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Updated: 1 hour 13 min ago

5 Men Sentenced To 697 Years Behind Bars For Killing 11 Women In Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

1 hour 46 min ago
br / p#160;/pbr / pMEXICO CITY (AP) #8212; Mexican prosecutors announced Tuesday that they had won "historic" convictions and sentences of 697 years in prison against five men for killing 11 women near the border city of Ciudad Juarez./pbr / pThe state prosecutor's office in Chihuahua state said the men lured women with the promise of jobs, but instead subjected them to human trafficking and forced prostitution before killing them./pbr / pA statement from the office called the sentences on charges of aggravated homicide and human trafficking "exemplary and historic."/pbr / pCiudad Juarez, which is across from El Paso, Texas, was the scene of a series of eerily similar killings of more than 100 women beginning in 1993. Those possible serial or copy-cat killings, with similar victim profiles and killing methods, appeared to taper off by late 2004 or early 2005. Many of those crimes remain unsolved, and none are connected to the current case./pbr / pIn this case, the victims' skeletal remains were found dumped in 2012 in fields in the Juarez valley, east of the city. The remains were so decomposed that authorities originally thought there were 12 victims. Most were young./pbr / pProsecutors followed the trail of victims, many of who disappeared in 2009 or 2010 after having gone to apply for jobs at stores, to a hotel in Ciudad Juarez where the women were apparently held and forced to work as prostitutes. The culprits allegedly killed them when they became troublesome./ppstrongAlso on HuffPost:#160;/strong/pbr / p-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our a href='http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terms.html/'terms./a It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website./pbr clear='all'/br/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566311887/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4886d138/sc/7/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566311887/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4886d138/sc/7/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566311887/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4886d138/sc/7/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566311887/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4886d138/sc/7/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566311887/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4886d138/sc/7/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566311887/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4886d138/sc/7/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566311887/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4886d138/sc/7/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566311887/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4886d138/sc/7/a2.img" border="0"//abr/a href="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566311887/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4886d138/sc/7/ach.htm"img src="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566311887/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4886d138/sc/7/ach.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/234566311887/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4886d138/sc/7/a2t.img" border="0"/img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi2.feedsportal.com/r/234566311887/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4886d138/sc/7/a2t2.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/4886d138/sc/7/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

Missing Teen Fishermen Strayed From Route Before Boat Capsized

8 hours 46 min ago
p class="ap-story-p"TEQUESTA, Fla. (AP) -- Two teens whose lives were intertwined with the sea remained lost in the Atlantic on Tuesday, as their families and authorities tried to maintain hope against the fading odds of their survival./pbr / p class="ap-story-p"The Coast Guard pressed ahead with a fifth day of searches for the boys while their families coordinated air searches of their own, insistent that Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos were competent seamen and athletic young men who still could be found alive. But the relentless hunt by sea and air turned up no clue where the 14-year-olds might have drifted from their capsized boat, and the potential for finding them alive dimmed./pbr / p class="ap-story-p""As time goes on, certainly the probability of finding someone alive does decrease, but we're still within the timeframe where it's definitely possible to find somebody alive," said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss, noting others have survived days or even a week at sea. "We know it can happen and we're hoping it happens again."/pbr / p class="ap-story-p"The boys grew up on the water, constantly boated and fished, worked at a tackle shop together and immersed themselves in a life on the ocean. Perry's family said he learned to swim before he took his first steps. And though some questioned why the boys were out boating alone, others defended their families and said such independent teen outings are commonplace among those with a passion for the water./pbr / p class="ap-story-p"Clive Botha, a neighbor and friend of Perry's family, said his own children took a boat out alone as teens and cruised local waterways, even as he forbade them from the deep ocean waters./pbr / div class="embed-asset embed" data-type="embed-asset" data-provider="Embed" data-title=""br / div class="embed-code"span class="js-fivemin-script"/spanscript type="text/javascript"(function(){var src_url="https://spshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?playList=518971165%2C518972007height=381width=570sid=577origin=SOLRresponsive=falserelatedMode=2relatedBottomHeight=60companionPos=hasCompanion=falseautoStart=falsecolorPallet=%23FFEB00videoControlDisplayColor=%23191919shuffle=0isAP=1pgType=cmsPluginpgTypeId=addToPost-toponVideoDataLoaded=track5min.DLonTimeUpdate=track5min.TC#38;onVideoDataLoaded=HPTrack.Vid.DL#38;onTimeUpdate=HPTrack.Vid.TC";if (typeof(commercial_video) == "object") {src_url += "#38;siteSection="+commercial_video.site_and_category;if (commercial_video.package) {src_url += "#38;sponsorship="+commercial_video.package;}}var script = document.createElement("script");script.src = src_url;script.async = true;var placeholder = document.querySelector(".js-fivemin-script");placeholder.parentElement.replaceChild(script, placeholder);})();/script/div/divbr / p class="ap-story-p""We always told our kids to not go out of the inlet, but kids will be kids, you know?" he said. "I get goosebumps. In my heart, they could have been my kids."/pbr / p class="ap-story-p"Perry's stepfather, Nick Korniloff, said his stepson was supposed to remain on the Loxahatchee River and the Intracoastal Waterway during the outing with his friend, as they had numerous times before. Although they clearly ended up in the ocean waters, Korniloff said he didn't believe the boys were heading to the Bahamas, as some have speculated./pbr / p class="ap-story-p""It's a bit of a surprise to see, for us, that they went offshore," Korniloff said./pbr / p class="ap-story-p"The saga began Friday, when the boys were spotted buying fuel about 1:30 p.m. A line of summer storms moved through the area later that afternoon and when the teens didn't return on time, the Coast Guard was alerted at 5 p.m. and launched its search. The 19-foot boat was found overturned Sunday off Ponce Inlet, more than 180 miles north of where the boys started their journey. The search has continued, day and night./pbr / p class="ap-story-p"The boys may be reaching the boundaries of human survival, but with many unknowns, anything remained possible./pbr / p class="ap-story-p"Laurence Gonzales, the author of "Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why," said the very vague rule of thumb is humans can stay alive three minutes without air, three days without water and three weeks without food but examples of defying that abound. The longest someone has been known to survive in the open ocean without water was about five days, he said, but whether the boys had supplies, wore life jackets or are clinging to something could help./pbr / p class="ap-story-p""People will constantly surprise you," said Gonzales, an author of four books on survival whose own father was a World War II pilot who survived being shot down. "You'll think, `Surely this guy is dead.' And you'll go out and there he will be alive."/pbr / p class="ap-story-p"Dr. Claude Piantadosi, a Duke University medical professor who authored "The Biology of Human Survival: Life and Death in Extreme Environments," agreed, saying the obstacles were steep but the teens could still be alive. The variables, he said, are countless: Could they have clung to a cooler, perhaps, or used it to capture rainwater? Could they have avoided the threat of sharks or other marine life? Could they fight their own thirst and thoughts of drinking the salt water?/pbr / p class="ap-story-p""Even though the odds are against them, I certainly wouldn't call off the search," he said./pbr / p class="ap-story-p"Piantadosi is a former Naval officer and avid boater and diver. He sees dehydration as the biggest threat to the teens and says if they have no water, they are fast reaching the edge of survivability./pbr / p class="ap-story-p""Every hour that passes at this point," he said, "the chances go down."/pbr / p class="ap-story-p"The Coast Guard said crews would continue focusing on waters off northern Florida and southern Georgia overnight Tuesday into Wednesday. The families pledged a $100,000 reward in the search and numerous friends and strangers took to planes searching for clues, though the Coast Guard discouraged such private searches. A sighting of an object off the Georgia coast prompted a brief flurry of interest, but it was found to be unconnected to the teens./pbr / p class="ap-story-p"Though the boys' boat was overturned, it did not appear damaged. One life jacket was found near the boat. It was unclear how many life jackets had been on board, nor was it known what other supplies they had./pbr / p class="ap-story-p"Water temperatures were warm and not cited as a factor in the boys' survival./pbr / p class="ap-story-p"Florida requires minors to have boating safety instruction to operate a boat of 10 horsepower or greater, but no licenses are issued. Korniloff said both boys had completed the course./pbr / p-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our a href='http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terms.html/'terms./a It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website./pbr clear='all'/br/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566317387/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884e5f3/sc/3/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566317387/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884e5f3/sc/3/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566317387/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884e5f3/sc/3/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566317387/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884e5f3/sc/3/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566317387/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884e5f3/sc/3/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566317387/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884e5f3/sc/3/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566317387/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884e5f3/sc/3/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566317387/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884e5f3/sc/3/a2.img" border="0"//abr/a href="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566317387/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884e5f3/sc/3/ach.htm"img src="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566317387/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884e5f3/sc/3/ach.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/234566317387/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884e5f3/sc/3/a2t.img" border="0"/img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi2.feedsportal.com/r/234566317387/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884e5f3/sc/3/a2t2.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/4884e5f3/sc/3/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

A Fragile Peace Between Turkey And The Kurds Is Collapsing

9 hours 43 min ago
br / pA#160;fragile ceasefire in Turkey has threatened to fall apart this week, as conflict flared again between the government and the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party. On Tuesday, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that a#160;peace process between the two groups a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/turkey-erdogan-pkk-peace_55b774bfe4b0224d8833beb9"was no longer possible/a. Recent days have seen government jets striking the militants' camps#160;in reprisal for a car bomb attack on Turkish soldiers./pbr / pUntil just a few years ago, the Kurdistan Workers' Party, aka the PKK, was at the center of a bloody battle for Kurdish autonomy from the government in Ankara. The latest spate of violence could derail hopes for a resolution to the fighting, which has killed an estimated 40,000 people since it began in the mid-1980s.#160;/pbr / h3Who Are The PKK?/h3br / pThe PKK is an ethno-nationalist, Marxist-Leninist group that a href="http://www.cfr.org/turkey/inside-kurdistan-workers-party-pkk/p14576"was founded in 1974 /awith the goal of establishing an autonomous state for the Kurdish people in Turkey. Kurds make up almost 20 percent of the country's population of over 74 million and, like their fellow Kurds in Syria and Iraq, have long sought independent statehood./pbr / pAbdullah Ocalan, who has led the PKK since its inception, commands a fervent following and is the single most important figure in the organization.#160;While the PKK doesn't represent all Kurds in Turkey, it does a href="http://www.cfr.org/turkey/inside-kurdistan-workers-party-pkk/p14576"garner popular support/a./pbr / pLarge-scale conflict with Turkey's government a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-20971100"started in 1984 /awhen the PKK launched an armed insurgency against the state. Fighting in southern Turkey claimed thousands of lives on both sides during that early period. It further escalated in the 1990s with the PKK's#160;a href="http://www.cfr.org/turkey/inside-kurdistan-workers-party-pkk/p14576"use of suicide bombing/a#160;as a tactic. In 1997, the United States placed the group on its a href="http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm"list of foreign terrorist organizations/a, where it remains today./pbr / pYet in the 1990s, the group also began to dial back its desire for a fully independent state./pbr / pThe PKK#160;a href="https://www.hrw.org/report/2014/06/19/under-kurdish-rule/abuses-pyd-run-enclaves-syria"spawned offshoots/a#160;in Syria with the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, also known as the PYD, and its armed wing, the People's Protection Units or YPG. The latter militia was involved in the defense of the Syrian town of Kobani against Islamic State attackers, a battle in which the U.S. supported the YPG with airstrikes. That episode offered a showcase into how convoluted the alliances in Turkey and Syria can be.#160;/pbr / h3The Leader Is Capturedstrong#160;/strong/h3br / pTurkish authorities finally caught up with Ocalan in 1999, a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1999/02/20/world/us-helped-turkey-find-and-capture-kurd-rebel.html"capturing him/a#160;in Kenya's capital of Nairobi with help from U.S. intelligence. Before his arrest, the PKK leader had left his residence in Syria and traveled from nation to nation -- including Italy, Greece, Germany and Russia -- aided by sympathizers of the Kurdish independence movement./pbr / pTurkey's state security court first sentenced Ocalan to death. But following a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/1999/feb/18/johnhooper"enormous, violent protests/a#160;from the Kurdish population, not just in Turkey but elsewhere in Europe, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. Ocalan is housed in Imrali prison, which is located on an island off Istanbul and where he was the only prisoner until 2009./pbr / pThe PKK went into organizational decline after Ocalan's capture, something that a href="http://informationcollective.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Jordan.pdf"analysts cite/a#160;as a rare successful case study in how targeting leaders can degrade militant groups.#160;/pbr / h3A Peace Process/h3br / pThe Turkish government and the PKK made a a href="http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/europe/turkey-cyprus/turkey/op-ed/pope-turkey-syria-and-saving-the-pkk-peace-process.aspx"number of attempts/a#160;to begin a peace process throughout the 2000s, including holding secret meetings between 2009 and 2011#160;in Oslo. President Erdogan announced the a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/29/middleeast/turkey-kurdish-leader-pkk/"start of peace talks/a#160;with Ocalan in 2012, and in early 2013 the latter signaled an immense shift in PKK policy by a href="http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/peace-comes-to-turkey"calling for a ceasefire/a#160;with Turkish authorities.#160;/pbr / p#8220;From a period of armed resistance, a door has been opened to democratic struggle,#8221; Ocalan wrote in a letter from prison.#160;/pbr / pA shaky ceasefire began after Ocalan's announcement. While some isolated attacks had occurred in the years since, there was cautious optimism about resolving the conflict. The government sought disarmament and withdrawal of PKK forces, while the Kurds wanted a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/mar/21/pkk-leader-ocalan-declares-ceasefire"more language and cultural rights/a#160;within Turkey as well as a degree of autonomy.#160;/pbr / pBut the civil war in Syria a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/26/us-syria-crisis-turkey-kurds-idUSKCN0HL1DH20140926"exacerbated tensions/a, with Kurds expressing anger at the government's lack of support for the hard-fought defense of Kobani. PKK militants further viewed Turkey as supporting Islamic State attacks against the Kurds and accused the government of breaking the domestic ceasefire in 2014. Violent protests against the state erupted once again in the south of Turkey./pbr / h3Violence Surges Again/h3br / pAfter an a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33619043"Islamic State suicide bombing/a#160;killed over 30 Kurdish activists in the southern town of Suruc on July 20, the PKK blamed the government for not preventing the attack and declared the ceasefire over -- although Ocalan has not issued such a statement./pbr / pTwo days later, a PKK-linked car bombing killed two Turkish soldiers whom hardliners from the group accused of colluding with the Islamic State. In retaliation, Turkey a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-33690060"launched airstrikes/a#160;against PKK camps in northern Iraq and Islamic State militants in Syria, as well as rounding up alleged supporters from both groups.#160;/pbr / pOn Tuesday, Erdogan a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/kurdish-politicians-turkey_55b77edbe4b0224d8833c39b?atc5wmi"announced/a#160;that continuing the peace process was impossible./pbr / pAll of this comes at a time when the liberal, Kurdish-based People's Democratic Party (HDP) is a rising force in Turkey's politics. The party denies affiliation with the PKK, but Erdogan has accused them of being in cahoots.#160;/pbr / pAnalysts say that the government's true agenda in its renewed campaign against the PKK may be to a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/kurdish-politicians-turkey_55b77edbe4b0224d8833c39b?atc5wmi"tamp down support/a#160;for the HDP ahead of possible November elections./pbr / pstrongemAlso on HuffPost:/em#160;/strong/pbr / p-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our a href='http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terms.html/'terms./a It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website./pbr clear='all'/br/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566246150/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884cc7d/sc/7/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566246150/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884cc7d/sc/7/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566246150/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884cc7d/sc/7/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566246150/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884cc7d/sc/7/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566246150/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884cc7d/sc/7/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566246150/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884cc7d/sc/7/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566246150/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884cc7d/sc/7/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566246150/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884cc7d/sc/7/a2.img" border="0"//abr/a href="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566246150/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884cc7d/sc/7/ach.htm"img src="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566246150/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884cc7d/sc/7/ach.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/234566246150/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884cc7d/sc/7/a2t.img" border="0"/img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi2.feedsportal.com/r/234566246150/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884cc7d/sc/7/a2t2.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/4884cc7d/sc/7/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

Here's What's Behind Erdoğan's New Airstrikes -- And Why They Could Backfire

10 hours 3 min ago
Turkish policies towards the Middle East have been in wild oscillation over the past many weeks, even months. Ankara has now finally and begrudgingly a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/28/world/middleeast/turkey-and-us-agree-on-plan-to-clear-isis-from-strip-of-northern-syria.html" target="_hplink"initiated/a military action against ISIS in cooperation with the U.S. But it has also a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/turkish-air-force-strikes-kurds-in-iraq_55b3829ae4b0074ba5a4c1fc" target="_hplink"initiated/a air attacks against its former Kurdish negotiating partners. Just what is going on? There may not be any coherent strategy, but the following seem to me to represent the key issues driving policy.br / br / At the top of the list is President Erdoğan and his quest for political survival. After the rebuff to the ruling AKP Party in the a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2015/jun/08/turkey-election-2015-ruling-party-loses-majority-as-pro-kurdish-hdp-gains-rolling-report" target="_hplink"June elections/a that caused it to lose its majority in parliament, Erdoğan is now desperately trying to recover, find a reliable partner for a coalition government and, in its absence, to force new elections next month in the hopes of recouping his majority. Given the growing impression of growing loss of coherency at the top levels of the Turkish government, it is something of a gamble that the AKP could achieve a better electoral outcome next month. Indeed the AKP may well emerge yet weaker.br / br / centeremp class="pull-quote" style="width: 90%; margin: 40px 3%; font-size: 1.5em; text-align: center; color: #787878;""Erdoğan has irresponsibly turned his back on negotiations with the PKK."/p/em/centerbr / br / That said, the AKP's best chance for a coalition partner is the nationalist MHP, which a href="http://www.todayszaman.com/anasayfa_mhp-leader-says-govt-submissive-to-pkk-demands-state-integrity-in-peril_369034.html" target="_hplink"opposes/a negotiations with the PKK (the armed Kurdish nationalist movement) or any cooperation with the PKK's ally in Syria, the YDP. A decade ago, the AKP a href="http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/europe/turkey-cyprus/turkey/234-turkey-and-the-pkk-saving-the-peace-process.aspx" target="_hplink"initiated/a encouraging and historic negotiations with the PKK; observers had every good reason to hope for a major breakthrough on this ethnic issue that has plagued Turkey almost since its birth. But domestic politics have intervened and Erdoğan has now irresponsibly turned his back on these negotiations and even begun military operations against the PKK again, probably putting an end for some time to any hope of reconciliation. Such aggressive steps delight the nationalists in the MHP, now a key potential coalition partner. In sum, short-term and short-sighted AKP electoral politics are destroying aspirations for vital national reconciliation.br / br / Erdoğan has another good reason as well to sabotage his own early pioneering efforts at Kurdish reconciliation: with the improving political environment of a few years ago, for the first time, a Kurdish party, the Peoples's Democratic Party, a href="http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/order-from-chaos/posts/2015/06/07-turkey-election-kirisci-cengiz" target="_hplink"reached/a for national status as a true liberal party beyond simple Kurdish nationalism. It was that party that a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/partial-turkish-election-results-show-governing-partys-support-weakening-1433696787" target="_hplink"took away/a crucial votes from the AKP in the last elections and Erdoğan has blood in his eyes.br / br / The second key factor is Ankara's disastrous Syrian imbroglio. Erdoğan's current obsession with overthrowing the Assad regime in Syria represented an abrupt reverse of a decade of a href="http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/08/22/how-turkey-went-from-zero-problems-to-zero-friends/" target="_hplink"warm and brotherly relations with Syria/a. No AKP foreign policy failure can equal the Syrian disaster: it has intensified the butchery in Syria's savage internal conflict, damaged vital relations with Iraq and Iran, helped unleash a flood of millions of Syrian refugees into Turkey, created domestic unrest, damaged the economy and a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/12/saudi-arabia-turkey-syria_n_7012268.html" target="_hplink"pushed/a Erdoğan into a distasteful embrace with Riyadh against Assad.br / br / centeremp class="pull-quote" style="width: 90%; margin: 40px 3%; font-size: 1.5em; text-align: center; color: #787878;""Erdoğan's Kurdish ties are now everywhere at risk: in Turkey, Iraq and Syria."/p/em/centerbr / br / In doing so, Erdoğan has been forced to turn an ever-blinder eye to the extremism of Islamist forces operating against Assad in Syria, including ISIS itself. While having little real sympathy for ISIS, Erdoğan has nonetheless a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/11/turkey-joins-the-coalition-of-the-unwilling.html" target="_hplink"tolerated/a it. In the end, he preferred strengthening ISIS against Damascus than deepening Turkish ties with the Kurds -- Turkey's natural regional partners for the future.br / br / This Turkish policy has greatly a href="http://www.ibtimes.com/syrian-anti-isis-kurdish-fighters-claim-turkey-attacked-their-forces-near-turkish-2025778" target="_hplink"embittered/a most Kurds against Turkey, especially in Syria. Erdoğan's Kurdish ties are now everywhere at risk: in Turkey, Iraq and Syria. Only the event of a serious terrorist ISIS attack a few days ago on Turkish soil (a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33593615" target="_hplink"targeting mostly Kurds/a), forced Erdoğan to reconsider this relationship. As a result Erdoğan has reluctantly bowed to U.S. pressure to take a tougher position against ISIS. There is actually little love in Turkey at all for ISIS except among a very small minority of radical fundamentalists. Here too, Erdoğan still seems to lack a conceptual compass on these strategic issues.br / br / A third driver is the U.S. nuclear deal with Iran. This momentous agreement will be changing the face of Middle Eastern geopolitics. It has raised the stakes for Ankara, making it clear that it can now ill afford to ignore Iran. Yet this should not be a serious problem for Turkey: the first decade of AKP rule a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/oct/26/turkey-iran1" target="_hplink"saw/a good working relations with Tehran, and Turkey has basically avoided ideologically championing Middle Eastern Sunnis in any sectarian struggle. This is where Erdoğan's unholy alliance with Riyadh against Syria had begun to push him in a dangerous sectarian direction that contradicts nearly all of Turkey's national interests, including ties with Iran. Ankara's recent air operations against ISIS shows some signs now of pulling back from this egregious strategic error, even as Riyadh itself has come to fear feeding ISIS any further.br / br / centeremp class="pull-quote" style="width: 90%; margin: 40px 3%; font-size: 1.5em; text-align: center; color: #787878;""The fact is, an Assad regime for the moment is a far better option than continuing civil war and the continuing growth of extremist jihadi forces of ISIS and al-Qaeda."/p/em/centerbr / br / In short, primarily for domestic political reasons, but also due to foreign pressures from the U.S., Iran and Iraq, Ankara is now wavering in its strategic directions. It would be wise if it joins Iran, Russia, China, Oman and probably now the U.S. in seeking a political solution in Damascus that will lead to Assad's eventual resignation but not a toppling of the present regime.br / br / But the implications of Obama's agreement with Ankara to establish a a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-33681215" target="_hplink"buffer zone/a in Syria along the Turkish border is disturbing; it now may drag the U.S. deeper into local ground wars and coordination with bad Turkish policies. The fact is, an Assad regime for the moment is a far better option than continuing civil war and the continuing growth of extremist jihadi forces of ISIS and al-Qaeda who are ideally positioned to eventually eliminate moderate Islamic opposition forces against Assad.br / br / A potential Turkish coalition government that combines the AKP (with its plurality) and a left-of-center Republican Peoples Party, plus the new liberal Kurdish Party, would seem to offer the healthiest mixture to oversee Turkish foreign policy in these exceptionally troubled and complex times. Erdoğan's vaulting ambitions and increasing loss of judgment and statesmanship will best be neutralized in such a coalition. Despite the emotionalism around the Kurdish issue, a new generation of a Turkish electorate is unlikely to opt for a politician who seeks greater confrontation in the region, especially as a tool for his own ambitions.br / br / HH--236SLIDEEXPAND--433336--HH p-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our a href='http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terms.html/'terms./a It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website./pbr clear='all'/br/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566245103/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48841818/sc/7/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566245103/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48841818/sc/7/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566245103/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48841818/sc/7/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566245103/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48841818/sc/7/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566245103/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48841818/sc/7/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566245103/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48841818/sc/7/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566245103/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48841818/sc/7/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566245103/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48841818/sc/7/a2.img" border="0"//abr/a href="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566245103/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48841818/sc/7/ach.htm"img src="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566245103/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48841818/sc/7/ach.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/234566245103/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48841818/sc/7/a2t.img" border="0"/img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi2.feedsportal.com/r/234566245103/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48841818/sc/7/a2t2.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/48841818/sc/7/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

Virgin Galactic Pilot Describes Free Fall After Spaceship Disintigrated

10 hours 35 min ago
br / p class="ap-story-p"WASHINGTON (AP) -- The pilot of a Virgin Galactic spaceship that disintegrated midflight recalls trying in vain to activate oxygen to help him breathe as he fell toward the California desert./pbr / p class="ap-story-p"Federal accident investigators on Tuesday released a summary of their interview with Peter Siebold, who survived when SpaceShipTwo ripped to pieces during an October test mission./pbr / p class="ap-story-p"The mission was part of nascent efforts to create a space tourism industry./pbr / div class="embed-asset embed" data-type="embed-asset" data-provider="Embed" data-title=""br / div class="embed-code"span class="js-fivemin-script"/spanscript type="text/javascript"(function(){var src_url="https://spshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?playList=518973880height=381width=570sid=577origin=SOLRresponsive=falserelatedMode=2relatedBottomHeight=60companionPos=hasCompanion=falseautoStart=falsecolorPallet=%23FFEB00videoControlDisplayColor=%23191919shuffle=0isAP=1pgType=cmsPluginpgTypeId=addToPost-toponVideoDataLoaded=track5min.DLonTimeUpdate=track5min.TC#38;onVideoDataLoaded=HPTrack.Vid.DL#38;onTimeUpdate=HPTrack.Vid.TC";if (typeof(commercial_video) == "object") {src_url += "#38;siteSection="+commercial_video.site_and_category;if (commercial_video.package) {src_url += "#38;sponsorship="+commercial_video.package;}}var script = document.createElement("script");script.src = src_url;script.async = true;var placeholder = document.querySelector(".js-fivemin-script");placeholder.parentElement.replaceChild(script, placeholder);})();/script/div/divbr / p class="ap-story-p"Siebold says he recalls the violent breakup of the craft before he blacked out. When he awoke, he tried to get his emergency oxygen flowing. He next remembered the jolt of his parachute automatically opening./pbr / p class="ap-story-p"The National Transportation Safety Board concluded during a hearing that SpaceShipTwo broke apart after Siebold's co-pilot prematurely unlocked its brakes as the craft was shooting toward space./pbr / p class="ap-story-p"a href="http://www.ntsb.gov/news/press-releases/Pages/PR20150728.aspx"From NTSB:/a/pbr / blockquotebr / divThe feather system, which was designed to pivot the tailboom structures upward to slow the vehicle during reentry into the earth#8217;s atmosphere, was to be unlocked during the boost phase of flight at a speed of 1.4 Mach. The copilot unlocked the feather at 0.8 Mach; once unlocked, the loads imposed on the feather were sufficient to overcome the feather actuators, allowing the feather to deploy uncommanded, which resulted in the breakup of the vehicle./divbr / div#160;/divbr / divThe Board found that Scaled Composites failed to consider the possibility that a test pilot could unlock the feather early or that this single-point human error could cause the feather to deploy uncommanded.../divbr / div#160;/divbr / div#8220;Manned commercial spaceflight is a new frontier, with many unknown risks and hazards,#8221; Hart said. #8220;In such an environment, safety margins around known hazards must be rigorously established and, where possible, expanded.#8221;/divbr / /blockquotebr / div#160;/div p-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our a href='http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terms.html/'terms./a It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website./pbr clear='all'/br/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244207/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/488413e0/sc/28/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244207/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/488413e0/sc/28/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244207/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/488413e0/sc/28/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244207/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/488413e0/sc/28/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244207/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/488413e0/sc/28/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244207/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/488413e0/sc/28/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566244207/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/488413e0/sc/28/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566244207/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/488413e0/sc/28/a2.img" border="0"//abr/a href="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566244207/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/488413e0/sc/28/ach.htm"img src="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566244207/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/488413e0/sc/28/ach.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/234566244207/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/488413e0/sc/28/a2t.img" border="0"/img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi2.feedsportal.com/r/234566244207/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/488413e0/sc/28/a2t2.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/488413e0/sc/28/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

Last Wild Horse Dies On Bahamas Island

10 hours 51 min ago
p class="ap-story-p"KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) -- The last of the wild horses on Great Abaco island in the Bahamas has died, prompting caretakers to collect tissue for possible cloning and hopefully bring back a viable population./pbr / p class="ap-story-p"Milanne Rehor, project director for the Wild Horses of Abaco Preservation Society, said Tuesday that a U.S. veterinarian removed tissue from the dead mare and the material has just been shipped to an animal cloning technology company in Austin, Texas./pbr / p class="ap-story-p""We are sad at the loss. But we are also optimistic because we do have a crack at bringing the herd back," said Rehor, a 71-year-old New York native who has spent over two decades trying to preserve the wild horses in the northern Bahamas./pbr / div class="embed-asset embed" data-type="embed-asset" data-provider="Embed" data-title=""br / div class="embed-code"a href="https://www.facebook.com/abacohorses/photos/pb.242470469147981.-2207520000.1438122747./943995432328811/?type=1" data-iframely-url="//dk79lclgtez2i.cloudfront.net/16hLar" data-template="inline"/ascript async src="//dk79lclgtez2i.cloudfront.net/embed.js" charset="utf-8"/script/div/divbr / p class="ap-story-p"Some 60 years ago, as many as 200 wild horses grazed and trotted freely through the scrubland and forests of Great Abaco, which was once logged for its pine trees./pbr / p class="ap-story-p"The horses were imported from Cuba in the late 1800s by a logging company. When the company switched to tractors for pulling logs in the 1940s, the animals were set free and went feral./pbr / p class="ap-story-p"The wild horses flourished for a time, then a young child died while trying to ride one of the horses after it had been tamed and townspeople killed all but three of the herd in the early 1960s, according to Rehor's organization./pbr / p class="ap-story-p"The herd rebounded to about 35 animals by the mid-1990s with the help of Rehor and other enthusiasts who secured a preserve for the horses in Abaco's Treasure Cay. But the remaining horses were sickened by poisonous plants, pesticides and herbicides and were unable to reproduce. The last one, a roughly 20-year-old mare called Nunki, died in recent days./pbr / p class="ap-story-p"Rehor, who lives on a boat moored in Abaco, said she lost a "wonderful companion." She hopes Nunki's cells can be reproduced and one day a foal can be bred with DNA from a living stallion./pbr / p class="ap-story-p"Ernest Cothran, a clinical professor at Texas A#38;M University's Department of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences who has studied Abaco's wild horses, said he would be surprised if the cloning plan succeeds. "I would not say it is impossible, however," he said./pbr / p-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our a href='http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terms.html/'terms./a It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website./pbr clear='all'/br/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566243528/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110c/sc/32/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566243528/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110c/sc/32/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566243528/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110c/sc/32/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566243528/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110c/sc/32/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566243528/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110c/sc/32/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566243528/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110c/sc/32/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566243528/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110c/sc/32/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566243528/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110c/sc/32/a2.img" border="0"//abr/a href="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566243528/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110c/sc/32/ach.htm"img src="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566243528/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110c/sc/32/ach.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/234566243528/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110c/sc/32/a2t.img" border="0"/img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi2.feedsportal.com/r/234566243528/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110c/sc/32/a2t2.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/4884110c/sc/32/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

Obama Visits Ethiopia, Reminds Us We’re Part Of 'Same Human Family, The Same Chain'

10 hours 57 min ago
pDuring President Obama's historic trip to Africa, he had the opportunity to view one of our "ancestors" whose discovery was of huge significance to humankind./pbr / pWhile at Ethiopia's National Palace on Monday,#160;a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/27/us-africa-obama-lucy-idUSKCN0Q127N20150727"POTUS/a#160;met "Lucy," the 3.2-million-year-old partial skeleton of a hominid -- an early ancestor to humans, Reuters reported. While Obama observed the skeleton,#160;a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/27/us-africa-obama-lucy-idUSKCN0Q127N20150727"Zeresenay Alemseged/a, senior curator of anthropology at the#160;California Academy of Sciences informed the president that Lucy, whose species human beings evolved from, shows that all human beings are connected.#160;/pbr / pemstrong(Story continues below.) #160;/strong/em/pbr / br / p#160;/pbr / pFor the president, the fact spoke to a deeper meaning.#160;/pbr / p"We honor Ethiopia as the birthplace of humankind.#160;In fact, I just met Lucy, our oldest ancestor," a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/27/us-africa-obama-lucy-idUSKCN0Q127N20150727"Obama said /aat a state dinner later that day, reflecting on the experience, according to Reuters. "When you see our ancestor ... we are reminded that Ethiopians, Americans, all the people of the world are part of the same human family, the same chain."/pbr / pLucy, whose name is inspired by the Beatles song "a href="http://www.pbs.org/saf/1103/features/meetlucy.htm"Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds/a" (which was playing during celebrations following the skeleton discovery), is from the Australopithecus afarensis species. The skeleton, which was discovered back in a href="http://www.pbs.org/saf/1103/features/meetlucy.htm"1974/a#160;in Ethiopia, is usually kept at the country's a href="http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jul/27/obama-ethiopia-lucy-fossil"National Museum/a#160;but was transported to the palace for Obama's viewing, the Guardian reported. During the experience, POTUS learned about the skeleton and#160;was even#160;allowed to touch a#160;vertebra from Lucy#8217;s torso -- a rare privelege, typically only designated for scientists.#160;/pbr / pThe president said that there's a lesson to be learned from humankind's connection to Lucy./pbr / p"As one of the professors who was describing the artifacts correctly pointed out, so much of the hardship and conflict and sadness and violence that occurs around the world is because ... a href="http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jul/27/obama-ethiopia-lucy-fossil"we look at superficial differences as opposed to seeing the fundamental connection that we all share/a," Obama said at the state dinner, according to the Guardian./pbr / pThe president has since concluded his a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20150728/af--obama/?utm_hp_ref=world#38;ir=world"two-country visit to Africa/a, leaving Ethiopia on Tuesday.#160;/pbr / p#160;/pbr / pemstrong#160;Also on HuffPost:#160;/strong/em/pbr / p-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our a href='http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terms.html/'terms./a It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website./pbr clear='all'/br/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566243527/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110e/sc/32/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566243527/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110e/sc/32/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566243527/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110e/sc/32/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566243527/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110e/sc/32/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566243527/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110e/sc/32/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566243527/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110e/sc/32/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566243527/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110e/sc/32/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566243527/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110e/sc/32/a2.img" border="0"//abr/a href="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566243527/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110e/sc/32/ach.htm"img src="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566243527/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110e/sc/32/ach.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/234566243527/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110e/sc/32/a2t.img" border="0"/img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi2.feedsportal.com/r/234566243527/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110e/sc/32/a2t2.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/4884110e/sc/32/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

Cops Want To Know If Body Found In Suitcase Is That Of Madeleine McCann

11 hours 9 min ago
br / pBritish police searching for Madeleine McCann have contacted Australian authorities over a body that was found in a suitcase there./pbr / pMadeleine#160;was almost 4 years old in 2007 when she went missing from an apartment in Portugal being rented by her parents while they were on vacation. The international search has been ongoing, and there have been a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/04/madeleine-mccann-cyprus-interpol_n_2806180.html"reports of Madeleine sightings/a#160;all over the globe. There have been no confirmed sightings, though, and nobody has been charged in her disappearance./pbr / br / p style="text-align: left;"Earlier this month, South Australia Police found the remains of a girl, between 2 and 4 years old, in a suitcase on the side of the highway near Adelaide, a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/madeleine-mccann-investigators-contact-australian-police-over-suitcase-body-n399461"according to NBC News/a. The suitcase also had little girls' clothes in it, including a tutu, a coat and slippers./pbr / pThe victim, who hasn't yet been identified, was likely white with 7-inch-long, light-colored hair. Even though police said the victim was killed sometime since the start of 2007, they added it's "highly unlikely" that the body belongs to Madeleine,#160;a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jul/28/madeleine-mccann-australian-police-body-suitcase"The Guardian reported./a/pbr / pStill, British police investigating Madeleine's disappearance confirmed that they made contact with Australian authorities about the remains./pbr / p"There is absolutely no evidence at this point in time that the child is Madeleine McCann,"#160;Australian police commissioner Grant Stevens said at a parliamentary hearing, according to The Guardian. "To suggest something like that at this point in time would purely be speculating to get attention."/pbr / br / p#160;/pbr / p#160;/p p-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our a href='http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terms.html/'terms./a It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website./pbr clear='all'/br/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566243526/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110f/sc/3/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566243526/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110f/sc/3/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566243526/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110f/sc/3/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566243526/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110f/sc/3/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566243526/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110f/sc/3/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566243526/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110f/sc/3/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566243526/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110f/sc/3/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566243526/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110f/sc/3/a2.img" border="0"//abr/a href="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566243526/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110f/sc/3/ach.htm"img src="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566243526/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110f/sc/3/ach.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/234566243526/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110f/sc/3/a2t.img" border="0"/img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi2.feedsportal.com/r/234566243526/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4884110f/sc/3/a2t2.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/4884110f/sc/3/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

While Working to Eradicate Malaria, Let's Eliminate Malaria Deaths

11 hours 28 min ago
Last week, there was a glimmer of hope for everyone that suffers from malaria: the world's first-ever malaria vaccine received a green light from European authorities. While we aren't out of the woods yet, this is a positive step toward eliminating this deadly foe. While RTS,S, does provide hope for a tomorrow without malaria, we cannot be lulled into complacency -- this is not a panacea for malaria. br / br / The sad truth about malaria is that it continues to be one of the most deadly conditions in the world. a href="http://www.who.int/malaria/publications/world_malaria_report_2014/en/" target="_hplink"In 2013, 128 million people contracted malaria, of whom more than half a million died. 1.2 billion people remain at high risk of contracting the infection./a Every minute a person dies from malaria, and by the time you are finished reading this piece, nearly three people will have succumbed to the parasite.br / br / RTS,S, or Mosquirix, has a long history. Investigators have been developing this for more than 30 years, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has contributed a small fortune -- estimates are north of $200 million -- to fund the vaccine's development, a href="http://fortune.com/2015/07/24/worlds-first-malaria-vaccine-wins-recommendation/" target="_hplink"according to recent media reports/a. Studies suggest that the Phase III regiment of RTS,S, reduced the number of malaria cases by a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/24/us-gsk-malaria-vaccine-idUSKCN0PY0EG20150724" target="_hplink"almost 40 percent in toddlers and 27 percent in infants./a It also prevented 6000 cases of malaria per 1000 vaccinated children over four years. br / br / Efforts continue on many fronts to eradicate malaria, but as a clinician caring for people with malaria, my more immediate goal is to keep children alive. a href="http://www.who.int/malaria/media/world_malaria_report_2014/en/" target="_hplink"Malaria deaths have been cut nearly half (47 percent) since 2000/a as a result of better drugs, improved prevention and more rapid diagnoses, but the war is far from over. br / br / The malaria parasite is a formidable and wily foe. It has become deeply entrenched, and bobs and weaves through both its hosts -- man and mosquito -- with impunity. Within minutes of its injection into the skin by the bite of a female mosquito, it vanishes into the liver, becoming the proverbial needle in a haystack for seven to 14 days. Having in that time multiplied thousands-fold, it then emerges into the circulatory system and lives and reproduces within red blood cells. Among the vulnerable, largely young African children, a life-threatening illness can develop within days. br / br / The elimination of malaria deaths (before we manage to eliminate the parasite) could be pursued by combining two existent strategies: prompt diagnosis and effective treatment. This would prevent most early infections from progressing to life-threatening disease. br / br / Rapid diagnostic tests are now available. Malaria parasite antigens can be detected by health care workers using finger-prick samples of blood -- this can be done anywhere. No electricity is required and no microscopes are needed. The artemisinin-based combination drugs are highly effective and can clear parasites in the blood within 24 to 48 hours. These two strategies need to be more widely deployed: In 2013, in sub-Saharan Africa, a href="http://www.researchgate.net/publication/13610513_Imported_malaria_Prospective_analysis_of_problems_in_diagnosis_and_management" target="_hplink"only 61 percent of suspected malaria cases were tested to confirm or exclude the diagnosis, and only about 70 percent of patients/a with confirmed malaria were treated with drugs. br / br / Expanding the reach of these two highly effective approaches will save lives. There is a model for how to do this: the AIDS epidemic. A life-long affliction, AIDS is far more difficult to diagnose and much more complicated to treat than malaria. Starting in 2003, efforts to identify HIV-infected individuals and to start them on treatment began, and as a result, HIV/AIDS has been transformed from a death sentence to a chronic disease. If we can alter the care of people living with AIDS in Africa, we can certainly establish the infrastructure required to rapidly diagnose and treat uncomplicated malaria. br / br / It will take time, perhaps a long time, to eradicate this nefarious, tenacious foe. In the meantime, we should be encouraged by recent breakthroughs -- but we need to continue focusing attention and resources on saving lives through rapid diagnosis and prompt effective treatment. Together we can stop malaria. p-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our a href='http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terms.html/'terms./a It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website./pbr clear='all'/br/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566242661/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d8c/sc/24/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566242661/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d8c/sc/24/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566242661/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d8c/sc/24/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566242661/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d8c/sc/24/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566242661/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d8c/sc/24/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566242661/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d8c/sc/24/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566242661/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d8c/sc/24/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566242661/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d8c/sc/24/a2.img" border="0"//abr/a href="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566242661/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d8c/sc/24/ach.htm"img src="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566242661/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d8c/sc/24/ach.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/234566242661/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d8c/sc/24/a2t.img" border="0"/img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi2.feedsportal.com/r/234566242661/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d8c/sc/24/a2t2.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/48840d8c/sc/24/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

Make Way For Ducklings, And That's An Order!

11 hours 38 min ago
div class="embed-asset embed" data-type="embed-asset" data-provider="Embed" data-title=""br / div class="embed-code"div style="left: 0px; width: 100%; height: 0px; position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.2493%;"iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/cjQUHEk7GiI?wmode=transparent#38;rel=0#38;autohide=1#38;showinfo=0#38;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="true" webkitallowfullscreen="true" mozallowfullscreen="true" style="top: 0px; left: 0px; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;"/iframe/div/div/divbr / p#160;/pbr / pPolice in St. Andrews, Scotland, had the delightful task of escorting a#160;mother duck and her nine ducklings across a road last Wednesday, carefully guiding the young family to safety./pbr / pVideo of the incident shows a href="https://youtu.be/cjQUHEk7GiI"officers didn't hesitate to ruffle a few motorists' feathers/a, stopping traffic so the ducklings could process across a bridge and down to the water below./pbr / p"It was a dramatic moment. It was interesting and a bit surreal," Yoriko Hirose, the videographer who captured the scene, told Metro. "The police did a good job. a href="http://metro.co.uk/2015/07/27/video-of-police-escorting-ducks-to-safety-is-quite-touching-5315508/"They managed to get the ducks off the road/a#160;quite quickly."/p p-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our a href='http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terms.html/'terms./a It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website./pbr clear='all'/br/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566242660/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d92/sc/3/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566242660/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d92/sc/3/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566242660/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d92/sc/3/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566242660/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d92/sc/3/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566242660/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d92/sc/3/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566242660/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d92/sc/3/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566242660/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d92/sc/3/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566242660/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d92/sc/3/a2.img" border="0"//abr/a href="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566242660/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d92/sc/3/ach.htm"img src="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566242660/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d92/sc/3/ach.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/234566242660/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d92/sc/3/a2t.img" border="0"/img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi2.feedsportal.com/r/234566242660/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d92/sc/3/a2t2.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/48840d92/sc/3/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

Nazi-Built Stadiums Become Host To Major Jewish Sporting Event

11 hours 40 min ago
br / pMore than 2,000 Jewish athletes from 36 countries around the world began arriving in Berlin on Tuesday for the kick off of the 2015#160;a class=" u-underline" href="http://www.maccabieurope.com/" data-link-name="in body link" data-component="in-body-link"European Maccabi Games/a. It's the first time Germany has hosted the games,#160;despite being home to a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/02/09/europes-jewish-population/"one of the largest/a#160;Jewish populations in Europe. However, remnants of the country's Nazi past are playing a key role in the games this year.#160;/pbr / pThe European Maccabi Games is one of the largest Jewish sporting events in the world. The games feature 19 events, including basketball, fencing, tennis, chess and more. German-Muslim singer#160;Adel Tawil and American-Jewish artist Matisyahu were among the lineup of performers for the event's opening ceremony.#160;/pbr / pGerman President Joachim Gauck was scheduled to deliver a speech at the ceremony before 15,000 spectators, according to the a href="http://www.emg2015.de/en/supporting-program/opening-ceremony-emg/"games' website/a, as the athletes processed into the Nazi-built amphitheater, Waldb#252;hne Berlin.#160;/pbr / pMany of the facilities where the games will take place, including an open-air stage and a#160;stadium, were a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/28/berlin-nazi-built-stadiums-host-europe-jewish-european-maccabi-games"originally built by the Nazis/a#160;for the 1936 Olympics shortly after Adolf Hitler became Germany's chancellor./pbr / pThe Nazis barred German Jews from participating in the Olympic games #160;-- #160;the U.S. even a href="http://www.ushmm.org/exhibition/olympics/?content=jewish_athletes_more#38;lang=en"dropped two Jewish athletes/a#160;from its relay team in what one of the runners saw as an attempt to cater to Hitler's anti-Semitism./pbr / p#8220;Where Jewish athletes were excluded from the Olympic Games in 1936, thousands will send a message for tolerance and openness and against antisemitism and racism this summer,#8221; the European Maccabi Games organizers a href="http://www.emg2015.de/en/"wrote in a statement/a#160;on the event's website./pbr / pIn a promotional video posted to YouTube in 2013, the European Maccabi Games invited Jewish athletes to be part of the historic event, and celebrate#160;a href="http://www.germany.info/50yearsGermanyIsrael"50 years of diplomatic relations/a#160;between Israel and Germany./pbr / div class="embed-asset embed" data-type="embed-asset" data-provider="Embed" data-title=""br / div class="embed-code"iframe width="570" height="321" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RIdqr4YPonU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen/iframe/div/divbr / pThe games' organizers faced criticism from some in the European Jewish community for selecting the Berlin venue,#160;Oren Osterer, the director of the organization committee a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/nazi-built-venue-1936-berlin-olympics-host-all-jewish-games-n397036"told NBC News/a. But for many, the event symbolizes an important recognition of Germany's Jewish history./pbr / p"Holding the Maccabi Games in Berlin is a very important sign," Leo Friedman, a member of Germany's golf team, a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/nazi-built-venue-1936-berlin-olympics-host-all-jewish-games-n397036"told NBC/a. "We will be able to highlight that Jewish life is part of German society and that Jews have not been chased away."/pbr / p#160;The 2015 games will run until August 5./pbr / p-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our a href='http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terms.html/'terms./a It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website./pbr clear='all'/br/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566242659/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d94/sc/28/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566242659/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d94/sc/28/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566242659/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d94/sc/28/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566242659/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d94/sc/28/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566242659/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d94/sc/28/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566242659/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d94/sc/28/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566242659/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d94/sc/28/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566242659/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d94/sc/28/a2.img" border="0"//abr/a href="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566242659/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d94/sc/28/ach.htm"img src="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566242659/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d94/sc/28/ach.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/234566242659/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d94/sc/28/a2t.img" border="0"/img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi2.feedsportal.com/r/234566242659/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48840d94/sc/28/a2t2.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/48840d94/sc/28/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

Mexico Soccer Coach Miguel Herrera Fired After Alleged Fight With Journalist

12 hours 12 min ago
br / pMEXICO CITY, July 28 - Mexico coach Miguel Herrera was fired on Tuesday, a day after he allegedly punched a reporter at the Philadelphia airport who had criticized his team's Copa America and Gold Cup performance./pbr / pChristian Martinoli, a sports journalist for Mexico's TV Azteca, said on Monday that Herrera threatened him and hit him in the neck as the Mexican team were heading home after winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament./pbr / p"Of what Miguel and I discussed, the only thing I can say is that it was very tough for Miguel," Decio de Maria, president of the Mexican Football Federation (FMF), told a news conference as he announced Herrera's departure./pbr / pHerrera took charge of a struggling Mexican team in 2013 and won praise for his management at the 2014 World Cup, when his side a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/29/netherlands-mexico-world-cup_n_5541637.html" target="_blank"suffered an injury time loss to the Netherlands in the last 16/a#160;after leading for nearly all of the second half./pbr / div class="embed-asset embed" data-type="embed-asset" data-provider="Embed" data-title=""br / div class="embed-code"div style="left: 0px; width: 100%; height: 0px; position: relative; padding-bottom: 100%;"iframe src="https://vine.co/v/MtAjqaQ1OPe/embed/simple" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="true" webkitallowfullscreen="true" mozallowfullscreen="true" style="top: 0px; left: 0px; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;"/iframe/div/div/divbr / p#160;Nicknamed "El Piojo," Herrera's a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/24/miguel-herrera-mexico-croatia_n_5523663.html" target="_blank"animated, energetic persona made him a star of the tournament/a, but his team performed poorly in the Copa America, the South American championship in Chile in June, failing to win a game./pbr / pMartinoli had strongly criticized Herrera during the team's group stage exit from the Copa America./pbr / pTV Azteca's parent company, Grupo Salinas, had called on the FMF to launch an immediate investigation into the incident. (Reporting by Carlos Calvo, writing by Joanna Zuckerman Bernstein, editing by Rex Gowar/Gene Cherry)/p p-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our a href='http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terms.html/'terms./a It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website./pbr clear='all'/br/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566289370/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4883ebd6/sc/13/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566289370/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4883ebd6/sc/13/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566289370/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4883ebd6/sc/13/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566289370/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4883ebd6/sc/13/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566289370/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4883ebd6/sc/13/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566289370/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4883ebd6/sc/13/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566289370/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4883ebd6/sc/13/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566289370/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4883ebd6/sc/13/a2.img" border="0"//abr/a href="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566289370/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4883ebd6/sc/13/ach.htm"img src="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566289370/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4883ebd6/sc/13/ach.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/234566289370/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4883ebd6/sc/13/a2t.img" border="0"/img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi2.feedsportal.com/r/234566289370/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4883ebd6/sc/13/a2t2.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/4883ebd6/sc/13/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

The Saudis and Iranians Need to Talk: And We Need to Make It Happen

12 hours 23 min ago
In recent years I have worked deeply on quiet conflict management interventions from Afghanistan to Iran, but mostly in Syria. I have watched the unnecessary suffering of countless people, the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Syrians, the greatest civilian displacement in Middle Eastern history, and I have watched it up close through the lives of my students and friends.br / br / As an analyst my job is to study, inquire and reflect. Everything we conflict analysts, peace builders and trainers-Western, Muslim, Arab, Christian and Jewish-are learning from experience in the field, and from our students and friends all over the Middle East, is that we are caught in a deepening maelstrom of violent disasters due to the perpetual state of war between two states with radical philosophies that have been at loggerheads since 1979, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Since 1979, the expansionist threat of the right wing in Iran has been met with a ruthless, massively funded Sunni jihadism on the part of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, aided paradoxically by the mostly Christian West, that made states across the world into battle zones. But it began earlier than even 1979, and it is important to understand this in order to see the way out. The West views one of these states as an ally and one as an inveterate enemy. Neither is categorically true. Both states present dangers and opportunities for those who want to see the truth with dispassion and without corruption. Seeing states in this way is the essence of effective national defense but also true peace building.br / br / One of the greatest disasters to ever hit the Islamic world was the discovery of oil beneath the Middle East Gulf region, which in turn became dominated by a radical way of life unfamiliar to most of the billion Muslims around the world. Islam is a religion that is alternately very liberal and very conservative depending on which adherents you study or meet; it is like all other religions in that regard. But when unlimited oil is given to a most reactionary sect, and as is common in religions, the conservatives take hold of the wealth, then things get strange. When that began to unfold in the 20th century, and the great powers greedily raced in for their oil, many countries began to deteriorate away from nascent modernization, and democratic leanings, and toward both secular dictatorships on the one side of the Middle East and, on the other, extremist religious dictatorships.br / br / The great powers and Cold War competitors devastated the region by preferring and empowering the worst actors, some of them fascist/secular and some of them religious. This pattern has continued, and now as the secular dictatorships are on the wane (except perhaps in Egypt) religious extremism has become a central feature of both defense and expansion of local states and empires, to the detriment of the entire Arab and Muslim world, and, of course, to Christians and minorities wherever they may be.br / br / The long-term solution is the democratization of empowerment across the Muslim and Arab world, and liberation from the tyrannical use of religion for either military defense purposes or offense purposes. But this will not happen without global economic powers that choose to stop their complicity in this abuse, and therein lays the rub.br / br / There are some time-tested ways to manage the situation that lessen violence across the entire globe. Every day millions of us are heroically engaged in this. There are tried and true methods of violence reduction, such as education, jobs, legal reform, human rights education and advocacy, women's empowerment in particular, and progressive programs of empathic engagement between minorities and majorities, secular and religious. These all have been proven to work in history and in other regions of the globe today, the evidence grows every day.br / br / It is important for the Western powers and intellectuals to truly understand that these methods also have strong advocates in every single Middle Eastern country and in every ethnic group. The problem is that these forces for good are overwhelmed in the Middle East by the distorting unprecedented financial power of extremist politics, the masking of expansionist and imperial state interests behind religious piety, and the complicity of outside great powers in this abusive reality.br / br / Westerners tend to hold the Middle East and this radicalism in contempt, as if A. they are not implicated by who they have supported as business partners, and B. as if Western culture did not go through the exact same struggles of tyranny and the abuse of religion as a tool of conquest and defense in European history.br / br / This contempt of others is both short-sighted and ill timed. Now is the time for empathy and solidarity with innocents everywhere in the Muslim world, and kindness toward those religious and secular Middle Eastern citizens who are struggling for a better society. It is also self-defeating for Westerners to go on sucking at the breast of oil, and then ridiculing the source.br / br / Americans responded to Middle Eastern extremism at their doorstep since 9/11 with crazy military adventures that utterly failed. Europeans have responded to extremism at their doorstep by banning circumcision, for heaven's sake! Imagine what they would say if the Organization of Islamic Countries responded to the hundreds of thousands of Muslims dead in Iraq by a Christian American army with the banning of crosses across their 57 states? We are all sectarians at our worst, and enlightened citizens of the planet at our best, but with every one of our political actions we are making that choice.br / br / Too many Westerners at high levels and on the street are panicking and blaming Islam for what are in fact the classic sins of states that steal religion for armor (remember the Protestant/Catholic wars? Crusades?), criminal gangs that use religion (Mafia? KKK? White supremacists?) , and a few criminal families that don the mantle of secularism who have in fact killed far more innocents than anyone else (in Syria and Iraq, among others). Westerners would be as wrong in that blame game as permanently blaming German culture, or Catholicism, for Hitler, for example. Religion was used in Iran to hijack a legitimate youth movement for democracy, same with much of the Arab Spring. The results have been terrible for everyone in the region, whereas extremist versions of religion have been used to poison the minds of millions of Sunni youth in a poor attempt to defend royal families (masquerading as Caliphate) that should be defending themselves in 2015 with jobs and education. Complicit in this abuse of religion by a few oil-soaked funders, the West has undermined the millions of Middle Eastern democrats, both secular ones and religious ones, who we should be encouraging not burying with poor alliances with one side of a vicious set of proxy wars.br / br / The only move that is constructive in this confusing situation is to identify key achievable goals of violence reduction through negotiations, with metrics. Then identify key actors that could forward those goals, and identify a process of coaxing those actors to pursue those goals.br / br / The central method of achieving these goals is through a clear détente and eventual peace process between the Gulf countries, in particular Saudi Arabia and Iran, but must include Qatar as another expansionist state wreaking havoc from Egypt to Syria. Secondarily, there must be a place for inclusion of other key states that have been damaged or destroyed by their proxy warfare, such as Bahrain, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria. The last one is the most immediate human catastrophe because it has been cursed with the worst dictator family in the region.br / br / This process of détente and peace is not being pursued or even suggested at the present time because all of these implicated states are the backbone of the American/Western military industrial complex. The West has billions upon billions of dollars of military contracts with one side of this Middle Eastern conflict, and it is that spigot that cannot allow this war to be turned off or even toned down. Follow the money. It is the contracts, but we civilians are the ones paying the real price. This is not some evil conspiracy, it is just a very effective set of Middle Eastern lobbies for one side of a conflict, combined with the tangled web of institutionalized economic benefits and structures across the West, but mostly in the USA.br / br / History suggests clearly that most groups and nations at war change and evolve through de-escalation/détente/peace processes, whereas exclusion of one entire side of severe conflict, in this case Iran, is irrational, but mostly it is political pandering to lobbies, foreign and domestic, and the corruption of contracts. To engage all parties is to change all parties. All groups change, splinter, and evolve with engagement, but they solidify, when excluded, and subject to all-out warfare. Therefore everyone should be engaged. Anyone who suggests isolation, such as for Iran, has another agenda of regime change, conquest, and the theft of extraction rights, but we the people, the civilians, the majority of war's victims, are the one's to suffer from such foolishness.br / br / Third parties who seek peace must be aware of the exact challenge with each party, and also aware of their own biases that they bring to the table. The greatest danger for Westerners is from their public denial of problems with their own allies, trading partners and military clients, in this case in the Gulf and central Asia (many in Washington have told me that this business dependency is the essential reason why American foreign policy cannot be reformed). At the same time there is Western, particularly American, convenient demonization of enemies that prevents engagement, which is also a business tactic that their allies have demanded. If you really care for the victims of jihadism, if you really care for the victims of Iran's foreign policy and alliances, then you must get these major powers of the region to the table. It is the only way to stop the bloodshed.br / br / Both Saudi Arabia and Iran have legitimate security needs and fears of each other and of other enemies, and at the same time they display unreasonable violent behavior through terrible proxies that has reached global proportions. The 1979 revolution in Iran was founded upon legitimate grievances and needs, but it did have or was taken over by an expansionist and adversarial agenda. But from the beginning what the United States and Saudi Arabia did to counter this revolution and to counter the Soviet role in Afghanistan has massively destroyed Sunni culture across the globe.br / br / Both trends must be reversed. Iran must withdraw its outrageously destructive role in Syria, Iraq, Gaza, and Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the USA must forever foreswear the militarization of radical Islam as a tactic of conquest, and the Europeans must condition their Gulf business on guarantees that their business partners and citizens are not funding genocidal violence against Westerners.br / br / Iran and Saudi Arabia, who have had nonviolent relations in the past, are formidable and dangerous now, especially because they can and do embody a long standing Sunni/Shi'ite rivalry, also a Persian/Arab rivalry, that ignites when it is stimulated. Both have been wounded by the other, and both deserve safety and security for their citizens, but they are pursuing those goals through an unjust abuse and destruction of proxies. One has unlimited financial power to radicalize majority Sunni Muslims the world over, and the other has an indomitable capacity for defense and offense in the region, with a highly resilient educated population that supports many of its foreign policy objectives, at least in terms of legitimate defense. My sense is that Iran is more easily managed because their goals are more objective and rational, in terms of defense and power in the classic ways of ambitious states, but Khamenei is extremely difficult and gives license to a darker side of foreign policy.br / br / My problem with the Saudi/American way is that the militarization of the Muslim masses is an irrational way to defend a state, with uncontrollable results, and it is a toxic method that has gotten far more Americans killed on 9/11 and since, than anything Iran has ever done. That being said, the state-based expansionist military agenda of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard has killed hundreds of thousands in Syria and Iraq and stimulated sectarian standoffs in Lebanon and elsewhere. Both sides have a lot of blood on their hands, and that is exactly why any responsible third party must help them come to a new way of dealing with the region.br / br / Both nations need a balanced peace process that exposes their threats to each other and the stability of many states, but at the same time acknowledges and works to address their legitimate security needs and demands. For the West and its allies, at no point should there be anymore any notion of regime change anywhere. It guarantees conflict escalation to nuclear levels. We live in a world today where ultra-violent, antiquated forms of foreign policy, such as regime change, get hundreds of thousands of people killed and change nothing, as we have seen in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.br / br / Both parties of the Gulf conflict are highly motivated to engage in a peace process if the West is very insistent and offers serious guarantees of security and normalization at the table. Even the most conservative elements in Iran are tired of a constant state of siege and threat from neighbors near and far, and especially from the United States and Israel. The Saudi Kingdom, having created its own monsters, such as Al Qaeda and ISIS, as well a series of proxy wars with Iran, is not in a great position to guarantee its own longevity unless there is more peace, and in my opinion would welcome the stabilization of the region.br / br / A serious peace process must have as its goal full normalization of relations, an end to all proxy wars, and a return of Iranian and Saudi interests in other states to the realm of A. legitimate nonviolent defense of vulnerable populations, B. business investment, and C. a complete and enforced withdrawal from the worst offenders-ISIS, Al Qaeda, the Assad family-and a taming of other allies such as Hezbollah and Hamas.br / br / In the Syrian case, the evidence from the ground, based on our experience, is that if the Gulf state interests, both Arab and non-Arab, are modified and tamed, the secular and religious populations have great potential to achieve a post-Assad Syria that will neither be extremist, genocidal, or status quo ante. Even if Syria must be divided, the constructive role of Iran and Saudi Arabia in that process will be the best guarantee of success.br / br / There should be achievable goals set for a peace process and a step-by-step de-escalation of tensions on a number of fronts, from Syria to Yemen. Both sides will have to demonstrate, in a way that is clear to intelligence agencies, that they are steadily reducing their support for violence through proxies in the region. Iranian complicity in the horror on the ground in Syria is well known and has been a major stimulus for Sunni jihadi recruitment, and the same with militias in Iraq. By contrast the relationship between the ultra-violent forces of Sunni jihadism and Saudi funding is very clear and traceable to any researcher whose institution allows him to research it. If I were an Iranian rational actor, I would want clear evidence of a new era of Sunni/Shi'ite cooperation from Lebanon to Iraq to Bahrain, as the basis for concessions and commitments. The Saudis will come with their demands in turn. Both will commit to step-by-step evidence of de-escalation.br / br / There are those in the West who have never been terribly upset when rivals in resource-rich regions are at each other's throats. At the most crass level it is good for business, and good for election cycles. But it is quite clear that this is in fact an antiquated, barbaric way of thinking and doing business. A highly interconnected world can no longer afford it. Nor should Arab and Muslim elites tolerate the continuation of a permanent state of proxy wars between the most powerful Muslim Gulf countries. This has held back so much progress for average people and has been such a major embarrassment for decades.br / br / The logic of this direction of peace process is incontrovertible, but it is time for the United Nations, for the major moral authorities of the world, for the people of the world, to demand a push for this peace process from their governments and elites. We face a unique situation where Iranian, Saudi, and Qatari citizens have not yet been directly killing each other on a battlefield, so that the populations could easily be brought into a peace process. The urgency, however, is not just for their sake, but rather for the sake of the tens of millions of victims of the proxy wars who these major Gulf powers have used and abused, for the sake of the Syrians in particular whose civilization has been utterly destroyed. The world needs to get busy with vigorous diplomacy to make this happen, so that the bloodletting can finally cease, so that the children can rest and live once again. p-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our a href='http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terms.html/'terms./a It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website./pbr clear='all'/br/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244560/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb2/sc/7/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244560/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb2/sc/7/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244560/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb2/sc/7/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244560/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb2/sc/7/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244560/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb2/sc/7/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244560/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb2/sc/7/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566244560/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb2/sc/7/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566244560/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb2/sc/7/a2.img" border="0"//abr/a href="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566244560/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb2/sc/7/ach.htm"img src="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566244560/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb2/sc/7/ach.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/234566244560/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb2/sc/7/a2t.img" border="0"/img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi2.feedsportal.com/r/234566244560/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb2/sc/7/a2t2.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/48839bb2/sc/7/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

China Today

12 hours 31 min ago
The basis of the China Communist Party's hold on power since Deng is based on persuading the public to trade political say for prosperity. That has worked for several decades, which have seen dramatic economic growth.br / br / I think it is now clear that the era of strong economic growth in China is ebbing. One has only to look at the dramatic decline in commodity imports to China from Latin America and Australia to see that China is not the growth engine it once was. As the aging of the Chinese population caused by the one-child policy takes hold, China is losing low-end manufacturing business to lower cost countries.br / br / Another part of China's problem is that much of its growth has been financed by heavily indebted state-owned enterprises and local governments. These debts run back to China's government-owned banks, and hence the central Chinese government. Much of this debt is for real estate investments that may not be sound.br / br / The recent gyrations of the Chinese stock market is further evidence of Chinese economic and political weakness. After a very strong increase in stock prices, stocks recently plunged. The Chinese government took a series of steps to increase the flow of funds into the market and to decrease the supply of stock available. These have succeeded, temporarily, in stabilizing the market at quite some cost. Apparently the political fall-out of Chinese citizens losing money in stocks was too painful for the Communist Party to bear. This is not the action of a confident government.br / br / Similarly, the arrest of civil protesters and their lawyers on vague and trumped-up charges is an obvious attempt to bully the Chinese people into silence, if not acquiescence. It's attempts to control Chinese access to the internet and social media betray nervousness.br / br / The concentration of central power in the hands of one man, President Xi, means that it will not be possible to blame others as China's economic issues become more evident.br / br / Seen in this light, the "anti-corruption" campaign and the military moves in the South China Sea are both aimed at shoring up Xi's power by appealing to Chinese nationalism.br / br / A rising China with strong economic growth poses one set of problems for American foreign policy. A China of slowing economic growth may pose a whole different set of issues. p-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our a href='http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terms.html/'terms./a It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website./pbr clear='all'/br/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244559/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb6/sc/24/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244559/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb6/sc/24/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244559/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb6/sc/24/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244559/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb6/sc/24/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244559/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb6/sc/24/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244559/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb6/sc/24/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566244559/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb6/sc/24/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566244559/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb6/sc/24/a2.img" border="0"//abr/a href="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566244559/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb6/sc/24/ach.htm"img src="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566244559/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb6/sc/24/ach.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/234566244559/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb6/sc/24/a2t.img" border="0"/img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi2.feedsportal.com/r/234566244559/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb6/sc/24/a2t2.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/48839bb6/sc/24/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

More Than A Personal Journey

12 hours 40 min ago
p"How do you answer the critics who say President Obama hasn't done enough for Africa?" I struggled with an answer to that first a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0vYxAanJ4o"interview question/a during my visit to Nairobi last weekend as Chairman of the U.S. African Development Foundation. It's a question that got raised often in the coverage of the president's visit to Kenya. The expectations were high for the first African-American president, especially here in Kenya, and the comparisons with his predecessor, President George W. Bush, were inevitable. President Bush, after all, had secured his legacy with PEPFAR, the U.S.-funded HIV/AIDS program that has saved millions of lives on the continent. br /br / br / I discovered my answer to that important question as I sat in the Safaricom Arena listening to President Obama's address to the Kenyan people. br /br / br / Most of us expected a speech laden with the emotions of the president's personal journey. His sister's introduction certainly reinforced that expectation. This was a unique moment in history; the most powerful leader in the world returning to his ancestral home after a long wait.br /br / br / The president did begin his remarks with many of the stories recounted in his autobiography: the airline losing his luggage, the old VW breaking down on the ride in from the airport, sleeping on his sister's couch. In short order, he re-established familial bonds with all those in the arena and millions watching across the nation. He was one of them, he loved them and he was there to support them.br /br / br / And then, the speech took a turn that many may not have expected. He transformed from brother and son to village elder. He used his enormous influence to address directly and forcefully all the core societal issues that are too often ignored or swept under the rug by politicians in this country and others. He urged everyone listening to "confront the dark corners of our past."br /br / br / First, he tackled ethnic divisions that have stymied democracies and long been the source of violence in Kenya and across Africa. A few feet away, leaders who have preyed on those divisions sat and listened to a stern warning from the president. "A politics that's based solely on tribe and ethnicity is a politics that's doomed to tear a country apart," Obama said.br /br / br / Then he turned to the issue of corruption, identified by most experts as the single greatest threat to economic progress in Africa. He gave very specific examples, as the political elite listened intently. He talked about paying bribes and hiring someone's brother, and finally declared that corruption should be attacked not just at the lower levels of the bureaucracy, but at the very top as well. You could just sense some people squirming in their seats. To thunderous applause, the president concluded, "Ordinary people have to stand up and say, enough is enough."br /br / br / The brother turned elder was not finished. He moved on to the rights of women. Adroitly, he pivoted off an explanation of the controversy over the Confederate flag in the U.S., saying "just because something is a tradition doesn't make it right." The president went on to give specific examples; men beating their wives, genital mutilation, not sending girls to schools. And he concluded, again to thunderous applause, "Treating women and girls as second-class citizens, those are bad traditions. It holds you back... They have no place in the 21st century."br /br / br / I sat there and watched the rapt attention every Kenyan in the arena was giving this man they claimed as one of their own. And I came to understand the extraordinary contribution this president has made to Africa. I had the answer to what President Obama's legacy in Africa will be. br /br / br / It isn't really the billions of dollars from his initiatives like Feed the Future and Power Africa. He said it himself, "For too long, Africans looked outside for salvation. The future of Africa is up to Africans."br /br / br / No other president could have given these messages to Africans, especially Kenyans, with the credibility and directness that President Barack Obama did. Uniquely, he ably represented fundamental American values, but he was not an outsider here. He was not a foreign power intent on lecturing Africans. He was one of them. And that made his messages all the more powerful.br /br / br / In the end, President Obama spoke truth and inspiration to millions of Africans by reminding them of the responsibility they have to create their own change. What greater contribution is there than that?/p p-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our a href='http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terms.html/'terms./a It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website./pbr clear='all'/br/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244558/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb7/sc/7/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244558/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb7/sc/7/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244558/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb7/sc/7/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244558/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb7/sc/7/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244558/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb7/sc/7/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244558/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb7/sc/7/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566244558/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb7/sc/7/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566244558/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb7/sc/7/a2.img" border="0"//abr/a href="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566244558/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb7/sc/7/ach.htm"img src="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566244558/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb7/sc/7/ach.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/234566244558/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb7/sc/7/a2t.img" border="0"/img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi2.feedsportal.com/r/234566244558/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb7/sc/7/a2t2.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/48839bb7/sc/7/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

A Spy Flap in Ghana

12 hours 42 min ago
Relations between the United States and Ghana were strained in the early 1980s. Enigmatic former Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings had seized power in Ghana in a coup in 1979 and installed the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC), a military-led government. Just when bilateral relations began to improve, it was discovered that a clerk for the CIA posted in Ghana named Sharon Scranage had been spying for Ghanaian intelligence and had released the names of CIA agents and informants to the Ghanaians. Robert E. Fritts was the Ambassador to Ghana from 1983 to 1986. br / br / Read the full story a href="http://adst.org/2015/06/a-first-class-spy-flap/" target="_hplink"here/abr / br / blockquoteCIAFRITTS: The bilateral relationship collapsed dramatically [in 1986 because of] a first-class spy flap. And I can talk about it because I think I'm one of the very few American ambassadors ever authorized to discuss a CIA station publicly./blockquotebr / br / centera href="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2015-07-28-1438115702-2050972-SharonScranageunderarrest200x200.jpg"img alt="2015-07-28-1438115702-2050972-SharonScranageunderarrest200x200.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2015-07-28-1438115702-2050972-SharonScranageunderarrest200x200-thumb.jpg" width="200" height="200" //a/centerbr / br / blockquoteA support person in our CIA station, Sharon Scranage, was turned to spy against us. Her male cohort, Michael Sousouides, was a close relative of Rawlings. Scranage had left post on reassignment and received the usual polygraph test at CIA Headquarters. I understand the needle went off the chart. She then confessed her activity and cooperated in setting up a sting to entice and meet her Ghanaian lover and handler in the U.S. He was arrested at Motel 50, just down the street here on Arlington Boulevard. br / br / Scranage had been at the embassy several years in a support job. She appeared capable and was quite popular and good for morale. Evidently this Ghanaian, who became her lover, had captivated her. He had money and gave lavish Ghanaian parties with an in-crowd. She was seduced physically and morally by the glamour of being selected to go where no other Western foreigner went. She provided detailed inside information to him and thence to the Ghanaian Government and what I have to call a "foreign power." It was a very extensive and serious compromise, including far beyond just Ghana.br / br / Several days later I was playing tennis with Ghanaians when the CIA Station Chief and several visitors came and sat courtside. I assumed it was not to admire my backhand. During a set break, I was informed they needed to speak with me urgently.br / br / Back at the residence, I was briefed on the arrests and that the USG [United States Government] would announce them shortly. I knew all hell would break loose. The first priority was to get our CIA people and compromised Ghanaians out of Ghana. Scranage had reportedly identified many of them as well as some innocents to her handlers. I couldn't take chances with lives and there was already a Ghanaian FSN [Foreign Service national] in prison on spy charges. I think we had about a week. br / br / I believed strongly that if Tsikata [head of Ghanaian Internal Security] and Ghanaian security tumbled to what we were up to, they would round up Ghanaians they suspected, have phony trials and execute them. There could also be incidents and attacks by thugs and PNDC stalwarts against the embassy, our American officers and staff, and even FSNs.br / br / The top task was to forestall any intemperate reaction from the within the Castle [the seat of the Ghanaian government] or zealot supporters by giving Rawlings a brief advance alert. That meant I had to see him on short notice, which was always difficult.br / br / Only an unconventional approach might do. So the next morning at dawn I camped outside the home of a government cabinet member along with the usual levee of Ghanaian relatives and others seeking jobs or favors. br / br / When I saw Rawlings later that morning, I informed him of what had occurred, that an announcement of the arrests of Scranage and Sousouides would be made in Washington in a few hours, that unless we managed the matter wisely, there could be serious repercussions, and that I expected, of course, the fullest government protection for our embassy and personnel.br / br / He didn't do much batting of his eyes and I don't know how much he may have known. I think he gave me the right answers, but his speech was often elliptic. I then returned to the embassy to finally open up with the Country Team [heads of the embassy's sections and agencies] and prepare to hunker down. That afternoon, I learned that the Ghanaian security was making arrests in town. br / br / Given the time differential between Washington and Accra, the full story was emblazoned in the Ghanaian media with a heavy overlay of the U.S. and the CIA attempting to overthrow Rawlings and the PNDC. I remember a cabinet secretary reading me the riot act one day. I asked him to cite one single shred of evidence to support his view. His reply was classic, "The absence of evidence is proof of the conspiracy!"/blockquotebr / br / centera href="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2015-07-28-1438115847-2442551-MichaelSoussoudis.jpg"img alt="2015-07-28-1438115847-2442551-MichaelSoussoudis.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2015-07-28-1438115847-2442551-MichaelSoussoudis-thumb.jpg" width="226" height="221" //a/centerbr / br / blockquoteI'm also sure the Cubans, Libyans, Soviets and others were egging the issue on and reinforcing it.br / br / Both we and the Ghanaians began trials of our respective arrestees, the Ghanaians matching us step for step. Thus, the issue was in the news all the time -- photos of Sousouides in shackles, etc. Vignettes of CIA skullduggery in Ghana.br / br / We eventually began prolonged negotiations for an exchange of"spies." We would hand back their man in the U.S. -- Sousouides -- for all our "persons of interest." There were also a number of side issues. The negotiations were tortured, extended, and broke off on several occasions.br / br / At one time there was a semi-official threat against me personally when the Ghanaian chief negotiator said he would not guarantee my continued safety. To their credit, AF [State Department's Bureau of African Affairs] Assistant Secretary Chet Crocker and DAS [Deputy Assistant Secretary] Jim Bishop called in the Ghanaian ambassador, who was a very good man, and laced in to him.br / br / I think one of Crocker's comments to the ambassador was "If a small country like Ghana wants to make an enemy of the U.S. let it." It got their attention and the chief negotiator was switched to the Foreign Minister, Obed Asamoah. With him the process remained difficult, but professional.br / br / After about six months, we reached agreement for the exchange and related matters. On a particular day, they took their arrestees to the border with Togo and the convicted Sousouides came across to Ghana.br / br / I thought the crisis was finally over, but it wasn't.br / br / It had been agreed that the Ghanaians and we would announce the agreement and exchange at the same time, but the Justice Department violated the agreement and jumped the gun by several hours. The PNDC and Rawlings were furious when they heard the news on VOA [Voice of America] and the BBC. br / br / Actually, the night before the affront I had seen the Foreign Minister at a reception and we had agreed on "no more surprises" and to get on with our bilateral business. Asamoah said the PNDC had decided the USG had not dealt in good faith and read the names of four embassy officers named persona non grata. We responded, of course, by expelling the same number from their embassy in Washington and suspending - temporarily - our aid programs. Obviously, our new "surprise" had been answered....br / br / Q: So now what? Was it finally over?br / br / FRITTS: Yes and no. br / br / Some people thought we had been interested in overthrowing a Ghanaian government - again. Also, international economic aid programs were expanding and the PNDC didn't need me or the U.S. as much.br / br / The government also reverted to petty harassments and vitriolic media attacks, which had marked earlier days, despite pro forma statements of putting the issues behind us. As long as we were pilloried, we would be correct and business-like... It would set the stage for my successor to be a good guy. I understand that to this day I hold some kind of record for negotiating the most one-sided exchange of "spies" - their one for our multiple - in the history of U.S. diplomacy...br / br / In retrospect, some CIA officers opined that they expected me as an FSO to be less cooperative and to care more about safeguarding State's image in the country. Sort of opt out with a low profile. I didn't see that as an option. Whatever status I had was to be used.br / br / In this case, negotiating an exchange and saving lives was not only humanitarian, but also a message that the USG, which includes the CIA, will not abandon those who, for whatever reasons, have placed their trust in it. Kind of a professional duty thing, I guess/blockquote p-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our a href='http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terms.html/'terms./a It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website./pbr clear='all'/br/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244557/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb8/sc/7/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244557/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb8/sc/7/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244557/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb8/sc/7/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244557/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb8/sc/7/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244557/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb8/sc/7/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566244557/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb8/sc/7/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566244557/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb8/sc/7/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566244557/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb8/sc/7/a2.img" border="0"//abr/a href="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566244557/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb8/sc/7/ach.htm"img src="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566244557/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb8/sc/7/ach.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/234566244557/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb8/sc/7/a2t.img" border="0"/img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi2.feedsportal.com/r/234566244557/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48839bb8/sc/7/a2t2.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/48839bb8/sc/7/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

NASA 'On The Cusp' Of Discovering If Life Exists Beyond Earth, Says Top Scientist

12 hours 48 min ago
br / pWASHINGTON -- There's evidence of an interior ocean on Pluto. One of Jupiter's moons has a global ocean beneath its crust that could contain more than twice as much water as Earth. There are at least half a dozen of these ocean worlds in our solar system alone -- and where there's water, there may be answers about the potential for life across the universe./pbr / pThat's what a panel of planetary scientists told the House Science, Space and Technology Committee Tuesday, and left everyone's minds blown./pbr / p"Are we alone? Many, many people on planet Earth want to know," said Dr. John Grunsfeld, a physicist and former astronaut who now leads NASA's Science Mission Directorate. "We are on the cusp of being able to answer that question #8230; because of the investments we're making in space technology."/pbr / pGrunsfeld joined four other panelists in urging lawmakers to keep up federal funding for space exploration. They all described exciting new developments, but one didn't need much explaining: Earlier this month, the NASA space probe New Horizons completed its historic flyby of Pluto. NASA has received only a tiny amount of data back so far -- it's going to take 16 months to get it all, as it travels across 3 billion miles of space -- but there have already been surprising discoveries./pbr / p"We found evidence of nitrogen glaciers #8230; A mountain range as tall as the Rockies," said Dr. Alan Stern, the principal investigator for the New Horizons mission. "With only 5 percent of the data on the ground, we all feel like we need to fasten our seatbelts for the remaining 95 percent. This is quite a ride, scientifically."/pbr / pScientists a href="http://www.ibtimes.com/nasa-budget-cuts-2015-scientists-criticize-house-spending-bill-threatens-climate-1906459"criticized/a#160;the House committee in May for voting to slash NASA's budget for Earth Sciences missions by $300 million. The White House has already#160;a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/legislative/sap/114/saphr2578r_20150601.pdf"threatened to veto/a#160;the GOP bill for cuts to those missions and NASA's commercial crew program, among other items./pbr / pRepublicans seem to have a soft spot for space exploration, though. Their bill would a href="http://thehill.com/policy/technology/240709-house-panel-advances-bill-to-restore-balance-to-nasa"boost spending/a#160;for planetary science, despite the other cuts./pbr / p"It is crucial that NASA continue to explore our solar system," Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said in Tuesday's hearing. "Planetary science teaches us about how our solar system works and provides clues about how it was formed."/pbr / pRep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.), also on the committee, said it's probably best if lawmakers aren't "meddling in the scientific work" of NASA to decide what projects are and aren't worth funding./pbr / p"I would like us, as members of Congress, to step aside and make sure we provide you the resources you need, and expect that we may not know the value of that for 50 years in the running," said Edwards. "I am indeed okay with that."/pbr / pNASA has two major, decadelong projects in the works that require Congress to provide steady funding for space exploration. One would launch a new Mars rover in 2020, loaded with instruments to search for signs of ancient Martian life and to collect rock samples to send back to Earth. The other would send a spacecraft to Jupiter in the 2020s to orbit the planet for three years, providing opportunities for close flybys of Europa, one of Jupiter's moons that scientists believe has the potential to host life in its ocean. Like the Mars mission, the broader goal of the Europa mission is to determine if it's habitable for human life./pbr / pIn that vein, Dr. Robert Braun of the Georgia Institute of Technology argued that the next great space quest is accessing water. He noted that NASA has no plans to access water on its Mars or Jupiter missions, which he said is a mistake./pbr / p"Now is the time to organize and initiate a series of robotic missions focused on the fundamental questions of evolution, habitability and life across our solar system#8217;s ocean worlds," said Braun./pbr / p"Going all the way to Europa without touching its surface is like driving across the country to Disneyland and then staying in the parking lot."/pbr / pemstrongCORRECTION:/strong An earlier version of this story said the House committee voted to slash $300 million from NASA's overall budget. It voted to cut that amount specifically from NASA's Earth Sciences missions./em/pbr / div class="embed-asset embed" data-type="embed-asset" data-provider="Embed" data-title=""br / div class="embed-code"strongcenteremFor more from The Huffington Post, download our app for a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-huffington-post/id306621789?mt=8" target="_hplink"iOS/a or a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.huffingtonpost.androidhl=en" target="_hplink"Android/a./em/center/strongbr / br/div/divbr / pstrongAlso on HuffPost:/strong/pbr / p-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our a href='http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terms.html/'terms./a It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website./pbr clear='all'/br/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566243524/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48841111/sc/32/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566243524/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48841111/sc/32/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566243524/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48841111/sc/32/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566243524/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48841111/sc/32/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566243524/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48841111/sc/32/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566243524/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48841111/sc/32/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566243524/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48841111/sc/32/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566243524/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48841111/sc/32/a2.img" border="0"//abr/a href="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566243524/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48841111/sc/32/ach.htm"img src="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566243524/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48841111/sc/32/ach.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/234566243524/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48841111/sc/32/a2t.img" border="0"/img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi2.feedsportal.com/r/234566243524/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48841111/sc/32/a2t2.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/48841111/sc/32/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

Kenya at a Crossroad: Can the Country Learn From President Obama's Visit And The Trajectory of His Life?

12 hours 50 min ago
Overlooked in the frenzied excitement over President Obama's visit to his father's birthplace is the inconvenient reality: That long after the sheen from hosting the world's most powerful man is gone, Kenyans will return to the hustle and bustle of their daily lives in a society facing a a href="http://standardmedia.co.ke/article/2000170142" target="_hplink"fork/a in the road towards its future. It is a reality succinctly described in a href="http://www.nation.co.ke/oped/Opinion/Obama-visit-or-not-Kenyans-must-be-realistic/-/440808/2800314/-/p955kq/-/index.html" target="_hplink"Duncan Omanga's/a piece in the Daily Nation. Mr. Omanga writes that Mr. Obama's trip comes at a time when Kenya "...is seized with serious social, economic, and structural challenges" even as some see the visit "....as an opportunity to solve some (of these) protracted.... challenges." br / br / To Mr. Omanga's analysis I would add that if these challenges are not addressed in a timely manner, the country runs the risk of revisiting the PEV chaos of 2007/2008 and a repeat of its underwhelming performance of the 70s and 80s when it had a href="mailto:http://www.mwakilishi.com/content/blogs/2013/12/08/kenya-50-self-inflicted-injuries.htm" target="_hplink"social and economic development fundamentals/indicators that were comparable to those of the Four Asian Tigers (Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong South Korea) only to be left far behind by all four countries decades later/a.br / br / After President Obama's visit, Kenyans will return to life in a country whose recent past belies the euphoria and jingoism surrounding the visit. br / br / Less than a decade ago, Kenyans overcame ethnic violence of near-genocidal proportion after the disputed elections of 2007. They then elected as their president and deputy president, two individuals - Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto - who were facing crimes-against-humanity charges at The Hague. In a deft stroke of political genius, Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta morphed the hitherto "a href="http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/2013/11/uhuru-describes-icc-trial-as-personal-issue/" target="_hplink"personal challenges/a" characterization of his charges into a "a href="http://newafricanmagazine.com/icckenya-icc0-uhuru1-kenya/" target="_hplink"western attack against Pan-Africanism/a" in the process rallying leaders of the African Union against the international court (ICC). Mr. Kenyatta thus turned Johnnie Carson's "choices have consequences" warning on its head even as Kenya a href="http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2013/12/30-kenya-economy-kimenyi" target="_hplink"enjoyed sustained economic growth/a. br / br / There is little doubt that President Obama's three-day visit to Kenya (to co-host the first Global Entrepreneur Summit (GES) in sub-Saharan Africa) has burnished the country's battered image and that of former crimes-against-humanity suspect Uhuru Kenyatta. Add the massive media exposure (any time POTUS travels abroad) to the country's resilience as illustrated above and it becomes readily apparent why "a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/news/obama-kenya-security-human-rights-talks-043903464.html;_ylt=A0SO80Qaw7RVqpkAbXxXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEycW0waDQwBGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjAyNDVfMQRzZWMDc2M-" target="_hplink"Africa/Kenya is on the move./a" br / br / Seemingly (conveniently?) ignored in the a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-33622474" target="_hplink"triumphalism/a making the rounds among Kenyatta's supporters is the other side of the fork in the road: A country still steeped in the "a href="http://www.kenyan-post.com/2015/07/we-must-report-these-about-uhuru-ruto.html" target="_hplink"rot/a" that is corruption, cronyism and incompetence at the highest level of its government not to mention ethnic chauvinism and hatred left to run amok. Finally and protestations (of Kenyans On Twitter - KOT) aside, Kenya IS and will continue to be "a href="http://mwakilishi.com/content/articles/2015/07/23/someonetellcnn-kot-lashes-out-at-cnn-for-calling-kenya-a-hotbed-of-terror.html" target="_hplink"a hotbed of terror/a" thanks to the afore-mentioned dysfunction, fissures and incompetence.br / br / From Mr. Moses Kuria's repeated proclivity for a href="http://allafrica.com/stories/201507090260.html" target="_hplink"blatant and spiteful vitriol/a to allegations of yet another member of President Kenyatta's inner circle - Devolution Cabinet Secretary Ann Waiguru - being implicated in a href="http://www.kenya-today.com/business/cs-ann-waiguru-reported-cid-police-nys-multi-million-scandal" target="_hplink"financial malfeasance/a, the cohesion and civility of Kenya's socio-political fabric and the quality of its governance has stagnated and now shows signs of regressing back to the lost decades of the a href="https://wikileaks.org/wiki/The_looting_of_Kenya_under_President_Moi" target="_hplink"eighties and nineties/a aptly referred to as the "Moi Error." Likewise, from the abuse of power AND misappropriation of public funds by officials such as Kisumu Governor a href="http://venasnews.co.ke/2015/07/20/kisumu-governor-jack-ranguma-spend-ksh-21-million-in-a-kisumu-hotel/" target="_hplink"Jack Ranguma/a to the on-going war against al-Shabaab, the a href="http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/peopleandpower/2013/11/kenya-ticking-time-bomb-20131120115023966577.html" target="_hplink"youth bulge/a and a href="http://www.dpmf.org/dpmf/index.php?option=com_contentview=articleid=97:a-brief-general-profile-on-inequality-in-kenyacatid=43:social-policy-development-and-governance-in-kenyaItemid=94" target="_hplink"wealth gap/a, Kenya's list of social, economic and structural challenges is extensive even as the stakes have never been higher.br / br / The recent scandals involving President Kenyatta's acolytes and various elected officials throughout the country are symptomatic of one half of the direst of challenges facing Kenya. The other half is extremist-fueled violence and insecurity as seen in Westgate, Mpeketoni, Lamu and Garissa. And if Kenyans have not realized it, the two halves feed off one another!br / br / The harsh reality is that tribal animus, corruption and insecurity are not going to go away just because President Obama visits his father's birthplace and talks about them. Only Kenyans can confront and address these issues; something they have been loath do.br / br / As hyperbolic as this may sound, once Obama Jr. departs a land whose post-independence leadership frustrated and a href="http://www.nation.co.ke/oped/Opinion/The-portrait-of-a-man-torn-between-family-and-country/-/440808/2799140/-/14y1ggc/-/index.html" target="_hplink"drove his late father Obama Sr. to drink/a, Kenyans would have come face-to-face with the a href="http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/2015/07/kenya-lockdown-as-obama-comes-to-talk-security-trade/" target="_hplink"full power and might of an office /aoccupied by a man they would have dismissed and maligned if not destroyed given their country's longstanding history of battles for political supremacy between its tribes and a href="http://www.amazon.com/Barack-Obama-Story-David-Maraniss/dp/1439160414" target="_hplink"political assassinations/a of those seen as threats to the ruling government: The latter befalling Tom Mboya, Obama Sr.'s benefactor and fellow Luo, allegedly on the orders of an unnamed "a href="http://www.amazon.com/Kenya-Between-Hope-Despair-1963-2012/dp/0300194145" target="_hplink"big man/a." br / br / If ever there was an interesting and instructive juxtaposition of circumstances, it would be the visit by Obama Jr, a man who against all odds became the two-term president of the world's remaining superpower, to Kenya, the birthplace of his father and a country whose leadership openly a href="http://standardmedia.co.ke/article/2000170225/obama-s-big-dream-that-made-him-rule-world" target="_hplink"mocked/a and frustrated both father and son!br / br / Given the afore-mentioned fork in the road, Kenya's history AND the many major challenges facing the country, it will be interesting to see what lessons, if any, the country and its people, especially the youth, draw, not only from the 3-day visit of the part-Kenyan Luo and America's 44th president, but from the a href="http://www.amazon.com/Dreams-My-Father-Story-Inheritance/dp/1400082773/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8qid=1437734592sr=8-1keywords=dreams+of+my+father" target="_hplink"trajectory/a of his life. p-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our a href='http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terms.html/'terms./a It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website./pbr clear='all'/br/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566240073/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48836646/sc/7/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566240073/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48836646/sc/7/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566240073/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48836646/sc/7/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566240073/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48836646/sc/7/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566240073/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48836646/sc/7/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566240073/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48836646/sc/7/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566240073/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48836646/sc/7/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566240073/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48836646/sc/7/a2.img" border="0"//abr/a href="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566240073/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48836646/sc/7/ach.htm"img src="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566240073/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48836646/sc/7/ach.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/234566240073/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48836646/sc/7/a2t.img" border="0"/img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi2.feedsportal.com/r/234566240073/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48836646/sc/7/a2t2.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/48836646/sc/7/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

$6-$35 Billions Annually to Assad: Stronger Iran, Mightier Assad?

12 hours 52 min ago
In the ongoing 4-year-long civil war, the Islamic Republic- one of the major bank-rollers for the Syrian government- has approximately spenta href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/07/15/syria-s-butcher-really-won-the-iran-deal.html" target="_hplink" between/a $6 and $35 billion a year in order to keep its staunchest regional ally, Bashar Al Assad in power.br / br / br / This amount of spending is significant considering Iran's military budget is a href="http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/07/10/the-myth-of-the-iranian-military-giant/" target="_hplink"roughly/a $15 billion a year. Iran's economic assistance to the Syrian government comes in different avenues including oil subsidies (a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/iranian-is-delivering-millions-of-barrels-of-oil-to-assad-2015-6" target="_hplink"approximately/a 60,000 barrels of oil per day), credit lines, and military assistance.br / br / What is more intriguing though, is that even before the nuclear deal was reached (when Tehran faced severe economic sanctions and was cut off from the global financial system), Iranian leaders did not halt their support of Assad financially, militarily, or through intelligence and advisory means.br / br / br / But, how is the recent Iranian nuclear deal going to affect Assad's fate? Will the Iranian-US rapprochement and the closer tactical and strategic cooperation pave the way for the stepping down of Assad or instead empower his rule? Will the recent tactical and strategic shift in American policies as seen in inviting Iran to be part of the solution damage Assad's interests? Why are the Iranian leaders so determined to lose billions of dollars to keep Assad in power? Will the nuclear deal change the Islamic Republic's support for the Syrian government?br / br / br / strongIran's Financial Support/strongbr / br / br / Five major groups play a crucial role in maintaining Assad's rule:br / br / 1. The Syrian armed forces: namely, the Syrian Arab Air Forces, Military br / intelligence (Mukhabarat), and the Syrian Army (al-Jaysh al-Arabi as-Suri)br / br / 2. Syrian Shiite proxies (which operate under the banner of the National Defense Force).br / 3. Foreign Shiite Proxies (namely from countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan,)br / 4. Hezbollah, andbr / 5. Quds Force (an elite branch of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps operating in foreign territories)br / br / All of these five categories are financially (directly or indirectly) assisted by the Iranian ruling establishment. Nevertheless, before the nuclear deal was reached, there were some concerns among Iranian leaders who questioned the cost and benefit of hemorrhaging billions of dollars on Assad. Assad was likely also concerned about the possibility of financial cuts or a change in Iran's political calculation in supporting him. Nevertheless, the nuclear deal, the gradual lifting of sanctions, and the release of $100 billion in frozen assets has definitely eased Iran's financial concerns and removed Assad's fears. br / br / br / strongThe Lifting Of Iran's Arms Embargo: More Crucial For Assad/strongbr / br / br / Bashar Al Assad congratulated Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, for the nuclear deal a href="http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/07/14/uk-mideast-crisis-syria-nuclear-idUKKCN0PO1C520150714" target="_hplink"calling/a it a "major turning point". But will it also be a major turning point for Assad?br / br / The Syrian oppositional and rebel groups clearly showed their dissatisfaction with the signing of the nuclear deal between Iran and the West. br / br / Financially speaking, the nuclear deal partially eliminated Assad's concerns that Iran might have to cut down financial support to his government.br / br / But what is more crucial for Iran-Syria relations is indeed the lifting of the arms embargo, which Iranian leaders fought for so vehemently in the last few days of the nuclear deal. The arms embargo will be lifted gradually in the coming years. China and Russia are likely already beginning to chart ways to make billions of dollars by selling advanced weaponries to Iran. This can open a channel for Assad's army to be equipped by the Islamic Republic with more sophisticated weaponry.br / br / In other words, the Iranian-West rapprochement and the closer tactical or strategic cooperation can be a blessing for Assad more militarily rather than financially.br / br / Nevertheless, it is crucial to point out that although the Islamic Republic will be less restrained to send the Syrian government financial support (such as the recent $1 billion credit line from Iran to Syria) and advanced weaponry, this phenomenon is not likely to dramatically change the course of the conflict in favor of Assad.br / br / br / strongObama's Hopes: His Next Move After the Nuclear Deal/strongbr / br / br / After the nuclear deal, President Obama is going to focus on cooperating with Iran strategically (not only tactically) on several crucial issues in the region.br / br / br / Recently, President Obama signaled a policy shift in the White House's position towards Iran's role in Syria. While the US forcefully opposed the Islamic Republic's participation in previous peace talks on Syria (including objecting the UN's invitation to Iran to attend the 2014 peace conference on Syria), he pointed out that Iran should now be a part of the conversation in order to resolve the conflict in Syria. "I think it's important for them to be part of the conversation," the president a href="http://eaworldview.com/2015/07/syria-daily-obama-important-for-iran-to-be-part-of-the-conversation/" target="_hplink"stated/a. br / br / The conflict has led to one of the worst humanitarian tragedies of our generation. br / The president added, "We have not, and I don't anticipate anytime in the near future, restored normal diplomatic relations with Iran".br / br / But from the perspective of White House, the nuclear deal seems to open avenues for strategic cooperation between Washington and Tehran, since there is currently a direct line of communications between American and Iranian leaders.br / br / Privately, Iranian leaders will likely accept America's invitation to participate in talks regarding Syria for several reasons.br / br / 1. From the Iranian leaders perspective, the US's invitation further projects Iran's power in the region.br / 2. Iranian leaders might be capable of altering the US position towards Assad: leave him in power.br / 3. If the US insists on Assad stepping down, America can be persuaded to follow a policy which allows the ruling Alawites to stay in power. Iran is not married to Assad per se, but to the ruling Alawite establishment and Syrian statebr / 4. For Iranian leaders, America's invitation to Iran projects limited American power in the globe and its failed exceptionalism.br / br / br / strongComplexities and Nuances of Iran's Role in Syria/strongbr / br / br / The tactical shift in America's stance towards the Islamic Republic is intriguing. On the one hand, any policy that can alleviate the excruciating pain the Syrian people and refugees are facing should be welcomed. Yet, there exists several shortcomings in the US tactical or strategic shift.br / br / br / First of all, we need to analyze Iran's regional priorities. From Khamenei's and the IRGC's perspective, Iran's defense system and its security are top priorities. When it comes to Iran's security, it is inextricably linked to Iran's decades of investments in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria as well as the proxies that Tehran has given birth to or financed across the region.br / br / The Syrian civil war has provided another platform for Iran in establishing more sophisticated networks of Shiite proxies not only in Syria but beyond.br / br / Currently, maintaining the Alawites in power is a significant matter of national security for Iranian leaders. Syria can be viewed as a lynchpin of several crucial relationships and networks of Shiite proxies across the region for Iran.br / br / br / The Islamic Republic is not committed to Assad as a leader, but rather Iran backs the ruling Alawite establishment. In order to save the billions of dollars that it is sending to the Syrian government, Tehran might agree to part with Assad, but definitely not with the Syrian state. From the Iranian leaders' perspective, leaving the Syrian state altogether will result in the rise of a Sunni majority to power, which will significantly tip the regional balance of power against Tehran and endanger its security, geopolitical interests and regional hegemonic ambitions. It can negatively affect Iran's network of Shiite proxies as well.br / br / In addition, forcing Assad to step down but maintaining the Alawite ruling establishment in power is not going to satisfy the demands of hundreds of armed rebel groups.br / br / br / Third, the Islamic Republic is partially bogged down in Syria by the same approach the US faced in Iraq and Afghanistan. But what highlights the complexity of Iran's role in Syria is that its incentives are not only geopolitical, but sectarian (Shiite vs Sunni), ethnic (Persian vs Arab) and ideological (Pro-US and Pro-Arab states vs Anti-US and Anti-Arab states).br / br / Obama's offer seems to be too late though. The conflict and civil war has spiraled out of control. The Islamic Republic played a crucial role in fueling the conflict in Syria by assisting Assad's crackdown, leading to the rise of endless domestic and global rebel and extremists groups operating in Syria. Even if we idealistically believe that Iran is going to change its position towards Assad, there still exists the challenge of how to subdue the powerful oppositional armed and extremist groups such as the Islamic State (which have paralyzed the international community's efforts in defeating them).br / br / Iranian leaders are viewing themselves as being on the winning side. Therefore, what are their incentives to change their political calculation? Iran observes that even Western politicians, diplomats, policy analysts, and scholars have come to agree with the notion that Assad is a better option than the alternatives. The West is buttressing and repeating Khamenei's and Assad's lines.br / br / Finally, Iran might agree to leave the individual Bashar al Assad but not the Alawite state. Syria is a matter of grave national security for Iran and Damascus is a linchpin for maintaining Tehran's sophisticated network of Shiite proxies across the region.br / br / center-----/centerbr / br / centera href="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2015-07-02-1435808454-9985178-ScreenShot20150701at8.40.02PM.png"img alt="2015-07-02-1435808454-9985178-ScreenShot20150701at8.40.02PM.png" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2015-07-02-1435808454-9985178-ScreenShot20150701at8.40.02PM-thumb.png" width="184" height="141" //a/centerbr / br / emDr. Majid Rafizadeh, a Harvard-educated American scholar and political scientist, is the president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He is originally from Iran and Syria. You can contact him at Dr.rafizadeh@post.harvard.edu or follow him @majidrafizadeh/embr / br / emThis post first appeared on Al Arabiya./em p-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our a href='http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terms.html/'terms./a It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website./pbr clear='all'/br/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566240072/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48836648/sc/24/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566240072/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48836648/sc/24/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566240072/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48836648/sc/24/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566240072/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48836648/sc/24/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566240072/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48836648/sc/24/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566240072/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48836648/sc/24/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566240072/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48836648/sc/24/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566240072/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48836648/sc/24/a2.img" border="0"//abr/a href="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566240072/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48836648/sc/24/ach.htm"img src="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566240072/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48836648/sc/24/ach.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/234566240072/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48836648/sc/24/a2t.img" border="0"/img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi2.feedsportal.com/r/234566240072/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/48836648/sc/24/a2t2.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/48836648/sc/24/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

Hindu Festival Organizers Call Off Mass Animal Sacrifice

12 hours 57 min ago
br / br / pIt's estimated that as many as half a href="http://europe.newsweek.com/pictures-nepalese-festival-where-half-million-animals-will-be-sacrificed-287815"a million animals were sacrificed at Nepal's Gadhimai festival in 2014/a. In four years, when the festivalem#160;/emis to be held again, that number, organizers hope, will be zero.#160;/pbr / pThe Gadhimai festival is held every five years in a town about 100 miles from Kathmandu. Dedicated to a Hindu goddess of power, the bloody origins are said to stem from a dream had by an imprisoned feudal landlord named Bhagwan Chaudhary, more than 250 years ago.#160;/pbr / pChaudhary is said to have dreamed that the goddess#160;Gadhimai "appeared to him and demanded a blood sacrifice in return for all his problems being solved," said N.G. Jayasimha, from Humane Society International -- a group that a href="http://www.hsi.org/world/india/news/releases/2015/07/gadhimai-festival-animal-sacrifice-cancelled-indefinitely-072815.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/"has long called for an end to the twice-a-decade killings/a./pbr / pWhen he woke up free of his confinement,#160;Chaudhary#160;"could not bear to sacrifice a human," Jayasimha said. Instead, he promised to sacrifice five animals with the help of a shaman, who "began the sacrifice with a token offering of a few drops of blood from five parts of his own body," followed by the killing of a single animal of five species: a#160;buffalo, a pig, a goat, a chicken and a rat./pbr / pOver the years, though,#160;a href="http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/29/world/asia/nepal-gadhimai-ritual-slaughter/"hundreds of thousands/a#160;of buffalo, goats, birds and other species have been slaughtered in what is posited to be a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/12/01/photos-the-worlds-largest-animal-sacrifice/"the world's largest animal sacrifice/a./pbr / p"I don#8217;t feel guilty about slaughtering the animals because it will make Gadhimai very happy. She has given my family a very good life and this is my way of saying thank you to her," festival-goer Samu Patel a href="http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2014/11/pictures-nepal-slaughter-festi-2014112810313769574.html"told Al Jazeera last year/a. "People make money by slaughtering animals, but for me, this is also spiritual satisfaction. I have beheaded around 59 buffaloes till now."/pbr / pThe animals are a href="http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/29/world/asia/nepal-gadhimai-ritual-slaughter/"said to be deprived of food and water before their sacrifice/a#160;during the two-day festival -- and then their deaths are a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/nov/23/nepal-animal-welfare"shockingly slow and cruel/a./pbr / pIt's a level of brutality some argue is out of line with the Hindu philosophy of nonviolence./pbr / p"Hinduism promotes the idea of 'ahimsa' also translated as nonviolence," said a href="http://nycpandit.com/"author Gadadhara Pandit Dasa/a. "This means nonviolence towards humans, animals and the planet earth... An animal has as much right to live out its natural life as a human does."#160;/pbr / pRam Chandra Shah, chairman of the Gadhimai Temple Trust, which organizes the festival,#160;a href="http://www.hsi.org/assets/pdfs/gadhimai-temple-trust-statement-ram-chandra-shah.pdf"issued a statement on Tuesday calling for an end to the ritual slaughter/a:/pbr / p#8220;For generations, pilgrims have sacrificed animals to the Goddess Gadhimai, in the hope of a better life. For every life taken, our heart is heavy. The time has come to transform an old tradition. The time has come to replace killing and violence with peaceful worship and celebration."/pbr / pSome a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/28/nepal-temple-bans-mass-animal-slaughter-festival"2.5 million devotees/a#160;were estimated to have made pilgrimages to the festival last year, and "it won#8217;t be easy to end" this custom, Prasada href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/28/nepal-temple-bans-mass-animal-slaughter-festival" said to the Agence France Presse/a./pbr / p"But we have four years to convince people that they don#8217;t need to sacrifice animals to please the goddess."/pbr / pemHere's the full text of#160;Ram Chandra Shah's statement:/em#160;/pbr / blockquotebr / pFor generations, pilgrims have sacrificed animals to the Goddess Gadhimai, in the hope of a better life. For every life taken, our heart is heavy. The time has come to transform an old tradition. The time has come to replace killing and violence with peaceful worship and celebration.#60;/pbr / pOur concern has been this: how do we convince the people, so desperate for the favour of Gadhimai, that there is another way? How do we bring them on our journey? Thankfully, the dedicated efforts of the Animal Welfare Network Nepal and Humane Society International has shown us the path and provided the motivation to make this transformation a reality./pbr / pThe Gadhimai Temple Trust hereby declares our formal decision to end animal sacrifice. With your help, we can ensure Gadhimai 2019 is free from bloodshed. Moreover, we can ensure Gadhimai 2019 is a momentous celebration of life./pbr / pThrough mass education and local development, we can bring enlightenment and prosperity to our region. We appeal for your support to develop our local infrastructure and educate our people. There is much work to be done, but together we can develop the social fabric of the Gadhimai area and bring peace to the Gadhimai Temple./pbr / /blockquotebr / pstrongWARNING: GRAPHIC PHOTOS FROM THE GADHIMAI FESTIVAL:/strong/pbr / p#160;#160;/pbr / br / p#160;/pbr / p#160;/p p-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our a href='http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terms.html/'terms./a It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website./pbr clear='all'/br/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566240071/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4883664a/sc/19/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566240071/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4883664a/sc/19/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566240071/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4883664a/sc/19/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566240071/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4883664a/sc/19/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566240071/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4883664a/sc/19/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/234566240071/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4883664a/sc/19/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566240071/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4883664a/sc/19/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/234566240071/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4883664a/sc/19/a2.img" border="0"//abr/a href="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566240071/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4883664a/sc/19/ach.htm"img src="http://adchoice.feedsportal.com/r/234566240071/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4883664a/sc/19/ach.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/234566240071/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4883664a/sc/19/a2t.img" border="0"/img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi2.feedsportal.com/r/234566240071/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/4883664a/sc/19/a2t2.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/4883664a/sc/19/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor