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Friday, May 31, 2013

Russian manufacturer to sell 10 MiGs to Syria

MOSCOW — A Russian arms manufacturer says it is signing a contract to deliver at least 10 fighter jets to Syria.

Sergei Korotkov, general director of the MiG company that makes the jets, told Russian news agencies Friday that a Syrian delegation was in Moscow to discuss terms and deadlines of a new contract supplying MiG-29 M/M2 fighters to Syria.

Korotkov did not specify how many MiGs Syria is buying, but says it will be “more than 10.”

Russia has previously said that it would only fulfill outstanding arms contracts with Syria.

Syrian rebel commander Brig. Gen. Salim Idris urged the international community to prevent the transfer of MiGs, indicating that the sale would further tip the scales in Assad’s favor. The announcement of the pending deal comes at a time when the Lebanese-based terrorist group Hezbollah has upped its forces in Syria, fighting alongside the embattled regime.

The Lebanese newspaper al-Diyar reported Friday that Israel had succeeded in thwarting a deal to deliver advanced Russian S-300 air-defense systems to Syria by threatening to start an all-out war.

The report also claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to compensate Assad with the delivery of other “effective and powerful weapons,” including modern aircraft and helicopters, to use against the Syrian rebels.

The Times of Israel

Eurozone unemployment reaches new record

The seasonally-adjusted rate for April was 12.2%, up from 12.1% the month before.

An extra 95,000 people were out of work in the 17 countries that use the euro, taking the total to 19.38 million.

Both Greece and Spain have jobless rates above 25%. The lowest unemployment rate is in Austria at 4.9%.

The European Commission's statistics office, Eurostat, said Germany had an unemployment rate of 5.4% while Luxembourg's was 5.6%.

The highest jobless rates are in Greece (27.0% in February 2013), Spain (26.8%) and Portugal (17.8%).

In France, Europe's second largest economy, the number of jobless people rose to a new record high in April.

"We do not see a stabilisation in unemployment before the middle of next year," said Frederik Ducrozet, an economist at Credit Agricole in Paris. "The picture in France is still deteriorating."


'Social crisis'

Youth unemployment remains a particular concern. In April, 3.6 million people under the age of 25 were out of work in the eurozone, which translated to an unemployment rate of 24.4%.

Figures from the Italian government showed 40.5% of young people in Italy are unemployed.

"We have to deal with the social crisis, which is expressed particularly in spreading youth unemployment, and place it at the centre of political action," said Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano.

In the 12 months to April, 1.6 million people lost their jobs in the eurozone.

Archaeologists find source of 'Second Temple' era stones


A huge quarry, along with tools and a key, used by workers some 2,000 years ago have been discovered during an excavation in Jerusalem prior to the paving of a highway, the Israel Antiquities Authorities (IAA) announced.

The first-century quarry, which fits into the Second Temple Period (538 B.C. to A.D. 70), would've held the huge stones used in the construction of the city's ancient buildings, the researchers noted.

Archaeologists also uncovered pick axes and wedges among other artifacts at the site in the modern-day Ramat Shlomo Quarter, a neighborhood in northern East Jerusalem.

"The quarrying phenomenon created a spectacular sight of bedrock columns and steps and craters of sorts that were the result of the rock-cuttings," Irina Zilberbod, IAA excavation director, said in a statement. "What remained are rock masses in various stages of quarrying, and there were those that were found in a preliminary stage of rock-cutting prior to detachment."

Some of the huge stones would've reached about 6.5 feet in length and weighed tens if not hundreds of tons, the researchers said.

In total, the team uncovered an area of around 11,000 square feet where the ancient quarry would've existed. The quarry connects with other previously identified quarries, all of which seem to be situated in Jerusalem's so-called "city of quarries" dating to the Second Temple period.

In fact, researchers discovered a first-century road adjacent to the quarry that may have been used for stone transport.

The scientists aren't certain how exactly the giant stones would've been moved along this road. They suspect oxen and wooden rollers would've done the trick, but some historical records note giant wood-lifting devices were around at the time and may have been used.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/05/09/jerusalem-ancient-city-quarries-reveals-city-building-rocks/#ixzz2UsXzKGV9

The hi-tech tattoo that could replace ALL your passwords

And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Revelations 13:17

Motorola has announced it is looking at alternatives to traditional passwords in a bid to make logging into online sites, or accessing mobile phones, more secure.

Among the ideas discussed at the D11 conference in California on Wednesday were electronic tattoos and authentication pills that people swallow.

The tattoos, developed by Massachusetts-based engineering firm MC10, contain flexible electronic circuits that are attached to the wearer's skin using a rubber stamp.

Motorola's senior vice president of advance research, Regina Dugan, shows off an electronic tattoo at the D11 conference in California. The tattoos, designed by Massachusetts-based firm MC10, are made from silicon and contain electronic circuits that bend and move with the wearer's body. The tattoos, called Biostamps, were designed for medical purposes to track a patient's health, but Motorola thinks the technology can be used for authentication purposes, as an alternative to traditional passwords

This image shows the various parts that make up the MC10 electronic tattoo called the Biostamp. It can be stuck to the body using a rubber stamp, and protected using spray-on bandages. The circuit can be worn for two weeks and Motorola believes this makes it perfect for authentication purposes


A researcher at the University of Illinois used standard CMOS semiconductor computer chip technologies to create the Biostamp.

It uses high-performance silicon and can stretch up to 200 per cent.

The Biostamp can monitor temperature, hydration and strain, among other medical statistics

The first prototypes were stuck on using an plaster-style patches.

More recent prototypes are applied directly to the skin using a rubber stamp.

It can then be covered with spray-on bandage to make it more durable and waterproof enough to wash.

The MC10 Biostamp is said to last up to two weeks before it starts to come loose.

MC10 originally designed the tattoos, called Biostamps, to help medical teams measure the health of their patients either remotely, or without the need for large expensive machinery.

Motorola claims that the circuits, which also contain antennae and built-in sensors, could be adapted to work with mobile phones and tablets.

The mobile devices could then be used to confirm the owner's identity and log them in to accounts automatically.

This would prevent thieves and other people from being able to access a phone, or individual apps on the device, if it is stolen or lost.

Another idea presented during the keynote talk at the Wall Street Journal conference with head of Motorola Dennis Woodside and senior vice president for advanced technology and products, Regina Dugan, was a swallowable pill.

The Proteus Digital Health pill has already been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration and was given European regulatory approval in 2010.

Another password-alternative presented by Motorola at the Wall Street Journal's D11 conference was the 'vitamin authentication pill'. It contains a computer chip that creates an 18-bit signal when swallowed. Motorola is testing whether this signal can 'talk' to mobile phones and be used to authenticate a wearer's identity


The Proteus Digital Health pill contains a computer chip and a switch.

Once swallowed, the acid in the wearer's stomach causes electrolytes to turn the switch on and off.

This creates an 18-bit ECG-like signal that can be picked up by mobile devices and authentication hardware to verify the wearer is the correct owner of the device or account.

It can also monitor heart rate.

The pill was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration in 2012 after getting European regulatory approval in 2010.

Motorola's Regina Dugan called it the 'vitamin authentication pill' and said the pills can be taken every day for 30 days, if necessary, without any problems.

It contains a computer chip that can be powered like a battery using the acid in the wearer's stomach.

Once swallowed the 'vitamin authentication pill' creates an 18-bit ECG-like signal inside the wearer's body that can be picked up by mobile devices and authentication hardware outside.

This could be used verify the wearer is the correct owner of the device or account.

Dugan continued that the pill could be taken every day for 30 days, if necessary, without any problems.

Woodside added Motorola would not be shipping these 'right away' but they have 'tested it authenticating a phone, and it works.'

He continued: 'Having the boldness to think differently about problems that everybody has every day is really important for Motorola now.'

Dugan, who used to be head of the US Pentagon's Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, explained that each signal emitted by the pill could be unique to each user.

Both these ideas move away from traditional passwords and towards technology that turns the user into a physical authentication token.

Explaining the reasons behind the plans, Dugan said: 'Authentication is irritating. In fact its so irritating only about half the people do it.

'Despite the fact there is a lot of information about you on your smartphone, which makes you far more prone to identity theft.

'After 40 years of advances in computation, we're still authenticating the same way we did years ago - passwords.

The so-called 'vitamin authentication pill' has been designed by Proteus Digital Health in California. It was passed by the FDA in 2012 after gaining European regulatory approval in 2010. The chip can be swallowed and used to monitor the wearer's health and Motorola thinks it could be used for authentication


A team of hackers, commissioned by technology website Ars Technica, recently managed to crack more than 14,800 supposedly random passwords - from a list of 16,449 - as part of a hacking experiment.

The success rate for each hacker ranged from 62 per cent to 90 per cent, and the hacker who cracked 90 per cent of hashed passwords did so in less than an hour using a computer cluster.

The hackers also managed to crack 16-character passwords including 'qeadzcwrsfxv1331'.

Earlier this month PayPal's chief security officer, Michael Barrett said he wants to see a mixture of online passwords with hardware-based identification such as finger print scanning becoming more common.

Talking at the IT conference Interop in Las Vegas at the start of May, Barrett said: 'Passwords, when used ubiquitously everywhere at Internet-scale are starting to fail us.

'Users pick poor passwords and then they'll reuse them everywhere.

'That has the effect of reducing the security of their most secure account to the security of the least secure place they visit on the internet.'

'In fact it's worse, the average users does it 39 times a day and it takes them 2.3 seconds every time they do it.

'Power users will do it up to 100 times a day.

'So what are we doing about it? Well [Motorola] is thinking of a whole variety of options for how to do better at authentication such as near-term things including tokens or fobs that have NFC or bluetooth.

'But you can also think about a means of authentication you can wear on your skin every day, say an electronic tattoo or a vitamin pill'.

During the talk, Woodside also unveiled Motorola's plans to launch a new handset.

Motorola was bought by Google 2011, which owns the Android operating system.

The new phone, called the Moto X, will be built in Texas and Woodside said he was 'pretty confident in the products we're going to be shipping in the fall'.

Woodside added that the Moto X would benefit from Motorola's expertise in managing ultra-low power sensors -- such as in accelerometers and gyroscopes -- that can sense usage contexts and turn off certain components when not required, to save power.

He added that it will interact in different ways to other handsets and said the camera would 'fire up in a way not seen before' calling the handset 'more contextually aware' than other phones.

Motorola's engineers have also come up with processors that will help save power, but didn't elaborate further.

Mail Online

Wooly mammoth blood recovered from frozen carcass

The frozen body of a 10,000 to 15,000 year old mammoth found on a remote island in the Arctic Ocean has yielded a stunning find: blood so well preserved that it flowed freely from the ancient mammal, according to Russian scientists.

Scientists with the Research Institute of Applied Ecology of the North, North-Eastern Federal University, and the Russian Geographical Society announced on Wednesday the amazing news, following the study of the carcass of a female mammoth in good preservation on Lyakhovsky Islands of Novosibirsk archipelago.

'The blood is very dark, it was found in ice cavities below the belly and when we broke these cavities with a poll pick, the blood came running out.'

- Semyon Grigoriev, the head of the expedition and chairman of the Mammoth Museum.

“The blood is very dark, it was found in ice cavities below the belly and when we broke these cavities with a poll pick, the blood came running out,” said Semyon Grigoriev, the head of the expedition and chairman of the Mammoth Museum.

“Interestingly, the temperature at the time of excavation was -7 to – 10 degrees Celsius [19.4 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit]. It may be assumed that the blood of mammoths had some cryoprotective properties.”

The muscle tissue of the frozen carcass was also stunning -- the color of fresh meat, Grigoriev said, totally unlike meat that is centuries old.

“The fragments of muscle tissues, which we’ve found out of the body, have a natural red color of fresh meat. The reason for such preservation is that the lower part of the body was underlying in pure ice, and the upper part was found in the middle of tundra.”

Wooly mammoths are thought to have died out around 10,000 years ago, although scientists think small groups of them lived longer in Alaska and on Russia's Wrangel Island off the Siberian coast.

Scientists already have deciphered much of the genetic code of the woolly mammoth from balls of mammoth hair found frozen in the Siberian permafrost. Some believe it's possible to recreate the prehistoric animal if they find living cells in the permafrost.

Those who succeed in recreating an extinct animal could claim a "Jurassic Park prize," the concept of which is being developed by the X Prize Foundation that awarded a 2004 prize for the first private spacecraft.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/05/29/wooly-mammoth-blood-recovered-from-frozen-carcass-russian-scientists-say/?intcmp=obinsite#ixzz2Uq4wQTg6

Giant Asteroid Zooming by Earth today Has its Own Moon

The first images of asteroid 1998 QE2 show a small, secondary asteroid traveling with it.

WASHINGTON, May 30 (RIA Novosti) – A giant asteroid will zip past Earth on Friday at the relatively close space distance of 3.6 million miles (5.8 million km) and it’s not alone. Astronomers studying the asteroid on Thursday noticed that it is bringing along a passenger – its own moon.

Telescopes around the world began picking up distant images of the approaching two-mile (3.2-kilometer) wide asteroid on Wednesday, and a day later observers soon realized that the space rock known as 1998 QE2 had another, much smaller rock – called a satellite – moving in an orbit around it.

“It was quite a bit of surprise… that is something we did not expect,” said NASA scientist Marina Brozovic, part of the observation team, during a teleconference Thursday from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

“What you can see is the larger object that is the primary, and then this little bright speck of light. That is the satellite and the satellite is in its orbit around the primary, like the moon would go around the earth,” she said.

It’s not all that rare for large asteroids to have company. About 16 percent of those hurtling through space near Earth have one or sometimes two moons.

The 1998 QE2 asteroid is roughly the length of nine cruise ships. It gets its name, not from Queen Elizabeth II of England, or the well-known ocean liner, but from a naming process that marks the year it was first located – 1998 – followed by an alphanumeric code that indicates the time of month the discovery took place.

“This is one of the big ones. It was discovered about 15 years ago, and it’s one of the initial successes of our efforts to find the big asteroids that could hit the earth and cause global catastrophe,” said Paul Chodas, an astronomer with NASA, which is tracking the asteroid to study its size, shape, rotation and surface features in an effort to learn more about its origin and composition.

“It’s about 15 times farther than the moon is from the earth so it’s a very comfortable distance but for an asteroid this size, that’s a close shave,” said Chodas.

“We could see a few background stars, like white specks of light which weren’t moving, and then we actually saw this white star, what looked like a star, moving across the field very slowly, and we knew immediately that that was the asteroid because it was moving against the background of the stationery stars,” said astronomer Nicola Loaring, joining the teleconference from the South African Astronomical Observatory in Sutherland, South Africa.

The QE2 is small and faint, but under clear weather conditions with a powerful telescope, backyard astronomers in the southern part of the United States should be able to see it.

The giant asteroid’s closest point to Earth will be Friday at 4:59 p.m. EDT (2059 GMT). Scientists estimate it will be at least another 200 years before it gets this close again.

RIA Novosti

Assad: Arab world ready to join fight against Israel

Ezekiel 38 and 39 It's ready to unfold.....

Syrian President Bashar Assad told Al-Manar TV on Thursday that “there is pressure by the people to open a new front on the Golan.”

“Even among the Arab world there is a clear readiness to join the fight against Israel,” he added in his interview with the Hezbollah TV station.

Assad stated that Hezbollah is involved in fighting the Israeli enemy and its agents in Syria and Lebanon, according to the text of the interview on the Al-Manar website. He attributed the failure of the Syrian opposition to its dependence on outside funding and said that it failed to create a real rift in the country.

Assad also said that he sees the balance of power in Syria shifting to the government’s side. And this despite the fact that the “terrorists” – how Assad refers to the rebels – are smuggling fighters and weapons through all of the borders.

In relation to Israel, he said, “If we want to respond to Israel, the response must be strategic.”

Earlier on Thursday, Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar quoted Assad as saying that Syria had already received the first shipment of Russian antiaircraft S-300 rockets.

Speaking about the delivery of the S-300 to Syria, Assad told Al-Manar that Russia is “committed to the deal and neither [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu’s visit nor the current crisis will influence the importing of arms.”

“The contracts with Russia are not linked to the crisis and Russia is committed to implementing these contracts,” he said. “Everything we have agreed on with Russia will take place, and part of it has already taken place.”

More of the missiles would arrive soon, he was quoted as saying.

A source close to Russia’s Defense Ministry said there had been a “bank transfer” in connection with the S-300 transaction, but that Russian banks were becoming increasingly nervous about dealing with Assad.

Israel spoke with Russia on Thursday morning amid reports that Assad’s forces had received a shipment of S- 300 missiles from Moscow.

Jerusalem has yet to confirm the arrival of the missiles, which have a 200-km. range with the capacity to hit planes in northern Israel. It would create a no-fly zone that would make it impossible for the Israel Air Force to operate along the Syrian and Lebanese border, precisely at a moment when both countries are more volatile.

Israel is investigating the report, while Channels 2 and 10 reported they did not believe the missiles had arrived.

Netanyahu personally asked Russian President Vladimir Putin not to deliver the missiles when he visited Moscow earlier this month.

On Thursday morning, Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz held a prearranged meeting with Russian Ambassador to Israel Sergey Yakovlevich and raised the issue of the S-300s.

Russia has maintained that the missiles are defensive and are needed by Assad’s forces in their battle against rebel groups in that country. On Wednesday, Steinitz said the missiles could also be used as offensive weapons.

At the end of Steinitz’s meeting with Yakovlevich, his office said that the men discussed bilateral and strategic issues in the region. They agreed that Israel and Russia would “maintain an ongoing dialogue and cooperate,” his office said.

Steinitz’s office released the positive message, even though Russia had announced only on Tuesday that it intended to ship the S- 300 to Syria.

There is some speculation that Moscow did so in direct response to the European Union’s decision on Monday to lift its arms embargo to Syrian rebel forces.

Earlier on Thursday, Netanyahu spoke of the dangers facing Israel from missile attacks from the Syrian, Lebanese and Gazan borders when he attended a meeting of the Emergency Economy Committee, where they discussed Tuesday’s national emergency drill.

“We are deep in the era of missiles that are aimed at civilian population areas,” Netanyahu said. “We must prepare defensively and offensively for the new era of warfare. The State of Israel is the most threatened state in the world. Around us are tens of thousands of missiles and rockets that could hit our home front.”

Russia’s sale of the S-300 missiles has not stopped it from working with the United States to hold an international peace conference in Geneva that would include representatives from Assad’s government and the rebel forces.

“On June 5 in Geneva, US, Russian and UN officials will hold a three-way meeting to further the preparations for the international conference on Syria,” a spokesman for UN chief Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday.

US Sen. Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he did not understand how Russia could both arm Assad and work toward a peace conference.

The S-300 is an offensive weapon, said Menendez, who opposes its shipment to Assad.

“It changes the equation,” Menendez said, who visited Israel this week and spoke with Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres about regional threats from Syria and Iran.

Menendez said that he supports sending arms and supplies to the moderate rebel forces fighting Assad and added that, at this point, the different groups in Syria were well known and that it was possible to send arms to specific groups.

It was his understanding from speaking with the Israelis that they are not involved in Syria, Menendez said.

But, he said, Israeli officials led him to believe they would act in response to a direct threat.

Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told The Jerusalem Post from Washington on Thursday night, “Assad would be off his rocker if he were to start a war with Israel right now and he knows it.”

Assad is barely containing the war in his own country and “the idea that he would add a war with Israel makes no sense,” he said.

This seems to be more rhetoric, he said adding a caveat that things could change.

Asked by the Post about the feeling in Washington over the increasing tensions in the region over the past couple weeks, Schanzer said that it has definitely been noticed in the US capital.

“There is a sense that no good options are left for the US to pursue – a sense of paralysis,” he added. There seems to be a growing isolationist tendency in both parties.

Jerusalem Post

Israel threatens to bomb Russian arms shipment to Syria

Israeli officials this week said they would "know what to do" if Russia goes through with the planned sale of an advanced anti-aircraft system to Syria. Given Israel's recent pinpoint air strikes in Syria, the remarks were taken as a thinly veiled threat to destroy the Russian arms the moment they touch Syrian soil.

"Delivery [of the S-300] has not taken place – I can attest to this – and I hope it does not. But if, by some misfortune, they arrive in Syria, we will know what to do," Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon told reporters.

Israel had tried to convince Russia to cancel the arms sale, arguing that the S-300 would enable embattled Syrian dictator Bashar Assad to more easily transfer chemical weapons to his Hezbollah allies. Two earlier Israeli air strikes purportedly prevented similar transfers.

There is also the risk that should Assad fall, the S-300 itself will fall into the hands of Hezbollah or one of the radical Islamic groups making up the Syrian rebel army. Israeli officials noted that, in the hands of terrorists, the S-300 could be used to quite easily bring down civilian airliners.

But at a meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin rebuffed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's concerns, insisting that Assad is a stabilizing factor in the region and that his regime must be given every chance to remain in power.

Meanwhile, Assad on Thursday claimed on Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV that he had already received the first shipment of S-300 missiles and radar systems. The Syrian dictator went on to warn Israel that any further air strikes would result in an immediate Syrian retaliation.

Following Israel's last air strike against a suspect chemical weapons storehouse at Damascus airport, Arab media reported that Syria had aimed the bulk of its considerable long-range missile arsenal at the Jewish state.

Israel Today

Assad: Syria Will Strike Back at Any Future Israeli Attack

DUBAI, May 31 (RIA Novosti) – President Bashar Assad has said that Syria “will respond in kind” to any future Israeli airstrike on its territory and expressed confidence in the victory over the foes of the Syrian state.

The Syrian government has been criticized for its muted response to recent Israeli airstrikes on several facilities in Syria in alleged attempts to stop shipments of missiles bound for Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group.

“We have informed the relevant states that we will respond in kind [next time],” Assad said in a televised interview with Lebanese al-Manar TV on Thursday. “We plan for different scenarios, depending on the circumstances and the timing of the strike.”

Assad said there was "popular pressure" to open a military front against Israel on the Golan Heights but such a move would require serious political, social and military deliberation.

Assad also said he had no doubts about his victory against opponents in a battle that he described as a "world war against Syria and the resistance [in reference to Hezbollah fighters]."

"Regarding my confidence about victory, had we not had this confidence, we wouldn't have been able to fight in this battle for two years, facing an international attack," he said.

Assad’s confident tone comes in a wake of a recent “shift in the balance of power” in the Syrian conflict as the government troops have scored a number of victories in the fight against the rebels throughout the country.

Assad reiterated his support of an international conference on Syria, which Russia and the United States attempt to put together in Geneva, but stressed that any outcome of this or any other Syria-related discussions by the international community must be “subject to the approval of the Syrian people through a popular referendum.”

“Nothing can be implemented without the approval of the Syrian people,” he said.

Asked about the controversial issue of the deliveries of Russian S-300 air defense systemsto Syria, Assad simply said Russia is committed to honoring the existing defense contracts with Syria.

“All of our agreements with Russia will be implemented, some have been implemented during the past period and, together with the Russians, we will continue to implement these contracts in the future,” the Syrian president said.

RIA Novosti