Monthly Archives: January 2016

US Military to Create Implantable Chip to Turn Soldiers Into Cyborgs: Media

Scenes from the Jean-Claude Van Damme movie Universal Soldier may become reality, as the US military is working on the development of an implantable chip which could turn soldiers into real-life cyborgs by attaching their brains to computers, Tech Times reported.

The new interface is being developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The project plans to connect the human brain and modern electronics, the source said.

A bio-compatible chip would be no larger than 1 cubic centimeter and act as a translator to convert “electrochemical language used by neurons in the brain and the ones and zeros that constitute the language of information technology,” ScienceAlert reported.

f things turn out as planned, the new interface would allow the US military to have cyborg-soldiers with enhanced battle capabilities through a digital system, the science news source said.

Although the military use would most likely be the first use for the new interface, its potential uses go far beyond the battlefield. The device could become a breakthrough advancement for neuroscience, synthetic biology and low-power electronics, just to name a few things, according to ScienceAlert.

The US military hopes that major defense companies will partner with the DARPA, so the agency could work on further research.


رئيس مجلس الدوما الروسي يتوجه إلى مصر

رئيس مجلس النواب الروسي سيرغي ناريشكين

يتوجه رئيس مجلس الدوما الروسي سيرغي ناريشكين على رأس وفد إلى مصر خلال اليومين المقبلين في زيارة هي الأولى التي يقوم بها رئيس للبرلمان الروسي إلى القاهرة

وأشار بيان صادر عن وزارة الصناعة والتجارة المصرية الأحد 24 يناير/كانون الثاني أن القاهرة تترقب زيارة الوفد الروسي برئاسة ناريشكين.وجاء الاعلان عن الزيارة خلال لقاء عقده السفير الروسي لدى القاهرة سيرغي كيربيشينكو مع وزير الصناعة والتجارة المصري طارق قابيل

ونقل البيان عن السفير الروسي قول إن رئيس مجلس الدوما سيصل إلى مصر خلال اليومين القادمين ليزور البرلمان المصري وليكون بذلك أول برلماني أجنبي يحضر جلسات البرلمان المصري بتشكيلته الجديدة

ووفقا لمصادر وكالة “نوفوستي”، فإن ناريشكين سيحضر أيضا إنطلاق معرض الكتاب الدولي في القاهرة الذي يعد الأكبر في الشرق الأوسط


Will OPEC Be Able to Make Oil Precious Again?

OPEC has announced it would hold an emergency session due to falling prices in the global oil market. The participants will discuss countering the poor market conditions.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) may hold an emergency session in March, Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said recently. According to him, with oil below $35 a barrel, oil producers have enough reasons to be worried.

On January 20, Venezuela sent letter to the OPEC members, urging them to meet and discuss further steps regarding cheap oil. Now, Caracas is waiting for reactions from OPEC as an emergency meeting requires a unanimous decision. According to Kachikwu, Saudi Arabia, the key player in the cartel, approved the idea.

Now these are dark times for oil producers. According to an outlook by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the global economy will grow 3.4 percent in 2016. Earlier, the IMF predicted a global growth of 3.6 percent. China, the world’s biggest oil consumer, is slowing down, with an expected growth of 6.3 percent this year. In 2015, the Chinese economy grew 6.9 percent, a record low since 1990.

The slower the global economy grows the lower demand is for energy resources. Another factor is the energy market glut. According to various estimates, the oversupply in the market reaches 1.5 million barrels a day. In December, the US lifted a 40-year ban on oil exports and already began delivering oil to Europe.

The implementation of the Iranian nuclear deal recently resulted in the removal of Western sanctions against Tehran, and the country has already made its first oil sale to Greece. Iran is planning to increase daily output by 500,000 barrels as well as export volumes.

All of the above drove Brent benchmark crude below $28 a barrel on January 21. The price of the OPEC oil basket (comprising 13 crude grades) hit a record low of $22.48 a barrel.

Kachikwu underscored that the meeting may take place in the beginning of March. The participants will discuss coordination on decreasing oil output. As long as oil was above $30 a barrel OPEC signaled it would not decrease output. For example, Saudi Arabia refused to decrease output, saying US, Russian and Brazilian campaign will take away its market share.

The problem is that OPEC has only one mechanism – production quotas — to influence oil stock prices. Until recently they were 30 million barrels a day. On December 4, 2015, it was reported that quotas had been raised to 31.5 million. The news drove oil prices down. However, later Kachikwu said output would stay the same, not above the quotas.

Another difference is that OPEC members have different views on output levels. Saudi Arabia, which produces 10 million barrels a day, has not yet shown it is ready for compromise.

Venezuela is one of the countries that has been hit most by the falling oil prices. Its budget almost entirely depends on oil revenue. From September 2014 to September 2015, inflation reached 141.5 percent. In the third quarter of 2015, the country’s GDP dropped by 7.1 percent.

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is also suffering from falling oil revenue. The kingdom ended 2015 with a record deficit of $98 billion. According to the IMF, its budget can be balanced only if oil is $106.

“Decreasing output even by two million barrels a day would end the oversupplying in the market, and then would drive prices up,” Alexander Kurdin, an expert of the Analytic Center of the Russian government, told

“However, in the current situation the market reaction to changes in quotas cannot be predicted. It depends on expectations for OPEC moves as well as the developments in China,” Dmitry Dzyuba, manager of Moscow oil and gas center EY, was quoted as saying in the article.

The policy OPEC is currently pursuing is passive. It is producing and selling oil and carefully watching the dynamics of prices. As global rivalry is tough, no producers can afford decreasing output because their market shares will immediately be captured by rivals. This is why oil-dependent nations, like Saudi Arabia, are trying to enter new regions or give discounts to their customers.

For over thirty years, OPEC used quotas to regulate prices during crises. In December 2008, as stocks tumbled, production quotas were decreased by 4.2 million barrels a day, and since then OPEC has abandoned regulating the market.

Clinton Vows to Win Nomination to ‘Relieve’ Bloomberg of Third-Party Bid

Hillary Clinton said on Sunday she would win the Democratic Party ticket in the US presidential race to prevent former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg from running as a third-party candidate.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Bloomberg was said to explore an independent bid in the campaign, telling allies he would join the race either if controversial Republican front-runners Donald Trump or Ted Cruz were nominated, or Clinton lost the nomination to left-wing challenger Bernie Sanders.

“The way I read what he said is if I didn’t get the nomination, he might consider it. Well, I’m going to relieve him of that and get the nomination so he doesn’t have to,” Clinton said in an interview with the NBC broadcaster’s “Meet the Press.”Self-described democratic socialist Sanders has overtaken Clinton in New Hampshire and is running neck-and-neck with her in Iowa, the first two states where voters will choose a possible nominee next month.

The New York Times cited sources briefed on his deliberations as saying on Saturday that Bloomberg, 73, has instructed advisers to draw up plans for an independent campaign by early March.

Trump says he could shoot somebody on 5th Ave and still not lose loyal voters

Donald Trump’s self-confidence in his drive to secure the Republican presidential nomination is pushing through the roof. In his latest speech he claimed that his voters are smart enough to not abandon him even if he was to kill somebody in broad daylight.

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?” Trump said in his campaign speech at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa.

Trump has been leading national polls of Republican voters for months and now holds a lead in the early voting in Iowa caucuses that will be held on February 1.

Trump believes his voters’ loyalty is so strong and competition so weak, that even a random shooting in the middle of a street won’t turn people away from him.

“The people. My people are so smart, and you know what they say about my people? The polls. They say I have the most loyal people. Did you ever see that? It’s, like, incredible,” he said just before making the homicide remark.

While the GOP nomination is half a year away, nothing Trump says seems to hold back his voters, at least according to a tweet which he composed after yet another controversial appearance.

“Just left Sioux Center, Iowa. My speech was very well received. Truly great people! Packed house- overflow!”

Trump’s Republican rival Texas Senator Ted Cruz did not approve of the billionaire’s choice of metaphorical expression, vowing that during his own campaign he has “no intention of shooting anybody.”


Bomb threat diverts Houston-Istanbul flight to Ireland, passengers evacuated

No bomb has been found on board the Turkish Airlines flight TK34 which was diverted to Shannon, Ireland, earlier this morning, after a bomb threat. The plane was headed from Houston, USA, to Istanbul, Turkey.

A package discovered on board was suspected to be an explosive device.

A search has since been carried out and no explosive device was found on-board, according to a spokesman for Turkish Airlines.

The plane was diverted after a piece of paper with “bomb” written on it was discovered in the toilet, he said.

Nothing was found in the search of the aircraft in Shannon, he confirmed, adding that the plane would take off again to Istanbul.

Emergency vehicles and the Army Bomb Disposal Team were on standby around the aircraft, located at a remote stand at Shannon Airport as all 209 passengers as well as crew were evacuated, according to Irish police sources.

A spokesperson for Shannon airport confirmed that the Turkish Airlines flight number 34 Boeing 777, was diverted to Shannon airport following a security issue and landed safely at 11.02 a.m.

The incident is now the subject of a follow-up investigation by Gardai (Irish police).

A search of the aircraft began after 3 p.m. (GMT), when the flight was due to arrive in Istanbul.

The US Embassy in Dublin said they “are aware of the incident and the welfare of US citizens is their top priority”, in a statement to

A spokesperson for the US Embassy added they are not able to give any more information at this stage but will provide all the assistance necessary to any affected US citizens.


UN Syria Envoy Travels to Saudi Arabia and Iran for Talks

The UN special envoy to Syria headed off to Saudi Arabia and Iran on Monday for talks to diffuse tensions between the two countries.

The United Nations special envoy for Syria traveled to Saudi Arabia on Monday, from where he will head to Iran for talks with the countries’ leaders, the UN spokesman said on Monday.

Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric led to violent protests at the Saudi embassy in Tehran, which led to a breakdown of relations between the two countries. The UN envoy for Yemen also intends to travel to the two countries, according to the spokesman.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had phone calls with both countries’ foreign ministers in an effort to diffuse tensions.

“The Secretary-General reiterated that the attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran was deplorable, but added that the announcement of a break in Saudi diplomatic relations with Tehran was deeply worrying,” UN spokesman spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at a press briefing.”The Secretary-General urged both Foreign Ministers to avoid any actions that could further exacerbate the situation between two countries and in the region as a whole. He stressed the importance of continued constructive engagement by both countries in the interest of the region and beyond,” a statement from the Secretary-General’s office said.

The spokesman added that there are currently no plans for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to visit the region, although he is concerned about the situation.

Saudi Arabia previously cut air traffic with Iran, and said that it intends to cut all commercial ties. Saudi allies in the region followed in breaking diplomatic relations or reducing embassy staff. Bahrain said that it does not intend to completely break off relations.


Hezbollah Claims Responsibility for Attack Against Israeli Patrol Vehicle

According to local media reports, Hezbollah has claimed responsibility for an attack against an Israeli military vehicle patrolling the Lebanese-Israeli border.

Lebanon’s Shiite movement Hezbollah has claimed responsibility for an attack against an Israeli military vehicle patrolling the Lebanese-Israeli border, local media reported Monday.

“The Martyr Kuntar group [Hezbollah militants] blew up an explosive device on a road in the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms area. [The blow] destroyed a Hammer vehicle and injured those, having sat inside,” Al-Manar channel reported, citing Hezbollah’s statement.

Earlier in the day, a spokeswoman for the Israeli Defense Forces said that the Israeli artillery on Monday shelled border areas in southern Lebanon in response to an attack against the Israeli military vehicle patrolling the border.

The recent wave of firings on the Lebanese-Israeli border has started after Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah group’s activist Samir Kuntar was killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike that targeted a residential building near the Syrian capital of Damascus.

Kuntar served nearly 30 years in an Israeli prison for murder of four Israeli citizens and was released in 2008 as part of a prisoner swap with Hezbollah.


Syrian Army Drives Daesh Away From Strategic Air Base Near Aleppo

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) launched a major offensive to destroy Daesh strongholds in the villages surrounding the Kweiris (Kuweires) military airbase in the province of Aleppo, the Fars news agency reported.

The SAA is said to have freed the village of Nejjarah, killing scores of militants and destroying military hardware in the operation. Damascus-led forces then launched rocket and artillery attacks against rebels in other villages located in the vicinity of the base.

The Syrian Army, assisted by Russian warplanes, lifted the months-long siege of the Kuweires military airbase in a major offensive in November 2015.

In addition, Damascus-led forces are credited with destroying Daesh command headquarters and killing scores of militants in the village of Tal Hatabat, located to the east of the provincial capital. They also targeted an ammunition depot in the Matar al-Nairab region and militant supply routes in the town of Khanasser.

The SAA carried out operations in al-Lairmoun, Jami’at al-Zahra and the village of al-Mansoura, located to the west of Aleppo.

Islamic State


Bahrain, Sudan sever ties with Iran, UAE reduces number of diplomats

Bahrain and Sudan have announced they are cutting off diplomatic relations with Iran following the storming of Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran, while the United Arab Emirates said it was reducing the number of Iranian diplomats in the country.

Bahrain authorities said they have demanded that Iranian diplomats leave the country within 48 hours.

The decision was announced by Bahraini Media Minister Isa al-Hamadi.

“Bahrain decided to break off diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran and calls upon all members of the mission to leave the kingdom within 48 hours,” Bahrain state news agency BNA said.

The Sudanese Foreign ministry also announced it is cutting diplomatic ties with Iran.

“In response to the barbaric attacks on the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad … the government of Sudan announces the immediate severing of ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.

Angry Iranian protesters stormed and set ablaze the Saudi Embassy in Tehran on Saturday night during a rally to condemn Riyadh’s execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Nimr was among 47 prisoners beheaded or shot by firing squad across Saudi Arabia on Saturday – the largest number of individuals executed in the Gulf kingdom in a single day since 1980.

The Saudi consulate in the city of Mashhad in northwestern Iran was also attacked by protesters on Saturday, with police intervening after rocks and Molotov cocktails were thrown at the building.