SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Facebook is extending its experiment charging users to send messages, offering users access to the accounts of VIPs – including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg – for as much as $100 (£61) per message.
The offer was spotted by Mashable reporter Chris Taylor who tried to message Zuckerberg, but was told the message would be routed to the less visible "other" folder, unless he paid the $100 fee.
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to Mashable that the company is testing "some extreme price points to see what works to filter spam".
The cost of sending a message is thought to vary according to the popularity of the VIP. The move follows the introduction last year of paid-for posts, as the company tries to increase revenue from its 1 billion users.
The trial began in December when Facebook introduced a $1 charge to send a message to the Facebook inbox of someone who is not already a friend, though capped at one paid message per recipient per week. Facebook said at the time it was an "economic signal to determine relevance" and help organise users' messages.
"If you want to send a message to someone you heard speak at an event but are not friends with, or if you want to message someone about a job opportunity, you can use this feature to reach their Inbox," Facebook explained in a blog post. "For the receiver, this test allows them to hear from people who have an important message to send them."-www.shfaqna.com/English
Source: The Guardian
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - Head of Iran’s Space Agency (ISA) Hamid Fazeli says the country plans to send a living organism into space on board the Pishgam (Pioneer) satellite carrier in the near future.
“Iran’s Space Agency (ISA) is fully prepared to send the Pishgam satellite carrier bearing a bio-capsule with a living creature,” Fazeli said Sunday.
He expressed hope that the Pishgam satellite carrier, previously known as the Kavoshgar 5 (Explorer 5), would “soon” be successfully launched into space carrying a monkey.
In March 2011, Iran successfully launched the domestically-built Kavoshagar 4 satellite carrier, which is capable of sending satellites and carrying living creatures into space.
Iran successfully launched its first indigenous data-processing satellite, Omid (Hope), into orbit in 2009.
As part of a plan to develop its space program, Iran also successfully launched its second satellite, dubbed Rassad (Observation), into the earth's orbit in June 2011. Rassad's mission was to take images of the Earth and transmit them along with telemetry information to ground stations.
Iran also launched its domestically-built Navid-e Elm-o Sanat (Harbinger of Science and Industry) satellite into orbit in February 2012. The records made by the telecom, measurement and scientific satellite could be used in a wide range of fields.
Iran is one of the 24 founding members of the United Nations' Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, which was set up in 1959.- www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Paris will not send weapons to the Syrian opposition, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Thursday as Turkey took measures to stop Syrian refugees and rebels coming and going freely across the border.
“We do not intend, neither today nor tomorrow, to send weapons to the Syrian opposition,” the minister told journalists in Beirut when specifically asked about supplying weapons to the opposition.
“Things are very clear: on the question of supplying weapons, the answer is no. France does not supply and will not supply the Syrian opposition with weapons.”
The rebel Free Syrian Army has called several times on the international community asking for arms, to help them fight forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
Meanwhile, Turkish authorities have begun taking steps to stop Syrian refugees and rebels coming and going freely across the border with the conflict-torn country.
“Police have come knocking on our door,” said Hassan, an illegal Syrian immigrant in the border town of Reyhanli, where he lives with about 20 fighters “on leave”, wounded people and refugees.
All of them, living on what he calls “apartment rest”, have crossed the border illegally, mostly at night, through a hole in the fence.
Their presence in Reyhanli in Hatay province along with hundreds of other illegal Syrians was until recently tolerated by the authorities, which took a rather benevolent attitude towards the rebels and refugees.
But things are changing.
“Police gave us 24 hours to leave,” said Hassan. “Those who don’t have a visa, papers that are in order, must go to the refugee camps. Or else go back to Syria,” said Hassan, who did not give his full name, according to AFP.
Others, who have a valid residence permit, must leave Hatay province and live elsewhere in the country, he added.
Turkey is officially hosting more than 80,000 refugees in a dozen camps concentrated in the Hatay border province.
There are also thousands of illegal Syrian immigrants, the majority Sunni Muslims, who have been living rough for months.
This steady stream has provoked growing concern among the local population, and at times there are tensions, in particular in the cosmopolitan provincial capital of Antakya where many people are Alawites.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is also from Syria’s minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shia Islam.
For the past three weeks the Turkish army has stepped up its patrols along the border, which Syrians had previously been able to cross on a daily basis.
“It means that from now on we have to cross in the middle of the night, with the greatest of care. No cigarettes, no mobile phones, headlights off, no noise,” said one man.
“It is becoming difficult not to get caught,” he said.
In the Syrian village of Atme, a rear base of the rebellion, the population has grown from 6,000 to over 30,000, according to medical sources there who have been alarmed by the deterioration of sanitary conditions.
Nearly 3,000 other refugees are camping there in the fields and olive orchards all along the barbed wire border fence.
On the Turkish side, at Reyhanli, where the local population of Sunni and Bedouin origin have greeted the refugees with open arms, identity checks have increased.
“This time, it’s serious. The police stopped a minibus carrying seven refugees right in the center of town,” said Hassan, a deserter from the Syrian army, himself without proper papers.
“I’m going to have to leave,” he grumbled. “If not, I will have to resign myself to going to a camp.”
The prospect of moving to a camp appalls Syrians used to crossing the border when they wish to visit relatives or fight.
Officially, Ankara denies any hardening of its attitude towards the refugees, but admits to having reinforced security measures.
“We have not changed our policy regarding the Syrians,” said an official at Turkey’s disaster agency (Afad), who asked not to be named.
“But I admit that the security measures are now more strict than in the past,” the official said.
Pressure was growing along the border, added a Syrian activist in Antakya, also speaking on condition of anonymity.
“There are more police interventions, more arrests,” she said.
Peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said on Thursday the deadly conflict in Syria was getting worse as he arrived on his first official trip aimed at ending nearly 18 months of violence.
Brahimi spoke after rebels were reported to have advanced into a key district of the northern city of Aleppo, where activists said at least 11 people were killed in a strike by a helicopter gunship.
As many as 165 were killed by Syrian forces across the country on Thursday, activists said.
Syrian deputy foreign minister Faisal Muqdad said: “We trust that Brahimi has a general understanding of the developments and of the way to solve problems despite the complexities. We are optimistic and we wish Brahimi success.”
However, the veteran Algerian diplomat highlighted to Arab League envoys in Cairo this week that he knows he faces an uphill struggle, with no sign of a lull in the violence.
In Brussels on Thursday, Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi reiterated that Assad must step down because “a president that kills his own people is not acceptable.”
And British Foreign Secretary William Hague, visiting Baghdad, told reporters the Damascus regime is “doomed, that it is not possible for it to survive, and so many crimes (have been) committed that it should not survive.”
On the ground, rebels and troops battled for control of the strategic Midan district of central Aleppo, which opens the way to the main square, with fighting raging around two police stations, residents said.
More than 27,000 people have been killed since the uprising against Assad’s rule erupted in March last year, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
In neighboring Lebanon, Maronite Christian Patriarch Bishara Rai said Pope Benedict XVI will call on the world to stop arming belligerents in the crisis when he begins a three-day visit to Syria’s neighbor on Friday.
The United States meanwhile slapped new sanctions on Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, over the Lebanese Shia movement’s alleged support of Assad, the U.S. Treasury announced.—www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: Al Arabiya
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — An official at Iran's Red Crescent Society (IRCS) says the agency has already sent aid shipments to the oppressed Muslims of Myanmar and is ready to dispatch aid workers to the East Asian state.
“The Relief and Rescue Organization of the IRCS is prepared to send relief teams to help Myanmarese Muslims,” Hossein Derakhshan, the spokesman for the Relief and Rescue Organization, told Fars News Agency on Wednesday.
He added, “The IRCS has expressed readiness in this regard, but coordination is necessary through Myanmarese officials before Iranian aid workers can be dispatched [to Myanmar].”
On July 22, the IRCS called on the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in a letter to condemn the mass slaughter of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and take prompt measures to stop violence against the community.
The letter also lamented the international community’s apathy towards the humanitarian catastrophe in Myanmar, stressing the need for global condemnation of genocide in the country.
The government of Myanmar refuses to recognize Rohingyas, who it claims are not natives and classifies them as illegal migrants. This comes as the Rohingya are said to be Muslim descendants of Persian, Turkish, Bengali, and Pathan origin, who migrated to Myanmar as early as the 8th century.
Myanmar’s President Thein Sein said on July 19 that the "only solution" to the plight of Rohingya Muslims is to send the country’s nearly one million Muslims -- which is one of the world’s most persecuted minorities -- to refugee camps run by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
However, the UN refugee agency has snubbed the idea of setting up refugee camps to accommodate the Rohingyas.
"We will send them away if any third country would accept them," Sein added. "This is what we are thinking is the solution to the issue."
Even Myanmar’s Western-sponsored democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi has kept silent on atrocities perpetrated against the Rohingya Muslims.
Over the past two years, scores of ethnic Muslims have attempted to flee by boats in the face of systematic oppression by the Myanmar government. —www.shafaqna.com/english
Source: Press Tv