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IRGC arrest a
number of terrorists
in southeast Iran
French president:
Russia sanctions
‘must be lifted now’
UK Muslim
women face
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A R T & C U L T U R E
12 Pages Price 5000 Rials 36th year NO.12173 Tuesday JANUARY 6 2015 Dey 16 1393 Rabi Al Awwal 14 1436
Iran, Iraq seek avenues for medical
detention by
15 days
IRNA/Faraj Samadi
Bahrain’s public prosecutor extended the detention of Al-Wefaq
National Islamic Society’s Leader,
Sheikh Ali Salman by 15 more days,
despite widespread protests over
the issue.
Reports on Monday said the
prosecution has rejected a request
by defense lawyers to release the
prominent cleric on bail.
Salman, the secretary general
of the al-Wefaq political party has
been in detention for more than
one week.
His lawyers say prosecutors have
formally charged the opposition
figure with inciting a change of government by force, inciting hatred of
a segment of society, inciting others
to break the law, and insulting the
Interior Ministry.
Al-Wefaq has rejected the charges as malicious and outright lies.
The UN High Commissioner for
Human Rights and the European
Union have condemned the Bahraini regime for the illegal detention
of the dissident Shia cleric.
Contd. on P. 11
Tehran lauds religious
scholars’ wise role in Iraq
Economic Desk Iranian officials have
praised the role of religious scholars for
trying to help promote national cohesion in Iraq.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
described the “constructive and wise” role
of religious authorities in Iraq as a source of
Supreme National Security Council
secretary Ali Shamkhani also commended
the religious authorities’ role in maintaining
political stability in Iraq.
The two Iranian officials made the
remarks in separate meetings with Ammar
al-Hakim, the president of the Islamic
Supreme Council of Iraq in Tehran.
Contd. on P. 11
Iran’s missile technology is
defensive: Harvard professor
Falling oil prices is unlikely to
change Iran’s strategic priorities
A political scientist from Harvard
University says Iran’s missile
technology is “defensive”.
“It is crucial to point out that
this advancement in missile
technology is aimed more at a
defensive or deterrent strategy
rather than an offensive one,”
Majid Rafizadeh, a scholar at
Harvard University, wrote in an
article posted on the alarabiay.
net on Friday.
The professor also says it is
unlikely that the economic pressure resulting from the falling
oil prices would soften Tehran’s
position in the nuclear negotiations with the global powers or
cause a major change in Iran’s
support for the Syrian and Iraqi
governments in 2015.
Following is the text of the
2015 will bring about crucial
and positive developments as
well as challenges for the Iranian
Iran’s economy will face an
austere budget in 2015 in comparison to 2104, when Rouhani’s
administration managed to
move Tehran out of a recession.
According to the IMF, Tehran
will need oil prices to be near
$131 a barrel to cover its spending. Yet, Iran will likely manage
this economic challenge by applying some strategies such as
cutting subsidies, increasing taxes and depreciating the foreign
exchange rate.
The good news from the perspective of the Iranian leaders
will be an increase in exports
and imports, particularly with
Russia, China and some European countries thanks to the extension of the nuclear talks. The
shift to use national currencies
in foreign trade, instead of the
dollar (for example with Russia
with regards to food imports),
will also facilitate bilateral trade.
Contd. on P. 2
Graham Fuller’s five Middle
East predictions for 2015
Only a fool offers longer term
predictions about the Middle East
I offer the following longer
terms predictions about the
Middle East for 2015.
1- The Islamic State in Iraq and
the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group
will decline in power and influence. I have stated earlier that I
do not believe ISIL is viable as a
state; it lacks any coherent and
functional ideology, any serious
political and social institutions,
any serious leadership process,
any ability to handle the complex and detailed logistics of
governance, and any opportunity of establishing state-to-state
relations in the region. Additionally it has alienated a majority
of Sunni Muslims in the world,
regardless of deep dissatisfactions among Sunnis in Iraq and
Ideally ISIL should fail and
fall on its own, that is, without
massive external, and especially Western, intervention that in
some ways only strengthens its
ideological claims. To be convincingly and decisively defeated the idea of ISIL, as articulated
and practiced, needs to demonstrably fail on its own and in the
eyes of Muslims of the region.
2- The role of Iran as an actor
in the region will grow.
Contd. on P. 11
Iran, Oman
new avenues for
increasing trade
TEHRAN — IraIndustry,
Mining, and Trade Minister Mohammadreza Nematzadeh, heading a
delegation of representatives from
the private sector, traveled to Oman
on Monday to explore new avenues for increasing trade ties.
During the three-day stay, the
Iranian delegation will participate in
the 15th meeting of the Iran-Oman
Joint Economic Committee and will
inaugurate an exclusive exhibition
of Iranian products in Muscat, the
IRNA news agency reported.
Nematzadeh is scheduled to hold
meetings with the Omani prime minister, the minister of commerce and
industry, and the chairman of the
Omani Center for Investment Promotion and Export Development.
In October 2014, Iran and Oman
signed six memorandums of understanding to boost commercial ties.
Oman was the 21st biggest importer of Iranian non-oil goods in
the previous Iranian calendar year,
which ended on March 20, 2014, according to the Iran Customs Administration.
Iran exported $145.8 million of
non-oil goods to Oman and imported $441.7 million of non-oil goods
from the country.
Economic Desk nian
Blast hits
base in Yemen
A bomb blast has struck a building
used as a base for members of the
Ansarullah movement in Yemen’s
capital, local residents and police
The police chief in Sanaa said one
person was injured in the attack that
happened in the east of the city on
The building and neighboring
houses were damaged in the blast,
he added.
The Ansarullah fighters, who
control large swathes of Yemen
and are regarded as enemies by
Sunni fighters including those in
al-Qaeda’s Yemeni wing, sealed
off the area soon afterwards to
prevent access to it, local residents said.
Footage showed that the
windows had been blown out of
the building which was stricken
by the attack and bricks were
missing from around the front
The attack came a day after a
bomb explosion in a district in Sanaa killed at least four people including a reporter and wounded
25 others, according to officials.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed responsibility
for the attack.
Ansarullah members seized control of the capital in September as
part of a protracted power struggle
with President Abd-Rabbu Mansour
The Ansarullah fighters have
expanded into central and
western parts of the country,
leading to direct fighting between them and AQAP in some
A series of bomb attacks by AQAP
in recent weeks have struck Ansarullah targets, including a street celebration in which 26 were killed on
(Source: Al Jazeera)
Iran closely
Iran to
issue visa
for Afghan
nationals in
48 hours
TEHRAN – The Kuwaiti foreign
minister has said that Iran’s
nuclear energy program is a
source of concern for the Arab
countries of the Persian Gulf
and the United States.
Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled
Al-Sabah said on Sunday that
Iran should explain about the nature of its nuclear program to
the International Atomic Energy
Agency, particularly to rule out the
risk of any nuclear radiation leak
to Kuwait and Persian Gulf waters,
according to Elbalad website.
He also described Iran as an important and big country, underlining
that Kuwait deals with Tehran in accordance with international law.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Kuwaiti official dismissed any interference by the Islamic republic in the affairs of the Persian Gulf Arab states.
Kuwait says
about Iran’s
TEHRAN – Chairman of Iran’s
Expediency Council Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has called for expansion
of relations between Tehran
and Moscow and further cooperation to combat sanctions.
“Being neighbors, sharing borders in the Caspian Sea, and possessing rich resources are good
reasons for Iranian and Russian officials to boost bilateral relations
and to (cooperate) in fighting Western sanctions (imposed on the two
countries),” the Tasnim news agency quoted Ayatollah Rafsanjani as
saying on Sunday in a meeting with
the Russian ambassador to Iran.
Ambassador Levan Dzhagaryan,
for his part, noted that expanding
bilateral relations between Iran and
Russia will benefit the two nations.
He also referred to the failure
of Western sanctions against Iran
and Russia and said the imposition
of sanctions against countries that
are rich in resources is useless.
TEHRAN – The Iranian ambassador to Lebanon says the Islamic
republic is closely monitoring developments in the Muslim world.
In an interview with the
Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper published on Monday,
Mohammad Fat’hali said that
certain regional and extra-regional
states as well as the Israeli regime
are supporting Takfiri terrorist
groups, who are currently wreaking havoc on Iraq and Syria.
The Iranian envoy warned that
the Takfiri groups pose a threat
to the whole world, adding their
activities are aimed at sowing discord and causing tension among
Islamic countries.
calls for
of TehranMoscow ties
TEHRAN – Iran has informed
International Civil Aviation
Organization (ICAO) that it
will not allow certain military
aircraft such as those run by
NATO to fly over its airspace.
“Certain aircraft are not allowed to cross into the (airspace)
of the Islamic Republic of Iran,”
the Fars news agency quoted
Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense
Base Commander Farzad Esmaili
as saying on Sunday.
NATO aircraft as well as military
airplanes belonging to arrogant
powers are not allowed to pass
through Iran even if they intend to
attend an exhibition, he elaborated.
General Esmaili also noted that
Iran had made an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) aircraft to land in Bandar Abbas airport in September 2014 for wrong
information it had provided.
TEHRAN – Iran’s consul in Afghanistan Abbas Ahmidi said
on Monday that Tehran has
offered special facilities for Afghan nationals by reducing the duration of visa issuance to two days.
Talking to IRNA in Kabul, the
diplomat also noted that Afghan
nationals, who have legally married to Iranian citizens, will soon
receive more services by the Iranian government.
The diplomat also said that Afghan nationals will soon receive
insurance services while applying
for an Iranian visa.
Iran hosts about one million Afghan
refugees despite the voluntary return
of tens of thousands of Afghans to
their country during the past decade.
NATO planes
forbidden to
pass through
Iran: Cmdr.
JANUARY 6, 2015
h t t p : / / w w w . t e h r a n t i m e s . c o m / p o l i t i c s
Zanganeh says S. Arabia has kept oil
prices down for political purposes
TEHRAN – Iranian Oil Minister Bi-
Po l i t i c a l D e s k jan Zanganeh has mostly blamed
Saudi Arabia for the recent plunge in oil prices,
saying Saudi officials have kept oil prices down to
reach their temporary political objectives, the Iran
newspaper said in a report on Monday.
Before Zanganeh’s Sunday comments in a
closed session of the parliament, President Hassan
Rouhani had himself said that the recent plunge in
oil prices is a political trick.
Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi had even
announced earlier that Riyadh would not cut its oil
output even if oil prices hit as low as 20$ a barrel.
Many political analysts believe that Saudi Arabia’s repeated failures in supporting insurgents
in Syria and ISIL terrorists have made Riyadh to
resort to such a policy for vengeance against Tehran, the paper said.
The Sunday session of the parliament’s majority faction with Zanganeh was due to review the
next Iranian calendar year’s budget in which the
head of Planning and Management Organization
Mohammad Baqer Nobakht was also present in
the session.
The presence of Zanganeh in the parliament
comes against the backdrop of recent falls in
global oil prices, resulting from Saudi Arabia’s resistance against cutting its oil output, which has
affected the economy of OPEC members, including Persian Gulf Arab states, as well as Iran and
Russia. The drop in oil prices has also attracted
different perspectives on what changes the Iranian administration should implement in drafting
the next year’s budget.
Many Iranian legislators have explicitly asked
the government to review the next year’s budget
bill, which has been drafted based on an average
oil price of $72 per barrel. Some others are even
worried of the occurrence of a budget deficit.
However, government officials, particularly
Nobakht, have repeatedly emphasized that the
Rouhani cabinet has devised different strategies
in the face of drastic fluctuations in the price of
oil. In drafting the next year’s budget (starting
from March 21, 2015), the government has foreseen a 700 trillion rials (some 22 billion dollars)
revenue from oil sales.
During the closed session, Zanganeh informed
the legislators of the reasons behind the fall of oil
price and of the scenarios the administration has
predicted in such a scenario. During the session,
three MPs also expressed their concerns, to whose
questions Zanganeh provided explanations.
Iraj Nadimi, who sits on the Majlis Economic
IRGC arrest a number of terrorists in
southeast Iran
TEHRAN – The Is-
Po l i t i c a l D e s k lamic Revolution
Guards Corps (IRGC) announced
on Monday that it has arrested
some members of a terrorist
group in southeast Iran.
The members of the terrorist
group were arrested in the region
of Sarbaz in the province of SistanBaluchestan, Press TV reported.
The IRGC gave no further details.
Sistan-Baluchestan Province has
been the scene of a number of ter-
rorist attacks in recent years. On
January 1, a Sunni Basiji volunteer
and a Shia teacher lost their lives in
a terrorist attack in Sarbaz.
In late November 2014, three Iranian security forces were shot dead by
unknown gunmen in the province.
Three Iranian police officers
were also killed in early October
last year when they came under a
night attack by gunmen while on
a mission in the city of Saravan in
Sistan-Baluchestan Province.
Committee, told an the Iran newspaper that the
main issue of concern for MPs is the next year’s
budget which has been drafted based on 72 dollars per barrel. He, however, stated that, “Mr.
Zanganeh gave managerial explanations about the
background, history, and the backstage policies
which have resulted in plummeting of oil price and
how to face it.”
“The oil minister stated that one of the root
causes of the oil price fall has been the political
plot of Saudis, and the other root causes of that
are the U.S. sales of its light crude oil as well as a
form of global recession,” Nadimi added.
He went on to say that the issues discussed during the closed session mostly focused on the current oil prices and how to maintain and manage
the market so that the economy would not face
any dilemmas in the next year.
“The administration believes that it can manage the existing circumstances with a budgeting
mechanism. The government officials say that 72
dollars per barrel for oil in the next year’s budget
is a logical one,” the MP said.
“Indeed, the budget could be drafted with this
figure as well. The current [Iranian] year’s budget
was closed at 2,110 trillion rials [some 64 billion dollars], of which only 1800 trillion rials [some 55 billion dollars] were materialized and the remaining
310 trillion rials [some 9 billion dollars] were not.
Therefore, in the worst case scenario, this 310 trillion rials would become 350 trillion rials [some 10
billion dollars],” he explained when asked whether or not the Iranian MPs were convinced with the
oil minister’s comments.
Corker warns of sanctions on Iran, if
talks yield no result
Sen. Bob Corker signaled Sunday that lawmakers could increase
sanctions against Iran, if nuclear
negotiations do not yield an agreement, The Hill daily reported.
Corker, who will become the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman in the next Congress,
said on “Fox News Sunday” that
there was “no question” that lawmakers would increase sanctions
against Iran.
“There's no question,” Corker
said. “If the nuke deal falls apart,
then there will be more sanctions.”
Republicans have signaled that
they will take up a new Iran sanctions bill in January. Many Democrats, including the Obama administration, are opposed to new
sanctions as the negotiations with
Iran have continued.
Corker said that the bill would
move “regular order” and not immediately.
Iran, Iraq seek avenues for medical cooperation
TEHRAN – Iranian Health Minister
S o c i a l D e s k Seyed Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi
and his Iraqi counterpart Adilla Hamoud Hussein highlight the need for cooperation in constructing hospitals
and pharmaceutical production plants.
During their meeting on Monday, the two ministers also discussed medical tourism.
Hashemi expressed Tehran’s willingness to exchange experience with Baghdad, especially in area
of pharmaceutics.
The Iraqi health minister called for more Iranian
investment in her country in different medical fields.
Iran and Iraq have enjoyed growing ties since the
overthrow of the former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, in 2003 by the U.S.
Navy foils pirate attack on Iranian oil tanker
TEHRAN – Iranian war-
Po l i t i c a l D e s k ships thwarted a pi-
rate attack on an Iranian oil tanker in the
Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Yemen, Tasnim news agency reported on Monday.
The military forces aboard Jamaran
destroyer and Bushehr logistics vessel,
known as the 32nd naval fleet of Iran,
rescued the oil tanker 120 miles southeast of al-Mukalla, a main seaport in
the southern coast of Yemen, it added.
Pirates were forced to flee the
scene after the timely presence of the
Iranian forces. The oil tanker survived
without suffering any damage.
It was the fourth anti-piracy operation
the 32nd fleet carried out during its overseas mission across the northern parts of
the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.
The 32nd fleet set sail from the southern port city of Bandar Abbas on November 4, 2014, for the Gulf of Aden in a bid
to protect the country’s cargo ships and
oil tankers in the international waters.
On December 29, 2014, the fleet
performed a successful anti-piracy
operation around the Bab-el-Mandeb
Strait while it was patrolling in nearby
waters as part of the units participating in Army’s massive military drills in
southern and southeastern Iran.
Since November 2008, the Iranian
navy has conducted anti-piracy mis-
sions in the Gulf of Aden and Bab elMandeb strait to protect the country’s
vessels against pirate attacks.
Under the terms of several UN Security Council resolutions, nations can
deploy warships to the Gulf of Aden
and coastal waters of Somalia to protect their vessels against the pirates
and, after giving notice to Somali government, enter Somali territory in pursuit of the pirates.
Iran’s missile technology is defensive: Harvard professor
Contd. from P. 1
The limited sanctions reliefs will also assist Iran in addressing its budget and increasing non-oil exports in 2015. As the
Enterprise Ireland delegation is planning
to visit Tehran this year, European countries and business companies will look
further for avenues to invest in Iran and
increase business deals.
Iran’s regional bilateral cooperation
with some countries including Turkey and
Iraq will also likely heighten. President Erdogan’s visit to his “second home,” Iran,
in 2015 could mark an increase in bilateral
trades as well as heightened strategic cooperation between Tehran and Istanbul.
Iran and Iraq will also be establishing a
joint bank, the Islamic Regional Cooperation Bank for Development and Investment, to increase trade transactions and
facilitate bilateral trades to over $20 billion in the next three years.
In 2015, Iran could make a breakthrough in its long-range missile technology by developing and testing intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) which
could reach the United States. Nevertheless, it is crucial to point out that this
advancement in missile technology is
aimed more at a defensive or deterrent
strategy rather than an offensive one.
Another potential breakthrough is
linked to Iran’s air defense system and
its long range surface-to-air missile system through the Bavar (Belief) 373 program. Iranian leaders are planning to
unveil an anti-missile defense system,
considered to be similar to the Russian
S-30 air-defense missile system, or with
“higher capabilities than the (Russian)
S-300” according to the Brigadier General Farzad Esmayeeli.
Strategic priorities will remain intact
The significant drop in oil prices has
led some experts to point out that Iranian
leaders will soften their position towards
Tehran’s main strategic priorities, such as
nuclear negotiations and support of President Bashar al-Assad, in order to come
out of isolation and economic sanctions.
Nevertheless, economic duress is
less likely to fundamentally shift Iran’s
regional policy or the country’s top regional strategic priorities. History has
shown that even when Iran’s economy
deteriorated a few years ago, Tehran’s
stance towards supporting Assad, boosting Hezbollah, influencing the ruling Iraqi
government, and continuing its nuclear
program, did not alter. Even with the
economic challenges, Iran is planning to
increase its defense spending by 50%.
The next critical issue is meeting the
nuclear deadline of July 2015. Iran and
the six global powers, known as the P5+1
(China, France, Germany, Russia, the
United Kingdom, and the United States),
failed to strike a final and comprehensive
nuclear deal on November 24, 2014. But,
will Iran and P5+1 seal a final deal in 2015?
The gap between the Islamic Republic’s demands on its nuclear program
and those of the West’s (primarily the
United States) is too deep to bridge. A
final nuclear deal in July 2015 is unlikely.
Iran will continue to demand the immediate lifting of economic sanctions
while the U.S. will call for a gradual
removal of sanctions as Tehran shows
that it is meeting the requirements of
the final nuclear deal. However, it is
likely to observe a de facto extension
of the interim nuclear deal in 2015.
Due to some of the convergence of
strategic and geopolitical interests between the U.S. and Iran, back channel
diplomacy, direct and indirect military or
intelligence cooperation between Tehran and Washington is likely to increase.
However, a full U.S.-Iran rapproche-
ment, such as the Cuban deal, will not be
achievable this year.
The other crucial issue is Tehran’s
relations with Damascus. Iran’s foreign policy on Syria will continue to
be based on a zero sum doctrine. That
follows that any change in the Syrian
political system will be considered a
geopolitical, strategic and ideological
loss for the Iranian leaders. As a result,
the Iranian financial, military, intelligence, and advisory assistance, as well
as involvement of Qud’s forces in Syria,
will be steady in order to preserve the
power of Tehran’s long-standing ally.
When it comes to Iraq, Iran’s social,
political, religious, and economic influence in Baghdad will deepen mainly due
to the incapability of the Iraqi forces to
quell the fighters of ISIS.
Finally, the drop in oil prices and extension of nuclear talks will empower
the voices of critics vis-a-vis the government of Rouhani. Domestically
speaking, although Iran’s economy will
likely deteriorate in 2015, the government will use its central bank and other
strategies such as depreciating the exchange rate in order to alleviate the
pressure on the ordinary people.
h t t p : / / w w w . t e h r a n t i m e s . c o m / i n t e r n a t i o n a l
JANUARY 6, 2015
French president: Russia sanctions
‘must be lifted now’
French President Francois Hollande is
wary of the impact that economic crisis
in Russia might have on Europe. He has
called for sanctions imposed against
Moscow to be lifted as soon as there’s
progress in peace talks over Ukraine.
“If Russia has a crisis, it is not necessarily good for Europe,” Hollande
said during a two-hour interview with
radio station France Inter. “I’m not for
the policy of attaining goals by making things worse, I think that sanctions
must stop now.”
Hollande said he wanted to make
sure there’s progress in peace talks
over the situation in Ukraine, before
putting an end to sanctions.
He said he hopes to see signs of
mutual understanding at the January 15 talks in Astana, Kazakhstan. The
meeting is being organized by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, and
Russian President Vladimir Putin and
German Chancellor Angela Merkel are
expected to be among the participants.
Moscow has repeatedly said it was
doing all in its power to facilitate the
peace process in eastern Ukraine. A
major breakthrough was achieved during September’s Minsk peace talks, brokered by Russia.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has sarcastically described western
sanctions, also announced in September, as “a ‘reward’ for Russia’s role in
the Minsk agreements and more generally for its part in organizing the meeting.”
Another round of peace talks in
Putin and
attend a
meeting with
20 and
Labour 20
at the G20
Summit on
September 6,
2013 in St.
Minsk took place in December. The
negotiations, which brought no
breakthrough in the crisis, were overshadowed by Ukrainian parliament
voting to revoke the country’s “nonaligned” status, paving its way for closer ties with NATO and eventual full
Hollande said he understands that
Kiev’s striving for NATO membership
can hardly contribute to the peace
Saudi border guards killed in likely
ISIL attack
Attackers have killed two Saudi
Arabian border guards and injured
another near the country’s border
with Iraq in a shooting and suicide assault, the Saudi Interior Ministry said.
The attackers opened fire on a
border patrol near the city of Arar
early on Monday, the ministry said.
When security officers responded,
one of the attackers was captured and
detonated an explosives belt, the ministry added in a brief statement carried
by the official Saudi Press Agency.
It said another attacker was killed
by security forces but did not specify
the number of assailants.
The attack was likely to be carried
out by the Islamic State in Iraq and
the Levant (ISIL) terrorists that control large parts of Iraq and Syria.
ISIL has attacked the border before. It has long held that the House
of Saud doesn’t have legitimacy and
therefore is a target.
This attack is only likely to strengthen the resolve of Riyadh and Baghdad
to strengthen relations, which include
re-opening the Saudi embassy in Baghdad which has been shut for nearly 25
years, and to fight ISIL.
Saudi Arabia has joined the U.S.led alliance against ISIL and is participating - along with Jordan, Bahrain
and the United Arab Emirates - in air
strikes in Syria, with logistical support
from Qatar. The move has drawn
threats of retaliation from the group.
In a purported audio recording
released on social media networks
last month, ISIL leader Abu Bakr alBaghdadi warned Saudi leaders they
would see “no more security or rest.”
In July, three shells fired from inside Iraq hit the Arar area, without
causing any casualties. No group
claimed responsibility for that attack.
A Saudi delegation will travel to
theh Iraqi capital, Baghdad in the
coming week to start preparations
to reopen an embassy, official Saudi
media said on Saturday.
Saudi Arabia closed its Baghdad
embassy in 1990 after the late Iraqi
leader Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. It has long accused Iraq of being
too close to Iran, its main regional rival, and of encouraging sectarian discrimination against Sunnis, a charge
Baghdad denies.
(Source: Al Jazeera)
“Mr. Putin does not want to annex
eastern Ukraine. I am sure. He told
me so,” Hollande told France Inter.
“What he wants is to remain influential. What Mr. Putin wants is that
Ukraine does not become a member
of NATO. The idea of Mr. Putin is not
to have an army at Russia’s borders.”
The Ukrainian crisis has strained
relations between Russia and France,
with Paris putting on hold the delivery
of Mistral helicopter-carrying amphib-
ious assault ships to Moscow.
Hollande decided to suspend the delivery of the first such ship “until further
notice” in late November, despite the
fact that the move might hit the French
economy hard.
France is facing a multibillion-dollar
fine if it fails to deliver the ships under
the terms of the contract. The delay of
the warships’ delivery has also reportedly entailed additional costs for Paris.
(Source: RT)
Hollande rules out French
intervention in Libya
President Francois Hollande said on
Monday that France would not intervene unilaterally in Libya and urged
the international community to take
action to stem the deepening crisis in
the country.
“We are acting to contain terrorism in the south, but France will not
intervene in Libya because it’s for the
international community to live up
to its responsibilities,” Hollande told
French radio.
Asked if France would take action
in a United Nations-mandated operation, Hollande said there would have
to be a “clear mandate”, “clear organization” and the “political conditions” would have to be in place.
“We’re not yet going down that
road,” added Hollande.
The president of neighboring Niger said on Friday that a solution to
the crisis in Libya was not possible
without international intervention.
“I do not see how the armed terrorist militias can create the conditions for reconciliation among Libyans,” said President Mahamadou
“An international intervention is
essential to the reconciliation of all
Libyans,” including supporters of
former dictator Moamer Khadafi,
who himself was deposed and killed
in 2011 after an international military
Since the overthrow of Gaddafi’s
regime, Libya has collapsed into a
chaos of warring militias and rival
governments, and is awash with
weapons that travel in an arc of unrest through northern Mali and Niger.
Later on Monday, ambassadors
from the Arab League will meet to
discuss the Libyan crisis, at the request of Libya’s internationally recognized government.
French Defense Minister Yves Le
Drian recently visited the region and
paid a surprise visit to northern Niger,
to see a base being built to combat
the growing flow of weapons and extremism from Libya.
Le Drian said his visit demonstrated France’s “determination...
against the terrorism and those
who want to transform this ancient
caravan route into a route of violence and trafficking.”
(Source: AFP)
Abbas to renew bid for Palestinian statehood
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said that
he was discussing with Jordan plans to resubmit
to the United Nations Security Council a resolution
calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state
that failed to win enough votes last week, Deutsche
Welle reported.
Palestinian officials hope the UN will be more
sympathetic to their resolution, demanding an Israeli
withdrawal from occupied territories and independence by 2017, although the veto-wielding United
States would be all but certain to vote “No” again, as
it did on December 30.
“We didn’t fail; the UN Security Council failed us.
We will go again to the Security Council, why not?
Perhaps after a week,” Abbas told officials at a cultural conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah,
the Palestinian seat of self-rule government, according to Al Jazeera.
“We are studying it, and we will study this with
our allies and especially Jordan ... to submit the resolution again, a third time or even a fourth time.”
In the UN vote on Tuesday, the Palestinian draft
received eight votes in favor, including France, Russia
and China, two against and five abstentions, among
them Britain. Australia joined the United States in
voting against the measure.
But any resubmission would face almost certain
failure. The U.S. has veto power as one of the council’s five permanent members and has pledged to
block Abbas’s plan, calling it one-sided and unproductive.
ICC bid
Abbas signed onto 20 international conventions,
including the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), giving the court jurisdiction over
crimes committed on Palestinian lands and opening
up an unprecedented confrontation between the
veteran peace negotiator and Israel.
In retaliation for the move to the ICC, Israel announced on Saturday that it would withhold $125m in
monthly tax funds that it collects on the Palestinians’
behalf, in a blow to Abbas’s cash-strapped govern-
“Now there are sanctions - that’s fine. There’s an
escalation - that’s fine ... but we’re pushing forward,”
Abbas said.
Abbas’ plan to resubmit the statehood application came as Israel considers its options for further
punishing Palestinians after freezing millions in tax
revenues as a first response to their attempt to join
the International Criminal Court.
Palestinian leaders responded to the tax freeze by
accusing Israel of trying to starve their people as a
form of mass punishment.
The Palestinian move to join the Hague-based
court sets the scene for potential legal action against
Israel for war crimes, in a bid to put pressure on Israel
to pull out of the territories.
But the request to join the court, formally presented on Friday, angered Israel which quickly moved to
freeze the transfer of $127m in tax revenues to the
Palestinian Authority (PA).
(Source: agencies)
Suicide bomber hits European police in Kabul
A suicide car bomber struck near the
headquarters of the European police
training mission in Afghan capital
city of Kabul, killing one Afghan civilian and wounding five others nearby.
According to a statement from
the EUPOL (European Union Police
Mission in Afghanistan) mission, the
driver of the car packed with explosives apparently targeted a convoy
of mission vehicles near its headquarters on the eastern outskirts
of Kabul in the early afternoon on
In a statement on its Facebook page, EUPOL says no one in
the vehicle was hurt. The spokesman
for the Kabul police chief, Hashmat
Stanekzai confirmed the casualties.
Earlier on Monday, police said an
explosion near Kabul’s international
airport left no casualties.
Kabul has been hit by a high number of attacks in the last weeks of
2014, as Taliban insurgents targeted
government, military and foreign installations.
(Source: AP)
British government
wants nurseries to report
potential terrorist toddlers
It may become a “duty” of nurseries and elementary
schools in Britain to track and report any child that
shows signs of sympathy with terrorists or is a risk of
potential radicalization, according to the government’s
plans aimed at preventing extremism.
A consultation document by the Home Office on
ways to enhance Britain’s anti-terrorism system, the socalled “Prevent” strategy, calls for senior management
and governors to “assess the risk of pupils being drawn
into terrorism,” manifested through youths’ extremist
ideas that may breed terrorist ideology.
The nurseries should insure proper training of their
staff to give them the “knowledge and confidence to
identify” and “challenge extremist ideas which can be
used to legitimize terrorism and are shared by terrorist groups,” the document stated according to British
media. “They should know where and how to refer children and young people for further help.”
The new approach of identifying potentially dangerous toddlers should be implemented on non-discriminating basis according to the 39-page consultation document. The document is part of the Counter-Terrorism
and Security Bill bundle currently being debated in the
parliament. If the strategy is approved it will become
a “duty” not only for nurseries but also for other learning institutions.
“Schools, including nurseries, have a duty of care to
their pupils and staff. The new duty in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, to have due regard to the need
to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism will
be seen in a similar way to their existing safeguarding
responsibilities,” a government spokesperson told The
Questions remain as to how the new measures will
be implemented, with politicians and NGO’s speaking
out against the heavy-handed tactics.
“It is unworkable. I have to say I cannot understand
what they [nursery staff] are expected to do,” David
Davis, the Conservative MP and former shadow home
secretary, told the Telegraph.
“Are they supposed to report some toddler who
comes in praising a preacher deemed to be extreme? I
don’t think so. It is heavy-handed,” he added.
“Turning our teachers and child minders into an army
of involuntary spies will not stop the terrorist threat,” Isabella Sankey, the policy director at human rights body
Liberty, told the Telegraph. “It will sow seeds of mistrust, division and alienation from an early age.”
The government defended itself from the avalanche
of criticism saying that privacy of individuals will be protected.
“We are not expecting teachers and nursery workers
to carry out unnecessary intrusion into family life but
we do expect them to take action when they observe
behavior of concern. It is important that children are
taught fundamental British values in an age-appropriate
way,” a government spokesperson told the Daily Mail.
The controversial Prevent strategy is the main effort
by the British government to stop radicalization or people supporting terrorism, in all its forms. Prevent works
at the pre-criminal stage by using early intervention to
encourage individuals and communities to challenge extremist and terrorist ideology and behavior. Opponent
of contemporary counter-terrorist policies say the strategy produces counter-productive effects and often discriminates directly or indirectly against Muslims.
(Source: RT)
Al-Shabab claims deadly
Somalia car bombing
A suicide bombing has struck Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, killing five people including the bomber, with
the armed group al-Shabab quickly claiming responsibility.
Witnesses reported a loud explosion, followed by
gunfire and plumes of smoke, in Waaberi district on
The area is close to the heavily fortified international airport.
Witnesses told Al Jazeera the attack targeted Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency and
that security forces opened fire to disperse approaching onlookers.
Ahmed Adan, a Somali police official, told AFP news
agency: “There was a car bomb explosion near the
Afisiyone area.
“We are getting information that a suicide bomber rammed a car laden with explosives into a pickup
Mohamed Yusuf, Interior Ministry spokesperson,
said security agencies had received information about
a car laden with explosives and had been following it.
“It exploded and four civilians were killed besides
the bomber.”
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Abu Musaab, military-operations spokesperson of al-Shabab, said: “We conducted
an operation against the apostates - including white
mercenaries - in Mogadishu. There were heavy casualties. We will give more details later.”
Last month al-Shabab gunmen attacked the main African Union base in Mogadishu leaving at least eight people dead. The AU base hosts UN offices and embassies.
Sunday’s blast comes days after a U.S. air strike
killed al-Shabab’s intelligence chief, Abdishakur Tahlil.
Somalia’s government is struggling to rebuild the
country after decades of conflict sparked by the 1991
ouster of long-term leader Siad Barre.
(Source: agencies)
Oil hits five and a half year
lows on supply glut
LONDON (Reuters) — Oil prices dropped to fresh 5-1/2-year
lows on Monday as worries about a surplus of global supplies
and lackluster demand dragged on oil markets.
Russia’s oil output hit a post-Soviet high last year, averaging
10.58 million barrels per day (bpd), up 0.7 percent thanks to
small non-state producers, Energy Ministry data showed.
Iraq’s oil exports were at their highest since 1980 in
December, an oil ministry spokesman said, with record sales
from the country’s southern terminals.
But oil producer group OPEC has decided not to cut output,
opting to let the market find its own level.
The two crude oil benchmarks - Brent and U.S. light crude,
also known as West Texas Intermediate - have now lost more
than half of their value since mid-2014.
Brent crude (LCOc1) for February dropped as low as $55.16
a barrel, its weakest since May 2009, before edging back to
$55.32, down $1.10, by 1055 GMT.
U.S. crude (CLc1) slid to $51.40 a barrel on Monday, also
its lowest since May 2009, before recovering a little to trade
around $51.60.
“The easiest path for oil is down,” said Carsten Fritsch,
senior oil and commodities analyst at Commerzbank in
“Almost all market news and the fundamental backdrop
are negative and it is difficult to see much upside at the
Tunisia to play as a bridge
between IKCO & Africa
TEHRAN — During a visit with Tunisian Minister of Trade and
Handcrafts, IKCO CEO and President described this country’s
market as a suitable place for IKCO cars.
Making this remark, Hashem Yekehzare said, “Tunisia has a
special position in the north of Africa and it can play as a bridge
between IKCO and North African countries.”
He further voiced that his company has exported 200
thousand sets of cars around the globe and added, “IKCO’s
strategy at the moment is to focus on export and foreign
market development.”
According to IKCO CEO and President, this year’s production
plan of the company is 600 thousand cars, 100 thousand sets
short of the next years’ target.
Paying a visit to IKCO production lines, Najla Harrouche,
the Tunisian Minister of Trade and Handicrafts claimed that
the technology adopted in IKCO equals to that of global car
“I suggest IKCO can enter Tunisian car market and from
there can go for the North African countries’ markets,” she
said, hoping that the related cooperation can soon begin
between the two countries.
The Tunisian Minister also underlined that Tunisia has a
special capability in automotive part production specially wire
harness and has invested in many countries including South
American countries for plant establishment and automotive
part production.
“I look forward to seeing Tunisia to achieve the same
industrial development as Iran did,” she emphasized, recalling
the technological level of IKCO production systems.
Main Board
Industry Index
Overall Index
Free Float Index
Secondary Index
Min Value
Change end of year(%)
Historical highest
89500.6 (2014/01/05)
To U.S.
US dollar
British Pound
To IR.
To U.S.
To IR.
UAE dirham
*The free market rates
(Sources: &
Light Crude $ / barrel
JANUARY 6, 2015
h t t p : / / w w w . t e h r a n t i m e s . c o m / e c o n o m y
Iran’s car imports up 61% in 9 months
Economic Desk 71,896 cars in the first nine
months of the current Iranian calendar year
(March 21-December 21, 2014), a 61 percent rise
from 45,000 in the same period of time last year.
The country’s worth of car imports amounted
to over $1.457 billion during the nine-month
period, from $928 million in the same time in
previous year, the ISNA news agency reported on
BMW 528 and BMW X4, with the customs prices
of $69,561 and $69,456, respectively, were the
most expensive cars imported to Iran during the
ninth Iranian calendar month of Azar (November
22-December 21, 2014).
In last February, Iranian MP Ali Alilou said Iran
is planning scrap all car import tariffs in the next
two years.
Alilou, who is a member of the Majlis Industries
and Mines Committee, said the measure is
necessary to boost domestic production and
make the auto industry competitive.
The automobile industry, the biggest nonoil sector of the Iranian economy, constituting
around 10 percent of gross domestic product
(GDP), boomed over the decade ending in 2011
due to government support and the dearth
of international competitors in the domestic
Iran breaking economic ties with oil
TEHRAN (UPI) — Iranian government
spokesman said he expected the
share of oil revenue designated in
next year’s budget to be down by
about 30 percent.
The low price of crude oil is pushing
economies like Russia’s, which relies
heavily on export revenue, toward
the brink of recession.
Mohammad Bagher Noubakht said
the share of oil revenues in the budget
proposed for next year is down by
about a third.
“Now the government has to try
hard to pull two big stones -- inflation
and recession -- out of the bottom of
the well,” he said.
Iran is restricted to exports of
around 1 million barrels of oil per
day under the terms of a multilateral
agreement reached in November
2013. Last week, the government said
non-oil exports from the beginning
of the Iranian year, which starts in
March, increased to $35 billion, or
about 20 percent year-on-year.
Iran emerged from recession
last month, which the government
spokesman said came as a result of
heavy government investments in
national development projects. The
economy, he said, is boasting two
Saudis seen giving Asia smaller oil
discounts on signs of demand
Saudi Arabia will probably offer
smaller discounts to ship crude to
Asia amid speculation demand will
increase after benchmark prices
dropped almost 50 percent last
exporter will announce February
official selling prices to buyers
in Asia in coming days, after
offering its Arab Light grade at
the biggest discount in at least
14 years the previous month.
OPEC’s largest producer may
narrow the discount, according
to 12 of 15 traders and refiners
in a Bloomberg News survey.
Three respondents forecast price
differentials to be unchanged.
Exporting Countries in maintaining
production quotas while offering
straight months of growth.
Iranian officials have said they
envision a budget for the next
calendar year based on oil priced at
about $70 per barrel, about 20 percent
higher than the current market price.
Mohammad Nahavandian, Iranian
President Hassan Rouhani’s chief of
staff, said the share of oil in Iran’s
gross national product “is not so
Iran won’t give in after 60% decline
in oil exports
Iran’s oil exports have fallen 60
percent to 1 million barrels a day, Oil
Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said.
Iran, constrained by international
sanctions on its energy and financial
industries, “won’t give in over 1
million barrels a day,” Zanganeh
said. The minister didn’t elaborate,
nor did he specify dates for the 60
percent cut in the nation’s exports.
Brent crude, a pricing benchmark
for more than half of the world’s
oil, tumbled 48 percent last year,
the most since the 2008 financial
crisis. Saudi Arabia, the biggest
member in the Organization of
Petroleum Exporting Countries, has
rebuffed calls from Iran and others
in the group to cut output amid a
struggle with U.S. shale producers
for market share.
Brent fell 75 cents to $55.67
a barrel at 10:01 a.m. on the
deeper discounts for its own
cargoes, prompting speculation
that it’s prepared to let prices fall
to defend market share against
more expensive U.S. shale supply.
OPEC pumped above target
for a seventh straight month in
December even as U.S. output
expanded to the highest level in
more than three decades.
“China has been buying slightly
more crude because of declining
prices and we may expect some
bargain hunting at this price
level,” Ken Hasegawa, an energy
trading manager at Newedge
Group in Tokyo, said by phone
today. “Still, overall demand is
not so good and the Saudis don’t
want to lose market share as
they’ve said. I don’t think they will
change their stance dramatically.”
(Source: Businessweek)
London-based ICE Futures Europe
Predicting oil prices is impossible
because “political motives and
interventions are behind” the
recent market collapse, Zanganeh
said, without explanation. He
previously described the drop in
crude prices as “a political plot”
and said Iran would “under no
conditions let go of its share of the
oil market,” the ministry’s news
website Shana reported on Dec. 17.
The drop in crude prices
compounds the pressure Iran faces
from economic sanctions. Efforts to
reach a deal with the U.S. and other
world powers over its nuclear work
have gained Iran some relief from
the restrictions, though diplomatic
negotiations have been extended
until July amid differences.
(Source: Bloomberg)
Lifan Group to expand its
Iranian market in 2015
TEHRAN — Lifan Industry (Group)
plans to export models of X50, 720,
and 820 to Iran in 2015, according to
Mark Timber, the general manager
of the group’s Import and Export
He said Lifan X50 is a small SUV
and Lifan 820 is a sedan identical with
the parameters of the new Toyota
The group also plans to exports
models of X60 and 620 to Iran in 2016
and two four-wheel drive SUVs of X70
and X80 to the country in 2017.
He mentioned after sales services
the first priority of Lifan Group in
the Iranian market and proposed
establishment of a joint investment
company to offer these services in
Max Value
Silver $ / troy ounce
Gold $ / troy ounce
1,186.20 Platinum $ / troy ounce
Copper $ / pound
Wheat ¢ / bushel
France: It’s up
to Greece to
decide whether to
leave euro
PARIS (AP) — France’s president has raised
the possibility of Greece leaving the shared
euro currency, but says that’s a decision for
“Greece alone” to make.
Some in Europe have expressed concern
that if the left-wing Syriza party wins this
month’s general election in Greece, the new
government may renege on terms of a hugely
expensive international bailout plan. That has
revived questions about Greece’s fitness to
stay in the euro.
Francois Hollande said on France-Inter
radio Monday that Greece’s new leaders “will
have to respect the commitments made by
their country.”
But he insisted that it’s not up to others
to say whether the result of the Greek vote
means they should or shouldn’t keep using
the euro currency.
That, he said, “is for Greece alone to
National Iranian
Drilling Company
Public Calls For Quality Evaluating Of Tenderers
NIDC hereby intends to purchase its requirements specified in below table from qualified and interested tenderers
through public tender upon following terms and conditions.
VALUE (Rial)
Tenders Portal
A: Minimum acceptable point of quality is 60
B: Tenderers can receive the quality evaluaon documents by sending their request to the fax No.: 0611-2241154 or In
person at the following address:
Foreign procurement Dept. , Workshop NO .8, Karoon Industrial Area, NIDC, Ahwaz, Iran
Tel: 06114142391
C: Qualified tenderers shall submit the completed documents within 14 days from publicaon of such a call (second me)
to the following address:
#203, Opening Tender commiee office, Workshop NO. 1, NIDC Main office, Ahwaz Iran
More on this & other tenders is accessible by click on. WWW.NIDC.IR
Permit No: 456943
National Iranian Drilling Company
Contracts Department
h t t p : / / w w w . t e h r a n t i m e s . c o m
JANUARY 6, 2015
Khoy, the city of sunflowers
Compiled by staff writer
Sprawled adjacent to some towering
mountains in western Iran, the lively
city of Khoy is a destination for whom
interested in old Persian architecture as
its ancient mosques, churches, caravanserais, bathhouses, fortresses, and ramparts, each tells a story.
The city, sited near the ancient Silk
Road in West Azarbaijan Province,
may not be worth a lengthy detour
but should you be in the vicinity is
well worth a visit.
Variety of flora and fauna, warm water spas, salt mines, and rich history as
a Christian center, put it on the itinerary of travelers to this place.
Khoy was vastly fortified at different times in its history, most recently
by the decree of Qajar dynasty rulers
in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is
also well-known for the mausoleum of
Shams Tabrizi, the renowned Iranian
poet and mystic.
The region’s economy is based on
agriculture, particularly the production
of fruit, grain, timber, sunflowers as it
is nicknamed for the latter; Khoy the
city of sunflowers.
In the 2006 census, the city population was estimated for 178,700 while in
2012 the figure pointed at 200,900.
During parts of its bitter history,
Khoy was occupied for several times,
in 1911 by the Ottoman Empire, in
World War I by Russian troops who
withdrew in 1917, and finally in the
World War II by the Soviets, who remained until 1946.
The places briefly introduced in
blew are among the city’s most visited sights:
Motalleb Khan Mosque: A huge
and roofless 13th-century structure of
plain brickwork, the Motalleb Khan
Mosque claims to have the world’s
largest mihrab. The entrance to this
mosque is hidden behind street vendors stalls that are just meters from
Imam Khomeini Square.
The Darvazeh Sangi: It is a black
and white stone arch that has two
carved lions that make up the last remains of Khoy’s former city wall.
St Sarkis Church: A church with
slit windows that suggest that it had
a fortified past. Although some upper brick sections were rebuilt in the
1730’s St Sarkis Church supposedly
dates from the 4th century. Be sure
to take note of the carved motifs
over the western door.
The Shams Tabrizi Minaret:
Named for a celebrated 13th-century
poet, the Shams Tabrizi Minaret is
hidden in the back alleys off 22 Bahman Street, which is just a short taxi
ride northeast of Gumsal Square. The
Shams Tabrizi Minaret is 300 years old
and is interestingly encrusted with protruding animal horns.
assistant professor of geological sciences in the College of Arts and Science at MU.
“Fossils of soft-bodied animals like worms and jellyfish, however, provide our only views onto the early
evolution of animal life. Most hypotheses as to the
preservation of these soft tissues focus on passive
processes, where normal decay is halted or impeded
in some way, such as by sealing off the sediments
where the animal is buried. Our team is instead detailing a scenario where the actual decay helped ‘feed’
the process turning the organisms into fossils -- in this
case, the decay of the organisms played an active
We Owe Our Achievements
to the Grace of God
Bank Pasargad congratulates Iranian
Christians on the occasion of the New Year
and the birth of Jesus Christ (PBUH).
George Eastman:
Inventor of the snapshots
George Eastman (1854–1932) invented the Kodak camera, helping make photography accessible to the public.
His company remains one of the largest in the industry.
George Eastman was born
on July 12, 1854, in Waterville, New York. In 1880, he
opened the Eastman Dry
Plate and Film Company.
His first camera, the Kodak,
was sold in 1888 and consisted of a box camera with
100 exposures.
The company slogan was
“You press the button, we
do the rest,” which meant
the camera was sent in to
the company after the 100
exposures on the roll of
film had been used; they
developed it and sent it back to the customer. In 1889,
Eastman hired chemist Henry Reichenbach to develop
a type of flexible film that could be more easily inserted
into cameras. Thomas Edison adapted the film for use in
the motion-picture camera he was developing, further
propelling the success of Eastman’s company.
Later he offered the first Brownie camera, which was intended for children. By 1927, Eastman Kodak was the largest U.S.
company in the industry. Eastman committed suicide in 1932.
A bust of the renounced 13th-century Persian
Poet, Shams Tabrizi, with the same name
minaret in the background.
550-million-year-old fossils provide new clues about fossil formation
A new study from University of Missouri and Virginia
Tech researchers is challenging accepted ideas about
how ancient soft-bodied organisms become part of
the fossil record. Findings suggest that bacteria involved in the decay of those organisms play an active
role in how fossils are formed -- often in a matter of
just a few tens to hundreds of years. Understanding
the relationship between decay and fossilization will
inform future study and help researchers interpret
fossils in a new way.
“The vast majority of the fossil record is composed of bones and shells,” said James Schiauer,
role in creating fossils.”
Schiauer studied a type of fossil animal from the
Ediacaran Period called Conotubus, which lived more
than 540 million years ago. He noted that these fossils
are either replicated by, or associated with, pyrite -- commonly called fool's gold. The tiny fossils are tube-shaped
and believed to have been composed of substances
similar at least in hardness to human fingernails. These
fossilized tubes are all that remain of the soft-bodied
animals that inhabited them and most likely resembled
worms or sea anemone-like animals.
(Source: Science Daily)
Ancient Roman fort
designed for
celestial show
The gateways of an ancient Roman fort in
Britain are roughly aligned with the light from
the sun during the summer and winter solstices — a design that would have resulted in
a striking scene on the shortest and longest
days of the year, a researcher says.
The fort had four gateways facing one another. During the summer solstice, the sun would
rise in alignment with the fort’s northeastern
and southwestern gates, and set in alignment
with its northwestern and southeastern gates,
the researcher reported in the new study.
During the winter solstice, the sun would
rise in line with the fort’s southeastern and
northwestern gates, and set in line with the
fort’s southwestern and northeastern gates.
The fort’s ruins are located near Hardknott
Pass in Cumbria, England, and offer a commanding view of the sprawling Eskdale Valley. Built during the reign of Emperor Hadrian,
who ruled from 117 CE to 138, the structure
was part of a series of fortifications that once
guarded the Roman frontier in Britain.
Sparavigna used online software to calculate the angles at which the solstice sun rises
and sets at the fort. She then used satellite
maps available on Google Earth to determine
how the rising and setting solstice sun compares to the fort’s features.
The summer solstice (which last occurred
on June 21, 2014) represents the longest day
of the year, when the sun appears at its highest point in the sky. The winter solstice (which
last occurred on Dec. 21, 2014) represents the
shortest day of the year, when the sun appears at its lowest point in the sky.
Sun gods?
But the reason for the fort’s celestial alignment remains unclear. In her paper, and in an
email to Live Science, Sparavigna noted that
she is not an expert on Roman religion. However, she did offer some ideas that might help
to explain the alignment.
“An orientation of sacred places to sun and
sky is common to several religions,” Sparavigna told Live Science. It is “quite possible that
the Hardknott fort has a symbolic homage to
the sun,” she said.
Another possible link could be with Mithra,
a god of light, “whose mysteries were a religion popular in the Roman army,” Sparavigna
wrote in the study. The worship of Mithra
originated in Persia but became popular
throughout the Roman Empire.
(Source: Live Science)
C L O S E - U P
Jan. 6, 1838:
Morse demonstrates telegraph
On this day in 1838, Samuel Morse’s telegraph system is demonstrated for the first time at the Speedwell Iron Works in Morristown, New Jersey. The
telegraph, a device which used electric impulses
to transmit encoded messages over a wire, would
eventually revolutionize long-distance communication, reaching the height of its popularity in the
1920s and 1930s.
Samuel Finley Breese Morse was born April 27,
1791, in Charlestown, Massachusetts. He attended
Yale University, where he was interested in art, as
well as electricity, still in its infancy at the time. After college, Morse became a painter.
In 1832, while sailing home from Europe, he heard
about the newly discovered electromagnet and
came up with an idea for an electric telegraph. He
had no idea that other inventors were already at
work on the concept.
Red Fort complex
The Red Fort Complex was built as the palace fort of
Shahjahanabad – the new capital of the fifth Mughal Emperor of India, Shah Jahan. Named for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone, it is adjacent to an older fort,
the Salimgarh, built by Islam Shah Suri in 1546, with
which it forms the Red
Fort Complex.
Inscribed on the UNESCO
World Heritage List, the Red
Fort is considered to represent the zenith of Mughal
creativity which, under the
Shah Jahan, was brought to
a new level of refinement.
According to UNESCO, the planning of the
palace is based on Islamic prototypes, but each
pavilion reveals architectural elements typical of Mughal building, reflecting a fusion of Persian, Timurid and Hindu traditions.
The Red Fort’s innovative planning and architectural
style, including the garden design, strongly influenced later buildings and gardens in Rajasthan, Delhi, Agra and further afield.
1449 Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI is crowned at Mistra
1497 Jews are expelled from Graz in Styria, Austria
The Fifth Monarchists unsuccessfully attempt to seize
control of London
1681 1st recorded boxing match
1784 Turkey & Russia sign treaty in Constantinople
1st telephone message from a submerged submarine, by
Simon Lake
1958 Gibson patents Flying V Guitar
10 people are killed by a US drone attack in South Waziristan,
Why Brazil’s Rousseff
is in tears
By Mac Margolis
ays away from the start of the new presidential term,
Brazilian media are reporting that President Dilma
Rousseff is feeling low and has taken to weeping. Imagine if she had won the October election.
Don’t get me wrong. Rousseff eventually came out on
top of the balloting for the Oct. 26 runoff vote, just besting Social Democrat Aecio
Neves. But winning is not
the same as governing.
As a row over Rousseff’s
slow-motion cabinet reshuffle indicates, she looks
poised to preside over an
administration that was
largely chosen for her, by
coalition partners she must
indulge but can’t stand,
and political agendas she
doesn’t control.
It’s not just that Rousseff will have to super-glue a
working majority from the 28 political parties in Congress
-- 10 alone in her ruling bloc -- week by week. She must
also stomach policies she once trashed and defend them
to supporters who now feel betrayed.
Start with her pick for finance minister, Joaquim
Levy. An orthodox, University of Chicago-trained
economist, Levy spent much of his career in government performing fiscal liposuction, first at the National Treasury and then as finance secretary for Rio
de Janeiro state.
He returns to Brasilia by way of Banco Bradesco, the
country’s largest commercial lender, where he tended
high-asset clients, much to the horror of the Workers’
Party rank and file. Rousseff’s “militantes” delighted in
her aggressive campaign ads last year showing food disappearing from Brazilian dinner plates, a warning of what
would surely transpire if market-friendly types like Levy
won the day.
“Brazilians were sold on the idea that bankers were
the enemy. Now apparently they’re the solution,” former
finance minister Mailson da Nobrega told me.
Contd. on P. 11
JANUARY 6, 2015
h t t p : / / w w w . t e h r a n t i m e s . c o m / i n t e r n a t i o n a l
End Iraq quota system to destroy Daesh
By Mohammad Akef Jamal
espite its natural resources and human wealth, Iraq has been suffering since 2003 and is on the brink of
bankruptcy. It also faces great difficulties as it tries to remedy its situation.
The flaw lies — undoubtedly — in
the foundations upon which the political process was built; this foundation
led to the rise of Daesh (the ISIL).
So what are the chances for reform
and for confronting and defeating this
terrorist organization, given the difficult
conditions being experienced today?
Eliminating this organization will have
to be done through an international alliance, wherein the West, led by the United States, will play a leading role.
The other roles will have to be
played by regional alliances and this
demands an improvement in Iraqi-Arab
relations, so that Iraq’s Arab neighbors
can stand in solidarity with the country
to face the lethal group.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Haidar Al Abadi will find that he will have to take into
consideration all that was overlooked
and ignored by his predecessor, Nouri
Al Maliki, during his eight-year rule.
Al Abadi has to reconsider the fate of
those who were marginalized, including his allies, because all these forces
represent the key that will solve all
other problems in Iraq.
Unifier in convictions
For Iraq to remain united and intact,
the leader has to be Iraqi in his affiliation,
a unifier in his convictions, and a liberal in
the way he carries out his duties and tasks.
So will Al Abadi and his overburdened government be able to face all
these problems in this manner or does
he have other options? Will he find real
support and backing from the other
forces in the Iraqi political process?
Al Abadi has no option other than
the national one when it comes to facing Daesh. The decisions he took dur-
ing the past 100 days in office reflect
optimism. However, it is doubtful that
he will find the necessary support and
backing from others.
This is not speculation but a reading
of the situation that seeks to explain
the current political landscape in Iraq.
Some events have a bigger impact
than others on the political situation.
The first of these events was the Arbil
conference that was held on December
18, last year, under the slogan “The Arab
Conference for Combating Terrorism”.
The conference’s aim was to send a
message to the international coalition
leading the war against Daesh that Arabs are a united bloc with goals that
do not conflict with the anti-terrorism
policy. However, they do not participate in decision-making commensurate with their size.
The second event is the Kurdish military effort to defeat Daesh in some areas, in order to gain maximum political
advantage through the annexation of
the liberated areas to the Kurdish geographical region.
And imposing it as a fait accompli, a
fact that was admitted by the head of
the Kurdish regional government, Nechirvan Barzani.
Political elites
The third of these events was that
some political elites again started
demanding the creation of federal
regions. They did it in a manner that
suggested that their understanding of
federalism was limited to the interests
of their governorates.
Here, they are forgetting the fact
that the federal project will not be
complete without a comprehensive
For Iraq to remain united and intact, the leader
has to be Iraqi in his affiliation, a unifier in his
convictions, and a liberal in the way he carries out
his duties and tasks.
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program of clear and transparent understanding with the rest of the country; Iraq’s veins are intertwined in ways
that are hard to ignore.
Disintegration is the most obvious
phenomenon in Iraq. The efforts made
to weaken the center and the trend towards more decentralization in favor of
federal regions and provincial councils
are the hallmarks of the political reality.
The talk about the establishment
of the National Guard and broadening the base of the popular army (Al
Hashd) and arming tribes in the western region is much louder than any talk
about re-building the Iraqi Army.
And the specter of the regions and
injustice faced by oil-rich cities, which is
gaining momentum, is more prevalent
than demands for rebuilding of the Iraqi state on a civilized foundation.
And talk about the role of religious
leaders in building a new Iraq is louder
than any talk about the role of thinkers
and intellectuals in this respect.
When looking at where these conversations are taking place, we find frustrating sights of a battle revolving around
dividing the spoils. Those behind this
entered the political arena with a racist,
sectarian and tribal agenda.
Maintaining the ethno-sectarianregional balance has become second
nature in the country, and there is a
political class that has succeeded in
employing the politics of affiliation instead of political programs as a method to rise and remain in top decisionmaking positions in government.
The circumstances in Iraq still allow forces to be grouped according
to sectarian, ethnic or zonal basis and
this will most certainly be an obstacle
against facing Daesh effectively. This
organization will be defeated militarily, inevitably. However, its return one
way or another is expected, as long as
quota equations persist.
(Source: Gulf News)
h t t p : / / w w w . t e h r a n t i m e s . c o m / e c o n o m y
JANUARY 6, 2015
Being poor is getting scarier in the U.S.
By any measure, the U.S. is among the wealthiest
countries in the world. Judging from new research,
though, it›s becoming an increasingly hazardous
place to be poor.
Every advanced nation has a mechanism to
protect its most vulnerable members from economic
shocks. In the U.S., government transfer programs
such as unemployment insurance, food stamps and
the earned income tax credit act to offset the impact
of recessions, particularly for the poorest families.
By putting much-needed money in the pockets of
the people most likely to spend it, these «automatic
stabilizers» also help the broader economy recover.
In a paper presented over the weekend at
the annual meeting of the American Economic
Association, economists Hilary Hoynes of the
University of California at Berkeley and Marianne
Bitler of UC Irvine explored how well automatic
stabilizers in the U.S. are working. Using statelevel data on unemployment rates and a measure
of household income that accounts for taxes and
transfers, they compared the effects of the most
recent recession to those of the last deep recession
in the 1980s.
The result: The U.S. is doing a significantly worse
job of protecting its most vulnerable households than
it did a few decades ago. Specifically, the economists
estimate that during the 2008 recession, a onepercentage-point increase in the unemployment rate
was associated with a nearly 10 percent increase in the
share of 18- to 64-year-olds with household incomes of
less than half the poverty level. That›s roughly double
the effect of unemployment in the 1980s recession.
It›s hard to imagine how anyone can survive at
50 percent of the poverty level. As of 2013, using the
measure of income employed by Hoynes and Bitler,
that corresponded to $9,384 a year for a family of
three. Nonetheless, more than 7 million people were
living below it.
Hoynes and Bitler attribute the increased
vulnerability of the poorest households in part to the
welfare reforms of the 1990s, which sharply reduced
access to cash aid. In 1996, for example, Congress
replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children
program with Temporary Assistance for Needy
Families, which was aimed at getting people back to
work faster.
There are various ways the U.S. can improve its social
countries as investors speculate
about which might be next to leave
the currency union, he said.
“In the short run, it would
be Lehman Brothers squared,”
Eichengreen warned.
He predicted that European
politicians would “swallow hard once
again” and make the compromises
necessary to keep Greece in the
currency union.
“While holding the eurozone
together will be costly and difficult
and painful for the politicians,
breaking it up will be even more
costly and more difficult,” he said.
In general, the panel, consisting
economists, was pessimistic about
More Russia sanctions to provoke
‘dangerous situation’ in Europe: Germany
Tougher sanctions against Russia
could destabilize the country and
provoke an “even more dangerous”
situation in Europe and have negative
consequences for the entire world,
German Vice-Chancellor Economic
Affairs and Energy Minister has
“Those who want it, provoke an
even more dangerous situation for all
of us in Europe,” Sigmar Gabriel said in
an interview with the Bild am Sonntag
“Those who are seeking to even
more destabilize Russia from the
economic and political point of view
are pursuing quite different goals.”
The goal of sanctions against
Russia was to return Moscow to the
negotiating table to find ways for a
peaceful resolution to the crisis in
Ukraine, he said.
He elaborated that additional
sanctions may exclude Moscow
from partnership in the resolution
of conflicts which “will have very
dangerous consequences for the
entire world.”
Though there are some in the U.S.
and EU that “would like to floor their
superpower rival,” but it is not in the
interest of Germany or Europe, he
“We want to help solve the conflict
in Ukraine, not to force Russia to its
knees,” he stressed.
The U.S. and EU slapped Russia
with several rounds of sanctions,
starting in March after Crimea
joined Russia. Western nations have
accused Russia of annexing Crimea,
though Moscow has denied the
claims stressing that residents of the
peninsula voted in favor of the notion
in a referendum that was in line with
the international law and the UN
Charter. The first round of Western
sanctions targeted Russian officials
and companies and included visa
bans and asset freezes.
The second round of sanctions that
Energy funds worst
performers in 2014 as oil
price crash
safety net without unduly reducing the incentive to
work. The Affordable Care Act, for example, subsidizes
health care for the poorest families. Congress could
expand the earned income tax credit, which provides
added income to people in low-paying jobs. Rules
restricting access to emergency cash assistance could
be relaxed during severe recessions.
Over the past three decades, economic output
per person in the U.S. has increased more than 60
percent, to an estimated $54,678 in 2014. Surely such
a rich country can afford to do better for the poor.
Greek euro exit would be ‘Lehman Brothers squared’: economist
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — A
decision by a new Greek government
to leave the eurozone would set
off devastating turmoil in financial
markets even worse than the
collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008,
a leading international economist
A Greek exit would likely spark
runs on Greek banks and the
country’s stock market and end
with the imposition of severe capital
controls, said Barry Eichengreen, an
economic historian at the University
of California at Berkeley. He spoke
as part of a panel discussion on the
euro crisis at the American Economic
Association’s annual meeting.
The exit would also spill into other
put pressure on financial, energy, and
defense sectors was announced in July
with the U.S. and EU blaming Moscow
for involvement in the unrest in
eastern Ukraine. Moscow has denied
the claims.
Following Western restrictions,
Russia imposed a one-year ban on
imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish,
cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy
products from Australia, Canada, the
European Union, the U.S. and Norway
in August.
France’s largest farming association
- the National Federation of Unions of
Agricultural Operators (FNSEA) – said
in August that Russia’s ban could push
Europe into a market crisis.
The Netherlands, Germany, and
Poland were Russia’s biggest food
suppliers in the EU. The U.S. shipped
$1.6 billion worth of food to Russia
in 2013. Prior to the sanctions Russia
imported 36.7 percent of its meat,
32.6 percent of dairy, eggs, and honey,
30.4 percent of vegetables, and 24.2
percent of fruit from the EU, according
to 2014 trade data.
A new sanctions package was
pushed by the West a few days after
the Minsk agreement was signed
on September 5, which included a
ceasefire in eastern Ukraine.
In response, Russian Foreign
Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an
interview to France 24 in Moscow in
December that “if this is what Europe
has as a reaction to something positive,
then I once again can only say that
we hugely overestimated European
independence in foreign policy.”
He recalled the public statement
made by U.S. Vice President Joe
Biden that America’s leadership
had to embarrass Europe to impose
economic hits on Russia over the crisis
in Ukraine – even though the EU was
opposed to such a motion. “I don’t
believe [the sanctions] help Europe,”
Lavrov said.
(Source: RT)
the outlook for the single-currency
Jeffrey Frankel, an economics
professor at Harvard University, said
that global investors “have piled
back into” European markets over
the last years as the crisis ebbed.
Now, there will likely be a repeat
of the periods of market turmoil in
the region and spreads between
sovereign European bonds could
widen sharply.
Kenneth Rogoff, a former chief
economist at the International
Monetary Fund and a Harvard
professor, said the euro “is a historic
“It doesn’t mean it is easy to break
up,” he said.
Martin Feldstein, a longtime
critic of the euro project, said all the
attempts to return Europe to healthy
growth have failed.
“I think there may be no way to
end to euro crisis,” Feldstein said.
The options being discussed to
stem the crisis, including launch of
full scale quantitative easing by the
European Central Bank, “are in my
judgment not likely to be any more
successful,” Feldstein said.
The best way to ensure the euro’s
survival would be for each individual
eurozone member state to enact its
own tax policies to spur demand,
including cutting the value-added tax
for the next five years to increase
consumer spending, Feldstein said.
Morgan Stanley sees ‘more problems’
for oil market on new supply
The oil market is set for “more problems” this year as increasing supplies
from countries including Russia and
Iraq add to the global glut that drove
prices almost 50 percent lower in
2014, according to Morgan Stanley.
Output may increase from fields
in West Africa, Latin America, the
U.S. and Canada in addition to more
exports from Russia and Iraq, offsetting concerns of reduced production in Libya, analysts including New
York-based Adam Longson said in an
e-mailed report. Iran may raise overseas shipments by about 500,000
barrels a day if western sanctions
against the country are lifted, according to the report.
Morgan Stanley is predicting additional supplies coming to the market
as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries maintains its production quotas and the U.S. pumps
at the fastest rate in more than three
decades. Benchmark prices are extending declines in a bear market as
OPEC pumped above target for a seventh straight month in December.
“With the global oil market just
passing peak runs and Libyan supply
already at low levels, it’s hard to see
much improvement in oil fundamentals near term,” Morgan Stanley said
in the report. “A number of worrying
signs have already emerged, lifting
the probability of our bear case.”
Oil exports from Iraq were at 2.94
million barrels a day in December,
the most since the 1980s, according
to Asim Jihad, a spokesman at the
nation’s oil ministry. OPEC’s secondbiggest producer plans to ship 3.3
million this month, Jihad said.
Iraq reached an agreement with
its semi-autonomous Kurdish region
last month over oil exports through
Turkey, after years of disagreement
on the territory’s right to independently develop its energy resources.
The pact allows as much as 550,000
barrels a day from northern Iraq to
be shipped to the Mediterranean
port of Ceyhan, along a pipeline to
the Turkish border operated by the
Kurdistan Regional Government.
In Russia, the biggest crude producer, oil output rose 0.3 percent in
December to a post-Soviet record of
10.667 million barrels a day, according to preliminary data e-mailed by
CDU-TEK, part of the Energy Ministry. Iraq and Russia provided 15 percent of the world’s oil in November,
according to the International Energy Agency.
The supplies from Russia and Iraq
will help offset reduced output in
Libya, according to Morgan Stanley.
Libyan production has fallen below
300,000 barrels a day, the lowest
since May, after militants shifted attacks to energy facilities including
the country’s largest oil export terminal, according to Energy Aspects Ltd.
estimates. That’s down 65 percent
from a recent high of 850,000 barrels
a day in October.
A potential deal between Iran
and the U.S. could “open the door to
a lifting of oil sanctions” and boost
exports from the OPEC member,
Morgan Stanley said. Iran and the
U.S. have tentatively agreed that the
Middle East nation will ship to Russia
much of the material it could use to
make nuclear weapons, the Associated Press reported, citing two unidentified diplomats.
In Africa, new reports of unsold
West African and North African cargoes are emerging with much of the
crude moving into storage, according to Morgan Stanley.
“With demand likely to fall seasonally and supply continuing to
ramp, the inventory overhang should
only grow over the coming months,”
the bank said. “These excess inventories will need to be cleared before
the market can heal, likely putting a
cap on any upside.”
(Source: Bloomberg)
Energy mutual funds finished the year as the biggest
loser after registering a 16.7% year-to-date loss. The
other losers were Natural Resources, Equity Precious
Metals and Miscellaneous Sector, which slumped 12.5%,
10% and 0.2%, respectively. For the energy sector, the
slump was unavoidable given the nosedive that crude
prices suffered in the second half of the year.
Currently, oil is deeply entrenched into bearish
territory and has fallen below the $60-a-barrel
level following OPEC’s decision to hold production
unchanged, the effects of booming shale supplies in
North America and a stagnant European economy.
Moreover, a stronger dollar has made the greenbackpriced commodity more expensive for investors
holding foreign currency. The cut in global crude
demand growth by major energy consultative bodies
has put the final nail in the coffin.
The concerns have dealt severe blow to the energy
sector, and as evident from the fact that energy
mutual funds category was the biggest loser in 2014.
Let’s look at the funds that were the biggest losers last
year, and with unfavorable Zacks Mutual Fund Rank
they continue to be funds that should be dropped
from investors’ portfolios.
The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude price lost
momentum in June and has since then been showing
weakness. This is primarily owing to plentiful North
American shale supplies in the face of lackluster
demand expectations, sluggish growth in China and
the prevailing softness in the European economy.
Strengthening of the U.S. dollar also impacted the
demand for the greenback-priced crude as it is now
expensive for importers to buy oil.
(Source: Nasdaq)
Euro weakens to near
nine-year low
The euro weakened to an almost nine-year low and
European stock-index futures fell amid concern Greece
will exit the currency union. Chinese shares jumped,
while oil slumped to its lowest level since 2009.
The euro depreciated 0.4 percent to $1.1950 at 7:05
a.m. in London, after touching its weakest level since
March 2006. The dollar gained against all but two of its
16 major peers. The ruble slumped 4.2 percent.
Futures on the Euro Stoxx 50 Index fell 0.5 percent,
while Standard and Poor’s 500 Index contracts slid 0.2
percent. The Shanghai Composite Index surged 3.6
percent to its highest level in five years. A gauge of
global bond yields approached a record low. Crude slid
2.1 percent and silver rose 1.9 percent. Greece’s political
parties have embarked on a campaign for elections this
month that may determine the fate of the country’s
membership in the euro area, with Der Spiegel magazine
reporting German Chancellor Angela Merkel is ready to
accept a Greek exit.
Data this week will probably show consumer prices in
Europe fell for the first time in five years in December,
adding to the argument for European Central Bank
President Mario Draghi to extend stimulus. “The
reasons to be selling the euro were pretty clear over
the weekend: Draghi being a step closer to QE and
deepening concerns about the Greek political situation,”
Sean Callow, a currency strategist at Westpac Banking
Corp. in Sydney, said by phone.
“The euro was so close to such a keenly watched
round number as $1.20 that we didn’t need any fresh
news to tip us over the cliff.”
The pound declined to its weakest level since
August 2013, while the Swiss franc lost 0.4 percent
and the Australian dollar depreciated 0.5 percent.
The Indonesian rupiah weakened 0.7 percent. The
Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the US
currency against 10 major counterparts, added 0.3
percent, heading for its highest close since March 2009.
Australian 15-year yields fell to an unprecedented 2.97
percent and Japan’s five-year yield dropped to a record
0.025 percent. Bonds in the Bank of America Merrill
Lynch Global Broad Market Sovereign Plus Index had
an effective yield of 1.30 percent on Jan. 2, approaching
the low of 1.29 percent set in 2013, based on data going
back to 1996.
Consumer staples and telecom stocks led declines
on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index, which dropped 0.7
percent. The Kospi lost 0.6 percent in Seoul and
Taiwan’s Taiex Index retreated 0.4 percent. Japan’s
Topix fell 0.5 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index
was little changed. The Shanghai Composite extended
its rally over the past six months to 63 percent. A gauge
of Chinese energy shares rose 8.9 percent, the most
in more than six years, with PetroChina Co. and China
Shenhua Energy Co. soaring by the 10 percent daily
limit. Crude Falls West Texas Intermediate crude slipped
to $51.71 a barrel after capping a sixth straight weekly
loss Jan. 2.
Brent crude in London fell 1.8 percent to $55.43
per barrel, with both blends headed for their lowest
settlement levels since 2009. WTI and Brent tumbled
more than 40 percent last year as the highest US oil
output in about 30 years collided with slowing global
demand and OPEC’s reluctance to reduce its own
production. Iraq plans to boost crude exports this
month, according to the oil ministry. Silver advanced to
$16.0525 an ounce in the spot market, while tin climbed
1.8 percent.
Researchers build
nano-based system for
waste water treatment
TEHRAN (ISNA) — Iranian researchers at Islamic Azad University, Science and Research Department, have designed
a system for waste water treatment, using nano-material.
The system can remove oil, fat, organic pollutants, particles, microbes, heavy metals and other pollutants from water and waste water.
Dr. Saeed Bazgir, the director of the project and a faculty
member of Polymer Engineering Department of the University said the system includes different physical and chemical
treatment parts.
The chemical treatment section uses new materials designed by Iranian researchers.
The materials can separate pollutants from water in less
than 30 seconds, he said, adding the method also uses nanoparticles absorption columns and nano-fiber microfiltration.
The system is of high speed, efficiency and is economical.
It occupies less space and can be used for any kind of water
waste and pollutants.
NASA’s SMAP satellite to
predict natural disasters,
help farmers
NASA’s latest project, known as the Soil Moisture Active
Passive (SMAP) satellite, may help farmers bounce back
from a bad yield, provide useful information to meteorologists, and allow experts to predict natural disasters.
The technology, which is set to launch into orbit from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base, effectively maps global
soil moisture.
NASA scientist Nadendra Das tells CNN International,
“SMAP can assist in predicting how dramatic drought will
be, and then its data can help farmers plan their recovery
from drought.”
SMAP is composed radiometer, a radar, and the “largest rotating mesh ever deployed in space,” according to
NASA’s official statement.
The dish measures in at 19.7 feet across and results from
the meticulous work of NASA engineers.
(Source: National Monitor)
Cempra oral antibiotic
effective against
hard-to-treat pneumonia
CHAPEL HILL, NC ( The Street) — Cempra got an early
and happy start to the new year, announcing positive results Sunday from a pivotal, late-stage study of the experimental oral antibiotic solithromycin in patients with
community-acquired bacterial pneumonia.
In the intent-to-treat population (ITT, all randomized
patients), solithromycin met the primary objective of statistical non-inferiority (10% non-inferiority margin) of the
early clinical response at 72 (-12/+36) hours after initiation
of therapy compared to moxifloxacin. Solithromycin also
met the secondary objectives of non-inferiority in clinical
success at the short term follow up (SFU) visit, 5-10 days
after the end of therapy, both in the ITT and clinically
evaluable populations.
The point estimates for the primary endpoint of early
clinical response were 78.2% for solithromycin and 77.9%
for moxifloxacin. The 95% confidence interval for the
treatment difference had lower and upper bounds of
-5.5% and 6.1%, respectively.
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h t t p : / / w w w . t e h r a n t i m e s . c o m
UNEP hoping for
carbon neutral Earth
in the next 4 decades
A United Nations report suggests that the Earth
needs to be carbon neutral by the years 2055 to
2077 in order to avoid the most serious consequences of climate change. The target years are
notably much earlier than 2100, the reported target year of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The Emissions Gap Report, which was published by the United Nations Environment Pro(UNEP) in November
A negative carbon gram
2014 and based on a study
that looked at the gap beemission in the
tween the current trajectory
second half of
of emissions and scientific
the century could
assessments of reductions
needed to prevent the catamean tapping on
strophic impact of a warming
technologies such
world, did not only suggest
as carbon capture that emissions should be net
neutral by 2055-2070. It also
and storage.
said that emissions should be
net negative after this period.
A negative carbon emission in the second half
of the century could mean tapping on technologies such as carbon capture and storage.
A controversial means of intervening with
the climate in order to bring down the temperature, known as geoengineering, may also be
resorted to.
sulphur particles
Ideas for the yet
include the use of artificial tress to absorb
carbon dioxide and using
aircraft to spray sulphur
particles at high altitude in
order to achieve the similar
cooling effects associated with
The UNEP report, however, has
enumerated several actions that can be
implemented to attain a zero carbon emission
and this includes adjusting fuel prices through
carbon taxes, reducing fossil fuel subsidies that
amount to over $600 billion per year and adopting policies that will encourage innovative technologies.
Besides carbon, the report also pointed out
that emissions of other heat-trapping greenhouse gases also need to be reduced to zero by
2080 to 2100.
It likewise warned of the urgency of bringing
the emissions to zero as delaying actions will have
other unwanted impacts such as increased rates
of reduction in global emissions, higher risks for
economic disruption, more dependence on neg-
ative emission and lock-in of carbon-intensive infrastructure.
The goal is to limit global temperatures from
rising to over 2 degrees Celsius from preindustrial
levels, which experts said could lead to the most
devastating consequences of global warming.
After the climate change meeting in Lima Peru
late in 2014, the next best chance for world leaders to come up with a unified agreement to cut
carbon emissions will be during the UN Climate
Change Conference, which will be held in Paris on
from Nov. 20 to Dec. 11 later this year.
(Source: Tech Times)
Here’s how fast different animals are disappearing from Earth
Many scientists believe our planet is in the early stages of a mass extinction, an event defined by a loss of
75% of species on Earth. It will be the sixth one to occur in the planet’s 4.5 billion year history — and the
first to be caused by humans.
But just how fast are species disappearing from
Earth, and how much should we be worried?
Information recently compiled by the journal Nature, the World Wildlife Fund, and the International
Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) sheds some
light on these questions. It’s not a pretty picture.
Drawing from the IUCN’s “Red List,” a catalogue
of species considered in danger of extinction, Nature
recently published a detailed analysis of threatened
animals on Earth. The report concluded that 26% of
all known mammals, 13% of birds, and 41% of amphibians are in jeopardy.
Scientists don’t have enough data for fish and
reptiles to make an assessment for them, and insects
got off comparatively easy — an estimated 0.5% of
known species are thought to be facing extinction.
But these are just the species that we know of.
There are about 1.7 million species of animals, plants,
and fungi that humans are aware of, but scientists
estimate there are millions more yet to be discovered, and we have no idea what kind of shape their
populations will be in if we ever do discover them before they die off.
How to tell if memory problems are
really a sign of dementia
Worried that forgetfulness might be
an early sign of dementia? New research suggests there is no need to
be anxious about an awkward memory lapse - as long as you can recall
enough of the embarrassing detail to
tell a friend about it.
Researchers at Sheffield Teaching
Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have
found that how people talk about
their memory problems is a vital
clue to pinpointing their cause. They
say a technique called Conversation
Analysis (CA), used with patients experiencing memory lapses, can help
distinguish between dementia and
other problems.
Memory problems may be an
early sign of organic disease such
as dementia – but they may be also
caused by other non organic factors,
such as anxiety or depression. This is
called functional memory disorder
(FMD) and is unlikely to get worse,
according to consultant neurologist
Prof Markus Reuber, at Sheffield
Teaching Hospital. Using the CA technique, his team of researchers have
found that the way people talk about
their memory problems is very different in those who have dementia, to
those whose memory lapses have
other causes.
Professor Reuber first used Conversational Analysis as a diagnostic
tool in Germany with patients suffering from seizures. There, he found it
was possible to distinguish between
those suffering from epilepsy and
those suffering from seizures caused
by other factors simply by listening
to them talk about symptoms. The
success rate was 85 per cent.
In a pilot study, Professor Reuber
and his team are now applying CA
to patients referred by GPs to the
specialist memory clinic at the Royal
Hallamshire Hospital. The research-
ers have studied videos of more than
100 patients during their first consultation at the clinic, and searched for
patterns in their initial conversation.
Then they looked at whether those
patterns were linked to whether or
not the person was later diagnosed
with dementia.
One clear difference which
emerged between those diagnosed
with dementia and those with FMD,
was the way people responded when
two or more questions were grouped
together. “Ask a patient: ‘Where are
you from originally and where did you
go to college?’ and the person with dementia will not be able retain the information and answer both questions,’
he says. “The person who has memory
problems due to other factors will be
able to work their way through the
Another clue was the use of the
phrase “As I said …” or “Like I said
…” which indicates a “working
memory” during the conversation:
patients with dementia did not tend
to use these phrases.
When asked about the last time
their memory failed them, those
who had FMD could remember, and
often constructed elaborate tales to
illustrate the occasion. Those with
dementia could not recall the details.
There are behavioral clues as well.
Those who originally consulted their
GP because they were concerned
about their memory were less likely
to have dementia than those who
were encouraged to seek help by
family members.
If a friend or family member was
present in the interviews, those with
dementia would often hesitate and
turn to them for support when asked
a question, while those with FMD did
not seek this reassurance.
(Source: The Telegraph)
Scientists aren’t completely sure how fast all
these species are disappearing from the planet, but
the fastest estimates — which suggest 690 extinctions take place every week — indicate that the mass
extinction could be complete in the next 200 years.
(Slower estimates give us several more hundred
years before 75% of life on Earth is gone, and the
most conservative guesses allow us thousands.)
In fact, research from the World Wildlife Fund suggests that the number of vertebrates on Earth (excluding humans) is only half what it was 40 years ago.
The Living Planet Index, an assessment of vertebrate populations, shows that between 1970 and
2010, terrestrial and marine vertebrate populations
both declined by 39%, and freshwater vertebrates
declined by a whopping 76%. Altogether, the total
rate of decline for vertebrates was 52%, meaning
their populations have been cut in half since 1970.
So what’s causing all the trouble, anyway?
(Source: Business Insider)
The surprising link between gut
bacteria and anxiety
In recent years, neuroscientists have
become increasingly interested in
the idea that there may be a powerful link between the human brain
and gut bacteria. And while a growing body of research has provided
evidence of the brain-gut connection, most of these studies so far
have been conducted on animals.
Now, promising new research
from neurobiologists at Oxford
University offers some preliminary
evidence of a connection between
gut bacteria and mental health in
humans. The researchers found
that supplements designed to boost
healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract (“prebiotics”) may have
an anti-anxiety effect insofar as they
alter the way that people process
emotional information.
While probiotics consist of strains
of good bacteria, prebiotics are carbohydrates that act as nourishment
for those bacteria. With increasing
evidence that gut bacteria may exert
some influence on brain function and
mental health, probiotics and prebiotics are being increasingly studied
for the potential alleviation of anxiety and depression symptoms.
“Prebiotics are dietary fibers
(short chains of sugar molecules)
that good bacteria break down, and
use to multiply,” the study’s lead
author, Oxford psychiatrist and neurobiologist Dr. Philip Burnet, told
The Huffington Post. “Prebiotics
are ‘food’ for good bacteria already
present in the gut. Taking prebiotics
therefore increases the numbers of
all species of good bacteria in the
gut, which will theoretically have
greater beneficial effects than (introducing) a single species.”
To test the efficacy of prebiotics
in reducing anxiety, the researchers
asked 45 healthy adults between
the ages of 18 and 45 to take either
a prebiotic or a placebo every day
for three weeks. After the three
weeks had passed, the researchers
completed several computer tests
assessing how they processed emotional information, such as positive
and negatively-charged words.
The results of one of the tests revealed that subjects who had taken
the prebiotic paid less attention to
negative information and more attention to positive information, compared to the placebo group, suggesting that the prebiotic group had less
anxiety when confronted with negative stimuli. This effect is similar to that
which has been observed among individuals who have taken antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication.
The researchers also found that
the subjects who took the prebiotics
had lower levels of cortisol -- a stress
hormone which has been linked with
anxiety and depression -- in their saliva
when they woke up in the morning.
While previous research has documented that altering gut bacteria has
a similarly anxiety-reducing effect in
mice, the new study is one of the first
to examine this phenomenon in humans. As of now, research on humans
is in its early stages. A study conducted
last year at UCLA found that women
who consumed probiotics through
regularly eating yogurt exhibited altered brain function in both a resting
state and when performing an emotion-recognition task.
“Time and time again, we hear
from patients that they never felt depressed or anxious until they started
experiencing problems with their
gut,” Dr. Kirsten Tillisch, the study’s
lead author, said in a statement.
“Our study shows that the gut–brain
connection is a two-way street.”
(Source: Huffington Post)
h t t p : / / w w w . t e h r a n t i m e s . c o m / s p o r t s
JANUARY 6, 2015
World’s all-time leading goalscorer sends
a message to Iran captain Nekounam
TEHRAN - Iranian football legend
S p o r t D e s k Ali Daei has sent a supporting
message to Team Melli captain Javad Nekounam,
congratulating him for breaking the most international appearances record in the near future.
Ali Daei is Iran’s most capped player with 149 appearances but Javad Nekounam will surpass this record if he continues to serve as Iran’s captain in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.
“I’m really happy from deep of my heart that you will
play for Iran in the Asian Cup and break my most international appearances record. I hope that an Iranian player to
break my international goalscoring record,” former Persepolis head coach told in a message to Javad Nekounam.
“I know Carlos Queiroz is a great coach and I believe in his player’s ability, so as an Iranian football
fan I hope to see you in the Asian Cup Final lifting
the Asian Cup trophy,” Daei added.
Daei is all-time leading goalscorer with 109 goals
and no player is even close to his record.
Iran defeated Iraq 1-0 in a friendly match on Sunday, five days ahead of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.
The Asian Cup will kick off in Australia on January 9,
with Iran playing Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE in Group C.
Carlos Queiroz men will face Bahrain in the first
step in Melbourne on January 11.
Mizan Khorasan volleyball team
signs Petkovic
The Iranian vol-
S p o r t D e s k leyball club Mizan
Khorasan announced the signing of
Serbian setter Vlado Petkovic.
After two seasons in Iran’s Kalleh
Sports and Shahrdari Urmia, Petkovi
became a new member of Mizan.
The experienced player is expected to help his new club to be better in the second part of the Iranian
Vlado Petkovic played for the Serbian national team at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and 2012
Summer Olympics in London.
“I am pleased with the signing
of the contract. For the third time,
I play in Iran and I have experience
playing in the country,” the 31-yearold player said.
Italian setter Vermiglio happy to join
Shahrdari Urmia
Italian setter Vale-
S p o r t D e s k rio Vermiglio said
that he is happy to sign a contract
with Shahrdari Urmia volleyball club.
The 39-year-old player replaced
Saeid Marouf, who joined Russia's
Zenit Kazan last week, in the Iranian
volleyball club.
“Hello everyone, I wanted to publicly thank President Guido Molin-
aroli and the entire society for what
they made for me,” Vermiglio, the
setter of Copra Piacenza and former
member of the Italian national team,
told Gazzetta del sud.
“I joined Shahrdari because of personal problems. Volleyball has improved
during the years in Iran and I think I’ve
made good decision. I am happy to join
the team,” the setter added.
Mancini confirms interest in Shaqiri
Inter boss Roberto Mancini is excited at the prospect of
working with Lukas Podolski – and is hoping to pair him with
Xherdan Shaqiri before the end of the transfer window.
Germany international Podolski is expected to complete a loan deal with Inter in the coming days having become frustrated with a bit-part role at Arsenal.
His capture is being hailed as a coup by Mancini, who
believes his best years are ahead of him.
"Podolski has had a great career so far and he can help
us over the next five months," the former Manchester
City and Galatasaray boss said on Monday ahead of the
midweek clash against Juventus.
"We haven't hired someone who is 34, 35, at the end of
his career, but a competitive player."
Inter have also been linked with Shaqiri, who, like
Podolski, has grown tired of a lack of playing time and is
expected to leave Bayern Munich.
Mancini added: "Shaqiri is another option for us, but
we don't know what will happen in the next month. We're
looking for a player who can play both as a striker and
winger, and Shaqiri plays both roles."
Inter resume Serie A following the winter break in 11th
place and are in need of swift improvement if they are to
play European competition next season.
Hajduk Split midfielder Tino Susic has spoken of his desire to join Inter while Ezequiel Lavezzi, currently suspended
by Paris Saint-Germain, has also been suggested as a target.
"Lavezzi, as well as Shaqiri, plays for a giant club, it's very
difficult to try to sign him," said Mancini. "Susic is more of
an investment, who may be a good bet for the future."
Andy Murray continues Australian
Open warm-up with impressive win
Mancini revealed he would not be tinkering with his
defence ahead of the trip to Turin, meaning Nemanja
Vidic is set to miss out.
"Vidic wasn't fully fit in the last few weeks, that's why
he never played. Now he has recovered, so I think he'll
get some chances. But at the moment I fully trust in my
four-man defence."
(Source: Goal)
Van Gaal has no right to complain
about fixtures - Cruyff
Iran attempt to end 40
years of Asian Cup pain
SYDNEY (AP) — Iran's squad arrived in Australia for the
Asian Cup aiming to end nearly 40 years of football
heartache with a long overdue continental triumph.
Team Melli must first overcome rivals from closer
to home in an all-West Asian Group C, which includes
Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
Asia's top-ranked team at No. 51, Iran has not progressed past the Asian Cup quarterfinals since 1996,
falling well short of its
most successful era when
it won three successive
tournaments from 1968
to 1976.
The ace for Iran could
be its coach, former Portugal and Real Madrid
manager Carlos Queiroz,
who guided the squad to
the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Queiroz was expected
to leave his post after
Iran's group-stage exit
from Brazil, but stayed on
in what appears to be a
vote of confidence in his methods.
Iran's captain and talisman, Javad Nekounam of Osasuna in Spain, brings some star power to a tournament light on high-profile players and will be aiming to
continue his goal-scoring form from qualifying, during
which he netted four times.
Iran opens against Bahrain at Melbourne on Jan. 11.
Despite the continuing off-field distractions surrounding Qatar's successful 2022 World Cup bid and
subsequent preparations for the tournament, the
Qatari squad enters the Asian Cup in strong form on
the field.
Qatar was impressive at the recent Gulf Cup,
where it beat Oman in the semifinals and Saudi Arabia in the final.
Algerian coach Djamel Belmadi has opted for youth
above experience in attack, leaving veteran striker Sebastian Soria at home for Congolese-born Mohammed
Tresor Abdullah and naturalized striker Mohammad
Montari to support playmaker and former Asian Player
of the Year Khalfan Ibrahim.
Qatar was ousted in the Asian Cup quarterfinals
on home soil in 2011, losing to eventual champion
Japan — a team it could well meet again in the same
stage here.
The Qataris open in Canberra against the United Arab Emirates in a match that could be decisive
for both nations' prospects of reaching the knockout stages.
UAE breezed through qualifying, winning five games
and drawing one on its way to topping its group.
Striker Ali Mabkhout notched five goals to jointly
lead all scorers across the continent, as UAE found
the net 18 times in qualifying, a mark only matched by
group rivals Iran.
The UAE's good form continued into the Gulf Cup,
where the defending champs navigated their group
undefeated, with Mabkhout scoring four times in
three games. Saudi Arabia ended the UAE run in the
semifinals, but the team bounced back to beat Oman
in the third-place playoff.
Bahrain, the lowest-ranked team in the group at
125th, heads into the tournament in turmoil after a
poor Gulf Cup campaign, which yielded no goals and
the firing of coach Adnan Hamad.
New coach Marjan Eid has had little time to address
Bahrain's main weakness — its lack of potency in front
of goal. Eid will lean on 28-year-old striker Ismail Abdul-Latif, who scored twice against Saudi Arabia in a
friendly last week, to spearhead Bahrain's attack.
Juventus would have to
pay €20 million for Wesley
Sneijder - agent
Andy Murray continued his strong
build-up in his quest for a maiden Australian Open title with a comfortable
victory over Frenchman Benoit Paire
in the Hopman Cup mixed-team event
in Perth on Monday.
Fresh from his first title of 2015 in
Abu Dhabi, the Scot, representing
Britain at the event alongside Heather Watson, defeated Paire 6-2 7-5 in
the evening match.
The 27-year-old arrived in sweltering Perth on Sunday after a walkover
against an ailing Novak Djokovic in
the Abu Dhabi final but showed no
signs of rust despite the stark difference in conditions.
"It was a bit of an eye-opener when
we arrived at the practice court this
morning and it was 44 degrees (Celsius)
outside," Murray, who also beat Rafa
Nadal and Feliciano Lopez in Abu Dhabi,
said with a grin in a courtside interview.
"I'm from a small town in Scotland
and the weather is not quite like that
there. The conditions here are fantastic to get ready for Melbourne."
After breezing through the first
set, the world number six was put under pressure by his French opponent
in the second and had to fight hard to
hold his serve in a marathon eighth
game during which his left shoulder
started hurting.
Murray had to wait till the 11th
game for the decisive break and completed the win on his second match
point with a booming ace.
"I had the (shoulder) problem in
Abu Dhabi couple of days ago and
haven't had much time to serve after
that. We flew straight from there and
arrived yesterday," Murray said.
"It doesn't really make sense for a
right-handed player to have a problem
with their left arm. So I am not sure
exactly what it was and I had a scan in
Abu Dhabi and that was all clear.
"But it's still a little bit sore today."
(Source: Reuters)
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Former
Netherlands great Johan Cruyff has
told Louis van Gaal he has no right
to complain about the hectic holiday
season programme in the Premier
League when he chose to go and
work there.
Writing in his weekly column in the
daily De Telegraaf, Cruyff said the Manchester United manager had to accept
the English way of running their league
without a winter break. "If you choose
for (a job in) England, then you choose
for their successful system, which is
based on the proposition that the stadiums open as soon as the fans are
available to watch, which is the holiday
period," Cruyff said.
“Playing football between Christmas and New Year is a war of attrition
and thus in favour of physically stronger teams.” Any attempt by Van Gaal
to try to change the system would be
doomed to failure, added Cruyff, who
has had a strained relationship with his
compatriot and has criticised Van Gaal’s
organisation of the United team since
taking over in July.
"It has been working (well) since
time immemorial and in 100 years it will
still be so," Cruyff said.
"Complaining makes no sense if everyone else around you is happy. Moreover, everybody is well paid for working
over the holiday period.”
Van Gaal said the over-crowded festive fixture schedule neglected player
welfare and short-changed millions
of supporters. “Everybody knows the
body cannot recover within 48 hours,”
he said last month.
“Therefore there is a rule within
UEFA and FIFA that you cannot play the
games within two days. The scientists
have proven it, everybody knows it and,
in spite of that, we have to play.
“It is the culture of England. I don’t
mind, but it’s not good for the players,
for the health of the players, and it’s not
good for the game,” said Van Gaal.
Wesley Sneijder's agent has made it clear to Juventus
that it will take 20 million euros for them to sign the
attacking midfielder from Galatasaray, making a deal
look unlikely this winter.
The Bianconeri had reportedly shown an interest in
the former Inter Milan player to strengthen their front
line for the second half of the season, in which they
will be aiming to win a fourth straight Serie A title and
go as far as possible in the Champions League.
However, their hopes of picking him up at a bargain
price have been dashed by the player's agent, who passed
on the Turkish club's valuation via Turkey's Bugun TV.
"Anybody who wants Wesley Sneijder will have to
pay Galatasaray his release clause, which is 20 million
euros," said Guido Albers.
"He's not going to leave for two, five or even 10
million. I've spoken with the club and Galatasaray
have no intention of selling Sneijder, who's extremely happy in Istanbul.
"If anybody does want him, then they will first have
to speak to the club and then with me."
With Juve seemingly unlikely to spend such an
amount for a 30-year-old, they may instead turn their
attention back to Bayern Munich's Xherdan Shaqiri,
who is reportedly on the verge of joining Inter Milan.
The 23-year-old has also attracted attention from
Liverpool having expressed his desire to leave Munich
after making only three starts in the first half of the
Bundesliga season.
(Source: Soccernet)
Muslim women are
fashionable under their
burkas: Countess of Wessex
The Countess of Wessex has spoken out in support of Muslim women who express their fashion sense while wearing
traditional clothes like the burka.
The countess told Harper’s Bazaar magazine women
from the Islamic world
could be stylish and modest
at the same time.
In an interview by the
women’s fashion magazine
ahead of her 50th birthday
on January 20, the countess said that under a burka
there was probably a woman wearing “something really quite fashionable”.
Her comments followed
an event she hosted at
Windsor Castle where she
met representatives from
the organization Islamic
The Countess Of Wessex during a
Fashion Festival.
visit to Bahrain in 2001
She said: “It’s very evident that Muslim women can be fashionable while also retaining their modesty... And it’s a great way of bringing people together, and saying, ‘Look, this is what we’re really like’.
“And what people forget is that underneath the burka
and everything else, there is somebody who is probably
wearing something really quite fashionable.”
In September the countess, in her role as a global ambassador for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award
Foundation, held a dinner at Windsor Castle where she met
Islamic Fashion Festival representatives and a number of designers showcased their clothes.
During the interview the countess revealed that she has
followed the Queen’s lead when it comes to her public life
as a member of the royal family.
(Source: The Telegraph)
Church of England appoints
its first woman bishop
LONDON (Reuters) — The Church of England appointed
its first ever female bishop last Wednesday, overturning
centuries of tradition in a Church that has been deeply
divided over the issue.
It named Reverend Libby Lane as the new Bishop of
Stockport in northern England.
After long and sometimes heated debate, the Church
of England governing Synod voted in July to allow women to become bishops and formally adopted legislation
last month. Women have served as priests in the Church
since 1994.
Macaroni pie
“This wonderful pie is a variation of macaroni and
32 ounces elbow macaroni
3 eggs
3 cups milk
4 cups shredded Cheddar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Bring a large pot of
lightly salted water to a
boil. Add macaroni and
cook for 8 to 10 minutes or
until al dente; drain.
Beat eggs and milk together. Pour half of the cooked macaroni into 9x13 inch
baking dish. Cover macaroni with half of the cheese. Pour
remaining macaroni into baking dish leaving a little room
at the top. Cover with remaining cheese. Pour egg mixture over macaroni. Sprinkle with salt.
Bake in a preheated over for an hour or until a knife
inserted comes out clean.
JANUARY 6, 2015
h t t p : / / w w w . t e h r a n t i m e s . c o m / s o c i e t y
No restriction on
Iranian women’s dress
color: vice president
Women’s Desk only there exists no
No language can express the power and beauty and heroism
of a mother’s love.
Edwin Chapin
restriction or ban on the color of clothes
Iranian women choose it is also recommended that they use colorful garments, says the Iranian vice president
for women and family affairs.
Choosing colorful garments is rooted
in “our national and traditional attire”,
Shahindokht Mollaverdi said while visiting
the Tasnim Festival in Tehran on Monday.
Mollaverdi added the style and color
of Iranian traditional dresses are rooted
in nature.
Choosing the style of Islamic clothing is the right of any Iranian girl, IRNA
quoted Mollaverdi as saying.
From an aesthetics point of view,
different styles and colors of IranianIslamic clothing are presented in the festival, she said.
The Tasnim Festival is aimed at promoting Iranian-Islamic lifestyle and introducing Islamic clothing.
The eight-day festival opened in
Goftegoo Park on Dec 30, 2014.
UK Muslim women face rising hate crimes
LONDON — Amid soaring Islamophobic attacks across Europe, the number of hate crimes targeting Muslim
women in the UK has risen by up to
10% over the past two years, according
to a national project measuring antiMuslim incidents.
“Over the last two years our data
has shown that women suffer more
incidents of hate and they also suffer
more aggressive incidents of hate,”
Fiyaz Mughal, director of Tell Mama,
told Sky News recently.
“The veil seems to delegitimize the
sense of femininity of that person in
the eyes of the perpetrator.
“It seems to become something
they become fixated upon rather than
the individual, the female behind the
veil,” he added.
According to Mughal, the number
of hate crimes targeting Muslim women has witnessed a 5-10% increase over
the last 18 months.
He also said that number of veiled
women reporting hate crime has also
doubled in the last two years.
Yet, Tell Mama couldn’t attribute
this increase either to the soaring incidents or better reporting of the problem.
Muslim women victims are likely to
face “opportunistic” verbal or physical attacks, mostly by men, according
to a research by Tell Mama.
An earlier report by think-tank
Chatham House identified a considerable Islamophobic sentiment in Britain,
detecting a “wide reservoir of public
sympathy for claims that Islam and
the growth of Muslim communities
pose a fundamental threat to the native group and nation.”
A Financial Times opinion poll
showed that Britain is the most suspicious nation about Muslims, estimated by 2.7 million.
A poll of the Evening Standard
found that a sizable section of London
residents harbor negative opinions
about Muslims.
Yasmeen Khalid, from Bromsgrove,
is one of the women who have become an easy target for Islamophobic attacks that intensified in recent
The 21-year-old woman has only reported two hate crime incidents out of
30 different attacks she faced.
“By looking, they instantly know
I’m Muslim... sometimes people call
me a terrorist, sometimes they say
‘Paki’, sometimes someone has called
me ‘Taliban’ or stuff like that,” the
young Muslim woman, who dons a hijab, said.
“Sometimes I walk off humiliated - I
shouldn’t be humiliated but I am humiliated.
“Sometimes I speak up, sometimes
I just cry, go away somewhere, and cry
because I don’t know what to do.”
Another veiled Islamophobia victim, Shalina Litt, from Birmingham,
urged women to report hate crime attacks.
“Actually we are mothers, we are
daughters, we are sisters,” she said
“I really just hope that any mothers, any daughters etc., can speak
to their sons and say actually it’s not
right and we do need to change how
we approach this.”
Despite the rise of the reported
anti-Muslim hate crime, Tell Mama
pointed to the “substantial under reporting” by the Muslim community.
There’s “been an enormous shift
in the language of anti-Muslim hate,”
Mughal said.
“International and national incidents create differences in the way
narratives are set.”
Hundreds of anti-Muslim hate offences have been carried out across
UK in 2013, with Britain’s Metropolitan
police recording an increase of 49%
than 2012.
The Metropolitan Police recorded
500 Islamophobic offences from January to mid-November that year, compared with 336 offences in 2012 and
318 in 2011.
(Source: OnIslam & News Agencies)
More women, minorities in new Congress
WASHINGTON (AP) — The 114th Congress that
convenes today will count more minorities and
women than ever, although lawmakers remain
overwhelmingly white and male in the Republicancontrolled House and Senate.
A record 104 women will serve in Congress, and
for the first time, African-American members of
both genders and representing both parties will
be among the ranks on Capitol Hill.
The number of female lawmakers is up slightly
from 100 at the close of the last Congress, but represents about 20 percent of the total in Congress.
It’s far less than the nearly 51 percent of the U.S.
A total of 96 racial minorities will serve in Congress, about 18 percent.
There are 100 senators and 435 seats in the
The House will have 246 Republicans and 188
Democrats. One seat is vacant following the resignation on Monday of Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y.,
who pleaded guilty to a felony tax evasion charge.
The Senate will have 54 Republicans and 44
Democrats, plus two independents — Maine’s
Angus King and Vermont’s Bernie Sanders. Both
caucus with Democrats.
A total of 84 women will serve in the House,
compared with 80 in the last Congress. The new
lawmakers include Elise Stefanik, a 30-year-old
New York Republican who is the youngest woman
ever elected to the House. Also making history is
Mia Love, 38, whose election to a suburban Salt
Lake City district made her the first black female
Republican to win a seat in Congress.
Forty-four African-Americans will serve in the
House, including Love and another black Republican freshman, Will Hurd of Texas. Hurd made
news last month as he was named chairman of
an Information Technology subcommittee on the
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, an unusual distinction for a freshman.
There are 34 Hispanic lawmakers, including 10
Republicans, as well as 10 Asian-Americans and
two Native Americans, both Oklahoma Republicans.
The number of women in the Senate remains at
20, following the election of Republicans Joni Ernst
of Iowa and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia,
and the defeats of Democrats Kay Hagan of North
Carolina and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. (Re-elected
were Republican Susan Collins of Maine and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.)
Two African-Americans serve as senators — Republican Tim Scott of South Carolina and Democrat
Cory Booker of New Jersey. There are three Hispanic
senators: Republicans Marco Rubio of Florida and
Ted Cruz of Texas and Democrat Robert Menendez
of New Jersey.
Fifty-eight House freshmen will be sworn in on
Tuesday — 43 Republicans and 15 Democrats. Three
other members are new to Congress but are considered veterans of a few weeks. Reps. Dave Brat,
R-Va., Donald Norcross, D-N.J., and Alma Adams,
D-N.C., took the oath shortly after November’s elections to fill the seats of lawmakers who had left Congress.
The Senate will welcome 13 new members —
12 Republicans and one Democrat, Gary Peters of
Nepal announces women-only buses
KATHMANDU (AFP) — Nepal’s capital has
introduced women-only minibuses in a bid
to protect female passengers from sexual assault, the transport operator organizing the
service said on Monday.
Four 17-seater minibuses were flagged off
in Kathmandu with large “women-only” signs
on Sunday and they will operate on key routes
in Kathmandu during morning and evening
rush hour.
“Groping and sexual assault is a problem
for women who use buses, especially during
peak hours when buses are overcrowded,”
said Bharat Nepal, president of the Bagmati
Federation Transport Union, which introduced the service.
“This is our small initiative to make com-
muting safe and secure for female travelers.”
Only one of the buses currently has a female conductor but he said that the goal was
to eventually employ an all-women crew.
In a 2013 World Bank survey, 26 percent of
female respondents aged between 19 and 35
years said they had experienced some form
of sexual assault on public transport in Nepal.
In 2011, a 21-year old Buddhist nun was gang
raped in a bus in eastern Nepal by five men,
including the bus driver.
Complaints about groping prompted authorities in neighboring India to introduce
women-only carriages on the metro system in
the capital New Delhi in 2010.
Four 17-seater minibuses were flagged off in Kathmandu
with large “women-only” signs.
h t t p : / / w w w . t e h r a n t i m e s . c o m / i n t e r n a t i o n a l
JANUARY 6 , 2015
Graham Fuller’s five
Middle East predictions for 2015
Contd. from P. 1
Despite all the hurdles, I feel optimistic about U.S. negotiations with
Iran. Both parties desperately need
success in this regard.
Normalization is ludicrously long
overdue and necessary to the regional
order. Furthermore, Iran and Turkey
are the only two “real” governments
in the region today with genuine governance based on some kind of popular legitimacy—for all their faults.
These two states espouse many of the
aspirations of the people of the region
in ways no Arab leader does. The Persian Gulf [Arab States] will be forced
to accommodate itself to the reality of
a normalized Iran; the two sides have
never really been to war, despite all
the occasional bellicose noises that
have emerge from them periodically
over the past century. Iran is post-revolutionary power with a vision of a truly sovereign Middle East free of western domination– none of the Arab
states truly are. Iran’s influence in the
region will also grow in supporting
growing regional challenges to Israel’s
efforts to keep the Palestinians under
permanent domination.
3- President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
in Turkey will find his influence beginning to crumble in 2015.
After a brilliant prime-ministership for the first decade of AKP
power, he has become mired in corruption charges and has lashed out
in paranoid fashion against any and
all who criticize or oppose his increasingly irrational, high-handed,
and quixotic style of rule. He is in the
process of damaging institutions and
destroying his and his party’s legacy.
I continue to have faith that Turkey’s
broader institutions, however weakened by Erdogan, will nonetheless
suffice to keep the country on a basically democratic and non-violent
track until such time as Erdogan loses public confidence—which could
be sooner rather than later.
4- Russia will play a major role in
diplomatic arrangements in the Middle East, an overall positive factor.
Russia’s ability to play a key diplomatic (and technical) role in resolving the nuclear issue in Iran, and its
important voice and leverage in Syria
Contd. from P. 1
represent significant contributions to
resolution of these two high-priority,
high-risk conflicts that affect the entire region. It is essential that Russia’s
role be accepted and integrated rather than seen as a mere projection of
some neo-Cold War global struggle—a
confrontation in which the West bears
at least as much responsibility as Moscow. The West has insisted on provoking counter-productive confrontation
with Moscow in trying to shoehorn
NATO into Ukraine. Can you imagine
an American reaction to a security
treaty between Mexico and China that
included stationing of Chinese weapons and troops on Mexican soil?
5- The Taliban will make further
advances towards gaining power
within the Afghan government. After 13 years of war in Afghanistan
the U.S. failed to bring stability to
the country as a whole, or to elim-
Contd. from P. 1
The top security official also said
Tehran is strongly determined to
continue its support to Iraq to root out
terrorism in the country.
For his part, al-Hakim elaborated
on the recent political, economic
inate the Taliban as a major factor
in the national power equation. The
Taliban is much more than an Islamist movement; it has in many ways
been a surrogate for nationalist Pashtun power within Afghanistan
(although not accepted as such by
all Pashtun). The Pashtun lost out
big when the Taliban government
was overthrown by the U.S. in 2001;
inclusion of mainstream Taliban
within the new government is essential to future Afghan stability.
The Taliban will seek to strengthen
their power on the ground this year
in order to enhance their powers
of political demand in any possible future negotiations over power
sharing. They cannot be functionally excluded. Desperately needed
stability in Pakistan also depends in
part upon such a settlement.
and security developments in
Given the process of establishing
security in various parts of Iraq, it is
essential to boost Baghdad-Tehran
cooperation to promote the welfare
of the Iraqi people and reconstruct the
Rafsanjani says support for ISIL
shows lack of ‘foresightedness’
In a separate meeting with
Hakim on Monday, Chairman of
the Expediency Council Ayatollah
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said
that some regional countries’
support for the Islamic State
in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)
is a sign of “imprudence” and
He also highlighted the importance
of solidarity and unity among the
20 Turkish police charged in wiretapping probe
Turkish authorities have arrested at least 20 police
officers on suspicion of forging official documents
and illegally eavesdropping on top officials, including
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
On Monday, police carried out raids in eight cities
across Turkey and arrested the policemen.
The arrests come as dozens of serving and former
Turkish police officers have already been detained
over the past few months as part of an investigation
into wiretapping Erdogan and other key individuals,
including businessmen, politicians and government
Many of the police officers arrested are involved
in an anti-government corruption probe and have
been removed from their posts.
Turkey plunged into a political crisis after dozens
of government officials and prominent businessmen
close to then Prime Minister Erdogan were arrested
for inquiry on graft charges on December 17, 2013.
The scandal, which turned into a very serious
challenge to Erdogan’s rule, led to a cabinet reshuffle.
Erdogan denounced the corruption scandal
as well as a string of damaging leaks in the media, saying they were engineered by supporters
of his rival Fethullah Gulen to undermine his
Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the
U.S. state of Pennsylvania since 1999, has repeatedly
denied any involvement.
Turkish security forces stormed the offices of
Samanyolu TV network and Zaman daily newspaper in the metropolitan and port city of Istanbul
on December 14, 2014. Both the television network and the newspaper are said to be close to
On December 19, an Istanbul court issued an arrest warrant for the self-exiled U.S.-based cleric.
(Source: Press TV)
Libyan warplane bombs Greek-operated oil tanker at port, two dead
A Libyan warplane from forces loyal to the internationally recognized
government bombed a Greek-operated oil tanker that had anchored
offshore, killing two crewmen in an
escalation of a battle between the
country’s rival factions.
The air strike on Sunday damaged the Liberian-flagged ARAEVO
that was carrying 12,600 tons of
crude oil when it was off the eastern
port of Derna, the Greek coastguard
and Libyan officials said.
Military officials allied with Libya’s internationally recognized
government said the vessel had
been warned not to enter port and
claimed it had been transporting
militants to the city of Derna.
Greece condemned what it called
an “unprovoked and cowardly” attack and demanded an investigation
and punishment for those responsible.
Bahrain extends opposition
leader’s detention by 15 days
Tehran lauds religious scholars’ wise role in Iraq
In his meeting with al-Hakim on
Monday, Zarif also praised the Iraqi
politicians’ approach in campaign
against terrorism and efforts to boost
national cohesion.
Shamkhani called political and
military unity among Shia and Sunni
forces a “great achievement” in line
with increasing Iraq’s national and
regional power.
Unity is the main the key for
victory over the Takfiris and their
allies who are making efforts to
create division among Muslims,
Shamkhani added.
Three years after the fall of
Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is mired
in a power struggle between two
rival factions of former rebels who
have established competing governments, both claiming legitimacy
and control of vast oil resources.
Athens-based Aegean Shipping
Enterprises Co, which operates the
vessel, said no oil had spilled as a
result of the air strike. The vessel,
which it said had been chartered by
By Mohammed Shurrab
A married
couple from
Gaza standing
in front of their
“house” which
got demolished
by the Israeli
NOC, was loaded at Brega port for
transport to Derna.
Ahmed Bu Zayad Al-Mismari, a
spokesman for the government’s
General Chief of Staff, confirmed
the vessel was attacked by one of it
“The ports of Derna and Benghazi were closed, and we have cautioned all oil tankers not to get close
to these ports.”
The Greek vessel had not let officials know its destination and did not seek Greece
permission, he said.
But an industry source condemned
said it was delivering what it called an
gasoil to power generators that supply “unprovoked
the cities of Derna, and cowardly”
Khoms, Benghazi and attack and
company demanded an
said two members investigation
were killed and two
and punishment
The Greek foreign for those
ministry said it had responsible.
contacted the United
Nations special envoy
for Libya and the European Union.
“The Greek government will
take all the necessary actions towards Libyan authorities - despite
the unrest - so that light is shed on
the tragic incident, the attackers
are identified and punished and
the families of the victims are reimbursed,” it said.
Sunday’s attack also illustrates the
complex task facing U.N. and international mediators trying to a broker an
end a conflict they fear may spillover
its borders and facture Libya.
(Source: Reuters)
Bahrain has been witnessing almost daily protests
against the House of Khalifa since early 2011, when an
uprising began in the tiny Persian Gulf state. Since then,
thousands of protesters have held numerous rallies in
the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power.
(Source: Press TV)
Why Brazil’s
Rousseff is in tears
Contd. from P. 6
Levy’s rise heralds a change from the dirigisme of the
last four years, when bureaucrats tweaked the economy
with fuel price caps, tax breaks and easy money for favored
industries, such as carmakers and meatpackers. The dirigiste-in-chief was Guido Mantega, Rousseff’s finance minister, whose “creative accounting” Levy has pledged to undo.
“It’s important to understand that trying to avert the
slowdown in job creation and GDP growth with more fiscal
expansion, which has been the practice for some time, no
longer has any real traction and would be dangerous,” he
said Jan. 29, in an interview with Valor Economico.
Levy, tellingly, was not Rousseff’s first choice but that
of her political mentor, former president Luiz Inacio Lula
da Silva, who is credited with rescuing her re-election.
Now, with an eye on his own political comeback in 2018,
he is said to be nudging her to the right to salvage the
tanking economy. “This is Lula’s pragmatism,” says Nobrega. “He’s interested in power, not ideology.”
But creator and creature have not always agreed. While
Lula took care to compensate his initial Scrooge-like economics with an activist foreign policy and aggressive social
spending, Rousseff has been less indulgent to the companheiros. In spite of preserving poverty-busting programs,
she has frustrated militant civic groups and now risks alienating unions and public sector employees with cuts to the
loss-making social security and pension system.
Levy is not the only conservative in Rousseff’s new
kitchen. Katia Abreu, a big farm and rancher advocate,
and the bane of Brazilian environmentalists, is in line for
agriculture minister. Armando Monteiro, Rousseff’s pick
for the coveted Development Ministry, was head of the
National Industry Confederation. Neither hails from the
ruling Workers’ Party, which has seen its hold on cabinet
real estate shrink by the day.
To the uninitiated, this may seem as convoluted as a
Brazilian baroque church. Brazil’s elections are won on the
stump, but its governments are made on marble floors,
which tend to expand. Rousseff presides over 39 ministries,
up from 34 in the 1990s, and 16 in the early 1980s.
The Lula government kept the plum jobs for the Workers’ Party and bought congressional support with monthly payoffs to friends of convenience, inventing the mensalao payola scandal.
And during Rousseff’s administration, apparatchiks
greased the wheels with campaign funds skimmed from
supply contracts for the state oil company, giving way to
the Petrolao, a far bigger scam.
Staggered by corruption probes and a feeble economy, Rousseff now faces a second term, having made
aides of enemies and enemies of allies. It’s enough to
bring a leader to tears.
(Source: Bloomberg)
Bangladesh opposition
supporters shot dead
Two activists from the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party have been shot dead in clashes with ruling
party supporters after their leader called for protests on
the first anniversary of elections her party boycotted, police said.
Monday’s clashes came as BNP’s leader Khaleda
Zia remains confined to her office in capital, Dhaka in what is seen as
attempts by the authorities to prevent her from
staging protests.
The two activists were
killed in the northern
town of Natore on Monday morning in what police said were clashes with
Awami League supporters.
The victims were identified as men in their 20s
and shot by assailants on
The attack happened
as authorities stepped
up their siege of Zia’s upmarket Gulshan office, parking
trucks laden with sand and bricks to block the road leading to the office.
Police said the office had been cordoned off “In an effort to step up her security”.
Opposition threat
Rawshan Ershad, the leader of parliamentary opposition, was threatening to withdraw her ministers from the
Ershad made the comments while addressing a news
conference in Dhaka at the parliament building on Monday. It was not clear whether the threat was linked to restrictions placed on Zia.
Local media reported clashes in various parts of the
country that have left dozens injured by rubber bullets
fired by security forces.
(Source: Al Jazeera)
Poem of the day
The waves run high, night is clouded with fears,
And eddying whirlpools clash and roar;
How shall my drowning voice strike their ears
Whose light-freighted vessels have reached the shore?
SINCE 1979
No. 18, Bimeh Lane, Nejatollahi St., Tehran, Iran
P.o. Box: 14155-4843
Zip Code: 1599814713
British-Iranian publisher to
establish literary award
TEHRAN — Candle & Fog, a Britishpublishing house that
publishes translations of Persian works, plans to honor
translators of Iranian works to other languages.
The Candle & Fog
World Literary Award will
be launched next year,
Candle & Fog director Afshin Shahnetabar told the
Persian service of ISAN on
A jury composed of
five non-Iranian professors from the University
of Sydney, the University
of California, Los Angeles
(UCLA), and the University of Rochester will judge
the works, he added.
By establishing the
Candle & Fog director Afshin award, Candle & Fog aims
to find professional translators for rendering Persian books into other languages, Shahnetabar said.
Candle & Fog has published foreign translations of
many Persian books over the past decade.
The English versions of “Democracy or DemoCrazy”
by Mehdi Shojaei, “The Water Urn” by Hushang Moradi
Kermani and “Redfish” by Katayun Riahi were among
the offerings of the company in 2014.
All the books were translated into English by U.S.
translator Caroline Croskery.
The books were put on display at the Frankfurt Book
Fair during October.
Culture D e s k Iranian
Iranian films
to compete in
Indian festival
Afghanistan to
boost media
Several Iranian films will
be competing in the 6th
Jaipur International Film Festival, which will take place in
the northwestern Indian city
from February 1 to 5.
“We Have a Guest” directed by Mohammad-Mehdi
Asgarpur, “Today” by Reza
Mirkarimi and “Bending
Rules” by Behnam Behzadi
will be screened in the main
section of the festival.
“Unclean”, a short film
by Bahman and Bahram Ark,
and “Iranian Ninja”, a documentary film by Marjan Riahi,
will also go on screen at the
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Prayer Times
Printed at: Kayhan - ISSN: 1017-94
Evening: 17:26
Dawn: 5:45 (tomorrow)
Sunrise: 7:15 (tomorrow)
Alim Qasimov says his concerts
promote peace
The renowned
Qasimov, said he performs concerts to bring people
together to promote friendship and peace.
Qasimov made the remarks during a press
conference that he held at Tehran’s Vahdat Hall on
Monday to brief the media about his concerts with
the Tehran Wind Orchestra at the hall on January 11
and 12.
“Any musician across the world, whether I know
him or not, is my friend, because I believe musicians
transfer their thoughts to other people through the
language of art,” he said.
Referring to the Tehran Wind Orchestra, he
continued that the young musicians of the orchestra
and its director Sina Zokaii have encouraged him for
the concert.
He said that the music of his country is very similar
to the music of Iran and the only difference might
be the language, however, the music of the two
countries is so close that more collaboration can be
He added that his daughter Fargana Qasimova
will be beside him in the concert and will accompany
him and share in his works.
D e s k Azerbaijani
poses at
Hall on
January 5,
2015 after
a press
to brief
the media
about his
which will
be held in
Tehran on
11 and 12.
Iranian scholars invited to seminar on cultural exchange in New Delhi
TEHRAN — Iranian
D e s k scholars have been
invited to an international seminar on
cultural exchange on antiquity, to be
held in the Indian capital of New Delhi
from January 7 to 9.
Scholars Dariush Akbarzadeh,
Fariba Sharifian, Katayun Fekripur
and Azadeh Heidarpur are scheduled
to attend the three-day seminar,
which has been organized by the
Center for Community Knowledge
and the Ambedkar University Delhi.
archaeologists, historians, linguists,
epigraphers, art historians and
historians of science and technology
are expected to attend the seminar
entitled “Cross Cultural Knowledge
Exchange in Antiquity: Interactions
between Greece, Iran, India and
The seminar seeks to offer a
unified perspective on the mutual
By Abuzar Ahmadizadeh/ IRNA
Iranian and Chinese cultures in the
wider Indian domain in the period
of antiquity, the university has
announced on its website.
It also hopes to achieve further
collaboration among ancient Indian,
Iranian, Chinese and Greek studies.
Early films of
Bahram Beizaii,
Shapur Gharib
screened at IAF
Iran’s Deputy Culture Minister for Press Affairs Hossein
Entezami and Afghanistan’s
Deputy Minister of Information and Culture Simin Hassanzada have discussed ways
to expand bilateral media cooperation.
The two met on Sunday
and held talks on reinforcing
cultural and media ties, and
proposed the establishment
of a union for Persian-speaking agencies in the future.
A worker prepares a mixture of clay and straw for the restoration of the Beiglarbeigi House, a 19-century structure located near the southern Iranian
city of Kerman, on January 4, 2015. Traditionally, Iranians used a mixture of clay and straw to cover the roofs and parts of the façade of their buildings.
Islamic Libraries in other
countries distribute Razavi
Italian singer-songwriter Pino Daniele
dies of heart attack at 59
TEHRAN — The top writer in the seventh festival of
Razavi book of the year Dr. Morteza Enferadi stated
we should establish Imam Reza Libraries in other
countries of the world to distribute Razavi culture.
Stressing the need for communication with other
libraries around the world he said we should invite
foreign scholars to attend the related festival and
ease the international students traveling to Iran and
vice versa.
He stated library of Astan Quds Razavi is one of
the best libraries in the world. “The seventh festival
of Razavi book of the year was a positive step in
the publication Education Department and the
assessment to hold it by the Central Library of Astan
Quds Razavi confirmed as one of the world’s top
libraries,” he added.
He said the importance of introducing the
character and teachings of Imam Reza and related
effects is considered to be essential in this festival.
Mentioning his top work in this festival he explained
this book has two parts, the first section titled as
“the Season of Prayer” to express the importance of
prayer in Islam and in the second part the types of
prayers of Imam Reza is discussed.
ROME (Reuters) — Pino Daniele,
one of Italy’s most popular singersongwriters, who fused the musical
traditions of his native Naples with
jazz and blues, has died of a heart
attack at age 59, his agent said on
Daniele was born and raised in the
tough, crime-infested Sanita neighborhood of Naples and drew on that
experience to tinge his love songs
with themes of poverty and injustice.
From humble beginnings, the selftaught guitarist went on to play with
greats such as Eric Clapton, Richie Havens, Pat Metheny and Chick Corea.
His band was once the opening act
for a historic concert in Milan by Bob
Naples Mayor Luigi de Magistris
ordered flags on city buildings to be
flown at half-mast and declared a
day of mourning for the man whose
melancholic, nasal voice made him in-
stantly recognizable to millions.
“I still have his music in my ears,”
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said.
“He had an incredible voice ... his guitar playing was precious and he had
a rare sensitivity that was tinged with
passion and melancholy that will continue to tell the story of our country
to the whole world.”
Daniele, who often sang in a mix
of Italian, Neapolitan dialect and English, studied accounting in high school
but decided early on he wanted to be
a musician.
He made his debut album “Terra
Mia” (My Land) in 1977. In it, he
spoke of the hope and despair of his
city, home to the Camorra organized
crime group.
Just four years later, his success
was crowned when he drew some
200,000 fans to an outdoor concert
in one of the southern city’s biggest
TEHRAN — Three
D e s k films from the early
works of the Iranian directors Bahram
Beizaii and Shapur Qarib were screened
during a program at the cinematheque
of the Iranian Artists Forum (IAF) Monday.
“The Journey” (1969) and “Uncle
Mustache” (1970) by Beizaii, and “Wooden Guns” (1975) by Shapur were selected
to be screened during the program.
“The Journey” tells the story of two
poor boys who search for their father by
a journey from downtown to uptown.
The two hungry boys are forced to
move through the events, people and
unrealistic and risky places in a nightmarish way.
“Uncle Moustache” is about an emotional relationship developed between
an old man who has rested heartsick in
his solitude for years, and the children
who are joyous by nature.
“Wooden Guns” revolves around the
simple life of children who live in a train
station, until the family buys a TV set,
which leads to several problems.
“Hobbit” takes third straight win at U.S.,
Canada box office
NEW YORK (Reuters) — The last of
Peter Jackson’s three “Hobbit” films
rode to a third straight weekend atop
box office charts, selling an estimated
$21.9 million in tickets at U.S. and
Canadian theaters.
Disney’s film version of the dark
Broadway musical “Into the Woods”
claimed the No. 2 spot with $19.1
million, while the World War Two
drama “Unbroken”, directed by
Angelina Jolie, finished third with
$18.4 million for the Friday through
Sunday period.
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the
Five Armies” grabbed another
$9.3 million from New Year’s Day
screenings for a four-day take
through Sunday of $31.2 million, and
has a domestic total of $220.8 million
since its Dec. 17 release, according
to estimates from tracking firm
The new year’s first weekend
numbers spelled some welcome
news for film studios, with total
ticket sales up 8.4 percent from
2014’s initial weekend.
The weekend’s sole new release,
horror film “The Woman in Black
2: Angel of Death”, opened in
fourth place with $15.1 million,
while another sequel, “Night At
The Museum: Secret of the Tomb”
rounded out the top five with $14.5
million in ticket sales.
directorial effort, tells the reallife story of Olympic runner Louis
Zamperini’s two years as a prisoner
of war in Japan.
“Into The Woods”, an adaptation
of Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway
musical that puts a spin on children’s
fairy tales, stars Meryl Streep, Emily
Blunt and Johnny Depp and has
grossed $91.2 million since opening
on Christmas Day.