Morning Papers: Health and Correcting the New York Times

Oh no. I have long argued that the "old wise men" of Yemeni politics that surround President Salih are dying off and not being replaced. These men have wisdom and intelligence and age, all of which demands that the president listen to them and take their opinions seriously. This is not the case with their successors. This has the effect of isolating President Salih more and more, which is not a good thing in the current environment.

Today's worrying development on this front is the health of 'Abd al-'Aziz 'Abd al-Ghani
, the head of the Majlis al-Shura, a fairly dysfunctional grouping, but still an important one. According to the article he is expected to be taken out of the country for medical attention.

News Yemen reports on Yemeni military units being dispatched to three governorates - San'a, Marib and Shabwa, but not al-Jawf or Abyan - to hunt for al-Qaeda. I have a hunch where the units are from, but since the article doesn't say I will remain silent as well.

And while it is all al-Qaeda all the time in the US, Yemeni papers are much more concerned with what is happening in Aden, where clashes again have broken around the al-Ayyam offices.

Finally there is this fairly good article by the New York Times' Steven Erlanger
on President Salih and succession in Yemen but it gets completely lost in the weeds when it claims that President Salih and Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar are not related. This is just not true.

Here is the offending quote:

"Mr. Saleh and Mr. Mohsen are not related and are not considered rivals for the presidency. But Mr. Mohsen has signaled that he does not favor a direct succession of Ahmed Saleh to the presidency, diplomats and analysts said. Mr. Mohsen believes, they said, that the younger Mr. Saleh lacks the personal strength and charisma of his father and cannot hold the country together."

President Salih's village is known as Bayt al-Ahmar and many of his relatives continue to use al-Ahmar as a surname.

The NY Times needs to do better.

Particularly since it also makes this mistake:

"One of his sons, Hamid al-Ahmar, a businessman in his 40s, now leads Islah."

Hamid al-Ahmar, who I recently had a long and illuminating conversation with, is not the head of Islah. Many people think he eventually will be, but he is not now. And it is just plain wrong to say that he is.

How to make a black hole

Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.

  • There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
  • CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
  • Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
  • Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
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China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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