Earth Braces for Strong Solar Storm

The aurora borealis (northern lights) is seen in the sky over
Arctic Snowhotel in Rovaniemi, Finland, Feb. 28, 2019. (REUTERS PHOTO)
The aurora borealis (northern lights) is seen in the sky over Arctic Snowhotel in Rovaniemi, Finland, Feb. 28, 2019. (REUTERS PHOTO)
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Earth Braces for Strong Solar Storm

The aurora borealis (northern lights) is seen in the sky over
Arctic Snowhotel in Rovaniemi, Finland, Feb. 28, 2019. (REUTERS PHOTO)
The aurora borealis (northern lights) is seen in the sky over Arctic Snowhotel in Rovaniemi, Finland, Feb. 28, 2019. (REUTERS PHOTO)

The Earth is in the midst of a solar storm after being hit by an expulsion from the Sun, officials have said. Strong geomagnetic storms have been observed in recent hours, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in an alert.

According to The Independent, the storm ranked as G3, which it classifies as strong. In such strong storms, problems can be seen with power systems, issues may be caused for satellites and humans in space, and there may be difficulties with using satellite navigation systems and radio.

Such storms can also bring aurora, like the Northern Lights. They could be seen at relatively low latitudes during the latest storm, officials said.

Migratory animals can also be affected by such storms.

The scale goes up to G5. At those strongest levels, electricity grids could collapse, satellite navigation could go down alongside other major electrical problems, and aurora could be seen across much of the world.

Experts have repeatedly warned that we are not sufficiently prepared for the potential dangers of such an event.

The solar storm came after a coronal mass ejection, or CME, came out of the Sun. The Earth passed through the affected period two days ago, and initially had little effect – but the storm’s effects are finally being seen. NOAA observed strong geomagnetic storms overnight, it said. The warning will last into Sunday morning.



Cinnamon Frog Species in Perilous State Successfully Bred in UK

A tree frog at London Zoo in January 2012. Reuters file photo
A tree frog at London Zoo in January 2012. Reuters file photo
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Cinnamon Frog Species in Perilous State Successfully Bred in UK

A tree frog at London Zoo in January 2012. Reuters file photo
A tree frog at London Zoo in January 2012. Reuters file photo

A frog species that is in a “perilous state” due to an infectious disease has been successfully bred at a wildlife park in Oxfordshire, according to The Guardian.

Keepers at the Cotswold wildlife park in Burford have again bred the near-threatened cinnamon frog, four years after it became only the second zoological collection in Europe to breed the species.

Reptile keepers have paid homage to the name and called the froglets after different colored spices including paprika, cayenne, saffron, chipotle and chilly, and they are being looked after in a specialist amphibian breeding room.

Jamie Craig, general manager of Cotswold wildlife park, said the species is in a “perilous state” due to the chytrid fungus, an infectious disease in frogs.

“Our dedicated reptile team have been working hard to perfect breeding techniques in our Amphibian Room,” he said.

“Many frog species have incredibly specific requirements, and it is a testament to their hard work that they have now managed to replicate our previous success with the cinnamon frogs,” he added.

“With the perilous state of many amphibian species in the world due to the Chytrid fungus, any expertise garnered from the captive populations may well be important tools for the future of these fascinating creatures,” Craig explained.

Only five other zoos in Europe keep the species with one other successfully breeding the frogs in the last 12 months, according to the wildlife park.


Riyadh to Host First International Conference on Sand and Dust Storms in March 

Saudi Arabia's National Center for Meteorology (NCM) will host the First International Conference on Sand and Dust Storms in Riyadh from March 4 to 6. 
Saudi Arabia's National Center for Meteorology (NCM) will host the First International Conference on Sand and Dust Storms in Riyadh from March 4 to 6. 
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Riyadh to Host First International Conference on Sand and Dust Storms in March 

Saudi Arabia's National Center for Meteorology (NCM) will host the First International Conference on Sand and Dust Storms in Riyadh from March 4 to 6. 
Saudi Arabia's National Center for Meteorology (NCM) will host the First International Conference on Sand and Dust Storms in Riyadh from March 4 to 6. 

Saudi Arabia's National Center for Meteorology (NCM) will host the First International Conference on Sand and Dust Storms in Riyadh from March 4 to 6.

The event, organized by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Sand and Dust Storm Warning Regional Center and expected to draw wide international participation, aims to address the growing global challenge posed by dust and sand storms.

Over 200 researchers, experts, and specialists from around the world, including WMO representatives, will gather to share the latest advancements in dust and sand storm research.

The conference is slated to discuss a wide range of critical topics, including sources of dust aerosol formation, dust-climate interactions, health impacts and mitigation strategies, monitoring and predictive modeling, and economic, infrastructural, and environmental consequences of dust storms on various sectors.

The conference will underscore the urgent need to combat dust and sand storms in view of their significant impact on the environment, public health, and economies.

Such storms can lead to respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses, disrupt solar energy production, degrade air quality, alter weather patterns, and disrupt biogeochemical cycles. International and regional initiatives have been taken to study these impacts and come up with mitigating strategies.

The Middle East, with its vast arid and semi-arid landscape, is a major source of dust particles. The increasing frequency and intensity of dust storms in the region, attributed to changes in land use and vegetation cover degradation, needs further comprehensive research to fully understand their far-reaching effects.

The international conference serves as a crucial platform where scientists, policymakers, and stakeholders from around the world can exchange knowledge and collaborate, paving the way for a more coordinated and effective approach to tackling the global challenge of dust and sand storms.


Algeria's President Inaugurates Africa's Largest Mosque

The Djamaa El-Djazair, or Algiers Great Mosque, is seen Wednesday, Feb.21, 2024 in Algiers. (AP)
The Djamaa El-Djazair, or Algiers Great Mosque, is seen Wednesday, Feb.21, 2024 in Algiers. (AP)
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Algeria's President Inaugurates Africa's Largest Mosque

The Djamaa El-Djazair, or Algiers Great Mosque, is seen Wednesday, Feb.21, 2024 in Algiers. (AP)
The Djamaa El-Djazair, or Algiers Great Mosque, is seen Wednesday, Feb.21, 2024 in Algiers. (AP)

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune officially inaugurated the Grand Mosque of Algiers, the third largest in the world and the biggest in Africa, on Sunday.

The vast mosque, which can hold 120,000 worshippers, first opened for prayers in October 2020, but Tebboune was suffering from Covid-19 and did not attend.

Known locally as the Djamaa El-Djazair, the modernist structure extends across 27.75 hectares (almost 70 acres).

It boasts the world's tallest minaret -- 267 metres (875 feet) -- fitted with elevators and a viewing platform that looks out over the capital and the Bay of Algiers.

The mosque's interior, in Andalusian style, is decorated in wood, marble and alabaster.

The mega-project cost more than $800 million dollars and took seven years to build, according to AFP.

Tebboune's mandate officially expires at the end of this year but the president, elected in December 2019, has not yet made known whether he intends to run for a second term.


Watch Melted by Hiroshima Bomb Auctioned for $31,000

This photo provided by RR Auction shows a watch melted during the Aug.6, 1945 bombing of Hiroshima. The watch is frozen in time at the moment of detonation of the atomic bomb over the city during the closing days of World War ll, sold at auction Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 for more than $31,000. Nikki Brickett - handout one time use, ASSOCIATED PRESS
This photo provided by RR Auction shows a watch melted during the Aug.6, 1945 bombing of Hiroshima. The watch is frozen in time at the moment of detonation of the atomic bomb over the city during the closing days of World War ll, sold at auction Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 for more than $31,000. Nikki Brickett - handout one time use, ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Watch Melted by Hiroshima Bomb Auctioned for $31,000

This photo provided by RR Auction shows a watch melted during the Aug.6, 1945 bombing of Hiroshima. The watch is frozen in time at the moment of detonation of the atomic bomb over the city during the closing days of World War ll, sold at auction Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 for more than $31,000. Nikki Brickett - handout one time use, ASSOCIATED PRESS
This photo provided by RR Auction shows a watch melted during the Aug.6, 1945 bombing of Hiroshima. The watch is frozen in time at the moment of detonation of the atomic bomb over the city during the closing days of World War ll, sold at auction Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 for more than $31,000. Nikki Brickett - handout one time use, ASSOCIATED PRESS

A watch melted during the August 6, 1945, bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, has sold for more than $31,000 at auction. The watch is frozen in time at the moment of the detonation of an atomic bomb over the Japanese city — 8:15 a.m. — during the closing days of World War II, according to Boston-based RR Auction. The winning bid in the auction that ended Thursday was $31,113, reported the Associated Press (AP). The artifact was recovered from the ruins of Hiroshima and offers a glimpse into the immense destruction of the first atomic bomb detonated over a city.

The small brass-tone watch, a rare survivor from the blast zone, was auctioned alongside other historically significant items. Despite the cloudiness of the crystal caused by the blast, the watch’s hands remain halted at 8:15 a.m. — the moment when the B-29 Enola Gay dropped the “Little Boy” atomic bomb. The auction house said that according to the item’s consignor, a British soldier retrieved the wristwatch from the ruins of the city while on a mission to provide emergency supplies and assess post-conflict reconstruction needs. “It is our fervent hope that this museum-quality piece will stand as a poignant educational symbol, serving to not only remind us of the tolls of war but also to underscore the profound, destructive capabilities that humanity must strive to avoid. This wristwatch, for instance, marks the exact moment in time when history changed forever,” said Bobby Livingston, executive vice president at RR Auction. The winning bidder opted to remain anonymous. Other items featured in the auction included a signed copy of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong’s ‘The Little Red Book’, which sold for $250,000; a signed check from George Washington — one of two known checks signed as president to ever come to market — which sold for $135,473; and Buzz Aldrin’s Apollo 11 Lunar Module Prep Checklist, which sold for $76,533.


France’s César Awards Honors Two Tunisians Women

Canadian-Tunisian Filmmaker Monia Chokri won the César Award for Best Foreign Film, for her feature ‘Simple comme Sylvain’. (AP)
Canadian-Tunisian Filmmaker Monia Chokri won the César Award for Best Foreign Film, for her feature ‘Simple comme Sylvain’. (AP)
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France’s César Awards Honors Two Tunisians Women

Canadian-Tunisian Filmmaker Monia Chokri won the César Award for Best Foreign Film, for her feature ‘Simple comme Sylvain’. (AP)
Canadian-Tunisian Filmmaker Monia Chokri won the César Award for Best Foreign Film, for her feature ‘Simple comme Sylvain’. (AP)

The prestigious Olympia of Paris hosted the 45th edition of the César Awards, which honors achievers in all the sectors of the French cinema, on Friday, February 24. Among tens of international celebrities, the accomplishments of two Arab women were celebrated at the highly-anticipated European event.

Kaouther Ben Hania won the Best Documentary Award for her documentary "Four Daughters" (Les Filles d’Olfa). The work was screened in several festivals and was nominated for the Oscars.

Born in Sidi Bouzid, in 1977, the Tunisian filmmaker studied at the School of Art and Cinema in Tunisia, has several documentaries, took part in a feature film writing workshop funded by Euromed, and collaborated with Al Jazeera Documentary. Kaouther Ben Hania took advantage of her Olympia appearance to raise her voice and angrily call for stopping the children killing in Gaza. “What’s happening there is so horrible. No one can say, ‘I didn’t know.’ This is the first massacre on live stream, live on our telephones,” she said in her speech.

Also, Quebecois-Tunisian Filmmaker Monia Chokri won the César Award for Best Foreign Film, for her feature ‘Simple comme Sylvain’. It tells the story of Sophie, a university professor who lived a peaceful life with her husband, Xavier, until she met Sylvain, the maintenance worker who came to restore their summer house.

Monia was born in Québec, in 1982, to two leftist parents. She studied acting at the Conservatoire d'art dramatique de Montréal. She played many roles in cinema and theater, before directing her first award-winning short film "An Extraordinary Person" in 2013. In 2019, she won the "Un Certain Regard Jury's Coup de Cœur Award" at the Cannes Film Festival.

This year, the participants at the César Awards raised their voice to denounce the silence in face of the sexual harassment that young actresses, filmmakers and producers have been subjected to in the industry. French director Justine Triet's "Anatomy of A Fall" won six trophies, including the Best Film Award at the César festival. The film has already received Cannes’ Palme D’Or last year and has been nominated for the forthcoming edition of the Oscars.


Saudi Electronic University Signs MoU with the University of Strathclyde

Saudi Electronic University Signs MoU with the University of Strathclyde
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Saudi Electronic University Signs MoU with the University of Strathclyde

Saudi Electronic University Signs MoU with the University of Strathclyde

President of the Saudi Electronic University (SEU), Dr. Mohammed Mardi, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Strathclyde in Scotland.

The MoU aims to strengthen cooperation in the fields of research and postgraduate programs by establishing the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, exchanging scientific and academic expertise, and supporting student exchange, SPA reported.

Dr. Mardi noted that this MoU consolidates the university's keenness to strengthen international partnerships with global universities according to strategic directions.

He also said it aims to exchange experiences in all aspects that serve the development of the academic, research, and community fields at the university in a way that ensures excellence, quality, and academic and institutional efficiency.

The MoU comes within the framework of SEU's delegation tour of several UK universities to discuss strengthening partnerships, enhancing international partnerships, and contributing to the exchange of knowledge and expertise on a global level.


Saudi Space Agency Launches Competition for Students in Arab World

The Saudi Space Agency (SSA)
The Saudi Space Agency (SSA)
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Saudi Space Agency Launches Competition for Students in Arab World

The Saudi Space Agency (SSA)
The Saudi Space Agency (SSA)

The Saudi Space Agency (SSA), in cooperation with Misk Foundation and the Ilmi Science Discovery & Innovation Center, launched on Sunday the Madak competition for students in the Arab world with the aim of increasing the Arab contribution to the field of space science.
The competition has three tracks: arts, botany and engineering. It will be supervised by Saudi astronaut Rayana Barnawi, the first Arab Muslim astronaut who conducted 14 experiments aboard the International Space Station.
SSA CEO Mohammed Altamimi said that the competition is open for all students in the Arab world, enabling them to explore a new horizon in space science and enhance their scientific and innovative skills, to enrich the space arena with pioneering contributions.
He added that Saudi Arabia, a leader in the space field, reaffirms its commitment to stimulating creativity and excellence in this domain, regionally and internationally.
According to Barnawi, this competition represents a “unique opportunity for students in the Arab world to participate in a journey of discovery and innovation”, and is bound to expand the horizons of young and ambitious generations, and stimulate their creativity.


The Magic of Olive Oil, Fish, and Other Healthy Fats

Olive oil is the basis of the Mediterranean diet. (Shutterstock)
Olive oil is the basis of the Mediterranean diet. (Shutterstock)
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The Magic of Olive Oil, Fish, and Other Healthy Fats

Olive oil is the basis of the Mediterranean diet. (Shutterstock)
Olive oil is the basis of the Mediterranean diet. (Shutterstock)

By Alice Callahan

The Mediterranean diet isn’t like other diets. To begin with, it’s more of a style of eating than a strict regimen. And adopting it doesn’t involve many of the sacrifices people associate with healthy eating.

Compared with other wholesome diets, for example, the Mediterranean diet is relatively high in fat. Federal health officials recommend that 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories come from fat — while that number can be around 30 to 40 percent in the Mediterranean diet.

Yet in clinical trials, people who followed the Mediterranean diet had lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and were less likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those who followed a low-fat diet.

That’s probably because the Mediterranean diet emphasizes heart-healthy fats from sources like olive oil, fish, whole grains, and nuts and seeds. And it includes less saturated fat than the typical American diet, because it discourages butter and red and processed meats and includes only moderate amounts of cheese, yogurt, poultry and eggs.

Researchers believe that olive oil, the preferred fat source in the Mediterranean diet, may be one of the main contributors to its health benefits. It’s rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can prevent damage to your cells and blood vessels.

In a 2022 study of more than 90,000 U.S. adults spanning 28 years, for instance, those who consumed at least half a tablespoon of olive oil each day were significantly less likely to die of cancer or cardiovascular, neurodegenerative or respiratory diseases than those who rarely or never consumed it.

Fish also features prominently in the Mediterranean diet, especially fatty varieties like salmon, tuna, anchovies and sardines. These are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve blood cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation and blood pressure. Most Mediterranean diet guidelines recommend at least two servings of fish per week.

But let’s not give olive oil and fish all of the credit. Whole grains, nuts, seeds and olives also contribute to the diet’s healthy fats. And though they’re not native to the Mediterranean region, avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats and are often included in modern versions of the diet.

How to cook with healthy fats

For each day of our Mediterranean diet series, we and our colleagues at NYT Cooking have picked a few recipes that embrace the ingredients we’re highlighting. This is not intended to be a meal plan for a day, but rather inspiration for how to include more of these healthful foods in your week.

For breakfast, you might smash some avocado onto whole-grain toast and top it with a drizzle of olive oil. In this recipe from Julia Moskin and Giles Russell, optional garnishes like fresh herbs, pickled red onions and pumpkin or sesame seeds take avocado toast to the next level.

Craig Claiborne’s classic tuna salad sandwich is a quick, budget-friendly lunch option — but if you’re looking for something more “intense and pronounced,” try Ali Slagle’s sardine salad on a whole-wheat bagel, over greens or between two slices of whole-grain toast. Anchovies are also a flavorful addition to salad dressing, as in David Tanis’s vibrant radicchio-anchovy salad.

For dinner, try Alison Roman’s slow-roasted citrus salmon with herb salad (ready in 35 minutes) or Mark Bittman’s grilled tuna with herbs and olives (ready in 20). And let’s not forget about tinned and jarred fish.

The New York Times


Celebrity Owl Flaco Dies a Year after Becoming Beloved by New York City for Zoo Escape

A Eurasian eagle-owl named Flaco sits in a tree in New York's Central Park, Feb. 6, 2023. (AP)
A Eurasian eagle-owl named Flaco sits in a tree in New York's Central Park, Feb. 6, 2023. (AP)
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Celebrity Owl Flaco Dies a Year after Becoming Beloved by New York City for Zoo Escape

A Eurasian eagle-owl named Flaco sits in a tree in New York's Central Park, Feb. 6, 2023. (AP)
A Eurasian eagle-owl named Flaco sits in a tree in New York's Central Park, Feb. 6, 2023. (AP)

Flaco, the Eurasian eagle-owl who escaped from New York City’s Central Park Zoo and became one of the city’s most beloved celebrities as he flew around Manhattan, has died, zoo officials announced Friday.

A little over one year after he was freed from his cage at the zoo in a criminal act that has yet to be solved, Flaco appears to have collided with an Upper West Side building, the zoo said in a statement.

“The vandal who damaged Flaco’s exhibit jeopardized the safety of the bird and is ultimately responsible for his death,” the statement said. “We are still hopeful that the NYPD which is investigating the vandalism will ultimately make an arrest.”

Staff from the Wild Bird Fund, a wildlife rehabilitation center, responded to the scene and declared Flaco dead shortly after the collision. He was taken to the Bronx Zoo for a necropsy.

“We hoped only to see Flaco hooting wildly from the top of our local water tower, never in the clinic,” the World Bird Fund wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Flaco's time in the sky began on Feb. 2, 2023, when someone breached a waist-high fence and slipped into the Central Park Zoo. Once inside, they cut a hole through a steel mesh cage, freeing the owl that had arrived at the zoo as a fledgling 13 years earlier.

Since the zoo suspended efforts to re-capture Flaco in February 2023, there has been no public information about the crime.

Until now, Flaco had defied the odds, thriving in the urban jungle despite a lifetime in captivity. He became one of the city’s most beloved characters. By day he lounged in Manhattan’s courtyards and parks or perches on fire escapes. He spent his nights hooting atop water towers and preying on the city’s abundant rats.

He was known for turning up unexpectedly at New Yorkers’ windows and was tracked around the Big Apple by bird watchers. His death prompted an outpouring of grief on social media Friday night.

One of Flaco’s most dedicated observers, David Barrett, suggested a temporary memorial at the bird's favorite oak tree in Central Park.

There, fellow birders could “lay flowers, leave a note, or just be with others who loved Flaco,” Barrett wrote in a post on X for the account Manhattan Bird Alert, which documented the bird’s whereabouts.


Saudi Coffee Tops Heritage Components in Celebrations of Founding Day

File photo: A Saudi farmer and his son harvest Khawlani coffee beans at a coffee farm in the southwestern region of Jazan on January 26, 2022. (AFP)
File photo: A Saudi farmer and his son harvest Khawlani coffee beans at a coffee farm in the southwestern region of Jazan on January 26, 2022. (AFP)
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Saudi Coffee Tops Heritage Components in Celebrations of Founding Day

File photo: A Saudi farmer and his son harvest Khawlani coffee beans at a coffee farm in the southwestern region of Jazan on January 26, 2022. (AFP)
File photo: A Saudi farmer and his son harvest Khawlani coffee beans at a coffee farm in the southwestern region of Jazan on January 26, 2022. (AFP)

A heritage corner was set up during Saudi Arabia’s Founding Day celebrations at the Ministry of Islamic Affairs branch in the Al-Baha region, SPA said on Friday.
It showcased ideas through which the participants expressed their pride in their values, heritage, and the historical depth of their country that spans three centuries. The corner featured popular foods, arts and crafts, textiles, and tools used in ancient times.
As a well-established tradition of Saudi hospitality, Saudi coffee was served in the local style.
The corner contained the most famous and distinguished types of Saudi coffee grown on the Al-Bahah region's mountain terraces.
The region includes over 200 farms and 22,000 trees of the finest types of Arabian coffee.