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Archive for August 2011

NASA launches Juno mission to Jupiter

August 5, 2011 - UNITED STATES

An Atlas 5 rocket blasts off from Cape Canaveral in Florida carrying Juno, a probe bound for Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System. The 5-year mission is expected to unlock the mysteries of the planet. It will penetrate Jupiter’s clouds and massive storms, visible from Earth, for clues to how Jupiter and the Solar System were formed. Soundings from Juno, 3000 miles above the pole, are expected to reveal the planet’s composition and structure, and particularly whether water is present.

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Former president Hosni Mubarak, sons, on trial

August 3, 2011 - CAIRO

The Egyptian attorney general’s office has announced that Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak, his sons Gamal and Alaa and businessman Hussein Salem will be tried on Aug 3 on charges of intentional murder, attempted murder of demonstrators, abuse of power to intentionally waste public funds and unlawfully profiting from public funds for them and for others. The trial will make the 83-year-old Mubarak the first Arab head of state to be tried after having been overthrown by his own people. It was also seen by many as a capitulation to the growing frustration with the pace of reforms under Egypt’s new military leadership. But continuing protests suggest the democracy drama is set to play out for some time.

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Kabul sets deadline for bids on its ore deposits

August 3, 2011 - AFGHANISTAN

Afghanistan expects enough gains in security from the surge in foreign military efforts to set the Aug 3 target date for iron mining bids. In January it invited 22 companies, including 15 from India, to bid for the development of the Hajigak iron ore deposits, described as a high-quality ore vein and the largest un-mined iron deposit in Asia. Kabul said it expected exploration to begin in 2012 and production two years later. The government sees the value of the iron reserves as some US $350 billion. The deposit was first discovered by British geologists in the 1890s, and mapped in more detail by Russians in the 1960s, who estimated it held some 1.8 billion metric tons of ore. Thirty years of invasion, civil war and insurgency have meant the ore, containing an estimated 62 per cent iron, has never been exploited commercially. Exploiting the deposit 80 miles west of Kabul is a cornerstone of plans to build up the Afghan economy and defeat the Taliban-led insurgency, according to the government.

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Canadian forces stage show of force in disputed region

August 1, 2011 - ARCTIC

Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay recently described Operation Nanook 11 as the largest operation that has taken place in recent history. The now-annual Canadian military exercises in the Arctic were established to buttress Canada’s claim to part of the Arctic sea floor where Russian and Canadian claims overlap. Russia is establishing permanent military bases in its northern territories to support its claim, and all five Arctic nations are racing to gather data to support their claims amid reports that global warming could leave the resource-rich region ice-free and accessible by 2030. The United States Geological Survey says the Arctic seabed could hold 13 per cent of the world’s oil reserves and 30 per cent of its gas resources. The rival nations are Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States. In 2012 the data from each will go before a United Nations panel that will decide which nations own which sections of the Arctic seabed.

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South Africa hosts 2011 World Methodist Council, Conference

August 1, 2011 - DURBAN

The World Methodist Conference, held every five years, meets for the 20th time. The conference theme, Jesus Christ – for the Healing of the Nations, suggests the gathering could tackle the question posed in the Nov 2010 World Methodist Council newsletter: Why is it that every year we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace and yet there is no lasting peace? A recently handwritten transcription of the King James Bible, which celebrates its 400th anniversary in 2011, could be on show. The 19th World Methodist Conference, in 2006 in Seoul, made what it describes as history by formally adopting the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Lutheran World Federation adopted the document, regarded as a milestone in ecumenism, in 1999. It brings Methodists in broad agreement with Lutherans and Roman Catholics on certain aspects of Christian doctrine.

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Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial dedicated

August 1, 2011 - WASHINGTON DC

A hard won memorial honoring slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. will be unveiled near the place on the National Mall where he made his famous I have a dream speech on 28 Aug 1963. The first memorial on the Mall honoring an African-American, it features a 28-foot statue of King and a wall of quotations from his writings and speeches. President Barak Obama will deliver the dedication speech. King’s 1963 speech drew some 200,000 civil rights activists to the Mall.

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