Sunday, May 29, 2011
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Seventeen lost pyramids among thousands of buried Egyptian settlements pinpointed by infrared satellite images | Mail Online
- More than 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements found
- Findings are a major boost to relatively new science of space archaeology
Indiana Jones found success with little more than a bullwhip and a fedora. These days however, if you want to make your mark as an archaeologist, a bit of space technology works wonders.
Satellites have helped locate 17 pyramids and 3,000 ancient settlements hidden underground in Egypt.
More than 1,000 burial sites were also discovered thanks to infra-red technology capable of probing beneath the desert sands from 450 miles above the Earth.
Pyramid of Djoser: Many more are thought to be buried underground. The cameras on the satellites are so powerful that they can precisely image objects on Earth that are less than one metre in diameter
Astounded researchers on the ground have already confirmed that two of the pyramids exist - and they believe there are thousands more unknown sites in the region.
NASA-funded archaeologist Sarah Parcak said: ‘I couldn’t believe we could locate so many sites. To excavate a pyramid is the dream of every archaeologist.’
The finds are hugely significant. Until the latest discoveries there were thought to have been almost 140 pyramids across Egypt.
But experts have long argued that there must be many more that remain undiscovered, buried by the sands of time. Dr Parcak, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, analysed images from satellites equipped with cameras so powerful they can zoom in on objects less than three feet in diameter on the Earth’s surface.
The amazing satellite images have revealed pyramids and ancient homes
Ancient streetmap: A satellite image shows Tanis to be a city littered with underground tombs. Buildings in ancient Egypt were constructed out of mud brick - the material is dense, allowing satellites orbiting above Earth to photograph the outlines of structures invisible to the human eye
Hidden history: This image of Tanis shows the difference between what the naked eye can see and the underground details that the high-powered satellite camera can pick up
THE LOST ARK IN A LOST CITY?
Dr Parcak told the BBC: 'I could see the data as it was emerging, but for me the "a-ha" moment was when I could step back and look at everything that we'd found.'
The mud bricks used by ancient Egyptians are much denser than the sand and soil that surrounds them, allowing the shapes of homes, temples, tombs and other structures built thousands of years ago to be seen by satellites orbiting 435miles above Earth to photograph the outlines of structures invisible to the human eye.
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The cameras on the satellites are so powerful that they can precisely image objects on Earth that are less than one metre in diameter.
The researchers' findings are a major boost to the relatively new science of space archaeology.
Their most promising excavations are taking place in Tanis, the hiding place of the Ark of the Covenant in the 1981 Indiana Jones blockbuster Raiders of the Lost Ark, where they are uncovering a 3,000-year-old house.
Excitingly, the outline of the house exactly matches the shape seen on the satellite images.
Two pyramids at Saqqara – the burial ground for the ancient capital of Memphis – have already been confirmed by excavations and the site is being hailed as one of the most important in Egyptian archaeology. The oldest pyramids ever discovered were built in Saqqara around 2,600BC.
Only the beginning: Archaeologist Dr Sarah Parcak points out the site of a buried pyramid on a satellite image
The camera's high level of accuracy has impressed the Egyptian government, which now plans to use the technology to identify and protect its colossal heritage in the future.
Dr Parcak, whose work will feature in the BBC documentary Egypt’s Lost Cities on Monday, believes that there are many more buildings buried deeper than those already spotted, the most likely location being under the banks of the River Nile.
She said: 'These are just the sites close to the surface. There are many thousands of additional sites that the Nile has covered over with silt.
'This is just the beginning of this kind of work.'
Digging deep: The archaeologists' most promising excavations are taking place in the ancient city of Tanis
She told the BBC: ‘It just shows us how easy it is to underestimate both the size and scale of past human settlements.
‘These are just the sites [close to] the surface. There are many thousands of additional sites that the Nile has covered over with silt. This is just the beginning of this kind of work.’
She said the technology could be used to monitor the looting of antiquities, as well as to engage young people around the world in science and help archaeologists in their quest to uncover the secrets of the past.
The archaeologist said, ‘We have to think bigger and that’s what the satellites allow us to do. Indiana Jones is old school. We’ve moved on from Indy, sorry Harrison Ford.’
• A hidden chamber unseen for 4,500 years may have been discovered inside the Great Pyramid of Giza. A robotic probe designed by British engineers found hieroglyphs inside a tunnel that leads from the pyramid’s Queen’s chamber, New Scientist magazine reports. Cameras have also sent back images of a stone door which it is thought could lead to a hidden chamber.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1390667/Seventeen-lost-pyramids-thousands-buried-Egyptian-settlements-pinpointed-infrared-satellite-images.html#ixzz1NZ5AsG00
Leadership wrangle hits Somalia's transitional government
A leadership wrangle within the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia poses a big threat to the country's stability.
Major Paddy Ankunda, the spokesman of the African Union Mission in Somalia, Amisom has expressed concerns about a rift saying that that it is worrying the AU peacekeepers, even more that the militias.
Differences between the country's speaker of the parliament, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden and President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed have made it difficult for the transitional government to effect some of its programmes.
On one hand, Mr Aden insists that the parliament’s term should be extended for the three years but the posts of president, the speaker of parliament and the two deputy speakers be subjected to elections before the end of the TFGs term on August 20, this year.
This is the opposite position held by President Ahmed who favours a one year extension for all the transitional federal institutions including the presidency, the cabinet and the parliament. This, argues the president, will give the executive some time to clear pressing transitional tasks including security improvement, preparation of a constitution and mapping out a federal structure for Somalia.
Speaking to the media, major Akunda stated that the crisis should be resolved quickly to facilitate the operations of the peacekeepers.
“Al-Shabaab is not a problem to us. We do not see it as a problem,” remarked the Amisom spokesman. “We view the crisis within the TFG as a trouble,” he added.
Uganda and Burundi are keeping nearly 10000 peacekeepers in Mogadishu, guarding vital installations like the port and the airport while also helping the pro-government forces defending strategic positions.
Chinese authorities fearful of unrest try to smother reports of three bomb blasts set off by a farmer who was apparently upset about his house being demolished. The bomber and one other person are killed.
Damaged vehicles at a blast site near the Linchuan district government building in Fuzhou, China.(Xinhua, Reuters / May 26, 2011)
The bomber was identified as Qian Mingqi, an unemployed 52-year-old. The other person killed was not immediately identified. Six people were injured.
Nevertheless, in an age when cellphone cameras and microblogs are challenging authorities' penchant for concealment, photographs appeared almost immediately on Twitter and other sites showing a gray smoke cloud billowing over the government district, a blackened car that had concealed a bomb and a body lying under a hedge outside a government building.
Radio reports said the bomber left messages on a microblog hosted by Web portal Sina.com saying his house had been "illegally demolished" and that he was "forced to step on a road I don't want to step on."
The three blasts took place minutes apart, police said in a statement. A car bomb exploded in a parking lot at the prosecutors office at 9:18 a.m., followed at 9:29 a.m. by a blast at the local government office for the Linchuan district of Fuzhou. At 9:45 a.m., a second car bomb exploded outside the Drug Inspection Bureau office.
A 4 p.m. news conference by local authorities to discuss the explosions was abruptly canceled, and some journalists were told to stay the night at a nearby hotel.
The most serious of the explosions was outside the Linchuan district office.
"I heard a loud bang," said Sun Zhongkai, a printer whose shop is near the office. "Our windows shook, although I didn't realize right away that it was a bomb. We've never seen anything like this before."
What is perhaps most ominous for Chinese authorities is that, within hours of the explosions, the bomber was already becoming something of a folk hero on the Internet.
"Well done my brothers!" wrote one anonymous supporter, and another crowed, "Like the waves of the Yangtze River, one follows another. From China will emerge another Bin Laden."
The case bears a resemblance to that of Yang Jia, a 28-year-old unemployed man who gained notoriety — and some supporters — after killing six police officers in a Shanghai suburb in 2008 apparently in retaliation for a beating he allegedly received while being apprehended the year before for riding an unlicensed bicycle.
In recent years, China has seen an alarming number of incidents in which disgruntled individuals have used knives or homemade explosives to exact revenge against society. Often incidents are triggered by land confiscations carried out to make way for real estate development or other grievances that have gone unaddressed by the nation's dysfunctional court system. Scholars also blame widening income disparities.
Demonstrations are also on the rise. Sun Liping, a respected sociologist at Beijing's Tsinghua University, reported this year that there were 180,000 "mass incidents" in 2010, double the number from 2006.
"Our society is going through a period of great change, so it is not unexpected that there is a rise in individuals who take these kinds of extreme measures," another academic, Liu Shanying of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, said Thursday.
Liu urged, however, that people not speculate too much about the Fuzhou case until it is clear what happened.
“Ethiopian military have kidnapped them as they witnessed the troops committing mass killing against Somali nomadic and pastoralists following battle with us (ONLF). The Ethiopians also killed WFP driver because they feared to tell mass killing against innocent civilians” he noted. “They (Ethiopian forces) wanted to stifle UN workers from telling the truth” he added.
|Source:||(AHN)||Reporter:||Abdi Hajji Hussein|
|Location:||Jigjiga, Ethiopia||Published:||May 26, 2011 09:57 am EDT|
|Topics:||Unrest, Conflicts And War, Armed Conflict, Politics, International Organization|
The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) on Thursday claimed that their fighters had rescued recently abducted staff working for the United Nations food agency after a fierce battle with Ethiopian military forces.
In an interview with a local radio station, Hussein Mohammed Nur, ONLF’s head of information, said the rebels launched the attack after receiving information that two World Food Program workers were in Ethiopian custody in the district of Dabashe, which lies in the Dhagahtur region in the Somali region under Ethiopian protectorate.
Nur said the staff members had been missing since May 13. He described them as being "good in health and in a peaceful location.”
He charged that Ethiopian forces have kidnapped the workers because “they witnessed the troops committing mass killing against Somali nomadic and pastoralists following battle with us. The Ethiopians also killed WFP driver because they feared to tell mass killing against innocent civilians."
Last week, the food agency said a driver working for WFP was gunned down and another staff member injured by unknown gunmen in the Somali region in eastern Ethiopia. It went on to say that also two other employees were missing.
WFP said it provides food assistance to 4.5 million people in Ethiopia, including refugees and school children, in highly food insecure areas.
This is the second deadly attack on a WFP humanitarian worker in less than a month to take place in the region.
However, the president of a Somali region under an Ethiopian protectorate, Abdi Mohmoud Omar, last week charged an Ethiopian rebel group with attacking and killing a driver and kidnapping others working for the U.N. food agency.
Omar said the ONLF rebel group is trying to block international relief agencies from reaching the Ogaden region to help drought-affected people.
He called for the international community to arrest ONLF officials abroad, accusing them of financing the armed guerillas.
Ethiopia has not confirmed or denied accusations by the rebels.
Read more: http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/90049709?Ethiopian%20rebels%3A%20We%20rescued%20UN%20workers%20after%20bitter%20battle%20with%20gov't%20troops#ixzz1NXaJKG33
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Ethiopian troops helping Somali government forces in the country's southern regions have arrested three Somali regional governors as well as army officials, a government official confirmed Tuesday.
Mohamed Nur Abdi, a Somali official in the southwestern Gedo region, told reporters that Ethiopian troops arrested Bay regional governor Abdifitah Mahmoud Gesey, Bakool governor Mohamed Abdi Mohamed and the governor of Gedo region, Mohamed Abdi Kalil.
Abdi said that other people including army officials from the southern Lower Jubba region were also detained by the Ethiopian troops. “The Ethiopian troops made the arrests in the city of Dolow along the border with Ethiopia for the past several hours,” the official said.
“For the past several days there have been a growing misunderstanding between Somali officials who are leading the combat operations against Al-Shabaab militants and that led the Ethiopian forces to intervene and arrest some officials,” he told reporters.
“Speculations say that the arrested regional governors will be transferred to Somali government authorities in Mogadishu,” he said.
The transitional federal government has not yet commented on the arrests.
The terrorists seized most of the country in the aftermath of the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from the country in January 2009. The Ethiopians helped the Somali government to relocate to the capital and spread its control through the south central regions in December 2006.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Norman Ling, said “the ONLF is a secessionist group, and we deplore its terrorist activities.” “However, they and others have been prepared to negotiate with the government of Ethiopia, the ambassador, adding that it is to be welcomed.
Thursday, May 12, 2011
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Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Ex-State Department Official Matthew Hoh: With Killing of Bin Laden, Why Are 50,000 U.S. Troops Still in Afghanistan?