July 24, 2005

News for July 24, 2005

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Oil industry awash in record levels of cash (July 22, 2005) - When major oil companies report their quarterly profits next week, they're once again expected to post record numbers. With crude trading around $60 a barrel, the oil industry is enjoying one of the biggest windfalls in its history. But as the industry looks for places to put that cash, it's finding it harder and harder to put funds to work finding new deposits of oil and natural gas. By just about any measure, the past three years have produced one of the biggest cash gushers in the oil industry’s history. Since January of 2002, the price of crude has tripled, leaving oil producers awash in profits. During that period, the top 10 major public oil companies have sold some $1.5 trillion worth of crude, pocketing profits of more than $125 billion. “This is the mother of all booms,” said Oppenheimer & Co. oil analyst Fadel Gheit. “They have so much profit, it’s almost an embarrassment of riches. They don’t know what to do with it. more...


Rare Yemeni riots leave 16 dead (July 22, 2005) - What began as anger over the country’s struggling economy turned into a rare open expression of fury at Yemen’s leadership, with rioters burning pictures of top officials, according to witnesses. Security forces opened fire on protesters mobbing around government buildings in the capital San’a -- including the oil ministry -- launched tear gas and beat people with batons. Protesters responded by pelting them with stones. Clashes erupted in at least a half dozen cities, with rioters sweeping into a police station in one town, freeing all the prisoners they found. more...


Strong quake hits Indian islands (July 24, 2005) - A strong earthquake of 7.2 magnitude has shaken India’s Andaman and Nicobar islands, but there have been no early reports of casualties or damage. “The quake was felt in all the islands of the Andaman and Nicobar chain,” a police official told Reuters, referring to the more than 550 islands in the remote Indian Ocean archipelago that was devastated by last year’s tsunami. In the capital, Port Blair, hundreds of people fled their homes in panic. The US Geological Survey web site has said authorities near the epicenter of the tremor should be aware of local tsunami risks.


Puzzling activity at Mt. St. Helen’s (July 24, 2005) - There’s a whole lotta shakin’ going on at Mount St. Helens these days as the restless peak does what it has done for thousands of years: build new lava domes that totter and fall and become the foundations for still more new ones. A series of unusually strong earthquakes -- exceeding magnitude 3 -- has been reported in recent days by the Cascades Volcano Laboratory in Vancouver, Wash., about 50 miles south of the mountain. The latest was a magnitude 3.1 quake early Thursday that was accompanied by a rockfall. Quakes of that magnitude would go mostly unnoticed elsewhere, but they're a clue to activity at a volcano. Rockfalls during the quakes send up plumes of ash. Some tower thousands of feet above the 8,364-foot crater rim; a March plume reached 30,000 feet, raising concerns about area air traffic. Some plumes don’t escape the crater and some wispy, gritty puffs crest just above the rim. more...


Quake hits Tokyo (July 24, 2005) - A magnitude-6.0 earthquake shook the Tokyo area yesterday, injuring at least 27 people, rattling buildings across the sprawling capital and temporarily suspending flights and train services.


Moslems Destroy Temple Mount Artifacts (July 24, 2005) - In November 1999, the Wakf or Islamic Trust that oversees the Temple Mount, began illegally excavating an area at the southern end of the compound. Workers dug up tons of earth and dumped the “rubble” in the Kidron Valley. more...


Quakes jolt different parts of Iran (July 24, 2005) - Three earthquakes hit the cities of Qidar, Genaveh and Kerman Sunday. According to Iran’s State News Agency (IRNA), the quakes were respectively measuring 4.1, 3.7 and 3.9 on the Richter scale. The seismological base of the Geophysics Institute, affiliated to Tehran University, said in a statement that the 4.1 magnitude quake hit the city of Qidar in the northwestern province of Zanjan at 08:20 hours local time (0350 GMT).


Egyptian TV ‘experts’ blame Israel (July 24, 2005) - Several Egyptian “security experts” and “political analysts” interviewed by Arab TV stations after the Sharm e-Sheikh bombings on Saturday claimed that Israel and Jews were behind the carnage. The accusations were made despite a claim of responsibility by a group citing ties to al-Qaida, according to a statement posted on an Islamic Web site. Similar charges have been made against Israel in the past, particularly after the suicide attack at the Taba Hilton Hotel in October 2004 and after the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington. more...


Rare Scrolls Reveal Early Biblical Writing (July 24, 2005) - Three ancient scrolls — one parchment and two silver — recently have been identified as containing some of the world’s earliest known verses from the Hebrew Bible, also known as the Old Testament. The discovery of two fragments of a 2,000-year-old parchment scroll in the Judean Desert was announced last week by Israeli archaeologist Chanan Eshel of Tel Aviv’s Bar Ilan University. The fragments contain verses from Leviticus, the third book of the Hebrew Bible, attributed to the tribe of Levi from which Israeli priests are said to be descended. The book consists of regulations for both the priests and their followers. The two silver scrolls were found by Bar Ilan archaeologist Gabriel Barkay in 1979 in a cave at Ketef Hinnom near Jerusalem. It was only until recently, however, that technology made it possible for scientists to read the scrolls, which date to the 7th century BC and likely were worn around the neck as protective amulets. Project leader Bruce Zuckerman told Discovery News that the scrolls not only are the oldest known Hebrew amulets, but they also are the earliest known artifacts to quote Biblical verses. more...


83 Die in Car Bombs at Egyptian Resort (July 23, 2005) - A rapid series of car bombs and another blast ripped through a luxury hotel and a coffeeshop in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik early Saturday, killing at least 83, a hospital official said. Terrified European and Arab tourists fled into the night, and rescue workers said the death toll could still rise. more...


Tokyo Shaken by Magnitude 6.1 Quake; No Tsunami Risk (Update4) (July 23, 2005) - Downtown Tokyo was shaken by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake at 4:35 p.m. local time. The tremor presented no risk of tsunami, the powerful ocean surges sometimes caused by seismic activity, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The quake was centered 75 kilometers below the earth’s surface about 30 kilometers southeast of Tokyo in Chiba prefecture, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Buildings shook in the capital and the jolt was felt throughout the Kanto region, which includes Tokyo and neighboring Saitama, Kanagawa and Chiba prefectures, the agency said. more...


Shh! Don’t tell them it’s aliya (July 22, 2005) - How do you get an American to leave the comforts of his US home for a life in faraway Israel? Tell him how much money he'll save – and don’t tell him it’s aliya. At least, that’s the strategy the Jewish Agency for Israel is hoping will help make 2005 a banner year for North American aliya. In a campaign spearheaded by the Jewish Agency’s New York-based Israel Aliyah Center, the agency is trying to draw North Americans to Israel with the lure of free education. Rather than advertise aliya, which carries with it the incidental benefit of free tuition, the Jewish Agency instead is promoting programs of free education in Israel - with nary a mention that aliya is a mandatory component. more...