SHAFAQNA-- A senior official at Syria’s Electricity Ministry has been killed by a magnetic bomb attached to his car by the foreign-backed militants in the Arab country, official SANA news agency reports.
The car bombing was carried out on Wednesday in al-Baramkeh neighborhood in the capital, Damascus, and killed Mohammad Abdul-Wahab Hassan, the director of Qualification and Training Department of the ministry.
Hassan was transferred to the hospital where he succumbed to his severe injuries.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, the militants carried out another car bomb attack in Damascus, but there have been no reports of civilian casualties.
On Monday, a bomb explosion hit the town of al-Mleiha, near Damascus, injuring many people. The blast reportedly targeted a military checkpoint.
Syria has been gripped by a deadly unrest since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of Syrian army and security forces have been killed in the violence.
Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.
The Syrian government says the West and its regional allies, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, are supporting the militants.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – There are certain ideas that are so brilliant, and so simple, it’s hard to imagine they wouldn’t succeed. Soccket, the flagship product of four-year-old New York startup Uncharted Play, is one of them. It’s a soccer ball embedded with a pendulum-like mechanism that generates energy when it moves, then converts the raw energy into an onboard port that supplies power to a small LED or USB charger. Bill Clinton has called CEO Jessica O. Matthews "quite extraordinary." A former director of the U.S. Patent Office says it’s "exactly what America needs."
Yet despite the obvious genius of the concept, Soccket’s inventors have taken a slow-and-steady approach to bringing the ball to the American market. Since launching in 2009, the company has worked with NGOs in developing countries to put several thousand balls on the ground. The focus has been on building up educational programs around the balls, rather than dropping them into communities at a breakneck speed.
This approach has netted important insights into Soccket’s design. Over the course of the past four years, the startup’s made major modifications to the ball’s size, weight, and circuitry, all aimed at developing a final model that they could scale up. At the company’s small New York headquarters, eight employees prototyped iteration after iteration, running to Bed Bath & Beyond and the local hardware store for materials. “Everything we learned in Brazil and Mexico has helped us get to this point,” says VP of Product Development Victor Angel.
The model that will go into production--the fourth official iteration, to be exact--solves the weight problem of previous models, thanks to a proprietary foam developed right in the company’s office. After making its debut on Kickstarter two weeks ago, the fourth-gen Soccket is about a quarter shy of its goal. The campaign is offering consumers a chance to buy Soccket for the first time. Slated for a summer 2013 shipping date, a ball will go for around $100 and be made in a Long Island factory.
It’s an inversion of the traditional Kickstarter scenario, where donations go to the development and production of a first-gen product. Instead, the eight-person UP team has developed a product they know will work--now, they just need a certain number of orders to get manufacturing off the ground.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — It is the latest in a string of increasingly desperate measures to keep electricity supplies functioning in the run-up to elections next year.
The emergency provisions agreed this week by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) in Islamabad include blacking out half the city's streetlights and imposing tough new regulations on illuminated billboards.
Worst hit will be wedding halls, which are lit up outside by strings of bright party lights.
In a statement, the CDA also announced it would "discourage" parties after dark and institute an audit of energy use.
The emergency measures are the latest attempt to curb demand for electricity.
Pakistan is coming to the end of another long, hot summer marked by a rolling programme of power cuts - known as "load shedding" - used to manage soaring demand from air conditioners and prevent the entire grid collapsing.
Last week, the Cabinet Office issued a circular to civil servants asking them to wear cool clothes in summer and to wrap up warm during the winter in order to reduce energy demand.
Khaleeq Kiani, energy reporter with Dawn newspaper, said he had seen numerous attempts to nudge demand downwards without any concerted attempt at the fundamental reforms needed to overhaul the energy sector.
"What Pakistan really needs is capacity addition and reduction in line losses, which can run anywhere up to 39% of power generated," he said, dismissing the latest energy saving measures as "tinkering".
Previous energy saving measures have included cutting the working week from six days to five and introducing a curfew on wedding halls.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — As rooftop protests go, it is hardly likely to rock the establishment, but then again all Catherine Beesley wants to do is attract the attention of her daughter who lives downstairs.
Mrs Beesley, 60, has taken to waving placards and protesting on a garage roof in a bizarre domestic argument which has seen the electricity supply to the part of the bungalow she shares with her daughter cut off.
Mrs Beesley co-owns the £300,000, four-bedroom property with her daughter, Sue Martin, but after they fell out and stopped speaking, she moved into the self-contained, converted loft of the property, which was partitioned off to allow Mrs Martin and her two children to live downstairs.
It seemed the most acceptable living arrangement given circumstances, but when Mrs Beesley and her husband, Richard, 63, returned from holiday recently, they found the power supply to their part of the bungalow cut off due to unpaid bills, despite giving Mrs Martin a cheque she said was to cover her share.
The couple are currently living by candlelight and said they were being given food handouts by a neighbour.
Mrs Beesley, who used to work for the NHS and still volunteers at Bournemouth Hospital, is spending her days wearing fluorescent waterproofs and waving placards at bemused neighbours along the suburban street in Redhill, Bournemouth, Dorset.
One banner reads 'daughter denies mother electric' and another states 'paid 4 it, own it, denied it.'
She said: “This all started a few years ago after I sold two thirds of my bungalow to Sue and her former partner. It was fine for a while, I babysat the children and we all got on very well.
"But we had a falling out a couple of years ago and I haven't spoken to Sue for months. It has broken my heart.
"The electricity has been off for about three weeks now."
"We've got to the point where I had to do something. It is so cold in the loft that we have to wear coats all the time and have no hot water at all.
"For food we rely on instant soup that my neighbour helps me make by giving me flasks of hot water, or sometimes we use a portable gas stove.
"It's not fair and I'm staying up here until the electricity is turned back on.”
Mrs Martin, 42, who works at the same hospital as her mother as an assistant in the X-ray department, said because they aren't talking to one another they are unable to resolve the issue between them.
She said: "I enquired through her solicitor about how they planned to pay the bills.
"I heard nothing back from the lawyer, so the day before they came back I got an electrician to stop the power supply to the attic.
"I can't afford to pay for them and for my family and I would have reactivated it as soon as I heard from her solicitor, which I didn't.
"We haven't spoken in such a long time it wasn't the case that we could have resolved it face to face.
"She gave me £120 to cover the water bill but I wasn't going to cash it in as I only need 30."
Mr Beesley said: "I think the whole situation is incredibly silly and I can't believe it has come to this. I can't see why we just can't all live in peace."— www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: The Telegraph
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — TREATING waste water is energy intensive. In the US, it sucks up the equivalent output of four of the country's biggest power plants every year. But it needn't be such a drain on resources - soon it might be able to earn its keep.
A team led by Hong Liu from Oregon State University in Corvallis has plans for microbial fuel cells that will reclaim energy from waste water and produce around 2.87 watts per litre of waste water. That is almost double the amount of electrical power usual for such a cell.
And its by-products could be harnessed to create cheap, biodegradable plastics.
Waste water holds huge amounts of energy, bound up in organic molecules, but it can be difficult to access. The Oregon fuel cells run on microbes that would normally digest organic matter to produce water. In a fuel cell, though, isolated from oxygen, that conversion stalls and electrons, which are bundled with protons and oxygen to form water, are pulled away from the microbes by the potential between a cathode and an anode, creating an electrical current.
As well as tweaking the mixture of microbes on the electrodes, the Oregon design has also managed to squash far more electrodes into the fuel cell than on previous versions. Liu says her lab aims to scale up the device within the next five years and make it cheaper (Energy & Environmental Science, doi.org/h66).
The by-products of waste water treatment can be harnessed too. Engineers are working on a way to convert methane into biodegradable plastics.
The dream plastic would be biodegradable, made from organic materials, and break down easily. At the moment, polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) seems like the best bet. But PHA plastics are manufactured by genetically modified bacteria fed on sugars in a process that is both expensive and complex, making it hard for them to compete with conventional plastics. In the past, researchers have used the by-products of waste water treatment to generate fuel and sometimes even to create plastics, but nearly all these attempts have focused on the "sludge" of sediment, solid waste and chemicals. Because the sludge is made of many diverse components, it produces a less stable plastic.
So Molly Morse of Mango Materials in California and colleagues are now using methane, another major by-product of treating waste water. Methanotrophs, simple organisms that feed on methane, are much better at converting it into polymers than typical bacteria are at converting sugar into plastics. Methane is pumped into a vat of methanotrophs - harvested from the waste water treatment plant itself - along with a bubbling stream of oxygen and a few other nutrients. The end result is a polymer powder that can be separated from the mass of bacteria and turned into pellets for shaping into commercial plastic products.
Morse envisions that their waste water plastic could be used for all kinds of temporary or disposable applications, ranging from packaging materials to beauty products.
Craig Criddle at Stanford University in California, who is on the firm's advisory board, says when methane itself is sold as fuel it first needs to be cleaned up. Then it will bank about 60 to 80 cents for 3 to 4 kilograms, whereas the same amount of methane could yield a kilogram of plastic, bringing in 4 to 5 dollars. "There's huge value added in going from biogas to plastic," he says.
Pure, clean water from the sewer
Clean water itself is one of the products that can be gleaned from waste. In Singapore, clean water reclaimed from human sewage is sold as NEWater. The country, which has tended to rely on Malaysia for clean water, plans to produce half of the water it consumes through waste reclamation by 2060.
After conventional treatment, the waste water passes through a membrane with a very fine mesh to remove large particles before reverse osmosis draws out bacteria and other contaminants. It is then zapped with ultraviolet radiation to kill off any remaining bugs. It is mainly used for industrial applications in cooling but is also blended with reservoir water to be used as drinking water.—www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The “Eight O’clock” show on MBC has aired an unusual situation of a southern Saudi village that has not get electricity since 70 years now.
The report, prepared by Omar Al-Nashwan, on the level of electricity and the situation of some villages situated in south of the kingdom, and more precisely the province of Fifa.
People of the village of Raqaba have revealed that they lack one of the most important services, electricity, since a long time now and living on primitive tools like generators.
One of the elders of the village mentioned that their village lacks government electricity since 70 years and they have been demanding officially for the service since the hijri year of 1416, but without any hope.
Translation of SHAFAQNA from original Arabic article
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — An advance in solar panel material research is pointing to something that is potentially huge: solar panels that can generate electricity and Hydrogen at the same time. This is extremely important because this would increase the effective energy efficiency of the panel by generating extra energy in a clean way. Hydrogen is seen by many as the energy source of the future.
This new development is based on synthetic nano-crystals: one is rod-shaped and produces hydrogen by photo catalysis (if the panel is submerged) while the second is photovoltaic (creates electricity from light).
This is still at the research stage, however, its creators think that it is possible to market and mass-produce it. If this works, it could be a great alternative to current solar energy gathering methods. Energy storage has been particularly challenging to build clean and reliable energy. Options include using batteries, or even pumping water up behind a dam. However, creating Hydrogen sounds like a much more efficient solution, which can be done in addition to existing system.—www.shafaqna.com/English