Albert Einstein the fraud, plagiarist and genius-wannabe
Right from Thomas Malthus, to Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, Burton Russell all the way to Einstein all are not even cerebral hooker but petty thieves and pilferers who sold their soul to the Devil, like most of the Hollywood and Sports Super Starts of today. In reality all these people are so ridiculously morbid and low IQ that they do not even qualify to be normal human let alone genius. The world is better of calling them Gene's Ass!!!!
But before that we have to realize that the entire education and curriculum is not only tainted but totally flawed by design by the Elitist CABAL and Illuminates, therefore we have to first unlearn all the wrong things that has been taught and then basing our courage of conviction and unflinching faith in our Creator and His infinite wisdom seek the pure and true wisdom only from HIM and there lies the challenge - albeit at the cost of our money, social and false sense of vanity.
Do watch the video and instead of blaming any one first focus on seeking wisdom from the divine source via self-research and tutoring rather than plagiarized source called reference in today's parlance!!!
Quote:Albert Einstein the fraud, plagiarist and genius-wannabe
There was an interesting BBC documentary 10 years back exploring Einstein’s life and some of the anomalies. One in particular was his divorce agreement where it seems to indicate the theory of relativity was actually the work of his first wife.
They also explored the idea that Einstein had lifted the works he did from papers he had examined in his job as patent clerk before he suddenly grew a brain and became a genius. None of his theories were works in isolation. All appeared previously to him in one form or another and had been able to be seen by him as he would have filed then during his years of a patent clerk.
It is not a hard job being a patent clerk. Lots of hours to examine all the filings of others. He did not directly rip off people; he took a bit for here and there. Once he understood most people could not comprehend what he was on about he realized they could be fooled easily. Most never clicked how much of cheat he was until after he died.
E=MC^2 Energy + mass multiplied by the speed of light squared is an incomplete formula as what Mass is never defined. He BSed the scientific community right in front of their faces and when they realized he was not 100% accurate it was too late he had already died leaving the reams of paperwork he had been working to try and fix his formulas and reconcile them with to make the GUT, Grand Unified Theory, and failed. He saw spooky action at distance but could not explain it. He never explained fields and what they are comprised of to enable spooky action at distance.
He stumbled across one thing and BSed the rest until he died. His only Nobel Prize was for chemistry, they knew he was a bullshitter so they would not give him an award for his paper mathematical work.
By RASHEED ANSARI*
If Mohammad Sami** Indian fast bowler deserves great praise, for his hostile bowling, against Pakistan in World Cup Match, at Adelaide. By taking four wickets for 35 runs, he played a key role in India's convincing victory.
However our media, as usual did not give him the credit he deserves!
If I have all praise for Sami..., I condemn Sami’s father for his sycophant mentality. In his excitement to show his loyalty and patriotism, HE WENT ON TO SAY:
THAT SAMI HAS PROVED THAT MUSLIMS ARE “FIRST INDIANS THEN MUSLIMS"
HE should know that any Muslim, irrespective of his country, homeland and any thing else is simply a Muslim FIRST!
He must know that his son is not the First Muslim to perform brilliantly against Pakistan.
IT was GHULAM AHMED OF HYDERABAD, who played, a great role in India's victory against Pakistan, in first ever test against Pakistan, at New Delhi, in 1952... Although Ghulam Ahmed Marhum was not a good batsman at a very crucial stage, he went on to score a magnificent 50, and added 109 runs for the last wicket, with Adhikari. (Perhaps it is still a last wicket record for India! His hostile bowling along with Mankad was mainly responsible for our win.
Ghulam Ahmed was not the only Muslim, to play brilliantly against Pakistan! Salim Durrani, Azharuddin, Arshad Ayub, Irfan Pathan, Mohammad Kaif and Zaheer Khan are shining examples
Such statements reflect ill thinking, sycophant mentality and inferior complex and deserved to be condemned. No Muslim has any need to prove his loyalty to any body on any occasion. Did any Hindu needs to declare his patriotism? Then why Muslims need it?
* Senior Indian Muslim journalist Rasheed Ansari is also very popular on Internet for his unbiased, research-based writings. He may be contacted at [email protected]
** He is incorrectly called SHAMI by the media, because of Bangla accent.
C.E. Live Rostrum
اِبّا گجَّراور نامعلوم افراد
(از قلم علی صدیقی (المعروف ابو شبلی
سمعی بصری (audiovisual) حوالے سے فلم کو اھم مقام حاصل ھے کیوں کہ اس کے ذریعے مختصر ترین وقت میں مطلب کی بات نہایت مؤثر انداز میں ناظرین (viewers) تک پہنچائی جا سکتی ھے۔ فلم کی اِس خاصیت کا ھمیشہ اعتراف کیا گیا ھے اور ھر ایک نے کیا ھے۔ جس طرح ایک نہایت عمدہ بندوق سے ٹھیک ٹھیک نشانہ بھی ایک ماھر نشانچی ھی لگا سکتا ھے --- جبکہ اندیشہ ھے کہ اناڑی کہیں خود ھی کو زخمی یا ہلاک نہ کر لے --- لازم ھے کہ فلم جیسے طاقتور ذریعہ ابلاغ کو بھی ماھر اور صحیح الذّہن لوگ ھی استعمال کریں۔ زندگی کے ھر شعبے کی طرح بدقسمتی سے پاکستان میں فلمی صنعت بھی اب ایسے لوگوں کے ہاتھ میں ھے جن کی ذھنی صلاحیت بچوں سے زیادہ نہیں اور وہ اپنی بے وقوفی (یا سادہ لوحی - اگر اِسے ایک معزز لفظ دینے کی ضرورت ھے تو) یا پھر اپنے مخصوص مفادات کی خاطر (جس میں غیر ملکی آقاؤں کے ایجنڈے پر عمل در آمد بھی شامل ھے) فلم جیسے طاقتور ذریعہ ابلاغ کا ایسا استیصال کر رھے ھیں کہ خود یہ ذریعہ ابلاغ بھی دہائی دینے لگا ھے۔ سنیما گھر ٹوٹ رھے ھیں اور پلازوں، شاپنگ مالوں، اور شادی ہالوں میں تبدیل ھو رھے ھیں۔ نہ تو فلم میں کام کرنا ھی اب شرفاءکا ”شوق“ اور” فن(art) “ رھا ھے اور نہ ھی سنیما گھر میں فلم دیکھنا کوئی اچھا مشغلہ۔ھر فلم کے افتتاح کے موقع پر کہا جاتا ھے کہ ” یہ فلم ڈگر سے ہٹ کر ھے“ اور یہ فلم ”فلم بینوں کو سینما کی جانب کھینچ لائے گی“ مگر ۔۔۔ بالی ووڈ کی نقل میں بے حیائی اور تشدد کو فروغ دیا جا رھا ھے اور فلم جیسے عظیم ذریعہ ابلاغ سے جو عظیم قومی اور مذہبی خدمات انجام دی جا سکتی تھیں،صرف نظرکیاجارہاھے۔
معیاری فلمسازی کے حوالہ سے جب پاکستانی فلمساز اِس بات کا رونا روتے ھیں کہ اُن کے پاس مارکیٹ ”نہیں“ ھے یا ”چھوٹی“ ھے اِس لیے وہ معیاری فلم نہیں بنا سکتے تو کیا واقعی معیاری فلم بنانے کے لیے زیادہ بجٹ کی ضرورت ھوتی ھے؟ دراصل وہ نہ صرف یہ کہ اپنی کوتاہ نظری کا رونا رو تے ھیں بلکہ اس بات کی بھی تصدیق کر رھے ھوتے ھیں کہ اُن کے پاس نہ تو معیاری کام کرنے کی صلاحیت موجود ھے اور نہ ھی مقابلہ کرنے کا حوصلہ اور اُن سب سے بڑھ کر یہ کہ اُن کے پاس وہ عزم (commitment) ھی نہیں ھے جو امریکی فلمسازوں میں یا پھر بھارتی فلمسازوں میں پایا جاتا ھے۔ منڈی کے سائز کا رونا روتے وقت اُن کے سامنے ھمیشہ بھارتی فلمی منڈی ھوتی ھے۔ بھارت کی آبادی 1.28 بلین اور فلمی منڈی کا حجم 93 بلین روپے ھے۔ لہٰذا وہاں کی آبادی اگر 1.00 روپے میں بھی فلم دیکھے تو فلمساز کے پاس 1.28 بلین روپے جمع ھو جائیں گے۔ اس کے مقابلے میں پاکستان کی آبادی محض 18 ملین ھے اور پاکستانی اگر 10 روپیہ کا ٹکٹ خریدیں تو محض 180 ملین روپے ھی اکٹھا ھو سکیں گے۔ اِس قدر بڑی منڈی ھونے کے باوجود، بھارتیوں نے عالمی فلمی منڈی کو ھدف بنایا اور اپنے ذاتی اثاثوں اور ملکی محاصل میں اضافہ کے ساتھ ساتھ اپنے ملک کا نام بھی اونچا کیا ھے۔ بھارت لاتعداد معاملات میں ھم سے بہت آگے ھے اور یہ فرق قدرتی ھے لیکن اس کا یہ مطلب ھر گز نہیں کہ ہم احساس کمتری کا شکار ھو کر اپنی بہتری کے معاملات تج دیں ، اپنے لیے نئی راھیں تلاش کرنا چھوڑ دیں اورکنوئیں کا مینڈک بن جائیں۔
جس وقت یورپ کساد بازاری کا شکار تھا تو یورپ کے لوگ بھی اپنے اپنے علاقوں سے نکلے تھے۔ کسی نے ”نئی دنیا" )امریکا) دریافت کی تو کسی نے ”سونے کی چڑیا“(ھندوستان) کوغلام بنایا اور کسی نے افریقی جادو سے اپنے حالات بدلے۔ ایک چھوٹے سے جزیرے میں صدیوں سے آباد قوم عالمی طاقت بن گئی اور (بعدازآں) فرانس، جرمنی وغیرہ کا شمار بھی عالمی طاقتوں میں ھونے لگا۔ چنانچہ جہاں ھم دیگر مصنوعات کے لیے عالمی منڈیاں تلاش کرتے ھیں، اپنی مصنوعات اور خدمات برآمد کرتے ھیں، فلمیں اور فلمی مہارت کیو ں برآمد نہیں کر سکتے؟
ھمارے پاکستانی فلمساز اگر امریکی فلمسازوں سے راھنمائی نہیں لے سکتے تھے تو کم ازکم بھارتی فلمسازوں کے نقش قدم پر چلتے ھوئے عالمی منڈی پر توجہ کرتے۔ اگر دنیا بھر کے سینما گھروں، تھیٹروں، CDs اور DVDs وغیرہ کو ذھن میں رکھ کر فلم بنائی اور منڈی میں فروخت کی جائے تو ھر فلم اپنے بنانے والوں کے لیے کچھ نہ کچھ رقم کما سکتی ھے۔ فلم بینوں کی دلچسپی کا تعلق فلم کے مواد (contents) اور دیگر فنی محاسن سے ھوتا ھے، زبان سے نہیں۔ فلم اردو زبان میں بنے یا کسی دوسری غیر معروف زبان میں اگر اس کی کہانی اَچھوتی اورجاندار ھو اوراس کے تمام مناظر پر عمل درآمد (execution) عمدہ ھو تو کوئی وجہ نہیں کہ فلم اپنے دیکھنے والوں اور خریداروں کی توجہ حاصل نہ کرے۔ بھارتی فلمیں بھی ہالی ووڈ کی فلموں کا چربہ ھوتی ھیں لیکن مختلف مناظر پر عمل درآمد (execution) اِس قدر عمدہ ھوتا ھے کہ نقل پر اصل کا گمان ھوتا ھے۔ عالمی فلمی میلوں میں ایسی فلمیں بھی، حتیٰ کہ ایرانی فلمیں بھی، ایوارڈ جیت کر لا تی ھیں جو انگریزی، فررانسیسی یا جرمن زبان میں نہیں ھوتیں جبکہ سیاسی سطح پر ایران برسوں سے تقریباً تنہا کھڑا ھے۔ در حقیقت یہ فلمساز و ہدایتکار ھیں جو فلم بینوں کے شوق (taste) کو بناتے یا بگاڑتے ھیں۔
ایک وقت وہ بھی تھا جب ھیروئن بستر پر سے اٹھتے وقت سینے پر اپنا دوپٹہ درست کر لیتی تھی، جب کہ بوس و کنار اور عصمت دری کے واقعات مختصراً اور علامتی انداز میں دکھائے جاتے تھے اور فلمیں پھر بھی ’ہٹ‘ بلکہ ’سپر ہٹ‘ھوتی تھیں اور باکس آفس پر بھی منافع بخش ثابت ھوتی تھیں۔ پرانی ہندوستانی فلموں کا بھی یہی عالم تھا کہ عریانی اور تشدد کے بغیر بھی فلمیں ’ہٹ ‘ اور ’سپر ہٹ‘ھوتی تھیں اور باکس آفس پر منافع بخش ثابت ھوتی تھیں۔ لیکن پھر کالے دھن والوں نے بالی ووڈ کو ھائی جیک کر کے عریانی اور تشدد کے عناصر کو بڑھا دیا اور پھر رفتہ رفتہ یہ فلم بینوں کا مزاج بن گیا ۔ آج تہمت یہ ھے کہ ” پبلک یہی چاہتی ھے “۔ اسی طرح پاکستان میں بھی اولاً کالے دھن والوں نے صنعت پر قبضہ کیا اور پھر اس عظیم طاقتور ذریعہ ابلاغ کو برباد کر دیا کہ یہ ھندوستان اور سامراج کے خلاف عوام کی ذھنی تربیت نہ کر سکے۔ ریاض شاھد مرحوم کی زرقا، یہ امن، غرناطہ وغیرہ لوگوں میں جوش و جذبہ پیدا کیا کرتی تھیں، لیکن پھر ھیرو اور ھیروئین دونوں کے ہاتھوں میں گنڈاسا تھما کر فلم اورعوام دونوں کو برباد کر دیا۔*
معیاری فلموں کے نہ بننے کی ایک وجہ کسی تربیتی ادارے کا نہ ھونا بھی بتایا جاتا ھے کہ ہمارے یہاں اداکاری یا دیگر فنون سکھانے والے ادارے نہیں ھیں اور حکومت کو چاھیے کہ وہ اس معاملے میں بھی کچھ کرے۔ فلم انڈسٹری کے یہی خیر خواہ اپنی جیب سے ایک دھیلا بھی خرچ کرنے کو تیار نہیں ھوتے جب کہ اُن کا شاھانہ طرز زندگی (lifestyle) صاف صاف بتا رہا ھوتا ھے کہ وہ خود خرچ کرنا چاھیں تو ملک میں بہترین ادارے قائم ھو سکتے ھیں۔ اگر تن تنہا سرمایہ کاری کا حوصلہ نہ ھو تو دیگر لوگوں کے ساتھ مل کر ایک کنسورشیم بنا سکتے ھیں۔ لیکن ھمارے یہاں شاید دوسرے کی جیب سے پیسہ نکالنے کا نام ھی فن اور فنکاری ھے، خرچ کرنے کا نہیں۔ حکومت فلمی صنعت کو ایک باقاعدہ صنعت کے طور پر تسلیم کرے یا نہیں لیکن یہ لوگ اگر اپنی سوچ کو ایک صنعتکار کی سوچ بنا لیں اور عالمی منڈی میں مسابقت کو ذھن میں رکھ کر فلمیں بنائیں تو یہ سب کے فائدے کی بات ھو گی۔
محاصل پیدا کرنے کے ساتھ ساتھ امریکی فلمسازوں نے اپنی فلموں کے ذریعے اپنی تہذیب و ثقافت کو بھی دنیا بھر میں فروغ دیا ھے (پھٹی اور بد رنگی شلوار یا پاجامہ اور بالخصوص لنگی میں کون کسی محفل میں جانے کو تیار ھوتا ھے، لیکن پھٹی اور بدرنگی امریکی لنگی یعنی جینز میں ھر جگہ بلا جھجھک چلے جاتے ھیں اور فخر محسوس کرتے ھیں۔ترقی بد رنگی جینز پہننے سے نہیں بلکہ اعلیٰ فکر اور عمل سے حاصل ھوتی ھے) بلکہ سیاسی اور حربی فوائد حاصل کرنے میں اپنی حکومتوں کی بھر پور مدد کی ھے اور یہی نھیں انھوں نے اپنی قوم کی نا اہلی کو بھی خوبیوں کا روپ دے کر دنیا کو اِن نام نہاد خوبیوں سے اِس طرح مرعوب کر دیا ھے کہ کوئی بھی قوم ، کوئی بھی ملک، امریکا سے ٹکر لینے کی نہیں سوچتا اور امریکا کے ناجائز و ظالمانہ مطالبات کے سامنے سر تسلیم خم کر دیتا ھے۔ دنیا بھر میں امریکا کی کامیابی محض اُس کی سیاسی اور عسکری مہارت کی وجہ سے نہیں بلکہ اُس نفسیاتی دباؤکا نتیجہ بھی ھے جو امریکی فلموں نے دوسری اقوام پر امریکی ذہانت اور مہارت کے حوالے سے قائم کر دیا ھے مثلاً ایک یا دو افراد دشمن کی پوری کی پوری فوج کا صفایا کر دیتے ھیں یا پھر ٹائم بم محض چند سیکنڈ پہلے ھی ناکارہ بنا دیتے ھیں۔ اگر واقعی ایسا ھے تو پھر امریکہ کو لاکھوں کی تعداد میں فوجی بھرتی کرنے کی ضرورت نہیں اور نہ ھی سالانہ بنیادوں پر کروڑوں ٹن اسلحہ تیار کرنے اور ذخیرہ کرنے کی ضرورت ھے۔ اگر امریکی فوجی اپنے فن میں اتنے ھی ماھر ھوتے تو امریکا کو ہمیشہ ”کارپٹ بمباری“ اور اندھا دھند فائرنگ کی ضرورت پیش نہ آتی اور نہ ھی اکا دکا افراد کے لیے سینکڑوں اور ہزاروں افراد کوہلاک کرنے کی ضرورت پیش آتی۔
اہل اور ماھر افراد کم وسائل سے بھی بہترین نتائج حاصل کرتے ھیں، جب کہ امریکی افواج کی کامیابی اسلحے اور ٹیکنالوجی کے اندھا دھند استعمال کی مرھون منت ھوتی ھے۔ اسلحے کا یہ اندھا دھند استعمال (بشمول فرینڈلی فائر اور کارپٹ بمباری) جہاں دیگر ممکن دشمنوں کو نفسیاتی دباؤ میں لیتی ھے وھیں لاشعوری طور پر مرعوب افراد (حتیٰ کہ وہ افراد بھی جنھوں نے کبھی امریکا نہیں دیکھا اور نہ ھی کبھی کسی امریکی سے ملاقات کی ھے) اور اقوام امریکا کے ساتھ مقابلے سے پہلے ھی ہتھیار ڈال دیتے ھیں اور امریکی بالا دستی قبول کر لیتے ھیں۔ ہمارے حکمرانوں کا امریکہ کے سامنے سر تسلیم خم کرنے کی وجہ بھی یہی نفسیاتی دباؤ ھے، ورنہ عسکری اور دیگر معاملات میں ھم غاروں میں رھنے والوں سے بدرجہا بہتر ھیں جن کے بارے میں دعویٰ کیا جاتا ھے کہ انھوں نے دنیا کی واحد سپر پاور کو شکست دے دی ھے۔
اگرچہ عریانیت اور جنسی مناظر کسی بھی فلم کا معیارنہیں ھو سکتے ( غضب خدا کا ! ایک بھارتی فلم میں بیس منٹ تک ایک بچی کی عصمت دری کا منظر دکھایا گیا ھے)، اس کے باوجود امریکی فلمسازوں سے راھنمائی لیتے ھوئے بھارتی فلمسازوں نے بھی فلم کو ایک مؤثر ہتھیار کے طور پر استعمال کیا ھے۔ معیاری فلمیں بنا کر اور ان کی عالمی منڈی میں (جو مشرق وسطیٰ سے امریکا تک پھیلی ھوئی ھے) نمائش کر کے انھوں نے نہ صرف یہ کہ اپنے ملک کے لیے قیمتی زرمبادلہ کمایا ھے بلکہ دنیا کی نظروں میں بھارت کا امیج ایک جھگڑالو اور تنگ نظر ملک سے (جس کے اپنے ھمسایہ ممالک کے ساتھ تعلقات ھمیشہ ناخوشگوار رھے ھیں) بدل کر جمہوریت پسند، فراخ دل اور سرمایہ کاری کے لیے ایک موزوں ملک کا تاثر قائم کر دیا ھے۔ پاکستان کے حوالے سے نہ صرف یہ کہ تہذیبی اور ثقافتی جنگ جیت لی ھے بلکہ اب اپنی فلموں کے ذریعہ پاکستانی فوج اور اس کے دیگر اداروں مثلاً آئی ایس آئی(ISI) کے بارے میں زھریلی تشہیری مہم بھی شروع کر رکھی ھے۔ ان کی بعض اشتہاری فلمیں بھی پاکستان کے حوالے سے انتہائی ہتک آمیز ھوتی ھیں۔ ایک اشتہاری فلم میں بھارتی فوجی پاکستانی فوجیوں کو خندق سے باھر نکالنے کے لیے ٹیلیویڑن پر گندہ سا گانا لگا دیتے ھیں۔ گندے گانے کے شوق سے مجبور ھو کر جب پاکستانی فوجی خندق سے باھر نکلتے ھیں تو بھارتی فوجی انھیں گولیوں کا نشانہ بنا ڈالتے ھیں!
بھارتی فلمسازوں نے لاشعوری طور پر ھم پاکستانیوں کو دو قومی نظریے سے بھی اس قدر دور کر دیا ھے کہ اب ھماری بچیاں تلک لگانے کو معیوب نھیں سمجھتیں اور لڑکے بھی بھارتی اداکاروں کی نقل کرتے نظر آتے ھیں اور جب بھارتی راھنما پاکستان میں بیٹھ کر دو قومی نظریہ کو بحر ھند میں غرق کر رھے ھوتے ھیں تو پاکستانی راھنما پنجابی قومیت کی خاطر دو قومی نظریے کو غرق ھوتے دیکھتے رہتے ھیں۔
کارپوریٹ ورلڈ میں انفرادیت پر ہمیشہ زور دیا جاتا ھے۔ ادارے کا نام، پروڈکٹ کا نام، الغرض ھر شئے کا نام منفرد اور نمایاں نظر آنا چاھیے۔ معمولی سی مماثلت بھی قابل برداشت نہیں ھوتی۔ افراد کو بھی یہی تعلیم دی جاتی ھے کہ ”نمایاں نظر آؤ (stand out of the crowd) “لیکن فلموں، ڈراموں اور اشتہاری فلموں کے لیے اس تاکید کو قطعی طور پر نظر انداز کیا جا رہا ھے۔ بھارتی فلموں میں پائی جانے والی عریانیت اور تشدد کو معیار سمجھ کر پاکستانی فلموں، اشتہاری فلموں اور ڈراموں میں بھی عریانیت اور تشدد بڑھ گیا ھے چنانچہ حال ھی میں بننے والے ڈراموں، فلموں اور اشتہاری فلموں کو دیکھ کر یہ معلوم ھی نہیں ھوتا کہ یہ پاکستانی ڈراما، فلم یا اشتہاری فلم ھے جس کی تازہ ترین مثال فلم ”نامعلوم افراد“ کا آئٹم سانگ ھے۔
انفرادی شناخت بنانے کے لیے لازمی ھے کہ منفرد کام کیا جائے۔ کسی کی نقل کرنے سے انفرادی شناخت نہیں بنتی۔ اگر ھم تمام کام بھارتیوں جیسے کریں گے تو پھر پاکستانی انفرادیت اور شناخت کیسے قائم ھو گی؟ اگر ھم خود اپنے دہی کو کھٹا کہیں گے، اپنے ٹیلنٹ کو نہیں سراھیں گے، اِس کی قدر نہیں کریں گے اور اپنی منفرد بات کو دلیل اور عمل سے نہیں منوائیں گے تو غیر اقوام کو کیا پڑی ھے کہ وہ ہمارے ٹیلنٹ کو سراھیں، اور ھمیں ایک الگ شناخت دیں؟ وہ ھمیں بھارت کی کوئی ریاست یا صوبہ ھی سمجھتے رھیں گے اور نقشہ میں دکھاتے رھیں گے جیسا کہ کشمیر کے ساتھ کرتے ھیں۔ بھارتی فلموں میں ھیروئین اگر ھیرو کے ساتھ رات گزارتی ھے اور پاکستانی فلموں کی ھیروئین بھی تو پھر پاکستانی فلم میں انفرادیت کیا ھے؟ اگر ہندوستانی فلموں کی ھیروئین بھی آدھی ننگی رہتی ھے اور پاکستانی فلموں کی ھیروئین بھی تو انفرادیت کیسے قائم ھو گی؟ انفرادی مقام بنانے کے لیے لازم ھے کہ کہانی سے لے کر منظر نامہ تک ھر ھر قدم پر بھارتی نقش و نگار سے ہٹ کر کام کیا جائے تاکہ پہچانا جائے کہ یہ پاکستانی فلم ھے۔
فلم بینوں کی اپنی ضرورتوں اور مزاجی تقاضوں کو پورا کرنے کے ساتھ ساتھ پاکستان کے سیاسی، ثقافتی اور معاشی مفادات کو بھی سامنے رکھتے ھوئے فلمیں بناتے مگر انھوں نے اپنا سر شتر مرغ کی طرح ریت میں دے رکھا ھے اور یہ سمجھ رکھا ھے کہ اِس طرح اُن کی بچت ھو جائے گی مگر یہ ناممکن ھے۔اس بات کو واضح طور پر اپنے ذھن میں بٹھا لینا چاھیے کہ جس دن پاکستان نہیں رھے گا (خاکم بدھن ) اُس دن پاکستان کی فلمی صنعت بھی نہیں رھے گی اور بھارتی قبضے کے بعد بالی ووڈ کی ایک شاخ بن جائے گی جس میں ایسے نکمے، ناعاقبت اندیش اور اپنے وطن کی محبت سے عاری لوگوں کے لیے کوئی جگہ نہیں ھوگی کیوں کہ نکموں اور غداروں کو کوئی بھی قبول نہیں کرتا۔جب نئی انتظامیہ کسی ادارے کا انتظام سنبھالتی ھے تو ایک دو سال کے لیے تو مقامی عملے کو برداشت کر لیتی ھے مگر اُس کے بعد چھانٹی کا عمل شروع ھو جاتا ھے۔ ایسی صورت میں ھمارے فلمسازوں، ہدایتکاروں اور ٹیکنیشنوں کے لیے بھی کوئی موقع نہیں ھوگا۔ بوسنیا کا حشر ھم سب کے سامنے ھے کہ محض نام کا مسلمان ھونے کے باوجود اُن سے زندگی، عصمت اور معیشت چھین لی گئی۔ اُن کے مقابلے میں ھماری ’خطا ؤں‘ کی فہرست تو بہت طویل ھے۔ پاکستان کا خاتمہ (خاکم بدھن) محض پاکستانی مسلمانوں کے لیے ھی نہیں بلکہ برصغیر کے تمام مسلمانوں بشمول ھندوستانی اور بنگلہ دیشی مسلمانوں کی بقاء کے لیے بھی ایک بڑا سوال بن کر آئے گا کہ اب ان کی حمایت میں بولنے والا ممکن حمایتی جو نہیں رھے گا اور اِس پورے خطے میں مسلمانوں کی جان، مال، آبرو، معیشت، سیاست غرضیکہ ان کی بقاءکو خطرے میں ڈالنے یا اُس کے خاتمے کے ذمہ دار محض پاکستانی سیاست دان، یا دیگر افراد و محکمہ جات ھی نہیں بلکہ ھمارے فلمساز، ھدایتکار، ٹیکنیشن اور فنکار سب ھی ذمہ دار ھوں گے۔
لہذا ابھی بھی ہمارے فلمسازوں، ھدایتکاروں، ٹیکنیشنوں اور فنکاروں کے لیے موقع ھے کہ وہ عقل سے کام لیں اور اپنی کوتاہ نظری کے ذریعے اپنا اور اپنے ملک کا بیڑا غرق ھونے سے بچائیں۔سب سے پہلے تو اُنہیں چاھیے کہ اپنی فلمی صنعت کے لیے ایک واضح وژن(Vision) اور مشن(Mission) طے کریں۔ اس کے بعد اسلامی اور علاقائی اخلاقیات اور ملک کے سیاسی و عسکری مفادات کو سامنے رکھتے ھوئے ایک ایسی حکمت عملی وضع کریں اور ایسی فلمیں بنائیں جن سے دین، علاقائی اقوام کا احترام بلند ھونے کے ساتھ ساتھ ملک کے سیاسی و عسکری مفادات کو حاصل کرنے میں بھی مدد ملے۔ ذہن میں اس بات کو فکری طور پر واضح کرنے کی ضرورت بھی ھے کہ عریانیت اور دیگر بدکاری کی نمائش ہماری مذہبی اور اخلاقی قدر نہیں (عصمت دری کے منظر میں ھیروئین یا ھیرو ئن کی بہن کے بریزئیر اور زیر جامہ کو کمرے سے باھر گرتے دکھانا کون سا فن اور کون سی فلمسازی ھے؟)۔
بحیثیت مسلمان یہ ھمارا ایمان ھے کہ آخرت میں ھم سب سے ھمارے اعمال کے بارے میں پرُشش ھو گی اور جس طرح نیکی نسل در نسل پھل دے کر بخشش کا ذریعہ بنتی ھے اسی طرح گناہ بھی نسل در نسل پھل دیتا ھے اور ھمارے عذاب میں اضافے کا سبب بنتا ھے۔ چنانچہ عذاب کی اس MLM سے ھمیں اپنی نسلوں کو بچانے کے لیے ایک مضبوط قدم اٹھانے اور اُس پر جمے رھنے کی ضرورت ھے۔ عمدہ کہانی نویسوں کو تلاش کریں جو اُن مقاصد کو سامنے رکھ کر کہانیاں لکھیں۔ اِسی معاشرے اور صنعت میں ریاض شاھد مرحوم بھی تھے اور رﺅف خالد بھی۔ دیگر لوگ ریاض شاہد یا رﺅف خالد کیوں نہیں بن سکتے؟ عریاں فلموں کی نمائش اور جسم فروشی میں معمولی سا فرق ھے۔ فلم میں عورت سین فلمبند کرا کے چلی جاتی ھے اور حقیقی زندگی میں طے شدہ وقت تک ساتھ رھتی ھے۔ فلم میں لوگوں سے آنکھوں کا زنا کروایا جاتا ھے اور حقیقی زندگی میں تمام بدن کا۔ھمارے فلمسازوں کا انتخاب کیا ھے : جسم فروشی یا فن کا اظہار؟
اللہ تعالی ھمیں ناعاقبت اندیشی کے شر سے محفوظ رکھے۔ آمین!!!
*فلم میں ھیروئین کو بکنی میں دکھانے سے لے کر ھیرو کے ساتھ ھم بستری کے مناظر تک تمام کچھ "کردار کی ڈیمانڈ" اور "سین کی ڈیمانڈ" نام پر کیا جاتا ھے۔ کیا ننگے پن کا دولتمندی، یورپ میں تعلیم کے حصول یا ماڈرن ازم سے کوئی تعلق ھے؟ یورپ میں رھنے والے لاتعداد لوگ اپنی اپنی مذھبی اقدار پر قائم رھتے ھیں اور قائم ھیں۔ اگر کسی گھرانے کے افراد لڑکی کو اپنے کزن یا دوست کے ساتھ باھر جانے کی اجازت دیتے ھیں تو اس کا یہ مطلب ھر گز نہیں کہ وہ سمندر کنارے اس کے ساتھ بکنی میں اٹھکیلیاں کرے یا کسی ھوٹل وغیرہ میں ھم بستری کرے۔ یہ صورت حال تشدد کی بھی ھے۔ اس قدر بھیانک انداز میں تشدد دکھایا جاتا ھے کہ الاماں! ان تمام تقاضوں کو علامتی انداز میں بھی دکھایا جا سکتا ھے۔ اگر آپ حقیقت کو علامت میں تبدیل نہیں کر سکتے یا علامت کی تشریح نہیں کر سکتے تو آپ کس بات کے “creative person” ھیں؟ آپ میں اور دیہات میں ننگے پاوں گھومنے والے شخص میں کیا فرق ھے؟ اگر بھارتی فلموں میں عریانیت اور تشدد پر مبنی مناظر کا دورانیہ چیک کیا جائے تو 3 گھنٹے کی فلم میں تقریباً 50 فی صد عریانیت اور تشدد پر مشتمل ھوتا ھے۔ یقین نہ آئے تو اسٹاپ واچ سے چیک کر لیجیے۔ اس کا مطلب یہ ھوا کہ بھارتی فلمسازوں، ھدایتکاروں، کہانی نویسوں اور اسکرین پلے لکھنے والوں کی تخلیقی صلاحیتیں ڈیڑھ گھنٹے بعد دم توڑ جاتی ھیں!
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges speaks with Professor Noam Chomsky about working-class resistance during the Industrial Revolution, propaganda, and the historical role played by intellectuals in times of war.
It all boils down to Americans dichotomy of Duty or Dilemma of supporting Israel , despite the world opinion against it and the line to be drawn on sand between ethics of propaganda, that is with the sole purpose of creating an environment of : "Uninformed consumer making irrational choices" from the goods and services sold to the Government sponsored agendas.
Both being very vital questions that always ended in PARADIGM SHIFT from the social and economic structures in the past. Why should it be an exception today ?????
Noam Chomsky is a renowned professor of linguistics at MIT. He has authored over 30 political books dissecting U.S. interventionism in the developing world, the political economy of human rights and the propaganda role of corporate media.
CHRIS HEDGES, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Let's begin with a classic paradigm which is throughout the Industrial Revolution, which has been cited by theorists from Marx to Kropotkin to Proudhon and to yourself, that you build a consciousness among workers within the manufacturing class, and eventually you lead to a kind of autonomous position where workers can control their own production.
We now live in a system, a globalized system, where most of the working class in industrial countries like the United States are service workers. We have reverted to a Dickensian system where those who actually produced live in conditions that begin to replicate almost slave labor--and, I think, as you have written, in places like southern China in fact are slave [labor]. What's the new paradigm for resistance? You know, how do we learn from the old and confront the new?
NOAM CHOMSKY, LINGUIST AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think we can draw many very good lessons from the early period of the Industrial Revolution. It was, of course, earlier in England, but let's take here in the United States. The Industrial Revolution took off right around here, eastern Massachusetts, mid-19th century. This was a period when independent farmers were being driven into the industrial system--men and women, incidentally, women from the farms, so-called factory girls--and they bitterly resented it. It was a period of a very free press, the most in the history of the country. There was a wide variety of journals, ethnic, labor, or others. And when you read them, they're pretty fascinating.
The people driven into the industrial system regarded it as an attack on their personal dignity, on their rights as human beings. They were free human beings who were being forced into what they called wage slavery, which they regarded as not very different from chattel slavery. In fact, this was such a popular view that it was actually a slogan of the Republican Party, that the only difference between working for a wage and being a slave is that working for a wage is supposedly temporary--pretty soon you'll be free. Other than that, they're not different.
And they bitterly resented the fact that the industrial system was even taking away their rich cultural life. And the cultural life was rich. You know, there are by now studies of the British working class and the American working class, and they were part of high culture of the day. Actually, I remembered this as late as the 1930s with my own family, you know, sort of unemployed working-class, and they said, this is being taken away from us; we're being forced to be something like slaves. They argued that if you're, say, a journeyman, a craftsman, and you sell your product, you're selling what you produced. If you're a wage earner, you're selling yourself, which is deeply offensive. They condemned what they called the new spirit of the age: gain wealth, forgetting all but self. Sounds familiar.
And it was extremely radical. It was combined with the most radical democratic movement in American history, the early populist movement--radical farmers. It began in Texas, spread into the Midwest--enormous movement of farmers who wanted to free themselves from the domination by the Northeastern bankers and capitalists, guys that ran the markets, you know, sort of forced them to sell what they produced on credit and squeeze them with credit and so on. They went on to develop their own banks, their own cooperatives. They started to link up with the Knights of Labor--major labor movement which held that, as they put it, those who work in the mills ought to own them, that it should be a free, democratic society.
These were very powerful movements. By the 1890s, you know, workers were taking over towns and running them in Western Pennsylvania. Homestead was a famous case. Well, they were crushed by force. It took some time. Sort of the final blow was Woodrow Wilson's red scare right after the First World War, which virtually crushed the labor movement.
At the same time, in the early 19th century, the business world recognized, both in England and the United States, that sufficient freedom had been won so that they could no longer control people just by violence. They had to turn to new means of control. The obvious ones were control of opinions and attitudes. That's the origins of the massive public relations industry, which is explicitly dedicated to controlling minds and attitudes.
The first--it partly was government. The first government commission was the British Ministry of Information. This is long before Orwell--he didn't have to invent it. So the Ministry of Information had as its goal to control the minds of the people of the world, but particularly the minds of American intellectuals, for a very good reason: they knew that if they can delude American intellectuals into supporting British policy, they could be very effective in imposing that on the population of the United States. The British, of course, were desperate to get the Americans into the war with a pacifist population. Woodrow Wilson won the 1916 election with the slogan "Peace without Victory". And they had to drive a pacifist population into a population that bitterly hated all things German, wanted to tear the Germans apart. The Boston Symphony Orchestra couldn't play Beethoven. You know. And they succeeded.
Wilson set up a counterpart to the Ministry of Information called the Committee on Public Information. You know, again, you can guess what it was. And they've at least felt, probably correctly, that they had succeeded in carrying out this massive change of opinion on the part of the population and driving the pacifist population into, you know, warmongering fanatics.
And the people on the commission learned a lesson. One of them was Edward Bernays, who went on to found--the main guru of the public relations industry. Another one was Walter Lippman, who was the leading progressive intellectual of the 20th century. And they both drew the same lessons, and said so.
The lessons were that we have what Lippmann called a "new art" in democracy, "manufacturing consent". That's where Ed Herman and I took the phrase from. For Bernays it was "engineering of consent". The conception was that the intelligent minority, who of course is us, have to make sure that we can run the affairs of public affairs, affairs of state, the economy, and so on. We're the only ones capable of doing it, of course. And we have to be--I'm quoting--"free of the trampling and the roar of the bewildered herd", the "ignorant and meddlesome outsiders"--the general public. They have a role. Their role is to be "spectators", not participants. And every couple of years they're permitted to choose among one of the "responsible men", us.
And the John Dewey circle took the same view. Dewey changed his mind a couple of years later, to his credit, but at that time, Dewey and his circle were writing that--speaking of the First World War, that this was the first war in history that was not organized and manipulated by the military and the political figures and so on, but rather it was carefully planned by rational calculation of "the intelligent men of the community", namely us, and we thought it through carefully and decided that this is the reasonable thing to do, for all kind of benevolent reasons.
And they were very proud of themselves.
There were people who disagreed. Like, Randolph Bourne disagreed. He was kicked out. He couldn't write in the Deweyite journals. He wasn't killed, you know, but he was just excluded.
And if you take a look around the world, it was pretty much the same. The intellectuals on all sides were passionately dedicated to the national cause--all sides, Germans, British, everywhere.
There were a few, a fringe of dissenters, like Bertrand Russell, who was in jail; Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, in jail; Randolph Bourne, marginalized; Eugene Debs, in jail for daring to question the magnificence of the war. In fact, Wilson hated him with such passion that when he finally declared an amnesty, Debs was left out, you know, had to wait for Warren Harding to release him. And he was the leading labor figure in the country. He was a candidate for president, Socialist Party, and so on.
But the lesson that came out is we believe you can and of course ought to control the public, and if we can't do it by force, we'll do it by manufacturing consent, by engineering of consent. Out of that comes the huge public relations industry, massive industry dedicated to this.
Incidentally, it's also dedicated to undermining markets, a fact that's rarely noticed but is quite obvious. Business hates markets. They don't want to--and you can see it very clearly. Markets, if you take an economics course, are based on rational, informed consumers making rational choices. Turn on the television set and look at the first ad you see. It's trying to create uninformed consumers making irrational choices. That's the whole point of the huge advertising industry. But also to try to control and manipulate thought. And it takes various forms in different institutions. The media do it one way, the academic institutions do it another way, and the educational system is a crucial part of it.
This is not a new observation. There's actually an interesting essay by--Orwell's, which is not very well known because it wasn't published. It's the introduction to Animal Farm. In the introduction, he addresses himself to the people of England and he says you shouldn't feel too self-righteous reading this satire of the totalitarian enemy, because in free England, ideas can be suppressed without the use of force. And he doesn't say much about it. He actually has two sentences. He says one reason is the press "is owned by wealthy men" who have every reason not to want certain ideas to be expressed.
But the second reason, and the more important one in my view, is a good education, so that if you've gone to all the good schools, you know, Oxford, Cambridge, and so on, you have instilled into you the understanding that there are certain things it wouldn't do to say--and I don't think he went far enough: wouldn't do to think. And that's very broad among the educated classes. That's why overwhelmingly they tend to support state power and state violence, and maybe with some qualifications, like, say, Obama is regarded as a critic of the invasion of Iraq. Why? Because he thought it was a strategic blunder. That puts him on the same moral level as some Nazi general who thought that the second front was a strategic blunder--you should knock off England first. That's called criticism.
And sometimes it's kind of outlandish. For example, there was just a review in The New York Times Book Review of Glenn Greenwald's new book by Michael Kinsley, and which bitterly condemned him as--mostly character assassination. Didn't say anything substantive. But Kinsley did say that it's ridiculous to think that there's any repression in the media in the United States, 'cause we can write quite clearly and criticize anything. And he can, but then you have to look at what he says, and it's quite interesting.
In the 1980s, when the major local news story was the massive U.S. atrocities in Central America--they were horrendous; I mean, it wasn't presented that way, but that's what was happening--Kinsley was the voice of the left on television. And there were interesting incidents. At one point, the U.S. Southern Command, which ran--you know, it was the overseer of these actions--gave instructions to the terrorist force that they were running in Nicaragua, called the Contras--and they were a terrorist force--they gave them orders to--they said "not to (...) duke it out with the Sandinistas", meaning avoid the Nicaraguan army, and attack undefended targets like agricultural cooperatives and, you know, health clinics and so on. And they could do it, because they were the first guerrillas in history to have high-level communications equipment, you know, computers and so on. The U.S., the CIA, just controlled the air totally, so they could send instructions to the terrorist forces telling them how to avoid the Nicaraguan army detachments and attack undefended civilian targets.
Well, this was mentioned; you know, it wasn't publicized, but it was mentioned. And Americas Watch, which later became part of Human Rights Watch, made some protests. And Michael Kinsley responded. He condemned Americas Watch for their emotionalism. He said, we have to recognize that we have to accept a pragmatic criterion. We have to ask--something like this--he said, we have to compare the amount of blood and misery poured in with the success of the outcome in producing democracy--what we'll call democracy. And if it meets the pragmatic criterion, then terrorist attacks against civilian targets are perfectly legitimate--which is not a surprising view in his case. He's the editor of The New Republic. The New Republic, supposedly a liberal journal, was arguing that we should support Latin American fascists because there are more important things than human rights in El Salvador, where they were murdering tens of thousands of people.
That's the liberals. And, yeah, they can get in the media no problem. And they're praised for it, regarded with praise. All of this is part of the massive system of--you know, it's not that anybody sits at the top and plans at all; it's just exactly as Orwell said: it's instilled into you. It's part of a deep indoctrination system which leads to a certain way of looking at the world and looking at authority, which says, yes, we have to be subordinate to authority, we have to believe we're very independent and free and proud of it. As long as we keep within the limits, we are. Try to go beyond those limits, you're out.
(Source: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=12006, https://derbypa.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/the-real-news-chris-hedges-interviews-professor-noam-chomsky/)
37 Bible Verses about Prophet Muhammad
Songs of Solomon 5:16:- detailed explanation of original Hebrew. Why is a unique name identified in Hebrew translated? Muhammad (Peace be upon him) confirmed the message of all the Prophets (Peace be upon him) God is ONE and Unique. Do not allocate His authority to anything else for that will have no power should you turn to it. Even Jesus (Peace be upon him) said I do nothing of my own authority. Jesus was telling us he didn't give authority. God the Creator of all does.
It is the Bible that actual makes reference to the fact in its own passage that "the pens of the scribes have altered it" Google the verse. Jesus said there will be another Messenger to come. Jesus said I have come to only the Israelites...... the last messenger of that tribe to give them one more chance at honoring their covenant... but yet it was broken by the killing of John the Baptist, Zackyria and the attempt to kill Jesus. The covenant was broken by men not God
Watch video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2deuqEx4RQ
Deuteronomy 18:15 ESV / 142 helpful votes
“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen—
Isaiah 29:12 ESV / 140 helpful votes
And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot read.”
Deuteronomy 18:18 ESV / 74 helpful votes
I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.
John 14:15-16 ESV / 54 helpful votes
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,
Song of Solomon 5:16 ESV / 50 helpful votes
His mouth is most sweet, and he is altogether desirable. This is my beloved and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.
Matthew 24:11 ESV / 45 helpful votes
And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.
John 16:12-15 ESV / 43 helpful votes
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
John 15:26 ESV / 39 helpful votes
“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.
John 1:25 ESV / 27 helpful votes
They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
John 16:7 ESV / 25 helpful votes
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
1 John 4:1-2 ESV / 21 helpful votes
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,
Deuteronomy 18:19 ESV / 17 helpful votes
And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.
John 16:13 ESV / 15 helpful votes
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
Deuteronomy 18:18-20 ESV / 14 helpful votes
I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’
Genesis 25:18 ESV / 14 helpful votes
They settled from Havilah to Shur, which is opposite Egypt in the direction of Assyria. He settled over against all his kinsmen.
Matthew 7:16-20 ESV / 12 helpful votes
You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered fromthorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
Isaiah 28:11 ESV / 12 helpful votes
For by people of strange lips and with a foreign tongue the Lord will speak to this people,
Genesis 21:21 ESV / 11 helpful votes
He lived in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.
Genesis 16:12 ESV / 10 helpful votes
He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.”
John 4:1 ESV / 9 helpful votes
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Revelation 17:13 ESV / 8 helpful votes
These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast.
John 1:11 ESV / 8 helpful votes
He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
John 3:16 ESV / 6 helpful votes
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Psalm 84:4-6 ESV / 6 helpful votes
Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose hearts are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.
Matthew 7:15 ESV / 5 helpful votes
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
Exodus 20:25 ESV / 5 helpful votes
If you make me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stones, for if you wield your tool on it you profane it.
John 14:16 ESV / 4 helpful votes
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,
John 3:12 ESV / 4 helpful votes
If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
John 1:21 ESV / 4 helpful votes
And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”
Matthew 24:25-26 ESV / 4 helpful votes
See, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.
Revelation 16:13 ESV / 3 helpful votes
And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs.
James 4:1-4 ESV / 3 helpful votes
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
John 8:1-59 ESV / 3 helpful votes
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”...
Habakkuk 3:3 ESV / 3 helpful votes
God came from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran. His splendor covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. Selah
Isaiah 21:13-17 ESV / 3 helpful votes
The oracle concerning Arabia. In the thickets in Arabia you will lodge O caravans of Dedanites. To the thirsty bring water; meet the fugitive with bread, O inhabitants of the land of Tema. For they have fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow, and from the press of battle. For thus the Lord said to me, “Within a year, according to the years of a hired worker, all the glory of Kedar will come to an end. And the remainder of the archers of the mighty men of the sons of Kedar will be few, for the Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken.”
Isaiah 42:1 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.
Song of Solomon 5:10-16 ESV / 2 helpful votes
My beloved is radiant and ruddy, distinguished among ten thousand. His head is the finest gold; his locks are wavy, black as a raven. His eyes are like doves beside streams of water, bathed in milk, sitting beside a full pool. His cheeks are like beds of spices, mounds of sweet-smelling herbs. His lips are lilies, dripping liquid myrrh. His arms are rods of gold, set with jewels. His body is polished ivory, bedecked with sapphires. ...
AND NOW SEE WHAT A MUSLIM SCHOLAR HAS GATHERED FROM THE VERSES OF BIBLE FOR A WEBSITE:
Bible Verses about the Prophet Muhammad
"Those who follow the Apostle, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own Scriptures, in the Torah and the Gospel ...”
[Al-Qur'an 7:157]Islam and the Prophet's Connection to the Bible
Question: Does Islam and its Prophet and Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessing of God be upon him) have any historical links with the Bible (Gospel and the Old Testament)?
(All quotations are from the New King James Version.)
Yes, indeed there are many links. We quote as follows:
In the Old Testament, Genesis, 21:21 it is said: "He (Prophet Ishmael) dwelt in the Wilderness of Paran; and his Mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt."
Psalm 83: 4-6 talks about the enemies of among others Ishmaelites, and Hagrites (Hagar being the mother of Prophet Ishmael).
Psalm 84: 4-6 "4. Blessed are those who dwell in your House; They will still be praising You. 5. Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on the pilgrimage. 6. As they pass through the valley of Baca. They make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools."
There are several interesting points in the above verses. The name Baca could be Hebrew whereas the word Makkah is Arabic. Added to this the fact that there is a designated House of God built by Abraham, peace be upon him, in Makkah where yearly pilgrimage was performed from the time of Abraham and Ishmael, peace be upon them both, even to this day. The valley of Baca could indeed be the same as the valley of Makkah. The above verses seem to place Hagar, Ishmael and their children in the valley of Makkah where Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing of God be upon him, was born.
Isaiah, 21:12-17 mentions "12 ... In the forest in Arabia you will lodge ... 15 For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow, and from the distress of war." (Probable connection with the enemies mentioned in Psalm 83: 4-6 quoted above; also settlement in Arabia is confirmed; the verse 16 which follows, also confirms these verses are about Ishmaelites, Kedar being the 2nd son of Prophet Ishmael).
"16. For thus the Lord ... all the glory of Kedar will fall. 17. And the remainder ... people of Kedar will be diminished ...”
Isaiah 42:1-13 - These are very moving verses about "God's elect servant" who will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. A point worth noting is that Gentiles are the non-Jews and it was confirmed by Jesus, peace be upon him, that he was sent to the Jews. Moreover Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him, is consistently named by God as Mustafa which means 'elected' and 'Abd' which means 'servant'. Prophet Muhammad always referred to himself consistently as the 'Servant of God'. The above verses cannot be about Jesus, peace be upon him, as many Christians believe, for at least two reasons. Firstly, the Christians and the Catholics describe him as the son of God and not the servant of God; whereas Prophet Muhammad is known exclusively as the Servant and the Messenger of God. Secondly, Jesus was sent exclusively to the Jews whereas Prophet Muhammad was sent among the Gentiles.
References in the Bible about the Coming of the Prophet Muhammad
Question: Are there any references and citations from the Bible about the Coming of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him)?
Yes. There are several citations in the Bible prophesying the coming of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing of God be upon him. Isaiah 42:4 says, "He will not fail nor be discouraged, till he has established justice in the earth." The Ministry of Jesus, peace be upon him, lasted only three years and at the time of his departure from this world it could not be truthfully said that 'he established justice in the earth'. However, Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him, preached for 23 years and most certainly 'established justice in the earth' before he departed from the earth. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that verses 1-13 refer to the coming of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him.
Deuteronomy 18:18 "I will raise for them a Prophet like you (Moses) from among their brethren and will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them, all that I command him."
Let me make some comments about the above: Christians believe that this is a reference to Jesus, peace be upon him. One important word here is "Prophet". Christians believe Jesus is the son of God not a prophet of God. Another important word is "brethren". If it were Jesus the word would have been "children" because Jesus, peace be upon him, came from the children of Isaac. Since Ishmael, peace be upon him, was the brother of Isaac, peace be upon him, the reference is therefore to the children of Prophet Ishmael, peace be upon him, who will be brethren to the children of Isaac, peace be upon him. Again the only Prophet from the brethren of the Jews and the Christians was Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him. The next important phrase is “... like you (Moses)". Even a cursory comparison will show us that Jesus, peace be upon him, was very unlike Prophet Moses, peace be upon him. Prophet Moses' birth was natural whereas the birth of Jesus was miraculous without a father, to a virgin, peace be upon her. Prophet Moses married and had children; Jesus did not marry and of course did not have any children. The ministry of Jesus, peace be upon him, lasted three years and did not see the laws of God establish in his time. Prophet Moses, peace be upon him, preached the law of God for many decades and saw in his time, the law of God established. Comparing Prophet Moses, peace be upon him, with Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him, brings out an amazing similarity. Muhammad's birth was natural; he was married and had children; preached the law of God for 23 years and saw in his own time God's Law established in his land.
The phrase: "I will put My words in his mouth", takes on great significance because Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him, was unlettered; he did not know how to read or write. Normally God would put the message in the Prophet's mind. In this case attention is drawn towards "words" being put into the "mouth". Prophet Muhammad's sayings as well as eye witness accounts describe his receiving the verses of the Holy Qur'an, and his tongue moving with the words being put in his mouth.
Turning to the New Testament, let us look at John 14:15-16. It says: "15. If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16. And I will pray the Father and He will give you another 'comforter' (helper in other versions), that he may abide with you forever." Also John 15:26-27, John 16:5-8 and John 16:12-14.
Jesus, peace be upon him, spoke the Gospel in his native language which is Aramaic. The earliest translations were in Greek. It is very interesting that the Greek word which was eventually translated into English as "Comforter" (Helper) is "Parqaleeta" and the meaning of this word is "one whom people praise exceedingly". It does not mean "the Holy Ghost" which is what we are told the so called "Comforter" means. I do not have the slightest clue as to how this meaning was given to the word Parqaleeta. What is even more fascinating is the fact that the name Muhammad has exactly the same meaning as Parqaleeta "one whom people praise exceedingly"! One of my friends wrote very beautifully in his book about the meaning of the word Muhammad: "The most praised one. He is praised upon earth and in the heavens, from the beginning to the end, by men jinn and angels, rocks and trees and animals, by prophets before him since Adam, by saints until Doomsday. As all of this cannot give him due praise, we beg God to praise him. He is the only One who truly knows the value and the mystery of His Muhammad and He is the only One who can truly praise him." The celestial name of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him, is Ahmad. I will quote from the Holy Qur'an about the connection of Prophet Muhammad with the Bible as follows:
"And remember Moses said to his people: 'O my people! why do ye vex and insult me though ye know that I am the apostle of Allah (sent) to you?' Then when they went wrong Allah let their hearts go wrong: for Allah guides not those who are rebellious transgressors.
"And remember Jesus the son of Mary said: 'O Children of Israel! I am the Prophet of Allah (sent) to you confirming the Law (which came) before me and giving glad Tidings of a Prophet to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad.' But when he came to them with Clear Signs they said 'This is evident sorcery!' "
Allah is one of the 100 names of the One and only God. Allah is the name of His Essence while the other 99 are the names of His Attributes.
As for "abide with you forever" since Prophet Muhammad is the final Prophet and the Holy Qur'an the final Testament and Revelation from God, his teachings which are more or less the same as of all the other Prophets and Messengers of God, Divine teachings of God, he will abide in his teachings forever.
Bible Prophecies about the Advent of Muhammad
Abraham is widely regarded as the Patriarch of monotheism and the common father of the Jews, Christians and Muslims. Through his second son, Isaac, came all Israelite prophets including such towering figures as Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon, and Jesus. May peace and blessings be upon them all. The advent of these great prophets was in partial fulfillment promise to bless the nations of earth through descendants of Abraham (Genesis 12:2-3). Such fulfillment is wholeheartedly accepted by Muslims whose faith considers the belief in and respect of all prophets an article of faith.
Blessings of Ishmael and Isaac
Was the first born son of Abraham (Ishmael) and his descendants included in God's covenant and promise? A few verses from the Bible may help light on this question:
Genesis 12:2-3 speaks of God's promise to Abraham and his descendants before any child was born to him.
Genesis 17:4 reiterates God's promise after the birth of Ishmael and before the birth of Isaac.
In Genesis, Ch. 21, Isaac is specifically blessed but Ishmael was also specifically blessed and promised by God to become a "great nation" in Genesis 21:13,18.
According to Deuteronomy 21:15-17 the traditional rights and privileges of the first born son are not to be affected by the social status of the mother (being a "free" woman such as Sarah, Isaac's mother, or a "Bondwoman" such as Hagar, Ishmael's mother). This is only consistent with the moral and humanitarian principles of all revealed faiths.
The full legitimacy of Ishmael as Abraham's son and "seed" and the full legitimacy of his mother, Hagar, as Abraham's wife are clearly stated in Genesis 21:13 and 16:3. After Jesus, the last Israelite prophet, it was time that God's promise to bless Ishmael and his descendants be fulfilled. Less than 600 years after Jesus, came the last messenger of God, Muhammad, from the progeny of Abraham through Ishmael. God's blessing of both of the main branches of family tree was now fulfilled. But is there additional corroborating evidence that the Bible did in fact foretell the advent of Prophet Muhammad?
Muhammad: The Prophet Like Unto Moses
Long time after Abraham, God's promise to send the long awaited Messenger was repeated this time in Moses' words. In Deuteronomy 18:18, Moses spoke of the prophet to be sent by God who is:
From among the Israelite's "brethren", a reference to their Ishmaelite cousins as Ishmael was the other son of Abraham who was explicitly promised to become a "great nation".
A prophet like unto Moses. There were hardly any two prophets who were so much alike as Moses and Muhammad. Both were given comprehensive law code of life, both encountered their enemies and were victors in miraculous ways, both were accepted as prophets/statesmen and both migrated following conspiracies to assassinate them. Analogies between Moses and Jesus overlooks not only the above similarities but other crucial ones as well (e.g. the natural birth, family life and death of Moses and Muhammad but not of Jesus, who was regarded by his followers as the Son of God and not exclusively a messenger of God, as Moses and Muhammad were and as the Muslims belief Jesus was).
The Awaited Prophet was to Come from Arabia
Deuteronomy 33:1-2 combines references to Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. It speaks of God (i.e. God's revelation) coming from Sinai, rising from Seir (probably the village of Sa'ir near Jerusalem) and shining forth from Paran. According to Genesis 21:21, the wilderness of Paran was the place where Ishmael settled (i.e. Arabia, specifically Makkah). Indeed the King James Version of the Bible mentions the pilgrims passing through the valley of Ba'ca (another name for Makkah) in Psalms 84:4-6. Isaiah 42:1-13 speaks of the beloved of God. His elect and messenger who will bring down a law to be awaited in the isles and who "shall not fail nor be discouraged till he have set judgement on the earth." Verse 11 connects that awaited one with the descendants of Ke'dar. Who is Ke'dar? According to Genesis 25:13, Ke'dar was the second son of Ishmael, the ancestor of prophet Muhammad.
Muhammad's Migration from Makkah to Madinah: Prophesied in the Bible?
Habakkuk 3:3 speaks of God (God's help) coming from Te'man (an Oasis North of Madinah according to J. Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible), and the holy one coming from Paran. That holy one who was under persecution migrated from Paran (Makkah) to be received enthusiastically in Madinah was none but prophet Muhammad. Indeed the incident of the migration of the prophet and his persecuted followers is vividly described in Isaiah 21:13-17. That section foretold as well about the battle of Badr in which the few ill-armed faithful miraculously defeated the "mighty" men of Ke'dar, who sought to destroy Islam and intimidate their own folks who turned to Islam.
The Qur'an Foretold in the Bible?
For twenty-three years, God's words (the Qur'an) were truly put into Muhammad's mouth. He was not the "author" of the Qur'an. The Qur'an was dictated by Angel Gabriel who asked Muhammad to simply repeat the words of the Qur'an as he heard them. These words were then committed to memory and to writing of those who hear them during Muhammad's lifetime and under his supervision. Was it a coincidence that the prophet "like unto Moses" from the "brethren" of the Israelites (i.e. from the Ishmaelites) was also described as one in whose mouth God will put His words and that he will speak in the name of God (Deuteronomy 18:18-20). Was it also a coincidence the "Paraclete" that Jesus foretold to come after him was described, as one who "shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak" (John 16:13).
Was it another coincidence that Isaiah ties between the messenger connected with Ke'dar and a new song (a scripture in a new language to be sang unto the Lord (Isaiah 42:10-11). More explicitly, prophesies Isaiah "For with stammering lips, and another tongue, will he speak to this people" (Isaiah 28:11). This latter verse correctly describes the "stammering lips" of Prophet Muhammad reflecting the state of tension and concentration he went through at the time of revelation. Another related point is that the Qur'an was revealed in piece-meals over a span of twenty-three years. It is interesting to compare this with Isaiah 28:10 which speaks of the same thing.
That Prophet - PARACLETE - Muhammad
Up to the time of Jesus (peace be upon him), the Israelites were still awaiting that prophet like unto Moses prophesied in Deuteronomy 18:18. When John the Baptist came, they asked him if he was Christ and he said "no". Then they asked him if he was Elias and he said "no". Then in apparent reference to Deuteronomy 18:18, they asked him "Art thou that Prophet?" and he answered "no" (John 1:19-21).
In the Gospel, according to John (Chapters 14, 15, 16) Jesus spoke of the "Paraclete" or comforter who will come after him, who will be sent by Father as another Paraclete, who will teach new things that the contemporaries of Jesus could not bear. While the Paraclete is described as the spirit of truth (whose meaning resemble Muhammad's famous title Al-Amin, the trustworthy), he is identified in one verse as the Holy Ghost (John 14:26). Such a designation is however inconsistent with the profile of that Paraclete. In the words of the Dictionary of the Bible (Ed. J. Mackenzie) "Those items, it must be admitted do not give an entirely cohesive picture."
Indeed history tells us that may early Christians understood the Paraclete to be a man and not a spirit, This might explain the following who responded to some one who claimed, without meeting the criteria stipulated by Jesus , to be the awaited "Paraclete". It was Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) who was the Paraclete, Comforter, helper, admonisher sent by God after Jesus. He testified of Jesus, taught new things that could not be borne at Jesus' time, he spoke what he heard (revelation); he dwells with the believers (through his well-preserved teachings). Such teachings will remain forever because he was the last messenger of God, the only Universal Messenger to unite the whole of humanity under God and on the path of PRESERVED truth. He told of many things to come which "came to pass" in the minutest detail meeting, the criterion given by Moses to distinguish between true and false prophets (Deuteronomy 18:22). He did reprove the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgement (John 16:8-11).
Was the Shift of Religious Leadership Prophesied?
Following the rejection of the last Israelite prophet, Jesus, it was about time that God's promise to make Ishmael a great nation to be fulfilled (Genesis 21:13, 18).
In Matthew 21:19-21, Jesus spoke of the fruitless fig tree (A Biblical symbol of prophetic heritage) to be cleared after being given the last chance of three years (the duration of Jesus' ministry) to give fruit. In a later verse in the same chapter, Jesus said "Therefore, say I unto you, The Kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruit thereof" (Matthew 21:43). That nation of Ishmael's descendants (the rejected stone in Matthew 21:42) which was victorious against all super-powers of its time as prophesied by Jesus: "And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken, but on whosoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder" Matthew (21:44).
Out of Context Coincidence?
Is it possible that the numerous prophecies cited here are all individually and combined out of context misinterpretations? Is the opposite true, that such infrequently studied verses fit together consistently and clearly to point to the advent of the man who changed the course of human history, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him). Is it reasonable to conclude that all these prophecies, appearing in different books of the Bible and spoken by various prophets at different times were all coincidence? If this is so, here is another strange "coincidence"!
One of the signs of the prophet to come from Paran (Makkah) is that he will come with "tens of thousands of saints" (Deuteronomy 33:2 KJV). That was the number of faithful who accompanied Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him) to Paran (Makkah) in his victorious, bloodless return to his birthplace to destroy the remaining symbols of idolatry in the Ka'bah. Says God as quoted by Moses: "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which he shall speak in My name, I will require it of him." (Deuteronomy 18:19)
For latest research on the same topic in Urdu:
In a day and age when our society seeks heroes and searches for role models, it is encouraging to meet someone like Ron Wyatt. Best described as a modern-day "Indiana Jones," the Turkish government officially recognizes Ron as the explorer who has discovered Noah's Ark in the mountains of Ararat in eastern Turkey.
As you read this book you will be drawn into the intrigue that surrounds Mr. Wyatt's twelve year search for the Ark. His incredible experiences include being jailed as a spy and being shot at by terrorists. He was beaten, robbed and persecuted. While giving details and documentation of the search, this book also offers the reader an opportunity to share in the excitement of his incredible search and discovery.
The release of information about the discovery of the Ark has been kept to a minimum by the national press and the world media until preliminary work was completed to protect the historical remains. However, the Turkish government has given credibility to Mr. Wyatt's discovery by building a four lane highway to the site, along with a Visitors Center which is now open to the public.
The 20/20 television show has been to the discovery site with Mr. Wyatt and has filmed the remains of what they called "Noah's Big Boat". In recent months, Wyatt has been seen on hundreds of television stations across the United States.
In addition to Noah's Ark, Mr. Wyatt has discovered remains of Sodom and Gomorrah, chariot wheels in the Red Sea and the real Mt. Sinai. Now you can discover these and other thrilling archaeological discoveries in this exciting and informative book.
It is our desire to present you with information to assist you in a clearer understanding of the Biblical truth.
Michael D. Sheppard-Publisher
[World Bible Society]
Many controversies have persisted over the years; some are trivial, and some border on the ridiculous, but some are profound, affecting the very foundations of our beliefs. Those with the most far-reaching and persistent potentials concern the ancient history of mankind as presented in the Holy Bible.
I want to share with you the discovery of Noah's Ark. However, shortly after I became convinced of the authenticity of the Ark, I was divinely guided to several other discoveries which are equally astounding confirmations of the total infallibility of the Bible as Noah's Ark is. These great treasures, preserved by the Hand of God, I believe, are God's great "attention getters" for those who have been discouraged in total belief in the Word of God.
I first became interested in Noah's Ark in 1959 after reading an article in Life Magazine about a "mysterious boat-shaped object" photographed near Mt. Ararat. By 1975, I knew I was going to see this "formation" for myself; I believed it was possibly the remains of Noah's Ark.
In 1960, an expedition from the United States went to examine the object and returned after two days of research at the site with the verdict that it was a natural geological formation. There was nothing of any archaeological interest there.
In 1977, I made the first of 25 (to date) trips to Turkey, and after that first trip, I knew for sure. But gaining the evidence needed to convince the world was another matter.
Today, we have trainloads of evidence. However, it has become a great point of controversy among the ark-hunters. I've been criticized for everything from my methods of research to the fact that I don't speak in tongues. But it's been a small price to pay. I can say without a doubt the Bible is the inspired Word of God and is a historically accurate and reliable guide to the future.
RONALD E. WYATT
THE SEARCH IS OVER
On June 20, 1987, a group of Turkish government officials and scientists, a film crew from the United States, and an American archaeologist were gathered on a mountain side in the ancient kingdom of Urartu in eastern Turkey. The purpose of this gathering was the dedication of the area as a national park. The area seemed wild and remote; one had the feeling he was thousands of miles from civilization and thousands of years into the past. As shepherds guided their herds through the craggy mountains, the villagers went about their daily lives in stone dwellings reminiscent of a bygone era. The rolling mountains dominated the vast countryside which was broken by towering spires of stone that betrayed the seismic violence that had dominated the region at the dawn of civilization.
Then as one turned and lifted his gaze, the lofty grandeur of the cloud-enshrouded Agri Dagh (Ararat) filled the northern sky. This mystical mountain had for millennia spawned many grandiose and tragic legends of the abodes of the gods and the refuge of the survivors of a world devastated by a universal flood.
As the ceremony began, the guest of honor turned for a moment to gaze upon Agri Dagh's compelling beauty and marvelled as she seemed to pull her veil of clouds about her as a shroud. It was as if the mountain herself knew her deception had been revealed. A tear welled in his eye and found its way down his weathered face as he thought of the countless millions of human kind who had been and were still being swept to destruction by demon-inspired deceptions. These "cunningly devised fables"1 had been and will be enthusiastically received from lying lips by those "who loved not the truth." Millions had and will continue to pay dearly for "loving and believing a lie."2 The price: forfeiture of their eternal life.
The dedication of Noah's Ark National Park was festive. The government officials were delighted with the prospects of the influx of tourists and of more money with which to improve the lives of their people. The locals were happy with the good jobs made available through the construction of the new super highway leading to the visitor's center soon to be built overlooking the remains of Noah's Ark. The military officials were happily contemplating their responsibilities of providing safety for the countless visitors. The film crew were happily filming the joyous occasion while thoughts of fame and fortune danced through their minds. Ron Wyatt's silent tears of relief from years of opposition and struggle went unnoticed amid the mirth of the day.
THE YEARS OF RESEARCH... 1977 - 1987
"The night was hot and sultry in eastern Turkey; the heat and darkness seemed like co-conspirators with the danger exploding just outside our door...
"Ronny! Are you awake? We've gotta get outta here! Some of those villagers are trying to kill us!"
My younger son, Ronny was 15 at the time and had been sleeping in room 303 of the Erzurum Hotel in Dogubeyazit. My other son, Danny, then 17, and I were across the hall in room 308. When we heard the pummeling of heavily shod feet rushing up the stairs, I shouted commands for the boys to grab what they could and get into the room Ronny was in, which had a window that opened above the back roof. The window in our room had a fire escape of sorts, and we'd be sitting ducks if we stayed in there.
We grabbed what we could and barricaded ourselves in room 303 by shoving the bed against the door and pushing the chest between the bed and the wall. Little was spoken as our minds raced, trying to comprehend what was happening to us. We could hear the attempted use of a passkey in the lock as the door appeared to strain against the weight of the angry mob just outside, threatening to disintegrate and loose upon us the furious knot of assailants. Our mouths and throats were excruciatingly dry from the lack of safe drinking water and also from the rush of adrenaline propelled into our systems. Desperately, our minds cast about for any means of escape, and I wondered how my well-laid plans had deteriorated to this..."
That scenario took place during my first trip to Turkey in 1977. And it was that trip which provided me with the discoveries that proved to me the boat-shaped object I was in search of was indeed the remains of Noah's Ark. It would be another ten years of painstaking and costly research before the Turkish government was convinced the boat was real, but today the evidence is in, and soon the entire world will be able to see the Ark remains for itself. The multi-million dollar highway is near completion; this will provide visitors easy access to the site and the modern, spacious visitor's center above the Ark.
DETAILS OF THE SEARCH
During the summer of 1977, my two sons and I found ourselves at risk in a strange country amongst a people of strange speech. They attempted to rob and possibly kill us. (For the record, the same thing could and often does happen to tourists from other countries who visit our country and fall among the criminal element of our society.) This "nervousing experience", (a term coined by my youngest son, Ronny, that fit the situation quite accurately), was the beginning of many years of slow, meticulous, frustrating research that culminated in undeniable proof of the reality and location of the remains of Noah's Ark.
Our first trip to eastern Turkey produced a veritable landslide of discoveries and excitement and set the pace for a breathtakingly rapid sequence of discoveries that left us in a state of mind that had us mentally "pinching ourselves" from the difficulty of accepting the reality of it all!
Our discoveries on the 1977 trip included several massive, pierced anchor stones that bore an eight-cross iconographic representation of the eight survivors of the flood. These crosses were inscribed by the Byzantine and Crusader Christians, which proved that something or someone convinced them that these pierced stones were relics from the Ark of Noah. One of the stones bore the inscription of Nimrod, the builder of the tower of Babel and several great cities of early antiquity. These symbols of Nimrod were crosses with the outline of a boat (the Ark?) attached to the base of the cross. This symbolized his claim that he had preserved mankind in the face of their attempted destruction by the gods. The boat at the foot of the cross represented the means he claimed to have used to save mankind. The horizontal member of the cross represented heaven, and the vertical member of the cross represented the tower of Babel, which was the pathway to heaven he had promised his followers he would provide. After Nimrod's death, the boat symbol was placed at the top of the vertical member of the cross and is the symbol of life in the Egyptian hieroglyphics and the symbol of Nimrod's (Osirus) presence in heaven from whence he cares for his earthly followers.
We found two grave markers that bore the eight-cross symbols of Noah and his family above an ancient,petro glyphic portrayal of Noah's death on one marker and that of his wife on the other. These grave markers were in the front of a very ancient stone house. These markers and the house have been vandalized, and over one hundred million U.S. dollars worth of gold and gemstones were stolen from the graves. The Turkish authorities are seeking to recover these precious artifacts and to punish the thieves. At present, they are aware of the identity of the most probable person responsible for this outrage. He is a man who has been involved in the Ark search in the past, but he dropped from the public eye shortly after the theft from Noah's and his wife's graves.
We located and photographed several other inscriptions and physical remains of the flood and the Ark. We got a brief look at the boat remains before we were forced to flee for our lives. Upon our arrival back in the states, we had our super-eight movie film developed and were delighted to see that we had good photographic documentation of all the artifacts and inscriptions.
Shortly after our return, a friend called to inform me that an M.D. PhD (Dr. Bill Shea) from a university in Michigan had written several articles that stated his belief that the boat formation was related to the landing site of Noah's Ark. I contacted Dr. Bill Shea and shared our discoveries with him. He was delighted, reviewed the inscriptions, recognized the pierced stone anchors as probable relics from the Ark, and joined with me in applying to the Turkish government for permission to excavate the boat-shaped formation. The Turkish authorities declined to give us a permit at that time. We got the same reply after a second request. We were stymied.
My sons and I spent the summer of 1978 locating and documenting the site where Moses and the Habiru (Hebrew slaves, which included many of the descendants of Abraham by his three wives; Sarah, Hagar, and Keturah; these women are the fore-mothers of all the Arab and Jewish peoples) crossed the Red Sea.
Yet, all the while, we were unable to forget the fantastic discoveries associated with Noah's Ark. We, with some trusted friends, prayed that God would see fit to send an earthquake that would in some manner expose the boat formation for what it was without injury to any of the inhabitants of the area. Watching the evening news on the 28th of December, 1978, I was thrilled to see that an earthquake had hit the area where the Ark remains were located and that there had been no casualties! I made arrangements to return to the site, and arrived there in the early summer of 1979. The formation had been split down the middle along its entire length, and the earth had fallen away from its sides. This allowed me to take clean, fresh samples from five locations along the center and sides of the boat. It also made it possible to carefully measure the depth of the object along its length, and to document the dimensions of several of the main structural timbers that were exposed. I photographed the formation and its exposed structures and returned home with a veritable treasure-trove of archaeological data and specimens!
Galbraith Laboratories of Knoxville, Tennessee was highly recommended, and it was to them I entrusted the care and analysis of these precious samples. The results were astounding! The raw carbon3 content showed the object to be composed of decayed wood, and a high concentration of oxidized metal was shown. We had taken three samples from the site at distances that guaranteed them to be out of the geological influence of the boat remains. These compared favorably with chemical values of normal countryside and proved that the boat formation was composed of decayed and oxidized archaeological remains!
I shared this data with Bill Shea, and on the strength of this evidence, we made reapplication to the Turkish authorities and were again put off. Dr. Shea and I decided that the high metallic contents of the formation warranted evaluation (investigation) with metal detection devices. We contacted Whites Electronic Corporation of Sweet Home, Oregon and were supplied with their best-quality metal detection equipment. This was done during the interval between 1979 and 1984.
Again, my sons and I were working in the Middle East, documenting the methods used by the ancient Egyptians to build the pyramids. During the fall of 1983 I became aware that Colonel James Irwin of High Flight Foundation, located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was searching for the remains of Noah's Ark. I contacted him by phone and was invited to visit him and to share the details of our research with him. He was "intrigued" by our research and wanted to see the boat formation and possibly work with us on the investigation and documentation of the Red Sea crossing site, pyramid building, and the Ark of the Covenant. He, Mary, (his wife), and their family are wonderful friends, and we have highly valued their friendship. It was Colonel Irwin, I believe, who helped get my sons and me out of prison in Saudi Arabia, where we had been mistakenly accused of being Israeli spies! The details of the discovery of the real Mt. Sinai include the altar, the twelve pillars of stone (22x18 ft. double-walled towers of stone), plus the remains of a twelve columned, white marbled shrine, dedicated to the "Mountain Of God" (Yahweh) and twelve petroglyphs of Hathor and Apis, the cow and bull gods of Egypt (the golden calf).
In August, 1984, accompanied by Colonel Jim Irwin and armed with the deep probe metal detectors courteously provided by Whites Electronics, we returned to the boat formation. (Another well-known electronics firm promised us some metal detection equipment, but to date we haven't received it.) In the company of Colonel Irwin, Marvin Steffins, Bulant Atalay, "Whatcha" McCullum, a military escort and a Turkish army officer, Orhan Basar, I demonstrated a pattern of metals and/or their oxides that showed the outline of a boat in the formation. The army officer, under my direction, took several small samples from metal brackets and petrified timbers.
Mr. Steffins called a news conference a few days later, displayed some bags of specimens "from Noah's Ark", and claimed the discovery. This triggered an international "incident" that resulted in my being accused of stealing archaeological treasures from Turkey by Ted Koppel on A.B.C.'s NIGHTLINE, the night of August 27, 1984! A call to the Turkish mission at the U.N. led to my exoneration by the MINISTER OF CULTURE AND TOURISM, MUKERREM TASCIOGLU, in an A.P. interview on August 30, 1984. When the "incident" blew over, we proceeded with the analysis of the samples per agreement with the Turkish authorities. The results of these analyses confirmed those taken in 1979 and proved that the formation contained a massive, ancient boat that was built of massive, wooden timbers held in place by many massive, metal brackets and spikes!
From the data accumulated from 1977-1984 I was able to construct a scale model of Noah's Ark. In fact, we built several models, presenting one to the governor of Agri providence, The Honorable SEVKET EKINCI, and another of the models is stored in Ankara for presentation to PRESIDENT KENNAN EVEREN when the opportunity arises.
In the winter of 1985 I received calls from DAVID FASOLD, a specialist in old boat research and identification, and JOHN BAUMGARDNER, PhD., a geophysicist from Los Alamos National Laboratories. I invited them to accompany me to the site later in the year. David introduced the Molecular Frequency Generator into the research, and along with the equipment from Whites Electronics, it identified the massive structure of a boat enclosed within the boat formation!
During July and August of 1985, with financial assistance arranged by Dr. Baumgardner and accompanied by David Fasold, John Baumgardner, Tom Anderson, Maylon Wilson, Tom Thaxton, Tom Jarriel, Jim Burroughs, Niel Richline, George House, Judith Moses (ABC's 20/20 producer) and others, (those included on my permit from the Turkish government were: David Fasold, John Baumgardner, Normajean Baumgardner, Thomas Anderson, Todd Fisher, Scott Snider, William Shea, Fredrich Bach, Klaus Wattenbach, Zafer Akcay) we planned to scan the formation with a SUBSURFACE INTERFACE RADAR SYSTEM. This system was developed by GEOPHYSICAL SURVEYS SYSTEMS INC. of Hudson, New Hampshire and was accompanied by their geologist, Tom Fenner. The preliminary survey and lay out of the site progressed smoothly. We were accompanied by a group of 30 Turkish Commandos, who hid in the surrounding countryside for our protection. Turkish intelligence had informed me that an attempt would likely be made to kidnap or kill Colonel Irwin and/or myself. The attempt made by some Iranian terrorists resulted in the deaths of five terrorists and three Turkish soldiers! Martial law was declared in the area, our plans were trashed, and the radar scan waited until later that fall.
We surveyed the site with three types of metal detectors and two subsurface radar systems. Their data, along with core drilling samples, proved beyond any doubt that a VERY LARGE, (515 FEET) VERY ANCIENT BOAT (IDENTIFIED BY INSCRIPTIONS AS NOAH'S ARK) LIES WITHIN THE BOAT FORMATION!
A SUMMARY OF THE EVIDENCES
The Turkish government has meticulously observed and kept records of the activities and claims of all who have "looked for Noah's Ark" over the last 50 years. They followed our research (by our invitation) and STEP BY SCIENTIFIC STEP became convinced of the reality of the remains of NUH'UN GEMISI (Noah's Ark) buried within the boat formation.
The reasons which convinced the Turkish government and POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE REMAINS OF THE LARGE ANCIENT BOAT WITHIN THE BOAT FORMATION AS THOSE OF NOAH'S ARK are as follows:
1. The formation was positively identified as a boat by a number of skilled photogrammetry experts from a set of aerial photographs. In a quote from Rene Noorbergen's book "The Ark File", Dr. Arthur Brandenburger, professor of photogrammetry at Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, stated after careful study of the photo of the site, "I have no doubt at all that this object is a ship. In my entire career I have never seen an object like this on a stereo photo."
Dr. Brandenburger went on the 1960 expedition to the site, and after the team returned home with the verdict that there was nothing there of any archaeological interest, Dr. Brandenburger was still not convinced. In further quotes from the above book, he says later, "Our measurements in the field verify our laboratory findings. In my opinion further study of this peculiar symmetrical phenomenon should be made by an expert in tectonics."
"Meanwhile, I have received my developed colored slides of the ship-shaped formation, and I still must say it is an amazing feature. It is doubtless a mystery, and I come always more to the conclusion that our official statement to the press was too negative. The interpretation of the formation is of utmost difficulty, and I am not anymore so sure that, from a serious scientific standpoint, a sole surface archaeological investigation of only two days entitles us to state that the formation is not the ark."
Dr. Brandenburger was exactly right.
2. Twelve years of electronic and mechanical probing has positively identified it as a boat.
3. Repeated chemical analysis of many different samples, taken at different times by different people and analyzed at different laboratories, positively prove it to be composed of very ancient wood and metal.
4. Samples of petrified wood have been located and taken from the structure in the presence of many witnesses. In addition to previous tests, I have additional samples which have metal brackets and rust, which were videoed as they were retrieved from the boat. I will have them tested at various testing facilities in the future and in the presence of witnesses.
5. A large number of ancient and medieval inscriptions near the site positively identify it as Noah's Ark. There will be more on these inscriptions in our later book, which will include photographs.
6. Its 515 foot length, its 138 foot width (splayed) are the measurements of Noah's Ark as recorded by Moses (educated to use the ancient Egyptian cubit) in the Book of Genesis. See an explanation under "Questions I Am Most Frequently Asked About Noah's Ark".
7. It is located in the mountains of Urartu (Ararat) as specified in the Bible.
8. Its location at an elevation of 6300 feet above sea level is above any possible height reachable by a "local flood" but is below the maximum water level that would result from all the water of our planet washing the earth's surface (7000-8000 feet).
9. Its location, many miles from any present or ancient body of water that would support it, defies any other explanation.
10. Its massive size and weight make it impossible that it could have been "trundled" (dragged) this distance from water and its altitude above present and past sea levels defies any other explanation.
11. Contrary to a touched up photograph, which has been widely circulated, it's the only formation of its kind on planet earth, other than remains of other ancient boats of much smaller size.
12. Your writer, in the presence of Turkish authorities and other observers, performed an electronic survey of a site that some of our critics said resembled the boat formation (the similarities were vague at best, nonexistent in actuality); the metal detectors and sub-surface radar scans showed nothing in the site that were not present anywhere in the area.
13. A careful electronic survey of the area around the formation showed none of the structures present in the formation.
14. Chemical analysis of the area around the formation showed only normal traces of the metallic oxides and organic carbon which are present in large amounts in the formation.
15. Train-loads of petrified wood are present in the formation, but there is little to be found in the rest of eastern Turkey.
16. Many ancient historians record that the remains of Noah's Ark were to be visited in this area.
QUESTIONS I AM MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED ABOUT NOAH'S ARK
1) The "object" you claim is the remains of Noah's Ark is about 515 feet long and 138 feet wide. The Bible says the Ark was 300 cubits long and 50 cubits wide. I always believed that would mean the Ark would have been 450 feet long by 75 feet wide. How do you explain this discrepancy with the Bible?
Answer: This is one of the most exciting confirmations of the authenticity of the object being the Ark, in my estimation! The Bible tells us how Noah's offspring eventually migrated to what became Babylon, and then at the confusion of languages, Ham's descendants migrated to what became Egypt. The Encyclopedia Britannica (1985 edition) states:
"although there is evidence that many early civilizations devised standards of measurements and some tools for measuring, the Egyptian cubit is generally recognized as having been the most ubiquitous standard of linear measurement in the very ancient world."
The royal Egyptian cubit was 20.62 inches. Now, if we consider the Biblical statement that Moses was "learned in all the wisdom of Egypt" - Acts 7:22, as the author of Genesis, he would have been referring to the only cubit he knew. 300 cubits = 515.5 feet. 50 cubits = 85.9 feet. The measurement of the length of the boat, taken in August, 1985 by Maylon Wilson and Baumgardner of Los Alamos Laboratory with sophisticated measurement devices, showed the inside length of the boat to be 515.7 feet! David Fasold's measurement of the same was exactly 515 feet!
The width of 138 feet, (my measurement and also David's) may at first seem to present a problem until we consider it carefully. The boat is splayed. The height given in the Bible is 30 cubits or 51.55 feet.
The width is given as 50 cubits or 85.916 feet. The total of both sides plus the width is 189.016 feet -far too wide. But if the hull of the ship was exactly half the entire height of the boat, and the hull splayed outward, the width would be 137.466 feet! Our later metal detection results confirmed these figures as well as the sub-surface interface radar scans.
2) I understand that other creationists have stated that what you claim to be petrified wood extending from the formation cannot possibly be wood. Isn't it a simple matter to prove something is petrified wood?
Answer: Yes it is, normally. Let me refer you to the section on "The Geology of the Earth" for an explanation on the petrification process. However, part of the identification of a petrified object is visual. If it looks like a shell, chances are it's a shell. If it looks like wood, then it's wood. But there's a problem with this wood - it looks like wood except for one thing; it has no growth rings. Now, if we truly believe the Biblical description of the earth before the flood, we know that there couldn't possibly be any growth rings in pre-flood wood4. In "The New Larousse Encyclopedia of the Earth", page 369, we read:
"To support trunks of six-foot base diameter and 60-to 100- foot height, tissues must have increased in thickness from year to year. There was, as we have already said secondary- bark and wood, similar to that of modern trees but lacking the spring and winter rings which correspond to seasonal alternation of moisture and dryness."
This is in reference to ancient sigillarias found without any growth rings. But isn't it a pity that I had to go to a book that refers to the earth's age in "millions of years" to find a reference corroborating the fact that these fossils have been found without growth rings? If growth rings were in the wood of the Ark, it would be a fake or replica.
3) What about laboratory testing of samples from the Ark; have you had this done?
Answer: Yes, I obtained samples from the boat itself and from the land around the Ark. I had several of these samples tested at Galbraith Labs in Knoxville, Tennessee. Just like medical tests, these results have to be read and interpreted by people trained to do so, so I will quote William Shea, M.D. PhD. Professor of Archaeology and History of Antiquity, in his report to the Turkish government dated February 20, 1987:
"The formation was struck by an earthquake in December of 1978. As a result it was cracked lengthwise and partially split open. This opening made it possible for Wyatt to obtain relatively fresh internal soil samples from it when he returned to the site in September of 1979. In a test run on this sample, along with another sample taken from the field outside of the formation, the organic carbon content was measured. The soil from the formation tested at 4.95% while the soil from the field around the formation tested at 1.88%. This degree of difference is consistent with the prior presence of some organic matter (like wood) in the formation."
Since then, I have had numerous other specimens tested with similar results, which I will publish at a later date. Also, these tests revealed extremely high metallic contents, which caused me to wonder if there might not be metal in the Ark itself. This led to the future metal detection testing which revealed the fantastic structure of a massive boat.
4) Explain the metal detection tests and how it could prove any internal structure. Couldn't it just be trace metal in the soil?
Answer: No. On the Ark, the metal detecting equipment gave positive readings on its calibrated dial and by sound at numerous points all over the boat. We were able to determine that there was significant amounts of metal present and that it appeared to be in a pattern. The testing of the surrounding area was completely negative. In May of 1985, John Baumgardner and David Fasold, a marine salvor from Florida, accompanied me to the site, and with the metal detectors and David's new type of metal detector, a molecular frequency generator, we mapped out the metal readings with plastic tapes. It revealed a distinct linear subsurface pattern. We repeated this again in August of 1985, with John Baumgardner and myself accompanied this time by Maylon Wilson, also of Los Alamos Laboratories, and Tom Anderson, a lawyer from Indio, California, who filmed the entire event. We videoed the tests ourselves on both occasions and photographed it thoroughly.
On the outer wall of the boat, striations appear which are keenly visible along the east side of the upper portion and the west side of the lower portion. On the striations, the metal readings were positive while the spaces between were totally negative.
5) What about the radar scans you mention? What exactly is sub-surface interface radar, and what did the use of it prove?
Answer: Without getting highly technical, this type of radar works by the generation of an electromagnetic pulse which is radiated into the earth from a broad band width antenna. This pulse can be focused to a particular depth where it is then reflected back and recorded on a graphic recorder similar to an EKG. Quite a sophisticated device, it requires training to operate and to read the results accurately. I received thorough training at Geophysical Survey Systems, Inc. in Hudson, New Hampshire. The first scan took place in July of 1986. On this expedition were myself, Baumgardner and Anderson from the August, 1985 expedition, as well as Mrs. Baumgardner, Dr. William Shea of Andrews University and two cameramen, Todd Fisher and Scott Snider, from Los Angeles. This radar scan confirmed, with astounding detail, the same pattern demonstrated by the metal detectors. Where it was remotely possible to have incorrectly connected the lines resulting from the metal detectors, the radar scan showed what can only be identified as a keel, keelsons and bulkheads from a boat of tremendous size.
6) What do the scientists and other experts you have taken to the "boat" say; do they believe it is the Ark?
Answer: One who is totally convinced is David Fasold. David has written a book entitled "The Ark of Noah" which details much of our research, and while we disagree on some matters I don't feel are significant or cause for doubt as to the identity of the boat, I highly recommend it. He is meticulously thorough in his research and recording of the data. I must give David a great deal of credit in the research and wish to add he was the most enjoyable person I have ever worked with. He knew the first time he laid eyes on it that it was a boat. And he's an expert in shipwrecks.
Dr. William Shea has worked with me on this from the very beginning. He is a professional in the field of archaeology and ancient history and most open-minded to facts. While I have not a statement from him recently, I will quote from an article he wrote for "Archaeology and Biblical Research", Winter, 1988, entitled "Noah's Ark?" on page 14:
"... The last half of the list point to the general conclusion that the remains of a ship appear to be present in this formation. The first half are of a more specific nature that would connect the remains of such a ship with the Ark of Noah described in Genesis. The progressive convergence of these various lines of evidence seem to confirm the conclusion that some of the remains of Noah's Ark lie within this unusual formation."
Dr. John Baumgardner appears to have changed his mind about what he believes. So as to avoid misquoting him I will quote from David's book, "The Ark of Noah":
"John didn't hear the remark. I think he was off someplace in Tubal-cain's foundry five thousand years ago. He held in his hand a piece of wrought iron. The grain of the stretched and hammered angle bracket still clearly visible.
It was complete pandemonium after that. Once John knew what to look for, fittings were all over the place. He could walk down the top of the wall with the detector going beep, beep every two or three steps. Now it was the trained eye of a scientist, looking for things out of place in the natural covering of the mud, followed by his 'Look at this!' growing in excitement. I kept the video going as I ran around, stumbling behind him, then moved to the mound to record his discoveries from a distance to give perspective to the viewer. No sooner had I left him when he suddenly yelled, 'Undecomposed iron!'
I ran down the mound again and crouched to my knees. I zoomed in on the mud wall. There, surrounded by the brown matrix of mud, was a perfectly rectangular beam end of a bluish-gray agglomeration of small rough stones. The upper and lower right corners were absolutely square, and projecting from within were what appeared to be iron flakes which had given the signals."
The results of the analysis on that metal bracket are recorded also in David's book:
"I hurriedly opened the first-class envelope labeled 'Los Alamos National Laboratory.' It contained thesemi quantitative analysis of the iron samples we had recovered from the Ark. The stoichiometric results were impressive, with the seven running from 60 percent through 91.84 percent FE203. The highest reading was obtained from an angular bracket."
Later we read of a news broadcast which David meticulously recorded:
"Soon there followed daily broadcasts: '... has this report on what the scientists have found so far... could this be the final resting place of Noah's Ark? ... Dr. John Baumgardner, a geophysicist at the Los AIamos Research Lab in New Mexico... using a metal detector, Baumgardner has been able to confirm the existence of metal at regular intervals. Baumgardner says he believes that metal is at the points where these lines intersect, giving rise to speculation metal was used in the infrastructure of the craft.'"
Finally, when our local newspaper here in Nashville did a story on the Ark on August 16, 1989, I gave them his name and told them to call him. From "The Tennessean":
"A former Wyatt colleague, geophysicist John Baumgardner of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, N.M. said the intriguing hieroglyphics and high levels of iron oxides found there are 'very encouraging', but the evidence is still too meager to make any conclusions."
"The amazingly symmetrical shape of the site can be explained by the flow of mudslides in the area over time."
But my favorite "critic" of not only the site but myself, was also contacted at my request and quoted in the same article:
"'As much as I want to believe it, I have to say the formation is rock from top to bottom, and anyone knowledgeable who steps onto it knows that,' said John Morris, head of the Creation Science Institute in San Diego.
'The main problem with Wyatt is he's too free with his conclusions and hasn't submitted his data to independent researchers. He's not a geologist.'"
7) I don't see how these anchor stones prove it's the Ark. If they are several miles from the site you claim is the Ark, how does that prove anything?
Answer: The anchor stones have tremendous significance in more ways than one. First of all, they are by far the largest anchor stones ever found in the history of the world. The leading authority on anchor stones is considered to be Honor Frost, who in 1973 published, "Ancore, the Potsherd of Marine Archaeology: On the Recording of Pierced Stones from the Mediterranean". Based on her thorough research, we learn that 700 kgs. or 1,543 lbs. is one of the heaviest, if not the heaviest, anchor stone ever found. That is until these. One of the largest I've found is almost 11 feet tall, but the average height is 10 feet by a 5 foot width. David Fasold, in his book, estimates the average weight of these anchor stones to be 8,700 lbs.
To date, there are 13 of these that I have seen. There are several more that I believe to be anchors, but they are partially buried in an upright position and exhibit some of the same characteristics as those we are sure of. Eight of them have the inscriptions which make it evident that some people at some point in time made a direct connection between these and Noah and the Ark. However, some people suggest that whoever carved the crosses probably carved the anchor stones. I know this is definitely not the case, as when I was at the site in April, I found two more anchor stones which were buried and just barely surfacing for obviously the first time and these did not have any crosses or any other carvings on them!
As for the placement of these anchor stones, it becomes quite evident that as the Ark drifted between two submerged peaks in a ridge of small mountains, the first two anchors snagged and tethered the boat until Noah removed the covering and saw the tops of the mountains. We found a large piece of petrified bark in the same vicinity which I believe to be a portion of that covering. He then cut them loose, leaving them on the two peaks, a short distance apart. As the boat made a direct line through these mountains toward its final resting place, seven more anchors, and probably more, were cut loose and landed near, if not exactly, where they are at present. The village where five of these are located is in a direct line with the twin peaks of the ridge where the first two dropped. The two that are buried are also in this direct line, and finally about eight miles further, about 1/4 mile below the boat, lies the 10th one.
These anchor stones are far too large to be carried by men. It has been suggested that they aren't anchors at all and that the holes are the means by which they were dragged to their present locations. This is impossible, as the location and size of the holes are such that out of water they would break right off under the tremendous stress. Only in the buoyancy of the water could they be held by ropes. Of interest also is the fact that the holes have a larger inner diameter than outer; when the ropes were secured through the holes, knots were tied inside the "scooped-out" hole, and as the water swelled the knotted rope, it was prevented from rubbing and eventually wearing the rope in two from the friction.
8) If the Turkish government has really agreed with your finding and declared that this is really the Ark, why hasn't the whole world heard about it? Why are the other ark searches still going on?
Answer: As you read at the beginning of this book, they announced it in their own newspapers. But before they publicized a fact such as this on a worldwide scale, they built a visitor's center and are still working on what is at least a six- and possibly eight-lane highway which leads to the site. This is a remote area. There isn't any quick and easy way to get there from Erzurum; you have to go by "taksi" or bus for at least a good four to five hours. While there are a few hotels in the area, there are certainly not enough for a sudden and tremendous influx of tourists. The Turkish government will make the announcement as soon as they are ready. The biggest problem they are facing at the present is the theft of great archaeological treasures from this area. I mentioned the theft of Noah's wife's grave; I was contacted directly to see if I had any knowledge of who could have done such a thing and was told that one piece of jewelry had sold on the black-market in Istanbul for $75,000,000.00! Of course, it had to be quite an incredible piece, and the description of it alone was more than a person could comprehend. The locals have discovered that tourists will buy anything with a cross inscribed on it, so they are breaking some of the artifacts up and selling them.
Then, they must consider the Ark itself. At present, there is no protection for it. People could begin breaking off pieces for souvenirs and destroy it very quickly in the delicate condition it is presently in. They do have a caretaker who has wild dogs guarding it now, but it could be a potentially destructive situation to encourage too much tourism at present. On my last visit in August of this year, I noticed they had even taken down the "Nuh'un Gemisi" sign which greeted visitors at the foot of the road leading to it. However, on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, 1988, Connie Chung mentioned on her brief "news break" that the Turkish government was going to make the announcement "sometime next year," meaning 1989, I presumed.
NOTE: ALL HIS DISCOVERIES HAVE BEEN PRESERVED ON THE FOLLOWING LINK: http://www.ronwyatt.com/noahs_ark.html
Did you know that eating a whole head of garlic a day does miracles for your body? Garlic – a simple ingredient with amazing health benefits. It stimulates the immune system and normalizes your gut flora. Growing up in Russia, from an early age, I learned that garlic was to be my first aid choice whether I was getting sick or just as a preventive measure. Nobody ever questioned its powers. Garlic is a powerful natural antibiotic. It Does Work! It kills a very large number of different bacteria. Garlic is widely used in folk and traditional medicine for the treatment of many diseases and ailments. The cultivation of garlic started about 5 thousand years ago. It was used by the Romans, Assyrians, Egyptians, Greeks, Jews, Arabs and many other cultures. Pythagoras called garlic “the king of spices”. The earliest known references indicate that garlic was an important part of the daily diet of the Egyptians. An Egyptian manuscript from that period includes 800 drugs, of which 22 were made with garlic.
Did you know that eating garlic on an empty stomach is actually really effective in preventing and treating many diseases?
Scientists have found that when you consume garlic on an empty stomach, it will only increase its power, making it an extremely powerful natural antibiotic. It happens because bacteria is exposed and cannot defend itself from succumbing to its power.
Use Garlic Instead of Antibiotics
Garlic is composed of nitrogenous substances, sodium, potassium, selenium, calcium, magnesium, silicon, sulfuric, phosphoric acid, vitamin C, D, B, phytosterols, extractives, and essential oils. Additionally, garlic is rich in phytoncides, such as allicin, which is formed by the mechanical destruction of plants that is – crushing or grinding cloves of garlic. According to some researchers, allicin has a strong bacteriostatic effect which helps cure infections faster. Garlic can also fight fungal infections, which makes garlic a much more valuable medicine than that of many of today’s antibiotics.
Garlic: Nature’s Original Remedy
Garlic contains more than four hundred different mineral components including many antioxidants which have a number of positive therapeutic properties.
10 Amazing Health Benefits of Garlic
- Garlic prevents aging and clogging of both major and peripheral arteries.
- The healing properties of garlic help reduce the level of bad cholesterol in the blood.
- It is very important to know that garlic strengthens the immune system, thus increases the body’s ability to withstand the harmful influences of the environment.
- Garlic kills a large number of various bacteria.
- Garlic helps protect against heart disease. Garlic reduces the synthesis of triglycerides in the liver which help prevent the development of atherosclerosis.
- Garlic lowers blood pressure and has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Garlic is a natural antibiotic and is an effective remedy for colds.
- It is recommended to use garlic for disorders of the nervous system.
- Garlic helps kill the cells of multiform glioblastoma’s – a malignant brain tumor.
- Garlic also acts as an anticoagulant, which thins the blood and prevents the formation of dangerous blood clots (helping to reduce the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
From Moldova to Palestine
By Alison Weir
In August Sweden’s largest daily newspaper published an article containing grisly evidence suggesting that Israel had been taking Palestinian internal organs. The article, by veteran photojournalist Donald Bostrom, called for an international investigation to discover the facts.
Israel immediately accused Bostrom and the newspaper of “anti-Semitism,” and charged that suggesting Israelis could be involved in the illicit removal of body parts constituted a modern “blood libel” (medieval stories of Jews killing people for their blood).
Numerous Israeli partisans repeated these accusations, including Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin, who asserted that the story was “merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of European funded and promoted anti-Israel hate.” Others suggested that the newspaper was “irresponsible” for running such an article.
The fact is, however, that Israeli organ harvesting – sometimes with Israeli governmental funding and the participation of high Israeli officials, prominent Israeli physicians, and Israeli ministries – has been documented for many years. Among the victims have been Palestinians.
Nancy Scheper-Hughes is Chancellor’s Professor of Medical Anthropology at the University of California Berkeley, the founder of Organ Watch, and the author of scholarly books and articles on organ trafficking. She is the pundit mainstream media call upon when they need expert commentary on the topic.
While Scheper-Hughes emphasizes that traffickers and procurers come from numerous nations and ethnicities, including Americans and Arabs, she is unflinchingly honest in speaking about the Israeli connection:
“Israel is at the top,” she states. “It has tentacles reaching out worldwide.”
In a lecture last year sponsored by New York’s PBS 13 Forum, Scheper-Hughes explained that Israeli organ traffickers, “had and still have a pyramid system at work that’s awesome...they have brokers everywhere, bank accounts everywhere; they’ve got recruiters, they’ve got translators, they’ve got travel agents who set up the visas.”
Lest this sound simply like a successful international concern, it’s important to understand the nature of such a business.
As Scheper-Hughes describes it, organ trafficking consists of “paying the poor and the hungry to slowly dismantle their bodies.”
Organ traffickers prey on the world’s poorest, most desperate citizens – slum dwellers, inhabitants of dying villages, people without means or hope. Traffickers promise them what seem like astronomical sums of money (from $1,000 to $10,000) – which they frequently don’t even deliver – in return for vital internal organs.
For traffickers, human body parts are commodities, to be cut out of the bodies of the poor and sold to the rich. The organ “donors” receive no follow-up care and end up worse off on many levels – physically, financially, psychologically, socially – than even their original tragic situation. Sometimes they are coerced into such “donations.”
Organ sales have been illegal in most countries for years. The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which covers prevention, enforcement and sanctions in trafficking of humans, includes in its definition of human exploitation the extraction of organs for profit. Israel finally passed legislation against organ trafficking in 2008.
In her Forum 13 lecture Scheper-Hughes discussed the two motivations of Israeli traffickers. One was greed, she said. The other was somewhat chilling: “Revenge, restitution – reparation for the Holocaust.”
She described speaking with Israeli brokers who told her “it’s kind of ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. We’re going to get every single kidney and liver and heart that we can. The world owes it to us.’”
Scheper-Hughes says that she “even heard doctors saying that.”For many years Israelis in need of an internal organ have gone on what experts call “transplant tourism” – traveling to other nations to obtain internal organs. Sometimes body parts are obtained from those freshly dead; more often from the desperately needy. While affluent people from numerous countries and ethnicities engage in this practice, Israel is unique in several significant ways.
First, Israelis engage in this at an extraordinarily high rate. According to a 2001 BBC report, Israelis buy more kidneys per capita than any other population.
Second, Israelis have the lowest donor rate in the world – one-fifth that of Europe, according to BBC. This is in part because there has been a widespread impression that Jewish religious law prohibits transplants as a “desecration of the body.” The Israeli news service Ynet reports, “the percentage of organs donated among Jews is the lowest of all the ethnic groups.”
Third, the Israeli government has enabled the practice. For many years the Israeli health system subsidized its citizens’ “transplant holidays,” reimbursing Israelis $80,000 for medical operations abroad. Much of the remaining costs could often be obtained from government-subsidized13 Israeli insurance plans. In addition, Israel’s Ministry of Defense was directly involved.
Scheper-Hughes discussed Israeli organ trafficking in detail in 2001 in published testimony to the Subcommittee on International Relations and Human Rights of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. In her extensive testimony, Scheper-Hughes stated that although Israel had become a pariah for its organ policies, Israeli officials exhibited “amazing tolerance...toward outlawed ‘transplant tourism.’”
She described an international syndicate which was “organized through a local business corporation in conjunction with a leading transplant surgeon, operating out of a major medical center not far from Tel Aviv,” and which had forged links with transplant surgeons in Turkey, Russia, Moldavia, Estonia, Georgia, Romania, and New York City.
The Israeli Ministry of Defense was directly involved in what Scheper-Hughes called Israel’s “‘illicit [in other nations] national ‘program’ of transplant tourism...Members of the Ministry of Defense or those closely related to them” accompanied transplant junkets.
In her Forum 13 lecture, Scheper-Hughes said that investigating Israeli organ trafficking over the past decade had taken her “from country to country to country to country.”
One of these is Moldova, the poorest country in Europe – and homeland of Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman – where 90 percent of the people earn less than $2 a day. A 2001 BBC report on organ trafficking described the situation: “Hundreds of Israelis have created a production line that starts in the villages of Moldova, where men today are walking around with one kidney.
Another is Brazil, where a legislative commission found that 30 [it may actually have been as high as 60] Brazilians from impoverished neighborhoods had sold their kidneys to a trafficking ring headed by Israelis, with Israeli citizens receiving almost all of the organs, and the Israeli government providing most of the funding.
The ring had also begun inquiring about buying other vital organs from poor residents, including lungs, livers and corneas.
An Inter Press Service (IPS) news story from the time reported that Scheper-Hughes testified to the commission that international trafficking of human organs had begun some 12 years earlier, promoted by ZakiShapira, head of kidney transplant services at Bellinson Medical Center, near Tel Aviv.
Scheper-Hughes reported that Shapira had performed more than 300 kidney transplants, sometimes accompanying his patients to other countries such as Turkey. The recipients were very wealthy or had very good health insurance, and the “donors” very poor people from Eastern Europe, the Philippines and other developing countries.
The chairman of the Brazilian commission, physician Raimundo Pimentel, was outraged at Israeli policies, pointing out that trafficking can only take place on a large scale if there is a major source of financing, such as the Israeli health system. Pimentel charged that the resources provided by the Israeli health system “were a determining factor” in enabling a network that preyed on society’s poorest populations.
In 2004 there were reports that Israeli traffickers had added China to their target donor populations. In one recent case an Israeli paid an organ broker $100,000 for a kidney transplant in China from an 18-year-old Chinese girl. She received $5,000 and died following surgery.
New York Times reporter Larry Rohter pointed out that allowing brokers to operate with few restrictions benefited Israel “by exporting Israel’s organ shortage overseas.” Rohter cites a kidney specialist at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem who explained that patients who go abroad “‘save the country a lot of money; not only in terms of what doesn’t have to be spent on dialysis, but also by opening places for other people who are on the list.’”
Many people find governmental complicity in organ trafficking deeply troubling on moral and philosophical grounds.
As Scheper-Hughes testified: “The sale of human organs and tissues requires that certain disadvantaged individuals, populations, and even nations have been reduced to the role of ‘suppliers.’
“It is a scenario in which only certain bodies are broken, dismembered, fragmented, transported, processed, and sold in the interests of a more socially advantaged population...of receivers.” She believes that the risks and benefits of organ transplant surgery should be more equally distributed among nations, ethnic groups, and social classes.
It is difficult to know how often Israeli trafficking involves outright theft of vital organs from living human beings.
It is not rare for the “donor” to receive little or none of the compensation promised. For example, in 2007 Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported that two Israelis had confessed to persuading Palestinians “from the Galilee and central Israel who were developmentally challenged or mentally ill to agree to have a kidney removed for payment.” According to the Haaretz report, after the organ had been taken the traffickers refused to pay for them.
On occasion, people are coerced into giving up their organs. For example, Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, the alleged Brooklyn trafficker recently arrested in an FBI sweep in New Jersey, reportedly carried a gun. When a potential organ seller would try to back out, Rosenbaum would use his finger to simulate firing a gun at the person’s head.
The Rosenbaum case, reportedly part of a ring centered in Israel, is the first case of trafficking to be prosecuted in the US. His arrest and the substantial evidence against him may have surprised State Department Countermisinformation Director Todd Leventhal, who had characterized organ trafficking as an “urban legend,” stating, “It would be impossible to successfully conceal a clandestine organ-trafficking ring.” Leventhal called such reports “irresponsible and totally unsubstantiated.”
More often organ theft involves dead bodies – or those alleged to be dead.Israel’s very first successful heart transplant, in fact, used a stolen heart.
In 1968 AvrahamSadegat unexpectedly died two days after being hospitalized in Beilinson Hospital in Israel’s Petah Tikva for a stroke. When his family finally was able to retrieve his body (the hospital initially refused to release it) they found his chest covered with bandages; odd, they thought, for a stroke victim. Upon removing these they discovered that the chest cavity was stuffed with bandages and the heart was missing.
During this time, the Israeli press was heralding the historic heart transplant, performed by a team of surgeons who were to become some of Israel’s most celebrated physicians, among them Dr. Morris Levy, Dr. Bernardo Vidne, and Dr Jack Solomon, who harvested the heart.
When the family began to ask questions, the hospital denied any connection. After the man’s wife and brother had raised a media furor, petitioned three cabinet ministers – and agreed to sign a document that they would not sue – the hospital finally admitted it was Sadegat’s heart that had been used.
Haaretz quoted Sadegat’s tearful wife: “They treated him like an alley cat. From the moment he entered the hospital, they apparently saw him only as a potential source of organs and not as a man in need of treatment. They only thought about how to do the deed without us knowing.”
Sadegat’s medical condition before his heart was removed has not been made public. It is possible – perhaps probable – that up until his heart was removed it was still beating; according to an Israeli media report, “once a heart stops beating, it is no longer fit for transplantation.”
Even if he was what is now termed “brain dead,” the general view is that family members should at least be a party to decisions regarding the patient: first, whether to “pull the plug,” and, second, whether to donate an organ. At the time, however, Israeli law allowed organs to be harvested without the family’s consent.
Forty years later the hospital held an anniversary celebration of the transplant, despite the fact that, according to Haaretz, the heart had been obtained “through deceit and trickery.” The festivities, which honored surviving members of the transplant team, featured balloons and a red, heart-shaped cake.
In this incident of organ theft (and from a possibly living body), the family was Israeli. Had the wife and brother been Palestinians from the West Bank or Gaza, they would not have possessed the power to force a confession from the hospital, and it is likely that those individuals today calling the Swedish article a “blood libel” or “irresponsible journalism” would have applied the same epithets to journalists reporting questions concerning the historic Israeli heart transplant – if any reporters even bothered or dared to do so.
Yehuda Hiss, keeper of the morgue
Perhaps one of the most long-term and high-level cases of organ theft – and one that involves Palestinian as well as Israeli organs – concerns an extraordinarily high official: Dr. Yehuda Hiss, Israel’s chief pathologist and, from 1988 through 2004, director of Israel’s state morgue, the L. Greenberg Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir.
An early indication of malfeasance came to light in 1998 and concerned a Scottish man named Alisdair Sinclair, who had died under questionable circumstances after being taken into custody at Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport.
The Israeli story, as reported by the Israeli news magazine Jerusalem Report, is that Sinclair had confessed to transporting drugs, even though none were found, although he was in possession of 9,000 German marks ($5,000). He then, the police claim, hanged himself by looping his shoelaces and T-shirt around a towel bar about a meter off the ground and slipped the improvised noose around his neck. From a squatting position, the police story goes, he repeatedly threw his bodyweight downward, choking himself.
Sinclair did not die, however, and medics were able to restore a heartbeat. He was transferred to a hospital where, according to the magazine report, the hospital’s associate director, Dr. YigalHalperin, said that Sinclair “had suffered irreversible brain damage, and there was little doctors could do for him. Left in a corner of the emergency room, he died at 7 p.m. [It’s unknown whether he had been put on life support.] His corpse was transferred to the Institute for Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir for an autopsy.”
Afterwards, Israeli authorities located Sinclair’s family and gave them three weeks to dispose of the body. They suggested that he be buried in a Christian cemetery in Israel, pointing out that this would be one-third the cost of shipping the body back to Scotland. However, the grieving family scraped up the money to bring him home.
They had a second autopsy performed by Glasgow University, only to discover that Sinclair’s heart and a small bone in his throat called the hyoid were missing. The British Embassy filed a complaint with Israel, and a heart was sent to Scotland. According to the Jerusalem Report, the family “wanted the Forensic Institute to pay for a DNA test to confirm that this heart was indeed their brother’s, but the Institute’s director, Prof. Jehuda Hiss, refused, citing the prohibitive cost.”
Despite a protest from the British government, Israel refused to supply Hiss’s pathology findings or the police report. According to the British government and a report in the Israeli media, around the time of Sinclair’s death a doctor at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital put in a request for a hyoid bone for research purposes – and eventually received a bill for shipping costs. Israel retained Sinclair’s $5,000.
Through the years Hiss and the Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic medicine continued to be accused of organ theft. In 2000 the Israeli newspaper YediotAhronot published an investigative report alleging that Hiss had been extracting organs without permission and then packing the bodies with broomsticks and cotton wool to fill in cavities before burial. The report charged that under Hiss the institute had been involved in organ sales of body parts – “legs, thighs, ovaries, breasts and testicles,” allegedly to medical institutions.
In 2001 a district judge found the Institute had performed hundreds of autopsies and had removed body parts without the families’ permission – and sometimes in direct opposition to their expressed wishes. One report described a “museum of skulls” at the institute.
Little was done, however, and complaints continued – often by the parents of dead Israeli soldiers horrified to discover that body parts had been taken from their sons. Finally, in 2004 Israel’s health minister transferred directorship of the morgue itself away from Hiss. Hiss, however, retained his position as Israel’s chief pathologist, a post it appears he holds to this day.
Hiss had also been connected with two previous national scandals, both of which may have involved powerful people in Israel, which may account for his longevity in Israel’s medical establishment despite years of proven wrongdoing.
The first controversy concerned the “Yemenite Children’s Affair” – a situation, largely from the early 1950s, in which a thousand babies and small children of recent immigrants to Israel had “disappeared.”
When the immigrants had arrived as part of Israel’s “ingathering of the exiles,” babies were immediately taken from their mothers and placed in children’s houses. Many were hospitalized for a variety of ills, and hundreds died, their deaths coming in such large numbers that they were announced over loudspeakers.
The distraught parents often never saw the body or received a death certificate, and there were growing suspicions that not all had died – some, it was believed, had been “given” to Ashkenazi parents. One author writes: “It was a well-known fact within the Jewish community in the United States that if a family wanted a child they could go to [baby brokers, both rabbis] and simply pay the necessary fee.”
Some Israeli investigators have found considerable evidence for these charges, and indications of complicity at multiple levels of the power structure. In fact, one researcher charges: “People in positions of power at the time that the State of Israel was established profited from the abduction and sale of children from poor immigrant families.
Hiss’ connection comes in 1997, when Israel finally had formed a committee to investigate the disappearance of Yemenite and other Jewish children in the years 1948-1954. Among those testifying before this committee was a California woman who had come to Israel searching for her biological mother – and, according to DNA testing by a geneticist at Hebrew University, had found her.
The committee demanded that another DNA test be conducted at the Abu Kabir forensic institute. As at least one observer predicted ahead of time, Hiss’s test came up negative, and the government was allegedly exonerated, despite the fact that the geneticist who had conducted the first tests stood by his results.
Hiss also plays a role in some conspiracy theories regarding the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, who had begun a peace process with Palestinians. In March 1999 a group of academics presented findings alleging that Hiss had submitted false evidence to the commission that investigated the killing.
Israelis have also targeted Palestinians, a particularly vulnerable population on numerous levels.
In her congressional subcommittee testimony, Scheper-Hughes reported that before he moved overseas, Israeli hospital transplant head ZakiShapira had located kidney sellers “amongst strapped Palestinian workers in Gaza and the West Bank.” She said that his “hand was slapped by an ethics board,” and he moved his practice overseas.
For decades numerous Palestinians and others have charged Israel with taking body parts from Palestinians they had wounded or killed.
In her subcommittee testimony, Scheper-Hughes testified that toward the end of the apartheid period in South Africa, “human rights groups in the West Bank complained to me of tissue and organs stealing of slain Palestinians by Israeli pathologists at the national Israeli legal medical institute in Tel Aviv.”
A Washington Report for Middle East Affairs article by Mary Barrett (see “Autopsies and Executions,” April 1990 Washington Report, p. 21) reported “widespread anxiety over organ thefts which has gripped Gaza and the West Bank since the intifada began in December of 1987.”
Barrett quotes a forensic physician: “There are indications that for one reason or another, organs, especially eyes and kidneys, were removed from the bodies during the first year or year and a half. There were just too many reports by credible people for there to be nothing happening. If someone is shot in the head and comes home in a plastic bag without internal organs, what will people assume?”
A 2002 news story from IRNA reported that three Palestinian boys aged 14-15 had been killed by Israeli forces on Dec. 30, their bodies finally being returned for burial on Jan. 6. According to the report: “shortly before burial, Palestinian medical authorities examined the bodies and found out that the main vital organs were missing from the bodies.” In an interview on Al Jazeera, President Yasser Arafat held up photos of the boys, saying, “They murder our kids and use their organs as spare parts.”
Journalist Khalid Amayreh, recently investigating this topic further, found that “several other Palestinians gave a similar narrative, recounting how they received the bodies of their murdered relatives, mostly men in their early twenties, with vital organs taken away by the Israeli authorities.”
Israel has consistently characterized such accusations as “anti-Semitic,” and numerous other journalists have discounted them as exaggerations.
However, according to the pro-Israel Forward magazine, the truth of these charges was, in fact, confirmed by an Israeli governmental investigation a number of years ago.
In a recent story critical of the Swedish article, the Forward actually confirmed its main point, that Israel had been taking the body parts of slain Palestinians. The Forward article reported that one of the governmental investigations into Hiss had revealed that “he seemed to view every body that ended up in his morgue, whether Israeli or Palestinian, as fair game for organ harvesting.”
Over the years, a great many Palestinian bodies have “ended up” in the Israeli morgue. In numerous cases Israeli occupation forces have taken custody of wounded or dead Palestinians. Sometimes their bodies are never returned to their grieving families – Palestinian NGOs say there are at least 250 such cases.
In other cases the bodies have been returned to the families days later, with crudely stitched naval-to-chin incisions. On many occasions Israeli soldiers have delivered the bodies late at night and required the bereaved families to bury their children, husbands, and brothers immediately, under Israeli military guard, sometimes with the electricity shut off.
In 2005 an Israeli soldier described a military doctor who gave “medics lessons in anatomy” using the bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces. Haaretz reports: “The soldier said that the Palestinian’s body had been riddled with bullets and that some of his internal organs had spilled out. The doctor pronounced the man dead and then ‘took out a knife and began to cut off parts of the body,’ the soldier said.
“‘He explained the various parts to us – the membrane that covers the lungs, the layers of the skin, the liver, stuff like that,’ the soldier continued. ‘I didn’t say anything because I was still new in the army. Two of the medics moved away, and one of them threw up. It was all done very brutally. It was simply contempt for the body.’”
While most Israeli investigations into organ theft have largely ignored the Palestinian component, a number of significant facts are known:
- Palestinian organs were harvested during years of an astonishingly lax system in which the body parts even of Jewish Israelis were extracted illicitly at the national morgue by the chief pathologist and exchanged for money.
- Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are largely a captive population. Numerous reports by highly reputable Israeli and international organizations have documented a situation in which Palestinians have few if any real rights; Israeli forces have killed civilians with impunity, imprisoned massive numbers of people without benefit of trials, and routinely abused prisoners.
- Israeli authorities have conducted numerous autopsies of Palestinians without permission of their families, without even a semblance of public transparency, and without, it appears, accompanying reports. For example, the families of those who were taken while still alive are not provided with a medical report stating time and cause of death.
- A very small but significant minority of Israelis, including military officers and governmental ministers, hold extremist supremacist views relevant to organ extraction. In 1996, Jewish Week reported that Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburgh, a leader of the Lubavitch sect of Judaism and the dean of a religious Jewish school in a West Bank settlement, stated: “If a Jew needs a liver, can you take the liver of an innocent non-Jew passing by to save him? The Torah would probably permit that.” Ginzburgh elaborated: “Jewish life has infinite value. There is something infinitely more holy and unique about Jewish life than non-Jewish life.” [The Jewish Week, April 26, 1996, pp. 12, 31]
While most Israelis strenuously repudiate such beliefs, Rabbi Moshe Greenberg, an Israeli scholar on Jewish scriptural views on racism and ethnic chauvinism, has said, “The sad thing is, these statements are in our books.” Greenberg, who was a professor at Hebrew University, pointed out that such Talmudic texts were “purely theoretical” at the time of their writing, because Jews did not have the power to carry them out. Now, he pointed out, “they’re carried over into circumstances where Jews have a state and are empowered.”
While it is impossible to know whether any Israelis have ever acted on such religious permission to kill a non-Jew in order to provide body parts to Jews, some observers have considered this a possibility.
Dr. A. Clare Brandabur, a distinguished American scholar who has lived and traveled extensively in Palestine, writes that the information published in the Swedish article “resonates with reports from Palestinians in Gaza which I heard during the first intifada.”
She comments, “When I interviewed Dr. Haidar Abdul Shafi, head of the Red Crescent in Gaza, I mentioned to him reports of shootings of Palestinian children at times when there were no ‘clashes’ going on – a solitary 6-year-old entering his schoolyard in the morning with his bookbag on his back. The soldiers abducted the wounded child at gunpoint, then his body would be returned a few days later having undergone an ‘autopsy at Abu Kabir Hospital.’”
She says: “I asked Dr. Shafi if he had considered the possibility that these killings were being done for organ transplant, since (as Israel Shahak notes in Jewish History, Jewish Religion), it is not allowed to take Jewish organs to save a Jewish life, but it is allowed to take the organs of non-Jews to save Jewish lives. Dr. Shafi said he had suspected such things but since they had no access to the records of Abu Kabir Hospital, there was no way to verify these suspicions.”
Scheper-Hughes, in her congressional testimony, describes the danger of “organs got by any means possible including (I was told by one guilt-ridden practitioner) chemically inducing the signs of brain death in dying patients of no means and with access to minimal social support or family surveillance.”
Whether or not there have ever been organ-inspired murders in Israel as it appears there have elsewhere, numerous groups around the world are urging an international investigation into Israel’s handling of Palestinian bodies in its custody.
However, the Israeli government and its powerful advocates abroad, who regularly block investigations into Israeli actions, are doing their utmost to prevent this one. Several lawsuits have been filed against the Swedish newspaper, the largest by Israeli lawyer and IDF officer Guy Ophir, who filed a $7.5 million lawsuit in New York against the newspaper and Bostrom. Ophir declared that Israel must “silence the reporter and the newspaper.”
International investigations, of course, have two results: the innocent are absolved, the guilty discovered. It is clear which category Israel believes it falls into.
Are the Russians coming to Texas riding the tailwinds of fracking? That depends on who you ask, as some believe Russian forces were behind the anti-fracking vote in Denton, while a $15 million investment in new Texas fracking technology by Roman Abramovich perhaps tells another story.
When the anti-fracking campaign started to heat up late last year in Denton, Texas—the heart of the shale revolution—conspiracy theories were spread from within the pro-fracking community that the Russians were behind the whole thing. The logic was that the American shale revolution threatened Russia’s market share.
Yet just months after a successful vote to ban fracking in Denton, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has invested $15 million in Houston-based Propell Technologies Group, Inc. (OTC:PROP) and its new fracking technology from wholly owned subsidiary Novas Energy. Significantly, this new enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technology enables ‘clean’ hydraulic micro/nano fracturing of oil reservoirs—that is, without water, without polluting chemicals and without earthquakes.
According to Propell, the Plasma Pulse patented downhole tool creates a controlled plasma arc within a vertical well, generating a tremendous amount of heat for a fraction of a second. The subsequent high-speed hydraulic impulse wave emitted is strong enough to remove any clogged sedimentation from the perforation zone without damaging steel. The series of impulse waves/vibrations also penetrate deep into the reservoir causing nano fractures in the matrix which increase reservoir permeability for up to a year per treatment.
In the die-hard conspiracy theorist community—particularly in the latest ‘Cold War’ atmosphere the media has latched onto once again—there will be continued rumors of Russian scheming here. Some might say that the Russians laid the foundation for a ‘no’ vote on fracking and then swooped in to invest in ‘clean’ fracking technology.
It may or may not be a coincidence that Propell’s Plasma Pulse Technology is licensed from Novas Energy, a venture capital-backed Russian energy technology company.
There is also another Russian element to this: PPT has been very successfully employed in Russian injector wells. This is perhaps the most significant aspect to consider. Russia does not have draconian fracking regulations pressuring companies to use environmentally friendly technology. Instead, they are using PPT to improve enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and reduce production costs.
Conspiracy or not, Abramovich does nothing small or half-heartedly. Abramovich is a metals magnate who also happens to own the Chelsea football club. He is the 143rd wealthiest person in the world and is worth about $9 billion, according to Forbes. He is the main owner of UK-registered Millhouse LLC, a private investment company whose assets have included major stakes in stakes in Sibneft, which is now Gazprom Neft. In 2005, Millhouse sold a 72% stake in Sibneft to Gazprom for more than $13 billion.
Abramovich has now invested in Propell’s PPT. The investor is Cyprus-registered Ervington Investments Limited, whose ultimate beneficial owner is Abramovich. “This will not merely be a $15 million investment,” said one source close to the deal. “You have to read between the lines here. Abramovich doesn’t do anything small. He’ll get the infrastructure in place and then look to acquire a significant position in the US oil sector at today’s fire sale prices. We’ll probably be looking at hundreds of millions in investment at the end of the day.”
An anonymous source with knowledge of the deal said that an initial $5 million of the $15 million investment would be working capital, while $10 million would be for acquisition of oilfields. The overall idea is to apply EOR technology and double the output with Plasma Pulse technology.
For Abramovich, this deal is not merely a whim: The billionaire is a strategic investor who has quite profitably invested in a number of energy technology companies. Abramovich—again through Ervington–is the largest shareholder in AIM-listed AFC Energy, which is working to commercialize clean fuel cell technology. He has also invested in Oxford Catalysts, which is close to commercializing the GreenSky London Project to supply renewable jet fuel made from London’s household waste. The system is to be used by British Airways to create fuel for its planes. London-based Weedingtech—which makes herbicide-free weed killer—and AIM-listed Clean Air Power are also among Abramovich’s strategic energy investments.
The Propell investment may be the most strategic—on two fronts. On the first front, we have increasing controversy surrounding fracking in the US. While Denton, for instance, is just a small town and the ban on fracking is only within the city limits, this small-town vote has much larger implications. This was where the shale revolution kicked off, and banning fracking here could snowball and empower other anti-fracking movements and efforts.
The state of California is also gearing up for stringent new regulations that are set to take effect in July. Plasma Pulse Technology foregoes toxic chemicals and harnesses plasma pulses that would once have been reminiscent of science fiction weaponry. It may indeed be a weapon of sorts—one that could bring the industry and environmentalists together finally.
PPT is deemed to be an environmentally friendly way to clear clogging sedimentation from well drainage areas to allow the oil and gas to flow. The technology uses vibrations, or electrically generated plasma impulses to reduce viscosity, increase permeability and improve the flow of oil and gas to the surface for extraction.
And this is where we find the ‘second front’: The technology is not only designed to be environmentally friendly; it is also designed to increase production and reduce production costs.
After all, Abramovich isn’t looking to spend an initial $15 million on an investment that is strictly friendly to the environment—there has to be more, and it would appear that there is. This is all about enhanced oil recovery (EOR), and plasma pulse technology is one way to improve EOR processes to get even more oil and gas out of the ground.
The average increase in production for the initial 27 US wells treated with plasma pulse technology is 295%. The company is also reportedly working versions of its plasma pulse tool for horizontal shale wells and much shallower water wells as well.
Abramovich will be getting in very early in this game, which would allow him—for instance–to comply with California’s new anti-fracking bill and its tight restrictions on acid washing for injector wells. The regulations will have a profound effect on key producers in the area, such as Chevron Corp. (NYSE:CVX), ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) and Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY), who will have to go through a long and costly permit process for each individual acid wash procedure. If they employ plasma pulse technology, however, they comply with the water-injector cleaning restrictions that kick in July 1. In California, major oil and gas companies are already paying $20,000 a pop for PPT pilot tests, according to our industry sources.
What Abramovich sees is brilliant math here. Plasma Pulse technology could easily turn into a $1 million/week business just in the state of California, and as anti-fracking gains momentum countrywide, these millions turn into billions. The Russian billionaire also sees a new technology that is not experimental, but already commercially viable.
When Abramovich makes a new investment, everyone pays attention. So many will be asking why a Russian is investing in this Houston-based technology. The answer is simple and all about the bottom line. This ‘clean’ fracking technology could storm the market. Abramovich thinks so, and he has been wildly successful.
It will be hard for the conspiracy theorists to digest, but for the investor looking for the next big thing, it goes down pretty smoothly, from Russia with … a great deal of pragmatism.
Rolls-Royce Plc and General Electric Co. are among oil-industry suppliers whose contracts in Brazil may be casualties of the spreading corruption scandal involving Petroleo Brasileiro SA.
The two companies were set to make parts for seven drillships ordered by Petrobras’s rig supplier, Sete Brasil Participacoes SA. Sete said this week that EAS, the shipyard it hired to build those rigs, is canceling the contracts.
The dropped order illustrates how far-reaching the effects of the corruption scandal at state-run oil producer Petrobras have spread. Sete is struggling to keep operating after an accusation of bribery this month by a former executive delayed the disbursement of a loan from Brazil’s development bank, four people with direct knowledge of the situation said in February. They asked not to be named because the matter isn’t public.
“It’s one big mess,” Kristian Diesen, an analyst at Pareto Securities AS, said by phone from Oslo. “Companies with assets or contracts in place are seeing increasing risk to their current backlog.”
In addition to Rolls-Royce thrusters and GE’s contract to integrate the electric-control systems, EAS had planned to buy steel from Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais SA and use a drilling package from National Oilwell Varco Inc. EAS won the contract to build seven of 29 drillships that Sete Brasil planned to lease to Petrobras to develop massive deep-water oil deposits off the coast of Brazil.
Usiminas in an e-mail declined to comment on its contract with EAS. National Oilwell didn’t respond to a request for comment.
GE said in a statement in 2013 it would supply $600 million worth of parts for 22 of the 29 vessels to EAS and three other shipyards. An outside Brazilian press agency for GE said yesterday in an e-mail that contracts already signed are being “honored and executed.”
“The situation in Brazil creates some uncertainty, and right now it’s a matter of wait and see,” said Anette Bonnevie Wollebaek, a spokeswoman for London-based Rolls-Royce.
“We haven’t received a formal cancellation or postponement of any contracts for now,” she said by telephone from Aalesund, Norway. “We’re still committed to delivering on the agreement we have with our clients.”
Rio de Janeiro-based Sete said it’s pursuing legal measures against EAS in an e-mail this week, without disclosing the reason behind EAS’s cancellation. Shipbuilding industry association Sinaval said in January that Sete had missed payments to several shipyards and declined to comment when reached this week about EAS’s decision. Numerous phone calls to EAS weren’t answered.
Should Rolls-Royce’s contract with EAS be canceled, it could represent an estimated loss of 5 million pounds to 25 million pounds ($7.75 million to $39 million), said Thomas Picherit, a Paris-based analyst at AlphaValue SAS.
While the situation could also force Rolls-Royce to write down the value of a 22 million-pound facility it built in Rio de Janeiro state, neither the contract cancellation nor the provisions would represent a “material” loss to the company, said Edward Stacey, an analyst at Espirito Santo Investment Bank.
“This is a company that makes 2 billion pounds a year of operating profit,” Stacey said in a telephone interview from London.
If Sete’s troubles worsen, there’s a risk other shipyards with contracts could also pull out, said Adriano Pires, head of the Rio de Janeiro-based energy and infrastructure consulting firm CBIE.
Founded after Petrobras made the Western Hemisphere’s biggest oil discovery in 30 years, Sete was a cornerstone of the government’s campaign to push companies to use locally made parts and equipment. Sete said on its website it planned to spend about $25.7 billion by 2020 to make deep-water drilling platforms, creating about 150,000 jobs.
“This could be the beginning of a process where other shipyards make the same decision as EAS,” Pires said in a telephone interview. “The impact is on GDP. Petrobras is one of Brazil’s biggest companies.”
Miners gather to mourn their colleagues outside a shaft at Harmony Gold's Doornkop mine near Johannesburg
By Paul Burkhardt
(Bloomberg) – Almost 500 workers in a mine run by Harmony Gold Mining Co. Ltd., South Africa’s third-largest producer of the metal, have been rescued after being trapped by a fire.
“They’re all out,” Charmane Russell, a spokeswoman for the company, said by phone. No injuries were reported, she said. Operations are halted at the site, which lies near Carletonville, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Johannesburg.
Harmony said 486 workers at the Kusasalethu mine, its biggest, were underground and 287 were confirmed to be safe in refuge bays after a blaze broke out. The fire started at 9:40 a.m. local time Sunday on the mine’s 75 level, about 2,300 meters (7,546 feet) below ground, the company said. The blaze may have begun during maintenance on an air cooler.
Harmony was forced to shut Kusasalethu, for two weeks in October last year after the company arrested more than 100 illegal miners and imposed new safety measures. Chief Executive Officer Graham Briggs announced a plan to turn the operation around in December to mine higher-grade ore and return to profit by the fiscal fourth quarter.
Last February, a rock fall at Harmony’s Doornkop site started a fire underground and killed nine workers, the most deaths in a single event in the company’s history.
Kusasalethu mine, on the border of the Gauteng and North West provinces, comprises twin vertical and twin sub-vertical shaft systems. Mining uses conventional methods in a sequential grid layout. Ore mined is treated at the Kusasalethu plant.
Despite its erratic performance during 2013, Kusasalethu ranked among the most-improved of the South African operations as the mine’s continued production build-up resulted in it becoming the largest individual gold producer in the Harmony group. Gold production was up 71% on the year, a function of an increase in volumes milled and higher grades.
Following the industrial action in FY13, as a result of which the mine was closed for around three months, every effort was made to resume steady state production. Despite challenges encountered during the year such as safety stoppages, and a spillage and flooding of the bottom of the return ventilation shaft and sub-shafts that restricted hoisting, production in FY14 was almost back to normal. Production was also affected by three fatalities, one of which followed the failure of a backfill paddock and bag in the third quarter and the resultant halt to production.
Water availability was reduced given excessive levels of mud in the underground storage dams and poor efficiency of the settler dams continued to affect stopping and development. This problem had been resolved by year-end. Engineering capacity at Kusasalethu has been increased to help ensure that potential infrastructural risks are identified and addressed.
A comprehensive plan was implemented to reduce the widening gap between delivered and recovered grades, the positive results of which were seen from April onwards.
Union rivalry was challenging and hindered performance and efficiency. In October 2013, the mine recognised Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union as the employees' main representative union after 75% of the unionised workforce had joined Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union. This was followed early in the third quarter by a threatened wage strike as Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union had not participated in or agreed to the two-year wage agreement reached in collective bargaining during 2013. The Labour Court ruled, however, that such a strike would be unprotected and the union complied with the court’s ruling.
There is much potential to increase volumes mined at Kusasalethu. The grade dilution resulting from the ore pass rehabilitation continues and the magnitude of repairs required to rehabilitate the ore pass was more severe than expected. The date for completion is now set for the end of the 2019 calendar year.
(Source: http://www.biznews.com/briefs/2015/02/23/500-harmony-gold-miners-rescued-from-flames-underground/, http://www.biznews.com/mining/mining-indaba-2015/2015/02/09/harmony-gold-posts-loss-as-kusasalethu-drags-production-down/)
HSBC left itself open to criminal charges in the UK over its Swiss tax-dodging scandal, ex-director of public prosecutions Lord Ken Macdonald says.
The QC said there were strong grounds to investigate the bank for "cheating" HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
He added that HMRC's decision not to prosecute was "seriously flawed".
Allegations emerged earlier this month that the bank had helped hundreds of people evade UK tax using hidden HSBC accounts in Geneva.
Also on Sunday, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander told the BBC the Liberal Democrats wanted to introduce new laws on tax evasion.
He told the Andrew Marr Show the party wanted to make those who facilitate any tax evasion, for example lawyers, accountants and banks, as culpable as those who evade tax themselves.
He said the party would "seek to pursue this [in government] over the next few weeks" but, if there was not enough time before the general election, the proposal would form a key part of the party's manifesto.
In a legal opinion prepared for consumer group SumOfUs, Lord Macdonald said: "It seems clear, from the evidence we have seen, that there exists credible evidence that HSBC Swiss and/or its employees have engaged over many years in systematic and profitable collusion in serious criminal activity against the exchequers of a number of countries.
"The corporate and wholesale nature of HSBC's Swiss' apparent involvement in what amounts to grave cross border crime makes it all the more obvious that the relevant evidence, once it came the attention of HMRC, should have been the subject of urgent and sustained criminal investigation."
Despite the evidence being in the hands of HMRC for nearly five years, no action has so far been taken against the bank.
Top HMRC officials have been lambasted by MPs on the Public Accounts Committee for their "pathetic" response to the evidence.
Last week, the Financial Conduct Authority said it would look into the scandal, while the Bank of England and the Serious Fraud Office have indicated they may do the same.
HSBC published a full-page apology in several Sunday newspapers last week for the past behaviour of its private bank in Geneva, and reports suggest it could make another apology this week.
The bank publishes its full-year results on Monday morning.
India and Australia will push for a free trade pact, Indian Prime Minister NarendraModi and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Tuesday. Modi during a state visit to Canberra also said he wanted early closure on a deal for Australia to sell uranium to India. Talks towards the civil nuclear cooperation agreement began about two years ago after Australia lifted a long-standing ban on selling uranium to India.
Addressing the Parliament, Abbott said, "By the end of the next year we will have a free trade deal with what is potentially the world's largest market." "If all goes well, Australia will export uranium to India under suitable safeguards because cleaner energy is one of the most important contributions that Australia can make to wider world," he added.
After the two leaders held talks, India and Australia signed five pacts on social security, transfer of sentenced prisoners, combating narcotics trade, tourism, and Arts and Culture. Australia on Monday had finalised a landmark free trade deal with China more than ten years in the making, significantly expanding ties between the two countries.
Trade between Australia and India stands at around $15 billion a year, or just a tenth of that between Australia and China. "We want to go further and that's why the next priority for Australia is a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with India," Abbott said. "If I may say so, this is a moment in time. This is the time to get this done."
Modi, in an address to Australia's parliament, pledged greater cooperation on regional security, issuing a veiled swipe at China over disputes with its neighbours over islands in the South China Sea. "Our region has seen huge progress on the foundation of peace and stability but we can not take this for granted," Modi said.
"Even when they have bitter disputes, we should maintain maritime security. We should work together on the seas and collaborate in international forums and we should work for universal respect for international law and global norms," he said.
Modi on Monday addressed thousands of expatriate Indians at a packed 21,000-seat arena in Sydney that just last week hosted the Rolling Stones, underscoring the rock-star status he enjoys among some Indians at home and abroad.
Modi, who arrived on Friday for the G20 economic summit in Australia, where about 300,000 Indians live, urged Indians to boost investment at home. While talking about India-Australia ties, Modi said, "This is a natural partnership, arising from our shared values and interests, and our strategic maritime locations. India and Australia have a great economic synergy. There are huge opportunities for partnership in every area we can think of -- agriculture, agro-processing, resources, energy, finance, infrastructure, education, and science and technology."
"We have agreed to speed up negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. I also asked for easier access for Indian business to the Australian market and quicker investment approvals," Modi said at the joint press conference.
In THE SHOCK DOCTRINE, Naomi Klein explodes the myth that the global free market triumphed democratically. Exposing the thinking, the money trail and the puppet strings behind the world-changing crises and wars of the last four decades, The Shock Doctrine is the gripping story of how America’s “free market” policies have come to dominate the world-- through the exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries.
At the most chaotic juncture in Iraq’s civil war, a new law is unveiled that would allow Shell and BP to claim the country’s vast oil reserves…. Immediately following September 11, the Bush Administration quietly out-sources the running of the “War on Terror” to Halliburton and Blackwater…. After a tsunami wipes out the coasts of Southeast Asia, the pristine beaches are auctioned off to tourist resorts.... New Orleans’s residents, scattered from Hurricane Katrina, discover that their public housing, hospitals and schools will never be reopened…. These events are examples of “the shock doctrine”: using the public’s disorientation following massive collective shocks – wars, terrorist attacks, or natural disasters -- to achieve control by imposing economic shock therapy. Sometimes, when the first two shocks don’t succeed in wiping out resistance, a third shock is employed: the electrode in the prison cell or the Taser gun on the streets.
Based on breakthrough historical research and four years of on-the-ground reporting in disaster zones, The Shock Doctrine vividly shows how disaster capitalism – the rapid-fire corporate reengineering of societies still reeling from shock – did not begin with September 11, 2001. The book traces its origins back fifty years, to the University of Chicago under Milton Friedman, which produced many of the leading neo-conservative and neo-liberal thinkers whose influence is still profound in Washington today. New, surprising connections are drawn between economic policy, “shock and awe” warfare and covert CIA-funded experiments in electroshock and sensory deprivation in the 1950s, research that helped write the torture manuals used today in Guantanamo Bay.
The Shock Doctrine follows the application of these ideas through our contemporary history, showing in riveting detail how well-known events of the recent past have been deliberate, active theatres for the shock doctrine, among them: Pinochet’s coup in Chile in 1973, the Falklands War in 1982, the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Asian Financial crisis in 1997 and Hurricane Mitch in 1998.
"With a bold and brilliantly conceived thesis, skillfully and cogently threaded through more than 500 pages of trenchant writing, Klein may well have revealed the master narrative of our time. And because the pattern she exposes could govern our future as well, The Shock Doctrine could turn out to be among the most important books of the decade."
- William S. Kowinski, San Francisco Chronicle
Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=hA736oK9FPg
A former President of France has told Les Echos that Greece should leave the euro so it can devalue its currency and increase its economic competitiveness.
In an interview with the French newspaper Les Echos, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, who was President of France before Greece joined the euro, has said that abandoning the single currency would be the best way for Greece to solve its debt crisis.
“The fundamental question is whether or not the Greek economy can recover and prosper with a currency as strong as the euro. The answer is clearly negative,” he said. “Greece needs to be able to devalue its currency,” he added.
The former President believes that an exit from the euro “on good terms” is possible, and would allow for “a possible return at a later date”.
“The entry of Greece into the euro in 2001 was a mistake,” he said. “I was against it at the time. The Germans too. They only accepted it because others, France in particular, insisted on it.”
No question of an EU failure
Giscard told Les Echos that a Greek exit from the euro would not necessarily force the country to leave the European Union. Many countries, including the United Kingdom, Sweden and the Czech Republic, have chosen not to adopt the single currency, despite being full EU members.
“The proposals of the new Greek government rely on a devaluation of the currency. Quite simply because the programme it was elected on is impossible to execute with a strong currency. Greek production cannot regain its competitiveness with the euro at its current strength. As a result it cannot implement its economic programme, including raising the minimum wage and increasing social benefits.”
“It would be absurd to say this is a failure of Europe. Greece still has its place in the European Union. By leaving the euro, it would only be joining the countries like the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Czech Republic etc. that never adopted the single currency. More importantly, this exit would allow Greece to return at a later date.”
This orderly exit procedure should, and can, take place peacefully, in everyone’s best interest. It’s what I would call a ‘friendly exit’. Greece needs to be able to devalue its currency. If it does not do so, the situation will worsen, resulting in an even more severe crisis,” the former President warned.
It may be difficult to look beyond the current pricing environment for oil, but the depletion of low-cost reserves and the increasing inability to find major new discoveries ensures a future of expensive oil.
While analyzing the short-term trajectory of oil prices is certainly important, it obscures the fact that over the long-term, oil exploration companies may struggle to bring new sources of supply online. Ed Crooks over at the FT persuasively summarizes the predicament. Crooks says that 2014 is shaping up to be the worst year in the last six decades in terms of new oil discoveries (based on preliminary data).
Worse still, last year marked the fourth year in a row in which new oil discoveries declined, the longest streak of decline since 1950. The industry did not log a single “giant” oil field. In other words, oil companies are finding it more and more difficult to make new oil discoveries as the easy stuff runs out and the harder-to-reach oil becomes tougher to develop.
Despite record levels of spending, the largest oil companies are struggling to replace their depleted reserves. BP reported a reserve replacement ratio – the volume of new reserves added to a company’s portfolio relative to the amount extracted that year – of 62 percent. Chevron reported 89 percent and Shell posted just a 26 percent reserve replacement figure. ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips fared better, each posting more than 100 percent. Still, unless the oil majors significantly step up spending they will not only be unable to make new discoveries, but their production levels will start to fall (some of them area already seeing this begin to happen). The IEA predicts that the oil industry will need to spend $850 billion annually by the 2030s to increase production. An estimated $680 billion each year – or 80 percent of the total spending – will be necessary just to keep today’s production levels flat.
However, now that oil prices are so low, oil companies have no room to boost spending. All have plans to reduce expenditures in order to stem financial losses. But that only increases the chances of a supply crunch at some point in the future. Put another way, if the oil majors have been unable to make new oil discoveries in years when spending was on the rise, they almost certainly won’t be able to find new oil with exploration budgets slashed.
Long lead times on new oil projects mean that the dearth of discoveries in 2014 don’t have much of an effect on current oil prices, but could lead to a price spike in the 2020’s. All of this comes despite the onslaught of shale production that U.S. companies have brought online in recent years. U.S. oil production may have increased by 60 to 70 percent since 2009, but the new shale output still only amounts to around 5 percent of global production.
Not only that, but shale production is much more expensive than conventional drilling. As conventional wells decline and are replaced by shale, the average cost per barrel of oil produced will continue to rise, pushing up prices.
Moreover, with rapid decline rates, the shale revolution is expected to fade away in the 2020’s, leaving the world ever more dependent on the Middle East for oil supplies. The problem with that scenario is that the Middle East will not be able to keep up. Middle Eastern countries “need to invest today, if not yesterday” in order to meet global demand a decade from now, the International Energy Agency’s Chief Economist Fatih Birol said on the release of a report in June 2014.
In fact, half of the additional supply needed from the Middle East will have to come from a single country: Iraq. Birol reiterated those comments on February 17 at a conference in Japan, only his warnings have grown more ominous as the security situation in Iraq has deteriorated markedly since last June. “The security problems caused by Daesh (IS) and others are creating a major challenge for the new investments in the Middle East and if those investments are not made today we will not see that badly needed production growth around the 2020s,” Birol said, according to Reuters.
If Iraq fails to deliver, the world could see oil prices surge at some point in the coming decade. Despite the urgency, “the appetite for investments in the Middle East is close to zero, mainly as a result of the unpredictability of the region,” he added.
LIFE & STYLE
By Farhan Khan
Karachi 26th February 2015: The 2nd Teacher’s Literature Festival (TLF) was successfully organized on February, 26th, 2015 by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) and Oxford University Press (OUP) at the Arts Council of Pakistan in Karachi, in support of the ‘I am Karachi’ drive. It was founded by Baela Raza Jamil of Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA).
For the second time in a row, the two day Children’s Literature Festival (CLF) was preceded by a daylong Teacher’s Literature Festival (TLF). The main aim of the TLF was not only to help the teachers identify and come up with solutions for the problems in the current education system, but also to promote reading literature for children, among teachers.
Notable personalities from the fields of academia and literary world, including Haseena Moin, Rumana Hussain, Amra Alam, Zubeida Mustafa, Fahmida Riaz, Adeel Hashmi, Syed Nusrat Ali and many others actively participated in TLF, as contributors and moderators. The treasures to take back from the session conducted by these personalities were not only their opinions, but also their experiences.
This year TLF set new precedents by organizing innovative and stimulating sessions: ‘Teachers as Agents of Peace’ and ‘Creating a Peaceable Classroom in Times of Conflict and Uncertainty’ gave teachers the opportunity to explore how they can include the message of peace in their teaching, during these troubling times in the country. The art of creative writing and reading with expression was also brought to life with sessions like ‘How to Generate Creative Thinking’. The tradition of Teacher’s voice was also carried on this year to provide the teachers with a platform where they can share their experiences as well as have their voices heard.
TLF also hosted several book launches this year, including Rumana Hussain’s “Tota Khan aur Bakri Ara ka Safarnama”; Tyranny of Language in Education by Zubaida Mustafa, Literary Heritage Series for Young Readers by Fahmida Riaz and many others. The 8th Edition of CLF’s publication, Urran Tashtaree, was also launched at the event.
Focus was also laid on introducing teachers to the newly emerging media and technology to be used to revolutionize the experience of classrooms for students with the help organizations, such as Toffee TV and 3iLogic. Ilm Ideas, Teach for Pakistan, Sindh Education Foundation (SEF) and several other organizations set up multi-sensory stalls to introduce teachers to methodologies which can be used to making teaching more interactive for children.
Several sessions on Awareness of Learning Difficulties, Inclusive Education, Teachers’ Katcheri, Mobilizing Living Heritage from Our Literature and workshops on copyrights awareness were also held making TLF a wholesome experience. It is expected that this year around 4000 teachers and 30,000 children will be attending the three days festival.
A suicide bomber struck in the Pakistani city of Lahore, just two days before its annual literary festival was due to start. The night before, the provincial government tried to stop the three-day festival from going ahead, insisting it was not safe. Then, on the day itself, the darkest of storm clouds invaded, stealthily smothering the light. A warm winter's morning was eerily transformed into an ominous night.
And, through a procession of threats, there was that word: Lahore "A Literary Festival in Lahore? Blimey!!!" someone said to me on Twitter. "Is it safe for me to come to Lahore?" an anxious friend emailed from Cairo. "My family is worried after news of the suicide bombing."
Some, but not all, ambassadors cancelled. Armed guards were posted inside the gates and the Pakistani army and police vowed to protect a precious space. When the city's array of historic clock towers struck 11:00 on 20 February, the third Lahore Literary Festival started with an intellectual bang: a keynote address by the remarkable 83-year-old Romila Thapar.
The eminent Indian historian, who travelled from the neighbouring country still often cast as Pakistan's oldest and most intractable of rivals, spoke of history as "a dialogue between the present and the assumed past". She was given a standing ovation.
But, if anything, this festival was a statement about the future - the fate of an anxious city in a nation troubled by rising violence and intolerance, including very real threats to its artists and activists.
If the festival's schedule was a blueprint, it is a future which treasures a past that includes jewels like Noor Jehan - known as the Empress of Song - as well as literature of many centuries gone by, in many local languages.
It is a future which includes a stellar landscape of contemporary writers, from Kamila Shamsie and Saba Imtiaz of Karachi to Mohsin Hamid and Moni Mohsin of Lahore. And it is a future based on rare hope that age-old conflicts can be resolved in years to come.
Awareness of danger
This was not just an occasion for poetry and prose, but politics too. When a packed session was asked if they believed there was a new moment and opportunity in a long-poisoned relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan, hands shot up across the rows to convey a resounding "yes".
A discussion on India and Pakistan was entitled, Anticipating Peace. And China was cast as a mediator, not a meddler, in efforts to secure peace with the Afghan Taliban.The resonance in the halls was in itself a barometer of a people's mood, or at least that privileged part of Pakistan that wants to will a beleaguered nation to a different place. A sense of patriotism, a desire for progress and an awareness of danger were all palpable.
One of the festival organisers, writer and journalist Ahmed Rashid, received a loud round of applause when he spoke of the need for debate among "we, as modern Muslims". There was argument over whether it was possible or even preferable to talk to the Afghan or Pakistani Taliban, disagreement over whether powerful neighbours like China and India were friend or foe, and what limits should exist on freedom on expression. At least one participant, on his Twitter feed, praised the killers of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in Paris in January.
Open and engaged
"Why are we discussing Islamic State (IS) in a literary festival?" exclaimed, only half in jest, the Lebanese comic novelist Rabih Alemeddine during a panel on the Middle East. It drew a ripple of laughter but many more knowing looks. This is a country which already contends with all too many extremist groups, and where IS is also known to be recruiting.
This was a celebration of a Pakistan open and engaged with the many ideas of many worlds. American feminist Eve Ensler, famous for her Vagina Monologues, discussed her memoir, In the Body of the World, while another session was entitled Fifty Shades of Feminism.
New York Times columnist Roger Cohen spoke about The Girl from Human Street, his new book about a family journey which is also a history of the Jewish people. For three days, people of all ages, from all walks of life, packed into the Alhamra Arts Centre in a city still known as "the city of gardens" even if some of those green spaces are now threatened by urban expansion and unchecked development.
In a heavily-fortified bubble, balloons bobbed above the lawns, samosas sizzled in metal cauldrons and musical strains of popular Ghazals wafted across the site. Galleries exhibited artworks dealing with themes that ranged from the persecution of minorities to art itself. And in this contemplation of a city and its causes, others found kindred souls.
"It reminds me Cairo," exclaimed Egyptian writer Yasmine El Rashidi, who spoke of "echoes of Cairo" in Lahore's "mysticism and beauty". "It's like Beirut in ways," remarked Lebanon's Rabih Alameddine who invoked a description of his own city, calling it "the Elizabeth Taylor of cities… Insane, beautiful, falling apart, ageing and forever drama-laden". He may also have meant a battle to keep both beauty and spirit intact. That, in a few words, was Lahore in its festival days.
By Farhan Khan
Karachi: A legendary Bollywood actor and theater genius Naseeruddin Shah is in Karachi nowadays. Hundreds of people, mostly youth seeking for their career in theater, thronged to Karachi Arts Council, on Tuesday, 24th February, 2015 at the theater workshop, just to see a glimpse of Bollywood idol, infact.
The event was a part of Youth Festival 2015, an initiative of ‘I AM KARACHI’ consortium, working to promote peace and harmony in the society and curb violence and intolerance.
Shah suggested the young artistes that as artiste they had to struggle, all alone. “Nobody is going to help you. Things which you want to learn, you have to grab by yourself”.
Shah while talking about the days, when he was studying in National School of Drama in New Delhi said, “My parents lived in a village of Dehra Dun. It took six to seven hours by train, when I used to go to see them. There is a tradition in Indo-Pak. that the person sitting next to you in bus or train will not be satisfied, until he receives all information about you. I was asked similar questions like where are you heading to, what do you do, and what do you study? It was very difficult to explain to people I am studying drama, around forty five years back. I was irritated of facing such questions; finally I decided to reply I am doing bachelors in English Literature, whenever one asks me about my work. They did not realize that one who would like to do acting, drama, literature, cinema, painting, sculpture or any artistic thing needed training.
Tracing the history, he said I believe this theory true that theater was originated millions of years ago, when the people did not have language to speak, did not have the house to live and clothes to wear. “There were two objectives of one’s life; one to feed and second to protect himself. For both these things, they needed to go for hunting. People did rehearsals of hunting, before they would actually go to hunt. One might act like lion; the other might be dear etc., as there was no language to communicate. This is how the theater originates. Acting or theater was originated not to entertain one, but for communication so that everyone would get the same message with clarity and completeness”.
“The second development of the theaters took place in temples in India, Greece, Japan, and China. The temples had theater inside, as the religious text had difficult language and complex messages. The religious text was acted and showed to the worshipers. hat is the reason that religious rituals are still attached with the theaters, till today”.
“I have friendship with Om Puri for last forty five years. Om and I came to Bombay and wanted to do theater, but, we did not have place, money, nothing but wish to do theater. Om and I used to do rehearsals of drama at Bombay’s local buses or train and even beside seaside or any place we found convenient. We discovered that we had to do it all alone”.
He persuasively advised the future artistes to do theater with a passion, as if they could not live without it. If they take (opt) theaters, as their mean of earning, they should leave the theater and look for their career in some other fields.
British actor Eddie Redmayne has won the best actor Oscar for The Theory of Everything, while Julianne Moore picked up best actress for Still Alice.
Redmayne thanked his "staggering partner in crime"; co-star Felicity Jones, and his "ferocious but incredibly kind director James Marsh".
Dark comedy Birdman won best film and best director for Mexican film-maker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.
It also won best cinematography and best original screenplay.
The film sees Michael Keaton play a former movie superhero actor, who hopes to revive his washed-up career by putting on a Broadway play.
Moore used her speech to raise awareness for Alzheimer's disease - in Still Alice; she plays a 50-year-old who has early on-set Alzheimer's.
"I'm so happy, I'm thrilled that we were able to shine a light on Alzheimer's disease," she said.
"So many people who have this disease feel marginalised. People who have Alzheimer's disease deserve to be seen so we can find a cure."
Redmayne was honoured for his portrayal of physicist Stephen Hawking, who has motor neurone disease (ALS).
Accepting his award, he thanked the Hawking family, including Jane Hawking on whose book the film is based, and said his award belonged "to all of the people around the world battling ALS".
Richard Linklater's Boyhood won just one award from six nominations - best supporting actress - which went to Patricia Arquette.
Arquette thanked "her Boyhood family" and "every woman who gave birth".
"To every woman... we have fought for everybody else's equal rights. It's our time to have wage equality," she added, to huge applause from the audience.
JK Simmons won best supporting actor for Whiplash, in which he played a strict drumming teacher at a music conservatory.
Richard Linklater's Boyhood won just one award from six nominations - best supporting actress - which went to Patricia Arquette.
Arquette thanked "her Boyhood family" and "every woman who gave birth".
"To every woman... we have fought for everybody else's equal rights. It's our time to have wage equality," she added, to huge applause from the audience.
JK Simmons won best supporting actor for Whiplash, in which he played a strict drumming teacher at a music conservatory.
John Legend and Common's track Glory, from civil rights drama Selma, won best song.
Legend used his time on stage to deliver a political message, saying: "We live in the most incarcerated country in the world... people are marching with our song... we are with you, March on."
Emmanuel Lubezko's win for best cinematography for Birdman was his second Oscar in as many years - in 2014, he won the same award for his work on Gravity.
Citizen four, which chronicles one of the biggest intelligence leaks in American history, won best documentary feature.
It shows former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden at the very moment he made his sensational revelations detailing extensive internet and phone surveillance by the US government.
Best documentary short was won by Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1, about the counsellors who work with military veterans on a 24-hour phone helpline.
Clint Eastwood's Iraq war drama American Sniper won the award for best sound editing.
The 87th Academy Awards took place at Hollywood's 3,300-seat Dolby Theatre.
Performers at this year's ceremony included Lady Gaga - who sang a medley of Sound of Music songs to celebrate the classic film's 50th year - Jennifer Hudson and Anna Kendrick.
Host Neil Patrick Harris kicked off with a song which paid homage to Hollywood's film industry, accompanied by Kendrick and Jack Black.
Birdman and Wes Anderson's quirky comedy The Grand Budapest Hotel began the night with nine nominations each, while The Imitation Game had eight.
Clint Eastwood's true-life Iraq war tale American Sniper and Boyhood had six apiece.
The best picture prize was widely predicted to either go to Birdman or Boyhood - both of which had been named best film at the many ceremonies leading up to Hollywood's biggest night.
The directors of both films did their best on the red carpet to play down any rivalry with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who eventually won for Birdman, calling the supposed competition "so silly" and Linklater saying he loved Birdman.
"It's a real tribute for two films that aren't traditional stories, crazy stories," said Linklater, who filmed the coming of age movie over 12 years with the same actors.
Its my effort to revisit myself says Indian Art Collector Rahul Baswani
By Farhan Khan
An Indian art collector Rahul Baswani, President and founder member of Delhi Chapter of International Coach Federation, gave presentation about his art collection and shared his experiences with the local art-collectors and art professionals on Sunday, February, 22nd, 2015 here, at Art Chowk Gallery. The theme of the event was ‘Collector Tale’.
While talking to Live Rostrum he said, “It’s my effort to revisit myself, as a collector but more importantly share my learning with the new collectors, so they should have the confidence to buy art they truly believe in. I always want to put a message to the artistes that they must hold their faith intact; you are an artist because you believe in something. It is very easy to be distracted and frustrated and start changing way from what you believe in. Keep the faith intact in your work!”
It may not be out of place to mention that Rahul is an internationally trained Executive Coach and a licensed facilitator for Coaching Skills Clinic (CCU) for Managers. He has completed the PCC Program with Erickson College in Canada and ICT Program from Results Coaching Systems in Australia. Besides this, he is also a passionate collector. In his words, “It is an addiction”. He began collecting modern and contemporary Indian art, since 1997, when he met his wife, visual artist Manisha Gera Baswani. His wife's practice has given him a "behind the scenes" look into the Indian art world and how it has evolved over the years. He views the role of the collector, as beyond just the buyers of the artwork: ‘the collector is a supporter of the artist and a patron of the arts’ he added.
Speaking at the occasion he was of the view, “It is truly a collection whatever makes you happy”. He shared some work of other artistes in his presentation including Bala Subramniam, Himmat Shah, Anjana Mehra, Probir Gupta, K G Subramniam, Zarina Hashmi, Ayesha Khalid and Nasreen Muhammadi. He advised the new collectors to buy a few, significant art-pieces, regularly, stop for a while and then buy some more.
By Farhan Khan
KARACHI: An exhibition of artwork by Komail Aijazuddin, (a New York based Pakistani artist)under the theme of “Gilt and Conscience” was inaugurated on Tuesday, February, 17th, 2015, here, at Canvas Art Gallery. Komail, while explaining his work said, "This show is about remembrance: remembrance of a personal history of art, of survival, and of an archive of things already lost”.
“I began by examining which aspects of contemporary Pakistani art history affected my own development. I was fortunate enough to have been taught by both Colin David and Zarina Hashmi. Although Shakir Ali died before I was born, I grew up around his "Woman with Bird", a resplendent red painting. In the handful of paintings I'm presenting that relate to these three artists, I wanted to formally engage with their work using my own language. Gold leaf turned out to be a seamless way to do that: the gilding echoed Colin David's own obsession with flatness, Zarina Hashmi's repeated use of the grid, and Shakir Ali's monumentality. More importantly, I want to assert their place in our art history”. That’s what the skillful artiste described about his works.
He further state, “Equal part baroque and divine; gold has an immediately recognizable history in devotional art of all kinds. My work is still heavily influenced by the idea of worship and divinity, and specifically to what we chose to immortalize in both concept and practice."
About his painting having children, he said, ‘I began figures of children, as cupid drawing, when I started last year. But after Peshawar massacre in December, the floating tube, earlier a symbol of growth and possibility, then became an allegory for a grim reality’.
This is twentieth exhibition of the artist. Prior to this, he has showcased his work in different parts of the world, including New York, Mumbai, London, Lahore, Islamabad, New Delhi and Tel Aviv. He has received a considerable recognition worldwide for his artistic skills. This show will remain open till February, 26th, 2015 at the Canvas Art Gallery.
By Farhan Khan
KARACHI: Chairman of Businessmen Group and Former President of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Siraj Kassam Teli has said that KCCI’s 12th My Karachi - Oasis of Harmony exhibition will be organized with a great zeal and enthusiasm from 10th to 12nd April 2015 at Karachi Expo Center; the prime objective is to project the positive image of Karachi.
Speaking at a press conference at KCCI on Thursday, BMG Chairman, highlighted the significance of Karachi and said the city has been contributing around 67 to 68 percent revenue to the national exchequer, as the businessmen and industrialists, despite so many security threats and rising lawlessness; they continue to run their businesses and factories because they all love this soil and this city and they will never even think of leaving this city. “Peoplesay Karachi is mini Pakistan, I say Karachi is Pakistan,” he added,
Vice Chairman BMG, Anjum Nisar, President KCCI, Iftikhar Ahmed Vohra, Senior Vice President KCCI, Muhammad Ibrahim Kasumbi, Vice President KCCI, Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, Chairman KCCI Special Committee for My Karachi Exhibition, Muhammad Idrees, Former President KCCI, Mian Abrar Ahmed, Haroon Agar, A.Q. Khalil and KCCI Managing Committee members were also present on the occasion.
Siraj Kassam Teli particularly appreciated the support being extended by media and Sindh government in making this exhibition a resounding success, since its inception in 2004. “Every year, the new office bearers of KCCI try their best to further improve this event, as compared to the previous exhibition, which has resulted in enhancing this exhibition from three stalls in 2004 to all six halls of expo center in 2015.”
He said that besides foreign participation, this year’s My Karachi Exhibition was likely to attract more than 700,000 visitors. “This exhibition is not being staged to earn profits, but its main objective was to promote the positive image of Karachi, around the world”, he added.
Highlighting the history of My Karachi Exhibition, Siraj Teli recalled that during his tenure as President KCCI, they felt there was a need to clarify the negative perception about Karachi city, which mainly emerged, due to negative projection by the media, particularly the western media. “We decided to organize My Karachi Exhibition in 2004 and since then, it is constantly being staged, every year. My Karachi Exhibition keeps on improving thanks to all the Former KCCI Presidents of BMG who make untiring efforts, every year, with a focus on further improving this exhibition as compared to previous exhibitions. He also appreciated the support being extended by the consulates of various countries in Karachi who have been constantly participating in this exhibition.
Siraj Teli was fairly optimistic that although this year’s exhibition was being staged a little earlier in the month of April, but due to untiring efforts being made KCCI Office Bearers, Managing Committee members and the staff, My Karachi exhibition will once again be yet another successful event.
He further pointed out that all BMGians at KCCI have been dedicatedly discharging their services under the slogan of “Public Service” and the office bearers are strictly directed to listen to and resolve the genuine issues of any businessman or industrialist who climbs KCCI’s stairs for assistance without any discrimination of cast, color or creed.
Thanks to BMG’s transparent policies, the Karachi Chamber, which was facing severe financial crisis in 1998, now holds funds of around RS.360 million as BMG, after taking control of KCCI affairs, ensured that public money was not being wasted or misused at any cost”, he added.
To a question, BMG Chairman further commented that crime rate in Karachi city, as compared to some of most developed cities around the world was not so bad, but it is a matter of concern that even a minor incident in any area of Karachi was being projected in such a manner that it gives a negative impression about the entire city.
He said that some improvement has been witnessed in the incidents of target killings in Karachi but incidents pertaining mobile, car and bike snatching, thefts, burglaries and other street crimes have risen sharply which require immediate attention.
Earlier, President KCCI Iftikhar Ahmed Vohra highlighted the basic theme of My Karachi Exhibition which is to promote the positive and soft image of Karachi by inviting maximum number of foreign and local delegates and exhibitors at this mega event. He also urged the media to support this event in order to help KCCI in its mission to promote Karachi, as peaceful and business-friendly city. He saidthis year one of the new additions of event is the participation of famous Designers’ Lawnfabric in this exhibition. As there was a demand of Pakistani Designers Lawn fabric brands to accommodate them in the event, likely we facilitate other sectors. He revealed that last year we had 248 stalls in 05 halls but this year we have 263 stalls in 06 halls.
Chairman of KCCI Special Committee for My Karachi Exhibition, Muhammad Idrees, while highlighting some of salient features of the exhibition, termed this event, as one the biggest events of Karachi city, where spot sales will be allowed to exhibitors.
“This year, KCCI plans to establish a dedicated pavilion to promote Designers Lawn fabrics as Pakistan’s finest designers’ lawn have received global recognition; so we felt it necessary to promote their products from My Karachi’s platform”, he added.
He said that 12th My Karachi Exhibition will be spread over all six halls of Karachi Expo Center where a total 263 stalls will be erected. “The exhibition will also be open for all the media houses who can also play their role in promoting the positive image of Karachi city by organizing live shows at the venue”, he said, adding that the media houses interested in organizing live shows should inform KCCI,, as early as possible so that arrangements could accordingly be made to facilitate live shows.
By Farhan Khan
Karachi: “I am Karachi - Spring Holidays Cultural Festival”, that had been going on with full swing since Friday, was concluded on Sunday, 15thFebruary2015, at Karachi Arts Council Open Air Theatre, with a pulsating ceremonial and a string of amusing and exciting performances.
The events included camel dance and horse dance performance by Multan’s folk group, Rabab playing performance by Peshawer’s theatre organisation, stage plays by Thespianz Theatre, folk music and dance by Kashmir’s Abdul Basit and his band and “Bibi Sheereen” fame Zeek Afridi’s concert. The audience, comprising people from all age groups and walks of life attended the finale of the festival and enjoyed this breathtaking gala. Zeek Afridi enthralled the audience with his famous numbers, making them twist, dance and jolt with thrilling music and drum-beating. All episodes were highly appreciated and loved by the audience.
Thespianz Theatre’s Artistic Director Faisal Malik delivered his concluding remarks and formally closed the festival with a positive message and expressed hope that such ventures, in future too, would go to a great extent in spreading the message of peace and love amongst the people of Karachi. He said, “The cultural festival was aimed at celebrating the cultural diversity in Karachi and was dedicated to the civil society’s peace campaign ‘I am Karachi. This campaign is a civil society initiative and aimed to spread peace in the city by enhancing public awareness and advocacy, reclaiming public spaces and bringing civil society together”.
Earlier,festival was commenced on Friday with a vibrant ceremony and a series of entertaining segments at Amin House. The Chief Guest of the event Commissioner Karachi Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui inaugurated the festival and hoped that such endeavors would go to a great extent in spreading the message of peace and love amongst the people of Karachi. He said, “Karachi represents all ethnic and lingual units of the country and, therefore, it is called Mini Pakistan. People from all provinces and areas live here and they can bring harmony and peace with collective effort and united approach.”
The TV host Mariya Khan and Muttahir Ahmed Khan, who is also Thespian Theatre’s Media Director, hosted the ceremony and apprised the audience of the organization’s brief history and achievements. Various cultural groups and well-known people from across the countryhad arrived in Karachi to participate and perform in the festival.
Director Uzma Sabeen and Hammad staged the most famous play “Taaleem-e-Baalghan” of late Urdu writer Khawja Moinuddin that was vehemently liked by the audience. Apart from this, string puppetry, handicraft stalls, food area and many more presentations were the part of the three-day cultural festival.
Media Director Muttahir Ahmed Khan said, “If a society is frequently treated itself with sports activities, social events, entertainment opportunities and cultural festivals, it can never fall a prey to physical, mental, emotional or psychological diseases or disorders.”
Saudi Arabia has reportedly agreed to let Israel use its airspace to attack Iran if necessary, in exchange for “some kind of progress” on the Palestinian issue, Israel’s Channel 2 TV station quoted an unnamed European official as saying.
“The Saudis have declared their readiness for the Israeli Air Force to overfly Saudi air space en route to attack Iran if an attack is necessary,” the report stated. In return for cooperation, Saudi Arabia wants to see some “progress” on the Palestinian issue.
The move will reportedly allow Israel to bomb targets in Iran by offering a shortcut, which will save fuel and time. The Saudi position was confirmed during multiple diplomatic talks, according to the TV report. “The Saudi authorities are completely coordinated with Israel on all matters related to Iran,” the European official from Brussels was quoted as saying.
The report also revealed that the two states share intelligence, when it comes to Iran’s nuclear program. There are no diplomatic ties between the two states, but there have been various reports in the past that Riyadh and Jerusalem have been cooperating when it comes to Iran and its uranium enrichment program.
For example, in November, Israel’s Mossad and Saudi officials were said to be working on contingency plans that could have included an attack on Iran if its nuclear program was not curbed enough, according to a report. It was also revealed that the Saudis were willing to assist an Israeli attack by cooperating with the use of drones, rescue helicopters, and tanker planes.
“It is not the first time this issue has been raised, of creating an air corridor from the Saudi Arabia side to Israel to arrive directly to Iran,” Tal Pavel from the International Institute for Counter Terrorism told RT. He noted, however, that “the possibility of an event like this happening is very low.”
If Israel accepts the demand of “restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations,” it would “do a lot to ease the tensions in the Middle East,” Pavel added. The Israeli report comes amid a rift between Israel and the US on the issue of Iran nuclear talks. The talks include P5+1 powers – China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US, plus Germany.
Last week, the White House and State Department stated that Israel has inaccurately provided information and twisted the official US position in nuclear talks with Iran, and accused Jerusalem of “selectively” leaking details of sensitive talks.
The P5+1 talks, which are aimed at resolving the long-running dispute over Iran’s nuclear program, will continue until the end of June, after parties failed to reach a deal by the previous November 24 deadline. At the beginning of February, Iran said it would resume the expansion of its uranium enrichment capacity if Washington introduced more sanctions against the country.
In July of 2008, candidate Barack Obama arrived in Israel for what many expected to be a politically perilous trip. As he shuttled from Ramallah to the Israel city of Sderot, he at times appeared anxious to say something tough about Iran, ultimately declaring that a nuclear-armed Iran would constitute a “game-changing situation not just in the Middle East but around the world.”
Obama was coming off the announcement that, if elected president, he would talk without preconditions to Iran’s government, and then led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who once was quoted as calling for Israel to be “wiped off the map.” Although that was a mistranslation of what Ahmadinejad actually said, his evident hostility unnerved Israel, as did apprehension that Obama would be significantly more sympathetic to Palestinian interests than either his opponent John McCain or President George W. Bush.
The most tense and closely watched meeting was still ahead — with Benjamin Netanyahu, then the opposition leader of the rightist Likud party. Netanyahu was leading Israeli opinion polls. Many correctly expected him to soon begin his second tenure as prime minister. And he and Obama harbored very different worldviews. Still, despite the fact that Netanyahu “clearly preferred a McCain victory,” according to author Thomas G. Mitchell, the meeting seemed to indicate common ground on Iran.
“The main focal point of our discussions was the need to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu told reporters that day. Obama, Netanyahu stated, “would never seek in any way to compromise Israel’s security, and this would be sacrosanct in his approach to political negotiations.”
But a good relationship between the two men never developed. And today, following years of frostiness, awkwardness and downright hostility, it is worse than ever. Netanyahu’s impending speech before Congress, at the invitation of a Republican speaker who spent the past six years opposing everything Obama proposed, has ushered in a new era of nastiness. Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Netanyahu was “wrong,” and national security adviser Susan E. Rice criticized Netanyahu’s “partisanship” as “destructive of the fabric of the relationship.”
“This is clearly the most dysfunctional relationship between an American and Israeli leader,” Aaron David Miller, a vice president at the Wilson Center and a former U.S. negotiator and adviser in Republican and Democratic administrations, told The Washington Post. What’s more, he said, “the durability is troubling.”
What he means by “durability” is that it’s always been this way. The mutual disdain between Netanyahu and Obama goes way back, and the animosity apparent today has been years in the making.
There’s no shortage of examples: that time Netanyahu lectured Obama on Israeli history. That time Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy chuckled over how much they didn’t like Netanyahu. The time, in 2010, when Vice President Biden was blindsided on a trip to Israel by an Interior Ministry announcement of new housing units for Jews in East Jerusalem. And who can forget when senior Obama officials reportedly called Netanyahu “chickens–t” and “Aspergery”?
The dislike appears personal, yes, but there’s reason to believe it goes beyond the visceral. The two have an intellectual suspicion of one another, wrote Peter Beinart, who in 2012 set out the clearest analysis of the fraught relationship in the book “The Crisis of Zionism.”
“Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t trust Barack Obama, and probably never will,” Beinart wrote. “The reason is simple: Obama reminds Netanyahu of what Netanyahu doesn’t like about Jews … their belief that they carried a moral message to the world.”
Beinart argued Obama understands Israel through the lens of liberalism, while Netanyahu understands it through the prism of security and strength. “Obama got his view on Israel from liberal Jews back in Chicago,” wrote Thomas Mitchell in “Likud Leaders,” and that effect on his thinking has been apparent for years. One of those Jews, Beinart noted, was David Axelrod, who, “like many of Obama’s early Jewish supporters, put the ‘progressive social justice tradition’ at the core of his Jewish identity, and in his view, ‘Obama was very much a part of that and was very much a product of it.’ ”
While Obama was running for the U.S. Senate in 2004, for example, he criticized Israel’s West Bank security barrier, which the Republican Jewish Coalition later seized upon, according to JTA. Writing in “The Crisis of Zionism,” Beinart called Obama’s criticism “remarkable,” given that 361 members of the House that same year had passed a resolution in support of the barrier.
Even Obama’s reading habits were suspect to some Israel supporters. In an interview with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg in May 2008, Obama spoke of the book “The Yellow Wind,” which he read when it first came out in 1988. Written by novelist David Grossman, one of Israel’s most prominent doves, the work offers a searing indictment of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Its impact on Obama had been such that, even decades later, he still recalled it.
“It is difficult to read ‘The Yellow Wind’ without being profoundly disturbed by its portrait of Palestinian life under Israeli rule,” Beinart remarked. “That Obama read it, along with the novels of another famed Israeli dove, Amos Oz, lends further credence to Arnold Wolf’s claim that his pre-presidential years, Obama ‘was on the line of Peace Now.’ ”
Obama’s opinions on Israel have long contrasted with the militant view adopted by Netanyahu’s Likud, a point he made clear during the 2008 campaign, which made some pro-Israel hawks nervous. “I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you’re opposed to Israel, that you’re anti-Israel, and that can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel,” Obama said.
These statements weren’t lost on the Israeli public, and in a 2010 Jerusalem Post poll, only 9 percent of respondents said Obama’s administration was pro-Israel. Nearly one-half called it pro-Palestinian. Roughly three-fourths of Israelis who considered themselves right-wing — like Netanyahu — said Obama’s worldview was pro-Palestinian.
Now the differences between Netanyahu and Obama — on matters from settlements to modern Zionism — have come to a crossroads, a showdown set for next week when analysts say all of that building disdain between the men may finally come to a head. It will be a “tense political drama of the kind that House of Cards writers can only dream about,” said Haaretz.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo says foreign nations should not interfere in his country's right to use the death penalty. He is under pressure from the leaders of Australia, Brazil and France, whose citizens are among 11 people facing death for drug trafficking.
Mr Widodo restated that the executions by firing squad would go ahead. Earlier, a Jakarta court threw out an appeal by two Australians against their presidential clemency rejections. Indonesia has some of the world's harshest drug trafficking penalties. It resumed executions in 2013 after a four year moratorium and new leader Mr Widodo is taking a much tougher stance on the issue.
In January, six traffickers - including five foreign nationals - were executed. A second round of executions involving 11 people is expected in coming days.
'No right to rule'
Mr Widodo told reporters that "there shouldn't be any intervention towards the death penalty because it is our sovereign right to exercise our law". Several nations have spoken out against the move in recent days, however. One Brazilian is among the second group and last week, Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff delivered a diplomatic snub by rejecting the credentials of the Indonesian ambassador to Brazil.
France summoned Indonesia's ambassador last week to voice its "extreme concern" over the fate of one of its nationals, Serge Atlaoui. Australian authorities have also launched a major diplomatic campaign for the lives of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, the ringleaders of the Bali Nine group of drug smugglers.
Who are the Bali Nine?
- The eight men and one woman were arrested in April 2005 at an airport and hotel in Bali, Indonesia after a tip-off from Australian police. They were trying to carry 8.3kg (18lb) of heroin back to Australia.
- In 2006 a court ruled that Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran had recruited the others and paid their costs. They were sentenced to death.
- The other seven are serving sentences of between 20 years and life, after some had death sentences revoked on appeal.
- Chan and Sukumaran have repeatedly appealed against their sentences and say they are reformed characters - Chan teaches Bible and cookery classes in prison while Sukumaran is an artist.
Who are Chan and Sukumaran?
Prime Minister Tony Abbott caused an uproar last week when he said Indonesia should remember the A$1bn ($0.78bn: £0.5bn) provided in aid by Australia after the 2004 tsunami. The comments were seen as a threat by the political rank and some of the general public in Indonesia.
Sukumaran and Chan, who are also in the second group, were arrested for trying to traffic heroin out of Bali in 2005. Responding to their latest challenge, Judge Hendro Puspito said the court had no jurisdiction to overrule the president's decision to not grant clemency, which is considered the final word in such matters.
"Clemency is the prerogative of the president... the state administrative court has no right to rule on the challenge." He said they had 14 days to lodge an appeal. Their lawyers said they would pursue that avenue.
The family of jailed Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim say they have sought a royal pardon over his conviction for sodomy. Anwar was jailed for five years earlier this month in a case which he has always maintained was brought to keep him out of politics.
His family said he was a political prisoner who had been "tyrannised" and that his health was at risk in prison.The pardon bid means a delay in Anwar's disqualification from politics. He has widely been seen as the only real threat to the ruling coalition, which insists that his conviction was fair.
'Justice will prevail'
Anwar Ibrahim's daughter Nurul Izzah: "We have filled for a pardon based on a miscarriage of justice" Under the constitution, Anwar would have been automatically banned from politics for five years within 14 days of his conviction, unless he sought an appeal.
He had previously said he would not seek a pardon, as that would imply an admission of guilt. But in a statement on behalf of his family, Anwar's daughter Nurul Nuha Anwar said the case was a miscarriage of justice. "We placed our confidence in the constitutional process and believe that justice will prevail when all the facts are scrutinised without political intervention," she said.
The pardon petition was submitted to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Malaysia's elected monarch. The monarchy rotates between the hereditary rulers of nine Malaysian states. Sodomy is illegal in Muslim-majority Malaysia, though very few people are ever prosecuted.
Anwar - who has already served one six-year term for another sodomy conviction that was later overturned - has always insisted he is innocent. In a statement released after he was sent to jail on 10 February, he said the charge was "complete fabrication - coming from a political conspiracy to stop my political career" and that he would be silenced.
A spokesman for Anwar's People's Justice Party (PKR) said the party leadership "respects and fully understands" the decision to pursue a pardon, saying he had been "persecuted for his unrelenting challenge against the powerful ruling elite".
"We call on the Palace to acknowledge the blatant transgression in the judicial process and promptly step in to rectify the situation," said Vice-President Tian Chua. "There is no remedy to the miscarriage of justice except an immediate release of Anwar Ibrahim."
Timeline: Anwar Ibrahim
- 1993 to 1998 - Deputy Prime Minister, under Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad
- 1999 - Jailed for abuse of power, sparking huge street protests
- 2000 - Found guilty of sodomy with his wife's driver
- 2004 - Supreme Court overturns sodomy conviction, freeing him from jail. He quickly emerges as the de facto opposition leader
- March 2008 - ruling coalition narrowly wins general election, but with its worst results in 50 years. The opposition makes unprecedented gains
- Aug 2008 - Anwar charged with sodomy for a second time, but despite this is soon voted in as an MP
- Feb 2009 - Second trial for sodomy starts
- Jan 2012 - Acquitted of sodomy by High Court
- May 2013: Leads opposition to best-ever performance in general elections
- Mar 2014: 2012 acquittal overturned by court after government appeal
By William Davison
(Bloomberg) -- The chief mediator at South Sudan’s peace talks demanded that President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar meet “without further delay” to agree on a power-sharing pact after Kiir didn’t show up for negotiations.
Rival factions in the conflict, who gathered on Monday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, have a “final opportunity” to reach a deal, Seyoum Mesfin, the top envoy from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development regional bloc, said at the opening ceremony. Mediators have set a March 5 deadline for Kiir and Machar to conclude the details of a final peace accord and transitional government.
IGAD Chairman and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said he would encourage Kiir to attend the talks as he promised in a Feb. 1 agreement, Seyoum told reporters. “To resolve the outstanding issues between the two warring parties his attendance is very crucial,” he said.
Violence erupted in South Sudan in December 2013, when a power struggle within the ruling party turned violent and took on an ethnic dimension as the fighting spread. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and more than two million fled their homes because of the clashes.
Kiir has other duties that make it impractical to attend all of the negotiations, South Sudan Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth said. “Whatever issue that is outstanding we will call him and he will come and address it and go back,” Lueth said in an interview on Monday in Addis Ababa.
Machar is in the Ethiopian capital waiting for the president to arrive and the power-sharing talks to resume, said Puot Kang Chol, a spokesman for the rebel delegation. “We are dismayed and we feel Salva must be reneging from what has been signed,” he said in an interview on Monday at the ceremony.
The U.K., U.S. and Norway, nations which are supporting the mediation, have “deep concern and regret” about Kiir’s absence, said Matthew Connell, the U.K.’s special representative to Sudan and South Sudan. The United Nations Security Council may consider a resolution this week that could result in sanctions being placed on South Sudanese leaders, he told the summit.
An agreement to cease hostilities first reached in January 2014 in Addis Ababa has failed to prevent bouts of fighting between government forces and rebels, largely concentrated in oil-rich regions. Repeated violations of the truce this month caused further “distress” among mediators, said Seyoum.
Discussions over five days between Kiir and Machar on distributing power in the transitional government ended deadlocked on Feb. 1. Machar’s movement is pushing for the same proportion of posts as Kiir loyalists during this round of talks, his spokeswoman, Ann Norman from Norman Communications, said in an e-mailed statement late Sunday.
The war is ongoing because of “political ambitions and egos,” said John Luk Jok, the leader of a faction of South Sudanese leaders who aren’t directly involved in the fighting.
“This war can only be considered by the people as a cruel game of the political elites who are oblivious to the suffering of their people and interested only in power for themselves,” he said at the ceremony.
To contact the reporter on this story: William Davison in Addis Ababa at [email protected]
Top internal Afghan Taliban sources said that their negotiators were in Qatar where they will meet with US officials today and tomorrow toward possible peace talks, reports MISNA.
Representatives from the Afghan Taliban are set to meet U.S. officials in Qatar late Thursday to begin peace talks, according to media reports. Afghan Taliban officials communicated through the Pakistani military that they are willing to open negotiations, Reuters reported Thursday. The development comes after several unsuccessful attempts to initiate talks over the years.
A senior member of Taliban’s Quetta Shura council confirmed the news, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported. The member, who was not named, said that the departure of former president Hamid Karzai had helped improve relations with the Afghan administration.
All previous attempts to negotiate an end to a war that began in late 2001 have proved fruitless, but the latest signals from Taliban leaders and President Ashraf Ghani have raised hopes. Since taking office at the end of last year, Ghani sought backing from Pakistan and China to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.
“They have expressed their willingness and there will be progress in March. But these things are not so quick and easy”, an official close to Pakistan’s army chief, General Raheel Sharif, told the media.
“The venue is still to be decided. Preferably Islamabad, Kabul, Beijing or Dubai”, said one diplomat in Kabul, warning that any talks might hinge on the Taliban’s reclusive leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, who has not been seen since 2001. Also, even if talks are opened, it remains unclear whether the Taliban’s leadership is united enough to end the fighting.
A senior member of the Quetta Shura, the Taliban’s governing council, confirmed the news to the Pakistani media, saying that the departure of Hamid Karzai as president had helped clear the way. Earlier, the Afghan Taliban opened the office in Qatar on Tuesday to help restart talks on ending the war, saying it wanted a political solution that would bring about a just government and end foreign occupation.
In an effort to reinvigorate Bosnia and Herzegovina’s stalled EU accession discussions, the EU Foreign Affairs Council recently lent its support to a British-German initiative focused on helping BiH meet the requirements for membership in the bloc. The Council called upon the nation’s political leadership to commit itself in writing to carrying out reforms in the framework of the EU accession process.
Earlier this month, the members of the BiH presidency and leaders of political parties signed a consolidated statement after meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, who initiated the adoption of this statement and the EU’s new approach toward BiH.
The renewed approach was approved without changing any EU accession conditions, including the European Court of Human Rights’ ruling in the Sejdic-Finci case. The court ruled in December 2009 that requiring citizens to identify themselves as Bosniak, Serb or Croat in order to be elected to the House of Peoples or the presidency is a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. BiH has not yet changed its laws accordingly.
The EU’s new initiative places the focus on reforms and issues of direct concern to citizens. The reform agenda should be developed and implemented in consultation with civil society, and should foremost address socio-economic reforms, including the EU’s Compact for Growth and Jobs, rule of law and good governance.
The overall objective is to establish functionality and efficiency at all levels of government and allow BiH to prepare itself for future EU membership. The text also contains a commitment to work in consultation with the EU to create an initial agenda for reforms, in line with the EU acquis.
The EU Foreign Affairs Council said the recent visit to BiH by the bloc’s High Representative of Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini and Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn was a successful step toward revitalising the reform process. The Council asked Mogherini and Hahn to continue engaging with the leadership in BiH to secure a written commitment to undertake reforms in the framework of the EU accession process.
Mogherini said these developments represent the chance for BiH to make a new start in its accession bid. “We are ready to engage and to reciprocate in the moment when this commitment will be adopted by the parliament, and we really believe — with a very, I have to say, positive mood and discussion we had with all the ministers — that this could be a turning point in the way of Bosnia and Herzegovina toward the European Union. We need to make sure that together we move toward that direction consistently and not only in words,” she said.
Hahn discussed the sequence of activities that BiH must implement. “It should be noted that none of the existing conditions are left out. I think that they can be implemented step by step. Therefore, the fulfilment of certain conditions is associated with further financial support. This is a considerable amount for BiH set aside annually. We’re talking about more than 800 million euros,” Hahn said. The EU Delegation to BiH and the Office of the Special Representative of the Union expressed satisfaction with the country’s commitment to a renewed approach.
Renzo Daviddi, the charge d’affaires of the EU Delegation to BiH, said the overall objective is the commitment to establish functionality and efficiency at all levels of government and to allow BiH to prepare itself for future EU membership.
“The commitment to make progress, at a later stage, on reforms in order to enhance functionality and effectiveness of the different levels of governance is required as well. Once this commitment is delivered and judged satisfactory, the EU will decide on the entry into force of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement,” Daviddi said.
After meeting with BiH party leaders, Hammond said the British-German initiative is perhaps the best offer ever made by the EU to BiH. “The joint statement on the commitment of political leaders to get the required reforms is the first step on a long and difficult road to integration, and its adoption [by BiH’s parliament] would be a strong signal to the EU that BiH is part of the movement in the region toward the EU,” Hammond said.
Steinmeier said the EU initiative is a new beginning for BiH in the process of integration, which Brussels wants. “This represents a new window for BiH which will not be open forever, and this is a time of opportunity that BiH should take advantage of. We have not forgotten the BiH after the last general elections. The citizens of BiH deserve a better future. All political leaders in BiH were unique in the position that they want to continue through the EU integration process and that a different path does not exist,” Steinmeier said, adding that BiH and the EU are establishing co-ordination mechanisms in order to jointly negotiate concrete reform proposals.
Semsudin Mehmedovic, chairman of the BiH House of Representatives said the new plan is not a change of criteria, but a reordering. “I think the British-German initiatives turned things in the right direction in BiH, which is why I believe the political parties agree,” Mehmedovic told SETimes.
*The Southeast European Times Web site is a central source of news and information about Southeastern Europe in ten languages: Albanian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, English, Greek, Macedonian, Romanian, Serbian and Turkish. The Southeast European Times is sponsored by the US European Command, the joint military command responsible for US operations in 52 countries. EUCOM is committed to promoting stability, co-operation and prosperity in the region.
The Australian government Friday continued its refusal to apologise to a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner despite the US overturning his conviction for supporting terrorism. David Hicks, who was held in Guantanamo Bay for five years between 2002 and 2007 after being captured in Afghanistan and wrongly convicted under the Military Commissions Act, had his name cleared Thursday after it was found that the charge did not exist at the time of his arrest, Xinhua reported.
His father immediately called for official apologies from both the Australian and American governments for supporting his conviction.However, Australia has been quick to reject such proposals. Prime Minister Tony Abbott said "not now, not ever" would he apologise to Hicks, adding, "He was up to no good, on his own admission".
Australian attorney general George Brandis questioned Hicks's motives for being in Afghanistan and challenged the legalities of the verdict reached by the US government. "The review was about the validity of the US law under which he was convicted, not about whether he carried out the activities of which he was accused," Brandis said.
"Hicks has made a number of admissions that he undertook training with militia and terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and that he had met Osama Bin Laden on many occasions and considered him a brother."
Meanwhile, John Howard, Australia's Prime Minister at the time of Hicks's arrest, echoed Brandis' comments and released a statement that read "The US verdict is about the legal process in that country". "Nothing alters the fact that by his own admission, Hicks trained with Al-Qaeda, met Osama Bin Laden on several occasions, describing him as a brother." "He reveled in Jihad. He is not owed an apology by any Australian government," the statement added.
By Farhan Khan
KARACHI: Spirit of International Education & Careers (SIEC), a division of Times Consultant Private Limited, organized a consultancy event for the students intending to get admission in foreign education institutions. The event was held on February, 18th, 2015, here, at a local hotel. It gave college and university representatives the opportunity to meet students while providing ample time for one-on-one discussion between college representatives and potential students and even their parents.The event included respected and mainstream higher education institutes from US and the UK, as well emergent ones in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
At the venue, a sizeable number of students,aged between 15 and 24, came to the event.These colleges and university bound students seemed focused, ambitious and eager to climb the ladder to success. According to them,the first and most important rung of the ladder is a degree from a reputable foreign college or university.
Focused and driven, Pakistani students (and their parents) weremeticulously planning their higher educational careers; they looked committed to earn a degree from the best possible educational institution and to this end they looked willing to invest significant amounts of time and financial resources.
Kelvin John, Senior Manager for South Asia of University of East London while talking to the Live Rostrum in a message to the students aspiring to go to UK for studies said, “We want to borrow the students for a short time to raise their standard of education and return them back to Pakistan so they can further develop Pakistan. The British education system is not here to take students away from Pakistan and remove them from country and send them to other places of the world or keep them in UK”.
According to some media reports around 25,000 Pakistani students pursue their higher education at colleges and universities abroad each year; more than half of these students choose a university or college in the United Kingdom & Australia]. The remainders choose an educational institution in North America, Europe and/or the Far East & the Middle East.
South Australian schools and childcare centres may have served frozen berries contaminated with hepatitis A to children, the Education Department says.
The department said principals and directors at nine potentially affected sites were notifying parents.
One childcare centre, understood to be the McKay Children's Centre at Penola in the state's south-east, feared smoothies reportedly made with a frozen mixed berry pack were served to children as part of their afternoon snack.
Letters have been sent to parents of the children notifying them of the possible risk.
The centre's director declined to comment on the situation.
The department said the advice followed fromPatties Foods Limited recalling Nanna's Mixed Berries and Creative Gourmet Mixed Berries (frozen) from Coles, Woolworths, IGA and other independent supermarkets nationally due to a potential hepatitis A contamination.
Chief education officer Jayne Johnston said parents would be understandably concerned to get the letter.
"But I would like to emphasise that SA Health advises that the risk is considered to be quite low and the product recall was being undertaken as a precaution," she said.
"I also don't know how the berries were used, it may have just been with one class, it may have been put into muffins sold at the canteen so it's very hard to get a judgment, but all parents are being notified if the school has told us the berries might have been used."
She did not name the nine centres involved because some parents may not yet have got their letter, but gave broad details.
They are four primary schools, one secondary school, three children's centres and an out-of-hours school care facility.
The department said childcare staff had done a risk assessment aimed at preventing any further risk and would increase hygiene practices over the next two months during the incubation period for possible illnesses.
Symptoms of hepatitis A can be mild in children and Professor Paddy Phillips of SA Health said older people were most prone to problems.
SA Health's hepatitis A advice
- Risk is very low
- Symptoms to watch for are fever, abdominal pain, feeling generally unwell, dark tea-coloured urine, yellowing of skin or eyes
- Seek medical attention immediately if there are symptoms
- Professor Paddy Phillips
"While it's generally a disease that people recover from, there can be serious consequences in any age group," he said.
"Generally it's older people with other diseases, other hepatitis illnesses, that can get complications.
"Children are often asymptomatic, that means they have no symptoms, and they don't get unwell from the illness."
Professor Phillips said there was no specific treatment for hepatitis A but treatment options were possible.
"Occasionally people do need to be admitted to hospital where they get fluids and painkillers, but generally people recover, it can take some time, and lead a normal life," he said.
By Farhan Khan
KARACHI: Manzil Pakistan, a non-profit organization, launched an educational report with the title, “Access to Education- Sindh Districts’ Profiles and Rankings”; a report that begins the process to identify what lies behind Sindh’s consistently poor education performance. It was launched on January, 23rd, 2015, here, at a local hotel. The report reveals that approximately 95 per cent of the educational budget is spent on the staff salaries including ghost teachers, while only 05 per cent of the funds is consumed on the maintenance of the infrastructure of the schools.
Nisar Khuhro Senior Sindh Minister for Education and Literacy, the chief guest of the event, gave opening remarks on the report and the state of education in Sindh. Manzil Pakistan Board Member, Ameena Saiyid of OBE endorsed the report and stressed the need for the government to work with researchers and academia in improving the state of education in the province. Manzil CEO and co-author of the report, Naheed Memon moderated the session along with the author of the report Sidrat Asim.
The panel at the launch consisted of Shehnaz Wazir Ali President SZABIST, Shereen Nerejo Secretary Planning & Development, Rehan Iqbal Baloch Additional Secretary and Aasim Siddiqui, Vice Chairman Manzil Pakistan Board of Directors. Shehnaz stressed on the need of doing planning of education at the district-level like the other developed countries of the world. She was of the view that the poor management in the public sector schools was the biggest hurdle in improvement. “Even the low income families send their children to the private schools because of better management is those schools e.g. the teachers come regularly etc.” she added to reinforce his statement.
A review of the education policy in Pakistan since partition makes clear the intent on part of all governments to impact literacy and education. However, the prime reason stated for the consistent failure of eight 5-year plans and ten education policies is ineffective administration. It is commonly accepted in practice and theory that administrative failure is correlated with an absence of political will. The history of educational development in the world presents the presence of the latter as the dominant common factor in all successful transitions to mass education.
Manzil’s report is a summary of the condition of primary schooling ins Sindh and identifies factors that significantly affect the Education Score Index (ESI). The results established location of schools, percentage of schools with electricity, the number of functional schools, and the size of schools, as the most significant determinants of performance. These results also show that districts in upper Sindh have higher ESI’s and performs better than those in lower Sindh. The crippling effect of an energy crisis in the country is evident here, as well.
The significance of the size of schools endorses a paradigm shift amongst policy makers and donors in the wake of a school consolidation drive. The results in this report show that bigger schools with more classrooms are better suppliers of education and enrollment numbers in such schools are greater. The findings in this report substantiate the Government of Sindh’s current interest in collaborating with the World Bank on an ongoing school consolidation initiative.
This study establishes the need for data-informed budget making. The Government of Sindh currently prepares district and school specific budgets for the education department. These budgetary allocations must be based on administrative and infrastructure gaps identified through data. A failure to do so makes the annual census of schools in Sindh a futile activity. The report makes clear that the current process to allocate budgets needs a more meticulous approach that strongly considers a data informed ‘need-based’ allocation.
This report serves to inform government and presents indicative direction for policy makers. If the administrative structure has to be reformed and is to become a potent agent for implementation of education policy in order to deliver mass education, then students, parents, teachers, and managers should be motivated and incentivized effectively. Donor-led incentive programs have to be revisited and examples from other developing countries should not be indiscriminately replicated. Educationists should understand what really matters to all stakeholders and should broaden their perspectives beyond the realm of simple demand-supply economics. Socio-political factors cannot be dismissed as insignificant determinants of primary school enrollment and if mass education through public schools is to be delivered, policies have to be seamlessly interwoven into communities.
Manzil Pakistan’s report is an effort to engage policy makers and stakeholders to review and enhance their approach to education in Sindh. The private sector, non-government organizations (NGOs) and international donors are all add-ons to capacity and although some burden may be shifted to them, the government remains legally and ethically responsible for educating the seven million children who live in Sindh.
Saviour or a waste of good money?
By Christine Mungai
AFRICA’S tech boom has made many governments on the continent eager to incorporate e-learning into their education policies, to mixed success.
Rwanda’s One Laptop per Child project has seen over 203,000 laptops distributed to primary school pupils, making it the third largest deployment of laptops to schools globally after Peru and Uruguay.
But laptop projects have stalled in other countries, as controversies over corruption and political opportunism, and as to whether laptops are a good educational investment in the first place, throw a spanner in the works.
In Kenya, for example, one of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s incoming election pledges was to supply 1.2 million laptops to first year primary pupils. It was to be a $600 million project, with a $100 price tag per laptop.
But the first round of tendering was cancelled, as the initial quotations were far above $100 for each device, and from then on, the project was dragged into the muck amid accusations of inflated costs and favouritism, with speculations that the whole thing was just a ruse for certain politicians and businessmen to be paid back for their “investment” during elections.
In Nigeria, the laptop idea was proposed as far back as 2006, and the government ordered one million laptops to be distributed to schools around the country – becoming the first country in the world to make such a large order.
But with the election of Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s administration in 2007, government priorities shifted, says this article, and the initiative was abandoned.
The new education minister at the time is quoted to have said that he found the project questionable given the absence of basic infrastructure that students are faced with. “What is the sense of introducing one laptop per child when they don’t have seats to sit down and learn, when they don’t have uniforms to go to school in, when they don’t have facilities?” said Igwe Aja-Nawachuku.
Are critics right?
Critics of the laptop projects point to the chronic energy shortages, as an indication, that the idea is doomed to fail. One article calls it “media sexy, but completely out of touch with reality”.
But this argument ignores the fact that the devices can be powered by solar, and – more importantly – rolling out the project even in the face of energy challenges can be the spark that drives the investment into electricity in long-neglected communities, where it has not made “business sense” even for governments to do so.
Most primary schools in Kenya are “day schools” and so have not had much demand for power at night. Thus there is a curious phenomenon in many rural communities, where households may be connected to the electricity grid or use solar power, but schools remain dark.
In June 2013, just under half of the country’s primary schools had power – 10,157 out of 21,222.
But by November 2014, a statement from the country’s Rural Electrification Authority indicated an incredible acceleration of electricity access in schools, with 82% of schools now supplied with power and a target to have all 22,000 primary schools powered by the end of 2015, for the rollout of the laptop project.
It’s possibly the fastest electrification rate in Kenya’s history, and even if the laptops never come, at least the schools now have power where they didn’t before.
The other form of opposition to the laptops-in-schools idea is whether they have any impact on student achievement in the first place, and whether they were really a good strategy for development.
In 2012, it was announced that 25 million laptops later, the One Laptop Per Child project had failed to increase test scores; a headline from the Economist read “Error Message: A disappointing return from an investment in computing.”
A study from Peru showed no improvement on achievement in mathematics or languages, as it had no effect on attendance, time allocated to school activities or quality of instruction in class.
It seemed to be a huge anti-climax for countries like Kenya and Rwanda that have embedded digital services in their country development strategies, and are looking to burnish their tech credentials through the laptop distribution.
Light at end of the tunnel
But the study prompting the gloomy headlines about the “disappointing” test results did find that the laptops did one thing – they improved students’ cognitive skills, that is, the ability to learn to learn – skills like reasoning, perception and attention.
But because students tend to learn faster than teachers, especially when it comes to using gadgets, most teachers had turned the laptops into nothing more than digital notebooks – used only to copy what the teacher had written on the board.
The One Laptop Per Child project stresses that their vision is not to explicitly improve academic achievement in the traditional sense – it is to facilitate “collaborative, joyful, and self-empowered learning”, where “children are engaged in their own education, and learn, share and create together.”
So whether the project failed or not – and whether it makes “sense” for African governments to distribute laptops to children in remote places where learning under trees might be commonplace- depends on the definition of success, or sense, it seems.
In one school in Lesotho, at least, using a virtual interface between students and teachers reduced truancy, simply because students can ask questions without calling attention to them.
“Children who are slow learners often feel embarrassed about asking questions in class and so they stop coming to school. Truancy has stopped being a problem since we deployed the solution because I don’t have to disrupt the rest of the class or call attention to the slowest learners,” said a teacher from Mamoeketsi School, Maseru, where the technology was tried out.
Uganda’s book burden
And having digital books could solve another, often overlooked problem of going to school in Africa – heavy school bags. One study in Uganda showed about 30.8% of pupils carry schoolbags that were more than 10% of their body weight.
About 88.2% of pupils reported having body pain especially in the neck, shoulders and upper back, and 35.4% of the children reported that carrying the schoolbag was the cause of their pain. Just 19% of the pupils had lockers at school – and these were often too few to cater to all the pupils.
In the next few years, we could see a more aggressive rollout of Internet connectivity that would impact learning. Google is looking to expand Internet access via solar-powered balloons soaring through the stratosphere. Facebook is mulling something similar using drones, as part of Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to wire the world.
Closer to earth, Kenya’s telecom giant Safaricom is working on building ICT hubs in different parts of the country that would boost “networks of learning” powered by mobile broadband, says CEO Bob Collymore.
“Through these networks, mobile companies could deliver educative content to teachers or students in remote areas and ensure that they receive the best in educational standards wherever there is a mobile signal. That would be the true start of education without borders,” he told Mail & Guardian Africa, adding that the company is already working on a solution of this kind in Daadab, Kenya’s – and East Africa’s – biggest refugee camp.
The BRCK solution
Another hugely promising initiative for learning is the BRCK, a portable, WiFi router chargeable by solar panel, car battery, a computer USB connection or regular electricity connection, and seamlessly switches between Ethernet, WiFi, 3G or 4G connection depending on what’s available.
It was developed in Kenya by non-profit technology company Ushahidi, and has the potential of solving the problem of connectivity for schools; it could even be moved from school to school, updating laptops, e-books and software for schools that cannot afford a continuous Internet connection.
But the ultimate innovation would be the development of a video game to replace exams, as African governments look to give students skills for the real world instead of the emphasis on rote learning. Through the game students could be faced with test scenarios that they might find in their future life, thus making test-taking both fun and practical.
It’s just a dream, but who knows, it could happen.
By Akhilesh Pillalamarri
Many non-Indians and even many Indians are not familiar with the scope, diversity, and breadth of India’s traditional and classical literature. Much of it is obscure due to a lack of accessible translations or because works gather dust in archives and museums without anyone to promote or market them. On the other hand, Western and classical Greco-Roman literature are available in multiple editions in English, and are often compiled into series, such as the Loeb Classical Library.
This fact has not escaped notice. I have personally thought a lot about this problem. Education should serve more than just a utilitarian, job-oriented purpose. Literature, especially classical works, plays an important role in shaping and inspiring educated minds and until recently it was considered essential for the educated to have a grounding in their civilization’s classical literature, whether it was the Iliad, the Shahnameh, the Ramayana, or the Analects. In modern India, however, the spread of modernization is making it ever more difficult for educated Indians to access their own classical heritage. In India and indeed in the rest of the world, the spread of pop culture (not that this is inherently bad) and a utilitarian attitude towards education risks creating a society of philistines.
This problem was noted by Rohan Murthy, a Junior Fellow at Harvard University, and the son of Narayana Murthy, the founder of Infosys, one of India’s largest companies. Rohan Murthy noted the lack of access to India’s classical literature, saying:
“I wondered why we weren’t reading our own classics? I bet my generation has never heard of great Indian texts nor ever read them — like the Nyaya tradition, whose construction of logic almost 1,500 years ago was spectacular, and still a challenge to modern logic. Even early calculus was phenomenal. We should read Pythagoras and Euclid, but why not also Aryabhata or the Akbarnama? I was looking for an India narrative, not always a Greek and Latin one.”
As a result of Murthy’s insight, his family donated $5.2 million to Harvard University in order to found a new publication series that would focus on systematically making classical Indian literature (in multiple languages and not just Sanskrit, the classical language of ancient India) accessible in English to a global, reading public. The new series, the Murthy Classical Library of India (MCLI) will feature classical works of Indian literature in their native languages and scripts with English translations on adjacent pages. The first five books in the series will be released by Harvard University Press in January 2015. The five volumes, whose diversity and scope are a glimpse of what is to come, include Punjabi Sufi poetry by Bulleh Shah, a Persian history of the reign of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, a Pali anthology featuring the first Buddhist literature by women, and works by writers of Telugu and Old Hindi, Allasani Peddana, and Surdas.
While some classical Indian texts have been previously translated and have reached a global audience, most of those are of a religious or philosophical nature. This gives the impression that India does not possess much literature, and definitely not literature on non-religious topics. However, this is not true and is a consequence of selection bias. According to Dr. Sheldon Pollock, the editor of the MCLI, India possesses “the single most complex and continuous multilingual tradition of literature in the world.”
In 2015, therefore, we can look forward to the revival and spread of classical Indian literature, which has been neglected for too long. Hopefully many people, Indians and non-Indians alike, will discover and enjoy the Indian classical tradition, deriving both entertainment and intellectual nourishment from its numerous works.
Japan's Abe pushes youths to head overseas
Tokyo — Isshu Fujii, a senior at Tokyo’s Aoyama Gakuin University, has a sense he’s bucking a trend he sees among Japanese youths.
At a time when more of his peers are choosing the comforts of life in their island nation over studying abroad, Mr. Fujii has his sights set on graduate study in either the United States or the United Kingdom.
Wherever he ends up, the young advocate of a more robust global role for his homeland wants to pursue security studies – a discipline he says hardly exists in a country with an enduring – though evolving – postwar pacifist tradition.
“I do think Japanese young people are pretty comfortable and are content to choose an easier path,” Fujii says. “There’s this idea that the Internet and social media bring the world to you,” he adds, “and if they do think about going abroad, it’s more for a limited ‘experience’ than the hard road of studying and learning a new language.”
But the picture Fujii paints of a younger generation inwardly focused even as tensions rise in Asia, and many of their South Korean and Chinese counterparts study abroad, is prompting alarm in Tokyo – and spurring some initial remedial measures from the Abe government, which also envisions a more robust global role for Japan in the 21st century. Mr. Abe, whose concerns about Japan's lost luster extend to the stagnant economy, has called elections for Dec. 14 in hopes of delivering a boost to stalled reform efforts.
“It’s not so much a worry for us if more Chinese and South Korean students are going abroad, it’s actually positive if instead of remaining in China, for example, the Chinese come to Japan or go elsewhere and learn a different view of human rights and universal rights,” says Takako Ito, assistant press secretary at Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“But what is a challenge,” she adds, “is if our students are becoming more introverted.”
A decade ago, nearly 83,000 students were studying abroad, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But by 2011, the number was down to 57,500. Japanese studying in the US have declined even more sharply, from nearly 46,000 in 2002 to under 20,000 in 2011.
The concern over the phenomenon is both economic and political. A less globally conscious and entrepreneurial Japan could lose to more dynamic countries around it. At the same time, a key pillar for Abe – revising the pacifist Constitution to allow a stronger regional security posture – could also be thwarted by a population that sees little benefit from engaging more with an increasingly fractious region. Many young people here, mirroring the general population, may simply opt for a “status quo” that they see as having given Japan nearly seven decades of peace, some experts say.
To begin to reverse the trend, the government doubled scholarships for undergraduate study abroad from 10,000 to 20,000, while increasing scholarships for graduate students to study abroad from 200 to 250 this year. More ambitious still is a new joint venture between the government and private sector that aims to send 10,000 students for study in the US by 2020. Called the "Tobitate! Young Ambassador Program," the initiative has already received $80 million in pledges from Japanese companies, and this fall sent the first 84 "ambassadors" to American universities. The government is also phasing in an earlier start for English instruction, beginning in primary school.
But just how far such initiatives will go in stoking a broader interest in what many Japanese see as a threatening outside world remains a question for some experts. Fumio Ota, former director of Defense Intelligence and a retired professor at the National Defense Academy, sees an ambivalence about the world among young people, spurred by uncertainty. “They see the international situation is very severe, from the difficult relations with China to threats from North Korea, and the tendency for some is to turn away from the world and focus on life in Japan,” he says.
And young people who want Japan to assume the role of a more active regional power are still in the minority, Dr. Ota says. “You do hear more often among young people the idea that if Japan remains limited in its security capabilities by a post-war Constitution, which could actually encourage instability in the region by suggesting to others that Japan cannot properly defend itself,” he says.
A bigger factor behind “widespread indifference towards the world” is prosperity, Ota says. “When I was a youngster our society was poor, and young people were more driven to go to a more advanced foreign country,” he says. “For many that interest isn’t there anymore.”
High costs are a factor
Still, some students say there are reasons other than “indifference” to explain the falling numbers.
“Many students do want to understand global issues and develop a global view, but it costs a lot of money to study abroad so they study those issues in Japan if they can, or take advantage of less expensive options,” says Marino Mori, a political science major at Gakushuin University.
Tuition at an American university can be four times or more that of a Japanese university – which helps explain why many students studying abroad opt for programs in Australia and New Zealand. Others say Ja stagnant economy heightens worries about landing a good job out of university and discourages efforts to fit a year aboard into a tight study schedule. One reform has targeted the traditional post-college recruitment calendar to accommodate those studying abroad.
Ms. Mori, who is Japan vice-chairwoman of the Japan-America Student Conference, a prestigious student exchange and discussion program, says more students are seeking alternatives like the one she helps organize that offer a taste of international affairs without costing so much or taking them away from their studies.
Some young people are also simply trying new ways to energize their peers.
Ryo Masuzawa, a graduate student at Tokyo Institute of Technology, recently set up a food delivery service aimed at Millennials that delivers a monthly newsletter on a topic of interest along with the donburi and soba noodles. A recent issue focused on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement among Pacific Basin countries and the impact it could have on Japan’s agriculture and food production.
“Japanese young people don’t have a good view of politics, their participation in elections is very low. But at the same time surveys indicate they want to be involved in improving the world but they don’t know how to,” Mr. Masuzawa says. “The idea behind ‘Eating and Politics,’ ” his food-with-a-side-of-ideas project, “is to get young people thinking about how their involvement in something can make a difference.”
But will they think like Abe?
A more active youth population is almost certainly something the Abe government would like to encourage. But it’s also true that many of Japan’s more globally minded young people have a perspective that doesn’t align with Abe’s vision.
Indeed, some self-described internationalists see merit in preserving Japan’s “status quo,” including constitutionally imposed limits on military activity –and they don’t believe that should hinder Japan from being an outward-looking nation.
“Japan was able to become a global economic power without abandoning our pacifist approach, and I think we should continue along that line,” says Yugo Kimura, who is majoring in global politics and economics at Waseda University.
Social media in Japan are full of belligerent discussions of the neighbors, in particular China, that are fueled by a small but loud slice of extremist youth, Mr. Kimura says. But he says his view is that East Asia will be better off if everyone focuses on cooperation.
“I don’t have a sense of fear of a rising China or of a progressing South Korea,” he says. “On the contrary, I favor a friendly approach because I think there are benefits for everybody in regional cooperation.”
Kimura holds so strongly to the idea of Japan avoiding conflict that he would favor his country ceding to China on territorial conflicts over open confrontation.
“I think Japan should focus on its economic relations in East Asia and find other ways to take up these territorial disputes,” he says. Concerning the Senkaku Islands – the uninhabited islands in the East China Sea that China calls the Diaoyu Islands and also claims – Kimura says Japan should consider international arbitration – or even step back to avoid conflict.
“I wouldn’t want Japan to risk a war to keep them,” he says. “In the end, it’s just some very small islands and rocks.”
Hindu group seeks Diwali holiday in all US universities
A Hindu group is asking all universities in the US to declare Diwali, a popular Hindu holy day, as a university-wide holiday. Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, pointed out that it would be a step in the right direction in view of presence of a substantial number of Hindu students at US universities, as it was important to meet the religious and spiritual needs of these students.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, indicated that universities should make efforts to accommodate the religious requirements of Hindu students and employees and show respect to their faith by not conducting regular business and scheduling classes on Diwali. “We do not want our students to be put at an unnecessary disadvantage for missing tests/examinations/papers, assignments, class work, etc., by taking a day-off to observe Diwali.”
If universities have declared other religious holidays, why not Diwali, Rajan Zed asked. Holidays of all major religions should be honoured and no one should be penalized for practicing their religion, Zed added. Zed urged US universities, both public and private, to seriously look into declaring Diwali as a holiday, recognizing the intersection of spirituality and education. Zed noted that awareness about other religions thus created by such holidays like Diwali would make all students well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow.
Rajan Zed further says that Hinduism is rich in festivals and religious festivals are very dear and sacred to Hindus. Diwali, the festival of lights, aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives and symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Besides Hindus, Sikhs and Jains and some Buddhists also celebrate Diwali, which falls on November 11 in 2015.
Cornell University takes $5.6 million from Gates Foundation, partners with Biotech Industry to produce pro-GMO propaganda
Governments have teamed up with the biotech industry in the past to demonize critics of genetically modified foods and crops, as well as promote efforts to propagandize their use. Now, it seems, academia is teaming up with the industry as well, and for the same reasons.
In a recent announcement, officials at Cornell University said the institution would join a multi-million dollar campaign in an effort to "depolarize the charged debate" centered around GMOs. And the biotech industry, with its bought-and-paid-for supporters, are behind the new push.
According to a report from Food & Water Watch, an organization that tracks, among other things, GMO use around the world, the university has launched a website to host the propaganda effort, called Cornell Alliance for Science. So far, there is little on it, but it does, at least, list pro-GMO partners of the effort. They include the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, or ISAAA, an entity funded by Bayer, Monsanto and CropLife, which in turn is also funded by biotech and agrochemical companies including BASF, DuPont, Dow AgroSciences and Syngenta.
The organization says it has detailed the huge amount of research that has been generated by "our public land-grant universities" in a report published in 2012 called "Public Research, Private Gain." And Cornell, apparently, has been a regular generator of "science for sale."
Earlier this year, a Cornell economist, William Lesser, accepted payment from what Schwab described as a "biotech front group," in exchange for producing a highly suspect analysis indicating that GMO labeling would be a huge cost for consumers. And while Lesser said the study contained his personal observations rather than those of Cornell, GMO backers nevertheless began to refer to his findings as "the Cornell study" in their efforts to stave off initiatives by states to force food makers to include labeling of GMO ingredients in their products. At the same time, Schwab noted, independent studies have shown that GMO labeling would not increase food costs by much, if at all.
Cornell's latest jaunt into the debate over GMOs, so dubbed the "Alliance for Science," will mostly just add to confusion about this issue, as well as factual distortions, regarding the public debate.
"Rather than trying to promote a civil, honest, impartial dialogue about GMOs--as you would expect from a university like Cornell--the school has chosen to partner with some of the biotechnology industry's most prominent supporters and defenders," Schwab wrote.
That is apparent judging by the Cornell press release announcing the new pro-GMO initiative; the school said the money -- $5.6 million -- came in the form of a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has been notoriously supportive of GMO crops and foods.
Sea levels along the northeast coast of the US rose by record levels during 2009-2010, a study has found. Sea levels north of New York City rose by 128mm in two years, according to a report in the journal, Nature Communications. Coastal areas will need to prepare for short term and extreme sea level events, say US scientists.
Climate models suggest extreme sea level rises will become more common this century. "The extreme sea level rise event during 2009-10 along the northeast coast of North America is unprecedented during the past century," Prof Jianjun Yin of the University of Arizona told BBC News. "Statistical analysis indicates that it is a 1-in-850 year event."
Scientists at the University of Arizona and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in New Jersey studied records of tidal levels along the east coast of the US and Canada.
They divided the coastline into three areas: north of New York City, New York City to Cape Hatteras on the coast of North Carolina, and south of Cape Hatteras. In addition to long-term and gradual sea level rise, coastal communities will need to prepare for short and extreme sea level rise events”
They identified what they call an extreme sea-level rise during 2009-10, when the coastal sea level north of New York City jumped by 128mm. "When coastal storms occur, extreme sea levels can lead to elevated storm surge," said Prof Jianjun Yin. "In addition to long-term and gradual sea level rise, coastal communities will need to prepare for short and extreme sea level rise events."
Commenting on the study, Prof Rowan Sutton, climate scientist at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Reading, said climate models suggest an increase in such events."This study identifies a record breaking high sea level event that occurred along part of the US east coast in 2009-10.
"There is strong evidence that the likelihood of such events has been increased by climate change, and that we should expect more such events in the future. "This example illustrates how individual extreme events are influenced by multiple factors - in this case the global rise of sea levels, regional changes in ocean circulation, and wind patterns."
Dr Dan Hodson, also from the University of Reading, said the analysis underlined the importance of understanding the connections between surges in sea levels and ocean currents. "Sea level change is a complex phenomenon, especially on the regional scale, where changes to the global ocean circulation can play a major role," he said.
"The east coast of North America is quite close to an area of active, fast ocean currents, and so is quite sensitive to changing ocean circulation." He said the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), a major current in the Atlantic Ocean, had implications for Europe and Africa as well as the US. Research at the University of Reading has shown how it could make British summers wetter and may influence rainfall patterns in parts of Africa.
When we almost thought that our Ozone layer was protected and guarded by the never ending efforts of our Scientists to make our earth a better place to live in, a new studies have revealed warning signs about an increase in the chemicals which were earlier never linked to Ozone depletion are now growing rapidly to threatening levels nullifying any recovery the layer has ever made.
Known as very short lived substances (VSLS) or VSLS gases which are damaging to the lower stratosphere of the earth which is nearly 20-30 kilometers above the earth's crust.
Currently these compounds are forming naturally in the environment but man made production of these compounds from industrial processes is also rising rapidly. These compounds have a tendency to break away rapidly and drastically into smaller compounds further harming the Ozone.
These compounds are said to have a life span of less than six months and are causing immense damage to our lower stratosphere, according to reports released on February 16, 2015 in the Journal on Nature Geoscience.
More than 90 per cent of VSLS are naturally occuring and are produced in Oceans by microscopic plants living in it like phytoplankton and seaweed. They form a part Ozone's normal cycle of depletion and redevelopment but the other 8 to 10 per cent comes from industrial chemicals like chlorine and dichloromethane the production of which is rising due to rapid industrialization and urbanization.
The researchers estimate that VSLS account for as much as 13 per cent of ozone damage only in the Antarctic and global analysis is even more worrying as it amounts to as much as 25 per cent of Ozone depletion in the lower stratosphere.
Fortunately enough VSLS are not as damaging as the chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gases that are produced by AC's and refrigerators on day to day basis but were banned by the Montreal Protocol in the late 1980s primarily due to their drastic effect on the Ozone layer.
Important Information about Ozone Layer : Ozone layer or Ozone shield refers to a region of Earth's stratosphere that absorbs most of the Sun's harmful UV rays and defend us against diseases like skin cancer and ulcers. Hence Ozone layer is crucial for human existence on earth.
The Ozone layer is mainly found in the lower portion of the stratosphere which is roughly 20 to 30 kilometers above Earth. The Ozone layer was discovered and named by French Physicists Charles Fabry and Henry Buisson in 1913.
Tens of thousands of Australians hunkered down on Friday as a powerful cyclone crossed the northeast, damaging houses, bringing down trees, cutting power lines and causing flash flooding, while a second storm made landfall to the west. The major storm caught Queensland state almost unawares after it intensified in just a few hours before slamming into the coast midmorning as a category 5 system - the highest rating.
Emergency services scrambled to evacuate thousands of homes in the direct path of Cyclone Marcia before pulling out and warning anyone who had not left to barricade themselves inside to avoid wind gusts peaking at 285 kph (177 mph).
Rail lines to coastal ports, an essential part of Queensland's A$280 billion ($218 billion) commodities export-driven economy, were brought to a standstill.
"Stay indoors, don't go outside," Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told a news conference as the storm passed over the coastal town of Yeppoon, home to 16,000 people about 550 km (340 miles) north of the state capital, Brisbane.
She warned the 75,000 residents of Rockhampton, just south of Yeppoon, that Marcia still posed great danger even though it had weakened to a category 3 system: "The eye of the storm is heading directly towards you."
Meteorologists said the worst of the winds should ease by Friday afternoon local time but warned heavy rains and flooding were likely to continue for several days and extend inland.
Sugar, coal at risk
More than 10% of Australia's sugar crop is at risk from Marcia, an industry body warned. The world's No. 3 exporter of raw sugar is set to produce 4.6 million tonnes of the commodity in 2015.
BHP Billiton suspended rail lines hauling coal from its inland collieries to the massive Hay Point shipping terminal on Friday until further notice.
Marcia's forecast trajectory indicated the impact on coal mining was expected to be less severe than in 2011, when Queensland missed its annual coal export target by 40 million tonnes after storms dumped unprecedented amounts of rain into coal pits.
The latest data supplied by the Bureau of Meteorology showed Marcia moving inland rather than directly impacting the Gladstone industrial hub, where Rio Tinto operates Australia's largest aluminium smelter.
Emergency services officials in the neighbouring Northern Territory were beginning to assess the damage caused by a second cyclone that hit the remote region earlier on Friday.
Cyclone Lam, a category 4 storm, made landfall in the early hours near the settlement of Ramingining, where residents were beginning to emerge to inspect the damage. Communications had been cut with tiny Elcho Island, which was believed to have experienced widespread damage, Northern Territory police said.
By midmorning Lam was downgraded to a category 2 storm but continued to dump heavy rain across Australia's north as it moved southwest.
It was also looming as a gloomy weekend for sports fans, with torrential rains from Marcia likely to force a halt to Australia's second World Cup cricket match against Bangladesh scheduled to be played in Brisbane on Saturday.
By Farhan Khan
KARACHI: Water experts, agriculturists, academia, media persons, civil society representatives and farmers have expressed that malpractice and negligence influence the governance of water in Sindh, causing a major crisis in agriculture output. Government officials, however, have dispelled this realization, while admitting there was ample room for improving water governance.
While addressing a provincial water conference, here, on Wednesday, the experts emphasized upon the provincial government to come up with an inclusive provincial water policy, so as to cope with upcoming water-related challenges.
The conference was organised by Indus Consortium in collaboration with Oxfam Pakistan and Laar Humanitarian & Development Programme (LHDP) for presenting policy draft on Sindh irrigation water, prepared through consultations with local communities, water experts, line departments and broader civil society.
The event was attended by a large number of academicians, water experts, govt. officials, media persons, representatives of civil society and farmers’ representatives from Sindh and Punjab. The conference enabled all stakeholders to give their input to design a set of recommendations for policymakers.
Policy brief presented in the conference recommends to the provincial governments of Sindh that the public task of policy framing should be accomplished through the integration of actors’ representation approach and adoption of actual policy frames. An actor representation approach emphasizes the changing positions and distribution of actors in policy deliberation and decision-making. The second approach aims at the changing distribution of frames that actors attach to a policy and practice.
Syed Zaheer Hyder Shah, provincial irrigation secretary said, ‘As far as the problems of tail-end farmer communities were concerned, mentioned in many a speeches today, I assure you all that Sindh irrigation department is working day-in, day-out to solve these problems, under the visionary guidance of Chief Minister Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah.
“We are fully aware that water challenges being faced by Sindh province are not ordinary. But our efforts to meet these challenges are equally concerted. We are relentlessly working to mitigate the water-related issues of tail-end farmer communities across Sindh,” irrigation secretary added. He informed the audience that during last financial year, as many as 219 different development schemes were completed by Irrigation Department at total cost of RS. 57.6 billion.
World renowned water expert Dr. Shahid Ahmad said that Indus basin irrigation system, the largest irrigation system of the world currently was having complex problems. “Reforms in departments of irrigation are only possible when there is ownership. The Institutional reforms promulgated with the enforcement of the provincial acts of Irrigation and Drainage Authorities could not be implemented fully, as the pilot for the testing of institutional reforms were designed for failure, as there was no ownership. How will the Department of Irrigation implement the reforms, when these are going to affect their bureaucracy and opportunities for rent seeking,” asked Dr. Shahid.
Siddique Panhwar, president of an alliance of district Badin’s tail-end farmers informed the participants that the tail-end areas of Akram canal suffer severely, due to upstream theft of water by the influential landowners. “Land owners in head reaches are enjoying water duty of 20 cusecs for 1000 acres against allocated water duty of 14 cusecs,” Panhwar complained.
Similarly, Manzoor Hussain, president of tail-end farmers of Rangpur canal (district Muzaffargarh) said the farmers at tail-end outlets are not aware of official warabandi. “In addition to that, farmers in our area were also not aware about their water rights. Indus Consortium’s project ‘improving water governance, at local level’, however, has created a lot of awareness among the farmers,” Manzoor acknowledged.
Khalid Saif, Oxfam Novib’s programme manager water governance, said that the stake holders should sit together to identify and solve the issues of water users, especially at tail ends. Small farmers should be empowered and taken onboard, while developing any policies related to water and agriculture.
Dr. Fateh Marri, who heads the World Bank-funded Water Sector Improvement Project (WSIP), said Sindh used to get 90 percent agriculture products through irrigated agriculture, while only 10 percent of the products come from rain-fed, desert and mountainous areas. “Growers want to cultivate entire pieces of land and need more water. Similarly, urbanisation is increasing side by side with increase in population. This has caused decrease in the cultivable land and is affecting water quality and soil fertility, Marri added.
Abdul Majeed Nizamani, President Sindh Abadgar Board, said that Pakistan’s agriculture, and in turn, economy has tremendous potential to grow, adding that self-sufficiency in the agriculture sector could only be achieved by framing farmer-friendly policies. “Goal of national development and prosperity can only be achieved by taking concrete steps for the uplift of agriculture sector and facilitating farmers, especially the poor ones,” Nizamani pinned down.
Indus Consortium’s executive director, Iqbal Hyder urged the Sindh government to give more consideration to the environment and conservation, and to safeguard of individuals’ and tail-end farmers’ water rights. Otherwise, Iqbal suggested, by 2030, the situation may become irreversibly critical, and cause mass hunger and malnutrition.
Mushtaq Gaadi, water expert and academician, said the empirical evidence suggests that water productivity of Punjab in comparison to other similar cases is very much low. “The way forward to cope with this crisis and get prepared for future risks, it is imperative adopting dialogic and democratic approach so that the representatives of all old and new actors should be able to participate, confronts and forge consensus,” Gaadi suggested.
Mustafa Ujjan, director Nara canal area water board, informed the participants that government institutions have not appreciated and acknowledge public participation in policy framing and decision making processes. “Alongside the irrigation, provincial water policies should also address other water-related aspects like water for ecology, drainage and environment,” Ujjan emphasized.
Dr. Bakhshal Lashari, head of water department in Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, said there is potential and expertise in educational institutions, such as universities, and that expertise could be utilised. This could be an effective way to sensitise policymakers, he added.
Nepal’s most wanted wildlife criminal and the subject of an INTERPOL Red Notice, has been arrested in Malaysia following close international collaboration via INTERPOL channels.
Rajkumar Praja, the ringleader of a rhino poaching network in Nepal, is wanted to serve a 15-year sentence for rhino poaching and trading internationally in rhino horns. Nepali authorities requested a Red Notice, or international wanted persons alert, for the 31-year-old after he fled the country.
In 2013, Nepal Police, with the support of the Nepalese Army and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, arrested a network of more than a dozen poachers in suspected of killing some 19 rhinos in the Chitwan National Park, however Praja managed to escape.
Information exchanged between the INTERPOL National Central Bureaus in Nepal and Malaysia on the case and Praja’s possible whereabouts eventually resulted in his arrest by the Royal Malaysian Police in January 2015, where he was found in possession of a fraudulent passport issued under a false name. He has since been returned to Nepal.
“What we have achieved with the arrest of Rajkumar Praja is a testament to how law enforcement agencies can utilize INTERPOL resources to share information and coordinate beyond national boundaries to combat transnational organized crime,” said DIGP Hemant Malla Thakuri, Director of the Nepal Police Central Investigation Bureau.
“This arrest sends a strong message to criminals hiding in a foreign country that no matter where they are, they are not safe and will be caught one day,” he concluded.
Praja was a target of INTERPOL’s Operation Infra Terra in 2014. As INTERPOL’s first global fugitive operation focused on criminals wanted for environmental crimes, Infra Terra targeted 139 fugitives wanted by 36 member countries for illegal fishing, wildlife trafficking, illegal trade and disposal of waste, illegal logging and trading in illicit ivory and more.
Other high-profile targets of Operation Infra Terra who have been arrested as a result of the global operation include suspected illegal ivory trader Ben Simasiku, and Feisal Mohamed Ali, the alleged leader of an ivory smuggling ring.
INTERPOL’s activities to investigate and disrupt wildlife crime networks operating in Asia come under its Project Predator. The project aims to support and enhance the governance and law enforcement capacity for the conservation of Asian big cats and is primarily funded by the US Agency for International Development.
An earthquake measuring at 6.9 magnitude has struck off Honshu island in northern Japan, prompting a tsunami advisory which anticipated waves of up to 1m in height in Iwate Prefecture. People in some coastal areas have been advised to leave their homes.
The quake was recorded at around 8 am local time at a depth of approximately 10 kilometers. The epicenter was located off the Sanriku Coast, extending from southern Aomori prefecture, through Iwate prefecture and northern Miyagi prefecture.The strong quake could even be felt in in Tokyo, 690 kilometers away from the epicenter.
Japan Meteorological Survey issued a tsunami advisory for the Iwate Prefecture, warning that the waves may reach 1 meter in height. Two hours after the initial quake the agency lifted the tsunami warning for the country’s northeast coast.
Small tsunamis of some 10-20 centimeters reached the shore about 45 minutes after the initial reports, with people being advised to stay away from the coastal area. There were no immediate indications of damage or injuries.
An evacuation order was also issued for coastal towns in Iwate prefecture in the meantime. Thousands of people were reportedly leaving their homes while boats wereare sailing out of the harbor.
“We are using the emergency broadcast to advise people to keep away from the sea … the quake was pretty strong and lasted a long time so I thought there would be a tsunami warning,” Kozo Hirano, an Otsuchi Town official in Iwate, told NHK.
There were no irregularities reported at the Onagawa and Higashidori nuclear plants in nearby Miyagi and Aomori prefectures, the facilities’ operator Tohoku Electric Power Co. said. A spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power Coalso reported no irregularities at Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini plants.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said there was no danger of a “destructive” Pacific-wide tsunami.
The earthquake struck in the same region hit by a devastating 9.0 quake back in March 2011 which triggered a tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and killed more than 18,000 people. Japan is still battling the consequences of the three meltdowns and struggling with the clean-up of the nuclear catastrophe aftermath.
Karachi-PR: WWF-Pakistan in collaboration with Karachi Youth Initiative organized an event to create awareness about cleanliness and environmental sanitation in Ibrahim Hyderi. The event was attended by over 400 students and teachers. Students delivered speeches, performed cultural dances, presented tableaus and displayed art work and recycled products. They said that Ibrahim Hyderi is confronting major health issues particularly due to hazardous environmental factors like heaps of garbage, pollution, unhygienic conditions and unsafe drinking water. They also said that the level of awareness is so low that public places and corners of the roads are treated as garbage dumping grounds. There is no proper garbage management mechanism that could handle this issue in a better way.
Speaking on the occasion, Saeed-ul-Islam, Assistant Manager WWF-Pakistan said that the burning of waste in open spaces is adversely impacting the health and environment due to the release of toxic emissions. He also said that under this initiative, 30 trainings for the community people have been conducted which focused on paper recycling, water filtration, paper making, handicrafts and plantation. He said that they had received positive response from the community people. He was of the view that children are future guardians of environment so such initiatives could bring behaviour change at school and community level. He also emphasized for concerted efforts on the part of concerned government departments who could play a vital role in these initiatives.
While, Afia Fareed and Ifat Abbasi, 10 class students from Ahad Siddique School said that usually people throw litter in front of their houses and do not clean their homes properly. Due to unhygienic conditions, they catch different kinds of diseases. Both the students showed determination to create awareness about cleanliness and convince community people to keep their homes clean and tidy.
Muhammad Yaqoob Memon, Head Master, Government Boys and Secondary School said that illiteracy is the main cause of all these issues and emphasized that education should be promoted in this area which can provide the best remedy for all problems.
Hassan Muhammad Bradio resident of Ibrahim Hyderi said that influential people in the area are not serious about education and sanitation issues. He further said that programs should be initiated on larger scale to change mind set of the people.
Village Grammar School, B.K Grammar School, Rana Liaqat Government Girls School, Ahad Siddique School and Government Boys Secondary School Ibrahim Hyderi participated in the event.
By Jacopo Parigiani & Samantha Spooner
The United Nations has declared 2015 as the “International Year of Soils”, and with good reason. Soil is one of the most important resources that we have, if not the most important.
It sustains all our agricultural and livestock food production, wood for fuel production, filters water so that we can drink it and fish can live in it. We also use it for construction - therefore it sustains our homes and infrastructure. Soil is a crucial aspect of African economies yet many Africans are forgetting this.
With an increasingly urban society, many people are losing contact with the processes of food production, expecting to find goods on the shelves of supermarkets and have limited or even no appreciation of the role played by soil. Politicians and policy-makers are also out of the loop since the majority of soil-related print material is geared towards university level or scientific journals and out of the reach of the general public.
Unfortunately, even in the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), Africa’s policy framework for agricultural transformation, land degradation is not prioritised or reflected in the form of concrete financial commitments and projects.
A quick soil refresher: All soil is composed of mineral particles (sand, clay and silt), organic matter, air and water.
It is a “living” system in that it breathes. In fact, a healthy soil reduces the impact of climate change, storing up to 10% of the world’s CO2 emissions! Even though soil is such an integral part of our lives, it is extremely fragile.
The most productive (fertile) part of the soil is only a couple of centimetresthick; this is usually the part that is eroded first. 2.5cm of topsoil takes between 500 - 1000 years to form. Today soil is a threatened resource, precisely because soil erosion is so pervasive and hard to reverse. Here are six chilling facts on soil today:
Globally, we have about 60 years of topsoil - the layer that allows plants to grow - left.
Half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years. In Africa, soil erosion has reduced Africa’s grain harvest by 8 million tons, or roughly 8%. This is projected to double to 16 million tons by 2020 if soil erosion is not reduced. Ethiopia alone loses one billion tonnes of topsoil every year.
Land degradation costs sub-Saharan Africa $68 billion per year
Africa is perhaps the continent most severely impacted by land degradation; 65% of arable land, 30% of grazing land and 20% of forests are already damaged. Land degradation varies widely though in some countries the extent is staggering. In Ethiopia, over one-quarter of land is degraded, which affects about 20 million people, just under a third of the total population, while in South Africa 40% of all cropland suffers from land degradation.
In the Congo and Zambesi basins 24%-29% of land is degraded whilst in the dry areas of Niger and Lake Chad basins, up to a high 78% to 86%. Below is the variety of factors which all influence soil degradation. Population pressure is going to exacerbate this issue as more and more marginal soils are put into cultivation; current trends predict that almost 2 billion babies will be born in Africa in the next 35 years.
Aridity and desertification affects half of Africa
Almost all countries in Africa are susceptible to desertification but the Sahelian countries at the southern fringe of the Sahara desert are particularly vulnerable, with pockets of very high risk areas. Unless the desertification of this region is halted, within the next 20 years some 60 million people will be leaving the region - refugees from the desert. It has been estimated that 319 million hectares of Africa are vulnerable to desertification hazards due to sand movement, including desert movement at an annual rate of 5 km in the semi-arid areas of West Africa.
Nutrient mining affects more than 75% of the continent’s farmland
African farmers have traditionally cleared land, grown a few crops and then moved on to clear more land. This results in “nutrient mining” which affects 95 million of Africa’s 220 million hectares of farmland, losing at least 30kg of nutrients per hectare (ha) every year. These losses, combined with soil erosion, have led to soil degradation and now more than 80% of Africa’s soils having chemical or physical limitations that impede crop production. The highest rates of nutrient depletion — more than 60 kg/ha yearly — are in Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda. The impact has been a declining trend of per capita food production in Africa over the past 40 years.
Up to 30% of forests will disappear by 2030
The rate of deforestation in Africa is accelerating - in just ten years, 9% of forest cover was lost across sub-Saharan Africa. Slash and burn agriculture (putting down areas of forest and moving to other areas) was actually sustainable in the past but is not anymore due to population pressures. The main threat however charcoal production - in Africa 90% of wood consumed isis used for wood fuel and charcoal. In Central Africa alone between 1990 &2000, approximately 91,000 km2 was lost to deforestation. As seen in the image below, without tree roots to anchor soil and with increased exposure to sun, soil can dry out, leading to problems like increased flooding and inability to farm.
Soils under tropical rainforests in Africa are also not naturally fertile but depend instead on the supply of organic matter from natural vegetation.
Overgrazing is responsible for about half of the soil degradation in Africa
Overgrazing leaves soils bare of vegetation, at the mercy of the elements, it also compacts the soil, inhibiting water infiltration in the ground - meaning water runs off on the surface and does not recharge groundwater. One of the worst affected countries in Africa is Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s estimated livestock population is often said to be the largest in Africa, with 80-85% of their food source being natural grazing.
Drones have appeared over landmarks in central Paris for the second night running and police are no closer to knowing who is operating them.
There were five sightings between 23:00 on Tuesday and 02:00 (01:00 GMT) on Wednesday, French media report.Up to three drones were seen near the Invalides military museum, Place de la Concorde and two of the old city gates. Flying drones over Paris at night is illegal and daytime flights require authorization from the city.
Five drones were seen the previous night in similar areas, including the Eiffel Tower and above the US embassy, close to Place de la Concorde. However, some of the latest drone flights have been captured on film and will be analyzed by a 10-strong team of investigators set up after the first incidents.
The new sightings were also on the fringes of central Paris, at the key transport gates of Porte de Clignancourt in the north and Porte de Saint-Cloud in the south-west."There's no need to worry, but we should be vigilant. It's a subject being taken very seriously," said government spokesman Stephane Le Foll. Part of the problem was that they were so easy to operate, he said, but everything was being done to catch those involved.
Small drones are inexpensive but their appearance in recent months over sensitive locations has worried French authorities. It is against the law for any aircraft to fly lower than 6,000m (19,700ft) over central Paris. Flying any aircraft under that ceiling - including drones, police helicopters and air ambulances - requires permission from city authorities. Flying a drone at night is banned completely.
Analysis: Hugh Schofield, Paris correspondent
The security threat from these drones is minimal. Bird's-eye images of Paris landmarks are available online in far higher quality than anything these devices could produce. And small, shop-bought drones are not strong enough to deliver a significant payload of explosives.
The more likely risk from these drones is that one might get out of control and crash on to a street, injuring a pedestrian or causing a car accident. That is the main reason why flying drones is banned over populated areas of France.
The police cannot afford to ignore these over flights however. They are probably the work of drone enthusiasts giving the authorities the run-around, but not certainly. It could also be an organized group - eco-warriors or jihadists, for example - testing out how the security forces respond to drones.
Security at key sites in Paris was tightened last month after the murders of 17 people by Islamist gunmen and French officials say that was the main reason the drones were spotted.
Last month a drone was seen over the Elysee Palace, home of President Francois Hollande. In October, a 24-year-old Israeli tourist was fined €400 (£293; $453) and spent a night in jail after flying a drone over the city's historic Hotel Dieu hospital and a police station.
Drones were also spotted flying over at least 13 nuclear power plants in France between October 2014 and January 2015. Those flights were thought to be the work of environmental activists but no group claimed responsibility.
The latest incidents involve a group that is not lacking in money, according to aviation security specialist Christophe Naudin. Those behind them were seeking to "defy the power of the state", he told RTL radio, and trying to damage the French sense of security.
Drones present a problem for authorities in built-up areas, in that shooting them down could endanger the public. It is possible to jam GPS or radio signals guiding them.
It does not matter that Zimbabwe is going through some of its toughest economic times because, or that in a moment of vulnerability President Robert Mugabe recently stumbled to his knees resulting in viral meme that nearly broke the internet, the nonagenarian is still going to have a big 91st birthday bash on February 28.
That is the party day. Mugabe’s birthday is February 21. After all, he has just been appointed African Union and Southern African Development Community (SADC) chairperson. It could also be be the world’s biggest wild game meat feast of the year. Matebeleland North, the Zimbabwe province hosting the celebrations, Matabeleland North, is rich in wildlife. It is home to the 14,650km2 Hwange National Park, which boasts more than 100 species of mammals, including a large herd of elephants, and about 400 bird species. Matabeleland is also home to many wildlife conservancies. The keys to the national park gates are set to be thrown away - in a manner of speaking. Certainly many animals will not live to tell the story of the birthday.
The Chronicle newspaper reported that a prominent pro-Mugabe farmer, Tendai Musasa, for one, has donated a lot of game meat from the Woodland Conservancy Community worth a combined $120,000 towards the celebrations. It is an impressive, albeit controversial, offer. Musasa said he donated two buffaloes, two elephants, a lion, two sables and five impalas to be slaughtered for the roast. No, the lion won’t be live. Musasa said it would be a trophy lion.
Some members of the local community, though, are not too happy. The Woodlands farm was given to 120 beneficiaries in the land reform, and they are complaining that Musasa is not transparent in his actions.
Party for 20,000
In any event, there will definitely be enough to feed about 20,000 people who have been invited to the celebrations in Victoria Falls, the country’s prime tourist destination.The party is being organised by the Zanu-PF Youth League, under the auspices of the 21st February Movement, which was established in 1986 “to encourage Zimbabweans, ‘the youths in particular’, to emulate Mugabe’s revolutionary ideas, charismatic leadership and selfless policies”.
The event will be held under the theme Celebrating the Birth of Gushungo, the Icon of Zimbabwe’s Revolution and Champion of Youth Empowerment. Gushungo (crocodile) is Mugabe’s totem.
Zanu-PF Matabeleland North chairperson Tamuka Nyoni said the celebrations would be more special this year. “We are not only celebrating his birthday, but we are also celebrating his elevation to chair SADC and the AU. He is an African icon and we want to celebrate those achievements with him,” he said.
Nyoni said the main event, punctuated by music and dance, would be held at Elephant Hills Resort before an all-night music gala at Chinotimba Stadium. The elephants that will die on the day will needless to say, contemplate the name of the venue with some irony.
“So far, things are moving in the right direction. We are running around collecting what has been pledged for the celebrations. But in terms of meat, you know that this province is rich in wildlife, we have everything, be it elephants, buffalos, kudus and all so we have asked the national parks to assist us,” said Nyoni.
“Acting like a cannibal”?
“We are very, very disappointed,” said Johnny Rodrigues, the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force. “How can the president accept that elephants be killed as part of his birthday celebrations? Those mammals are like human beings; they are intelligent and have strong family bonds, so they mourn when there is death. We are very disgusted.”
“He [Mugabe] is acting like a cannibal. If they were killing animals like buffalos and impalas, which breed like hell, we would not be having a problem. But big animals like elephants and lions should not be killed and we expect the president to set an example.”
During the main ceremony, arts and music groups from Matabeleland North will entertain guests, among them Mugabe’s cabinet ministers and their families. Arts groups have been jostling to perform praise songs for Mugabe, resulting in event organisers having to hold auditions to choose which group has the best praise songs for the veteran leader.
Even preschool children have taken part in the auditions, reciting poems and singing songs in honour of Mugabe, whom Zanu-PF officials now call the “supreme leader”.“The interest and support from the arts industry has been amazing, be it traditional dancers, praise poets or musicians,” said Nyoni. “We have been forced to hold auditions so that we choose the best.
“After the main ceremony, we will have an all-night gala at Chinotimba Stadium where top artists from Zimbabwe will keep guests entertained. There will be a lot of entertainment.” The commemorations will also involve a children’s party at Victoria Falls Farm School.
Zanu-PF secretary for youths in the politburo Pupurai Togarepi said 110 youth, born on the same day as Mugabe, February 21, would be flown to Victoria Falls for a party that will precede the celebrations. Ten children from each of the country’s 10 provinces and 10 disabled children will be selected.
To ensure the celebrations are a success, Zanu-PF officials have asked individuals and companies to donate cash, services and food towards the event. Mugabe’s birthday parties have always been ones for the record books, as this list shows:
- In 2014, when Mugabe celebrated his 90th birthday, his staff presented him with a one-tonne gold- and diamond-studded stone chair that took two years to make.
- More than 90 cattle were reportedly slaughtered for that bash.
- Mugabe was presented with a set of limited-edition gold coins to mark his 89th birthday in 2013.
- On his 89th, the Reserve Bank governor presented him with a gift of 89 cows.
- Every year Mugabe traditionally releases a number of colourful balloons, equal to his age, as part of the festivities. In 2012, a carpenter was arrested and taken to court after he remarked that he was surprised how, at his advanced age, the president could have had the strength to blow up the balloons.
- Mugabe’s 88th birthday cake was in the shape of a crocodile – his totem.
- The state-owned Herald newspaper described Mugabe as “good old wine” in a 16-page supplement dedicated to his 88th birthday.
- On his 87th birthday, he hinted that age was catching up with him but said he was willing to soldier on. “Eighty-seven is only eight plus seven ... My body may get spent but I wish my mind will always be with you,” he said.
- On his 86th, he had a lavish party in Bulawayo. Every year the party is held in a different town.
- For his 85th birthday, held in Chinhoyi, guests feasted on an 85kg birthday cake.
- Mugabe celebrated his 84th birthday in Beitbridge on the border with South Africa, but exiled Zimbabweans protested at the frontier to show their displeasure at his misrule.
- For his 83rd, Mugabe was given a stuffed crocodile by Cabinet ministers, who said it represented his “maturity and wisdom”.
- On his 82nd birthday, 43 National Constitutional Assembly members were arrested for trying to march on Mugabe’s office to demand a new Constitution.
- He celebrated his 80th birthday in his home village in Kutama with thousands of guests. In a televised interview he promised to retire within five years: “I will be here still boxing, writing quite a lot, reading quite a lot and still in politics,” he said. “I won’t leave politics but I will have retired, obviously.
By Sam Webb for MailOnline
An Iranian photographer has captured the desperate lives of South Asian labourers who travel to Dubai in the hope of building a future for their families - but find only squalor, low wages and backbreaking work in stifling heat.
Farhad Berahman's pictures were taken in Sonapur, the unofficial name for a work camp on the outskirts of Dubai, located far away from the luxury, soaring skyscrapers and vast wealth that the United Arab Emirates city is renowned for.
'Sonapur' - ironically, the name means 'City of Gold' in Hindi - is home to more than 150,000 workers, mostly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and China.
An Iranian photographer has captured the harsh lives endured by the migrant workers building Dubai's ever-growing skyline. Pictured is a huge dirty kitchen at the Sonapur camp where many of them live. The gas pipelines were built by the labourers and not subject to safety laws
Grim living standards: Jahangir, 27, from Bangladesh, has worked as a cleaner for the past four years. He earns 800 AED (£139) a month and sends 500 AED (£87) to his family. He uses the rest of the money for rent and food
Soaring: Thirty years ago, almost all of Dubai was a desert but it has become one of the main trade hubs and tourist destinations in the region
Thirty years ago, almost all of Dubai was a desert but it has grown rapidly become one of the main commercial hubs and tourist destinations in the region.
The photographer has visited Dubai many times and has watched it grow in size and wealth. The 33-year-old says there is an unspoken understanding that there are three different classes of people in Dubai - the Emiratis, the expats and, at the bottom, the labourers who built the city.
Farhad explains that several workers have their passports seized at the airport and are forced to work extremely long hours in blistering heat for very little pay. They are taken to Sonapur - which is not on the map - so they can be better controlled by employers.
He spoke to one labourer called Jahangir from Bangladesh. The 27-year-old has worked as a cleaner for the past four years and earns 800 AED (£139) a month and sends 500 AED (£87) to his family. He is forced to survive on what little remains.
Left, traders display their wares at Sonapur. Right, workers are forced to clean themselves using Spartan sanitation
Labourers seek to make extra cash at the weekends by setting up food stalls and trading with fellow migrants
Improvised fun: Labourers enjoying a game called Carom, similar to billiards, which they built themselves
Amazing time-lapse of Dubai make city look like model town
The labourers usually work 14 hours where in summer the temperature goes over 50C. Western tourists not to stay outside more than five minutes
Gruelling: The labourers usually work 14 hours where in summer the temperature goes over 50C. Western tourists are told not to stay outside more than five minutes
Every evening, the hundreds of thousands of young men who build the city are driven to vast concrete wastelands to work
Every evening, the hundreds of thousands of young men who build the city are driven to vast concrete wastelands to work
These labourers are working on luxurious boats in a shipyard in Jaddaf. These boats are used mostly for tourism and can fetch $3,755,000
These labourers are working on luxurious boats in a shipyard in Jaddaf. These boats are used mostly for tourism and can fetch $3,755,000
Farhad explains: 'People come to this land to make their future and benefit from the huge investments in construction and oil.
'There are many luxurious hotels and world-renowned structures which labourers have built over recent years.
'The employer usually takes their passport as soon as they arrive at Dubai airport and they are all sent to Sonapur.
'The labourers usually work 14 hours where in summer the temperature goes over 50C.
'Conversely, it is usually advised for western tourists not to stay outside for more than five minutes in summer.
'According to the government's laws, work places should close down during this kind of temperature in order not to harm labourers and their health, but the government often does not even announce the right weather temperature.'
Harrowing: Their accommodation is cramped, filthy, sweltering and often overrun with vermin. Yet many can't leave
The secret vegetable market within Sonapur is a cheap place for labourers to provide themselves with vegetable and fruits
When Farhad arrived he saw dozens of men sitting around the courtyard on broken furniture, cooking in dirty kitchens and stray animals skulking around.
He added: 'The rooms are 12ft by 12ft with six beds and accommodate six to eight people. Food is usually cooked using gas cylinders in terrible condition.
'One of the Chinese workers stopped me, took me to his room and showed me a sign he had written on some wood.
It read: 'Dear Boss I am working in your company already 1 year, my contract was expired but I cannot get my salary all 4 month less. I must go China soon, please pay for my money.'
Pleading: A Chinese worker has written a message for his employer begging them to pay him and let him go home
Makeshift: Using a broken mirror and stationed next to a bin, a barber sets up shop
Muslim labourers during their evening prayer. Farhad believes that the stories of labourers are extremely important
Shahroukh, who enjoys a better standard of living than other workers, gets ready before heading out to work at a decoration company
The expats who enjoy high incomes will likely never experience the dark side of Dubai, where the labourers' suffering is hidden from the media.
Farhad says he was so moved after seeing it for himself that he decided to create the photo series.
He said: 'I did not try to get permission since these areas are restricted to the public and I was sure I would be unsuccessful since the UAE does not wish to show this aspect of their country.
'So, I took pictures at night when it was much easier to hide from security. As soon as I started meeting labourers and getting to know them, I realised they were scared of me.
'After a while one of the labourers who could speak English told Farhad they were afraid he was from the government.
Devotion: Labourers heading back to their rooms after evening prayer. The mosque inside Sonapur is one of the few well-maintained buildings
Ali Sadam, 24, Ali Sadam has been working as cleaner for the past two years and he lives with five roommates in Sonapur
He added: 'Most of the time I slept in my car and waited until it got dark so I could do my work.'
In spite of his efforts, the photographer was arrested by security and questioned.
'I pretended to be a lost tourist and the security wanted to report me to the police since the labourers' area is forbidden to photograph.' They let him go.
The Iranian photographer hopes that this series will make people think twice about what goes on around them, and if they are moved by the suffering they might be encouraged to do something to help.
'I think treating humans so cruelly is against their human rights and yet it still exists around us,' he said.
Four police officers were killed over the weekend in and around Rio de Janeiro, highlighting the Brazilian city's struggle to tame street violence ahead of the 2016 Olympics.
An officer from a special battalion for security at major events like the pope's recent visit, the 2014 Wold Cup and forthcoming Olympics, died after being shot seven times late Sunday, according to G1 Globo news site.
Approximately 24 hours earlier, a civil police inspector was killed in the northern Baixada Fluminense suburb.
Meanwhile, in the town of Niteroi, across Rio's famous bay, an officer was killed while returning from the carnival champions' parade.
A fourth died in a shootout after a bakery robbery in the Nova Iguacu suburb.
Rio's authorities launched what they call a pacification program in the city's notoriously violent slums, or favelas, in 2008. The clampdown aimed to restore order to swaths of Rio ahead of the World Cup and what will be South America's first hosting of the Olympic Games next year.
The pacification police units are deployed across 253 favelas, home to 1.5 million people, with a mandate to wrest back control of the streets from narcotics gangs.
But bloodshed, including multiple favela shootings, continues. In January, stray bullets alone killed three people in Rio.
The latest slayings come as the authorities continue a long-running fight against the drug gangs in Rio de Janeiro's violent slums.
Deadly violence has continued despite a long-running police clampdown
Despite the launch of Rio's so-called pacification programme in 2008, aimed at restoring order to 253 favelas across the city ahead of the World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games, the deadly violence has continued.
There were riots in the run up to the 2014 football tournament as the army seized control of some of the larger favelas in a crackdown on criminal gangs.
An official report published at the end of last year found police in Brazil were killing an average of six people every day.
Research by the NGO Brazilian Forum on Public Safety found that 11,197 were killed by law enforcement officers between 2009 and 2013.
Turkey has evacuated its military personnel protecting the Tomb of Süleyman Şah in northern Syria as well as the artifacts in the mausoleum in an operation jointly conducted by the intelligence organization and the Turkish army, a few days after reports suggested that the tomb was besieged by jihadists belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
A soldier was killed in an accident during the early hours of the operation, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu confirmed during a press conference early on Feb. 22. The soldier has been identified as Halit Avcı. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reportedly called the family of Avcı to convey his condolences.
The tomb, around 37 kilometers from the Turkish border, is regarded as Turkish territory by international agreements and was protected by around 40 soldiers.
Davutoğlu, Land Forces Commander Hulusi Akar and other military officials determined the details of the military operation during a meeting at Turkey’s General Staff headquarters in Ankara on Feb. 20, Hürriyet has learned. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan approved the operation.
During the operation that was launched late Feb. 21, airborne early warning and control (AWACS) aircraft, military helicopters and drones were on duty as 39 tanks and 57 armored vehicles penetrated the border with support teams from Turkey’s Special Forces. Live footage and other data from the field were followed in an operation room at the General Staff’s headquarters.
Without engaging in any clashes, Turkish troops left Syria early Feb. 22, after detonating the symbolic building to prevent ISIL militants from using it as a base.
Davutoğlu announced in a series of tweets on Feb. 22 that the artifacts had been “temporarily” brought to Turkey, while the Turkish army “took control of an area in the Ashme region of Syria, raising our flag, where Süleyman Şah will later be transferred.”
Stressing that there is “an environment of conflict bearing every kind of risks” in Syria, Davutoğlu described the operation, named “Şah Fırat” (Shah Euphrates), as “extremely successful.”
“I want to stress that a nation can build a future only by laying a claim to its past,” Turkish PM added.
Turkey will submit a notice to the Syrian consulate in Istanbul, saying that that the placement of the tomb will be changed, Hürriyet said. Relations between Turkey and the Bashar al-Assad are extremely tense, with Ankara repeatedly proclaiming in the international arena that al-Assad should be ousted.
In a separate but brief statement, the Turkish army also confirmed that the operation was completed and that the troops and all valuable artifacts had been removed from the outpost. The army cited “security concerns and military obligations” as the reason for the evacuation operation, while reiterating that there were no clashes between the army and armed groups inside Syria.
The operation came a few days after reports suggested that the ISIL jihadists had besieged the tomb and that Turkish soldiers protecting the enclave were trapped by the militants. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu denied claims in a statement on Feb. 20. Media reports claimed that Turkey was in negotiations with ISIL militants for the release of the Turkish soldiers in exchange for arrested jihadist militants.
The Tomb of Süleyman Şah has long been in the spotlight as there were fears that it could be targeted by Syria’s government or ISIL forces. Turkey made clear to all parties fighting in the Syrian theater that it would protect the tomb and its soldiers in the enclave in the event of an attack and retaliate in kind.
Who was Süleyman Şah?
The Süleyman Şah tomb was declared Turkish territory under a treaty signed with France in 1921, when France was the colonial power in Syria. Ankara regards it as sovereign territory and repeatedly made clear that it would defend the mausoleum if it was attacked.
Süleyman Şah was a 12th-century military leader of the Seljuk Empire, which was among the first Turkish groups to enter and settle in Anatolia. He is the grandfather of Osman I, who founded the Ottoman Empire in the 13th century, which lasted for six centuries and was inherited by the Turkish Republic in 1923 following the War of Liberation.
The tomb and its annex have gone through several processes of demolition, relocation, and reconstruction since their original construction on the hills of Caber Castle in 1939. The tomb was moved to its current location in 1975 as a result of a dam construction.
By Tony Wright
Tony Abbott's new emergency alert system is much clearer than the low, medium, high and extreme system employed by the national security apparatus.
You need simply count the flags.
The Prime Minister had six Australian flags all in a row behind him as he delivered his national security statement on Monday. It was a personal record. His level of alert in this new Dark Age was off the scale.
National statements by prime ministers are by convention delivered from the floor of parliament house.
These are not conventional times for this prime minister. He'd had a near-death experience up there on Capital Hill.
And so he chose more secure surrounds: a theatre at the Australian Federal Police headquarters down the hill. Quite a stage. The podium boasted a large and reassuring police shield shining in the TV lights.
There was no one to take the spotlight from the national leader. No Bill Shorten or members of his opposition, none of the 39 traitors from Mr. Abbott's own ranks, no Malcolm Turnbull.
Those looking on were serious types from the security acronyms: ASIO, ASIS, ADF, and AFP. As for the band of journalists perched on bleachers down the back: they had their instructions. No questions.
This proved sensible. The Prime Minister's people had leaked virtually every line from the statement over previous days, creating headlines that built great expectations. Would the Prime Minister elucidate a new Australia where the liberties of the pre-dark age would be dismantled? Would some group of loudmouths be banned?
It turned out the national statement was shorter on details than the leaks themselves. This might have led to questions.
Questions could have proved awkward.
Considering all those chieftains of the acronym-heavy secret world, it seemed likely that - apart from the massed ranks of journalists - Mr. Abbott may have known less about national security than anyone there.
Still, this was a Prime Minister talking about a national emergency. Australians could relate to it, and he had facts and figures and the national memory of the Lindt cafe to give it gravitas.
A Prime Minister less concerned about his personal emergency, however, might have addressed the nation from the parliament.
But, for Tony Abbott, this is a search for a way out of a dark age, and you need only count the flags to know it.
By JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN
TORKHAM, Afghanistan — First, the Afghan families’ homes were raided by Pakistani policemen wielding sticks. Then the men were hauled off to jail, released only after relatives paid bribes.
When they had nothing left to pay, they said, they were told to leave Pakistan forever and return to Afghanistan — officially their native country, but a land foreign to many Afghan refugees after generations of flight across the border.
Such experiences have become increasingly common for Afghans living in Pakistan after the terrorist attack on a school in Peshawar in December. Though the attack was claimed by the Pakistani Taliban, the Afghan refugees say it fueled a new wave of resentment against them. Since then, almost a thousand Afghans a day have been streaming through the border crossing at Torkham, many saying they were forced out, others worried enough to pick up and leave.
It is not clear if the pressure on Afghans to leave Pakistan is the result of a widespread policy or if local officials are taking advantage of the situation to expel unwanted refugees, as many Afghans suspect. But the numbers have clearly been growing. Afghan officials who screen traffic at Torkham report that more than 33,000 undocumented Afghans returned from Pakistan in the first six weeks of 2015 — more than for all of 2014.
Clinging to the backs of trucks, some of the Afghans tried to put on brave faces.
“It’s an honor to come back to my country,” said Wazir Khan, 32, as he and his family lingered in a long line of colorful cargo vehicles awaiting inspection before entering Afghanistan.
Mr. Khan was born in Pakistan, and the only lifeline he had to his Afghan homeland was scrawled in blue ink on his left palm: the phone number of an in-law he was supposed to call once he crossed the border. Still, he insisted, “It’s a joyful moment.”
The United Nations says that there are nearly 1.5 million registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan, and there are many more hundreds of thousands of unregistered Afghans living in the country. The Pakistani authorities have long said that they would like the Afghans to return home, concerned that their presence on Pakistani soil undermines security.
But some of those who say that they have been driven out in the past two months are registered refugees. Salim, 35, who like many Afghans goes by one name, said that when he showed his refugee card to the police who raided his home in the part of Kashmir controlled by Pakistan, an officer threw it on the ground. “They kept telling us that they have orders to expel all Afghan refugees,” he said.
If true, that would violate international covenants, and the United Nations’ refugee agency has complained to Pakistan about such episodes after the Peshawar attack. Some rights groups, like Human Rights Watch, have called on Pakistan to halt the apparent expulsions.
“We have got news of registered Afghan refugees being rounded up during police crackdowns after the Peshawar attack and have conveyed our concerns to government counterparts in Islamabad,” a spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Babar Baloch, wrote in an email. He added that his agency “was quick in conveying our reservations on the roundups as soon as it began, right after the Peshawar school attack.”
Although Pakistan has denied that an officially supported roundup is underway, at least one official suggested that there was some sort of formal effort to repatriate refugees: A spokeswoman for Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, Tasnim Aslam Khan, said at a recent news briefing that the registered refugees were scheduled to leave Pakistan by the end of this year. “We would like to see them return to their country in dignity and on voluntary basis,” she said.
She also said there were indications that places with high concentrations of unregistered Afghan refugees “are being used as terrorist hide-outs, and we have to take action.”
For Nek Mohammad Khan, a 29-year-old Afghan man who left Peshawar with his family in late January, the last straw came after his fourth arrest by the Pakistani authorities. His first arrest came just two days after the Peshawar school attack: The police barged into his home, beating his father and arresting all the men in the family, he said. His Afghan neighbors faced similar treatment.
“Every time I was arrested, they would say, ‘It was because you’re Afghan, and we will kick each and every one of you out of this country for killing our poor Pakistani boys,’ ” he recalled, frustrated because he had felt grief for the families of the students killed at the school.
After each arrest, Mr. Khan bribed his way out. But his money finally ran out, and he, his wife and their seven children packed a few possessions and hired a driver to bring them to Afghanistan.
At the Torkham border station, guards have been stunned by the numbers of people crossing into Afghanistan. One high-ranking border official estimated that 300 to 400 families cross daily, well over 1,000 people. They arrive in trucks piled high with beds, chairs, clothes and other household items, with children perched on top.
Throughout the night, long after the border has closed for the day; trucks full of returning Afghans pull up, one border police officer said. “They beg us, ‘Please allow us to come to our country,’ ” the officer said, requesting anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media. “So we let them in, and they all say they have been beaten and slapped and told nobody in Pakistan wants them anymore.”
Though many returning Afghans have relatives who will take them in, others have nowhere to go. In Jalalabad, the closest big city on the Afghan side of Torkham, 15 families pitched tents along a canal two weeks ago, lacking any other recourse. Their children pulled turnips from a nearby field, their most reliable source of food.
They all come from the Pakistani-controlled part of Kashmir, where Afghans settled more than 35 years ago, fleeing the Soviet invasion.
In their pockets, the men carry handwritten notes, bearing a government stamp, which they received in a police station after they had been arrested. Each one states that the person has entered into an “agreement” to leave. Some of the slips of paper direct the bearer to head “toward Afghanistan.”
A few miles from the border, at a way station maintained by the International Organization of Migration, an intergovernmental group, an 8-year-old boy named Qutuz asked where his family was headed.
“We are going to the homeland we are from,” his mother, Pari Gul, explained. But in an interview, she said, “It feels like we are exiled from our house and we have nothing.”
She worried most about how her six children would fare. “We have never spoken a word about this country to our children,” she said. “They have no idea what this country is; it is like they are blindfolded.”
By AFP, San’aa
Monday, 23 February 2015
Yemen's President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi has demanded talks on the country's political crisis be moved from San'aa after he escaped house arrest in the militia-controlled capital, a U.N. envoy said.
Hadi expressed "reservations about continuing the current negotiations in San’aa," the envoy Jamal Benomar wrote on his Facebook page, after a telephone conversation between the pair.
The Western-backed leader also "requested they be transferred to a 'safe place' to which the parties should agree," he added.
Hadi fled to the southern city of Aden on Saturday after sneaking out of San’aa, where he was being held under house arrest by the Shiite Houthi militia that seized control of the capital.
The president renewed his commitment to the political transition process and U.N.-sponsored talks aimed at finding a solution to the worsening crisis in Yemen, according to Benomar.
He also welcomed a United Nations Security Council resolution on February 16 demanding the Houthis withdraw their forces and refrain from further unilateral actions.
The militiamen have installed a "presidential" council aimed at replacing Hadi.
Hadi tendered his resignation last month under pressure from the Houthis but it was never approved by parliament.
In his first statement since escaping on Saturday, Hadi labeled the Houthi takeover as a "coup" and declared all their measures "null and illegitimate".
At a meeting of governors in Aden on Sunday, he called for restarting the political transition process that stalled after the Houthis overran San’aa in September.
The process includes turning the republic into a federation of six regions, a proposal the Houthis have rejected, saying it divides the country into rich and poor areas.
Yemen, a traditional U.S. ally in the fight against al-Qaeda, has descended into chaos since the Houthis seized San’aa and pushed to extend their control farther afield.
EARLIER REPORTS: In the statement, Mr. Hadi said "all measures and appointments made since September 21 are null and illegitimate", and urged the international community to "reject the coup" by the militia. A Hadi aide said earlier the president's resignation last month was tendered under pressure from the militia that overran the capital in September.
The president urged civil and military institutions to "abide by the decisions of the constitutional authority and to protect it, including above all the armed forces and security forces".
He demanded an end to the "house arrest" of Prime Minister Khalid Bahah and other officials in San'aa, and urged Arab states and the UN Security Council to "protect the process in Yemen ... and not to legitimise the coup in any way".
In his statement, Mr. Hadi labelled "illegitimate" all government appointments and actions since the Houthi faction overran San’aa.
Expanding the scope of its new services, BlackBerry Limited has announced that it is working with Google to enable its cross-platform EMM solution BES12 to manage devices equipped with Android for Work. Android for Work is Google’s solution to securely separate business and personal data and applications.
Backed by BES12, Android for Work creates a secure, dedicated profile for business data and applications, a BlackBerry release said.
The BES12 solution will seamlessly integrate with the Android OS to enable platform-level containerization. This will eliminate the need for application wrapping, while providing unhindered access to Google Now and any Android application available on Google Play that is permitted by an organization’s IT policies.”
BlackBerry is already working with Samsung to add another layer to security to top-end devices that come with Knox EMM solution. Now, BES12 will provide organizations with the most secure and flexible way to manage Android for Work, BlackBerry claimed. Android for Work smartphones and tablets will be natively managed within the BES12 environment, which streamlines management of all device platforms and deployment models, such as BYOD and COBO, in a single command and control center, it added.
“BlackBerry is working with Google to provide customers with solutions they can confidently deploy on all major mobile platforms within their organization,” said Billy Ho, Executive Vice President, Enterprise Products and Value
Added Solutions, BlackBerry. “Android for Work with BES12 will provide customers with another option to enhance their mobile security and the productivity of their employees, and the peace of mind that they will not have to relinquish any control over corporate data, sacrifice user experience or introduce more complexity into their environments.”
A federal jury has ruled that Apple willfully infringed on patents when developing iTunes' data storage systems, following eight hours of deliberation. The Tyler, Texas–based judge presiding over the case has ordered the company to pay $532.9 million in damages, according to Reuters.
The plaintiff, Smartflash LLC — which is based on the British Virgin Island of Tortola but also has a Texas address — filed the suit in May 2013, seeking $852 million in damages and citing six patents that related to the storing and accessing of songs, videos and games. The company does not make any products, nor does it have any employees other than founder Patrick Racz, who is a co-investor in the patents.
At the time, the suit named three game manufacturers as defendants in addition to Apple, claiming that another one of iTunes' functions violated Smartflash's in-app-purchase patents, but they were later dismissed from the suit. Regarding Apple's role, it claimed that Racz had met with one of Apple's current senior directors, Augustin Ferrugia, in 2000 when he was at another company to discuss the technology related to the patents. Bloomberg reports that Smartflash also claimed it deserved a percentage of sales of iPhones, iPads and Macs, which use iTunes.
Apple had attempted to get the case thrown out, claiming that Smartflash's technology was too generic for patenting, Reuters reported, but the judge who presided over the case ruled against them. Apple's subsequent argument in trial was that the jury should deem Smartflash's patents invalid because other, previously patented technologies had similar functions, and were worth only $4.5 million.
Bloomberg reports that Apple made $18 billion off iTunes in the last fiscal year, about 10 percent of the company's total revenue. "Apple doesn't respect Smartflash's inventions," attorney John Ward told the jury, according to the news service. "Not a single witness could be bothered with reviewing the patent." The jury arrived at the half-a-billion-dollar figure, the BBC reported, because it decided Apple "willfully" infringed on the patents. The damages were scaled accordingly.
Following the verdict, which applied to three of Smartflash's patents, Apple said it planned to appeal the ruling. "Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no U.S. presence and is exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented," the company said in a statement. "We refused to pay off this company for the ideas our employees spent years innovating, and unfortunately we have been left with no choice but to take this fight up through the court system."
Apple said the ruling was "one more example" of why Congress should reform its patent laws in a "meaningful" way, according to CNN Money. In February of last year, President Obama said he wanted Washington to "combat patent trolls." A White House press release (via the BBC) said the President wants reform that "encourages innovation and invention and provides the right incentives to drive investment, inspire and reward creativity, and spur job creation."
"I would expect Apple to say they will appeal as part of Apple's standard operating procedure," Smartflash's lead counsel, Brad Caldwell, said, according to The Wall Street Journal. "However, Smartflash believes the facts and the law support the jury's verdict."
Smartflash, whose lawyer told Reuters it was "very happy" with the ruling, has also filed similar suits against Samsung, Google and Amazon. The court will schedule the Samsung case now that the proceedings with Apple are done.
The court in Tyler, Texas has a history of ruling against Apple in suits like these. In 2012, a judge ordered the company to pay $368 million to VirnetX Inc. in a patent suit, Reuters reported, though a federal appeals court later ruled that the court had calculated the damages wrong and threw out that amount.
Top secret documents previously provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden have revealed that the US and Britain broke into the network of the world’s largest SIM card maker to compromise global communications.
According to the documents obtained by The Intercept, the online news magazine founded by Snowden collaborator Glenn Greenwald, the US National Security Agency (NSA) and its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), stole the encryption keys used to secure voice calls and texts from Gemalto, the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world.
Two billion SIM cards are made annually by Gemalto. They are used by 450 wireless network providers around the world, including AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint, subsequently effecting the bulk of the world’s telephonic communications. Gemalto has headquarters around the globe, including a US office in Texas, but is incorporated in the Netherlands and traded on the Eurolist.
By compromising the company’s internal computer network and stealing valuable encryption keys, the NSA and GCHQ have been able to render as useless the security measures used to protect communications sent through hundreds of networks the world over.
According to Jeremy Scahill and Josh Begley at The Intercept, classified files supplied by Snowden, including one GCHQ document from 2010 in particular, show how US and UK intelligence together conspired to compromise the SIM card maker.
One slide contained in the document showed that the GCHQ got inside of the manufacturer’s network, then stealthily installed malware that is believed to have opened up access to the SIM card maker’s entire computer system.
By possessing a copy of the encryption keys, US and UK intelligence agencies are believed to be able to crack into any affected communication, allowing authorities to eavesdrop internationally and on a mass scale without serving search warrants to local telecoms or requesting assistance from host countries.
“Once you have the keys, decrypting traffic is trivial,” Christopher Soghoian, the principal technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union, told the magazine.
Classified documents supplied by Snowden earlier revealed how the NSA compels American telecoms to hand over millions of call records through a secret court order, along with other offensive operations that have targeted the communications of foreign leaders and some state-owned energy companies, including Brazil’s Petrobras.
Earlier this week, researchers at Kaspersky Labs in Russia said they had identified a sophisticated group of hackers that have successfully been able to target computer systems in dozens of countries using malware and tactics not unlike those previously attributed to the NSA. A former employee of the US agency confirmed the authenticity of the allegations and suggested that the NSA has, in fact, been able to infiltrate the firmware that runs on hard drives installed in computers worldwide.
Security experts say they are appalled to hear of what Scahill and Begley dubbed “The Great SIM Heist,” and Gemalto officials say they were completely unaware of the intrusion until tipped off by The Intercept.
Security engineer Tony Arcieri wrote on Twitter that the revelation was “Bad news for anyone with a Gemalto SIM card” — which may be in the billions given the company’s output.
Soghoian of the ACLU added that “The news of this key theft will send a shock wave through the security community,” and Paul Beverly, an executive vice president at Gemalto, told the website he is “disturbed” over the revelations.
“The most important thing for me is to understand exactly how this was done, so we can take every measure to ensure that it doesn’t happen again, and also to make sure that there’s no impact on the telecom operators that we have served in a very trusted manner for many years. What I want to understand is what sort of ramifications it has, or could have, on any of our customers,” Beverly said.
The Intercept journalists acknowledged that the revelations contrast heavily with remarks made by US President Barack Obama in 2014, well after the first Snowden disclosures concerning surveillance had already damaged America’s reputation.
“The bottom line is that people around the world, regardless of their nationality, should know that the United States is not spying on ordinary people who don’t threaten our national security and that we take their privacy concerns into account in our policies and procedures,” Obama said at the time, the Intercept reported.
Last month, the White House’s own Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board said in report that, despite the Obama administration previously accepting nearly all of the 22 recommendations made by the group with regards to intelligence gathering reform, only one suggestion has been fully implemented.
Sixty-year old Reginald Foulds, one of the final contenders for the ambitious mission, served as a helicopter pilot in the Pakistani air force before retiring in 1992. Foulds moved to Canada with his wife at the age of 42, according to a report published in the Business Insider.
"With my 22 years of military background as an infantry officer and a helicopter pilot, I am capable of surviving in any conditions. I have been trained to stand against any odds and in any conditions. I have learnt to be adaptable, determined, curious and courageous; I am very focused in what I get out to do. I am a very reliable and a trustworthy person," says his profile.
It adds: "I have the curiosity to explore having no fears whatsoever; to me death only comes once. I have a will to go beyond the skies to seek and discover. To me there is no such word as impossible or I can’t. I, like the Mars-One team, have a vision to leave a legacy for this world to remember for thousands of years to come. I am determined to do something literally out of this world and be one of the first human[s] for the dawn of a new era – human life on Mars."
Eventually, the 100 candidates will be whittled down to 24 to make up groups of four which Mars One, a Dutch not-for-profit company, is going to send on a one-way journey to the Red Planet, which lies a minimum 55 million kilometres — six months’ travel — from Earth.
The group behind the endeavour hopes to use existing technology to fulfill the mission. However, the Red Planet has always been a complicated place for exploration with only half of the unmanned missions ever succeeding.
The mission is expected to take approximately seven months and a recent MIT study found that even if the space junkies succeeded in landing, they would only survive for 68 days using current technology.
Apple`s entry into the automobile market may finally silence the company`s critics, analysts told CNBC, amid rumors that the Cupertino giant is creating an electric car. "When one looks at Apple`s stock, people criticize the company for having a phenomenally successful franchise of the iPhone. The question for investors has always been if Apple can give us a larger addressable end market going forward," said David Garrity, principal at GVA Research, on Monday. The global automotive sector is exactly the kind of bigger market investors are looking for, he added, since it provides "multiples in terms of revenues and possible profit potential." Several media outlets including The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times reported last week Apple was working to create an electric car that may be driverless although the tech giant has yet to confirm the reports. The news comes amid concerns that the company`s stock price is too inflated, having recently hit an all-time record high above USD 127. Apple made history last week when its market capitalization rose above USD 700 billion, higher than Switzerland`s entire gross domestic product.
An entry into the car market fits in perfectly with Apple`s long-term strategy and underpins share price gains, argued Ray Wong, principal analyst and founder of Constellation Research. "This [a car] is the next phase in Apple`s move towards building out the rest of its digital lifestyle. One of the things Apple is focused on is continuity of the experience. Rumors of the car business are Apple at its core: finding new markets for its operating systems. They`ve done it with music, phones, home and healthcare and now, possibly cars." Wong is expecting the stock to pop 2 percent when U.S. markets resume trade on Tuesday as a result of the rumors. Wall Street was closed on Monday for the Presidents` Day holiday.
Apple`s successful experience in consumer design and interaction, seen by record iPhone sales, makes it a valuable asset to the automotive industry, GVA Research noted. "We do have to think of automobiles as being the ultimate mobile device given their electronics content and their interface," Garrity said. "Apple potentially has a great deal of value to offer in this area." He added that the company`s USD 180 billion cash pile - one of the biggest among corporates - is expected to give it a leg-up on competition in the electric car market following reports that other tech firms like Sony are also reportedly entering the industry. If the reports turn out to be true, the tech giant`s focus will be on expanding its iOs operating system, said Cyrus Daruwala, managing director at IDC Financial Insights. "By exploring the car, Apple is showing they can enter the industrial market and move up the value chain from consumers to big enterprise. It`s a proof of concept, this shows they can be an enterprise operating system too."
Facebook has tied up with Reliance Communications to offer free access to subscribers of Anil Ambani-led firm to the social networking site as well as about three-dozen general information websites.
With Facebook seeking to connect more people in the world's second-biggest mobile market with internet, India will become the first country in Asia to get the new Internet.org app. The app targets mobile phone users. "We still have a long way to go to connect India," Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page. "But I'm optimistic that by getting free basic services into people's hands, more change can follow pretty rapidly." Besides accessing Facebook, RCom subscribers can also access 33 websites offering news and information on weather, jobs, government services, and health without incurring data charges.
"About 70% of people in India don't have access to the internet. We need to connect a billion people to the internet. We are happy to announce that with Facebook we will offer free access to 33 popular websites," RCom Chief Executive Officer for Consumer Business, Gurdeep Singh, said here.
The free websites include Facebook, ecommerce portal OLX, Cleartrip, TimesJobs, Babajob and sports website ESPN Cricinfo. The service has been initially launched for Reliance customers in Mumbai, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. "We are committed to launching it on pan-india level within 90 days," Singh said.
Zuckerberg in a video message said that last year his organisation had rolled out Internet.org free basic services to countries with more than 150 million people across Africa and Latin America. More than 6 million people, who were not connected to the internet, are now connected with it.
"But to continue connecting the world, we have to connect India. More than a billion people in India don t have access to the internet. Today's announcement is just one step towards changing that," Zuckerberg said. He said internet should be made affordable for people. The companies did not disclose as to who will bear the cost of data that Rcom customers will access free of cost.
Apple, the maker of the iPhone and iPad, breaks another record as rapid growth in China helps to boost company's value to a whopping $710bn Apple became the world’s first $700bn company last night as rapid growth in China and hopes for bumper sales of its forthcoming Apple Watch pushed the iPhone and iPad maker to new heights.
The shares rose 1.9pc to $122.02 at the close in New York, giving the electronics valuing the company at $710.7bn (£465.8bn). The valuation means Apple is almost twice as large as oil major Exxon Mobil, the world’s second largest company by market capitalisation. Exxon has seen its value tumble to $385.4bn since last summer amid falling oil prices.
Strong demand for Apple’s larger-screened iPhones helped the company to make a record $18bn in the final three months of the year - or $8.3m an hour. Its highly-anticipated Apple watch, which will enable users to send and receive messages and emails, as well as track their fitness, will start to ship in April.
Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said he was confident that the company would continue to grow at a rapid pace. “We don’t believe in such laws as laws of large numbers. This is sort of an old dogma that was cooked up by somebody,” he said at a conference on Tuesday.
“Steve [Jobs, the co-founder of Apple and former chief executive] did a lot of things for us over many years but one of the things he ingrained in us is that putting limits on your thinking is never good.”
Analysts said the company would continue to grow from strength to strength. “Given Apple’s powerful iPhone cycle, a big 4G ramp in China and the upcoming launch of Apple Watch in April, we believe there is still plenty to look forward to during this transformational cycle,” said Brian White, an analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald.
Earlier this month, Apple revealed plans to borrow billions more dollars, despite its huge cash reserves of around $150bn. Apple sold bonds worth 1.25 billion Swiss francs on Tuesday, as the company took advantage of ultra-borrowing costs.
Mr Cook insisted on Tuesday that Apple was not a cash hoarder. He said the company would give back the cash it didn’t need and announce details of a capital return programme in April. “By and large, my view is for cash that we don’t need, with some level of buffer, we want to give it back,” he said. “It may come across that we are but we are not hoarders.”
The company plans to spend $850m on a solar farm in Monterey County, California, that it claims will generate enough power for its retail stores and other operations in the area.
A cheap new device that can be attached to a smartphone can reportedly diagnose cases of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV and syphilis – and, amazingly enough, the test only takes 15 minutes to complete.
Developed by researchers at Columbia University, the new phone attachment is being heralded as a potentially transformative breakthrough, due in no small part to its low cost. While the typical diagnostic machinery used to detect HIV and syphilis costs more than $18,000, the new mobile “dongle” costs a mere $34 to manufacture.
“Our work shows that a full laboratory-quality immunoassay can be run on a smartphone accessory,”said Samuel Sia, the lead researcher, in a statement. “Coupling microfluidics with recent advances in consumer electronics can make certain lab-based diagnostics accessible to almost any population with access to smartphones. This kind of capability can transform how health care services are delivered around the world.”
According to a new study published in the Science Translational Medicine journal, the smartphone dongle was tested on 96 patients from Rwanda. The device had a 92-100 percent sensitivity rating when it came to correctly identifying infected patients, but its specificity rating was notably lower at 79-100 percent. That means that some individuals were incorrectly identified as infected even though they were not.
While researchers work on improving the accuracy, there are still high hopes for the machine, as the data compared favorably to the results of the costly enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test. Even a device with 70-80 percent specificity and sensitivity could reduce syphilis-related deaths significantly, for example. Detecting HIV early in pregnant women, meanwhile, could help reduce the risk of passing the disease on to children.
“By increasing detection of syphilis infections, we might be able to reduce deaths by 10-fold,” Sia added.“And for large-scale screening where the dongle’s high sensitivity with few false negatives is critical, we might be able to scale up HIV testing at the community level with immediate antiretroviral therapy that could nearly stop HIV transmissions and approach elimination of this devastating disease.”
The dongle works by collecting a pinprick of blood from a patient’s finger and uses a built-in ELISA test to detect whether the number of HIV- and syphilis-fighting antibodies in the blood are higher than average. Notably, the dongle does not have to deplete its own set of stored energy. By connecting to a smartphone’s audio jack, it can instead use the device’s energy to power its analysis.
With one test underway, the researchers are working on a much bigger test trial. If successful, they hope to attract the attention of the World Health Organization and use the device in affected countries.
“We are really excited about the next steps in bringing this product to the market in developing countries,” Sia said. “And we are equally excited about exploring how this technology can benefit patients and consumers back home.”
Staging the 2022 World Cup in November and December may be the "best thing that's ever happened" to England, says former international Phil Neville. A Fifa taskforce has recommended switching the event to winter because of hot summer temperatures in Qatar.
That move has provoked plenty of criticism but Neville thinks it could be hugely beneficial to England's hopes of winning the tournament. He believes players will be fresh and ready to take on the world's best. "We normally go into a World Cup at the end of a long, hard, nine-month season when our players are absolutely dead on their feet," Neville, who won 59 caps for his country, told BBC Sport.
"For an England team, this might be the best thing that's ever happened." The former Manchester United and Everton defender added that he would be "licking my lips" if he was England boss Roy Hodgson because "we'll have the freshest ever national team going to a World Cup". Tuesday's recommendation is expected to be ratified by Fifa's executive committee in Zurich in March.
The proposal has been backed by Uefa president Michel Platini, the Confederation of African Football and Concacaf - the confederation responsible for football in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. The Asian Football Confederation president is Sheikh Salman.
Serbian Football Association vice-president Savo Milosevic called it a "good decision" as it would coincide with their winter break. But it has prompted an angry response from a number of influential football figures, among them Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore, who has accused Fifa of "damaging" the traditions of the English game by disrupting the Christmas schedule.
Neville, however, believes the positives outweigh the negatives for the English game and the national team, whose one and only World Cup success came in 1966."We've cried out for a long time for a mid-winter break," added Neville. "Maybe this will give us a great chance of winning a World Cup."England striker Wayne Rooney has played an average of 50 matches for club and country in the seasons preceding the last three World Cups.
In 2022, a typical England player at a club competing in the Champions League could expect to have played only 14 matches games between the start and the season and the end of October. "In this country, we are very traditionalist," added Neville, who played for England between 1996 and 2007 but never made a World Cup squad.
"We like to have our 10 weeks off over the summer, the games over Christmas, but the game is changing now. People don't like change, but they have to get used to it."Neville also thinks the summer heat in Qatar would have proved prohibitive had the tournament remained in its traditional slot. Temperatures in the Gulf state can exceed 40C in June and July, while those in November and December drop to around 25C.
"I visit Qatar two to three times a year and to play it in the summer months would be impossible," said BBC pundit Neville, who also works for Doha-based broadcaster Al Jazeera. Neville conceded that the process by which Qatar was awarded the World Cup in 2010 before the timing of the tournament had been agreed was "all wrong".
He is also concerned at how a winter World Cup will impact on the FA Cup, but has challenged English football bosses to come up with a schedule that will suit all parties."Maybe FA Cup replays will have to be sacrificed, which would be a shame because it's a fantastic competition," said Neville.
"It's up to the Premier League and the FA to work out the best possible plan so that nobody suffers, so that everybody - clubs, managers and owners - is getting everything they want in terms of the correct amount of fixtures, the correct amount of time with their players and amount of time afterwards so players can recover."
New Zealand cricketing great Martin Crowe is set to be inducted into the International Cricket Council's Hall of Fame.
Crowe, who is terminally ill with a rare blood disease called double-hit lymphoma, will be inducted during Saturday's Cricket World Cup match between New Zealand and Australia at Eden Park in Auckland, the ICC announced today.
Crowe will become the 79th inductee into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame and third New Zealander after Sir Richard Hadlee and Debbie Hockley. In January, at Eden Park, Crowe opened up to media about his battle with the disease and said he wanted to see the Black Caps play at the World Cup. He said at the time he had not expected to live to see 2015. Only five per cent of patients with double-hit lymphoma live up to 12 months.
Crowe made his international debut against Australia in Wellington in February 1982 at the age of 19. He retired 13 years later after playing 77 tests, scoring 5444 runs at an average of 45.36 including 17 centuries, the most by a New Zealand cricketer.
His 299 against Sri Lanka in Wellington in January 1991 stood as a national record until Brendon McCullum scored 302 against India - also in the Kiwi capital - in February 2014. Crowe also played 143 one-day internationals in which he scored 4704 runs at an average of 38.55 with four centuries and 34 half-centuries.
He played in three Cricket World Cups, and led New Zealand to the semifinal of the 1992 event where his side lost to eventual champions Pakistan in Auckland.
Nadeem F. Paracha
What an outrage it was to lose our first game to India in the 2015 Cricket World Cup. We should have won. We should always win against India because we are a better side. It would have been (kind of) okay had we gone down fighting and had India been outstanding.
But India was not outstanding. India is never outstanding. It’s only outstanding at home, not outside it and especially not in Australia. One can suggest that our record in Australia hasn’t been all that outstanding either but being a more outstanding team than India we should have outstanded India in Adelaide on that not very outstanding day.
But, alas, this was not to be and the Pakistan nation was left to face humiliation, depression, outrage, anger and some very rude tweets. So let’s get to the heart of what caused this. First, the selectors should never have picked Misbah as captain. He’s already 41 years old. He was always 41. In fact, I believe he was born 41.
Yes, he was the only Pakistani batsman who scored runs in that fateful game against India, but what good did that do? Yes, he’s been our leading batsman for over four years, but what good did that do.
Yes, last year he became the most successful Test captain of Pakistan, but what good did that do? It did nothing for Pakistan cricket. Nor did it do anything good for the Pakistan Ideology, the Pakistan economy, or for the faith of millions of pious Pakistanis. Only Imran Khan looked good at 41. What a dude! Secondly, why was Younas Khan sent in to open? He’s been playing his cricket like one plays volleyball on the beach. He should be dropped. Physically. From a balcony.
But why blame the players when something more sinister is taking place in the ICC and the PCB. Recently former Pakistan batsman, captain and pious lad, Mohammad Yousuf (formerly Julian Ted D’souza Jr.), suggested that Pakistan were made to lose a game against Ireland during the 2007 World Cup when the organisers secretly prepared an extremely green and bouncy pitch for the match.
We all know about the battery of terrifying, quick and crafty fast bowlers that Ireland has and they were given a pitch that was perfect for fast bowling.The idea was to cause a Pakistan batting collapse and injure its two leading and most pious batsmen at the time, Yousuf and Inzimam.
The plan succeeded and Pakistan were bounced out from a tournament that they were destined to win because we were an outstanding team and very pious too — something that was later destroyed by the current PCB set-up and that 41-year-old liberal fascist, Misbahul Haq.
So, yes, it can now safely be suggested that had the PCB and ICC not been colluding again to see Pakistan chucked out early from this year’s World Cup event as well, we would have won the game against India. We are outstanding enough to outstand them outstandingly.
But you see, a Pakistan win in that match would have meant lesser corporate sponsorships and thus less money for the ICC and the PCB. So, Pakistan was made to lose.
And this is how: it all started by selecting an aged man to lead Pakistan. This created a generation gap between him and the young players, such as Shahid Afridi, Younas Khan, coach Waqar Younas and Urdu author, Mustansar Hussain Tarar.
The generation gap created a communication gap. Like, for example, at a team dinner the night before the game against the Hindus (and one bad Muslim), Misbah asked Irfan to pass the tomato ketchup. Waqar interrupted to say, ‘you mean tomaato ketchup?’ ‘No,’ said Misbah, ‘I meant tomato ketchup.’ Waqar insisted it was tomaato until Irfan called a waiter and asked him to get Misbah some ‘tamaater ki chatni …’
So, when the skipper, the coach and the team should have been discussing strategy for the all-important game, they were discussing tomato, ‘tamaato’ and tamaater. However, more diabolic and disconcerting is another fact: the PCB has been gradually infiltrated by men who have no interest in uplifting Pakistan cricket. In fact, it is always good for their business interests if Pakistan actually loses. And these men are not just selfish and greedy profiteers.
Reports now confirm that the PCB has been infiltrated by closet members of the Illuminati, the Freemasons society and the Church of Scientology. Some guys who helped fake the 1969 Apollo moon-landing too are said to be at the helm of affairs in the PCB and the ICC. And they are the ones who made sure that Saeed Ajmal is wrongly reported for illegal bowling action and then not sent to Australia with the team even after he corrected his action and took 172 wickets in two first-class games in Rawalpindi.
Ajmal knew it was the Illuminati, the Freemasons, the Church of Scientology and the guys who faked the Apollo moon-landings that were keeping him out, but he preferred not to take their names because that would have completely ended his career.
He just said, ‘I wasn’t ready yet …’, to which many sceptics replied, ‘Lifafah’, meaning that he’d received an envelope full of bribe money from either CIA or RAW or PCB or ICC or PMLN or PPP or MQM or Microsoft.
People who are raising all these questions know their cricket well. Thus they are correct to suggest that had Ajmal been in the side on that fateful day in Adelaide, Pakistan would have won. And that too, by at least four goals.
Posted on Thursday, March 5, 1992 in The Friday Times (Editorial)
(Editor Najam Sethi)
The Pakistan cricket team is not firing properly on any one of its 11 cylinders, including the three in reserve. From all accounts, the boys seem demoralised, listless and wayward. Of the matches played thus far, we were badly mauled by the Windies and deeply humiliated by the English. As for the one against Zimbabwe, our exploits were nothing to write home about. What, in God’s name, is going on and why?
Even before the team left, it was abundantly clear that Waqar Yunus was unfit. He couldn’t bowl a single over during net practise. Where the expert doctor diagnosed a stress fracture, our selectors thought otherwise. In the event, he had a free ride to Australia and back.
Then, no one thought it worthwhile to import some white balls and give the boys a chance to check them out. The shine on the white ball lasts longer than on the red and it also seams more. As it is, our batsmen and bowlers are all at sea with it now.
The selection of the team was undoubtedly bungled. Saleem Jaffar and Akram Raza were declared non trata and sent back post haste. How did they change their colours overnight and become unsuitable for Australian pitches? Now we have two second-rate leg spinners and are sorely missing out on an off-spinner like Iqbal Qasim.
As for captain Imran Khan’s ‘fierce motivation’ to win the cup, we don’t like it one bit, Khan says that his motivation is of a purely private nature. He is concerned about the fate of his cancer hospital and has been advised to stay in the limelight if he wants to raise funds for it. No one has the courage to tell him plainly that his private motivation is adversely affecting the morale of his team. If every player were to follow suit and play for himself, as Imran is doing and as Rameez Raja did against the Windies, rather than for team and country, we might as well ask the boys to pack their bags and call it a day.
Then there is the issue of who should lead the team. Saleem Malik is properly in line to become captain after Imran and Miandad retire. When the team left, Miandad was thought a non-starter ad Malik was appointed vice-captain. When Miandad was desperately recalled, Malik lost his due and sulked. What a royal mess this is.
If both Imran and Miandad are ageing, unfit warriors, wouldn’t it have been proper to appoint star batsman Saleem Malik and star bowler Wasim Akram as captain and vice-captain respectively and tell Khan and Miandad to groom them in the jobs under their tutelage in the World Cup? A leaf from the Windies’ book might have been taken. After Vivian Richards voluntarily retired as captain, he said he was available to play in the World Cup under Richardson. Although the Windies foolishly didn’t take Richards up on his generous offer, Imran Khan could well have responded in the same spirit in the twilight of his grand career. After all, aren’t former captains Kapil Dev and Vengsarkar playing under Azharuddin in the Indian team? Isn’t former captain Botham playing under Gooch? Pity the Pakistani selectors who must eve now scrape and grovel before the whimsical Great Khan.
Imran Khan now says he won’t play in a match unless he can bowl also. This is ridiculous. Khan has an honourable place in the team as a batsman, not as a bowler. Why doesn’t he get off his high horse and stop farting about? As it is, he stands out like a sore thumb among his middle-class playmates who are beginning to resent his standoffish ways and authoritarian behaviour.
It isn’t too late to sort out things, have a determined go at the Cup and give us our money’s worth. The captain needs to establish a line of communication with the boys. What is missing is a sense of camaraderie. This should be followed by continuous pep-talks. Some important cricketing lessons, too, should be drummed into them after their private irks and kinks have been ironed out. (Did you see how the England bowlers fruitfully sacrificed pace for seam, swing and accuracy while Akram and Jawed were hopelessly panting in to the wicket and spraying their balls all over the place?)
Imran Khan is the greatest cricketer Pakistan has ever produced. He made a mistake in announcing his retirement some years ago. But he was wise enough to repair his error and return to cricket when his country needed him. His country still needs him, immediately as a batsman and strategist of high quality and later as a guiding force behind efforts to build a new team to take on England in the gruelling 5-Test series in the summer.
But Khan must put duty to Pakistan first and his private obsessions second. And this change of heart and mind must be immediately and clearly reflected before the team. Otherwise, he will have only himself to blame for a bitter end to a truly glorious career.
Although far from mainstream eyes in many of the world’s major powers, given its almost blanket popularity across the Subcontinent, cricket is the world’s second most popular sport.
While actual sporting interest in the World Cup that began this past weekend (held in Australia and New Zealand) will be limited to those countries with a prominent cricket culture, there is one major facet of the tournament that should be noted by foreign affairs enthusiasts.
The World Cup is a contest between 14 teams. The “Big 10” (Full Members of the International Cricket Council, or ICC) are automatic qualifiers – these are the countries that have the capacity to play competitively against each other in test matches – the five-day version of the game (the World Cup is a “Limited Overs” tournament). These countries are: England, India, Pakistan, Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and the West Indies (an amalgamation of Caribbean Islands plus Guyana).
If you are not from one of these regions of the world you may think your country does not play cricket, but you would be wrong. The other four places in the World Cup are obtained through a series of World Cricket League round-robin tournaments between various divisions until four teams remain and earn the right to play against the Big 10.
This year, the heavily English influenced countries of Ireland and Scotland have qualified. The UAE, with its large population of South Asian expats, has also done so. But the fourth is by far the most interesting, and important. Having only formed a national cricket team in 2001, the rise of Afghanistan, and the subsequent popularity of the sport in the country has become a story of great positivity and hope.
The inspiring and moving documentary Out Of The Ashes follows the Afghanistan team’s trajectory from 2008, and into the lower echelons of the cricketing world (Division 5), against teams such as the Cayman Islands and Jersey, to falling just short of being one of the four countries to qualify for the 2011 World Cup.
During the 1990s, the Taliban tolerated the sport, since it conformed with their dress standards. However, it wasn’t until after the U.S. invasion, when those displaced by the Soviet invasion started returning home from refugee camps in Pakistan, that cricket really began to take off in Afghanistan.
East of the Durand Line the sport becomes an obsession, and young boys growing up around Peshawar would undoubtedly find themselves immersed in the game. This gave the team an ample supply of skilled and schooled players who were able to be transformed into a professional team very quickly. It must be noted that Pashtun tenacity, ignored by major world powers for centuries, could also be considered a factor in their success.
Afghanistan is now ranked 11th in the world and has beaten higher ranked teams in Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
While the first generation of Afghan players were all from the refugee camps in Pakistan, the team is now beginning to include those who have grown up in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban The popularity of the sport has provided a promising array of young players motivated to compete regularly against the sport’s major countries. The Under 19 team finished 7th in the Under 19 World Cup of last year, beating cricketing powerhouse Australia during the tournament, underscoring the progress the sport is making in Afghanistan.
Of course, with success comes responsibility, and fast bowlers Hamid Hassan and Shapoor Zadran have found themselves used as cartoon characters in government literature attempting to keep kids away from nefarious influences. The hope is that young men will be encouraged to pick up bats and balls instead of guns.
However, there is also a flipside to the team’s newfound fame. The team’s captain, Mohammad Nabi, had his father kidnapped by “local goons” in March of last year, with a $2 million ransom asked for his return. Fortunately, he was eventually released in August, with no ransom paid.
Jalalabad is seen as the heart of cricket in Afghanistan, which does present something of a dilemma for the Afghan government, as surrounding areas still maintain a heavily Taliban influence. And indeed, the Taliban has claimed credit, and have shown enthusiasm for the team’s success. This is creating a tug-of-war over the team between the administration in Kabul and its still powerful internal threat.
Both actors have realized that the hearts and minds of young men is the key to stability in Kabul’s case, and countering this stability in the Taliban’s. Embracing, and not reacting to the sport’s popularity, has been a canny move by the Taliban.
Jalalabad being cricket’s most fertile ground, however, presents one other glaring issue for the country, and that is all of the current squad for the World Cup are Pashtun. For the game to be an integral part of the country’s stability, it is important that is it not see as an exclusive Pashtun pastime. The government has introduced the sport into schools throughout the country, and the hope is that soon players from all backgrounds will rise to the elite level.
Afghan journalist, Malik Achakzai has told The Diplomat that players from Tajik, Uzbek, Hazara, Pashai, and Nuristani backgrounds have made their way into the structures just below the national team. So the era of an exclusive Pashtun team may soon make way for an ethnically diverse national institution.
India has recognized the importance of the sport for regional stability, and recently committed $1 million for a cricket stadium in Kandahar. The Afghan team has yet to be invited to play in India (they play frequently in Pakistan), although this may also be down to the snobbishness of the Board of Cricket Control India (BCCI), which still believes inviting Bangladesh to play in India is beneath it. (Eighty percent of cricket’s revenue is made in India, making it the goal of every cricket board to play there.)
This World Cup is seen as a test for Afghanistan – a chance to consolidate their position as “the best of the rest.” They’ll be expected to beat those teams ranked below them (although they have a strong rivalry with Ireland, trading victories), and potentially even surprise one of the more powerful teams. This would then give them a claim to be included as the 11th Full Member of the ICC, an extraordinary achievement.
The Afghan public will certainly be hoping for some strong results to advance this cause, and those interested and involved in the development and stability of the region should be doing likewise.
Pakistan's former captain Wasim Akram has offered to help the national cricket team salvage its World Cup campaign. But the left-arm fast bowler made it clear either the Pakistan Cricket Board or team management would have to first ask for his help and advice.
"I am in Australia and New Zealand and I am ready to do my bit to help out the Pakistan team in their World Cup campaign. I know a lot about the current players. But so far no one neither the management nor the board has asked me for assistance," Akram said on Geo News channel.Akram said he was unhappy that fingers were pointed out at him for helping out players from other countries, notably India, and not the Pakistani players.
"What am I supposed to do? Go and stand outside the Gaddafi stadium that please give me employment... I want to do something for Pakistan cricket. How does anyone expect me to get involved with the Pakistan team in the World Cup if no one asks me," he said. He pointed out that he was always willing to offer tips to any player from any country approaching him.
"What hurts me is that no one from the Pakistan camp has thought it fit to ask for my help or advice. I am here and I am willing to help. I have told the PCB time and again I don't want a job, I just want to help out the players," he said. The star player who is on the Kolkata Knight Riders coaching staff in the IPL, said that the Pakistan team could even face tough times against the weaker teams in the World Cup if they didn't pick up their game.
"They have no other option but to just improve now. We also lost our first match of the 92' World Cup to West Indies by 10 wickets but kept on going as our captain believed in us. This Pakistan team has to also improve quickly." Akram said the PCB and team management also needed to relax the players and not bound them with too many restrictions and curfews.
"Look they are adults and they are in Australia and New Zealand. Let them go out and experience the culture. Unless they do this how can they grow and become confident and a player who is not confident as a person will always struggle on the field as well," he said. Akram said he could understand having a deadline the night before a match but not every night."Even in training the players needed to be given some space and not pushed to their limits."
Akram said he was disappointed at Pakistan's defeat to India but added that one could expect this when the batsmen were not willing to move their feet at all. "Even now I can tell you how many deliveries I need and how I can get a Pakistani batsmen out. They are not willing to play on the front foot and remain on the back foot than how do you expect them to get runs in Australia and New Zealand," he said.
Despite the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations won by Cote d’Ivoire in Equatorial Guinea Sunday being dogged by controversy with disputed penalties and rioting supporters that it was pulled off at such short notice should be a huge credit to the abilities of a continent renowned for its resilience.
Pictures of rioting incidents and attempts to assault a referee were some of the unsavory competition pictures beamed around the world on television, appalling many Africans. But for a tournament arranged in the host country at such short notice, including readying two new stadia in less than two months, few will begrudge the organisational hiccups, even if they never seemed too far away.
The incidents hurt the reputation of football on the continent, although African Football Confederation (CAF) president Issa Hayatou, backed by Fifa president Sepp Blatter, saw things differently. Taking exception to the international media coverage, the veteran Hayatou accused the western press of “perpetuating colonisation” as similar events occurred in Europe without as much uproar.
“When something bad happens in Europe, they say it’s an error. When something happens in Africa, they begin talking about corruption,” said Hayatou. “The western media are simply here to perpetuate colonisation.”
Hard done byTunisia, who felt hard done by after Mauritian referee Rajindraparsad Seechurn awarded a dubious stoppage-time penalty from which Equatorial Guinea equalised before going on to reach the semi-finals, refused to apologise to CAF for the behaviour of their players and officials.
Unless an apology is received by the end of March, Tunisia will be barred from competing in the 2017 Cup of Nations qualifiers. The difficulties around the 2015 Cup of Nations began when original hosts Morocco were stripped of the right to stage Africa’s football showpiece after raising concerns over the spread of the deadly Ebola epidemic.
This left late replacements Equatorial Guinea with just two months to prepare for the 16-nation tournament.Morocco have been barred from both the 2017 and 2019 Cup of Nations tournaments. Oil-rich central African country Equatorial Guinea co-hosted the tournament with neighbours Gabon three years ago, using capital Malabo and main city Bata.
But to host the 2015 Cup of Nations they had to include eastern towns Mongomo and Ebebiyin, and build new stadiums there. “We had only 50 days to prepare for this tournament. We worked very hard, day and night, to ensure the competition was played in Africa and not outside,” said proud organising committee chairman Francisco Pascual Obama Asue.
“This must be a source of pride for us and the whole of Africa.” Qatar, the 2022 World Cup hosts, were mentioned as possible hosts had no African country come forward to take over from Morocco.
Equatorial Guinea brought in Cuban doctors and adopted stringent measures to combat the spread of Ebola virus at entry points and match venues. This ensured the country was safe for both residents and visitors.
“Equatorial Guinea have done very well to host this competition at such short notice, even my country backed out after pressure from many interest groups. They deserved commendation,” said Ghana Football Association (GFA) president Kwesi Nyantakyi, who is also a CAF executive. “This was nicknamed the ‘Ebola tournament’, but in the end no one was even talking about this fear anymore because everything was well taken care of.”
The football on offer showed a great deal of European influence with tighter defences and more tactical awareness, and this was expected because only three of the teams were led by African coaches. A total of 68 goals were scored in 32 matches for an average of 2.12 goals per game—slightly below the 2.15 recorded two years ago in South Africa.
Exciting footballers like Andre Ayew of Ghana, Thievy Bifouma of Congo Brazzaville, Ibrahima Traore of Guinea and Gervinho of Cote d’Ivoire shone. The group games were full of suspense right up to the last round with the runners-up in Group D decided by a drawing of lots between Guinea and Mali after the sides tied on points, head-to-head, goal difference and goals scored.
The pressure for results meant three coaches have already gone –- Alain Giresse of Senegal, Michel Dussuyer of Guinea and Paul Put of Burkina Faso –- and there are strong indications that Volker Finke of Cameroon will not have his contract extended when it expires in May.
In the absence of defending champions Nigeria and record seven-time winners Egypt, experts predicted a very open tournament, but in the end two of Africa’s powerhouses –- Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana –- clashed in a decider than went to penalties before the Ivorians emerged 9-8 winners.
By Lisa Flueckiger
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Rio de Janeiro’s Ministry of Justice has announced that the city will spend R$350 million on security for the 2016 Olympic Games over the three years of preparation for the event. Around R$100 million of that budget have already been spent on new equipment.
The announcement was made in a reunion at Rio’s central command center between Special Secretary for security at big events, Andrei Augusto Passos Rodrigues, Rio’s Security Secretary, José Mariano Beltrame and State Secretary for Civil Defense, Sérgio Simões on February 4th.
“We are taking advantage of the equipment from the World Cup, but this is an event of other dimensions. We’ve already spent R$100 million for equipment last year and we will make more investments. The total amount spent will reach R$350 million,” Passos explained.
The three secretaries also announced the creation of a special security commission for the Olympic Games, the COESRio. “We are institutionalizing the collaboration and integration that always existed. But now we are giving it a form,” Beltrame stated.
The special commission will integrate thirty different institutions and be formed, among others, by federal policemen, road police, municipal guards, CET-Rio, national force and civil defense.
When asked about the rising number of robberies in main Olympic hub Barra da Tijuca, Beltrame praised the new motorcycle patrol, but also promised that security will be especially increased during the games.
He announced that this year alone around R$400 million will be spent on safety in Rio, as public security will not be affected by the budget cuts announced by Rio Governor Pezão earlier this year. Beltrame’s goal is to have 62,000 police officers ready by 2016.
In another Olympic meeting, Secretary for Tourism said that he wasn’t worried that recent spikes in violence in the city will deter tourists from attending the games.
“We don’t think that this has any negative impact,” Vinicius Lages told the press on February 3rd. “There are other places in the world that suffer from circumstances or moments such as these without it scaring away tourists.”
Rio is preparing to receive around 350,000 extra visitors for the Summer Olympic Games that will take place from August 5-21, 2016.
John Perkins is an American author. His best known book is Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (2004), in which Perkins claims to have played a role in an alleged process of economic colonization of Third World countries on behalf of what he portrays as a cabal of corporations,banks, and the United States government. Perkins has also written about mystical aspects of indigenous cultures, including shamanism.
Muniba Mazari is an artist and a writer. She believes in playing with vibrant colors and flawless portrayal of true emotions. Her work speaks her heart out and is all about people, their expressions, dreams and aspirations.
Although wheel chair bound, her spirit and artistry knows no bounds. In fact, she takes the agony of spinal cord injury as a challenge and is more determined to express her sentiments through her art work.
While doing her bachelor in fine arts she met a road accident which made her paraplegic. Currently, she is running her brand by the name ‘Muniba’s Canvas’ with the slogan ‘Let Your Walls Wear Colors’. She is a mix media artist and believes in depicting the ethnic jewels of her region in an abstract way. Some of her work is purely abstract which depicts the humans’ expressions, their thoughts and dreams. Her paintings give the message of living life and represent the real personality of the artist.