For scholars of faith and history, it is a treasure trove too precious for price.
This ancient collection of 70 tiny books, their lead pages bound with wire, could unlock some of the secrets of the earliest days of Christianity.
Academics are divided as to their authenticity but say that if verified, they could prove as pivotal as the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947.Sponsored Ads
Following a purportedly pro-democracy revolution that many hoped would bring Egypt even closer to the liberal West, the country this week continued its slide in the other direction, into the arms of Islamist regimes.
Egypt’s new foreign minister, Nabil al-Arabi, told reporters in Cairo on Tuesday that he intends to reestablish ties with the regime of Iranian strongman Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Islamic overseers.
Map obtained by the Washington Post reveals that Israeli intelligence officials believe that the 550 underground bunkers identified have been stocked with weapons transferred from Syria since the 2006 Second Lebanon War.
High levels of radiation in the sea off the coast of Fukushima have raised concerns over harm to local marine life and the risk of contaminated fish, shellfish and seaweed entering the food chain.
Tests on seawater near the nuclear power plant showed that levels of radioactive iodine reached 3,355 times the legal limit on Monday, one of several peaks in recent days that have fallen rapidly as radioactive substances decayed and were steadily diluted and dispersed by ocean currents.
Water, in fact, has been a major factor in all of Syria’s conflicts, going back to the 1967 war with Israel (the Golan Heights, which Israel captured in the war, contain an important aquifer). A long-standing enmity with Turkey, which was resolved in incremental steps over the past few years,  also revolved around water.
The loss of aquifers such as the Golan Heights and the depletion of the Euphrates and Tigris piled on top of poor development planning, rapid population growth and unfavorable weather conditions (several prolonged periods of drought) combined to produce what the United Nations has termed the “largest internal displacement in the Middle East in recent years”.
Japan’s unfolding nuclear disaster has introduced Americans to the confusing practice of measuring radiation exposure. According to some stories, the water nearby to the No. 2 Fukushima reactor has a radioactivity level of 1,000 millisieverts per hour. But other articles describe radiation levels in terms of millirem per year. And a few sources have referred to exposure in terms of millirad or nanogray per hour. Why don’t all radiation experts just use the same unit?
Japan: Crawling out of the wreckage
Video: Residents of one of Japan’s worst-hit towns return to what was once home.
A group of Libyans from abroad and inside the country is setting up the new station to broadcast news and commentary about Libya for a Libyan audience, with the aim of countering Libyan state propaganda and promoting dialogue about the country’s future after Muammar al-Qaddafi, the brutal leader whose four-plus decades in power appear to be drawing to a rapid close.
The channel, to be called simply Libya TV, launches this week in Doha after less than two weeks of hurried preparation. Its founder is the avuncular Mahmud Shammam, a well-known Libyan expatriate journalist who edits Foreign Policy’s Arabic edition.
Syria lies at the center of a dense network of Middle East relationships, and the crisis in that country — which has now resulted in the deaths of well over 100 civilians, and possibly close to double that number — is likely to have a major impact on the regional structure of power. The need to contain pressure from the United States and Israel, for decades the all-consuming concern of Syria’s leadership, has suddenly been displaced by an explosion of popular protest highlighting urgent and long-neglected domestic issues.
If the regime fails to tame this domestic unrest, Syria’s external influence will inevitably be enfeebled, with dramatic repercussions across the Middle East. As the crisis deepens, Syria’s allies tremble. Meanwhile, its enemies rejoice, as a weakened Syria would remove an obstacle to their ambitions. But nature abhors a vacuum, and what will come will be unpredictable, at best.
… But now that Syria has been weakened by internal problems, the viability of the entire axis is in danger — which could encourage dangerous risk-taking behavior by its allies as they seek to counter perceived gains by the United States and Israel.
The radioactive core in a reactor at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant appears to have melted through the bottom of its containment vessel and on to a concrete floor, experts say, raising fears of a major release of radiation at the site.
The warning follows an analysis by a leading US expert of radiation levels at the plant. Readings from reactor two at the site have been made public by the Japanese authorities and Tepco, the utility that operates it.