air iran

In these 15 cities, exercising outside is actually bad for you because of air pollution

A new report from the Guardianpart of an ongoing series about air pollution — uses pollution numbers from the World Health Organization from May 2016 to identify at least 15 cities around the world that have pollution levels so high that biking outdoors becomes dangerous after just an hour or less of exposure.

Cyclists hit the tipping point into danger after an hour outside in these cities:

  • Kanpur, India
  • Shijiazhuang, China
  • Dammam, Saudi Arabia
  • Ludhiana, India
  • Delhi, India
  • Baoding, China
  • Xingtai, China

In these cities, the risks of exercise outweigh the benefits after just 45 minutes:

  • Bamenda, Cameroon
  • Raipur, India
  • Patna, India
  • Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia
  • Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

And in these cities, pollution levels are so high that just 30 minutes of outdoor cycling is more harmful than it is beneficial:

  • Allahabad, India
  • Gwalior, India
  • Zabol, Iran

Read more | follow @the-future-now
New Trump travel ban rules: grandparents and fiancées not counted as 'close family'
Criteria for travellers from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen – and all refugees – to take effect on Thursday

AP, via The Guardian

The Trump administration has set new criteria for visa applicants from six Muslim-majority nations and all refugees, requiring a “close” family or business tie to the United States.

The move on Wednesday came after the supreme court partially restored President Donald Trump’s executive order that was widely criticised as a ban on Muslims.

Visas that have already been approved will not be revoked, but instructions issued by the state department say new applicants from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen must prove a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the United States to be eligible.

The same requirement, with some exceptions, holds for would-be refugees from all nations who are still awaiting approval for admission to the US.

Grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers- and sisters-in-law, fiancées/fiancés or other extended family members are not considered to be close relationships, according to the guidelines that were issued in a cable sent to all US embassies and consulates late on Wednesday.

The new rules take effect on Thursday, according to the cable, which was obtained by he Associated Press.

On Monday, the supreme court partially lifted lower court injunctions against Trump’s executive order that had temporarily banned visas for citizens of the six countries. The justices’ ruling exempted applicants from the ban if they could prove a “bona fide relationship” with a US person or entity, but the court offered only broad guidelines – suggesting they would include a relative, job offer or invitation to lecture in the US – as to how that should be defined.

Senior officials from the departments of state, justice and homeland security had worked since the decision to clarify the ruling and Wednesday’s instructions were the result.

As far as business or professional links are concerned, the state department said a legitimate relationship must be “formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course rather than for the purpose of evading” the ban. Journalists, students, workers or lecturers who have valid invitations or employment contracts in the US would be exempt from the ban.

The exemption does not apply to those who seek a relationship with an American business or educational institution purely for the purpose of avoiding the rules, the cable said. A hotel reservation or car rental contract, even if it were pre-paid, would also not count, it said.
You’re more likely to die from air pollution in India than China, study says
A new study finds that air-pollution levels have risen dramatically across northern India and Bangladesh since 2010.

India’s Air-Pollution Worse Than China & Likely to Kill You

“India has substantially higher air-pollution levels than China today and is caught up and surpassing China in terms of the risk to the population’s health,” Greenbaum said.


To those who don’t know yet, Saudi Arabia created a coalition (comprised of Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan) began bombing Yemen yesterday, and there are talks of a full ground invasion in the coming days. Right now people are terrified for their lives, people are losing their homes, their loved ones, access to food and water. Many civilians have already been killed. Please pay attention to Yemen. Don’t stand by and silently ignore yet another country being bombed into nothingness. Not again. Give the Yemeni people all of your support, your prayers, your solidarity, keep them in your thoughts. Do not let their suffering go uncared for and unnoticed. I know you all would care if it were your streets that were on fire, or your homes turned to rubble.
Mosul mosque where Islamic State took world stage lies in rubble
The leaning minaret of Mosul's Grand al-Nuri Mosque survived conquests by the Mongols and the Ottomans, neglect under Saddam Hussein, and air raids during the Iran-Iraq War and the U.S. invasion in 2003.

(Reuters) The leaning minaret of Mosul’s Grand al-Nuri Mosque survived conquests by the Mongols and the Ottomans, neglect under Saddam Hussein, and air raids during the Iran-Iraq War and the U.S. invasion in 2003.

But after three years of Islamic State rule, it is now little more than a pile of stones at the center of a shattered city.

By all accounts except their own, the jihadists rigged the mosque and its 850-year-old tower with explosives and blew them up last week as advancing Iraqi forces came within steps of the complex.

The Mosque in Happier Times

A Reuters visit to the site on Friday, a day after Iraq’s military recaptured it, confirmed the extent of destruction: the 45-metre (148 ft) al-Hadba minaret had been reduced to a stump while the mint green dome was the only part of the prayer hall still standing.

(Excerpt please click link for the full article)

What a terrible waste of a unique ancient architectural treasure and a now lost bit of history.


July 3rd 1988: Iran Air Flight 655 shot down

On this day in 1988, the civilian Iran Air flight 655 was shot down by the US Navy, killing all 290 people on board. The US Navy were stationed in the Persian Gulf - ib Iranian airspace - during the Iran-Iraq war exchanging fire with Iranian ships while protecting vital oil routes. On July 3rd 1988, the USS Vincennes mistook the airbus A300 travelling from Tehran to Dubai with a F-14 fighter jet, allegedly because the plane failed to identify itself as civilian. Two surface to air missiles took out the plane, killing all passengers and crew. The victims were predominantly Iranian, with only 38 non-Iranians on board, and included 16 crew and 66 children. Iranian officials assumed the incident was no accident, but rather a purposeful attack, which led Iran to soon accept a UN cease fire. The incident ranks as the eighth deadliest aviation disaster in history. This event, which was recently compared to the MH17 disaster, poisoned relations between Iran and the United States; it still leads the former to distrust the latter, partly because the United states never apologised nor admitted culpability for the disaster.

On Jan. 2 Saudi Arabia executed Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, an outspoken Shiite cleric who had called for more rights for Saudi Arabia’s marginalized Shiite minority. In response, an Iranian mob attacked the Saudi embassy in Iran. Saudi Arabia then broke off relations with Iran, and other countries in the region have now been forced to choose between these two powerful rival nations.

Journalist Robin Wright, who has written about the Middle East since 1973, tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross that the conflict between the countries comes at an especially sensitive time. “The timing of this confrontation is really dangerous, because January was to the month of important developments on four different peace initiatives that were really part of the international effort to prevent the Middle East from disintegrating completely,” Wright says.

Journalist Says The Timing Of The Saudi Arabia-Iran Showdown Is ‘Really Dangerous’ 

Photo: Iranian women in the capital Tehran demonstrate against the execution of a prominent Shiite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr (seen on the signs). He was among 47 people beheaded by Saudi authorities on Saturday, a move that escalated tensions between the two countries.
Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

Photographer Abbas Chronicles ‘What People Do In The Name Of God’

In the late 1970s, photographer Abbas’ interest in bearing witness took him to his native Iran, during that country’s Islamic Revolution. He initially viewed the uprising in Iran as a revolt of the people, but gradually he saw it had been usurped by the mullahs. It was then that Abbas decided to focus his camera on the religions of the world.

“Before the Iran revolution I had no desire to photograph religion,” he explains. “But covering the revolution for two years I could see that the waves of passion [that were] raised by the revolution were not going to stop at the borders of Iran.”

Abbas spent seven years chronicling Islam, then he moved on to other faiths, such as Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Paganism and Shamanism.

“What I’m interested in is not only the personal belief, it’s what people do in the name of God — sometimes the great things, and sometimes the stupid and violent things they do in his name — that’s more interesting to me,” he explains.

Photo: Students of the Al Azhar college in Jakarta, Indonesia attend Friday prayer in the auditorium in 1989. Courtesy of Magnum 


IRIAF Mirage F-1Q, former Iraqi aircraft that flew into Iran during Desert Storm and were pressed into service as reparations for the Iran-Iraq war.

There’s a lot of things that have been said about Iran’s military and the propaganda stuff they keep pulling, but it’s remarkable how good they are at maintaining aircraft with no manufacturer’s support.