Washington area subway train poster - G Orwell would be lovin' it.
Saturday, June 11, 2005
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Ocean Power Delivery (OPD) will deploy unique sausage-shaped tubes off Povoa de Varzim ,Portugal creating the world's first commercial wave power plant, providing electricity to 1,500 homes from 2006.
Ocean Power Delivery (OPD) will build the wave farm about five kilometers (3.1 miles) off Portugal's northern coast, near Povoa de Varzim, OPD's Norwegian backer Norsk Hydro said.
Portuguese Enersis SGPS, part of the Semapa Corporation, is one of Portugal’s leading renewable energy companies with 100MW of mini hydro, 500MW of wind farms under operation/construction and a further 500MW under development.
They will install three wave power generation units with capacity of 2.25 for 8 million euros ($10.12 million), but the project could be expanded significantly
OPD's Pelamis P-750 wage energy converter is an elongated metal unit that looks like a big semi-submerged sausage, with hinged segments that rock with the sea, up and down and side to side, pumping fluid to hydraulic motors that drive generators. Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, OPD (www.oceanpd.com) has been developing the Pelamis technology for the past 7 years. Supported by the UK DTI and its investors including Norsk Hydro Technology Ventures, Sustainable Asset Management, the Carbon Trust and 3i plc, the prototype for the Portuguese machines was launched in February 2004 and is currently under test at European Marine Energy Centre, Orkney, Scotland
The power produced by the generators is fed into underwater cables and brought to land where it enters the power grid.
A 120-meter (394-foot) long prototype has been tested since February 2004 in the Orkney Islands. Norsk Hydro, the energy and aluminum group, owns 16 percent of OPD.
"The farm will...displace more than 6,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions that would otherwise be produced by conventional hydrocarbon-fueled power plants," Hydro said. Carbon dioxide is the main gas widely blamed for global warming.
A typical 30MW installation would occupy a square kilometre of ocean and provide sufficient electricity for 20,000 homes. Twenty of these farms could power a city such as Edinburgh says their website This project benefits from a special feed in tariff established by the Portuguese Government to support wave energy. The initial phase is also supported by the Demtec programme with a €1.25m grant provided by the Agência de Inovação
The deal with Enersis includes a letter of intent for a further 30 Palamis wave machines for a total of 20 megawatts before the end of 2006, subject to satisfactory performance by the initial installation, Hydro said.
"If all goes well, many additional sites producing up to a total several hundred MW could be developed along the coast," Norsk Hydro said although no costings are available for the production of electricity yet.
"We see this order as just the first step in developing the Portuguese market, which is anticipated to be worth up to a billion euros over the next 10 years," OPD Managing Director Richard Yemm said in the statement.
OPD is also in talks with Scottish Power, which has shown interest in installing a wave farm in the UK.
The European Union requires 22 percent of electricity consumption to come from renewable energy sources -- such as solar, wind and wave -- by 2010. 6% of European total demand is currently met by so called renewables.
Enersis is a unit of Portuguese cement company Semapa.
Norsk Hydro's partners in Edinburgh-based OPD are investors Sustainable Asset Management, the Carbon Trust and 3i plc. The firm also has financial support from the UK energy ministry.
A number of Portuguese organisations are currently involved in the project. These
include the Agência Portuguesa para o Investimento - API , Portuguese Wave Energy Centre , Instituto Hidrografico , and INETI .
The order follows high profile meetings held recently between British and Portuguese officials at the British Embassy in April. These were attended by the UK government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir David King, who highlighted the need for immediate action to tackle the potential impacts of climate change.
Sunday, June 05, 2005
Swiss voters go to the polls today to vote to end passport checks on the country's border by 2007 (i.e join the Shengen Agreement).
They also have the chance to vote on whether to allow registration of same-sex partnerships, allowing them many of the same rights as married heterosexual couples.
Opinion polls indicated a majority of voters support the measure, which would mean that registered same-sex couples are treated the same as married couples for tax and pensions purposes.
Jack Straw is scheduled to arrive in USsrael on Tuesday afternoon for a 2 day visit to USsrael and the PA to "take the pulse of the region" before Britain's assumes Presidency of EU on July 1. He is also expected to visit other countries in the region.Israeli Channel One announced Sunday(5th June) that US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice AKA "The Whore on terror", will visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority as part of a Middle East tour later this month prior to Sharon meeting Abbas at the end of the month.
USsrael will issue instructions to Straw on 4 main topics :
What is the betting Jack tells them to fuck off out of the Left Bank, bag and baggage, get rid of their nuclear weapons, stop arming China, interfering in Romania, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and start behaving towards the Arab population of Israel as though they were humans ? .. don't hold your breath.
Definitely not on the agenda will be discussion of the Israeli Navy detecting a sub snooping off its shores on November 9th which belonged to the American navy and was on a spy mission, which USsraeli Channel Two TV reported today.
The Navy had detected the submarine after it had penetrated two nautical miles into USsrael's territorial waters, about 18 kilometers from shore.
The Navy followed the submarine for a few hours, but the moment it took active measures to close in on the submarine, it quickly turn and headed back to international waters.United States has increased U.S. satellite monitoring of Israel to determine military movements, import and export of weapons and weapons tests. The Americans have also expanded the interception of signals communications from Israeli government and military facilities.(Remember the "USS Liberty")
January 2005 , approx 41,000 permanent resident aliens were in the United States armed forces - 3,639 Mexicans. The Mexicans arethe largest group among the 63 immigrants who have been killed in action in Iraq, say the Pentagon
Private Fonseca, who on Jan. 17 took a sniper's bullet in the stomach while patrolling in Ramadi, is only are accorded citizenship after death..
When they buried Private Fonseca on Feb. 2 in Mexico , an officer from the United States Army gingerly handed the flag that had covered his coffin to his teenage wife. Then a group of mariachis, including his father-in-law, belted out the classic "México Lindo y Querido" as they lowered the casket.
"Beloved and beautiful Mexico, if I die far from you, just say that I'm sleeping and bring me back to you," they sang.
Pic .Private Fonseca’s wife, Marlene Zaragoza, at home in Mexico NYT
Kazakhstan , hosted high level visitors including Turkish Prime Minister Recept Tayyip Erdogan who met Kazakh Prime Minister Daniyal Akhmetov for talks focused on expanding trade ties and cooperating in the fight against terrorism and organized crime. Ukrainian President Vladimir Yushchenko met with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, who said that Kazakhstan might be willing to become a "shareholder" in a project to extend Ukraine's Odessa-Brody pipeline to Gdansk in order to gain access to the Baltics. Nazarbaev also attended the “opening” of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline in Baku on 25 May. And while Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have yet to finalize an agreement on exports of Kazakh oil through the BTC, Prime Minister Akhmetov noted that Kazakhstan plans eventually to pump 30 million tons of oil each year through the newly inaugurated pipeline.
In Kyrgistan Acting President Kurmanbek Bakiev addressed a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna, urging donor states to boost investment and grant-based support for Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia. Back in Bishkek, the OSCE opened its election-observer mission in preparation for the 10 July presidential election in Kyrgyzstan. The plight of some 500 Uzbek asylum seekers in Kyrgyzstan continued to concern rights organizations, which urged the Kyrgyz government not to repatriate them.
Rumours over the possibility of a new military base in Osh, variously reported as Russian, Chinese, or affiliated with the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) or the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Acting President Bakiev told a Russian newspaper that a base could appear within the framework of the CSTO or SCO, but other officials downplayed the idea.
The Kyrgyz government has hired international lawyers to track down foreign properties or businesses owned by Askar Akaev or those close to the ex-president, who was overthrown during an uprising in late March.
A state commission headed by acting Vice PM Daniyar Usenov has been probing the Akaev family finances in Kyrgyzstan since April 19.
So far, 114 criminal cases have been opened against companies connected with the Akaevs and their inner circle, though the ex-president has not been directly named. “If one calculates the damage done to the country from illegal privatisation, tax avoidance, non-payment of duties, illegal seizure of business from businessmen, in all areas, I would assess this at billions of soms,” said Usenov.
In Sunny Tajikistan, Ghaffor Mirzoev, former head of Tajikistan's Drug Control Agency and the presidential guard, faced 73 charges under 33 articles of the Criminal Code, including murder and terrorism, even as prosecutors extended the investigation period of his case for a sixth time (until 6 July). President Rakhmonov re-appointed General Rustam Nazarov to head the Drug Control Agency on 9 August who held the post before Mirzoev.
In November Tajikistan's Supreme Economic Court
lower court transferring ownership of a meat-processing plant, casino,
and store from Abdurasul Mirzoev, the brother Ghaffor Mirzoev, to the state..
Ghaffor Mirzoev is currently in jail awaiting trial on murder
and corruption charges.
Rumours have circulated in Dushanbe that a military coup is in the planning stages. Some troops in the capital have been placed on higher alert. Mirzoev is reported previously as saying he “will not take up arms, and I will not go against the people”.
A court sentenced seven members of the Bayat group to long jail terms for murder, assault, and robbery. The group had initially been presented as a religious extremist organization, but a prosecutor said that the investigation showed that it was instead an organized-crime group.
Over 83 percent of the country's 6.5 million inhabitants live below the national poverty line, according to the World Bank, while a full 17 percent are considered destitute.
"HIV/AIDS is on the rise in Tajikistan," Azamdjon Mirzoev, the director of the republican centre for AIDS prevention in, Dushanbe the Tajik capital.
As of February 2004, of the total 152 officially registered cases, 33 were recorded in January 2004 alone, Mirzoev said, warning that the real number could be 20 times the official figure.
With the first official case of HIV / AIDS was registered in 1991, 7 in 2000, 34 in 2001, 32 in 2002 and 42 in 2003.
But such a sharp increase in the number of cases registered was partly due to a lack of testing equipment. "Our laboratory hadn't worked from January 2002 until the middle of 2003 because we didn't have testing systems," Mirzoev explained. As for the root causes of the problem, Mirzoev cited illicit drug trafficking as one of the primary factors exacerbating the situation. "Before 1991 most of the drug addicts in Tajikistan were smoking hashish but after the borders became more open, heroin trafficking kicked off," he said, adding that based on some unconfirmed reports some seven to 14 mt of heroin was being kept on the Afghan border ready to be shipped via Tajikistan.
TB's hold on Central Asia strengthened after the break-up of the Soviet Union, and both incidence and mortality rates have increased alarmingly since the mid-1990s. A shortage of drugs and trained medical staff, and inadequate detection and diagnosis has contributed, along with poverty, poor living standards, poor nutrition and immune defences brought low by a general poor standard of health.
Beset by civil war for much of the 1990s, Tajikistan has suffered abominably. The World Health Organization put the incidence at 127 per 100,000 in 2001 and anticipated it would rise to 170 by 2004, one of the highest rates in the world.
Financial checks are now being carried out on the bulk of foreign NGOs organisations operating within the republic. And the Tajik interior ministry now requires foreign embassies and international organisations to inform it of the date and topic of any meetings with local NGOs, political parties and journalists, claiming that “their activity threatens the information security of the country and does not match the requirements of the development strategy for Tajik society".
The head of the United States National Democratic Institute, (AKA State dept. / CIA) which supports the development of political parties and debate, was refused an entry visa, and the organisation’s local office had difficulty in becoming registered. Internews is also said to be facing pressure from the authorities.
In Uzbekistan violence in Andijon continued to ripple through Uzbekistan. Human rights groups warned of a crackdown amid reports of arrests and harassment. (Pic - white gold of Uzbekistan - your next T shirt)
U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan John Purnell was present at a press conference in the Embassy cellars (Tashkent) on Friday, with delegation comprising Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and John Sununu.
Senator John McCain (Arizona) the senior Senator on the trip led the criticism. Calling the events in Andijon "shocking but not unexpected," McCain urged the Uzbek government to heed international calls for an independent investigation into the killings.
McCain recommended that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), of which Uzbekistan is a member, conduct that investigation and added that the U.S. government could not continue to enjoy good ties with Uzbekistan under the current circumstances.
"We believe there should be a complete investigation conducted by the OSCE and I believe that the United States must make the [Uzbek] government understand that a relationship is very difficult, if not impossible, if a government continues to repress its people," he said. "And history shows continued repression of human rights leads to tragedy such as the one that just took place."
Senator Sununu (New Hampshire) emphasized that the Uzbek government seemed to be backtracking on pledges of reform. Sununu said that compared to his first visit to Uzbekistan about three years ago, the situation in the country seemed worse now.
"At that time [three years ago] I think a lot of people were optimistic that there may be the beginnings of real reform or change in the country," Sununu said. "But today, I think the degree of economic and political repression we see is almost certainly greater."
"Of course, I am concerned about the impact of all these on the U.S.-Uzbek relations," he said. "There's no question about it. We will continue to urge Uzbek authorities to consider an international investigation. As the senator rightly points out, we think the OSCE is an excellent vehicle to participate in that kind of investigation."
The U.S. is in constant dialogue with the Uzbek authorities. However, Purnell said, the Andijon events "will undoubtedly have a real impact" on U.S.-Uzbek relations. He did not provide any other details.
The U.S. currently has hundreds of troops stationed at a military base at Dushanbe in Uzbekistan as part of the international coalition fighting terrorism in neighboring Afghanistan. So Washington has proven sympathetic to the Uzbek government's battle against what Tashkent calls religious extremists.
The news conference was attended by representatives of four Uzbek opposition groups whom the Government refuse to meet or negotiate with.
The three senators went on to Kyrgyzstan as they continued a regional (See previous post re departure of US and USraeli Embassy staff and families)
Meanwhile, President Karimov enjoyed a warm reception on a visit to China. Before leaving, he strongly rebuffed appeals for an independent investigation about Anijon killings. In China he signed a treaty on "friendly and cooperative partnership" and signed a deal for a $600-million oil joint venture.
The U.S. State Department designated the Islamic Jihad Group a terrorist organization, describing it as a splinter group of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and blaming it for a series of bombings and shootouts in Bukhara and Tashkent in March-April 2004 that claimed 47 lives. (see previous posts)
sniff...snifff... sumthin' in the wind. Watch this space
Israel is removing embassy staff and families from Uzbekistan
Staff at the Israeli embassy in Uzbekistan and their families have been instructed to leave the country owing to heightened security concerns, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev told The Associated Press Friday. He gave no further details.
Haaretz said only ambassador Ami Mel and security guards were left on station in the capital, Tashkent.
The stories I’ve seen about the US embassy all say that some staff and all families are allowed to leave, but I certainly trust the information I’ve posted here that says families must leave.
Staff at the Israeli embassy staff in Uzbekistan and families have been instructed to leave. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev told AP. He gave no further details.
The US State Department on Thursday warned of potential terrorist attacks in Uzbekistan and gave permission for some if its embassy staff and their families to leave the country. The statement named the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, al-Qaida, the Islamic Jihad Union and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement as among the groups active in the region.
Sounds like Mr K is going to get some heavy back up from his Friends in the War on Terror from the Whore on Terror in the State department.