Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα technology. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα technology. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Κυριακή, Φεβρουαρίου 15, 2015

European last ATV-type cargo supply spacecraft sunk in Pacific

Fragments of the European final cargo supply spaceship of the ATV series, Georges Lemaitre, that undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday have sunk in the Pacific, a spokesman for the European Space Agency told TASS on Sunday.
"The spaceship’s elements sunk in an unnavigable section of the Pacific," the spokesman said, adding that the ship had been docked to the ISS since August 2014.

The European unmanned cargo resupply spacecraft Georges Lemaitre is the final cargo supply spaceship of the ATV /Automated Transfer Vehicle/ series. The first one, the Jules Verne, was launched to the ISS in 2008. Along with Russia’s Progress spacecraft, ATV-type spaceships were capable of docking to the ISS in an automated mode. Other spacecraft are docked with the help of automated manipulator.

The European Space Agency has spent about 2.5 billion euro to fiance the ATV spacecraft project, which gave jobs to 3,000 people and about 300 companies and research institutions, including Russian. Each spaceship cost some 450 million euro.

The European Space Agency however plans to use ATV project technologies in other projects. Thus, they will be used at NASA’s manned Orion spaceship due to be blasted off in 2017. Europeans will supply engine units, electric power, water and air supply systems.

It is not ruled out that the European Space Agency will use ATV technologies to build an automated space garbage collector.

  • From now on, Russian-made Progress cargo supply spacecraft and spaceships of U.S. private companies - SpaceX’s Dragon and Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus - will be used to deliver cargos to the International Space Station.
The next launch of a Progress ship to the International Space Station is scheduled for February 17 from the Baikonur space centre.
  http://tass.ru/en/non-political/777761
15/2/15
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Σάββατο, Φεβρουαρίου 07, 2015

Radar used to bust unauthorized basement construction in Beijing

BEIJING, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- Radar was used to detect unauthorized basement construction in Beijing as the city gets tough on the potentially dangerous practice.

The crackdown comes after a lawmaker built a basement in his courtyard that caused neighboring houses to collapse, local authorities said Friday.


Radar detection has been employed to monitor whether there are any hollowed areas under roads or houses.

According to the office in Xicheng District responsible for the crackdown, law enforcement can use radar to check renovated houses.

If any unauthorized basements are found, the owners will be ordered to fill in the basements or holes immediately, said Song Jiale, an official with the district government.

He said property ownership certificates will be granted after houses pass the check.

Previously, Li Baojun, a lawmaker from east China's Xuzhou City, Jiangsu Province, had built a 18-meter-deep basement in his courtyard in Xicheng District without permission, which caved in and caused the road and surrounding buildings to collapse on Jan. 24.

The incident has revealed the city's rampant illegal underground construction and caused a stir in the country.

  xinhuanet.com
7/2/15
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Τρίτη, Φεβρουαρίου 03, 2015

CA Officials Allowed Fracking to Taint Drinking Water Amid Record Drought

Oil companies in drought-ravaged California are pumping wastewater from their operations into aquifers, potentially contaminating groundwater supplies that have become increasingly important...

State regulators permitted companies to drill hundreds of waste-disposal wells into aquifers that store water for drinking or irrigation, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Companies injected a blend of briny water, hydrocarbons and trace chemicals.

Most of the wells are located in the state’s Central Valley, where residents are pumping so much groundwater to cope with the historic drought that the land has started to sink.

“It is an unfolding catastrophe, and it’s essential that all oil and gas wastewater injection into underground drinking water stop immediately,” said Kassie Siegel, director of the Climate Law Institute at the Center for Biological Diversity environmental group.

So far, tests of nearby drinking-water wells show no contamination, state officials said. But the federal Environmental Protection Agency is still threatening to take control of monitoring the waste-injection wells after more than 30 years of state management.

“If there are wells having a direct impact on drinking water, we need to shut them down now,” said Jared Blumenfeld, regional administrator for the EPA. “Safe drinking water is only going to become more in demand.”

The problem dates back to 1983, when the EPA gave state regulators responsibility for enforcing the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The agreement listed aquifers considered exempt, where oil companies could legally inject leftover water.

But there were two signed copies of the agreement, which led to oil companies injecting wastewater into aquifers that were supposed to be off-limits, the Chronicle reported.

The EPA first suspected the problem in 2011, and last summer state officials shut down 11 waste-injection wells that they feared could taint groundwater supplies already feeding homes and farms.

In 2010, cherry trees on Mike Hopkins San Joaquin Valley orchard starting turning brown, a problem that spread the next year.

Tests of the water revealed high levels of salt and boron, both of which can damage trees. Hopkins blames oil companies for tainting the aquifer that used to feed his orchard, and sued four companies that had been injecting wastewater nearby.

In another sign of California's persistent drought, downtown San Francisco recorded no measurable rain in January for the first time in 165 years, the National Weather Service said.

The agency also said Santa Cruz recorded no rain in January for the first time since 1893. Normal rainfall for that city in January is more than 6 inches.

For the Bay Area as a whole, last month was the driest January on record, the weather service said. December brought decent rain to Southern and Northern California, raising hopes for a wet winter, but January turned out to be dry and unusually warm.
sputniknews.com

3/2/15
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Δευτέρα, Φεβρουαρίου 02, 2015

Παρασκευή, Ιανουαρίου 02, 2015

China builds world's largest coal mine waste gas recovering project.

The world's largest facility to turn excess methane gas from coal mines into electricity has been completed in north China's Shanxi Province.

The facility was completed by the Lu'an Group, which owns the Gaohe Coal Mine in the coal-rich province.


The company announced on Tuesday it would soon start operating the generator with a capacity of 30 megawatts, capable of utilizing 99 percent of methane gas discharged from the coal mine.
The poisonous gas is a common emission during underground mining. Normally, mines will liquify the gas into methyl alcohol if it has a concentration higher than 30 percent, for concentrations between 10 percent and 20 percent it is captured and used to fuel internal combustion engines.

However, methane concentrations lower than 10 percent, which qualifies 81 percent of the gas released during mining, can not be consumed through direct combustion.

Jia Jian, deputy head of the Methane Gas Research Institute of the company, said the new technology has helped tackle the problem of how to dispose of the waste.

He said the project can decompose the gas into carbon dioxide and water under temperatures more than 950 Celsius, and use the heat and steam for power generation.

He said by recovering and utilizing the gas, the project can help reduce 1.4 million tonnes of greenhouse gases and produce 200 million kwh of electricity a year.

China's coal mines produce more than 10 billion cubic meters of low-concentration methane gas each year, which causes greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 200 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Jia said the project of making waste profitable has a good market potential. The demonstration facility installed at Gaohe Coal Mine has drawn interest from a number of coal mining firms, which have signed agreements predicted to reduce 15.8 million tonnes of carbon emissions.

Coal mining firms in China are under greater pressure than ever to control carbon emissions as the government continues to step up efforts to cut emissions.

China has set an ambitious goal of reducing carbon emissions per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 40 to 45 percent from the level in 2005.

By 2013, carbon emissions per unit of GDP dropped by 28.56 percent from 2005. In the first three quarters of this year, energy consumption per unit of GDP dropped by 4.6 percent from a year earlier and carbon emissions were down by 5 percent, data showed.
 Source: Xinhua - globaltimes.cn

  2/1/15
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  *** Photo: www.gidynamics.nl

Τετάρτη, Δεκεμβρίου 24, 2014

Video: Chilenos inventan un dispositivo que transforma el aire en agua

 Un grupo de ingenieros y diseñadores de Chile ha creado un pequeño dispositivo que transforma el aire en agua, un invento que, según ellos, permitirá "democratizar el agua".

El dispositivo, llamado FreshWater, funciona con electricidad y produce agua por el principio de condensación: crea una nube, la enfría y provoca una minilluvia. Luego el agua se filtra y se purifica. Fue probado en el desierto de Atacama y en la localidad de Petorca, región de Valparaíso, donde produjo entre 9 y 28 litros al día respectivamente.

Los creadores de FreshWater desean reunir 500.000 dólares a través del sitio webIndiegogo antes del 14 de febrero para poder llevar estos sistemas a los primeros 1.000 hogares en Chile y el resto de Latinoamérica, donde más de 34 millones de personas carecen de acceso a agua limpia.

"Creemos que podemos cambiar este mundo si proporcionamos a todos los hogares ubicados en zonas aisladas la posibilidad de generar una cantidad ilimitada de agua de alta calidad para satisfacer sus necesidades de subsistencia, evitar la dependencia de las grandes cadenas logísticas de suministro continuo", dicen los inventores Héctor Pino, Alberto González y Carlos Blamey.

Los creadores de FreshWater mencionan que, entre otras, utilizaron tecnologías militares para hacer realidad su invento.
rt.com/ciencias
24/12/14
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Κυριακή, Δεκεμβρίου 21, 2014

China builds first high-speed railway through karst region

Construction of China's first high-speed railway running through the country's southwest karst regions was completed on Sunday.

The 857-km railway linking Guiyang, capital of landlocked mountainous province of Guizhou, with south China's economic powerhouse Guangzhou, is expected to become operational on Friday.


Guizhou has the world's most typical karst plateau landscape, which was inducted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007. Karst topography is a landscape formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone.

Stretching through the complicated karst clusters, the railway had half of its length run through 238 tunnels, two of which are more than 14 km long, said Zhang Jianbo, general manager of the Guiyang-Guangzhou High-Speed Railway Co.

It took builders four years to drill through the two longest tunnels. Construction was often disrupted by breaking rocks, rupture of strata and water infiltration, Zhang said.

The construction company applied for six national patents covering their shockproof technology which was adopted to reduce the vibration that occurs when a train travelling at 250 km/hour runs through mountain tunnels.

Wang Mengshu, a tunnel expert with the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said the technology and machinery engineering developed for building the Guiyang-Guangzhou high-speed railway represents the country's new-generation innovation in tunnel engineering.

 Source: Xinhua - globaltimes.cn
21/12/14
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Τετάρτη, Δεκεμβρίου 03, 2014

Stephen Hawking: Artificial Intelligence could spell end of human race

World-famous physicist Stephen Hawking told the BBC he believes future developments in artificial intelligence (AI) have the potential to eradicate mankind.
The Cambridge professor, who relies on a form of artificial intelligence to communicate, said if technology could match human capabilities “it would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate.

He also said that due to biological limitations, there would be no way humans could match the speed of development of technology.
Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete and would be superseded,” he said.
The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”
Hawking suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a form of motor neuron disease, and uses AI technology as part of a system which senses how he thinks and predicts which words he will use next.
His bleak forecast came in response to questions about updates to his AI communication systems.
His latest upgrade, developed by Intel Corporation over the past three years, will allow the professor to write up to 10 times faster and communicate more effectively with friends, family and students. 

“With the improvements made, I am now able to write much faster, and it means that I can continue to give lectures, write papers and books and, of course, speak with my family and friends more easily.”
“This new system is life changing for me, and I hope it will serve me well for the next 20 years,” he said. 

Other technology specialists do not share Hawking’s grim outlook. Rollo Carpenter, creator of Cleverbot, said he believes mankind will maintain control over technology.
“I believe we will remain in charge of the technology for a decently long time and the potential of it to solve many of the world problems will be realized,” he said.
Carpenter’s software responds to stimulation from conversations with actual humans, and has the capability to learn from its previous interactions.
Cleverbot has scored highly in the ‘Turing test’, which is designed to examine how closely machines can replicate human behavior.
We cannot quite know what will happen if a machine exceeds our own intelligence, so we can't know if we'll be infinitely helped by it, or ignored by it and sidelined, or conceivably destroyed by it,” Carpenter added. 

Technology and a rise in the capabilities of AI are already affecting workplaces nationwide, as many employers opt to invest in a machine, rather than hiring people.
In November, a study from the University of Oxford suggested that a third of UK jobs could be replaced by machines over the next two decades.
Low-paid jobs featuring repetitive tasks are most likely to be superseded by technology, with clerical and support service jobs most at risk.
The study further found that jobs with a salary under £30,000 are almost five times more likely to be replaced than jobs over £100,000. 
 http://rt.com/uk/211019-hawking-warning-artificial-intelligence/
3/12/14
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Τρίτη, Οκτωβρίου 28, 2014

EU gears up for 2030 with more emissions reductions

European Commission , Press release, Brussels, 28 October 2014:

The Commission, assisted by the European Environment Agency, today releases its annual Progress Report assessing the headway on climate action. According to latest estimates, EU greenhouse gas emissions in 2013 fell by 1.8% compared to 2012 and reached the lowest levels since 1990. So not only is the EU well on track to reach the 2020 target, it is also well on track to overachieve it.

The Progress Report also for the first time provides data on the use of fiscal revenues from auctioning allowances in the EU Emission Trading System (ETS). This new source of revenues for Member States amounted to € 3.6 billion in 2013. From this, around € 3 billion will be used for climate and energy related purposes - significantly more than the 50% level recommended in the EU ETS Directive.
EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said: "Delivering on 2020 climate goals shows that Europe is ready to step up its act. And better, still: it shows that the EU is delivering substantial cuts. The policies work. Therefore, the EU leaders last week decided to continue the ambition and reach at least 40% by 2030. This will require significant investments. That's why it is encouraging that Member States have decided to use most of their current ETS revenues to invest in climate and energy and continue the transformation to a low-carbon economy."
These revenues complement the funds from the EU's NER 300 programme which is devoting €2.1 billion to support 39 large-scale demonstration projects for low carbon technologies around Europe.

Background
The Kyoto and EU 2020 Progress Report is an annual report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council. It is based on the data reported by Member States under the Monitoring Mechanism Regulation. The Report provides information about the progress made by the European Union and its Member States towards their greenhouse gas emissions targets. The decrease in emissions of 1.8% in 2013 compared to 2012 implies that total EU emissions are around 19% below 1990.
Since 2013 auctioning is the default method of allocating allowances within the EU ETS. Auction revenues accrue to Member States. The EU ETS Directive stipulates that at least half of the revenues from the auctioning of allowances should be used to combat climate change in the EU or other countries. 

Most countries have used these investments in fields like energy efficiency, renewables or sustainable transport. For instance, France, the Czech Republic and Lithuania use all their auctioning revenues in projects to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. Bulgaria, Portugal and Spain use most of their revenues to develop renewable energy. Poland uses most of its revenues that are dedicated to climate change in support of energy efficiency and renewable energy. In Germany, most of the revenues are directed to a specific climate and energy fund, which supports a wide range of projects including research and sustainable transport. The UK focusses in particular on energy efficiency, renewables, research and financial assistance to low income households in relation to energy expenses. The reported amounts represent only a proportion of total climate and energy related spending in Member States' budgets. 
http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-1202_en.htm?locale=en
28/10/14
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Τρίτη, Οκτωβρίου 21, 2014

China: Largest seismic alert network developed

China has built the world's largest earthquake early warning network with over 5,000 earthquake early warning stations that cover large areas of China's main seismic zones, the China News Service reported on Monday.

The Chengdu Institute of Care-life, a prominent seismology research institute in Sichuan Province, announced Monday that with the support of the central government, including the Ministry of Science, and the Science and Technology Department of Sichuan Province, 5,010 earthquake early warning stations have been built across 25 provincial-level regions, allowing the monitoring of nearly 2 million square kilometers, home to around 650 million people.


The network covers 80 percent of China's more densely populated seismically active regions including Southwest China's Yunnan Province and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Wang Tun, director of the institute, told the Global Times that the system has been tested by thousands of earthquakes, of which 18 were destructive.

"Our system has never misinformed us or missed any earthquakes since the project launched in 2011. We successfully detected the 2013 Lushan earthquake, the 2014 Ludian and Yutian earthquakes and every other earthquake that has occurred this year," he said

People can use their mobile phones to download an application that warns if an earthquake is about to occur. Once the system detects an earthquake, it will immediately send out alerts, Wang said.

"When an earthquake occurs, people located within 50 kilometers of the epicenter will be given an alert about 10 seconds prior to the quake. Even if you are not within the affected area, you can still receive notifications about the earthquake including its location, magnitude and time of occurrence," Wang added.

There have been academic studies that claim an alert sent out three seconds before an earthquake can reduce casualties by 14 percent. An alert 10 seconds prior can reduce casualties by 39 percent while an alert that comes 20 seconds before a disaster can reduce 63 percent of casualties.

Wang, however, said that many people are not familiar with the earthquake early warning system and therefore it is the government's responsibility to increase public awareness of these alerts.

"There are only 1 million people using the early warning services, less than one percent of the 650 million people in areas covered by our network," he explained.

By Agatha Yuen Source:Global Times  
21/10/14

Τρίτη, Αυγούστου 26, 2014

European Union helps fight forest fires in Greece (European Commission)

European Commission, Press release, Brussels, 26 August 2014:

Greece is receiving support through the European Union's Civil Protection Mechanism to fight the forest fires raging in the central part of the country. France has responded to Greece's request for assistance in a matter of hours – its two fire-fighting planes are already operating in the affected areas.
"Forest fires are a risk we face every summer and this year is no exception; we will continue to support the efforts of Greece to prevent the fire from spreading towards populated areas.
The Commission is grateful to France for its prompt gesture of solidarity; I hope that other Member States will also be able to offer assistance," said Kristalina Georgieva, the European Union Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.
The European Commission's Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) is in contact with the civil protection authorities of the countries participating in the Mechanism.
The ERCC is actively monitoring the forest fire risks across Europe. It uses national monitoring services and tools such as EFFIS (the European Forest Fire Information System) and satellite imagery to provide an overview of the situation in Europe. Every summer, its experts hold a weekly videoconference with national authorities from countries at greatest risk of forest fires.

Background
The fire that broke out on 24 August in a forest region near Kalabaka, central Greece, has burnt around 400 hectares of land and is still active. Greece has also activated the satellite imagery service of the European Commission. Тhe Copernicus mapping system provides all actors involved in the management of natural and man-made disasters and humanitarian crises with timely and accurate satellite images of the affected areas. It can be activated only by authorised users, e.g. national civil protection authorities, through the ERCC.

The European Civil Protection Mechanism facilitates cooperation in disaster response among 31 European states (EU-28 plus Norway, Iceland, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). The participating countries pool the resources that can be made available to disaster-stricken countries all over the world. When activated, the Mechanism coordinates the provision of assistance inside and outside the European Union. The European Commission manages the Mechanism through the ERCC.

The European Civil Protection Mechanism was activated 17 times over the last three summers to respond to forest fires inside and outside Europe. In 2012, for example, Greece has requested assistance at combatting forest fires for three times.
Furthermore, in June 2014 a major EU civil protection exercise, EU PROMETHEUS 2014, took place in Greece, testing cooperation and response capacities of Member States through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Among other things, the participating teams from a number of EU Member States were tested at combatting a huge wildfire near populated areas.
26/7/14
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Δευτέρα, Αυγούστου 11, 2014

Roscosmos suggests starting the creation of moon base elements and exploration robots

MOSCOW, August 11, /ITAR-TASS/. Russia's moon exploration plans have found reflection in a draft Federal Space Programme (FSP) for a 2016-2025 period, worked by the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos). The draft FSP envisions that already in 2018 work will be started to develop the elements of a moon base and special-purpose technology that will be required for building it, the newspaper Izvestia writes referring to the document a copy of which it has available.

Izvestia quotes the draft Programme as pointing out that "The 'Manned Flights' avenue of research includes projects to bring into being an on-ground development complex as the prototype of a first-phase moon base consisting of four modules (habitation, laboratory, power, and modernised node) for comprehensive linkage and verification of the adopted architectural and technical solutions".

The draft Programme also presupposes that a mobile manipulator crane, a grader, an excavator, a cablelayer, and a mobile robot for lunar surface exploration will be created and tested for building a luna base.

According to the newspaper's data, the financing of a number of research and experimental design operations at the moon base is supposed to be started in 2018. In all, Roscosmos requests the allocation of 10.37 billion roubles within a period till 2025 inclusive for the implementation of the works.

Roscosmos staff prefer not to comment on the FSP, the paper specifies.
  • It was Vice-Premier Dmitry Rogozin who stated in April of the current year that Russia, in prospect, intends to start the colonization of the Moon.
A source at the United Space Rocket Corporation told Izvestia that it is too early now to comment on detailed contents of the draft FSP, for the document is yet to be edited.
http://en.itar-tass.com/non-political/744354
11/8/14
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Πέμπτη, Αυγούστου 07, 2014

WTO Appellate Body rules against Chinese restrictions on access to rare earths and other raw materials (E.C.)

European Commission, Press release, Brussels, 7 August 2014:

The Appellate Body of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) today ruled in the EU’s favour. It confirmed the findings made by a Panel in March 2014 that China’s export restrictions on rare earth, as well as tungsten and molybdenum, are in breach of WTO rules. Backing the claims of the EU and its co-complainants, the US and Japan, the WTO found that China’s export duties and quotas were not justified for reasons of environmental protection or conservation policy.

EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht qualified the ruling as “another milestone in the EU’s efforts to ensure fair access to much-needed raw materials for its industries”. “This ruling sends a clear signal that export restrictions cannot be used to protect or promote domestic industries at the expense of foreign competitors. I now look forward to China swiftly bringing its export regime in line with international rules, as it did with other raw materials under the previous WTO ruling,” Commissioner said. 

In 2012, China lost another WTO case, brought jointly by the EU, US and Mexico, on export restrictions on raw materials. It subsequently lifted those restrictions. However, it did not lift similar measures, export quotas and duties, applying to other raw materials, such as tungsten, molybdenum and rare earths. The EU and its co-complainants were therefore left with no option but to use the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism again. 

China has argued that its export restrictions on rare earths are part of its conservation policy. But the WTO’s position today is clear: export restrictions cannot be imposed to conserve exhaustible natural resources if the domestic production or consumption of the same raw materials is not restricted at the same time for the same purpose.
Neither the complainants nor the panel contest China’s right to put in place conservation policies. However, as the WTO clarified, the sovereign right of a country over its natural resources does not allow it to control international markets or the global distribution of raw materials. A WTO Member may decide on the level or pace at which it uses its resources but once raw materials have been extracted, they are subject to WTO trade rules. The extracting country cannot impose restrictions only on foreign users. 

Background
The raw materials involved in this case are several rare earths, as well as tungsten and molybdenum. They have a wide range of uses in hi-tech and green goods, automotive and machinery manufacturing, chemicals, steel and non-ferrous metal industries.
Chinese export restrictions have been mainly export duties or export quotas, as well as additional requirements and procedures for exporters. They create serious disadvantages for foreign industries by artificially increasing China’s export prices and driving up world prices. Such restrictions also artificially lower China’s domestic prices for raw materials. As they increase domestic supplies. This gives China’s local industries a competitive advantage and puts pressure on foreign producers to move their operations and technologies to China.
The EU, together with the US and Japan, launched a WTO dispute settlement case in March 2012. Initial consultations with China did not bring an amicable solution. As a result, the WTO set up a panel in June 2012. The Panel report was issued on 26 March 2014 and was full victory for the EU and its co-complainants. China appealed the report on 25 April 2014. The reports will be adopted by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body within 30 days and China will have to comply with the ruling immediately or within a reasonable period of time that it can request for implementation..................http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-912_en.htm?locale=en
7/8/14
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Τετάρτη, Ιουλίου 23, 2014

Russia’s Europe-bound energy supplies should stay outside sanctions (Günther Oettinger)

Russian oil and gas supplies to Europe should not be subject to sanctions over Russia’s stance on Ukraine, European Union Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Wednesday.

The EU energy envoy said he had always spoken against imposing any sanctions on Russian gas and oil supplies. 

He said, however, that Russia depended on Western technologies for offshore hydrocarbon and shale gas extraction.


The EU Council could consider restricting the provision of these technologies to Russia, if Moscow does not contribute to peace in Ukraine, the energy commissioner said.
http://en.itar-tass.com/world/741996
23/7/14
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Πέμπτη, Ιουλίου 17, 2014

Russian energy industry to lose $150-200 billion on fresh sanctions (to hit the plans to develop Arctic offshore fields)

Newly adopted Western sanctions against Russia will inflict at least $150-200 billion of losses upon the Russian energy industry, head of the advisory firm Creon Energy working in this field, Fares Kilzie, told ITAR-TASS.
“These are not some random sanctions - they are solely targeted against Russia’s and Russian energy sector’s sore points,” the expert said. “These are intercorporate sanctions that hit certain companies and certain interests.” In particular, sanctions against Rosneft hit the plans to develop Arctic offshore fields and liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector, while measures against Novatek are aimed at hampering plans with Yamal LNG project.

Meanwhile, Gazprombank will have its equipment and energy plans affected, Kilzie believes.
“Gazprombank does not only hold 49% of Vladivostok LNG - one of its subsidiaries is the United Heavy Machinery Plants (OMZ) operating in import substitution. The companies’ losses will be increasing,” Kilzie said. “All major projects are monopolized by a certain group. A blow to this group’s investments leads to investment losses of others - those who wait for these offshore or LNG projects, namely logistics, transport, technological and technical companies.”
Moreover, the expert is sure sanctions will be expanded and spread onto second-and third-tier companies. 

“I have no doubt at all that the next salvo will be at the second tier. The first tier is the source of ideology and financing for all major energy projects. The second tier comprises contractors. Judging from the sanction list alone, the Russian companies will lose $150-200 billion. Novatek project alone costs more than $20 billion,” said the expert.
According to Kilzie, sanction architects have good understanding of the Russian energy sector. “The list of companies indicates good knowledge of our energy decision-making matrix. Sanctions are really proactive. Modern energy consultants in the West work consistently,” Kilzie said.
http://en.itar-tass.com/world/741115
17/7/14
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Δευτέρα, Ιουλίου 14, 2014

Seven earthquakes in the US state of Oklahoma over the weekend

Seven earthquakes took place within the last weekend in the central part of the US state of Oklahoma, near Oklahoma City. As reported by the US Geological Survey, the magnitude aftershocks ranged from 2.6 to 4.3.

There are no victims or destruction caused by earthquakes. The centers of earth shocks were at relatively shallow depths, reports ITAR-TASS.

According to experts, the number of earthquakes has increased several times in the last several years in Oklahoma and other oil and gas producing states in the US - Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. So, in Oklahoma from 1978 to 2008 was recorded approximately two earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or more per year, and from January 1 to June 19 of this year were registered 207 such tremors. Thus, Oklahoma has already left behind the most earthquake-prone state - California, where 140 earthquakes have taken place from January 1 to June 16.

Scientists believe that the increase in the number of tremors may be connected with shale gas production by means of fracking. Gas is extracted using injection of water with chemicals at high pressure into shale formations. Fracturing technology allowed the US to dramatically increase natural gas production and reduce oil imports.

[voiceofrussia.com]
14/7/14
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Παρασκευή, Ιουλίου 11, 2014

Security of gas supply: the role of gas developments in the Mediterranean region

European Commission, Joint Statement, Malta, 11 July 2014.
Joint statement by Günther H. Oettinger, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for energy, and Konrad Mizzi, Minister for Energy and Health of the Government of Malta:

Today, Energy Ministers from the EU, North Africa and the East Mediterranean, high officials, industry representatives and key stakeholders in the energy sector met in Malta to exchange views on how gas-related developments in the Mediterranean region can enhance security of supply in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

This discussion takes place at a critical time when the wider geopolitical events could have implications on energy security. In reaction to this, and in line with the European Council conclusions of March 2014, the European Union is putting further impetus on its supply diversification objectives. North African and Eastern Mediterranean countries are also looking to develop their economies and meet increasing domestic energy demand. 

The Participants agreed that secure, sustainable and affordable energy is a priority for all, and is a key factor for underpinning stability and prosperity in the region. They underlined the importance of regional cooperation to strengthen security of supply but also to favour regional trade at the interest of both gas producers and consumers in the EU, North Africa and the Middle East. 

The Participants underlined their general willingness to further strengthen regional energy cooperation and to support the progressive development of joint actions such as infrastructure plans, in order to support solutions that provide best alternatives with the objective of reinforcing the energy market in the Mediterranean region. This will provide real trade opportunities for producing North African and East-Mediterranean countries and consuming countries in the wider Mediterranean region and the EU.

In doing so the importance of a stable and predictable political, legal and regulatory framework was stressed, as was the importance of promoting an attractive investment environment for local and third party investors.

In order to progress on these issues, the Ministers agreed in principle to establish a 'Euro-Mediterranean Platform on Gas’ that would bring together policy makers, industrial representatives, regulators and energy stakeholders. This Platform will assist in the development of Euro-Mediterranean relations on gas issues. Its aim will be in particular to ensure greater convergence between the policies of the various countries, address upstream production challenges, promote third party upstream investments, improve the conditions for imports of oil and gas from producing countries, develop the necessary infrastructure of common interest, promote technology cooperation, examine gas pricing mechanisms, facilitate market access, cooperate on the domain of safety and security and work together on the promotion of regional energy security.
The Euro-Med gas platform would contribute to the ongoing efforts aimed at enhancing Europe's energy security and at meeting specific 2030 interconnection objectives. 

The scope of work and the operating rules of the 'Euro-Mediterranean Platform on Gas’, could be developed with the support of the "Observatoire Méditerranéen de l'Énergie" (OME).
The further elaboration on the modus operandi of the platform will be discussed in the coming months with a view to establishing a fully-fledged proposal to be endorsed at the High Level Conference on "Euro-Mediterranean Energy Partnership" which will take place in Rome on 19 November 2014.
Participants discussed the possibility of this platform playing a key role in the creation of a Mediterranean Gas Hub in line with the European Energy Security Strategy (EESS).

For further information
"Security of gas supply – The role of gas developments in the Mediterranean region" conference, Malta (10-11 July 2014)..............http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STATEMENT-14-222_en.htm?locale=en
11/7/14
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Τετάρτη, Ιουλίου 02, 2014

UN initiative strengthens drought monitoring and early warning in Asia-Pacific

UN, 1 July 2014 – Although drought is a “silent killer” in Asia and the Pacific, access to scientific information and knowledge remain a challenge for many countries in the region, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) said today at a milestone forum on drought monitoring and early warning.
“Over the past three decades, it is estimated that droughts in the region have affected more than 1.3 billion people and caused damages of over $53 billion,” Shamika Sirimanne, Director of ESCAP’s Information and Communications Technology and Disaster Risk Reduction Division, said today in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The meeting, organized by ESCAP and the Sri Lanka Ministry of Technology and Research, drew senior Government representatives, regional experts and UN agencies to exchange good practices and discuss strategies to reduce the impacts of agricultural drought and help save lives.
Ms. Sirimanne emphasized that efforts to reduce the impacts of drought require timely access to satellite-derived data. “Signs of drought can be observed from space long before they are visible to the human eye. Advances in space technology allow us to monitor the condition of crops, or the availability of water, from satellite images, and sharing this information through regional cooperation will save lives and protect livelihoods.”
However, despite significant progress in monitoring agricultural drought, access to satellite-derived data and knowledge for improving early warning remains a challenge for many countries in Asia and the Pacific.
In 2013, ESCAP launched the Regional Drought Mechanism – a platform providing timely and free satellite-based data; products; and training to regional drought-prone countries – to enhance the capacity of Governments for agricultural monitoring and early warning. When combined with information collected on the ground, the data leads to more effective detection of potential drought conditions.
“For example, satellite images can detect the onset of drought in specific areas or provinces, allowing time for local authorities to take immediate action, such as informing farmers to switch to more drought-resistant crops or implementing water management strategies,” Ms. Sirimanne elaborated.
The Sri Lankan Minister of Technology and Research, Patali Champika Ranawaka warned, “This year may witness the beginning of another El Niño period affecting Sri Lanka – possibly with serious implications for agriculture, one of the most important sectors for the country.”
“We have great hope that ESCAP’s Regional Drought Mechanism will help Sri Lanka address this issue by expanding our options for monitoring and responding to agricultural drought, in the meantime effectively harnessing the potential of space technology applications towards this end,” he added
Currently, the Mechanism is being piloted in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Its initial work in Mongolia and Sri Lanka – supported by two regional service nodes – demonstrates clearly the efficiency and effectiveness of the initiative.
Supported by China and India, the regional service nodes were established under the Regional Drought Mechanism to provide the pilot countries with satellite imagery, services, expert training and capacity development.
Though several of the pilot countries already experience severe drought conditions due to regular climate oscillations, including El Niño and La Niña, climate change projections indicate that drought is likely to become more frequent and severe in the future.
Given these challenges, forum participants recognized the importance of coordination and cooperation across the relevant ministries and initiatives in the region and looked at practical ways to improve early warning through enhanced integration with climate change trends, and new scientific modelling techniques.
Recommendations from the forum will provide guidance for strengthening the effectiveness of the Regional Cooperative Mechanism and will feed into the national disaster management plans of the pilot countries.
Participating countries benefit from: enhanced access to space-based data; capacity building in preparedness and response; strengthened institutional coordination and policies at the country level; and Regional and South-South cooperation and support networks.
[un.org]
1/7/14
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Οι νεκροί Έλληνες στα μακεδονικά χώματα σάς κοιτούν με οργή

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