Raisi Hosts Erdogan, Putin in Tehran



News Desk, Barta24.com
Raisi Hosts Erdogan, Putin in Tehran. Photo collected.

Raisi Hosts Erdogan, Putin in Tehran. Photo collected.

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

 

Days after U.S. President Joe Biden made his tour of the Middle East, the leaders of Iran, Russia, and Turkey meet in Tehran for a three-way summit.

According to Foreign Policy Magazine, Raisi and Putin are trying to talk Turkey out of war. With Russia engaged in Ukraine, Turkey is planning its own “special military operation”—this time against the Kurds in Syria’s north.

In June, Erdogan outlined his plans to target two towns near the Turkish-Syrian border as part of a wider offensive. “We are taking another step in establishing a 30km (19-mile) security zone along our southern border. We will clean up Tal Rifaat and Manbij,” Erdogan said, adding that Turkish forces would then continue “step by step into other regions.”

Any incursion risks upsetting an already internationalized conflict that has made millions of people refugees. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a group backed by the United States, has warned that a Turkish assault would hamper anti-Islamic State operations in the region.

Dana Stroul, the senior Pentagon official for the Middle East, agrees. On Monday (18 July) she told a Washington audience that the Biden administration “strongly” opposes a Turkish offensive. “ISIS is going to take advantage of that campaign, not to mention the humanitarian impact,” Stroul warned.

Russia and Iran have their own reasons for wanting to keep things as close as possible to the status quo in Syria, each country having invested considerable military might (both direct and indirect) over the past 11 years keeping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power.

“At the end of the day, the Iranian-Russian game plan is pretty straightforward: they want Assad to stay in power and to give Assad as much control over as much of Syria as possible” Alex Vatanka, the Iran program director at the Middle East Institute, told Foreign Policy.

Iranian-backed militias and Syrian government troops are preparing for confrontation with Turkish forces, or at least seeking to deter their advances. The Shiite-dominant settlements of Zahra and Nubl, both close to Tal Rifaat, have been sent reinforcements in recent weeks to fortify defenses and to prevent parts of nearby government-controlled Aleppo from becoming Turkey’s next target.

Iran’s moves in Syria come amid wider wariness over Turkish strategy, with Ankara’s closer ties with Israel and Saudi Arabia sparking fears of a broader anti-Tehran alliance. Hamidreza Azizi at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs explores the issue at length in this MEI blog post saying the meeting is also a chance for timely one-on-one meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin. With Erdogan, Putin is likely to continue a conversation begun by Turkish, Ukrainian, and Russian military officials last week about exporting Ukraine’s grain. A deal is expected to be signed as soon as this week to resume Ukraine’s Black Sea grain exports, although U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned last week that there was still work to be done to reach a final agreement.

Today’s (19 July) talks also come as the White House warns of increased cooperation between Iran and Russia on military hardware. Last week, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan warned that Tehran was preparing to provide Moscow with “hundreds” of drones for use in Ukraine. Last Friday, CNN reported that Russian officials had recently visited Iran to view the aircraft in person.

While the military cooperation is significant, it’s not an indication of a broader alliance forming between Tehran and Moscow, who are both competing on the energy market to find buyers for sanctioned oil, experts said: “There is a very heavy dose of anti-Americanism that they both have, and that brings them together."

How to See the Sturgeon Full Moon, Last Supermoon of 2022



International Desk, Barta24.com
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

The last supermoon of 2022 is set to shine this Thursday. Known as the sturgeon moon, the event is a perfect excuse to step outside at night to enjoy the celestial show. Take some binoculars and treat yourself to a closer view of our lunar neighbor's scenic craters.

The sturgeon moon nickname traces to the Maine Farmer's Almanac and its listing of Native American names for moons, said NASA's Gordon Johnston in a full moon guide for August and September. This is a good time of year to catch sturgeon fish.

While the moon will be full at 6:36 p.m. PT on Thursday, Johnston said it will appear full from Wednesday morning through Saturday morning, giving you multiple chances to revel in the view.

In case clouds, weather or other circumstances get in the way, you can tune in to the Virtual Telescope Project's full moon livestream from Rome at 10:30 p.m. PT on Aug. 11.

The term "supermoon" is inexact. It's meant to highlight those times when the moon is closest to Earth, which can make it appear slightly bigger and brighter. Johnston calls August's full moon a "marginal supermoon," saying it's the third closest full moon of the year. The June and July full moons were closer.

The beauty of the full moon is that it doesn't really matter if it's super or not. It's going to be gorgeous. All you need is the right timing, a clear sky and your eyes. As a bonus, we're also hitting the peak of the Perseid meteor shower, so look out for shooting stars, too. Check out these tips for spotting the Perseids even during a full moon.

;

India's aviation regulatory body to allow transgender pilots to fly the planes



International Desk
India's aviation regulatory body to allow transgender pilots to fly the planes

India's aviation regulatory body to allow transgender pilots to fly the planes

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

Taking a welcome step toward inclusivity and breaking the glass ceiling, India's civil aviation regulatory body Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday, for the first time, issued medical guidelines that will allow transgenders and non-binary individuals to fly aeroplanes in the country.

Reportedly, DGCA in its circular stated that transgender candidates who have completed their hormone therapy for transition or have gone under the knife more than five years ago will be able to fly the planes, after clearing mental health screening tests.

The mental health tests will be based on the blueprint laid out by World Professional Association for Transgender Health.

“Those transgender applicants who have been taking hormone therapy or had a gender reassignment surgery within the last five years will be screened for their mental health status,” read the circular.

As for those individuals that have completed their treatment within the last five years, they will have to undergo not only psychological and psychiatric evaluations but also submit a detailed evaluation from their endocrinologist as well as surgeon about any surgery that might have taken place in the last year.

If the candidate manages to tick every single box in the evaluation, then only they will be declared fit and allowed to sit in the cockpits.

Furthermore, those on life-long hormone therapy will only be admitted if they can prove that they have reached a stable dose. 

Meanwhile, the novices who have started the therapy or gone under the knife only recently will be deemed medically 'unfit' and will have to wait for a period of three months to seek another attempt. 

“If the applicant is on hormone replacement therapy (as applicable), as with any medication, on commencement of hormone therapy or any change in the drug or adjustment of its dose, the applicant will be declared medically ‘unfit’ for at least three months,”

According to DGCA, the medical guidelines are applicable for all categories of pilot's license viz. private pilot’s license, student’s pilot license and commercial pilot license.

However, a caveat of transgender persons being allowed to only fly as first officers has been added. In case a transgender pilot is the pilot-in-command, their co-pilot ought to have 250 hours of experience on that machine.

As reported by WION, India's first transgender pilot, 23-year-old Adam Harry was earlier declared unfit for flying an aircraft by the DGCA. It was Adam's efforts that led DGCA to bring about a sea of changes in its policy.

;

Details emerge about Crimea blast



News Desk, Barta24.com
Details emerge about Crimea blast, Photo collected.

Details emerge about Crimea blast, Photo collected.

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

According to international media reports, the damage at a Russian air base in Crimea appears to be worse than the Kremlin initially claimed.

After a series of explosions on Tuesday, Crimea’s leader declared a state of emergency and said that more than 250 people had to evacuate from their homes. Officials on the Russian-occupied peninsula said at least one person was killed and dozens more were wounded.

Ukraine has not officially taken responsibility for the explosions. But a senior military official said Ukraine’s special forces and partisan resistance fighters were behind the blast.

As per experts analysis, the blasts could be important, because any Ukrainian attack on Russian forces in the Crimean Peninsula would be a significant expansion of Ukraine’s offensive efforts. Until now, Ukraine has focused on pushing Russians back from territories occupied after the invasion began.

In terms of nuclear plant, Russian missiles killed 13 people near a Russian-held nuclear plant in the south, a Ukrainian official said. Russia may try to divert its electricity to Crimea, which could intensify military competition for the plant and heighten the risk of an accident.

Press reports further said that Russian investigators detained a former state television journalist yesterday, months after she staged a rare on-air protest against the war in Ukraine.

;

Top 10 Nations With The Most Smartphone Users



Maria Gourtsilidou
Top 10 Nations With The Most Smartphone Users

Top 10 Nations With The Most Smartphone Users

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

The country with the most smartphone users is China. More than 950 million people use smartphones in China. This means that the Chinese market is larger than that of India, the US, and Indonesia combined.

After China, in second place in the world is India. Smartphone users in India amount to 493 million. In third place in the world is the United States, with 274 million users. The USA is followed by Indonesia, with 170 million smartphone users.

Brazil with 119 million users, Russia with 102 million, Japan with 83 million users, and Mexico with 75 million are the next largest smartphone markets worldwide. Lastly, Vietnam with 67 million and Germany with 66 million users complete the top ten.

The data from Statista.com shows the number of smartphone users in the US from 2018 to 2025. By the year 2022, the number of smartphone users in the United States is estimated to reach 301.65 million. This number will further rise in the coming years. By 2023, the number of smartphone users in the United States is estimated to reach 305.1 million. In 2024, the number of smartphone users in the United States is estimated to reach 308.39 million, while in 2025, the number of smartphone users in the United States is estimated to reach 311.53 million.

Although the smartphone penetration rate as a share of the population in the United States in 2010 was 20.2%, it soon rose to higher levels. For example, in 2015, the smartphone penetration rate as a share of the population in the United States was 59,4%, in 2018 was 69,6%, in 2020 was 72,2% and in 2021 was 72,7%.
Statista.com indicates that the popularity of the smartphone in the US has risen immensely since Apple introduced its first iPhone in 2007.

The first iPhone was quite different from other smartphones. This is because it used a large touchscreen for finger input rather than a stylus, keypad, or keyboard. It was in 2008 that the first smartphone to use the Android OS (HTC Dream) was released. Although people using this OS were not many at the beginning, it has since grown to be the most used operating system over the years.

The smartphone industry, despite problems in 2021, such as low stock availability, increased sales compared to 2020. Limited stocks in popular models are expected to postpone some of the potential sales for 2022.

Smartphone sales revenue between the years 2013 and 2020 reached 409 billion dollars, according to Statista.com. More specifically, between the years 2013 and 2018, the greatest smartphone sales value compared to other regions was reported in China. In China, smartphone sales value between 2013 and 2018 reached almost 153 billion dollars. At the same time, smartphone sales value reached 84 billion dollars between 2013 and 2017 in North America, while the value of smartphone sales in Western Europe between 2013 and 2017 reached 56 billion dollars.

There are some top manufacturers of smartphones on the market. For example, Huawei’s market share of smartphone shipments during Q4 2020 was 8.4%, while Samsung’s global smartphone market share was 20.6%. At the same time, Apple’s smartphone sales market share worldwide is 23.4%. Not to forget to mention that according to data from Statista.com, the Android operating system market share worldwide is 85.9%.

;