Sunday, May 2, 2010

Inventors & Inventions

Uziel Gal & Uzi

The UZI was developed (and hence its name) by Uziel Gal

(1924-2002) a captain in the Israeli army who won an internal

competition for the design of a new sub machine gun. The first

prototypes appeared in 1950 and soon after the first

production batches were issued to selected units for field

testing. An improved design appeared just before the Sinai

Campaign of 1956 and it was in this desert war that the UZI

emerged as a winner in the highly demanding surroundings.

The UZI turned out to be not only highly reliable, but also

surprisingly accurate for such type of weapon, and soon

caught the eye of the international firearms community.

During the 1960s a new folding metal stock replaced the

original wooden stock and the UZI was also

licensed to be produced by FN, the Belgian

firearms company.

The UZI's original

manufacturer - Israel

Military Industries

(IMI) - has not rested on its laurels and developed a number of

variants:- The Mini Uzi is shorter and lighter than the standard

model; The Micro Uzi is shorter still, almost the size of a large

handgun; Another version is the Uzi Pistol - a semi-automatic

version of the Micro. In addition there have been several more

customized versions in much smaller production scales.

The UZI gained its fame not only in combat, but also as a favorite

of elite forces and security services. During the attempted

assassination on U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1981, the press cameras caught one of his

bodyguards pulling an UZI from his jacket. In subsequent years the UZI also became a

regular feature in dozens of actions movies where it was seen in the hands of Hollywood's

biggest stars.



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Today, after more than half a century in service by the world's leading defense forces, the

UZI family has a place of honor in firearms history. The new company Israel Weapon

Industries (IWI) which was launched from a privatized spin-off of IMI's original small arms

division continues the production and development of the UZI.

7-Eleven Joe C. Thompson

7-Eleven is a worldwide chain of convenience stores, the

largest chain store in any category, beating McDonald's by

1,000 stores.

Its stores are located in eighteen countries, with its largest

markets being Japan, the United States, Taiwan, and Thailand.

7-Eleven is a subsidiary of Seven & I Holdings Co. of Japan.

Among 7-Eleven's offerings are private label products,

including Slurpee, a partially frozen beverage and the Big

Gulp that packaged soft drinks in large cups

The company has its origins in 1927 in Dallas, Texas, USA, when an employee of

Southland Ice Company, Joe C. Thompson, started selling milk, eggs and bread from

an ice dock.

Joe C. Thompson eventually bought the Southland Ice Company and turned it into the

Southland Corporation which oversaw several locations which opened up in the Dallas

area. Initially, these stores were open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., hours unprecedented in

their length, hence the name.

The company began to use the 7-Eleven brand in 1946.

In the 1980s, the company ran into financial difficulties and was rescued from bankruptcy

by Ito-Yokado, its largest franchisee.

Ito-Yokado formed Seven & I Holdings Co. and 7-Eleven became its subsidiary in 2005.

In addition to Slurpee and the Big Gulp, 7-Eleven owns Movie Quik, an in-store videorental

service and gas brand Citgo.

News in Brief-World

Russia has agreed to a U.S. request to ship non-military supplies for its forces in

Afghanistan overland. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country activated an

agreement Russia and NATO signed last April for the transit across Russia of nonmilitary

supplies for the International Security Assistance Force.

Earlier Kyrgyzstan had shut down a U.S. airbase on its territory that was being used to

fly supplies to Afghanistan. In November 2008, Russia granted Germany permission to

ship weapons and equipment for its force in Afghanistan overland.



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The US Senate has passed a legislation that restricts hiring of foreign workers by banks

that receive government bailout money. The law will be in operation for two years and

would apply to more than 300 banks receiving money from the taxpayer-funded

Troubled Asset Relief Program.

TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson has been crowned the winner of Celebrity Big Brother

2008-an event won by Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty in 2007.

Renowned US novelist John Updike, known for books like–'Rabbit, Run' (1960),

'Couples' (1968), 'Rabbit Redux' (1971) and 'The Witches of Eastwick' (1984) –has

died at the age of 76. Updike won many top literary prizes, including Pulitzers for two

volumes of his famous Rabbit series. His books are known for their vivid portrayal of life

in post-war America.

'4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days' has been named as BBC Four World Cinema Award

winner for 2008. Cristian Mungiu's Romanian movie, set in dictator Ceausescu's

Romania during the 1980s, follows two female friends from his home country after one

becomes pregnant and wants an illegal abortion.

'Slumdog Millionaire,' the story of a Mumbai slum-dweller, has bagged five prizes,

including Best Composer award for music maestro A.R. Rahman, at the Broadcast Film

Critics Association's 14th annual Critics Choice Awards. It won Best Film, Best

Director for Danny Boyle, Best Writer for Simon Beaufoy, Best Young Actor for Dev

Patel and Best Composer for A.R. Rahman.

Foreign leaders and diplomats, including Barack Obama's newly appointed envoy to the

Middle East, George Mitchell, gathered in Egypt in an effort to consolidate a fragile

ceasefire after Israel's three-week war in Gaza, and to seek ways of fixing a more durable

peace between Israel and Palestine.

Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, responded to an overture by Barack Obama

on an Arabic television channel by calling for an apology for past American "crimes"

against Iran. Obama, who offered during his inauguration to extend the hand of friendship

if Iran (and others) "unclench [their] fists", had aired the possibility of softening

America's policy to Iran.

Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, and the leader of the opposition, Morgan

Tsvangirai, agreed to implement a power-sharing deal, whereby the latter would become

prime minister and the former would remain president.



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The first trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague began. A former

Congolese warlord, Thomas Lubanga, pleaded not guilty to charges that he recruited

and used child soldiers to kill and pillage.

Concerns mounted about the fate of an estimated 250,000 civilians trapped in fierce

fighting between the Sri Lankan army and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam

in the north of the country. The army announced the capture of Mullaitivu, the Tigers'

last big stronghold.

Japan has become the latest country to announce the deployment of its navy to protect

commercial ships from pirates off Somalia.

Afghanistan's election commission announced that the presidential election, due in

May, will not be held until August. A lack of security has prevented voters from

registering in parts of the country.

Politicians, businessmen and the press met in Davos for the annual World Economic

Forum, reflecting the global economic crisis. The Russian and Chinese prime ministers,

Vladimir Putin and Wen Jiabao, attacked the West for causing the trouble.

Iceland's government became the first to fall as a result of the financial crash. After

continued street protests over the government's handling of the banking crisis, the prime

minister, Geir Haarde, resigned.

Russia hinted that it would abandon its plans to station short-range missiles in

Kaliningrad. The move reflects a hope in the Kremlin that the Obama administration

may delay the deployment of missile defences in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Russian bishops chose Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk, an assertive figure in religious

diplomacy, to be the new patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church.

In a victory for Evo Morales, Bolivia's socialist president, 62% of voters backed a new

constitution that he hopes will give greater rights to Amerindians, tighten state control

over the economy and limit landholdings to 5,000 hectares (12,400 acres). But a majority

of voters in four resource-rich eastern departments that have declared their autonomy

rejected the constitution, which may presage future conflicts.

Around 100,000 anti-globalisation activists gathered in the Brazilian city of Belém for

the World Social Forum. The event takes place each year as an alternative to the more

business-friendly affair in Davos.



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Venezuela's president, Hugo Chávez, won his referendum to abolish term limits by

55% to 45%. He said it was a victory "for socialism, for revolution" and that he would be

a candidate in the next presidential election in 2012.

Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's prime minister under a power-sharing agreement with

President Robert Mugabe, said he would pay civil servants in foreign currency.

The latest edition of UK-based current affairs magazine the Economist has been banned

in Thailand, amid local anger over its coverage of the royal family. The edition contains

an article about Australian writer Harry Nicolaides, who was sentenced to three years in

a Thai jail for insulting the monarchy.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia made the most thorough reshuffle of his government

since assuming the throne in 2005. He promoted reformers, sacked reactionaries and

appointed his first-ever female minister, Norah al-Fayez, for women's education. But

women are still not allowed to drive a car.

Barrack Obama said America would send a further 17,000 troops to join the 65,000

foreign soldiers already based in Afghanistan to combat the worsening insurgency.

Taro Aso, Japan's prime minister, visited the Russian island of Sakhalin for the opening

of a liquefied natural-gas plant. He met Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, for

talks on resolving the two countries' long-running dispute over four islands, Kuril

Islands, held by Russia and claimed by Japan.

Pakistan's government agreed a truce to end fighting with the Taleban Islamist

insurgents in the Swat valley in its North-West Frontier Province. As part of the

agreement, sharia law will be implemented in the district.

Thirty years after the downfall of Cambodia's Khmers Rouges, the first trial of one of

their leading members for crimes committed during their rule began in Phnom Penh. The

defendant is Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, who ran the notorious Tuol Sleng

interrogation centre.

Shoichi Nakagawa resigned as Japan's finance minister amid a row over whether he

was drunk at a recent G7 news conference. His replacement is Kaoru Yosano, the

minister for economic policy.

The former chief executive of eBay, a Republican, Meg Whitman took her first official

step towards running for governor of California by creating an exploratory campaign




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More than 180 people died in Australia's worst-ever forest fires. Heat and prolonged

drought provided conditions for fires to spread quickly, but some were set deliberately, or

relit after being extinguished by firefighters. Kevin Rudd, the prime minister, said those

responsible were guilty of "mass murder".

Pakistan's interior minister Rehman Malik admitted that "some part of the conspiracy"

leading to last year's terror attack on Mumbai had taken place in Pakistan. Since then,

Pakistan claims to have arrested 71 people allegedly linked to the plot.

Israel's centrist Kadima party, led by Tzipi Livni, emerged as the single largest party

with 28 seats in the 120-seat Knesset in the general elections held recently. Binyamin

Netanyahu's right-wing Likud got 27. A far-right party, Yisrael Beitenu, led by Avigdor

Lieberman, won 15 seats. The once-dominant Labour Party got only 13.

America and Britain will not fully resume aid or lift travel bans and financial curbs on

Zimbabwe President Mugabe Robert Mugabe and his close colleagues until there is

evidence that the new government is functioning properly and that Prime Minister

Morgan Tsvangirai is being allowed to govern.

The US Senate modified the "Buy American" part of the stimulus package (which

America's trade partners say is protectionist and could lead to a trade war) by inserting a

clause promising to abide by America's international obligations.

Barrack Obama chose a Republican, Judd Gregg, as commerce secretary.

Pat Quinn took over as the new governor of Illinois after Rod Blagojevich was removed

from office by the state Senate on January 29th after his impeachment.

Germany and France announced that German troops would be stationed on French soil

for the first time since the Second World War. A German battalion is likely to be based

in Alsace-Lorraine, a region repeatedly fought over by the two countries in the past.

The pope ordered a traditionalist bishop, Richard Williamson, whom he had recently

readmitted to the Catholic Church, to recant on his denials of the Holocaust. The aboutturn

by the pope, who is German, came after an intervention by the German chancellor,

Angela Merkel.

Ibrahim Gambari, the United Nations special envoy to Myanmar, visited the country

and met Aung San Suu Kyi, the detained opposition leader.



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North Korea said it was scrapping agreements made with South Korea to prevent

hostilities. There were fears of a clash over the maritime border, and reports that the

North was preparing to test-fire its longest-range missile.

America's House of Representatives voted by 244 to 188 in favour of Barack Obama's

$819 billion economic stimulus package. Not a single Republican supported the plan

(11 Democrats also voted against it). Obama detailed how some of the money would be

spent, such as adding 3,000 miles of electric transmission lines and doubling America's

use of wind and solar energy.

Barack Obama has signed a measure that restores funding for health groups that

perform abortions in developing countries (a ban that had been popular with


The Senate voted to confirm Tim Geithner as the US treasury secretary by 60-34. Most

Republican senators withheld their support because of Geithner's "careless" past failure

to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes.

The government of Kyrgyzstan asked parliament to approve the closure of an important

American air base, Manas, near the capital, Bishkek. The only American base in

Central Asia, Manas plays an important role in supporting American and NATO troops in


Iran's Omid communications satellite was launched aboard a Safir 2 rocket recently.

America viewed the launch with "great concern", fearing it could lead to the development

of longer-range ballistic missiles.

A Russian military satellite and US commercial communications satellite collided in

space recently, creating debris that poses a potential threat to other spacecraft including

the International Space Station.

The US Iridium satellite and Russian "Kosmos-2251" military satellite collided about

800 kilometers above Siberia in the lower earth atmosphere, in what is the first known

example of two satellites colliding in space.

Tim Geithner, America's treasury secretary, declared that executive pay at companies

that receive "exceptional assistance" from the government will be capped at $500,000

and that any additional compensation would have to be made in restricted stock that

won't vest until the public money is repaid.

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