March 3, 2009

    NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured an image of three galaxies playing a game of gravitational tug-of-war that could destroy one of them. The galaxies -- NGC 7173, middle left, NGC 7174, middle right, and NGC 7176, lower right -- are about 100 million light-years away. The photo was released March 3.

  • Red Rectangle nebula added Feb. 10, 2009

    Our solar system is in the middle of a cosmic dust storm, and some astronomers said they've zeroed in on the possible source: the Red Rectangle nebula, which is 2,300 light-years away in the constellation Monoceros. A double star system there is spewing the dust, according to findings announced in February.

  • Galactic collision, Oct. 30, 2008

    After transmission problems on the Hubble Telescope weren fixed, NASA in October 2008 provided this undated photograph showing the aftermath of galaxies colliding. In the pair known as Arp 147, a reddish-colored galaxy has passed through an O-shaped galaxy glowing blue.

  • Mercury Volcanoes

    Photographs taken of Mercury by the spacecraft Messenger in January 2008 were analyzed in the journal Science seven months later. Images like the one above show that volcanic activity played a part in forming plains on the planet.

  • The Helix nebula

    Feel like you are being watched? This infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the Helix nebula, a cosmic starlet notable for its vivid colors and eerie resemblance to a giant eye.

  • A death star galaxy

    Even galaxies get bullied. Here, a so-called "death star galaxy" blasts a nearby galaxy with a jet of energy. Scientists said that if this happened in the Milky Way, it would likely destroy all life on Earth.

  • Source:

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    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

    Those Skinny New iMacs Go on Sale November 30

    You might want to make an addendum to your Christmas list. Those impossibly slender new iMacs go on sale November 30. More »


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    Audio Streaming Explained ? How To Use It To Your Business ...

    Ecommerce business ventures have gained popularity because of the remarkable profits made by these businesses. However, to ensure success in any type of business you?ll want to use particular strategies and marketing techniques. You need to promote your product or services to the right customers so that your business is a success.Same is the case with the online businesses and your website is the medium through which you interact with your potential customers. This is the reason why you have to design your website attractively and effectively so that it conveys the various features and benefits of your product to your customer effectively. It is for this fact that many companies invest a lot of time and effort along with money to design their websites in the best possible manner. Audio streaming is one of the most effective and popular techniques to polish your website.By employing audio streaming in your website you will actually manage to guide your customers through the website. This technique is just a blessing for visitors who are visually challenged. These viewers will also be able to understand the features of your product and will be able to judge the same. Because of this technique you will be able to convey a lot of information to your visitors as if the information is mentioned in a written format some people may actually omit certain things as people don?t generally read everything which is mentioned on the web pages.This technique can definitely be useful for people who tend to have a hectic schedule and they will be able to continue with their work even when listening to your presentation. Also, due to the advancement in technology people can browse the Internet from their cell phones. However, while doing so they may not be able to decipher the small print on their cell phone and in such a case the audio streaming will come quite handy.Audio streaming thus remains a crucial website marketing technique and it is worthwhile employing.


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    When 'Game of Thrones' Becomes a Show About Nothing

    Country music titan Dolly Parton is anything but shy.In an exclusive interview with "Nightline," Parton dished about her love life (including those rumors that she is secretly gay), losing a drag queen lookalike contest and building a multimillion-dollar entertainment empire.Watch the full story on "Nightline" tonight at 11:35 p.m. ETIn her long reign as a country music legend, Parton, now 66, has done it all. In her new motivational memoir, "Dream More," which will be released on Nov. 27, Parton talks about growing up dirt poor in Sevierville, Tenn., in a cabin with 11 siblings. ...


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    Monday, November 26, 2012

    Hezbollah warns of rocket barrage if Israel attacks Lebanon

    BEIRUT (Reuters) - Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah warned Israel on Sunday that thousands of rockets would rain down on Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities if Israel attacked Lebanon.

    In a speech marking the Shi'ite Muslim festival of Ashura, Nasrallah said Hezbollah's response to any attack would dwarf the attacks from Gaza during the eight-day conflict between Israel and the Islamist Hamas rulers of the coastal strip.

    "Israel, which was shaken by a handful of Fajr-5 rockets during eight days - how would it cope with thousands of rockets which would fall on Tel Aviv and other (cities)... if it attacked Lebanon?" he said in speech, relayed by video-link to tens of thousands of Shi'ite faithful in central Beirut.

    Hezbollah, which fought an inconclusive 34-day war with Israel in 2006, flew a drone over Israel last month, further escalating tensions in the region after Israel threatened to bomb the nuclear sites of Hezbollah's patron Iran.

    Nasrallah said the rockets fired into Israel during the Gaza conflict had a range of between 40 to 70 km (25 to 45 miles), while Hezbollah could strike anywhere from Israel's northern border to its southern Red Sea port of Eilat.

    The mourning festival of Ashura commemorates the death of the Prophet Mohammad's grandson Hussein and most of his family, leading to the division of Islam into Sunni and Shi'ite sects, a split that continues to plague the Islamic world.

    (Reporting by Dominic Evans; Editing by Louise Ireland)


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    Leftovers For Pets, Ice Skating, Carmel Cafe: Week In Review ...






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    Valley sports and recreation calendar | Clovis Independent ...

    Nov 23, 2012, 12:45pm

    Central San Joaquin Valley recreational opportunities and announcements. Submit items and search for events using All numbers in 559 area code unless otherwise noted.


    ADP 14-U Tournament: Friday-Sunday. Figarden Loop Park, $400. Also accepting new players, 5-8 p.m. Grades 8-11. 4265 N. Figarden Drive, 549-4487,

    Bullard Cal Ripken Spring Sign-Ups: Dec. 1, 8 and 15. Ages 4-12 and 7-8th grade prep. Starr Elementary cafeteria or, 289-8630.

    Central Valley Baseball Coaches Clinic: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Dec. 1, featuring ex-Fresno State coach Bob Bennett, UCLA?s John Savage, Long Beach State?s Troy Buckley and others. Reedley College Dining Hall. $100. Jason Murrietta (714) 943-1565 or Josh Labandeira 901-8912.


    Lil Riders Sign-Ups: 6-7 p.m. today. Ages 7-15 for boys and girls, East Fresno Boys & Girls Club, 266-7605,, $25.

    Youth Basketball: 7 p.m. Jan. 5. Six-week program for boys and girls ages 3-6. Ted C. Wills Community Center. 621-7529,, $50.

    Junior Basketball: 7 p.m. Jan. 12. Eight-week program for boys and girls ages 7-9 and 10-12. Holmes Neighborhood Center. 621-7529,, $50.

    Bullard Little Knights League: 8 Jan. 19-Feb. 23. Boys and girls grades K-8. Bullard High. 213-2533,, $75.


    Youth camp: Cream of the Crop Youth All-Star, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at Computech Middle School. Ages 7-13, Mighty Mites/Pee Wee/Juniors. $30. Registration info at or (888) 407-2611.


    Junior Golf Tournament: 1 p.m. Dec. 2. Ages 6-17, 9 holes. Riverbend Golf Club, Madera. 269-6369,

    Start Smart Golf: Jan. 19, 10 a.m. at Orchid Park, 12:30 p.m. at Selma Layne. Parent participation program for children ages 5-7. 621-7529,, $50.


    Girls team seeks players, coaches: Register by Jan. 12. Six weeks, plus playoffs. Hoover High cafeteria. 621-7529,, $50.

    Central California Lacrosse Club: 9:30 a.m.-noon Saturdays. Men?s club seeks players. San Gabriel Park, Clovis. 388-4428,


    West Clovis Judo Club seeks members: 7-9 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Kastner Intermediate. 434-3459,

    Clovis Judo: 7-8:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. Alta Sierra Intermediate. 299-3739.

    Japan Ways Traditional Karate: Mondays-Saturdays. Beginner, intermediate and advanced. 432-7817,

    Karazenpo Karate: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays. 225-2199, $25 monthly, $10 additional family member.


    Oakhurst Pentaque Club: 9 a.m. Saturday. Oakhurst Elementary. 683-6540. Free.

    Clovis Rugby Club: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. Bicentennial Park, Clovis. 322-9160.

    Dart tournaments: 7:30 p.m. second Saturday each month. Classic Billiards, Clovis. 765-9540. $15.

    Fresno Petanque Club: Game days 1 p.m. Wednesdays, 10 a.m. Sundays and 5 p.m. Tuesdays. Cary Park, 4750 N. Fresno St. Beginners welcome. 431-5944,

    Fresno Scuba Club: 6:30 p.m. first Wednesday each month, Marie Callender?s, 1781 E. Shaw Ave.,

    Pickleball: All ages, skills. 834-2688.

    Tulare County Trap Club/Shooting: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays. Trap, wobble trap, skeet. 772-2334.


    Fresno Turkey Trot 5K run, 2-mile walk: 8 a.m. today, Woodward Park, 433-6750,, $20-$35.

    Jingle Bell Run, Toys for Tots: 9 p.m. Dec. 15. Christmas Tree Lane, 322-9371,, $30, $20 Children.


    Madera Destroyers fast-pitch tryouts: Available through Jan. 26. Ages 8-15. Also seeking coaches. 363-6035,

    Fresno Force tryouts 12-U-Rodriguez team: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 1-2. Keith Tice Memorial Park,

    Fresno Blaze Club: Seeking players and coaches. Ages 12-18. Bullard High school, 970-0935,


    Start Smart Tennis: 5:30 p.m. March 5. Parent participation program for children ages 5-7. Orchid Park. 621-7529,, $50.

    The Fresno Bee


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    Sunday, November 25, 2012

    Virgin Mobile Casino Releases Three New Games - Online Casinos

    Kitty Glitter Mobile Slot Leading online gaming company, Virgin Games, has announced the release of three new mobile games by leading game developer, International Gaming Technology (IGT) that will be available exclusively at Virgin Mobile Casino.

    The three new mobile games, Kitty Glitter, Elvis and Wolf Run are bound to attract many players to Virgin Mobile Casino.

    Virgin Mobile Casino was launched in December, 2011 for the purpose of offering players a selection of table and instant win games and a range of slots from two leading software providers, namely Microgaming and International Gaming Technology.

    It was recently revealed that the Mobile Casino platform currently accounts for over 10 per cent of Virgin Games? gross revenue.

    Virgin Mobile Casino at present has a content partnership with both International Gaming Technology and Microgaming and intends to introduce additional partners in the near future in order to offer the same selection of games via the Mobile app as its customers experience at the web based Casino.

    According to Joshua Morris, the Commercial Director at Virgin Games, the three new mobile games that have been added to Virgin Mobile Casino continue their trend of adding the best games from the web onto mobile. Morris added that they have already seen 10% of their gross revenues being derived from Mobile in less than a year since its launch and that with the addition of popular titles such as those recently launched, they are strengthening their position as a multi-game aggregator.

    Virgin Games has made it possible for its players to use the same account to play at Virgin Casino, Virgin Poker and Virgin Bingo as well as at its mobile casino.

    More Online Gambling News


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    New York markets half-day trading closes sharply higher amid high ...

    TORONTO ? U.S. stock markets surged at the end of a shortened session amid hopes for a strong holiday retail season.

    The Dow Jones industrials jumped 172.79 points to 13,009.68 as consumers hit the stores on ?Black Friday,? the unofficial start to the holiday retail season.

    The Nasdaq composite index was 40.3 points higher at 2,966.85 and the S&P 500 index edged up 18.12 points to 1,409.15.

    The Toronto market was also higher ahead of its regular 4 p.m. EST closing time with the S&P/TSX composite index up 56.35 points at 12,209.45 while the TSX Venture Exchange rose 4.09 points to 1,257.25. The Canadian dollar was up 0.55 of a cent to 100.83 cents US amid rising commodities and tame inflation data.

    Shares in Research In Motion were down 38 cents or 3.17% at $11.62. RIM stock spiked 17% Thursday after National Bank Financial analyst Kris Thompson increased his price target for the BlackBerry maker to US$15 from US$12. On the Nasdaq, which was closed Thursday for U.S. Thanksgiving, the shares surged 13.65% to US$11.66.

    Statistics Canada reported that the consumer price index was up 1.2% year over year, slightly higher than an expected reading of 1.1% but still at the low end of the Bank of Canada?s range.




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