Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 15th 2014 Contents A38
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, March 15, 2014
DUBAI---Saudi Arabia demanded that
Qatar shut down Al-Jazeera and two think
tanks during a recent meeting of the Gulf
Co-operation Council, a source close to
someone who attended the talks told AFP
Riyadh demanded the closure of the pan-
Arab broadcaster as well as the Brookings
Doha Center and the Arab Center for Research
and Policy Studies, the source said.
After the reportedly heated March 5 GCC
meeting, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United
Arab Emirates recalled their ambassadors
from fellow member Qatar, which they accuse
of interfering in their internal affairs and sup-
porting the Muslim Brotherhood.
The source said Saudi Foreign Minister
Saud al-Faisal had demanded three things
of Doha--- "to close the (Qatari-owned) Al-
Jazeera network, which stirs sedition; close
the research centres in Doha, and turn over
all outlaws" on its territory.
Doha s foreign minister replied that the
demand constituted "interference in Qatar s
internal affairs," the same source said.
Gulf officials do not usually comment on
Qatar is seen as a supporter of the Muslim
Brotherhood and its affiliates across the
region, which are banned in most Gulf states.
Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies
have long been hostile toward the Broth-
erhood, fearing that its brand of grass-roots
activism and political Islam could undermine
Saudi Arabia and the other two states
accused Doha of giving refuge to opposition
figures and of even giving some of them
Critics have long accused the influential
pan-Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera of biased
coverage in favour of the Brotherhood, and
several of its journalists are on trial in Egypt
for allegedly supporting the group.
The Gulf Cooperation Council includes
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United
Arab Emirates, Qatar and Oman.
SAN FRANCISCO---It s a tree so rare that there are
believed to be less than 10 of its kind in the world,
and it could be chopped down to make way for
commuter trains in Northern California.
Preservationists are hoping to stoke public aware-
ness and save the albino chimero coast redwood
growing in the small Sonoma County town of Cotati.
Standing 52-feet tall, the tree features a unique
mixture of normal green leaves and white, albino
sections. It s believed to be the largest of its kind on
But Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART)
officials say the decision to remove it is out of their
Federal regulators have determined the tree must
come down for safety reasons. The genetically mutated
redwood is apparently too close to a proposed set
of new tracks.
"We have federal safety clearance requirements
we must comply with," said Carolyn Glendening, a
SMART spokeswoman. "Whether it s this tree or
any other tree."
To mitigate the tree s loss, the rail project is required
to plant 20 coast redwoods elsewhere. They will also
take "thousands of cuttings" from the rare tree in
an attempt to preserve it, Glendening said.
The SMART rail line was approved by voters in
2008 to help ease congestion on Highway 101 through
Marin and Sonoma Counties.
The first 43-mile stretch of the commuter rail line
is scheduled to open in late 2016, with 10 stations
and so-called "clean diesel" trains designed to meet
new federal emissions standards.
"The new engines lower greenhouse gas emissions
to unprecedented levels, and they are quieter," Glen-
There is hope for the tree.
Scientists and others are urging local politicians
to consider a plan to move the rare genetic specimen
to land nearby by the city of Cotati. Talks are under
Emily Burns, who studies redwoods as science
director at Save the Redwoods League in San Fran-
cisco, said the tree is a scientific treasure.
It s a chimera---or a plant with two sets of DNA
fused together---which is only seen in a handful of
naturally occurring redwoods on the planet.
Alone, albino redwoods cannot survive in the wild
because they are unable to conduct photosynthesis,
the process of turning sunlight into nutrients. Existing
albino redwoods are joined with normal trees that
can produce the needed nutrient.
"A chimera is really a genetic oddity in any species,"
Burns said. "It has two separate genomes mashed
together. It s a mosaic of tissues."
Burns said the tree is also old enough to have
developed male and female cones---meaning it would
And SMART s board has begun discussions to see
if it s possible to move the tree to city-owned land.
Saudi demands Qatar 'shut down Al-Jazeera'
block in California
Trees in the California Redwood Forest.
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