Underscoring the lengths to which the Obama administration seems willing to go to deny concerns about Iran's nuclear program, even in the face of stunning moves by Tehran to expand its nuclear capabilities, a State Department official told reporters that Iran’s decision to begin construction of two nuclear reactors is not a violation of the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), the agreement signed in November 2013 to prevent Iran from advancing its nuclear program. The unnamed official told the Washington Free Beacon that “the construction of light water nuclear reactors is not prohibited by U.N. Security Council resolutions, nor does it violate the JPOA." Tehran announced the mass expansion of two new nuclear reactors on Tuesday, the day before Foreign Minister Zarif was set to meet with Secretary Kerry for bilateral talks. In another provocative move on Wednesday, the day of the meeting between Kerry and Zarif, Iran indicted Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, an American citizen, and announced plans to put him on trial. In a condemnation of the building of the two nuclear reactors, Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) issued a statement saying, "The longer we wait to stop the Iranians from creating a nuclear bomb, the more likely it becomes that our children will witness nuclear war in the Middle East." Meanwhile, Reuters reported on Thursday that “Republican and Democratic lawmakers were pushing ahead with two pieces of legislation. One would impose more sanctions on Iran if international negotiators fail to reach an agreement by the end of June, and the other would let lawmakers weigh in on any final agreement reached by negotiators," citing Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker (R-TN).
On Wednesday, in another sign of the fraying of the unity agreement between Hamas and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, Hamas officials reactivated their parliament, which had been suspended since the agreement. Only Hamas legislators attended the session, which took place in the terrorist-controlled Gaza Strip. At the center of the dispute between Hamas and the PA is the payment of salaries for Hamas employees as well as the question of who has authority over the Gaza Strip. Hamas has demanded that the new unity government pay the salaries of the 50,000 civil servants it recruited after overthrowing the PA in Gaza in 2007. On Monday, Hamas employees staged a sit-in in Gaza to protest the PA’s refusal to pay their salaries. Last weekend, Hamas destroyed ATMs at several branches of the Bank of Palestine to prevent the PA from paying Fatah workers in Gaza without paying the workers of the Hamas government at the same time. Hamas has arrested dozens of Fatah members in the Gaza Strip while the PA has arrested dozens of Hamas militants in the West Bank. According to Avi Issacharoff at the Times of Israel, a senior Hamas official has been directing attacks against Fatah targets in the Gaza Strip over the past few months in order to undermine the unity agreement. These attacks included the bombings of 13 senior Fatah officials’ homes in Gaza and the bombing near the home of the unity government spokesman. Furthermore,Gaza reconstruction efforts have been significantly hindered by the ongoing standoff between Hamas and Fatah. In August, the war between Israel and Hamas ended with an agreement that the Fatah-dominated PA would take over the Gaza Strip. However the PA has balked at taking charge of the border crossings and reconstruction efforts until Hamas surrenders control over the Strip, which it refuses to do.
Heavy industries generate a lot of heat and emit a lot of CO2 to the atmosphere. NewCO2Fuels turns these two streams of waste into profitable products. For millions of years, plant life has been turning water and carbon dioxide (CO2) into energy. Today, many entrepreneurs are copying natural photosynthesis to find a good use for the dangerously excessive CO2 in our air. But these solutions aren’t widely adopted by industry without government incentives to offset their cost. The Israeli company NewCO2Fuels (NCF) stepped in with a technology that transforms industrial water and CO2 waste into a hydrogen-carbon monoxide synthetic gas. That syngas is then turned into profitable products such as liquid fuels, plastics and fertilizer. It’s not only an attractive business model but also sustainable, as the conversion process is fueled by concentrated solar energy or byproduct heat from the industries themselves. “There are a lot of industries using high-temperature heat to produce things like steel, glass and cement, by burning fossil fuel,” explains CEO David Banitt. “They waste a lot of heat and emit a lot of CO2 to the atmosphere. We take these two streams of waste and turn them into profitable products.” This unique advantage explains why the three-year-old company is so hot right now. NCF won the only international prize in the corporate energy category at the 2014 World Technology Network Awards in New York, in association with Fortune and TIME. And the Australian government recently chose NCF syngas as one of 18 fuels of choice for the coming five decades. The 15-person company has won a grant from the US Department of Energy for a collaboration with Alstom Power and Illinois Clean Coal Institute, as well as grants from the Israeli ministries of energy and economy, and a $1 million grant from BIRD (Binational Industrial Research and Development) Foundation — one of only five projects selected in 2014 to receive funding under the BIRD Energy program. (via Israel21c)
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