Tag Archives: Nuclear Weapons

Iran To Ease Ban on Women Attending Sporting Events

Women Sporting Events Iran

Now that Iran has agreed to suspend its nuclear program (pending Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s recent ultimatum that Iran will only sign a final nuclear accord with six world powers if all sanctions against the country are lifted), the country can start focusing on more important things – like softening the ban on women attending sporting events.

Since Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979, the government has barred women from attending most sporting events involving men, deeming that mixed crowds watching games together was un-Islamic. Then, in January, the Iranian government eased up a little, saying it would allow foreign women to attend men’s matches, but it was still out of the question for Iranian women. Until now… sort of.

Following criticism from international sport federations and protests by Iranian women and women’s rights activists, Iran’s deputy sports minister, Abdolhamid Ahmad, announced that the government would partially lift the ban on women attending men’s sports matches.

And by “partially”, he means while women and families may be allowed to enter some sports stadiums, the rules won’t change for all matches because some sports are mainly related to men and “families are not interested in attending” them. Plus, some “masculine” sports, like wrestling or swimming, which leave little of the male figure to the imagination, are far too risqué for Iranian women.

And by “attending men’s sport matches”, Ahmad means women will most likely be assigned to special sections in the stadiums and perhaps some mixed seating will be available for families. Iranians consider the regular seating areas too rowdy and “not Islamic enough” for women.

Well, I guess progress is progress, no matter how small – plus, it’s more than Saudi women get. Now, if only Iran could ease up on hanging homosexuals from cranes and stoning women for adultery…

Leave a Comment

Current Event Cat of the Day: Nuke Deal Reached

Current Event Cat - Nuke Deal Reached

Break out the champagne – the Iran nuke deal has been reached! Unless you’re Israeli – then you can break out the anger. And unless you’re one of those people who looks more than 6 months into the future – then you can break out the mild enthusiasm because the nuke deal is only an interim pact.

Still, the not-yet-finalized six-month interim nuke deal is a big step towards Iran not blowing everybody up! After lengthy negotiations in Geneva between Iran and the P5+1 countries, the countries reached a temporary nuke deal under which Iran would dismantle its military nuclear capabilities and the other countries would lift some of the sanctions imposed on Iran by the UN, US and the European Union.

And while under the deal Iran will have to give inspectors greater access to its key nuclear sites, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is still a little skeptical about Iran’s compliance. Kerry hopes that the nuke deal will keep Iran’s nuclear program in check until a more permanent deal can be reached, but he acknowledged on Sunday that enforcing the agreement could be more difficult than reaching it in the first place.

“The next phase, let me be clear, will be even more difficult, and we need to be honest about it,” he said.

And while Kerry is taking a cautious approach, there is one guy who isn’t afraid to say the nuke deal blows: Iran’s arch-nemesis, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“This is a bad agreement,” said Netanyahu’s office, in a statement hours after the nuke deal was signed.

“It gives Iran exactly what it wanted — a significant easing of sanctions and allows it to keep hold of the most essential parts of its nuclear programme.”

“The agreement allows Iran to continue enriching uranium and leaves all the centrifuges in place which allow it to create fissile material for nuclear weapons.”

Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz agreed, saying the nuke deal was likely to bring Iran “closer” rather than further away from building a bomb.

“The current deal … is more likely to bring Iran closer to having a bomb. Israel cannot participate in the international celebration, which is based on Iranian deception and world self-delusion,” he said.

But there’s nothing that a little phone call from President Obama can’t cure (except this). Obama rang up Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday afternoon to offer his assurances that Israel would be consulted in the Iranian nuclear deal. They might not listen to him, but he’ll be consulted. Obama also assured him that the U.S. “will remain firm in our commitment to Israel, which has good reason to be skeptical about Iran’s intentions.” Although if this is anything like his assurance that Americans could keep their healthcare plans, maybe Israel does have good reason to be worried…

Via: BBC News & Current Event Cats

Leave a Comment
Image

Current Event Cat of the Day: Nuclear Deal

Current Event Cat - Iran Nuclear Deal

Despite his best efforts, Secretary of State John Kerry has so far failed to reach an agreement with Iran over its nuclear program.

Representatives from Iran and the so-called P5+1 – the US, UK, France, Russia and China plus Germany have been in Geneva trying to hammer out a deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program and ease up on Western sanctions. On Monday Kerry revealed that negotiators had been “very, very close … extremely close” to reaching a deal with Iran. But sometimes close just isn’t enough – as Kerry learned in 2004 – and the deal fell through over the weekend.

So what happened? Well, Iran is blaming it on the West – namely France. Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, blamed France for “gutting over half” of the U.S. draft.

The U.S, however, is blaming it on Iran. Kerry said Iran backed out of the nuclear deal on the last day of talks. He also maintains that the West was unified when they presented their proposal to the Iranians.

“The French signed off on it, we signed off on it, and everybody agreed it was a fair proposal,” Kerry said. “Iran couldn’t take it at that particular moment.”

While some say the nuclear talks failed because France really wanted tight restrictions placed on the heavy-water reactor being built in Arak and others say they failed because Iran is insisting on formal recognition of its “right” to enrich uranium, both sides are committed to reaching an agreement. Eventually.

Diplomats are expected to meet again Nov. 20 to pick up where they left off and both sides are relatively optimistic.

“We are committed to constructive engagement. Interaction on equal footing key to achieve shared objectives,” Zarif said.

As for John Kerry, he’s just happy Iran is talking.

“We haven’t been speaking in 35 years,” Kerry said. “We just talked more in 30 hours than we have in 30 years prior.”

Via: CBS News 

3-D Guns Are Now A Thing… And Other News

3-D Gun

A Texas company says it has made the first metal gun using a 3-D printer, paving the way for rednecks everywhere to start creating their own firearms. Well this makes me feel very safe.

The Austin company, Solid Concepts, created almost all the parts of the 3-D gun via direct metal laser sintering – whatever that means. While some are concered over the emerging ability to build your own gun, I say c’mon, it’s Texas! You don’t need a 3-D printer – just buy a gun on the internet or take one from a gun show parking lot or find one in your cereal box. Mental patients and felons don’t have time to sit around and assemble a 3-D gun, let alone pay $20k for a 3-D printer – they’ve got places to go and people to kill! CNN

Polio in Syria 2Thanks a lot Syria! After polio made a surprise comeback in Syria after a 14-year absence, health experts are now worried that the disease could reemerge in Europe as refugees come flooding in. Martin Eichner, a professor at the University of Tuebingen, co-authored a letter to the medial journal The Lancet, warning that the vaccine used in the U.S. and Europe offers only partial protection against infection so the disease could enter Europe via unsuspecting refugees and cause an outbreak. The polio virus, which is spread through feces, has no cure – but heightened screening of sewage systems near refugee settlements could help reduce the outbreak. Or sealing off Europe’s borders. Either one. Bloomberg

Kerry and NetanyahuJohn Kerry is taking his sweet time putting together a deal on Iran’s nuclear program. The Secretary of State arrived in Geneva on Friday to talk with Iranian representatives but stressed that no agreement has been reached on Iran’s nuke program and emphasized that the parties still have significant ground to cover. Under the current deal being floated, Iran would freeze expansion of its nuclear program in exchange for loosened economic sanctions. While the West is mulling it over, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already made up his mind: Iran is evil! Netanyahu said he “utterly rejected” the deal with its arch nemesis Iran and if it went through, it would be a “grievous historic error.”  So to sum up, he’s not a fan. BBC News

I'm SorryPresident Obama is sorry. He’s sorry the health care website is full of glitches, he’s sorry he falsely promised Americans that they could keep their health insurance plans, and he’s sorry about the backlash he’s getting because of it. “I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,” he told NBC News. Well you can stuff your sorries in a sack mister because despite repeated assurances that anyone who likes their health insurance plan could keep them under Obamacare, the administration has apparently known since the summer of 2010 that this was not the case and millions of Americans could lose their insurance under the law. “Obviously we didn’t do a good enough job in terms of how we crafted the law,” Obama said in the interview Thursday. “And, you know, that’s something I regret.” No kidding. NBC News

Canada-Toronto MayorRob Ford needs a vacation and perhaps a little bit of counselling – according to his brother, Councilman Doug Ford, in what must be the understatement of the century. After admitting to smoking crack in a drunken stupor and watching a video of himself utter death threats in a drunken stupor, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is finally ready to potentially start considering the fact that he may have a bit of a drinking problem. Facing increasing pressure to resign, Ford is now considering entering rehab – and by rehab I mean a short vacation from drugs and booze. “If Rob goes away on a vacation, for a week or two weeks, Rob loses 50, 60 pounds, stays on the straight narrows, because he’s a good man … it’ll be tough to beat Rob Ford,” his brother said on Talk Radio 640. Losing 50-60lbs in a week or two without the help of crack? Good luck! The Globe and Mail

Leave a Comment
Image

Current Event Cat of the Day: Nuclear Cutbacks

Current Event Cat - Nuclear Cuts

President Barrack Obama has called for major nuclear cutbacks for both the United States and Russia.

Remember back in the day, shortly after his inauguration in 2009, when Obama said he wanted to rid the world of nuclear weapons? Well, four and a half years later, he’s remembered that promise. During his public speech in Berlin, Obama proposed reductions in the number of tactical warheads deployed in Europe.

Standing at the Brandenburg Gate, which once divided East and West Germany, 50 years after John F Kennedy’s celebrated “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech, Obama told the crowd:

“Today’s threats are not as stark as they were half a century ago, but the struggle for freedom and security and human dignity, that struggle goes on.”

“We may no longer live in fear of global annihilation but so long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe.”

Obama called on the Russian government in particular to join the U.S. in cutting the number of strategic nuclear warheads it deploys – by one third. Not sure if Putin will be ‘putin up’ with this, especially given their disagreements over Syria at the G8 summit. But Putin did sign Obama’s New Start treaty in 2010, which stipulated that each side is allowed a maximum of 1,550 warheads and no more than 700 deployed launchers – so you never know.

Other topics Obama wanted to talk about in his Berlin speech: the president gave the crowd the usual “I WILL close Guantanamo Bay spiel, threw in a shout out to climate change, and went on the defensive about the recent NSA scandal.

The Germans tend to love Obama, but they love privacy more so the NSA scandal was particularly troubling to them. So Obama took some time to try and quell their concerns about his administration’s intentions with the recently revealed NSA spying program.

“This is not a situation in which we are rifling through the ordinary emails of German citizens or American citizens or French citizens or anybody else,” Obama insisted. “This is not a situation where we simply go into the Internet and start searching any way we want. This is a circumscribed system directed at us being able to protect our people, and all of it is done under the oversight of the courts.”

And to boot: the surveillance programs in questions helped thwart 50 attacks since 2001. Take that Edward Snowden!

Via: Current Event Cats & BBC News