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By Admin (from 13/04/2011 @ 14:00:36, in ro - Stiinta si Societate, read 1710 times)

Studiile efectuate de o echipa de cercetatori americani de la Harvard Medical School din Boston, legate  de istoria indepartata a stramosilor nostri, au relevat un fapt stupefiant. Stramosii omului si cei ai cimpanzeului s-au "iubit" timp de milenii sau, poate, chiar milioane de ani, inainte de a avea loc o separare definitiva, mult mai recenta decât se credea.

Antropologii americani apreciaza ca cele doua linii s-au separat in urma cu 6,3 milioane de ani, cel mult, sau, cel putin, in urma cu 5,4 milioane de ani, dar aceasta separare nu i-a impiedicat sa faca un schimb de gene. Informatia e perceptibila in special la nivelul cromozomilor x (cromozomi sexuali feminini) ale caror similitudini par sa releve faptul ca cele doua specii s-au incrucisat timp indelungat.

"Divortul" final ar fi intervenit dupa o lunga perioada de "metisaj" care a durat probabil 4 milioane de ani. "Studiul a dat rezultate neasteptate in ceea ce priveste modul in care ne-am separat de stramosii nostri cei mai apropiati din acea vreme: cimpanzeii. Am constatat faptul ca structura populatiei care a existat in perioada aparitiei noilor specii era diferita de orice populatie moderna de maimute. Atunci s-a petrecut ceva cu totul special", a declarat coordonatorul studiilor, David Reich.

 Rezultatele obtinute, relanseaza problema statutului hominizilor, considerati drept cei mai vechi stramosi ai omului, cum ar fi sahelantropul (alias omul din Tumai), din urma cu 6-7 milioane de ani, Orrorin, din urma cu 6 milioane de ani sau ardipithecul, din urma cu 5,5 milioane de ani. De mentionat faptul ca enigma originii este in continuare "nestirbita". Daca in cazul stramosilor omului au fost descoperite numeroase fosile, nici un os (cu exceptia câtorva dinti) care sa fie atribuit primilor cimpanzei (sau gorile) nu a fost descoperit pâna in prezent.

Pe de alta parte, descifrarea completa a genomului cimpanzeului nu a condus la obtinerea informatiilor scontate. S-a confirmat insa faptul (de care multi oameni de stiinta se indoiau) ca cele doua specii sunt identice din punct de vedere genetic, in proportie de 99%, aceasta descoperire nepermitând insa definirea in termeni precisi a specificitatii omului.

Sursa: magazin.ro

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By Admin (from 13/04/2011 @ 11:00:02, in it - Scienze e Societa, read 1578 times)

La città di Berchtesgaden (ca. 8.000 abitanti) è situata nel sud-est della Baviera, a pochi km dal confine con l'Austria; fino al 1809 era sotto il dominio del potente principe-vescovo di Salisburgo. E' una tipica città della Baviera, con un elegante e molto colorato centro storico: case riccamente decorate da affreschi e fiori, negozi di tipici prodotti locali, birrerie...

Questa celebre località alpina si trova ai piedi del monte Watzmann (2.713 m) e vanta un'antica e gloriosa storia: per secoli è stata infatti uno dei capisaldi della via del sale, grazie alle miniere saline che tuttora si possono visitare con un avventuroso percorso guidato che comprende la visita ad un lago sotterraneo, ed un importante feudo religioso.
 
A partire dal 1102 i Canonici Agostiniani edificarono un vasto complesso conventuale e la Stiftkirche (abbazia di St. Peter und Johannes), caratterizzata da un esterno in stile romanico e da un severo interno in stile gotico. Con la secolarizzazione di inizio Ottocento, il convento è passato ai Wittelsbach che lo hanno trasformato nel 1810 in una residenza per le vacanze.
Ancora oggi una parte del castello è abitata dai membri dell'ex famiglia reale bavarese mentre una parte è aperta al pubblico. Dal 1922 al 1933 qui ha vissuto il principe ereditario Rupprecht (1869-1955), figlio di re Ludwig III. Le visite guidate si svolgono da Pentecoste al 15 ottobre dalle 10 alle 12 e dalle 14 alle 16 (tranne sabato) mentre dal 16 ottobre a Pentecoste solo alle 11 e alle 14 (tranne sabato, domenica e festivi).

 
Da vedere inoltre la barocca Pfarrkirche, il Rathaus (municipio) e la Franziskanerkirche, costruita nel 1480 per gli Agostiniani e passata ai Francescani nel 1695.
 
Fuori dall'abitato meritano una visita la parrocchiale di Ramsau, nell'omonimo paese, e il piccolo e grazioso santuario di Maria Gern, due attrazioni-cartolina della Baviera spesso ritratte in libri e depliant turistici come simbolo del perfetto connubio che regna nella regione tra arte e natura.

Fonte: tuttobaviera.it

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Socio-economic disparities in diet patterns and nutrient intake are well documented in research. People with lower incomes and less education typically have less healthful eating habits than people with higher incomes and more education. But little is known about the extent to which those disparities are driven by higher monetary costs of nutritious foods.

Now, a new study from University of Washington researchers concludes, for the first time, that socio-economic disparities in diet quality are directly affected by diet costs. The study, "Are socio-economic disparities in diet quality explained by diet costs?" is published in advance online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

UW researchers have previously found that better quality diets are more costly than less nutritious diets, and that there is a rising disparity in the price of healthful foods. "The twist with this new study is that we've connected the dots that could explain why people in a lower socio- economic status have less nutritious diets," said Pablo Monsivais, UW acting assistant professor of epidemiology.

Monsivais, with Program Manager Anju Aggarwal and UW Professor Adam Drewnowski, studied data of more than 1,300 men and women from the Seattle Obesity Study, a population-based study of food access, diet quality and health among King County, Wash. residents.

The researchers first looked at how diet cost was associated with educational attainment and household income, two indicators of socio-economic position. They used statistical methods to control for total calorie intake and other factors. The average diet cost was higher for people with higher educational attainment and higher household income. People with lower educational attainment had diet costs that were an average of $1.09 per day lower than that of persons in the highest group ($8.19 to $9.28 per day).

People with the highest educational attainment or income also enjoyed the most nutritious diets. Those in the highest income group reported diets that were on average 9.3 points higher in nutrient density than diets reported by the lowest income group (96.6 versus 87.3 percent), after controlling for dietary and demographic factors. However, after taking the cost of food into account, the difference in dietary nutrient density between the highest and lowest groups shrank to 1.4 percentage points (93.0 versus 91.6 percent). "These results tell us that cost is a major factor in explaining the differences in eating habits between people of lower and higher socioeconomic level" said Monsivais.

Monsivais said the Seattle study should be replicated on a wider, more diverse (in terms of education, income) section of Americans--or in another country. "What is the average person's concept of nutritious food, too?" Monsivais said. "We don't know that, and it might explain some amount of the variation we found."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) could also be tapped to further explore the socio-economic question, he said.

Study results provide fodder for new and different nutrition policy and interventions, which for the last several decades have been mostly premised on the idea that poor diets were due to a lack of nutrition knowledge or insufficient motivation for healthy eating. "The most universal policy change or intervention would be to rethink how we encourage the production of foods," said the researcher. "In this country, we have a very expensive agricultural subsidy program that targets a limited range of foods that are not part of a nutritious diet. We do not support fresh produce or seafood, but instead support the production of inexpensive sugars, fat and refined grains. We need to align public health priorities with agricultural policies because it affects the largest number of people."

In addition, Monsivais said states could be more creative with public school food programs and other nutrition efforts that impact low-income people. California has experimented with an electronic benefits transfer program (food stamps) that rewards people who buy fresh produce, which makes having a healthier diet easier and more affordable.

Food retailers and grocers could also help consumers make healthier choices, said Monsivais. When you swipe a "member" card at a local store, it could be used in a helpful and healthful way, offering up coupons for items that are nutrient-rich. "If we could overlay a health lens on top of the member cards and make recommendations that are aligned with the way consumers eat and incentives, we could make it interesting for people."

Source: PhysOrg

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  250 of the US's most eminent legal scholars have signed a letter protesting the treatment of accused Wikileaks source Pfc. Bradley Manning. Manning is accused of passing thousands of secret government documents to WikiLeaks and has been charged with "aiding the enemy", a capital offense. As reported in the Guardian, the letter says that Manning is being held in "degrading and inhumane conditions" that are not only illegal and unconstitutional, but could amount to torture.

The letter was published in the New York Review of Books and written by Bruce Ackerman of Yale Law School and Yochai Benkler of Harvard Law School. This excerpt from the letter details the conditions Manning is held in and charges that these violate the US constitution (I have added emphases in italics):

For nine months, Manning has been confined to his cell for twenty-three hours a day. During his one remaining hour, he can walk in circles in another room, with no other prisoners present. He is not allowed to doze off or relax during the day, but must answer the question "Are you OK?" verbally and in the affirmative every five minutes. At night, he is awakened to be asked again "Are you OK?" every time he turns his back to the cell door or covers his head with a blanket so that the guards cannot see his face. During the past week he was forced to sleep naked and stand naked for inspection in front of his cell, and for the indefinite future must remove his clothes and wear a "smock" under claims of risk to himself that he disputes.

The sum of the treatment that has been widely reported is a violation of the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment and the Fifth Amendment's guarantee against punishment without trial. If continued, it may well amount to a violation of the criminal statute against torture, defined as, among other things, "the administration or application…of… procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality."

... President Obama was once a professor of constitutional law, and entered the national stage as an eloquent moral leader. The question now, however, is whether his conduct as commander in chief meets fundamental standards of decency. He should not merely assert that Manning's confinement is "appropriate and meet[s] our basic standards," as he did recently. He should require the Pentagon publicly to document the grounds for its extraordinary actions -- and immediately end those that cannot withstand the light of day.

The signatories of the letter include:

  • Bill Clinton's former labour secretary Robert Reich
  • President Theodore Roosevelt's great-great-grandson Kermit Roosevelt
  • the former president of the American Civil Liberties Union Norman Dorsen
  • the novelist Kwame Anthony Appiah
  • Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor who is "considered to be America's foremost liberal authority on constitutional law" and who once taught constitutional law to Barack Obama and was a key backer of his 2008 presidential campaign

A full list of scholars who have signed the letter can be found here.

Benkler stated in the Guardian that "it is incumbent on us as citizens and professors of law to say that enough is enough." He added that the treatment Manning is being subjected to is being used "warning to future whistleblowers" and that it is "tragic that it is Obama's administration that is pursuing whistleblowers and imposing this kind of treatment."

Also, Ackerman points out that, under the Pentagon's own rule book, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Manning's jailers could be prosecuted for abusing him according to Article 93 of the code, that "any person who is guilty of cruelty toward any person subject to his orders shall be punished."

Amnesty International and other human rights organizations have denounced Manning's harsh treatment, which the United Nations' rapporteur on torture is also investigating.

I hope President Obama takes this letter very seriously. The letter notes that Wikileaks has "touched every corner of the world" and emphasizes that the whole world watches America and observes what it does, not what it says -- and the treatment of Bradley Manning does not speak well for us.

You can take action and sign this petition to end the inhumane treatment of Bradley Manning.

Source: care2.com

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By Admin (from 12/04/2011 @ 14:00:13, in en - Global Observatory, read 1260 times)

In coastal desert countries like the United Arab Emirates fresh, clean water is a lacking resource. Desalination is a necessary process to receive fresh water, but it often harms the environment by returning concentrated saline back to the ocean. Abu Dhabi's Environment Agency recently announced that they have developed a new solar-powered desalination system that would cut costs and be more eco-friendly.

Solar Power Desalination, united arab emirates solar power desalination, abu dhabi solar power desalination, eco-friendly desalination

In desert areas like the Emirates, dust and high temperature often impair the efficiency of solar panels in existing desalination plants. New technologies remedy these problems while reducing the cost of water treatment. In a press release, the agency said that two pilot sites, in Sweihan and Hameem, have shown that the negative environmental impact of desalination can be reduced, along with operating costs. Each plant is capable of producing about 35 kilowatts per hour, having a total capacity of 1050 kilowatt/hour.

Trials of the new solar power system are being tested at 30 different locations within the country. If the new process proves to be successful, Saudi Arabia and other countries will begin to use the system.

Solar Power Desalination, united arab emirates solar power desalination, abu dhabi solar power desalination, eco-friendly desalination

Desalination is the most effective way of cleaning water, and several plants already exist in the United Arab Emirates. However, the process can have adverse environmental impact, mainly concentrated saltwater being returned to the sea and killing marine life. New systems like the one developed by the UAE can eliminate or mitigate this problem, resulting in the same amount of clean water but with less damage to the environment.

Source: The Green Optimistic

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By Admin (from 12/04/2011 @ 11:00:26, in ro - Stiinta si Societate, read 1582 times)

 In anii ‘60, o omenire intreaga visa cu ochii deschisi la colonizarea intregului Sistem Solar. A trecut de atunci jumatate de secol, dar astronautii de pe Terra nu au ajuns prea departe, desi administratia de la Washington promite de mai bine de zece ani ca va trimite echipaje umane pe Marte... Totusi, "evadarea" spre alte planete, si chiar pe alte sisteme solare pare sa fie unica sansa de salvare pentru noi, pamântenii, daca vrem sa supravietuim - cel putin aceasta este opinia savantului britanic Stephen Hawking.

Renumitul om de stiinta, complet paralizat si "vorbind" prin intermediul unui computer special, a emis aceasta ipoteza saptamâna trecuta, in cadrul unei conferinte desfasurate la Hong Kong. Savantul, care a venit in Asia pentru o serie de prelegeri a declarat ca supravietuirea rasei umane depinde de abilitatea ei de a descoperi noi "locuinte" oriunde in Univers, in conditiile in care riscurile ca un dezastru de proportii sa distruga Terra este tot mai ridicat.

 Oamenii ar trebui sa aiba o baza permanenta pe Luna in urmatorii douazeci de ani si o colonie pe Marte peste cel târziu patru decenii. "Nu vom putea insa niciodata sa gasim un loc la fel de minunat ca Pamântul, pâna nu vom depasi granitele Sistemului Solar." Hawking a mai precizat ca, daca oamenii vor evita sa se extermine intre ei in urmatorul secol, ei ar putea sa construiasca asezari spatiale unde sa traiasca, fara sprijin de pe Terra. "Este esential, pentru rasa umana, sa porneasca mai repede la colonizarea Cosmosului, daca vrea sa-si asigure supravietuirea ca specie. Viata pe Pamânt este tot mai amenintata sa dispara din cauza unei catastrofe, fie a unei bruste incalziri globale, fie a unui razboi nuclear, a unui virus generat de ingineria genetica sau a cine stie carui pericol, pe care acum nici macar nu ni-l imaginam."

In cadrul aceleiasi prelegeri, Hawking a mai anuntat ca, alaturi de fiica lui, va scrie o carte pentru copii, care va descrie minunile Cosmosului, un fel de "Harry Potter cutreiera Universul"... Unul dintre cei mai mari fizicieni teoreticieni ai timpurilor moderne, Hawking a intreprins cercetari fundamentale asupra gaurilornegre si a originii Universului, lansând ipoteza ca spatiul si timpul nu au nici inceput, nici sfârsit. Opiniile exprimate de savantul britanic au stârnit reactii dintre cele mai diverse. Alan Guth, profesor de fizica la Institutul de Tehnologie din Massachusetts spune ca ultimele observatii ale lui Hawking reprezinta o surpriza pentru lumea stiintifica, intrucât preocuparile savantului britanic erau mult mai putin "pamântesti".

"Este o noua arie de preocupari pentru el, care nu poate decât sa ne surprinda. Daca s-ar referi la urmatoarea suta de ani si dincolo de acel moment, mi s-ar parea mai credibil sa considere spatiul ca ultim colac de salvare pentru omenire. Dar nu vad sa existe posibilitatea ca in urmatorii 50 de ani stiinta si tehnologia sa ne ajute sa supravietuim mai usor pe Marte sau pe Luna, decât pe Pamânt. Eu cred ca ar fi mai usor sa construim baze subterane in Antarctica, de pilda, decât sa realizam cladiri pe Luna", afirma Guth.

Sursa: magazin.ro

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By Admin (from 12/04/2011 @ 08:00:56, in it - Scienze e Societa, read 1560 times)

Adagiata sul fiume Abens e a pochi km dal Danubio e dalla città di Neustadt, Bad Gögging è una rinomata località termale e benessere della Baviera orientale.

 
Qui troverete una vacanza ricca di esperienze nuove: la scoperta dell'acqua come elisir di lunga vita, il quieto girovagare fra boschi e campi in un paesaggio che si rivela specchio dell'anima, tempo da dedicare a se stessi, al corpo ed alla mente affaticati dallo stress quotidiano: Bad Gögging significa avere tempo per sé e scegliere di affrontare le giornate con calma, come un rimedio terapeutico, e fare una volta tanto quella pausa tanto necessaria per poi rimettersi al passo con i ritmi sostenuti della quotidianità.

 
A Bad Gögging, dove il Limes, noto anche come Vallo Retico, terminava per lasciar spazio all'ampio baluardo fluviale del Danubio, i soldati romani costruirono uno dei complessi termali più grandi a nord delle Alpi: quanto vediamo oggi negli scavi del Römisches Museum è una parte piccola ma significativa di quanto Bad Gögging cela tuttora sotto le fondamenta dei suoi edifici. Il castrum Abusina, nell'odierna Eining, tuttavia, è stato riportato alla luce: una passeggiata in quest'area consente di ammirarne da vicino le fondamenta in pietra.
 
Il Limes termina vicino ad Hienheim, dove la tradizionale zattera trasporta ancor oggi ciclisti ed escursionisti da una sponda all'altra del Danubio, come in passato; qui è stata ricostruita una delle tipiche torri di guardia del Limes. Un'altra ricostruzione si trova in centro a Bad Gögging: molto più grande ed interamente realizzata in pietra, ospita al suo interno l'elegante sauna del moderno centro termale Limes-Therme.
 
Nessun'altra località termale in tutta la Baviera può vantare la presenza di questi tre preziosi elementi curativi naturali di riconosciuta efficacia: sorgenti sulfuree, fanghi termali e acqua minerale termale. Le sorgenti sulfuree erano già note agli antichi Romani, che ne utilizzavano l'acqua per curare la pelle, le articolazioni ed anche la tanto temuta gotta; probabilmente conoscevano anche l'effetto terapeutico dei fanghi.
 
Maggio e giugno sono i mesi degli asparagi: raccolti nelle campagne circostanti arrivano freschi nelle cucine dei ristoranti, che li trasformano in piatti leggeri e saporiti… una cura primaverile che inizia proprio a tavola. Magari anche con l'insalata di germogli di luppolo, una delicata specialità locale: non per nulla qui siamo nella regione di produzione del luppolo per antonomasia.

 
Bad Gögging è circondata da campagne: le oche e le anatre della regione si possono gustare anche alle sagre, ed i lucci, i salmerini e gli altri pesci appena pescati dai fiumi e dai ruscelli della zona sono una vera tentazione… per non parlare poi dell'arrosto di maiale con i canederli in salsa di birra, uno dei piatti forti della cucina bavarese, da assaporare magari in un "Biergarten", una delle tradizionali birrerie all'aperto, all'ombra di castagni secolari.
 
Basta poco per raggiungere la città di Neustadt a piedi o in bicicletta attraverso il parco cittadino, ed è sempre possibile passeggiare, fare shopping, bere un caffè o esplorare il centro storico con le sue viuzze medievali e le mura di cinta. E percorrendo ancora un paio di chilometri con una bella passeggiata si raggiunge Abensberg: nel XVI secolo quest'antica cittadina diede i natali allo storico Johann Turmair, detto anche Aventinus, autore della prima cronaca bavarese e stimato precettore di corte.
 
Gli ospiti che desiderano conoscere meglio il luogo in cui soggiornano, inoltre, possono prendere parte alle visite guidate a Bad Gögging e nei birrifici, dedicarsi alla ricerca di funghi con guide esperte oppure partecipare ad escursioni guidate alla scoperta dei dintorni: a pochi chilometri di distanza sorgono Regensburg e Ingolstadt. Nel Parco Naturale dell'Altmühltal vi è, ad esempio, la cittadina vescovile di Eichstätt, dove gotico e barocco si uniscono in un ensemble unico; da non perdere nemmeno l'abbazia di Weltenburg e Kelheim, antica capitale del ducato di Baviera adagiata sul Danubio, dove re Ludwig I fece edificare la Befreiungshalle, il padiglione della liberazione a ricordo della fine delle guerre contro Napoleone.

Fonte: tuttobaviera.it

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Russia Today's EXCLUSIVE interview with the Zeitgeist ideologist, economic activist and film maker Peter Joseph.

RT on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RTnews

RT on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RT_com

" SCIENCE WILL MAKE LIFE BETTER, NOT POLITICS OR MONEY.

MONEY BREEDS CRIME, CONSUMER SOCIETY IS FLAWED.

DEPENDENCE ON OIL WILL LEAD TO COLLAPSE OF SOCIETIES.

AMERICANS HAVE NO REAL SAY IN POLITICS, IT'S DICTATORSHIP.

AUSTERITY MEASURES ARE AN ATROCITY, CUTTING THE BASICS.

TECHNICAL PROGRESS WILL RID PEOPLE OF JOBS, STIFLE ECONOMY.

WE'RE HEADING FOR A COLLAPSE IF WE DON'T CHANGE NOW. "

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So far 30,000 US supporters have taken action to stop forced 'virginity testing' in Egypt! Thank you for standing with Egyptian women to protest the abuse. If you haven’t done so yet, send a message to Secretary of State Clinton to demand immediate action: HERE!

After army officers violently cleared Tahrir square of protesters on March 9, 2011, at least 18 women were rounded up in military detention. The protesters told Amnesty International that they were beaten, given electric shocks, subjected to strip searches while being photographed by male soldiers, then forced to submit to ‘virginity checks’ and threatened with prostitution charges.

We're demanding that Egyptian officials investigate the allegations and stop this shocking and degrading treatment of women protestors. Call on Secretary Clinton to use her influence to demand immediate action.

Amnesty International has today (23 March 2011 - TA note) called on the Egyptian authorities to investigate serious allegations of torture, including forced 'virginity tests', inflicted by the army on women protesters arrested in Tahrir Square earlier this month.

After army officers violently cleared the square of protesters on 9 March, at least 18 women were held in military detention. Amnesty International has been told by women protesters that they were beaten, given electric shocks, subjected to strip searches while being photographed by male soldiers, then forced to submit to 'virginity checks' and threatened with prostitution charges.

'Virginity tests' are a form of torture when they are forced or coerced.

"Forcing women to have 'virginity tests' is utterly unacceptable. Its purpose is to degrade women because they are women," said Amnesty International. "All members of the medical profession must refuse to take part in such so-called 'tests'."

20-year-old Salwa Hosseini told Amnesty International that after she was arrested and taken to a military prison in Heikstep, she was made, with the other women, to take off all her clothes to be searched by a female prison guard, in a room with two open doors and a window. During the strip search, Salwa Hosseini said male soldiers were looking into the room and taking pictures of the naked women.

The women were then subjected to 'virginity tests' in a different room by a man in a white coat. They were threatened that 'those not found to be virgins' would be charged with prostitution.

According to information received by Amnesty International, one woman who said she was a virgin but whose test supposedly proved otherwise was beaten and given electric shocks.

"Women and girls must be able to express their views on the future of Egypt and protest against the government without being detained, tortured, or subjected to profoundly degrading and discriminatory treatment", said Amnesty International.

"The army officers tried to further humiliate the women by allowing men to watch and photograph what was happening, with the implicit threat that the women could be at further risk of harm if the photographs were made public."

Journalist Rasha Azeb was also detained in Tahrir Square and told Amnesty International that she was handcuffed, beaten and insulted.

Following their arrest, the 18 women were initially taken to a Cairo Museum annex where they were reportedly handcuffed, beaten with sticks and hoses, given electric shocks in the chest and legs, and called 'prostitutes'.

Rasha Azeb could see and hear the other detained women being tortured by being given electric shocks throughout their detention at the museum. She was released several hours later with four other men who were also journalists, but 17 other women were transferred to the military prison in Heikstep.

Testimonies of other women detained at the same time collected by the El Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence are consistent with Rasha Azeb and Salwa Hosseini's accounts of beatings, electrocution and 'virginity tests'.

"The Egyptian authorities must halt the shocking and degrading treatment of women protesters. Women fully participated in bringing change in Egypt and should not be punished for their activism", said Amnesty International.

"All security and army forces must be clearly instructed that torture and other ill-treatment, including forced 'virginity tests', will no longer be tolerated, and will be fully investigated. Those found responsible for such acts must be brought to justice and the courageous women who denounced such abuses be protected from reprisals."

All 17 women detained in the military prison were brought before a military court on 11 March and released on 13 March. Several received one-year suspended prison sentences.

Salwa Hosseini was convicted of disorderly conduct, destroying private and public property, obstructing traffic and carrying weapons.

Amnesty International opposes the trial of civilians before military courts in Egypt, which have a track record of unfair trials and where the right to appeal is severely restricted.

Source: amnestyusa.org

So far 30,000 US supporters have taken action to stop forced 'virginity testing' in Egypt! Thank you for standing with Egyptian women to protest the abuse. If you haven’t done so yet, send a message to Secretary of State Clinton to demand immediate action: HERE!

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Scientists said Monday they were moving closer to coming up with a non-physical definition of the kilo after discovering the metal artefact used as the international standard had shed a little weight.

Researchers caution there is still some way to go before their mission is complete, but if successful it would lead to the end of the useful life of the last manufactured object on which fundamental units of measure depend.

The original cylinder of platinum and iridium used as the standard weight for one kilogramAt the moment, the international standard for the kilo -- the equivalent of around 2.2 pounds -- is a chunk of metal, under triple lock-and-key in France since 1889.

But Scientists became concerned about the cylinder of platinum and iridium housed at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) in Sevres, near Paris, after discovering it had mysteriously lost a tiny amount of weight.

Experts at the institute revealed in 2007 that the metal chunk is 50 micrograms -- 0.0000017 ounces -- lighter than the average of several dozen copies, meaning it had lost the equivalent of a small grain of sand.

They are now searching for a non-physical way of defining the kilo, which would bring it in line with the six other base units that make up the International System of Units (SI).

The other units are the metre, the second, the ampere, the kelvin, the mole and the candela, and none of them are now based on a physical reference object.

Experiments are focused on establishing a link between mass and the Planck constant, the fundamental unit of measurement in quantum physics, to provide a new definition of the kilo.

Michael Stock, a BIPM scientist who will on Monday discuss the proposed change in London, said the metal chunk, known as the "international prototype", was coming to the end of its useful life.

"Measurements get more and more precise, and precise measurements require well-defined measurement units to express their results," he said.

He added that "our experiments are moving forward, however, it is too early to implement the new definition of the kilogram just yet."

Source: PhysOrg

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