The lake of Turkey that helps to understand the mysteries of Mars

With their turquoise waters and its white sand, the lake Salda, in the southeast of Turkey, holds secrets that could help understand the mysteries of Mars, but its growing popularity also threatens its existence.

This vast expanse of water was made famous when NASA scientists began studying it a few years ago to prepare for the deployment of the ‘Perseverance’ rover on Mars.

Before the device landed on the red planet, in February 2021, the US space agency shared among others a photo of Lake Salda, which reveals its importance in preparing for the mission.

An increasingly popular destination. Photo EFE / EPA / TOLGA BOZOGLU

Taking advantage of this exhibition, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, integrated the lake – with an area of ​​45 km2 – in an extensive program to create more green spaces that attract the public.

But in the face of so much enthusiasm, local ecologists fear that the dual interests of NASA and Erdogan will open the doors to mass tourism and dictate the death sentence of this lake, destroying its ecosystem.

“The future of the lake is in danger if millions of tourists arrive,” warns Gazi Osmak Sakar, leader of the Association for the Preservation of Lake Salda.

White islands

The lake is known above all for its “White Islands”, small islands of a brilliant white, as well as for its unique flora and fauna, in which the frog fish of Salda.

NASA considers this place important to find answers about Mars.  Photo BULENT KILIC / AFP

NASA considers this place important to find answers about Mars. Photo BULENT KILIC / AFP

The rare minerals The site also attracted the attention of NASA, such as hydromagnesite, which resembles substances detected in the Jezero crater, where “Perseverance” landed.

Scientists believe that the hydromagnesite present along the shore of Lake Salda is a residue of clumps of microbialites, rocks formed by the intervention of microbes.

This material captures the attention of researchers who wonder if life existed in microbial form on Mars billions of years ago.

But what is original about Lake Salda, explains geological engineer Servet Cevni, is its closed ecosystem.

“What makes it so special are the bacteria, single-celled organisms that are there (…) very fragile in the face of external influences, “he told AFP.

Fear among environmentalists

But this influence is already materializing with the construction of nine shelters near a developing public garden near the lake.

“The future of the lake is in danger if millions of tourists arrive,” they warn from the Association for the Preservation of Lake Salda. Photo: BULENT KILIC / AFP

“This project must be canceled. The lake cannot be protected if it is exploitedSakar warned.

While bathing is prohibited in the “White Islands” area, visitors can indulge in a dip in other parts of the lake.

Its advocates believe that bathing in the lake should be banned to protect its fragile ecosystem.

“If a single-celled organism goes extinct, Salda is ruined,” warns Cevni. “The ‘White Islands’ cannot be recreated,” he adds.

Lake Salda is called the “Maldives of Turkey.” Photo EFE / EPA / TOLGA BOZOGLU

If action is taken now, the lake could regenerate in 150 to 200 years, Cevni continues. “Otherwise, it will never recover,” he says.

But the task turns out to be arduous. The association’s demand for the preservation of the Lake was rejected by a court to which it went to stop the construction of the public garden.

Sakar now asks UNESCO to classify the lake as a World Heritage Site, a promise of protection. “Salda is dying,” he said.

But this collides with him economic interest sparked by its popularity, which many riparians hope to exploit.

Suleyman Kilickan, a waiter at a lakeside cafe, says visitors increased exponentially after NASA’s interest. “If there is tourism, there is life,” he says, noting that visitors are urged to be responsible. “It is forbidden to collect sand or dirt.”

In 2019, there were 1.5 million visitors and in 2020, despite the pandemic, 800,000.  Photo EFE / EPA / TOLGA BOZOGLU

In 2019, there were 1.5 million visitors and in 2020, despite the pandemic, 800,000. Photo EFE / EPA / TOLGA BOZOGLU

Tourists have already begun to change Salda’s face.

“Our lake and our town were much cleaner years ago,” says Aysel Cig, a shepherd based near Salda.

Aware of the danger, the Ministry of the Environment announced a month ago that it would limit annual visitors to 570,000. In 2019, they were 1.5 million and 800,000 in 2020, despite the pandemic.



From the Super League to the new Champions or the Conference League: a guide to understand their differences

  • The 12 founding clubs of the Superliga have a guaranteed place without meeting purely sporting criteria

  • The Champions League will also change: league format and 36 teams instead of 32

  • A new actor enters, the Conference League, who will tighten the calendar even more

The announcement of the irruption of the Super League, competition devised by the great European teams to ensure a fixed place every year and, consequently, succulent income in their boxes, has caused an earthquake in the panorama of European football. Both UEFA and major league domestic competitions (LaLiga, Premier, Legue1, Bundesliga and Serie A) have harshly attacked the founding teams. They consider that this new competition has no place in an impossible calendar, in addition, increase even more if possible the difference between the most powerful teams with the most modest, who are trying to access the highest continental competition on their own merits.

Superliga, goodbye to their own sporting merits

The sport’s own merits will end since the new Super League begins. At least 15 great historical clubs will play yes or yes in this competition. Another 5 will be invited according to criteria that have not yet been clarified.

The calendar is the one there is and there are no more dates. The big teams, with the League, Cup and Super League matches, can hardly fit their matches in the Champions League and less so with the new format announced by UEFA, with more teams involved and, consequently, more matches.

The Champions League is in serious danger despite the announcement of its renewal. And to this is added a new guest, the Conference League. The schedule will be tighter than ever.

We review the different competitions in detail one by one:

Super league, fingered

How they are classified:

The Super League format would end one of the essences of football: rewarding teams for their own merits. In this new competition there will always be the greats, thus ensuring participation even if they have had a discreet season. The Super League will be made up of 20 teams, but there will always be the 15 most important teams on the continent: for now, los 12 fundadores Real Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Atlético, Milan, Arsenal, Chelsea, Inter, Juve, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City y Tottenham. Three other clubs will be invited to join before the inaugural season.

Florentino Pérez, president of the Superliga, with the UEFA Youth League trophyCordon Press

On this list historical figures such as PSG or Bayern Munich would be missing, although they have not yet spoken. The other five remaining spots will be awarded annually based on the previous season’s performance., although it does not clarify the criteria, if they are teams that are part of the major leagues (Premier, Serie A, Liga, Bundesliga or Ligue 1) or if other clubs from other competitions can enter. They would be the “lucky ones” who could participate alongside the rich.

The games will be played during the week, all clubs will continue to compete in their respective national leagues, thus preserving their traditional calendar. It would start in August, like the first matches of the qualifying phase of the Champions League.

The 20 clubs will be divided into two groups of ten, which will play back and forth matches. The top three from each group qualify automatically for the quarterfinals. And the teams that finish fourth and fifth will play an additional two-legged playoff. Subsequently, two-party playoffs will be played from the quarter-finals to the final, which will be played as a single game, at the end of the year, at a neutral venue.

With this measure, the organizers seek more attractive duels and increase income. The historical ones are awarded but many clubs are penalized that on their own merits deserve to compete with the greats. Clubs like Milan or Arsenal, which have reduced their presence in the Champions League in recent years, will be there but others like Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla or Olympique de Lyon could lose this new showcase.

The Superliga will lose the surprise factor in the pure draw. In the Champions League, the big clubs could be left out from the round of 16 depending on the pairing in the draw.

As soon as possible, the founders will announce the same format for women’s football.

Champions League: previous league

The UEFA Champions League has been forced to change its format for the coming seasons. In the highest continental competition for clubs, so far, 32 teams participated. There are eight groups with four teams in each group, although by UEFA rule there cannot be two teams from the same country in one group. The clubs in the groups face each other back and forth and the top two finishers go to the next round, the round of 16. The third classified of each group goes to the Europa League.


Champions League TrophyEuropa Press

To settle the knockout stages, there is a draw marked by a series of criteria: two teams from the same domestic competition cannot meet in this phase and the first classified of a group is measured against the second classified of another group. Already in the quarterfinals there is a pure draw, without limitations. This ‘surprise’ factor would be lost by the Super League, a competition that would only hold a draw that will settle the 10 participants in each group, although they have not yet gone into details.

The Champions League is also aware that its format had to change. Therefore, from the 2024-2025 season They have devised a format similar to that of the Super League, but according to purely sporting criteria. In this new edition 36 teams would enter instead of the 32 that currently compete and the eight groups will disappear, becoming a single league, even if they will not play all against all. Each team will play a minimum of ten games – now they play a minimum of 6 games – in this first phase against opponents of different coefficients. The first eight will qualify for the eighth and there will be a playoff between the ninth and the twenty-fourth to know the other eight classified. The losers of that playoff would go to the Europa League.


Thomas Muller, champion with Bayern Munich in the last Champions

To determine which matches each team will play, it will be drawn in four pots taking into account the positions in the leagues.As up to now and, as a novelty, the latest performances in the competition will also be taken into account.

UEFA Europa League: with hardly any news

In the UEFA Europa League the champions of the respective cup competitions of each country, the best classified of the different leagues that were behind those that did it for the Champions League, the third group of the Champions League and three more teams according to the ranking ‘ UEFA fair play ‘. It consists of four previous rounds of direct elimination. The final phase of the tournament is made up of a group phase – 12 groups of four teams each – in which each club faces each of its three rivals in a double game. Later, the direct crosses arrive from the round of 32 with round-trip matches except for the final, which is played as a single match in a stadium previously designated by UEFA.


UEFA Europa League

In the Europa League there will be a previous playoff between the group runners-up and the third group of the Champions to determine who goes directly to the round of 16.

Domestic competitions, as always

The League has not changed the format. The 20 teams play a total of 38 games each. The first four qualify for the Champions League, the fifth and the Copa del Rey champion qualify for the UEFA Europa League. If the Cup champion is a club that has qualified for the Champions League, a new place is added, the one that is sixth in the League. The last three classified are automatically relegated to the Second Division. In the silver division, the first two move up to the First Division and the teams that remain between the third and sixth place play the playoffs to get the only place left to be promoted.

The Conference League, the new European competition

As a novelty, this season another place in each domestic competition will be designated to a new competition, the Conference League.

In this new competition, created by UEFA, a total of 184 teams will participate throughout the season, including at least one from each of UEFA’s 55 member associations and 46 from the Champions League (eliminated from the qualifying rounds) and the UEFA Europa League (eliminated from the qualifying rounds or group rounds). Before the final group stage there will be three qualifying rounds and one playoff round.

The final phase will follow the same format that the Champions currently has with eight groups of four teams, followed by direct confrontations: eighths, quarter-finals and the final, the latter a single match. It will start this summer. In its first edition, it will be played at the National Arena in Tirana (Albania) on May 25, 2022.


5 keys to understanding the Blue Apple case, a few days from facing hearings

By Isaías Cedeño (Journalist)

Panama City | 03/31/2021 – 9:12 PM

It is perhaps one of the most complex cases facing the judicial system regarding corruption. Their hearings have been postponed on several occasions thanks to the defense tactics of those allegedly involved and the delay inherent in the inquisitorial system.

On April 19, the file should return to court, so that prosecutors can request a trial. Here, the most important keys to better understand this case.

Those involved: The figure of effective collaboration agreements was released in Panama with the Odebrecht case – which is still unfinished. But let’s look back at Blue Apple; here the sixth anti-corruption prosecutor’s office would have managed to sign half a dozen agreements, which helped it to determine that some 58 people, including business executives, lawyers, former ministers and banking personnel, had managed to develop a crime scheme to use the banking system and clean money.

Crimes: The prosecution managed to identify the alleged commission of 4 crimes, among all those involved. The crimes include money laundering, conspiracy to commit a crime, corruption and falsification of documents.

The recuperation: The prosecution has managed to recover about $ 35.3 million in money and assets. However, the patrimonial injury reaches $ 78.3 million.

The Basket: The corruption plot, according to the prosecution, began with the creation of the corporation, Blue Apple. Its function would be to collect the money that different state contractors would deliver. These were agreed percentages that would help streamline procedures for plans, certifications and other payments. It is believed that the first report of an irregular banking transaction was in 2012. And that is how the list of those involved began to increase, after some collaboration agreements.

Time The process was opened in 2017. The prosecutorial hearing was delivered in September 2019, and a hearing was set to call a trial from November 2020, but between appeals and delays in notifications, the case still seems not to be approaching its end. In addition, due to the start date of the process, the file belongs to the mixed inquisitorial system and it is the liquidating court who must resolve this case. But right there accumulate the majority of high-profile corruption cases.