30 October 2008

* Iranian source: "Quake" Saturday was nuclear bomb test?

Israel Insider exclusively reports that a seismic event this weekend in southern Iran may in fact have been a massive underground nuclear bomb test. According to the USGS, the tremor measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale took place Saturday night, October 25 just before midnight Iran time, with its epicenter at 26.70°N, 55.02°E, just north of the strategic straits of Hormuz, opposite Abu Dhabi.
Map source: Google Maps.

The claim that the tremor was in fact a nuclear test came from an Iranian nuclear scientist who claims to be working in uranium enrichment for the project. A report published by Israel Insider on Friday, October 24 included a captionless map that portrayed the area of the seismic event that occurred the following night, based on location information previously provided by the Iranian source.

Israel Insider's source reports that the test is in fact the second in a series. A 4.8 Richter scale event occurred on October 21 with an epicenter (26.70N, 54.96E) within 5 km (3 miles) of the October 25 tremor.

Israeli and foreign sources have long speculated that Iran has been in possession of ready nuclear bombs but would only begin testing them when a full production line for nuclear weapons is in place.

The source indicated that Iran is being assisted by China and North Korea. Israel Insider's Iranian source reports that two "nuclear rockets" have been completed and are intended for use against the Jewish State in the coming months.

The site of the test and the development facility are believed to be in close proximity. The location appears to have been carefully selected. The area is exposed to significant seismic activity, which could serve to mask nuclear tests, although the recent spike in activity in that specific area significantly deviates from historical trends. A tremor measuring 6.2 struck the area on September 10, 2008 (its epicenter was 80km or 50 miles due west), the largest seismic event in the area in more than 33 years.

Source and additional data:USGS
The location on the Persian Gulf near the straits of Hormuz would also facilitate delivery and transport of material and personnel. the strategic importance of the immediate area may also be intended to deter potential strikes against the facilities, which could close down the flow of a substantial percentage of the world's oil.




(israelinsider)



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Lebanon Time-Line

Introducing Lebanon

Coolly combining the ancient with the ultramodern, Lebanon is one of the most captivating countries in the Middle East. From the Phoenician findings of Tyre (Sour) and Roman Baalbek's tremendous temple to Beirut's BO18 and Bernard Khoury's modern movement, the span of Lebanon's history leaves many visitors spinning. Tripoli (Trablous) is considered to have the best souk in the country and is famous for its Mamluk architecture. It's well equipped with a taste of modernity as well; Jounieh, formerly a sleepy fishing village, is a town alive with nightclubs and glitz on summer weekends.

With all of the Middle East's best bits - warm and welcoming people, mind-blowing history and considerable culture, Lebanon is also the antithesis of many people's imaginings of the Middle East: mostly mountainous with skiing to boot, it's also laid-back, liberal and fun. While Beirut is fast becoming the region's party place, Lebanon is working hard to recapture its crown as the 'Paris of the Orient'.

The rejuvenation of the Beirut Central District is one of the largest, most ambitious urban redevelopment projects ever undertaken. Travellers will find the excitement surrounding this and other developments and designs palpable - and very infectious.

Finally, Lebanon's cuisine is considered the richest of the region. From hummus to hommard (lobster), you'll dine like a king. With legendary sights, hospitality, food and nightlife, what more could a traveller want?

Introducing Beirut

What Beirut is depends entirely on where you are. If you’re gazing at the beautifully reconstructed colonial relics and mosques of central Beirut’s Downtown, the city is a triumph of rejuvenation over disaster.

If you’re in the young, vibrant neighbourhoods of Gemmayzeh or Achrafiye, Beirut is about living for the moment: partying, eating and drinking as if there’s no tomorrow. If you’re standing in the shadow of buildings still peppered with bullet holes, or walking the Green Line with an elderly resident, it’s a city of bitter memories and a dark past. If you’re with Beirut’s Armenians, Beirut is about salvation; if you’re with its handful of Jews, it’s about hiding your true identity. Here you’ll find the freest gay scene in the Arab Middle East, yet homosexuality is still illegal. If you’re in one of Beirut’s southern refugee camps, Beirut is about sorrow and displacement; other southern districts are considered a base for paramilitary operations and south Beirut is home to infamous Hezbollah secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah. For some, it’s a city of fear; for others, freedom.

Throw in maniacal drivers, air pollution from old, smoking Mercedes taxis, world-class universities, bars to rival Soho and coffee thicker than mud, political demonstrations, and swimming pools awash with more silicone than Miami. Add people so friendly you’ll swear it can’t be true, a political situation existing on a knife-edge, internationally renowned museums and gallery openings that continue in the face of explosions, assassinations and power cuts, and you’ll find that you’ve never experienced a capital city quite so alive and kicking – despite its frequent volatility.