The community that began with Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner continues. Today we collect news from outside the usual, and renew the discussion.
Despite rocket fire that broke a 72 hour ceasefire, all sides agreed to an extension proposed to last for five more days of truce and peace talks in embattled Gaza.
Hamas, the Islamist organisation in power in Gaza, denied they had launched rockets, however, and shortly before midnight Palestinian delegates in Cairo announced the extension.
‘There will be a five-day ceasefire to give more opportunity for negotiation,’ Gamal Shobky, the Palestinian ambassador in Cairo, told the Guardian. ‘We are very close but there are still some things to resolve.’
The news will be welcomed in Gaza, battered by a month-long conflict which inflicted massive damage on infrastructure and housing, as well as killing nearly 2,000 people, mostly civilians. Sixty four Israeli soldiers died, and three civilians in Israel were killed by rocket fire.
As Mt. Sinjar emptied of persecuted minorities chased there by ISIS, the international community sought to change premiers as one step toward less volatile conditions.
The White House on Wednesday urged Iraqi leader Nuri al-Maliki to step aside and allow the man nominated to become his successor as prime minister to form a government.
‘He needs to respect that process,’ Rhodes told reporters. ‘This is what the Iraqis themselves have decided to do.’
President Barack Obama on Monday threw his weight behind the choice of Haidar al-Abadi to form a new government, appealing to Maliki, without directly naming him, to peacefully turn over power.
‘The White House will be very glad to see a new government in place with prime minister Abadi at the lead of that government,’ Rhodes said.
Mexico awarded 83% of its oil resources to national oil firm Pemex as a move toward reorganization and revitalization of its energy industry, enabled by an amendment to the constitution which required state ownership of resources.
Mexico enacted new rules this week to open up the country’s energy sector.
Private oil companies are now allowed to operate in the country for the first time in 76 years.
The next round of bidding will see private oil firms vie for the remaining 79% of possible reserves.
The hope is that the changes in the energy sector will boost production back to 2004 levels by 2025.
Crumbling infrastructure, bureaucracy and corruption have pared Mexican production from 3.6 million barrels a day in 2004 to just 2.5 million.
The first woman to be awarded the Fields Medal, mathematics’ equivalent of the Nobel, is an Iranian professor at Stanford, Maryam Mirzakhani, awarded the medal for her work in understanding the symmetry of curved surfaces.
‘This is a great honor. I will be happy if it encourages young female scientists and mathematicians,’ Mirzakhani was quoted as saying on Stanford’s website.
‘I am sure there will be many more women winning this kind of award in coming years,’ she said.
Mirzakhani, 37, was born in Tehran and lived there until she began her doctorate work at Harvard University. She said she dreamed of becoming a writer when she was young, but she pursued her love of solving mathematical problems.
‘It is fun. It’s like solving a puzzle or connecting the dots in a detective case. I felt that this was something I could do, and I wanted to pursue this path.’ she said.