x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Eruptions and resolutions

A smoking volcano was photographed from space, a Formula One peace deal was brokered. Passengers in Dubai were informed of the forthcoming Metro ticket prices and President Obama condemned the 'iron fist' of the Iranian regime.

Apple chief Steve Jobs underwent a liver transplant.
Apple chief Steve Jobs underwent a liver transplant.

Fares for the new Dubai Metro will be among some of the cheapest in the world. Depending on whether a passenger uses a paper ticket or a rechargeable card, a single journey of less than three kilometres will cost either Dh2 or Dh1.80. The system will be divided into five zones, with a range of ticket options, including 10 trip and one-day passes. There will also be reduced fares for students and pensioners, while three stations will have free park-and-ride facilities. A single trip on the London underground can cost as much as £4 (Dh24) and US$2 (Dh7.34) on the New York subway.

President Nicolas Sarkozy said the head-to-toe burqa worn by some Muslim women was "not welcome" in France. In a speech to politicians at the Palace of Versailles, Mr Sarkozy gave his support for a parliamentary inquiry that is expected to lead to legislation banning the burqa. Saying that outlawing the veiling of women was "a principal of respect for all religions", he added: "The burqa is not a religious problem. It is an issue of the dignity of women. It is a sign of subservience, submission." Only a few thousand women in France are believed to wear the burqa, but pressure has mounted for a new law because of claims that it has been used to avoid identification in criminal activity.

The New York Times being held by militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan escaped after seven months in captivity. David Rohde was on his way to interview a Taliban commander when he was seized, along with an Afghan reporter. Both journalists eventually escaped by climbing over a wall of the compound where they were being held in North Waziristan. They found a Pakistani militia post and were taken to safety.

Dinosaurs may have been much smaller than previously believed because of an error in calculating their mass. Researchers in the US have recalculated a statistical model used to work out the size of the prehistoric animals for the past 25 years. Using the revised model, some of the larger dinosaurs are now believed to have less than half their previously estimated size. Among those cut down to size is Apatosaurus louisae, once said to weigh 38 tonnes, but is now calculated at just 18 tonnes.

A conference was told that many Emiratis resign from their jobs because of what they feel is insensitive management. A study by the Emirates National Development Programme claimed that out of 6,000 nationals who had resigned from corporate positions, six out of 10 did so because of the way they were treated. Common complaints included a lack of career progression, insensitivity to religious customs and dress codes and poor mentoring. However, Kamraan Siddiqi, a career adviser for ENDP, said some nationals were also put off by the long hours and had unrealistic expectations of fast-track promotion given their lack of experience.

Kodak announced that it was ending production of its most famous film because digital cameras had killed demand. Kodachrome had been in production for 74 years and was once the first choice for professional photographers because of the depth of its colours. Sales fell until they represented barely one per cent of Kodak's film production.

A computer error was blamed for the crash of two subway trains in Washington DC, killing nine people and injuring more than 70. A preliminary investigation found that one of the trains was in automatic mode and failed to stop even though the emergency brake was pressed. The accident was the worst in the system's history.

Barack Obama condemned the "iron fist" of the Iranian regime as thousands of armed Barack Obama condemned the "iron fist" of the Iranian regime as thousands of armed security police moved to crush demonstrations against the disputed elections that saw President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad returned to power. As the regime attempted to suppress news of protests, a video of the killing of a young woman, Neda Agha Soltan, swept around the world. It was also reported that dozens of MPs had boycotted President Ahmadinejad's victory party and that four football players, who had worn green armbands supporting the opposition during a World Cup qualifying match, had been "retired".

Doctors confirmed that Steve Jobs had undergone a liver transplant, after months of speculation about the health of the Apple boss. The operation actually took place two months ago but was kept secret until a report in The Wall Street Journal. Mr Jobs is believed to be returning to Apple this month after stepping down last year. His obvious weight loss was at first said to have been caused by a "common bug" and then attributed to a hormone imbalance.

An attack using an American drone killed at least 50 people in a Taliban-controlled district of Pakistan. The dead were reported to have been attending the funeral of a Taliban commander who had been killed in an earlier air attack in South Waziristan. The region is the stronghold of Baitullah Mehsud, the Taliban leader in Pakistan. Troops from the Pakistan army are gathering for a major ground assault on the tribal area, pounding the region with heavy artillery and bombs.

A deal was reached to prevent a damaging split in Formula One motorsport. Max Mosley, the controversial head of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, the sport's governing body, agreed to step down in October. Eight members of the Formula One Teams Association backed down from a threat to create a rival championship next year, with cost cutting measures to be introduced. The Fota teams also agreed to stay in F1 until 2012, securing the future of the new Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which is set to take place in November.

Astronauts on the International Space Station captured spectacular images of an erupting volcano punching a hole in the clouds above a remote Russian island in the North Pacific. The eight-kilometre tower of ash rising was capped by a white cloud created by the cooling of the air above the column, which lasts only a short time.

The White House announced that the US would send an ambassador to Syria for the first time in four years. The last envoy was withdrawn in 2005 and the move is part of renewed efforts by the US to bring about a Middle East peace agreement. The previous ambassador left following a car bomb in Beirut that killed the former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri and was blamed by Washington on Syria.