China’s government gave hero’s praise on Monday to a senior engineer on its aircraft carrier programme who died of a heart attack after witnessing the first landing of a plane on the ship, underscoring the project’s huge national prestige.
State broadcaster CCTV ran news of Luo Yuan’s death as its first item on the noon news broadcast, an unusual honour for a scientist who was previously unknown outside of the carrier programme. Luo, 51, oversaw the development of the J-15 fighter-bomber planes designated for the ship, which is called Liaoning after the province where it is based.
The coverage illustrates the priority Beijing has placed on the programme, seen as representing China’s rise from poverty to economic and political might over the past three decades. The carrier was built in the former Soviet Union and is seen as a test platform for future Chinese-built vessels.
Few details were available about Luo, who died on Sunday. A man who answered the phone at his employer, Shenyang Aircraft, confirmed his death but declined to give details. The company produces the bulk of China’s modern military jets - many of them, like the J-15, derived from Russian models.
Chinese academics assigned to signature government projects such as the carrier are often under enormous pressure, and stress is considered among the biggest killers of the country’s intellectuals. China overcame major technical hurdles to make the carrier seaworthy after buying the half-completed hulk from the Ukraine and towing it to China, minus its engines, weaponry and navigation systems.
Technology is always looking for ways to make it easier to be green. Now, researchers in New York state report creating a new long-lived catalyst that uses the energy in sunlight to generate hydrogen gas, a carbon-free fuel. With further improvements, the advance could lead to systems that use sunlight to split water molecules, generating a fuel that can power cars and trucks without emitting any greenhouse gases.
The idea of using sunlight to convert water into a fuel may sound fanciful. But plants do it: They capture photons of sunlight and use that energy to split water molecules into their constituents of hydrogen and oxygen ions. Pairs of hydrogen ions are then knitted together with a pair of electrons (swiped from the oxygen ions) to make hydrogen molecules (H2).
Researchers have actually mimicked this same reaction for many years, but the catalysts they use to do so have been either too expensive or too quick to break down. So the search has been on for cheaper, more rugged catalysts.
To do the job, researchers usually look for two key ingredients: a good light absorber and a good catalyst. The light absorber captures photons of sunlight and then harnesses the energy to generate the energetic electrons. Those energized electrons are then passed to the catalyst, which knits the hydrogen ions into H2.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has expressed strong reservations after Ankara said it would request that NATO deploy Patriot missiles along the Turkey-Syria border.
Lavrov iterated Russia’s concerns about plans to deploy Patriot missile systems on Turkish territory in a telephone conversation with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
“Anders Fogh Rasmussen informed [Lavrov] about the situation related to Turkey’s request that NATO deploy Patriot air defense missiles on its territory. Lavrov reiterated Russia’s concerns about the plans to step up the military potential in the region and the proposal on establishing a direct communication line between Ankara and Damascus to avoid incidents,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement it published on its website following the conversation.
Earlier, Lavrov used a theatrical metaphor to drive home Russia’s concern over the increased militarization of the region.
“Our concerns are rooted in the ‘Chekhov’s gun syndrome’ that says that if a gun appears on stage in the first act it will definitely fire by the third,” he said.
A rift between IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and Eurozone finance ministers over whether to grant Greece a two-year extension to meet fiscal targets has delayed release of a 31.1 billion euro loan installment as Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said the country is running out of cash fast.
After talks broke down in Brussels following a 12-hour meeting Thursday (November 21st), Samaras, who had pushed through parliament a wildly-unpopular 13.5 billion euro spending cut and tax hike plan ordered by international lenders, complained Greece had kept up its end of the bargain.
“Greece did what it had committed it would do. Our partners, together with the IMF, also have to do what they have taken on to do,” Samaras said. “Any technical difficulties in finding a solution do not justify any negligence or delays.”
He added, “It is not just Greece but the whole of the Eurozone that depends on our partners’ decisions.”
Security officials say rioters have stormed a Muslim Brotherhood headquarters building in northern Egypt, and a teenage protester was killed.
It was the first death in three days of street battles after a power grab by the country’s president.
A 15-year-old died and 40 people were injured in the clash between protesters and police late Sunday in the town of Damanhoor in the Nile delta, according to security officials. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.
The demonstrators are protesting Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s decree granting himself immunity from judicial review as well as other measures neutralizing the judges.
Egypt’s stock market plummeted nearly 10 percent on Sunday, the first day of trading since Morsi’s assumption of extra powers.
Morsi will meet senior judges on Monday to try to ease a crisis over his seizure of new powers which has set off violent protests reminiscent of last year’s revolution which brought him to power.
Egyptian share prices plunged the most in over a year on Sunday as renewed protests, sparked by President Mohammad Mursi’s decision to grant himself sweeping new powers, unnerved investors already jittery about the prospects for the country’s economy.
Divisions in Egypt have deepened over the past few days as thousands of people have mounted competing demonstrations backing and opposing President Mursi’s controversial decrees, issued late Thursday, which consolidate his power and sideline the judiciary.
The benchmark EGX-30 Index closed down 9.6 per cent at 4917.73 on Sunday, wiping out the modest gains of last week that followed the signing of a preliminary agreement on a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. It was the biggest daily decline in Egyptian shares since the immediate aftermath of the revolution that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
“There is short-term sentiment to worry about, but also a medium term impact to fundamentals,” said Mike Millar, head of research at Cairo-based Naeem Brokerage.
Markets are concerned that the renewed protests could delay the arrival of much-needed financing from the IMF and other donors, and could prolong the political uncertainty which has paralysed decision-making on economic issues since the revolution.
“In the very short term, investors should seek protection in defensives, or stock with little Egypt exposure. There are also a handful of stocks traded on the EGX that derive little or none of their revenue from inside Egypt,” Millar said.
Egypt’s economy has been hurt badly by a sharp drop in tourism and foreign investment since the revolution. Prior to this, the country was long viewed as an emerging-market star, with rapid expansion fuelled by decades of stability and the Mideast’s largest population.
The Florida sheriff’s office that investigated Caylee Anthony’s death confirmed Sunday that it overlooked a computer search for suffocation methods made from the little girl’s home on the day she was last seen alive.
Orange County sheriff’s Capt. Angelo Nieves said the office’s computer investigator missed a June 16, 2008, Google search for “fool-proof” suffocation methods. The agency’s admission was first reported by Orlando television station WKMG. It’s not known who performed the search. The station reported it was done on a browser primarily used by the 2-year-old’s mother, Casey Anthony, who was acquitted of the girl’s murder in 2011.
Anthony’s attorneys argued during trial that Casey Anthony helped her father, George Anthony, cover up the girl’s drowning in the family pool.
WKMG reports that sheriff’s investigators pulled 17 vague entries only from the computer’s Internet Explorer browser, not the Mozilla Firefox browser commonly used by Casey Anthony. More than 1,200 Firefox entries, including the suffocation search, were overlooked.
Whoever conducted the Google search looked for the term “fool-proof suffication,” misspelling “suffocation,” and then clicked on an article about suicide that discussed taking poison and putting a bag over one’s head.
The browser then recorded activity on the social networking site MySpace, which was used by Casey Anthony but not her father.
It was a brazen and surprisingly long-lived scheme, authorities said, to help aspiring public school teachers cheat on the tests they must pass to prove they are qualified to lead their classrooms.
For 15 years, teachers in three Southern states paid Clarence Mumford Sr. — himself a longtime educator — to send someone else to take the tests in their place, authorities said. Each time, Mumford received a fee of between $1,500 and $3,000 to send one of his test ringers with fake identification to the Praxis exam. In return, his customers got a passing grade and began their careers as cheaters, according to federal prosecutors in Memphis.
Authorities say the scheme affected hundreds — if not thousands — of public school students who ended up being taught by unqualified instructors.
Mumford faces more than 60 fraud and conspiracy charges that claim he created fake driver’s licenses with the information of a teacher or an aspiring teacher and attached the photograph of a test-taker. Prospective teachers are accused of giving Mumford their Social Security numbers for him to make the fake identities.
The hired-test takers went to testing centers, showed the proctor the fake license, and passed the certification exam, prosecutors say. Then, the aspiring teacher used the test score to secure a job with a public school district, the indictment alleges. Fourteen people have been charged with mail and Social Security fraud, and four people have pleaded guilty to charges associated with the scheme.
Mumford “obtained tens of thousands of dollars” during the alleged conspiracy, which prosecutors say lasted from 1995 to 2010 in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Morsy Edict Divides Egypt but Unifies Opponents, Critics and Observers Say
Critics call Morsy a dictator acting in Mubarak’s footsteps
Morsy declared last week no court can overturn his decisions
Experts say it is dividing society, but unifying his opponents
They say his moves are intended to strengthen Islamists
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy’s decree last week giving him a host of new powers has divided society, but it has also unified opposition groups that fear any moves toward Islamic rule, critics and observers said Sunday.
Morsy assures his people that his moves are only temporary and intended to clear the political obstacles posed by remnants of the old regime. An order banning courts from overturning any decisions he has made or will make in the next six months, Morsy says, will last only until a new constitution is put together.
His critics, however, say Morsy has made himself into a dictator — and that dictators can’t be trusted.
“We, as citizens, no longer have safeguards for our freedoms and rights,” Amr Hamzawy, a former member of parliament and a member of Egypt’s Freedom Party, told CNN on Sunday.
Anger over Morsy power grab Egypt’s Morsy praised, now protested Egyptian protesters battle police Morsy using “language of a dictator”
Even if Morsy stays true to his word and rescinds the decree after the constitution is finalized, he will have managed to consolidate more power, said Eric Trager, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
“By the time you get that new constitution, it will have been written by an Islamist-dominated assembly that all non-Islamists have completely abandoned, and the new parliamentary elections will likely exclude members of the former ruling party who posed the greatest threat to his authority,” Trager told CNN.