You are hereevents
Oil prices soar, leaders gather for Saudi Arabia summit, Opec president says output increase would be "illogical and irrational"
Oil prices surged as some members of the Opec producers' cartel rejected demands to increase output ahead of tomorrow's meeting in Saudi Arabia to discuss soaring fuel costs. The president of Opec, Chakib Khelil, said yesterday that it would be "illogical and irrational" for it to increase output.
On Thursday oil prices fell sharply - around $5 a barrel - after Saudi Arabia announced a production hike of 200,000 barrels a day and China increased fuel prices by dropping subsidies.
But yesterday, New York's main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for July delivery, jumped $4.27 to $136.20 a barrel at one stage and in London Brent North Sea crude for August rose $3.46 to $134.46.
Venezuela initially refused to attend the meeting, but energy minister Rafael Ramirez reportedly changed his mind at the last minute after blaming speculators and the falling dollar for the high prices. Meanwhile, Iran said raising output would not curtail prices.
Saudi Arabia, the world's largest producer and the de facto leader of Opec, called the summit in the hope of easing the strains on consuming economies caused by soaring oil prices.
In what appeared to be a mistake on Thursday, the country's London embassy website said it was boosting its daily oil output by 200,000 barrels. The statement was later withdrawn and it was thought the release was intended for tomorrow.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown, America's energy secretary Sam Bodman and senior ministers from other countries, including China, will be at the Jeddah summit. Jeroen van der Veer, chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, and Tony Hayward, his opposite number at BP, are among the senior businessmen attending.
The summit will also discuss opening up Middle East oilfields to energy majors like BP, and foreign investments from sovereign wealth funds in the Gulf.
Images courtesy of Reuters, BBC News, and Luis Vasquez/Gulf News
Original Source: Telegraph
Nonprofit Mozilla keeps innovating: free open source web browser Firefox 3 sets world record - 8.3 million downloads in 24 hours
They were going for the gold and they got it - Firefox has set a world download record with the release of Firefox 3 with 8.3 million downloads. beating its own goal by three million. Mozilla reported that there were around 8,000 downloads a minute, with a one-day estimate of between five and seven million downloads. Almost 2,7 million users have downloaded Firefox 3 only in the United States. Germany has ranked second in the Top 10 of Firefox fans with 700,000 downloads, while in Spain and France the browser has surpassed 300,000 downloads.
Mozilla Firefox, the little Web browser with the quirky name, has grown up fast. Four years ago, Firefox was an obscure project Microsoft felt free to ignore. Now it has grabbed about a fifth of the market worldwide. And while Microsoft has shipped only one upgrade to its Internet Explorer in that time, Firefox just hit its fourth major release. Like the earlier 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0 versions, Firefox 3 -- a free download for Windows 2000, XP and Vista; Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5; and recent Linux releases at http://mozilla.com - makes the Web easier and safer to use in a few distinct ways.
Its tabbed browsing lets you switch among multiple sites in one window, and a small box at the top right of every window lets you direct a query to your choice of Web search engines. "Find as you type" text searching jumps to a given word on a page in moments. Its separation from the guts of Windows makes it safer and more reliable than Internet Explorer. And Firefox's open-source code allows inspection by anybody, making for fast bug fixes.
The new Smart Bookmarks will enable the categorization of user’s folders by several criteria, such as the most frequently visited, recently bookmarked and recently tagged websites. This time, Firefox developers -- employees of the Mountain View, Calif., nonprofit Mozilla, plus outside volunteers -- stopped pretending that we all bookmark our favorite pages with the care of reference librarians. Instead, they built a better history function: as you start typing, Firefox will present a list of all the sites that match, then narrow that list as you continue.
Firefox 3 integrates a revised download manager which makes it much easier to locate downloaded files. Now the users can see and search on the name of the website where a file came from. Also, active downloads and time remaining are always shown in the status bar as the files are download. Resumable downloading means the users can now resume downloads after restarting the browser or resetting the network connection.
Images courtesy of eFluxMedia and inquisitr.com
Charm of diplomatic optimism: EU, Britain, France, Germany, Russia & China, direct talks with Iran; Bush quick to condemn Iran
They are not usually used to the limelight. In fact you might imagine them blinking as they emerge into the sunshine. The political directors of the foreign policy departments of the great powers are the archetypal bureaucrats - more used to influencing policy behind closed doors, than appearing before the glare of television lights.
But in the stylish residence of the German ambassador to Iran, they took their place alongside the EU foreign policy envoy Javier Solana, in what was, not for the first time in Tehran, a rather bizarre news conference. The aim was to demonstrate the unity of the international community, in the face of Iran's nuclear programme. In the event, it showed rather the opposite.
Mr Solana's mission was to bring a new package of incentives, designed to encourage Iran to suspend the enrichment of uranium - the process the West fears could be used to make a nuclear bomb.
But while he was in the process of delicately explaining his offer to various Iranian officials, US President George W Bush jumped the gun, and announced that Iran had already rejected the package "out of hand".
In fact, as Mr Solana quietly explained later on, Iran has agreed to take away the ideas and think about them.
It was more than just a misunderstanding on Mr Bush's part.
What was so striking was the difference in tone. President Bush was quick to condemn the Iranian government at the earliest opportunity.
Mr Solana came full of diplomatic optimism, with a mission to charm and persuade the Iranians of the merits of this proposal. Not that anyone ever expected any miracles.
The package brought to Tehran by Mr Solana includes a series of proposals designed to help Iran develop a civilian nuclear programme. There are economic incentives as well. All available to Iran if it suspends the enrichment of uranium.
Mr Bush was quite correct that the Iranian government spokesman did announce, just as the talks were beginning, that Iran was not willing to accept that condition. It is something that Iranian Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or one of his officials probably repeats almost every day of the year. So it was not exactly a surprise.
And that was not the only flaw in this initiative.
The countries represented alongside Mr Solana were Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. Nobody from the US.
Washington does not hold direct talks with Tehran. Yet if there is a solution to this crisis, surely relations between Iran and the United States are pivotal.
Is it really credible to believe, as this offer proposes, that the US would co-operate in helping to build a nuclear reactor in Iran, while the many other arguments between the two countries remain?
Would the US Congress really vote money for the project, while American generals complain of Iranian weapons being used against their troops in Iraq, and Israel complains of Iranian rockets being delivered to Hamas and Hezbollah?
Equally, for any deal to be attractive to Iran, it would surely have to include the lifting of American economic sanctions, much more important than the relatively light UN embargo.
Photo courtesy of AFP and AP
Original Source: BBC News
LUXEMBOURG, June 16 - European Union foreign ministers neither discussed nor agreed a new round of sanctions against Iran at a meeting on Monday, a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said.
Asked about a statement by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announcing new EU sanctions on Iran's financial, oil and gas sectors, the spokeswoman said: "There was no discussion of sanctions today. I know nothing about that."
"No decision has been taken today. That is the answer to your question: no decision has been taken today," said Solana when asked to clarify whether the ministers have come up with a decision on Iran. He emphasized the EU's "double track" strategy to Iran -- offer to open negotiations on the one hand and UN sanctions on the other.
Photo courtesy of Xinhua Agencies
Just when you thought there was going to be one less thing to believe in – namely the invincibility of Tiger Woods with a lead in a major golf championship – along he comes to amaze once again.
He slid and bounced about a 15-footer into the side door on the 72nd and final hole to tie the tournament and force the playoff and it was a putt, a moment, that represented the highest kind of drama this sport has to offer. It was amazing stuff, really, and he has done it before and he surely will do it again and no one should ever be surprised when he performs miracles. But he keeps doing it and who isn’t constantly amazed, if only by the sheer volume?
"That man will crawl around if he has to play," Rocco Mediate said of Woods’s wounded knee, which dominated the TV talk and surely was making an impact on Woods, too, although he said the reason his tee shots, most of the day, kept sailing left was “just bad swings."
“He’s good enough he can beat us on one leg,’’ Stephen Ames had said about five hours earlier, when asked who would win. Ames then assumed the stork pose and swung away.
“He can stand up like this and still hit it – ding – 250 (yards) and beat us.’’ read more »
Drivers told to zip lips - NASCAR president Mike Helton says complaining is unfair to fans, who face costly gas, tough economy
NASCAR is tired of hearing the negative message some of the stock car sport's driving stars have been sending to fans lately. Too many complaints about the new-generation car, bumpy racetracks and numerous other things, and not enough positive reinforcement for fans.
NASCAR president Mike Helton held a "mandatory" meeting yesterday morning for drivers and the team owners at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. Things apparently reached a critical mass last week at Pocono, where it appeared nobody was happy about the rough track or the so-called Car of Tomorrow that is still being developed or the intense heat that had many drivers near exhaustion after a Pocono 500 that most believe shouldn't be longer than 400 miles.
June 12 - US Supreme Court Delivers Its Third Consecutive Rebuff to Bush Administration’s Handling of Detainees
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday delivered its third consecutive rebuff to the Bush administration’s handling of the detainees at Guantánamo Bay, ruling 5 to 4 that the prisoners there have a constitutional right to go to federal court to challenge their continued detention.
The court declared unconstitutional a provision of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that, at the administration’s behest, stripped the federal courts of jurisdiction to hear habeas corpus petitions from the detainees seeking to challenge their designation as enemy combatants.
Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said the truncated review procedure provided by a previous law, the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, “falls short of being a constitutionally adequate substitute” because it failed to offer “the fundamental procedural protections of habeas corpus.”
Justice Kennedy declared: “The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times.”
'Habeas corpus' (Latin: [We command] that you have the body) is the name of a legal action, or writ, through which a person can seek relief from unlawful detention of themselves or another person. The writ of habeas corpus has historically been an important instrument for the safeguarding of individual freedom against arbitrary state action.
On Oct. 17, 2006, President Bush signed a law suspending the right of habeas corpus to persons "determined by the United States" to be an "enemy combatant" in the Global War on Terror. President Bush's action drew severe criticism, mainly for the law's failure to specifically designate who in the United States will determine who is and who is not an "enemy combatant."
To President Bush's support for the law -- the Military Commissions Act of 2006 -- and its suspension of writs of habeas corpus, Jonathan Turley, professor of constitutional law at George Washington University stated, "What, really, a time of shame this is for the American system. What the Congress did and what the president signed today essentially revokes over 200 years of American principles and values."
Photos Courtesy of Todd Heisler/NY Times, Wikipedia, and elcivics.com
Related Article: Why This Court Keeps Rebuking This President