Archive for the ‘World news’ Category

France’s Interior Minister: ‘1/3 of Terrorists Suffer From Mental Disorders”

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

France’s interior minister says the government wants to involve psychiatrists in preventing attacks like the one in which a mentally unstable man drove into two Marseille bus stops, killing a woman, reported the Washigton Post.

Gerard Collomb said on Tuesday that about one-third of the thousands of people on a French watch list for radicalization are known to have psychological problems.

He said on television station BFM-TV, “We need to protect ourselves.”

Collomb didn’t provide details of how psychiatrists would be drawn into averting attacks.

He cited the 35-year-old man who rammed a van into the bus stops about 5 kilometers (3 miles) apart on Monday.

 Authorities ruled out terrorism as a motive. They said the suspect had been undergoing psychological treatment.

A week earlier, another driver with mental health problems accelerated into a pizzeria, killing an adolescent girl.


‘Cyborg’ Bacteria Deliver Green Fuel Source From Sunlight

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Scientists have created bacteria covered in tiny semiconductors that generate a potential fuel source from sunlight, carbon dioxide and water, reported BBC.

The so-called “cyborg” bugs produce acetic acid, a chemical that can then be turned into fuel and plastic.

In lab experiments, the bacteria proved much more efficient at harvesting sunlight than plants.

The work was presented at the American Chemical Society meeting in Washington.

Researchers have been attempting to artificially replicate photosynthesis for many years.

In nature, the green pigment chlorophyll is key to this process, helping plants to convert carbon dioxide and water, using sunlight, into oxygen and glucose.But despite the fact that it works, scientists say the process is relatively inefficient. This has also been a big problem with most of the artificial systems developed to date.

This new approach seeks to improve that efficiency by essentially aiming to equip bacteria with solar panels.

After combing through old microbiology literature, researchers realised that some bugs have a natural defence to cadmium, mercury or lead that lets them turn the heavy metal into a sulphide which the bacteria express as a tiny, crystal semiconductor on their surfaces.

“It’s all very simple, mix-in-a-pot-chemistry.”

These newly boosted bacteria produce acetic acid, essentially vinegar, from CO2, water and light. They have an efficiency of around 80%, which is four times the level of commercial solar panels, and more than six times the level of chlorophyll.
“We prize these cyborg bacteria and their ability to make acetate because they produce a substrate that we can already use to produce more valuable and more interesting products,” said Dr Sakimoto.

“We have collaborators who have a number of strands of E. coli that are genetically engineered to take acetic acid as their food source and they can upgrade it into butanol and a polymer called polyhydroxybutyrate.”

Dr Sakimoto believes that these bacteria offer some advantages over other approaches to generating green energy from biological sources.Other techniques for artificial photosynthesis require expensive solid electrodes.
The cyborg bug approach really only needs large vats of liquid to be kept out in the Sun – the bacteria are self-replicating and self-regenerating, making it potentially a low waste technology. It might work best in rural areas or in the developing world.
The research work was carried out at the University of California, Berkeley in the lab of Dr Peidong Yang.

“The thrust of research in my lab is to essentially ’supercharge’ non-photosynthetic bacteria by providing them energy in the form of electrons from inorganic semiconductors, like cadmium sulphide, that are efficient light absorbers,” Dr Yang said.
“We are now looking for more benign light absorbers than cadmium sulphide to provide bacteria with energy from light.”
The researchers believe that while their approach has taken an important new step, it might not ultimately be the technology that prevails.

“There are so many different designs of these systems coming out and really we’ve only begun to explore the different ways we can combine chemistry and biology,” said Dr Sakimoto.

“And there’s a real possibility that that there will be some upstart technology that will come out that will do better than our system.”


One of the Main Priorities of the Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Waters is Clean Air

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

’One of the main priorities of the Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Waters is clean air.’’

This was announced by the Minister of Environment and Waters, Neno Dimov, at a press conference aimed at presenting environmental priorities in the government’s program for the period 2017-2021, reported BGNES. 

An online information system for providing real-time air quality data will be launched, it was reported.

‘’ We know about the findings of the World Health Organization and other international institutions that air cleanliness is closely related to human health – with respiratory diseases and especially allergies in adolescents “

Legislative changes are also being prepared to limit the use of coal with high sulfur and ash content for domestic heating.

Another priority in the management program is sustainable waste management.

‘’This is the main problem in 21 out of 25 cities, where air pollution is above the norms’’, the Minister has said.

Another important focus in the program is to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses and citizens. Changes in 14 laws and 16 regulations are planned.



15-20% Growth in the Village Tourism, Association of Bulgarian Villages

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

This year has been very successful for the development of village tourism, which has grown by 15-20%, surpassing the forecast 10-15%, the chairman of the Association of Bulgarian Villages (ABV), Borislav Borisov, according to Inews. 

Data for August-September are very positive and perhaps the 20% growth will be surpassed in some places, Borisov commented.

‘’The boom in demand for properties in Bulgarian villages by foreigners, which was observed in the period 2004-2006, has been reviving’’, he added.

Foreigners have been looking for both houses and farmland. The interest is mainly from UK citizens, as in the first boom in the demand for Bulgarian rural properties, but also from Germany and Austria.

‘’In the last 5-6 years we can say that there is also a positive trend related to the return of many people to the villages and this is not about people who are retired and those in active working age “, Borisov noted.

In his words, this is related to the increase of different investments in the villages and the fact that people want a new type of way of life, different from the one provided by the big cities.


France’s Macron, Seeking to Re-Shape Europe, Heads East

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

While Britain toils over its messy divorce with the European Union, France’s president Emmanuel Macron is embarking on a drive to deepen the economic integration of a bloc he says needs to be more protective of its citizens, reported Reuters.

The French leader this week embarks on a three-day tour of central and eastern Europe, where he will seek to win backers for his push to tighten labor rules over ‘posted’ workers, a sensitive issue that has exacerbated an east-west rift.

Days later, euro zone reforms, defense cooperation and immigration will be in focus when Macron hosts the leaders of Germany, Spain and Italy for talks, as he seeks to enhance France’s leadership in Europe.

Paris has long complained that central and eastern Europe gains an unfair advantage from the “social dumping” of cheap labor, arguing the posting of low-paid workers hurts local jobs and erodes labor protections in higher-wage member states.

Although posted workers make up less than 1 percent of the EU workforce, with many employed in the haulage and construction sectors, the issue has deepened a divide between the poor east and rich west.

Macron will visit Romania, Bulgaria and Austria, where he will also meet the leaders of Czech Republic and Slovakia, but is skipping Hungary and Poland, whose right-wing governments he has accused of spurning the bloc’s values.

An Elysee Palace source said Macron was visiting countries who were “the most attached to their European anchoring”.

The source dismissed suggestions that Macron is seeking to drive a wedge between central and eastern European countries staunchly opposed to reform and those that see scope for compromise.

 ”This is not about dividing in order to better rule,” the source said in a briefing to reporters earlier this month.


French Authorities Prevented 9 Terror Attacks Just in 2017

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Just for this year the French authorities have prevented 9 terrorist attacks. This was declared by the French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb on BFM television, cited by BTV. The terrorist threat in France remains high.

The Interior Minister explained that the data of the ministry’s database shows nearly 18,000 suspected residents of France with radical views. According to the latest data, 217 fighters from armed groups operating in Syria returned to France.

This requires even more diligence in the fight against terrorism,” the minister said.

Following the attacks in Paris in November 2015, a state of emergency took place in France. It should remain until November this year. The French authorities do not intend to review their plans to lift the emergency situation in connection with the terrorist attack in Barcelona on August 17th.


Iran Ready to Create Nuclear Weapons Within 5 Days if the US Ends a Major Agreement on Uranium Enrichment

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Iran could be in a position to create nuclear weapons within five days if the US ends a major agreement on uranium enrichment, the country’s atomic programme head has warned, quoted by the 

Ali Akbar Salehi, one of Iran’s vice presidents, made the comments on state TV in apparent reaction to increased sanctions imposed by America this month.

“Definitely, we are not interested in such a thing happening,” Mr Salehi said. “We have not achieved the deal easily to let it go easily. We are committed to the deal and we are loyal to it.”

Mr Salehi said the US would be surprised by how quickly Iran could rebuild its stocks if the 2015 nuclear deal was dropped.

“If we make the determination, we are able to resume 20 percent-enrichment in at most five days,” he said, referring to the amount necessary to create a bomb. Iran’s permitted uranium enrichment is currently capped at five percent.

President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate who began his second term earlier this month, has also warned of the speed with which Iran could increase its nuclear capabilities. Last week he said US “threats and sanctions” would give Iran reason to build up nuclear resources.

“In an hour and a day, Iran could return to a more advanced level than at the beginning of the negotiations” he said.

Criticising the US as not a “good partner,” Mr Rouhani added: “Those who are trying to go back to the language of threats and sanctions are prisoners of their past hallucinations… They deprive themselves of the advantages of peace.”

During his US presidential campaign, Donald Trump dismissed the 2015 nuclear agreement as “the worst deal ever.” 

The leader has since accused Iran of violating the “spirit” of the nuclear deal, which the countries entered into along with five other world powers – France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany.  

This month, his administration introduced new economic sanctions against Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and people involved in its ballistic missile programme, after Iran conducted missile tests.

Last week, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said Iran could not “use the nuclear deal to hold the world hostage,” adding: “Iran, under no circumstances, can ever be allowed to have nuclear weapons.”


Trains from Sofia to Northwestern Bulgaria Suspended Due to Woman’s Death

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

All trains from Sofia to northwestern Bulgaria and vice versa have been suspended following an accident on the Sofia-Vidin railway in which a woman was killed, the Bulgarian national radio has reported, quoted by Standart News. 

She was crossing the railway at Sofia’s Iliyantsi residential district at 6 am today, when she got hit and killed on the spot by a passenger train traveling from the northwestern town of Mezdra to Sofia.

It is not clear when the traffic on the Sofia-Vidin railway will be renewed, as forensic scientists and investigators are still working on the scene.

It is still unclear whether the woman committed suicide, or failed to notice the oncoming train.



More than 40 Civilians were Killed in Raqqa by a Strike of the US-led Coalition

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

At least 42 civilians were killed on Monday in an air strikes in the Syrian province of Raqqa by an aircraft from the US-led international coalition against the Middle Eastern radical Islamic State.

This is reported by the AFP, referring to data from the Syrian Human Rights Watch.

Nineteen children and 12 women were among those killed in the bombings that hit several neighborhoods in the city of Raqqa, according to data from a London-based human rights organization quoted by FOCUS.  


Putin Appointed a New Ambassador in the US

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

The Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed the Deputy-minister of Foreign Affairs Anatoly Antonov as an ambassador in the United States, reported world agencies.

Antonov takes the place of Sergey Kislyak who was accused by American media that he conspired with representatives of the Trump election committee in order to ease his way to the White House, notes France Press.

The new ambassador is born in 1955. From 2004 until 2011 he is head of the department of security and demilitarization of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has a reputation of an experienced diplomat and negotiator. He also played a major role in the conflict with Turkey in 2015 when a Turkish fighter jet shot and destroyed a Russian bomber plane over Syria. At the time he accused the Turkish President Recep Erdogan and his family for being involved in traffic of oil to jihadists from ISIS.

Analysts describe Antonov as a loyal figure to the policy of Kremlin but also add that he is not prone to believe conspiracy theories unlike many of the leading staff of the Russian army and Intelligence community.

It is claimed that Antonov has an attitude for calming the Russian-American relations as long as Moscow benefits from it. According to the Russian media he was elected for the position even before Trump won the Presidential election in the US last year.