Tag Archives: New York

U.N. warns over Israeli plan to relocate West Bank Bedouin #WestBank


Palestinian BedouinA Palestinian Bedouin youth leads a herd of sheep in the West Bank village of Deir Gazaleh near Jenin, early Saturday. | AP

JERUSALEM – The U.N.’s Palestinian refugee agency on Sunday urged the international community to oppose Israeli plans to relocate thousands of Palestinian Bedouin from the central West Bank.

“If such a plan were implemented this would … give rise to concerns that it amounts to a ‘forcible transfer’ in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention,” banning involuntary population relocation in occupied territory, UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl said.

“It might also make way for further Israeli illegal settlement expansion, further compromising the viability of a two-state solution,” he said in a statement.

“I urge the Israeli authorities not to proceed with the transfer … and I also urge the donor and state community to take a firm stand against it.”

A meeting on international aid to the Palestinians is to be held in New York on Monday.

UNRWA added that most of those slated for resettlement to Jericho, in the east of the Palestinian territory, were registered Palestinian refugees.

The Israeli military department responsible for civil affairs in the occupied West Bank had no immediate comment, but Haaretz newspaper last week quoted an official as saying that dozens of meetings were held with Bedouin leaders.

Haaretz said that an original scheme to relocate one tribe, however, had grown to a plan to move about 12,500 Bedouin from the Jahalin, Kaabneh and Rashaida tribes, without dialogue as recommended by the Israeli Supreme Court.

“The plans were drafted without consulting the Bedouin slated to live there,” the paper said.

UNRWA said that among those slated for resettlement were people residing “in the E1 and Maale Adumim areas near Jerusalem, which have been slated for new Israeli settlement development.”

Israel has been planning construction in the highly contentious area of the West Bank, east of Jerusalem, since the early 1990s.

Plans for building 1,200 settler homes unveiled in December 2012 were quickly put on the back burner after the announcement triggered a major diplomatic backlash.

The Palestinians say construction in E1 would effectively cut the West Bank in two and prevent the creation of any contiguous Palestinian state.


The Japan Times.

New York town gets entire summer’s worth of rain


Firefighters cross a flooded intersection on Route 110 in Farmingdale, N.Y., on New York's Long Island, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. Stranded Long Island drivers have been rescued after a storm slammed Islip, N.Y., with over 12 inches of rain — an entire summer's worth. (AP Photo/Frank Eltman)Firefighters cross a flooded intersection on Route 110 in Farmingdale, N.Y., on New York’s Long Island, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. Stranded Long Island drivers have been rescued after a storm slammed Islip, N.Y., with over 13 inches of rain — an entire summer’s worth. (AP Photo/Frank Eltman)

DEER PARK, N.Y. (AP) — A storm has slammed a suburban New York area with over 13 inches of rain — an entire summer’s worth — and trapped drivers on flooded roads around Long Island.

The staggering total was recorded Wednesday at an airport in the hamlet of Ronkonkoma (rahn-KAHN’-kuh-muh) in the town of Islip (EYE’-slip). Joe Pollina of the National Weather Service says the area’s normal total for June, July and August is 11.75 inches.

The Southern State Parkway was closed around Baldwin and about 20 miles east in Deer Park, where cars were stuck in a couple of feet of water.

WPIX says fire crews in boats rescued drivers in Nesconset (nehs-KAHN’-seht).

Central and eastern Long Island roads that were still open had bumper-to-bumper traffic Wednesday.

The rain started around 6 p.m. Tuesday. It tapered off Wednesday morning.

Vehicles are submerged on a flooded section of the Northern State Parkway, near Route 107, in Jericho, N.Y., on New York's Long Island, Wednesday Aug. 13, 2014. Stranded Long Island drivers have been rescued after a storm slammed Islip, N.Y., with over 12 inches of rain — an entire summer's worth. (AP Photo/Newsday, Howard Schnapp) NYC LOCALS OUTVehicles are submerged on a flooded section of the Northern State Parkway, near Route 107, in Jericho, N.Y., on New York’s Long Island, Wednesday Aug. 13, 2014. Stranded Long Island drivers have been rescued after a storm slammed Islip, N.Y., with over 12 inches of rain — an entire summer’s worth. (AP Photo/Newsday, Howard Schnapp) NYC LOCALS OUT

Associated Press.

Ukraine International Airlines launches direct Kyiv–New York flights


It takes approximately 10 hours to fly directly from Kyiv to the New York City with Ukraine International Airlines.It takes approximately 10 hours to fly directly from Kyiv to the New York City with Ukraine International Airlines. © flyuia.com

Ukraine International Airlines, the country’s biggest air carrier owned by oligarch and Dnipropetrovsk Oblast governor Igor Kolomoisky, launched direct flights between Kyiv and New York City on April 25.

This comes as a relief for those who regularly travel between Ukraine and the U.S. directly, which can be up to three hours shorter than flights involving transfers, since direct flights have been banned since September 19, 2013 by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

The American regulator slapped on the ban because it was receiving serious complaints about safety issues regarding Ukrainian airline operators.

Now it takes approximately 10 hours to travel from Kyiv to the New York, while the return flight takes slightly less time, according to Evgeniya Satska, UIA spokeswoman. Meanwhile, Volodymyr Haidamaka, UIA pilot of the Boeing 767-300 that flies this route, says it is possible to cover that distance by a little more than 9 hours.

At the moment, a one-way ticket to the Big Apple from Kyiv on UIA reaches $910, while in August the company plans to cut the price all the way down to $759. The flight schedule covers Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, though UIA is considering making them daily.

UIA’s prices for flights to New York are the lowest on the Ukrainian market, according to Tickets.ua online service. However, the company’s offer has a serious disadvantage – you may not change the date of the flight after you have purchased the tickets.

Passengers travelling to New York have to depart from Boryspol airport’s terminal D, which has been criticized for poor service, since only one café operates, and then with extremely inflated prices, compared to those in Kyiv’s elite restaurants.

Anastasia Fartushna, who regularly travels from Kyiv to New York, says that February is the cheapest month in terms of ticket prices. “Last time I paid $650 to fly to New York through Moscow with (Russian airline company) Aeroflot,” she said.

Flights from New York to Kyiv become especially popular in September and October, when U.S.-based members of the Jewish diaspora travel to Ukraine’s Uman in Cherkasy Oblast to celebrate Rosh-Ha Shana, Jewish New Year. Uman is famous for being the burial place of major Jewish religious leader Nachman of Breslov. Around 1,000 American Jews come to Ukraine annually for these celebrations.

Meanwhile, Germany’s Lufthansa plans to attract more passengers for their Kyiv–NYC flights that go via Frankfurt, Munich or Zurich, through providing the comfortable Airbus A380 a smooth flight.

Flight

Destination

Days

Departure*

Arrival*

PS231

Kiev – New York

1234567

11:00

14:20

PS232

New York – Kiev

1234567

00:30

17:20

Kyiv Post

New York calls for ban on face scrub microbeads


face or body-scrubbing productCredit: Shutterstock

If you’ve ever used a face or body-scrubbing product, it’s likely that it contained plastic microbeads. These microbeads work to slough away dead skin, but just like other plastic products they represent an environmental hazard. For this reason, efforts are being made in New York to ban this plastic pollution from products.

Microbeads are tiny spherical beads made out of polyethylene or polypropylene ranging in size from 0.004mm to 1.24mm. They can be found in products including Clearasil, Clean & Clear, L’Oreal and Neutrogena exfoliating face and body washes as well as some toothpastes. A study estimates that nearly 19 tonnes of microbeads are potentially discharged into the wastewater stream of the State of New York alone each year.

The problem with these microbeads is that they are just washed down the drain. Because they are so small and buoyant, many escape capture by wastewater treatment plants, which tend to filter water through screens that have holes bigger than the microbeads.

The beads go on to act as “sponges for toxic chemical pollutants” and are mistaken for food by aquatic organisms. This means that the pollutants can enter the food chain and contaminate fish that humans eat, as well as birds, turtles and mammals.

A 2012 study of the Great Lakes using a fine trawler net found high counts of microplastic pellets, which matched those found in two national brands of facial cleanser. 58 percent of all microplastic less than 1mm collected in the Great Lakes was found to be spherical — a giveaway that it came from cosmetic products — compared with less than one percent of plastic that size found in the North Pacific. Further surveys were carried out in 2013 to confirm high levels of microbeads.  Continue reading

1964 World’s Fair: Isaac Asimov’s predictions 50 years on


1964 World's FairThe 1964 World’s Fair was held in a park in Queens, New York, just a few minutes away from Manhattan

It is 2014, and we should all be in therapy.

At least, that’s according to Isaac Asimov, one of the 20th Century’s best-known science fiction authors, who in 1964 published an essay predicting what our world would look like today.

The occasion?

Not a mental breakdown – despite his insistence on the importance of psychiatry in the future – but rather the World’s Fair in Queens, New York, which opened 50 years ago today.

Although the official theme of the fair, which ran for two six-month sessions, was Peace Through Understanding, today it is primarily remembered for its vision of the future.

And while some of those futuristic technologies on display never quite went mainstream – underwater housing and levitating cars, anyone? – a closer look at Asimov’s World’s Fair of 2014 reveals that his crystal ball was shockingly clear.

1964 Ford MustangFord unveiled its Mustang at the 1964 World’s Fair

Here’s a look at 2014, through the eyes of 1964.

1. “Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone.”

Video PhoneThe NY World’s Fair came equipped with video phone call booths

The first transcontinental video call between two places was made on 20 April 1964 using technology developed by Bell Systems (later Bell Laboratories), which may have partly inspired Asimov’s prediction.

However, he would certainly be surprised at the low cost of products such as Skype and Apple’s FaceTime: in 1964, a three-minute video phone call from Washington DC to New York cost $16 (£9) – around $118 in today’s money.

2. It will be possible “for you to direct-dial any spot on earth, including the weather stations in Antarctica”.

Antarctic PenguinsIt may be 2014, but Antarctic penguins haven’t figured out how to answer calls

Just dial country code 672 (for some parts – others use New Zealand’s country code, +64).

3. “Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence.”

1964 World's Fair puppetsA technician assembles puppets at the 1964 World’s Fair

Asimov is credited with introducing the word robotics into the English language, so it is perhaps no surprise he was right in predicting that no real robot yet exits that can rival The Jetson’s housemaid, Rosie – first brought to screen in 1962.

But there are projects under way to get robots to pass Japan’s university exam, perform remote surgery, and even cook a gourmet meal.

Asimov also came close to identifying what has become a crucial component of modern life: “miniaturised computers”, also known as smartphones, which he thought would serve as the “brains” of robots (anyone who has tried to navigate a foreign city without the use of a smartphone map might wonder if he really meant brains of “humans”).

4. “As for television, wall screens will have replaced the ordinary set; but transparent cubes will be making their appearance in which three-dimensional viewing will be possible.”

3D Television ViewersAsimov said ballet performances would be the preference of 3D television viewers

One of the most notable aspects of Asimov’s predictions is that he often nailed the technology, but overestimated the enthusiasm with which such technologies would be greeted.

To give him his due, flat-screen televisions have replaced traditional sets, and 3D television technologies, while not in cube form, have long been a highlight of the electronics trade show circuit.

But audiences have generally shrugged: the BBC said in July it would suspend its 3D programming due to a “lack of public appetite”.

5. “Conversations with the Moon will be a trifle uncomfortable.”

Moon ColoniesGeneral Motor’s Futurama II exhibition showed moon colonies and underwater pavilions

Futurama ll VehiclesThe Futurama II pavilion also showed the vehicles that would be used on Mars – not so different from the Mars rover

Of course, Asimov was bound to have a few duds. The dawn of the Space Age might have made him a bit optimistic about communications with our Moon suburbs – calls would have a delay of 2.5 seconds, he thought – although he was spot on when he predicted that by 2014 “only unmanned ships will have landed on Mars”.

He did not, however, predict the Mars Curiosity’s Twitter account.

6. “Kitchen units will be devised that will prepare ‘automeals’, heating water and converting it to coffee.”

RobotsRobots may not be very smart but they might still enjoy a cup of coffee from an ‘automeal’ machine

Automated coffee machines do indeed exist.

Asimov’s predictions that processed yeast and algae products would be available in a variety of flavours, including “mock-turkey” and “pseudo-steak”, were semi-realised last year when scientists unveiled the first laboratory-grown burger.

Critics might be divided on whether or not Mr Asimov was right about the taste being “not bad at all”: some who ate the burger said they “missed the fat“.

Burger grown in the labThe world’s first lab-grown burger was cooked up last summer by scientists at Maastricht University, in the Netherlands

7. “An experimental fusion-power plant or two will already exist.”

ITER is building the world's largest nuclear fusion reactor in the south of FranceITER is building the world’s largest nuclear fusion reactor in the south of France

The joke goes that fusion – essentially, harnessing the power inside stars – is the power of the future, and always will be.

And that continues to be the reality, although there is a $22bn multinational effort under way to get a reactor up and running by 2028 in the south of France.

But Asimov’s predictions about large solar-power stations in desert and semi-desert areas like Arizona and the Negev desert are accurate.

Power stations in space, “collecting sunlight by means of huge parabolic focusing devices and radiating energy down to earth” remains an out-there goal.

8. “Much effort will be put into the designing of vehicles with ‘robot-brains.'”

Google's self-driving car is controlled by a computerGoogle’s self-driving car is controlled by a computer, but an aquafoil has yet to be added

“Robot-brain” surely has a better ring than “self-driving car”.

Asimov’s other transport predictions – while just as catchy – still remain the stuff of dreams. The aquafoils, which “skimmed over the water with a minimum of friction” and impressed World’s Fair visitors in 1964, haven’t caught on. Neither have their successors – jet packs and hovercraft.

9. “Not all the world’s population will enjoy the gadgetry world of the future to the full. A larger portion than today will be deprived and although they may be better off, materially, than today, they will be further behind.”

Google and Facebook are just two firms focusing on expanding internet access via drones and balloonsGoogle and Facebook are just two firms focusing on expanding internet access via drones and balloons

Asimov predicted more – and got more right, or semi-right – than is possible to list here. His fears about population growth and birth control could be the stuff of an entirely separate article.

But perhaps his most prescient observation, or warning, was that while technology, both then and now, has the power to transform lives, without efforts towards equal access, it can hurt, rather than help, the goal of “peace through understanding”.

Source BBC News.

Your thoughts and comments below please, do any of you have predictions for the next 50 years?