Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Morning Brief: It's 1979 all over again, as Iranian students invade UK embassy; American Airlines files for bankruptcy protection while Facebook looks towards a possible IPO; British Newspaper Archive now online

In what appears to be a new college tradition, Iranian students are reported to have invaded the U.K. embassy, pulling down the Union Jack and throwing documents out of the windows.

No word of hostage taking, after all, this is only a reenactment of the 1979 U.S. hostage crisis, not the real thing (we hope).

The Iranian Parliament voted Sunday to expel the U.K. ambassador and students began yesterday to protest in front of the embassy demanding he be sent home immediately. The vote followed a move by the British government to cut all financial ties with Iran over concerns about its nuclear program.

Concerning that program...there was a report of an explosion in Isfahan near a nuclear facility. These reports have not been confirmed, but CNN yesterday reported on a previous explosion at a military compound, mostly likely an accident involving the mixing of rocket fuel.

American Airlines has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as a way of getting out of its labor agreements, following the example of United and Delta.

“Our board decided that it was necessary to take this step now to restore the company’s profitability, operating flexibility, and financial strength,” Thomas Horton, the company's new chief executive, said in its statement.

American Airlines lack of profits, I'm sure, has nothing to do with the way it treats its flying customers. Yeah, can't be that.

Facebook is considering an IPO that would raise about $10 billion and value the company at $100 billion. (As a point of reference, Apple's market cap is a little below $350 billion.)

“It’s obviously a very steep valuation,” Josef Schuster, founder of Chicago-based IPOX Schuster LLC, said in the Bloomberg report.

Facebook may begin the process by the end of this year in order to go public early in 2012.

The British Newspaper Archive, consisting of up to four million pages of articles from newspapers dating back to 1700, has been digitized and will be available online for searching, reading and downloading.

“People will find this archive extraordinary on both a personal and historical level. For the first time people can search for their ancestors through the pages of our newspapers wherever they are in the world at any time," Ed King, head of the British Library’s newspaper collections told Emma Barnett of The Telegraph.

“But what’s really striking is how these pages take us straight back to scenes of murders, social deprivation and church meetings from hundreds of year ago, which we no longer think about as we haven’t been able to easily access articles about them,” King said.

Searching the archives will be free of charge, but there will be a subscription charge ranging from £6.95 for 48 hours of access, to £29.95 for 30 days, or £79.95 for an annual subscription. A subscription will allow the user to download PDFs of the articles.

The Telegraph article does not mention whether this new digitized archive will become part of the wonderful British Library 19th Century Collection app currently available for the iPad, or whether a new app might be expected, or if the collection will remain a web product only.

The British Library today released a new iPad app, Victorian Christmas, which will be looked at in a separate post later today.

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