‘Badass Librarians’ Foil al Qaeda, Save Ancient Manuscripts

‘Badass Librarians’ Foil al Qaeda, Save Ancient Manuscripts

Such a cool story


Iran seizes another foreign oil tanker

Seven sailors were detained. 

No details about the crew’s nationalities or who owns the ship were given. The ship was reportedly seized near Farsi Island, a small, barren enclave in the Persian Gulf. 

It is the second ship in less than a month seized by Iran for allegedly smuggling oil.

Iran seizes another foreign oil tanker


Trump transition adviser convicted on foreign-agent charges

A federal jury on Tuesday convicted Bijan Rafiekian, a former business partner of Michael Flynn, on a pair of foreign-agent felony charges stemming from work the two men did for Turkish interests during the final months of the Trump presidential campaign in 2016.

…A belated courtroom victory for special counsel Robert Mueller, who investigated the $600,000 lobbying and public relations contract at the heart of the case and then handed the matter off to other federal prosecutors after Flynn’s guilty plea to a false-statement charge in 2017.

…“Today’s verdict should stand as a deterrent to any malign foreign influence that undermines the integrity of our political processes,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said. “Through misrepresentations in his FARA filing, Mr. Rafiekian attempted to deceive the public and influence key leaders on behalf of Turkey. The Department of Justice treats these crimes with the gravity that they deserve.”

The Iranian-American businessman, who was Flynn’s main partner in his short-lived consulting firm, also served as an adviser to the Trump transition team on national security issues. 

…It’s unclear how prosecutors’ decision not to call Flynn will affect his ultimate sentence.

Other disclosures at the Rafiekian trial could also impact Flynn’s sentencing, including a startling but cryptic statement that prosecutors issued just before the trial, indicating that the U.S. government has various kinds of undisclosed, classified evidence that the Turkish government reached out to Flynn through Alptekin “because of Michael Flynn’s relationship with an ongoing presidential campaign.”

…It seems possible the judge sentencing Flynn will view the verdicts as confirming that Flynn was effectively on the payroll of the Turkish government while working on Trump’s presidential bid.

Trump transition adviser convicted on foreign-agent charges – POLITICO


Saudi women can now travel without consent – but this progress is fragile

Women can be granted passports and travel abroad without the consent of their male guardians. They can also register a birth, marriage or divorce. But they still cannot marry, or leave prison or a domestic violence shelter without the consent of their male guardians.

[Saudi Arabia’s “guardianship” system] stipulates that women are not legal persons, and consequently, they have to be represented by male relatives to work, marry, study, travel, and seek medical care.

Saudi women can now travel without consent – but this progress is fragile | Madawi al-Rasheed | Opinion | The Guardian


Divers Uncover Ancient Temple Submerged Within The ‘Egyptian Atlantis’

In their most recent underwater expedition, Egyptian and European experts have found significant remains of a large temple under the sea, as well as several ships laden with treasure such as coins and jewellery.

Archaeologists led by Franck Goddio, who was also in charge of the very first underwater exploration of Heracleion, think they have found the stone columns from the city’s main temple (called Amun Garp), as well as the remains of a smaller Greek temple.

…Heracleion (also known as Thonis) is thought to have been built during the 8th century BCE on the banks of the Nile river, and is so named because the hero Hercules himself once visited it – or so the legend goes.

…Exactly how it ended up underwater remains a mystery to historians, but the best guess is that rising sea levels, seismic activity, and crumbling foundations caused the entire city to slide into the Mediterranean, at least 1,000 years ago.

…As for the other finds besides the temples, the divers report coming across bronze coins from the reign of King Ptolemy II (283 to 246 BCE), plus pottery, jewellery, and storage utensils found in the remains of several ships.

The archaeologists also dug up coins from the Byzantine era, which means it’s likely that the city was inhabited from at least the fourth century BCE.

Divers Uncover Ancient Temple Submerged Within The ‘Egyptian Atlantis’