Representatives of President Bashar Assad's regime have agreed "in principle" to attend an international peace conference aimed at ending more than two years of brutal warfare in Syria, Russia's foreign ministry said Friday.
Fracking may have met its match in Germany, where beer makers have lined up against it. Fracking, of course, is a way of bringing up natural gas by pumping water and chemicals into the ground. Germany's powerful beer industry is concerned fracking would pollute groundwater.
Half of Germany's 1,300 brewers have their own wells, and say the pure water is the essence of their famous beers. And if there's one thing Germans take seriously, it's beer.
Iran's Guardian Council does not hesitate to use its power. That's the legislative body that vets political candidates for their commitment to the Islamic Revolution. Perhaps no surprise in the upcoming presidential election, voters are able to choose from a very narrow range of candidates - all of whom support the regime. All the high-profile or independent candidates have been eliminated by the Guardian Council. And this caused some shock - those include a man who has already held the post of president.
Denise Mauzerall arrived in Beijing this year at a time that was both horrifying and illuminating. The capital was facing some of its worst pollution in recent memory, and Mauzerall, a Princeton environmental engineering professor, was passing through on her way to a university forum on the future of cities.
"I took the fast train from Beijing to Shanghai, and looking out the window for large sections of that trip, you couldn't see more than 20 feet," Mauzerall recalled.
To Mauzerall, the lesson was surprising and inescapable.
A Japanese mountaineer has become the oldest person to climb to the summit of Mount Everest, as Yuichiro Miura, 80, reached the 29,035-foot peak Thursday morning. The feat marks Miura's third time atop Mount Everest; he previously climbed the mountain at ages 70 and 75.
As in 2008, Miura's accomplishment is in danger of being surpassed by his main rival, Nepalese climber Min Bahadur Sherchan, 81. But that possibility didn't seem to bother Miura Thursday, who was joined by his son, Gota, on the climb.