Quake hits Iran's city Bushehr, 30 dead

A powerful earthquake struck Iran's city Bushehr on Tuesday, killing 30 people and injuring 800 as it devastated small villages, state media reported.

The 6.3 magnitude quake totally destroyed one village, a Red Crescent official told the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA), according to a local politician .

"Up until now the earthquake has left behind 30 dead and 800 injured," said Fereydoun Hassanvand, the governor of Bushehr province, according to ISNA.

 Many houses in rural parts of the province are made of mud brick, which can easily crumble in a quake.

Across the Gulf, offices in Qatar and Bahrain were evacuated after the quake, whose epicenter was 89 km (55 miles) southeast of the port of Bushehr, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The early afternoon shock was also felt in financial hub Dubai.

Abdulkarim Jomeiri, a member of parliament for Bushehr, told IRNA that "the distance between the earthquake focal point and the Bushehr nuclear power plant was about 80 km and, on the basis of the latest information, there has been no damage to the power plant."

The Russian company that built the nuclear power station, 18 km (11 miles) south of Bushehr, said the plant was unaffected.

"The earthquake in no way affected the normal situation at the reactor. Personnel continue to work in the normal regime and radiation levels are fully within the norm," Russian state news agency RIA quoted an official at Atomstroyexport as saying.

One Bushehr resident said her home and the homes of her neighbors were shaken by the quake but not damaged.

"We could clearly feel the earthquake," said Nikoo, who asked to be identified only by her first name. "The windows and chandeliers all shook."

Tuesday's quake was much smaller than the 9.0 magnitude one that hit Japan two years ago, triggering a tsunami that destroyed back-up generators and disabled the Fukushima nuclear plant's cooling system. Three of the reactors melted down.

Iran sits on major fault lines and has suffered several devastating earthquakes in recent years, including a 6.6 magnitude quake in 2003 which flattened the southeastern city of Bam and killed more than 25,000 people. In August more than 300 people were killed when two quakes struck the north west.


Iran unveils nuclear achievements


The Islamic Republic of Iran has unveiled three nuclear achievements in the country’s central province of Yazd on the occasion of the National Day of Nuclear Technology.

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad issued on Tuesday the order to launch Shahid Rezaeinejad yellowcake production plant and Saghand uranium mines in Ardakan as well as the country’s first industrial electron accelerator in the city of Taft,according to Press T.V.

The uranium extracted from Saghand mines in Yazd will be processed and turned into yellowcake in Shahid Rezaeinejad complex, which has the capacity to annually produce 60 tons of yellowcake.

The Iranian president said via video conferencing in the inauguration ceremony that the country’s nuclear industry is developing and that, every day, the Iranian nation is witnessing new achievements in the field.

Yellowcake is a kind of uranium concentrate powder obtained from leach solutions, in an intermediate step in the processing of uranium ores.

In December 2010, the first consignment of indigenous yellowcake was transferred to Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) from Gachin mines under the surveillance of the International Atomic Energy Organization (IAEA).

Iran maintains that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the IAEA, it has every right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.


Al-Rai Calls on the Lebanese Army to Control Borders

BEIRUT, (ST)_Maronite Patriarch Beshara Butrous al-Rai called on the Lebanese army and security forces to control the border and  prevent arms smuggling across it so as  to maintain  security and stability in Lebanon .

In a pre-departure statement on Monday for a European tour, al-Rai  added : "There is  someone trying to violate  the security of the country through smuggling weapons so that our only guarantee in Lebanon to ward off this danger is the army and all security and military  forces."

"Lebanon bears beyond its  capacity and we hope everyone to respect this land and this country 's  security ,safety and people ,"  the patriarch added, expressing  hope to form the  new government quickly to satisfy  all Lebanese and have them  represented without exception.


T. Fateh  

Occupation Forces Close Karam Abu Salem Crossing in Gaza

Israeli occupation forces  closed Monday Karam Abu Salem Crossing, Gaza’s sole commercial crossing located southeast of Rafah, said an official.

Head of coordinating committee in charge of entry of goods in Gaza Raed fatooh told WAFA “Israel informed us that the crossing will be closed today under flimsy pretexts.”

The crossing will be closed to the movement of goods, aid, and fuel entering Gaza.

To be noted, Karam Abu Salem is the only commercial crossing in Gaza, through which goods, humanitarian aids and fuel are entered to the people of the Gaza Strip.



Groups Discuss occupation forces Violation with Europeans

Journalists and human rights groups Monday discussed with members of the Middle East committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) the prisoners issue, human rights violations and the status of Palestinian journalists.

During the meeting, which was held at the Legislative Council in Ramallah, the Palestinian delegation briefed PACE members on the prisoners issue and the need to highlight their worsening conditions.

Sahar Francis, director of the Prisoners Support and Human rights Association ‘Addameer’, said that the prisoners’ issue must be emphasized in future negotiations and “prisoners should be released as a sign of good will.”

Al-Haq director, Shawan Jabarin, called for a re-evaluation of the status quo and insisted that the European Union must ban settlement products from entering European markets and pressure Israel to change its policies.

Palestinian journalists briefed PACE on Israeli violation of their right for free movement and access to information.

They spoke of Israel’s policy of targeting journalists and the most recent arrest of cartoonist Muhammad Sabaaneh. They highlighted as well imprisonment of Palestinian Legislative Council members.

PACE members informed the attendees that they are currently drafting a report on the topic of administrative detention.