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Updated: 4 hours 46 min ago

Egyptian soccer player criticizes Sisi in reflection of mounting discontent

5 hours 33 min ago
By James M. Dorseybr / br / Criticism this week by soccer player Ahmed al-Merghani of general-turned-president Abdel Fattah Al Sisi's hard-handed repression of dissent and failure to defeat a mushrooming insurgency in the Sinai peninsula signals mounting discontent in Egypt.br / br / Mr. Al-Merghani's comments on his Facebook page are indicative because they suggested the degree to which Mr. Al Sisi's cult-like popularity has diminished barely two years after he toppled elected president Mohammed Morsi in a military coup and a year after the former general was voted into office.br / br / Soccer frequently serves as a barometer of political trends in the Middle East and North Africa. US intelligence officials have said that they routinely attended soccer matches in the region to glean clues as to where a country is headed.br / br / One official predicted developments in Egypt when he told Quartz in 2013 that autocratic regimes frequently cover up burgeoning dissent by blaming it on hooliganism.br / br / Addressing Mr. Al Sisi, Mr. Al-Marghani said: "You told the people come out and let me to fight terrorism. The people filled the streets even though (fighting terrorism) should've been your job in the first place. Ever since then everyone is dying, civilians, soldiers and policemen and where are you? All we ever get from you is words."br / br / The player described Mr. Al Sisi as a "failure" and asked "Is a state of mourning not going to be declared for them and the television soaps cancelled? Or are they not as important as the state prosecutor?"br / br / Mr. Al Merghani's remarks came days after jihadist insurgents took their fight to a new level with coordinated attacks in the Sinai in which at least 30 Egyptian soldiers were killed; the assassination of prosecutor general Hisham Barakat, the most senior official to have been killed in Egypt in a quarter of a century; and a police operation against a gathering of leaders of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood members who allegedly were abused and executed.br / br / Mr. Al Merghani was fired for his comments by Wadi Degla, the only privately owned club in Egypt's premier league.br / br / The significance of Mr. Al-Merghani's comments reminiscent of political expressions of retired star Mohammed Aboutreika, is that they broke with a tradition in which Egyptian players often saw the country's strongman as a father figure and refrained from associating themselves with any form of dissent.br / br / Authorities earlier this year froze Mr. Aboutreika's assets in a travel agency that was suspected of having had links to the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood was declared a terrorist organization immediately after Mr. Al Sisi's ascent to power. Mr. Aboutreika has long been believed to have Islamist sympathies.br / br / A groundswell of support for Mr. Aboutreika emerged on social media immediately after the asset freeze. A number of soccer players, in another rare brake with players' reluctance to endanger their status, were among those who expressed solidarity with the former player.br / br / Mr. Al Merghani's comments further reflected Mr. Al Sisi's inability, unlike his predecessors, to employ soccer as a tool to cement his popularity and divert attention from popular grievances. Mr. Al-Sisi's failure to do so is closely linked to the deteriorating security situation in Egypt.br / br / Concern that soccer stadia like in the waning years of President Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled in a 2011 popular revolt in which militant fans played a key role, would become venues of protest persuaded Mr. Al-Sisi to keep stadia closed to the public during matches. A Cairo court last month banned militant soccer fan groups as terrorist organizations.br / br / Mr. Al-Sisi's one attempt to reopen stadia in February was immediately shelved after 20 fans were killed by security forces at a stadium in Cairo during the first match for which a limited number of tickets were made available.br / br / In a reflection of Mr. Al-Sisi's refusal to hold accountable police and security forces notorious for their brutality and introduce security sector reform, authorities charged 16 fans with having provoked the second worst incident in Egyptian sporting history in cohorts with the Brotherhood. br / br / Relatives of some of the defendants and their lawyers charged that at least some of the fans had confessed as a result of torture. After five days' of searching, Mahmoud Hemdan said he found his 21-year old brother Ashraf and teenage nephew Ali "beaten and tortured" at a Cairo police station.br / br / "Ashraf is innocent. He told me he was beaten and tortured with electric shocks to private parts of his body," Mr. Hemdan told Agence France Presse.br / br / Ali's mother, Nagat, said she was shocked when she saw her 14-year-old son Ali in jail. "I couldn't hug him -- his body was covered in bruises and marks from electric shocks," she said.br / br / Yasser Othman, another defendant, told a judge in a video posted online that he was "hung from my arms and given electric shocks several times. They even threatened to rape my wife."br / br / Mounir Mokhtar, a lawyer for some of the 13 defendants in custody asserted that "all were tortured to extract confessions." Police have denied using torture. Some of the confessions, including that of Ashraf Hemdan, were broadcast on Egyptian television.br / br / Mr. Al Merghani's criticism of Mr. Al Sisi's failure to restore stability to Egypt reflects growing frustration among politicized youth, many of whom are soccer fans who played a key role in protests on university campuses and in popular neighbourhoods since the former general seized power.br / br / Amnesty International, in a recently published report entitled 'Generation Jail: Egypt's youth go from protest to prison,' said "a generation of young Egyptian activists that came to the fore around the ousting of repressive ruler Hosni Mubarak in 2011 is today languishing behind bars." It said that the "mass protests have given way to mass arrests, as 2011's 'Generation Protest' has become 2015's 'Generation Jail.'"br / br / Militant soccer fans have warned that the Sisi regime's repression is radicalizing youth who feel they no longer have anything to lose. A host of shadowy, hitherto unknown groups have emerged in recent months claiming responsibility for acts of political violence.br / br / "This is a new generation. It's a generation that can't be controlled. They don't read. They believe in action and experience. They have balls. When the opportunity arises they will do something bigger than we ever did," said a founder of one of Egypt's foremost militant fan groups or ultras.br / Added another original ultra: "Things will eventually burst. When and where nobody knows. But the writing is on the wall."br / br / James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies as Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, co-director of the Institute of Fan Culture of the University of Würzburg and the author of the blog, a href="http://mideastsoccer.blogspot.com" target="_hplink"The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer/a, and a forthcoming book with the same title. 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/233194209581/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d2fa5e/sc/24/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194209581/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d2fa5e/sc/24/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194209581/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d2fa5e/sc/24/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194209581/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d2fa5e/sc/24/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194209581/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d2fa5e/sc/24/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194209581/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d2fa5e/sc/24/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194209581/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d2fa5e/sc/24/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194209581/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d2fa5e/sc/24/a2.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/233194209581/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d2fa5e/sc/24/a2t.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/47d2fa5e/sc/24/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

'Nai' Or 'Oxi'? What Greece's Landmark Vote May Trigger

5 hours 34 min ago
LONDON (AP) — On his 10-year trip home, the Greek hero Odysseus at one point had to steer his ship and crew down a narrow stretch of water menaced on opposite sides by two sea monsters, Scylla and Charybdis.br / br / The Greek people are in similar dire straits as they prepare to vote on a future in which they face two painful prospects: the slow grind of years more of austerity cuts or the country's potentially catastrophic exit from the euro. The question is whether their vote on Sunday can help them escape either. "Yes" to more budget cuts in exchange for a financial aid package for the country? Or reject it in the hope it will not lead the country out of the euro?br / br / The referendum question makes no reference to Greece's future in the currency union. It is on a set of proposals that European creditors say they have withdrawn following the failure to forge a deal with Greece before an end-June deadline.br / br / For the radical left-led Greek government, the proposals were unacceptable. It's urging a "no" vote and says that will have no impact on Greece's euro status.br / br / Proponents of a "yes" vote, including a parade of former prime ministers and the main opposition party, say backing the government will jeopardize Greece's place in the euro. Instead, they argue that by voting "yes" Greece would get a new deal quickly to shore up the economy.br / br / In fact, what might happen in each case is unclear. Analysts in the world's biggest investment banks are putting percentage probabilities to outcomes, such as Greece's exit from the euro, but no one knows for sure.br / br / Here's a look at the events that each vote might trigger.br / br / ___br / br / IF THE PEOPLE SAY 'NAI'br / br / A "yes" vote backing the reform proposals creditors had made would likely see Greece turn immediately to talks on a new rescue package. Whether that leads to a swift deal that might allow Greece to reopen its banks and restore a semblance of normality to the life of citizens and tourists is another question.br / br / Much would likely depend on what happens on the political front.br / br / The government has said it will respect the verdict.br / br / Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has said he'll resign in the event of a "yes" vote and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has hinted as much. If the government does not collapse, it could try to build a new coalition with other parties, Varoufakis hinted.br / br / It's not clear, however, if that would involve new elections. That would take time and without financial assistance, Greece would surely go bankrupt.br / br / Greece is no longer in a bailout program since its previous package expired Tuesday. So it would have to negotiate a new one with its creditors that involves more money for the government and the banks and new economic measures.br / br / That is unlikely to be agreed on overnight, meaning the harsh controls on money withdrawals and transfers may remain in place for longer than anticipated. The Greek government had to put those limits when a run on the banks started last weekend and the European Central Bank refused to increase the emergency credit it allows the banks to draw on.br / br / Varoufakis says banks will reopen Tuesday whatever the referendum's outcome. That's unlikely to happen unless the ECB agrees to increase the credit to Greek banks. And the ECB would be under huge pressure not to do so until Greece has a new, comprehensive financial rescue package.br / br / An additional difficulty is that Greece's creditors are singing from different hymn sheets. The International Monetary Fund has said it will not get involved in a third bailout unless it includes substantive debt relief for Greece. The Europeans, on the other hand, have ruled out debt relief until Greece makes its reforms.br / br / "A new agreement will likely take time and the ultimate outcome may require even greater fiscal and structural commitments than the existing proposal," said George Saravelos, a strategist at Deutsche Bank. "The extent to which there is a sufficient political shift in Greece to allow this to materialize remains the key source of uncertainty."br / br / ___br / br / IF THEY SAY 'OXI'br / br / Despite the Greek government's assertion that a "no" vote will not lead to a euro exit, most people agree it would open up more uncertain outcomes, especially if the ECB calls time on the life-support measures to Greece's banks.br / br / A number of European politicians, including Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the top eurozone official, have said a "no" vote would jeopardize Greece's place in the euro.br / br / Others, such as the leaders of France and Italy, appear to be holding the door ajar for further talks. Even Wolfgang Schaeuble, the tough-talking German finance minister, has said the country could stay in the euro in the event of a "no" vote.br / br / But investors are likely to be worried in case of a "no" vote amid fears it increases the chance of a Greek exit from the euro, or Grexit. Markets will open first in Asia.br / br / The word 'Grexit' has dominated the past months of negotiations on Greece. But the country will not return to the drachma as soon as Monday. Rather, the risk increases the longer there is a deadlock in talks. Without a deal and without money, Greece will default on more of its debt repayments and will not be able to afford the day-to-day spending on salaries and pensions. The banks will run dry, even with the cash withdrawal limits.br / br / In such a case, printing a new currency may be the only option available, which almost everyone thinks will be a short-term disaster for the Greek economy.br / br / "A 'no' will result in Grexit with an uncertain future and high costs to Greek society, at least initially," said Guntram Wolff, director of think-tank Bruegel.br / br / Odysseus got through his ordeal, but Scylla the monster ate six of his men — not a great thought for Greeks seeking to navigate the straits of bankruptcy and national pride.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/233194209580/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d2fa60/sc/24/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194209580/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d2fa60/sc/24/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194209580/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d2fa60/sc/24/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194209580/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d2fa60/sc/24/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194209580/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d2fa60/sc/24/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194209580/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d2fa60/sc/24/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194209580/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d2fa60/sc/24/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194209580/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d2fa60/sc/24/a2.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/233194209580/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d2fa60/sc/24/a2t.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/47d2fa60/sc/24/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

Solar-Powered Plane Soars Over The Pacific Without A Drop Of Fuel

10 hours 51 min ago
A solar-powered, single-pilot airplane just made aviation (and renewable energy) history, completing the 4,000-mile journey from Japan to Hawaii without stops or fossil fuel. The plane a href="http://www.solarimpulse.com/leg-8-from-Nagoya-to-Hawaii" target="_hplink"landed Friday morning/a at Kalaeloa Airport on the island of Oahu.br / br / centerblockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"p lang="en" dir="ltr"HE MADE IT! a href="https://twitter.com/andreborschberg"@andreborschberg/a just touched down in a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Hawaii?src=hash"#Hawaii/a after a record-breaking flight! a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/futureisclean?src=hash"#futureisclean/a a href="https://twitter.com/b"@b/a... a href="https://t.co/WQWsRKiCEi"https://t.co/WQWsRKiCEi/a/p— SOLAR IMPULSE (@solarimpulse) a href="https://twitter.com/solarimpulse/status/616998621758758912"July 3, 2015/a/blockquotebr / script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"/script/centerbr / br / The trip from Japan to Hawaii was the longest leg in the Solar Impulse 2's ongoing trip around the world. The plane took off from Japan on Sunday afternoon, after its team determined that the weather would permit a safe passage. The crew had made a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/12/solar-flight-japan-hawaii_n_7572872.html" target="_hplink"a previous attempt/a to fly to Hawaii in late May, but that effort was aborted mid-flight due to precarious weather.br / br / The aircraft has a maximum speed of 90 mph and only a href="http://www.solarimpulse.com/leg-8-from-Nagoya-to-Hawaii" target="_hplink"averaged around 40 mph/a during the flight, which means the journey took a href="https://twitter.com/solarimpulse/status/617045271156031489" target="_hplink"a daunting 117 hours and 52 seconds/a -- or nearly five days. The pilot for this leg of the flight, André Borschberg, got his sleep in 20-minute naps.br / br / By comparison, a Boeing 777, with a top speed of around 600 mph, can make the same trip in about 8.5 hours.br / br / The Solar Impulse 2 broke a number of records with its latest flight, including longest distance for solar-powered flight, longest duration for solar-powered flight, and longest non-stop solo-pilot flight of any kind (made possible because the plane doesn't need to stop for refueling).br / br / "This oceanic flight to Hawaii demonstrates that if technological solutions exist to fly a plane day and night without fuel, then there is a href="http://www.solarimpulse.com/leg-8-from-Nagoya-to-Hawaii" target="_hplink"potential for these same efficient technologies/a to be used in our daily lives, and to achieve energy savings to reduce CO2 emissions," Bertrand Piccard, co-founder of Solar Impulse, said in a statement Friday.br / br / The experimental plane is made mostly of carbon fiber. It has 17,248 solar cells on the wings that recharge four lithium polymer batteries, allowing it to fly at night. It is extremely light at 5,070 pounds and has an impressive 236-foot wingspan, which generates enough lift to maintain flight over long periods of time.br / br / The plane has five more legs to fly in its groundbreaking journey around the world. a href="http://www.solarimpulse.com/leg-9-from-Hawaii-to-Phoenix" target="_hplink"Onward to Phoenix!/abr / br / centerblockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"p lang="en" dir="ltr"The adventure of the 21st century consists in using the pioneering spirit to develop a better quality of life a href="http://t.co/DnSoz1CyLg"pic.twitter.com/DnSoz1CyLg/a/p— Bertrand PICCARD (@bertrandpiccard) a href="https://twitter.com/bertrandpiccard/status/616615309039017985"July 2, 2015/a/blockquotebr / script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"/script/centerbr / br / img alt="landing" src="http://i.huffpost.com/gen/3150012/thumbs/o-LANDING-570.jpg?7" /br / br / centerblockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"p lang="en" dir="ltr"First meal on the ground in 5 days for a href="https://twitter.com/andreborschberg"@andreborschberg/a! Looks like someone is happy! a href="http://t.co/LqHoeHpVXC"pic.twitter.com/LqHoeHpVXC/a/p— SOLAR IMPULSE (@solarimpulse) a href="https://twitter.com/solarimpulse/status/617035903450652672"July 3, 2015/a/blockquotebr / script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"/script/center 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/233194189343/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d201d3/sc/31/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194189343/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d201d3/sc/31/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194189343/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d201d3/sc/31/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194189343/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d201d3/sc/31/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194189343/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d201d3/sc/31/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194189343/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d201d3/sc/31/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194189343/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d201d3/sc/31/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194189343/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d201d3/sc/31/a2.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/233194189343/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d201d3/sc/31/a2t.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/47d201d3/sc/31/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

Bosnia to US, From Refugees to Great Americans

11 hours 46 min ago
a href="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2015-07-03-1435954404-7177159-us_bosnia_and_herzegovina_flags_trucker_hatra70c6c84b8194b6fbf1e9ad7f0f792a9_v9wfy_8byvr_512.jpg"img alt="2015-07-03-1435954404-7177159-us_bosnia_and_herzegovina_flags_trucker_hatra70c6c84b8194b6fbf1e9ad7f0f792a9_v9wfy_8byvr_512.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2015-07-03-1435954404-7177159-us_bosnia_and_herzegovina_flags_trucker_hatra70c6c84b8194b6fbf1e9ad7f0f792a9_v9wfy_8byvr_512-thumb.jpg" width="512" height="512" //abr / br / Early July still brings a bittersweet week for Bosnian-Americans. They are reminded by the Srebrenica genocide commemoration why so many had to flee Bosnia and Herzegovina and why they/we are so fortunate to have been welcomed in America. The Declaration of Independence, US Constitution and Bill of Rights highlight the reasons behind America's prosperity as well as diversity. July 4th contrasts with July 11th, the day that the Srebrenica genocide began, because of the manufactured intolerance that resulted in mass murder and ethnic cleansing, and the failures of political leaders in BiH but also of those from Washington and Europe to help deliver change from the recent chasm. br / br / While Srebrenica remains more a living monument to the fruits of genocide, overwhelmingly Bosnian Americans are grateful for America's blessings, inclusiveness as well as opportunities. For many, their greatest wish is to see their homes of origin restored to the values of diversity that BiH and America historically share. BiH did not lack a tradition of diversity and tolerance. But coming out of an age of less than democratic communism, it became more susceptible to the appeal of ethnic, religious and political chauvinism, and the manufactured fear that was used as weapon against the other. Of course, it is a similar challenge that many EU countries and the United States faced but BiH did not have the benefit of the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence that have helped steer the political course despite the trying storms of slavery, extermination of Native Americans and a brutal Civil War. The storms still persist even today, from Ferguson and the #CharlestonShooting to xenophobia and income inequality; but the political compass symbolized by July 4th is constant.br / br / strongPattern of Concealing the Crime and Minimizing the Genocide/strongbr / br / So is the reminder of July 11th for most Bosnian/Herzegovinian Americans. Most did not originate from Srebrenica, but that genocide represents the systematic murder and ethic cleansing that so many sought to escape from the Krajina region to eastern BiH. Prijedor was the witness of a particularly brutal campaign of genocide, where today mass graves of children, women and men are being still unearthed, some under soccer fields meant to cover up the fact that on one day whole neighborhoods were emptied into the street and their young and old citizens exterminated. While Srebrenica was a UN "safe area" and NATO "protected zone" betrayed, the history of efforts to minimize, even conceal, the systematic effort at genocide throughout BiH was already evident, as in this report and my statement to the "Washington Post" (three years before the Srebrenica killings), August 6, 1992: "Some within the UN hierarchy along with members of the UN Security Council P-5 concealed reports from the ground." br / br / blockquoteWe believe {detainees there} are only a tip of the iceberg involving the concerted action of local Serb authorities in BH {Bosnia-Hercegovina} trying to establish a Serbian Republic of BH, free of Muslims'... The information should have been directed through the proper channels to the Security Council, asking for an urgent review of these matters and appropriate treatment. This has not happened. It has taken the newspaper reporters and media reports of the camps to jolt the international community to move forward.' Sacirbey added that the situation was 'unfortunate in view of the loss of lives and other suffering caused by the delay. On Friday, Sacirbey distributed a list of 105 sites that he charged were detention camps and prisons for non-Serbs in Bosnia and the new Serb-controlled Yugoslav state -- a union of Serbia and its seaboard satellite, Montenegro. /blockquote  br / br / Read full text of "a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1992/08/06/un-knew-of-serb-camps-a-month-ago-bosnian-says/a3232b88-3d03-4570-9117-4fd97cda54f0/" target="_hplink"Washington Post": " UN Knew of Serb Camps.../a" br / br / strongRecharging My Batteries as an American and Bosnian/strongbr / br / Overwhelmingly, most Bosnian-Americans see America in its July 4th context as well as home despite the betrayals and efforts of some then and now to minimize the genocide of and meaning of July 11th. On a recent visit at the invitation of the Saint Louis Bosnian-American community, a href="http://www.stlbosnians.com/organizations/" target="_hplink"St. Louis Bosnians/a (Akif Cogo), Saint Louis University (Prof. Patrick McCarthy), BiH concentration camp survivors (Amir Karadzic) and the local Bosnian Islamic Center, the evidence of success, integration, assimilation and simultaneously retaining one's cultural and religious roots again exceeded my expectations. The most inspiring surprise came from my visit and talk to the Bosnian Studies class at Afton High School. Many of the students interested were not of Bosnian origin. Many of today's younger generations have come to understand that the US is not separate from the world and that being a global citizen is consistent with our American values and shared vision of an increasingly intertwined future, whether we like it or not. A few of the students of Bosnian background also came from inter-racial marriage, at a time when Saint Louis was being reminded of its legacy as a slave state and the continuing remnants of intolerance which came to a head in the suburb of Ferguson. Most rewarding to me was that I could exchange with teens ideas and views on everything from the United Nations to the International Criminal Court to the role of diplomat-artists - it was not a lecture but a learning experience for all of us. besides recharging my batteries as an American and Bosnian.   br / br / centera href="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2015-07-03-1435952128-2212442-MuhamedSacirbey_Flyer.gif"img alt="2015-07-03-1435952128-2212442-MuhamedSacirbey_Flyer.gif" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2015-07-03-1435952128-2212442-MuhamedSacirbey_Flyer-thumb.gif" width="368" height="570" //a/centerbr / br / The first Bosnian/Herzegovinian refugees started coming to Saint Louis more by design of US officials and agencies who saw the city losing its population, economic base and cultural character. Now Saint Louis is probably the largest metropolis of Bosnians/Herzegovinians outside BiH, and certainly in North America. (From Chicago to Jacksonville to Toronto to Phoenix to Seattle to Grand Rapids to Syracuse/Utica major Bosnian American populations impact the business and politics of North America). Most took jobs that many others would not, from cleaning to truck driving. Some did manage to establish for themselves a creative space as artists or university lecturers. Others did feel needs as doctors and nurses in America's hospitals, (as my cousin Dr. Mirha Avdagic). emGrbic Restaurant/em in Saint Louis was one of the first examples of small business enterprise, and now Bosnian Americans own/operate everything from logistics and trucking to construction and high-tech development. Many Bosnian Americans have served in the US military, recognized for courage and commitment to duty, while others are part of America's law enforcement. Now, many multi-generation established Americans have also come to study and work with the BiH community - most notable include Professor Benjamin Moore of Fontbonne University (a Catholic institution) that is sponsoring the "a href="http://www.fontbonne.edu/academics/undergraduate/departments/englishcommunication/bosnia_memory_project/" target="_hplink"Bosnia Memory Project/a." br / br / strongStrengthening the Politics of "We the People" - all of us!/strongbr / br / Initially, most focused on the political scene in BiH or simply were so demoralized that they withdrew from involvement. However, with US citizenship and opportunity also came political responsibility. Increasingly Bosnian-Americans became engaged. While the situation in BiH has been a catalyst in US debates and voting, Bosnian Americans feel a sense of duty to their American neighbors and community. The polarization in US politics witnessed over the last few years has challenged the traditionally more open and inclusive American society that certainly I had witnessed upon my immigration as a young boy almost five decades earlier. Race and ethnicity are re-emerging as division or perhaps they again feel legitimized by the rhetoric here and presumably religious driven conflicts around the globe. While Bosnians are Caucasian and do not feel the sting of prejudice of their Hispanic, Native American, Asian and/or African-American neighbors, the Muslim identity can be just as likely to draw bigotry from those who would now divide America in "us and them." Senator Bob Burns of the Missouri State Legislature, who started work as a Busch and Bud beer distributor, has become a strong friend of the BiH community in Saint Louis recently joining us for what was to be a celebration of BiH Independence and a mosque fundraiser. Bosnian-Americans build allies as well friends and business partners readily, (although I had to buy the former Bud guy and his great wife Dianne a beer outside the mosque-sponsored event!). Senator Burns saw the Bosnian community as an ally in not only furthering the region's  economic re-emergence, but also in countering the xenophobic politics of some that could undermine the progress of his state as a whole. For me, Senator Burns was a gush of fresh air, a reminder of what filled America's sails forward. br / br / strongDoes US Need Bosnia as Partner even more Now?/strongbr / br / Up to now much of the conversation has been about what can and most critically will America's political establishment do for BiH. Frankly it has been a glass more empty than full, at least when it comes to helping BiH move toward a country more defined by the future of Europe and the Euro-Atlantic alliance than the recent past of chauvinists whoConstruction according to Putin's Model, from Bosnia to Europe continue to hold the country, and all of its citizens, hostage to the politics of division. BiH's progress toward EU and NATO integration is being blocked by the same ultra-nationalist Serb politics of a new apartheid created by ethnic cleansing. Despite statements and court rulings, the chauvinists hold out facing little consequence from Washington or European capitals. Some ultra-nationalist Serb leaders have aligned themselves with Vladimir Putin and his vision of a Europe divided/torn again by opposing spheres of influence, from Ukraine and Georgia to the Baltics and Balkans. (See: "a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ambassador-muhamed-sacirbey/construction-according-to_b_6195834.html" target="_hplink"Construction according to Putin's Model, from Bosnia to Europe/a")br / br / In the age of ISIS as well as the invasion of Ukraine by Putin's Russia, the question now may be more as to how BiH can help the US, even more than the other way around. This was the theme of my talk/conversation at Saint Louis University, as the reversal of helper and one who needs help may be at least in part reversed. As many US officials have stated, the battle against ISIS needs to be fought ideologically, spiritually and theologically, and other Muslims are best armed to fight back against ISIS perversion of Islam. (See: "a href="http://diplomatartist.com/is-god-more-insulted-by-cartoons-or-those-who-kill-in-gods-name/" target="_hplink"Confronting ISIS.../a") While ISIS would exploit the betrayal of Srebrenica and the frustration of Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) to further its recruiting, overwhelmingly we would show the legacy of BiH and the welcome of America as evidence why diversity over division is the opportunity and salvation. br / br / The challenge of Putin is no less, and Serb ultra-nationalists have also ventured there on a new campaign of killing and perhaps ethnic cleansing. From Myanmar to Syria to the Central African Republic, the dividers would have us believe that it is a zero sum game. However, even since the war, and the reconstituted, multi-ethnic BiH army, Bosnians/Herzegovinians see the future where we are all made richer by sharing peace and pluralism. BiH, despite its still bleeding wounds, is helping heal or prevent conflict. (See: "a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ambassador-muhamed-sacirbey/can-bosnias-army-save-the_b_6344006.html" target="_hplink"Can Bosnia's Army Save the World?/a")br / br / strongAmerican Exceptionalism as Part of Srebrenica Future where Darkness Once Prevails?/strongbr / br / The victims of Srebrenica were commemorated at the United Nations this July 1, 2015. Rather than be closed out as in the past, two of them happened to have a central role in the event also sponsored by a wide array of member states, (including Germany, France, UK, Malaysia, Turkey, Jordan, Jamaica, Lichtenstein, The Netherlands, as well as the US.) These two young survivors who had escaped as children/teens even as many friends and family did not were here to speak and act on behalf all, the living and killed. Perhaps by no coincidence, they had come to America with nothing and now had the might to change at least a little, which is a lot when dealing with the UN or Washington. br / br / a href="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2015-07-03-1435952836-6651932-11694869_777764115655060_1545432905731092495_n.jpg"img alt="2015-07-03-1435952836-6651932-11694869_777764115655060_1545432905731092495_n.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2015-07-03-1435952836-6651932-11694869_777764115655060_1545432905731092495_n-thumb.jpg" width="570" height="570" //abr / br / strongAdisada Dudic/strong was barely old enough to remember Srebrenica, but she does have a vivid memory of her crying father saying goodbye. She told the UN, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and all the relevant ambassadors, that she did not realize then how long goodbye can be, forever. Ms. Dudic is now a US educated attorney in Washington. strongNed Halilovic /strongalso escaped Srebrenica, and then put himself through college at Concordia University in Minnesota in part by doing sanitation at the school. After he graduated, he started his own highly specialized cleaning business, dealing with natural disasters, industrial spills and bloody crime scenes - his firm, coincidentally called "Ambassador Inc." now employs almost a hundred. After the divided politics of today's BiH refused to fund the commemoration at the UN organized by Amb. Mirsada Colakovic and her great team at the BiH Mission to the UN, (my old post), Ned stepped in to foot the costs.    br / br / Adisada and Ned for that day reflected the sentiment of survivors and victims of Srebrenica but their thinking and attitude is that of Americans. Neither the truth of the betrayal of Srebrenica nor its future as once again a city of inclusiveness and progress will be defined by the borders of hate or genocide. Rather, they have come to see themselves, heritage and opportunity, in the perspective of the unbounded where Bosnian and American are joined and consistent. What most Bosnian-Americans want to see back in their home of origin, is a bit more of America's values of pluralism and respect for diversity, something that is already part of BiH's roots but needs the perspective that drives American Exceptionalism today, emeverything is possible/em.br / br / Watch YouTube Video "a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5aPBU34Fyk" target="_hplink"Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!/a" by Richie Havens. br / br / We are born free but indoctrinated to feel helpless. America's greatest gift to me is feeling empowered when facing darkness of heart or indifference of mind.br / br / @MuhamedSacirbey br / br / strongPHOTOS/strong: zazzle.com, St. Louis Bosnians, United Nationsbr /   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/233194203112/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1cbb9/sc/7/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194203112/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1cbb9/sc/7/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194203112/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1cbb9/sc/7/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194203112/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1cbb9/sc/7/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194203112/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1cbb9/sc/7/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194203112/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1cbb9/sc/7/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194203112/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1cbb9/sc/7/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194203112/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1cbb9/sc/7/a2.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/233194203112/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1cbb9/sc/7/a2t.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/47d1cbb9/sc/7/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

Beyond Symbolism, Restoring Ties With Cuba Has Practical Benefits

12 hours 14 min ago
a href="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2015-07-03-1435959892-9565386-sCUBAFLAGsmall.jpg"img alt="2015-07-03-1435959892-9565386-sCUBAFLAGsmall.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2015-07-03-1435959892-9565386-sCUBAFLAGsmall-thumb.jpg" width="112" height="82" //abr / br / "A year ago, it might have seemed impossible that the United States would once again be raising our flag, the stars and stripes, over an embassy in Havana," President Obama declared when he announced that Cuba and the United States would establish full diplomatic relations on July 20. "This is what change looks like."br / br / The reopening of embassies in Washington and Havana is symbolic of the change in U.S. policy that President Obama announced on December 17 of last year -- replacing the policy hostility and subversion dating back to the break in diplomatic relations 54 years ago with a new a policy of engagement and cooperation.br / br / a href="http://fxn.ws/1H0Vvu8" target="_hplink"Read more/a at Fox News Latino...br / br / emWilliam M. LeoGrande is a co-author, with Peter Kornbluh, of /emBack Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana em(University of North Carolina Press, 2015)./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/233194202015/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1c713/sc/7/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194202015/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1c713/sc/7/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194202015/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1c713/sc/7/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194202015/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1c713/sc/7/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194202015/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1c713/sc/7/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194202015/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1c713/sc/7/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194202015/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1c713/sc/7/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194202015/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1c713/sc/7/a2.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/233194202015/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1c713/sc/7/a2t.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/47d1c713/sc/7/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

Boko Haram Steps Up Attacks In Nigeria After Week Of Bloodletting

12 hours 52 min ago
By Lanre Olabr / br / MAIDUGURI, Nigeria, July 3 (Reuters) - Suspected Boko Haram insurgents attacked the outskirts of a state capital in northeastern Nigeria on Friday, escalating their attacks after a week of bloodletting in which more than 150 people were killed, military sources said.br / br / Heavy gunfire was heard coming from the fringes of Maiduguri, the capital of Bornoa state, for about half an hour on Friday evening. Military sources said insurgents attacked a village on the edge of the city but were repulsed.br / br / There were no immediate details on casualties.br / br / Boko Haram fighters tried to take Maiduguri a number of times earlier this year before an army offensive drove them out of large chunks of territory.br / br / The militants have since resorted to deadly hit-and-run attacks on settlements and using suicide bombers. They have intensified their strikes since President Muhammadu Buhari vowed to crush them when he was sworn in on May 29.br / br / Before Friday's attack on Maiduguri, gunmen killed nearly 50 people in a village on Tuesday, rounded up and shot dead about 100 in Kukawa on Wednesday and killed 12 in a dawn raid on another village on Friday. Two suicide bombers killed at least 10 people along a highway on Thursday.br / br / br / br / "HEINOUS ATROCITY"br / br / Buhari said the killings in the town of Kukawa were a "heinous atrocity which must be unreservedly condemned by all people of conscience."br / br / "The attacks killing around 150 people in two villages in northeastern Borno state in Nigeria and targeting Muslim worshippers during the holy month of Ramadan are another attempt to destabilize the country and the region," European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement.br / br / "The EU stands with the Nigerian people and authorities in our common fight against terrorism," she said.br / br / Thousands of people have been killed and about 1.5 million displaced during Boko Haram's six-year fight to create an Islamic caliphate in the northeast of Africa's top oil producer.br / br / Boko Haram controlled an area roughly the size of Belgium at the end of 2014 before a military offensive seized much of the territory in the first few months of this year.br / br / At dawn on Friday, suspected insurgents raided a village called Miringa in Borno state, selected 12 men and shot them, a military source said. Two suicide bomb blasts near fruit stalls along a highway in the state killed at least 10 people on Thursday, Borno state police said. (Editing by David Clarke, Ralph Boulton and Jonathan Oatis) 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/233194195663/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ede/sc/40/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194195663/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ede/sc/40/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194195663/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ede/sc/40/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194195663/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ede/sc/40/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194195663/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ede/sc/40/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194195663/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ede/sc/40/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194195663/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ede/sc/40/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194195663/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ede/sc/40/a2.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/233194195663/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ede/sc/40/a2t.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/47d22ede/sc/40/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

El Salvador Sees Highest Monthly Murder Rate Since Civil War

12 hours 56 min ago
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — The month of June saw 677 murders in El Salvador, more than in any other single month since the end of the country's civil war.br / br / Miguel Fortin Magana, director of the country's Legal Medicine Institute, said Friday that June's total surpassed May's total of 641 murders. The first six months of this year have produced 2,965 murders compared with 1,840 murders during the same period last year. Violence has surged as the country's street gangs renewed their clashes with government forces and among themselves.br / br / A gang truce lasted for more than a year and saw the average daily murders fall to about six. The average in June was 22.6.br / br / El Salvador's civil war ended in 1992. An estimated 76,000 people died during its 12 years and another 12,000 disappeared.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/233194195662/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ee2/sc/28/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194195662/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ee2/sc/28/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194195662/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ee2/sc/28/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194195662/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ee2/sc/28/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194195662/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ee2/sc/28/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194195662/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ee2/sc/28/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194195662/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ee2/sc/28/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194195662/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ee2/sc/28/a2.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/233194195662/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ee2/sc/28/a2t.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/47d22ee2/sc/28/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

What the Referendum Means for Greece

12 hours 59 min ago
The news about Greece and its precarious financial situation has gripped the globe. There is a multidimensional matrix of positions, parameters and opinions arising from all the different working and interested parties. Clarity is essential ahead of the forthcoming referendum. br / br / In a nutshell, a yes vote means willingness to work with Europe and to be amenable to cooperation; it is a positive call to seek help in a constructive way. This would in turn mean that tax rates must not be increased. Greek people see themselves as part of Europe. It is also true that the drachma will not bring the financial relief needed by Greece in a very short space of time. Yes the debt would be written off by the default, but market chaos would ensue whilst settling down to a new currency. br / br / Greek goods and services would be exported and sold at the devalued rate of the new currency and imports would be subject to exchange controls. The result would be a difficult period of re-adjustment within Greece and somewhat Europe. This default would be like no other. For the country to become independent, the economy would have to restructure itself completely. The production levels for mined goods and other agricultural products will not be able to grow quickly, and services including tourism have a certain capacity and style, both sectors would need some time for any new investment to take effect for growth to be achieved.br / br / The question remains who invests and who should invest in the Greek economy how and why. br / br / The European partners of Greece are asking for certain reforms which would make Greece more competitive and more transparent and hence able to attract capital. Some other reforms like increasing the tax rate instead of reducing it -- perhaps to match the 10 percent of its neighbors -- may be punitive rather than productive and enlightened. br / br / Some measures may be more effective than others and all should be evaluated. Does Europe see itself as ready and able to invest and co-manage with the host countries valuable infrastructure projects, and other essential governance activities, like the security of Europe and its borders, for the joint total benefit of the citizens of Europe, of investors, shareholders and the local population all becoming stakeholders, and engaged within common purpose? br / br / This is the challenge Europe faces, and here it has an opportunity to rise to it. It is important to understand that Europe has looked kindly overall to the Greek predicament, and has been willing to help Greece. The key is to find the innovative path that will lead Greece out of the last century of politics into a more stable future. It is wrong to take the view that the correct process is divorce and to negotiate accordingly. There are segments of the population and the economy that are suffering and have suffered and they cannot be ignored.br / br / Plans based on common sense of purpose and partnership in problem solving, are the basis for delivering the much needed change. There are many areas which should be subject to deep structural reform. The willingness has to be there from both sides to set priorities and tackle the change management systematically and with the full backing and support of the Greek population. Europe must not be so harsh, that any approach by the Greek people to establish a viable forward path will end in failure. Neither Greece should be so unyielding as to resist the necessary changes and next steps. br / br / One thing is clear: Greece has not been able to manage its economy itself. Now Europe has to look within itself, to find excellence, those people, ideas, agreements, financing, projects and spirit of peace and conciliation that will lead to growth and stability for all. 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/233194195661/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ee3/sc/24/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194195661/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ee3/sc/24/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194195661/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ee3/sc/24/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194195661/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ee3/sc/24/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194195661/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ee3/sc/24/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194195661/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ee3/sc/24/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194195661/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ee3/sc/24/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194195661/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ee3/sc/24/a2.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/233194195661/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d22ee3/sc/24/a2t.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/47d22ee3/sc/24/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

The Tragedy of Greece's Referendum

13 hours 59 min ago
strongThe person who says "I'm voting no" has a point./strong Not the person who says it out of blind and thoughtless rage. He's just an idiot. But the person who doesn't want his "yes" to be interpreted as an absolution of what happened in the past five years or as an advanced affirmation of the continuation of the same policy without corrections. Or the person that says that they don't want their "yes" to be taken as a vote of doubt towards a government that has only been in power for six months, or much worse, as a vote of confidence towards the old politicians that are ready to return to the arena. br / br / strongThe person who says "I'm voting yes" also has a point./strong But not out of fear. Because, after the plunder of the internal devaluation that removed 25 percent of our national income, I won't risk going through the ultimate misery of another, even worse, external devaluation when the euro gives its place to a parallel "bad" currency at first and a devaluated national currency later. I will not risk my country's position in the European core, nor do I want to see its identity replaced by Panos Kammenos' folk dancing at army bases and his nationalist ethical teachings in schools. I do not want to give a blank check to a government that admits to having failed in the negotiations so far, for them to continue at will. If we have reached the referendum, it is because the previous deal wouldn't pass the party's vote and wouldn't receive a parliamentary majority. How can I believe that another deal will pass, when the nay-sayers will have the nuclear weapon of the referendum on their side? br / br / strongBoth sides of this debate have a point that has divided us./strong Maybe that's why, for the first time, the cliché of the "Greek tragedy" that the international media often uses to describe what's happening is accurate this time. Because strongwhat sets the Greek tragedy apart from other dramatic arts is that the heroes that do battle on stage are not good or bad, they are not right or wrong./strong Each of them is right and wrong at the same time. That's why their fate is tragic. br / br / This sounds like what we're going through before the Sunday ballot. Right and wrong, in a way, coexist in all of our consciences, in our families, our friends and the nation. That is a tragedy. And for it to exist, hubris has to be committed. Not against the gods, as in Aeschylus or Sophocles, but against democracy. strongBecause, and this is my opinion, the Sunday referendum is an insult towards the democracy it addresses. /strongstrongCitizens are asked to vote yes or no without knowing what the question is./strong Like a blind date. Everyone will answer depending on what they think the question is and will discover on Monday that someone will pose the question they answered differently and they cannot change their answers. Except if they answer in a way that cannot be misconstrued. br / br / In order to avoid the worst situation: strongLet's decide that whatever way we answer, our fate is based on how our German partners will interpret it./strong That whatever has happened (in the name of decency and self-determination, supposedly) during the past few days, the end of negotiations, the closing of the banks, the sudden fall in our economy, place us defenseless in the hands of our creditors. As the fate of the heroes in an ancient tragedy, the Gods will decide on it. br / br / emThis post originally appeared on a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.gr/pavlos-tsimas/-_657_b_7720908.html?utm_hp_ref=greece" target="_hplink"HuffPost Greece/a and was translated into English./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/233194189342/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d201d4/sc/24/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194189342/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d201d4/sc/24/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194189342/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d201d4/sc/24/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194189342/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d201d4/sc/24/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194189342/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d201d4/sc/24/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194189342/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d201d4/sc/24/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194189342/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d201d4/sc/24/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194189342/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d201d4/sc/24/a2.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/233194189342/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d201d4/sc/24/a2t.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/47d201d4/sc/24/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

The Tragedy of Greece's Referendum

13 hours 59 min ago
strongThe person who says "I'm voting no" has a point./strong Not the person who says it out of blind and thoughtless rage. He's just an idiot. But the person who doesn't want his "yes" to be interpreted as an absolution of what happened in the past five years or as an advanced affirmation of the continuation of the same policy without corrections. Or the person that says that they don't want their "yes" to be taken as a vote of doubt towards a government that has only been in power for six months, or much worse, as a vote of confidence towards the old politicians that are ready to return to the arena. br / br / strongThe person who says "I'm voting yes" also has a point./strong But not out of fear. Because, after the plunder of the internal devaluation that removed 25 percent of our national income, I won't risk going through the ultimate misery of another, even worse, external devaluation when the euro gives its place to a parallel "bad" currency at first and a devaluated national currency later. I will not risk my country's position in the European core, nor do I want to see its identity replaced by Panos Kammenos' folk dancing at army bases and his nationalist ethical teachings in schools. I do not want to give a blank check to a government that admits to having failed in the negotiations so far, for them to continue at will. If we have reached the referendum, it is because the previous deal wouldn't pass the party's vote and wouldn't receive a parliamentary majority. How can I believe that another deal will pass, when the nay-sayers will have the nuclear weapon of the referendum on their side? br / br / strongBoth sides of this debate have a point that has divided us./strong Maybe that's why, for the first time, the cliché of the "Greek tragedy" that the international media often uses to describe what's happening is accurate this time. Because strongwhat sets the Greek tragedy apart from other dramatic arts is that the heroes that do battle on stage are not good or bad, they are not right or wrong./strong Each of them is right and wrong at the same time. That's why their fate is tragic. br / br / This sounds like what we're going through before the Sunday ballot. Right and wrong, in a way, coexist in all of our consciences, in our families, our friends and the nation. That is a tragedy. And for it to exist, hubris has to be committed. Not against the gods, as in Aeschylus or Sophocles, but against democracy. strongBecause, and this is my opinion, the Sunday referendum is an insult towards the democracy it addresses. /strongstrongCitizens are asked to vote yes or no without knowing what the question is./strong Like a blind date. Everyone will answer depending on what they think the question is and will discover on Monday that someone will pose the question they answered differently and they cannot change their answers. Except if they answer in a way that cannot be misconstrued. br / br / In order to avoid the worst situation: strongLet's decide that whatever way we answer, our fate is based on how our German partners will interpret it./strong That whatever has happened (in the name of decency and self-determination, supposedly) during the past few days, the end of negotiations, the closing of the banks, the sudden fall in our economy, place us defenseless in the hands of our creditors. As the fate of the heroes in an ancient tragedy, the Gods will decide on it. br / br / emThis post originally appeared on a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.gr/pavlos-tsimas/-_657_b_7720908.html?utm_hp_ref=greece" target="_hplink"HuffPost Greece/a and was translated into English./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/233194194399/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1a09e/sc/24/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194194399/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1a09e/sc/24/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194194399/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1a09e/sc/24/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194194399/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1a09e/sc/24/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194194399/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1a09e/sc/24/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194194399/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1a09e/sc/24/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194194399/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1a09e/sc/24/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194194399/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1a09e/sc/24/a2.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/233194194399/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1a09e/sc/24/a2t.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/47d1a09e/sc/24/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

Bernie Sanders Will End the IMF's Economic Violence in Greece and Africa

14 hours 23 min ago
Many people want to know more about Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' foreign policy agenda. Yes, they say, we like what Sanders is saying about reducing extreme inequality, about reducing the political power of the billionaire class. But what about U.S. foreign policy? Yes, they say, a href="http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/07/02/jim-webb-candidacy-assures-another-antiwar-voice-against-hillary-clinton/" target="_hplink"Bernie voted no on the Iraq war/a; yes, they acknowledge, Sanders supports the Iran deal. But we're spending more than half of our federal income tax dollars on the Pentagon's empire, money we should be spending on rebuilding our nation's domestic infrastructure. "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death," a href="http://kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/documentsentry/doc_beyond_vietnam/" target="_hplink"Dr. King said/a. What's Bernie going to do about that? br / br / I'm all for pushing Bernie to talk more about downsizing the Pentagon to be an institution focused on actually defending the United States, as opposed to running around the world overthrowing other people's governments -- a Pentagon that "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy," as President John Quincy Adams a href="http://millercenter.org/president/speeches/speech-3484" target="_hplink"put it/a. br / br / But we should also take advantage of the new opportunity that now presents itself; it's not only with bombs that U.S. foreign policy kills and injures innocent civilians. br / br / We should recognize and publicize the fact that a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/01/bernie-sanders-greece_n_7709322.html" target="_hplink"Bernie Sanders is the only presidential candidate who is talking about what the IMF is doing to Greece/a, the only presidential candidate who has a track record of opposing the IMF, the only presidential candidate who, if elected, is likely to do anything to end the economic violence of the IMF. br / br / In his historic campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988, Jesse Jackson a href="http://www.worldcat.org/title/keep-hope-alive-jesse-jacksons-1988-presidential-campaign-a-collection-of-major-speeches-issue-papers-photographs-and-campaign-analysis/oclc/18590064" target="_hplink"often invoked/a the theme of "economic violence":br / br / blockquoteEconomic violence is the critical issue of our day. When plants close on workers without notice, and leave them without jobs or training for new jobs -- that's economic violence. When three to five million Americans are on the streets and homeless -- that's economic violence. When merger maniacs make windfall profits and top management is given excessive bonuses, golden parachutes to aid a soft landing, while workers are asked to take a wage cut, a benefit cut and a job loss, a crash landing -- that's economic violence. When our children are victimized with poor health care, poor education, poor housing, poor diets and more -- that's economic violence against our children./blockquotebr / br / Jesse Jackson was talking about U.S. domestic policy. But a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/939674.stm" target="_hplink"others have used the idea to talk about the IMF/a:br / br / blockquoteHundreds of campaigners are marching in Prague as the main policy-making body of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) begins a meeting to discuss debt relief.br / br / They want the IMF and its sister organisation, the World Bank, to cancel altogether debts owed to them by the poorest countries.br / br / The protesters are staging a "funeral" procession through Czech capital to highlight their view that 7 million children a year die because of the debt crisis.br / br / Jubliee 2000, which is organising the march, says it will be totally non-violent and that it is committed to peaceful protest.br / br / "We condemn violence, both the violence which ends in broken windows, and the violence that kills 19,000 children a day," the group's UK director Ann Pettifor told the BBC./blockquotebr / br / The IMF is not "over there." The IMF is headquartered in Washington, physically, politically and financially. A progressive economist once reported that he was at a seminar at the IMF, where a senior IMF official was indignant that people were saying that IMF is unaccountable. The IMF official demanded to know: why do people always accuse us of being unaccountable? We never do anything without checking with the U.S. Treasury Department! br / br / Until now, unfortunately, Congressional Democrats have been largely content to let Treasury to run the show at the IMF without the input of real Democrats. br / br / The IMF is now doing to Greece what the IMF has been doing to Africa since the 1980s and what the IMF did to South America until the progressive governments there kicked the IMF out. The IMF is a member of the "troika" of official creditors that have been making a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-weisbrot/congress-imf-greece_b_7716422.html" target="_hplink"extreme austerity demands/a on the Greek government and are now a href="http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/greek-default-no-new-bailout-unless-tsipras-goes/story-fnb64oi6-1227422961480" target="_hplink"openly/a a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/03/business/international/greece-referendum-bailout.html" target="_hplink"demanding/a "regime change" in Greece before there can be any deal that ends the crisis in Greece that the troika has imposed. br / br / (Some people complain that we shouldn't blame the IMF for what is being done to Greece; they say that some other institution or actor is more responsible. These people want us to play "accountability whack-a-mole" with the institutions. We need to hold the institutions "jointly and severally liable"; and the IMF is the bad actor in the troika for whom Americans have the most responsibility.) br / br / Bernie Sanders is a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/01/bernie-sanders-greece_n_7709322.html" target="_hplink"the only presidential candidate who is speaking out about this/a. In Congress, it's the progressive Democrats - including Sanders - a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-weisbrot/congress-imf-greece_b_7716422.html" target="_hplink"who are speaking out about this/a.br / br / U.S. support for the IMF is more politically fragile than many people realize. Many Congressional Republicans hate the IMF, in significant measure because they see the IMF as a Democrat-supported taxpayer-financed slush fund to bail out big private banks when their international bets go bad (which assessment is quite correct.) Without the support of Congressional Democrats, the IMF is dead meat in Washington. Whenever the IMF wants more money from Washington, there's a campaign to trick low-information Democrats into believing that the IMF is "foreign aid," so that Democrats will support it. br / br / When more Democrats own the fact that the IMF agenda is the NAFTA-WTO-TPP agenda with a European internationalist smiley face mask pasted on, the IMF will be on a fast train to the dustbin of history. And this is not necessarily a remote prospect - the fact that this is the fundamental identity of the IMF is well known among labor activists, for example. br / br / AFL-CIO chief economist William Spriggs a href="http://www.aflcio.org/Blog/Global-Action/Economics-as-Religion" target="_hplink"recently wrote/a: br / br / blockquoteIn the U.S. we must take the side of Greece in this fight. It is in our interest, as the immediate problem of the instability this is causing is a rising dollar that will hurt U.S. exports and jobs. And, we can never be sure of the interrelated nature of financial collapses since so much of the banking sector remains in the shadows; with global derivatives trading at values greater than global output.br / br / More importantly, we must also revolt against this economic order. It is the same order that saved JP Morgan Chase, but let Detroit and now Puerto Rico fail. It is the same religion that would sacrifice the earnings of American students with rising student debt and de-invest in public higher education. It is the same religion that would sacrifice American jobs and labor standards and back the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We must see these as the same struggle to restore sanity and purpose to role of government and its servant, the economy./blockquotebr / br / This is why supporters of the IMF should be very afraid that a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/01/bernie-sanders-greece_n_7709322.html" target="_hplink"Bernie Sanders/a and a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-weisbrot/congress-imf-greece_b_7716422.html" target="_hplink"progressive Democrats/a are denouncing what the IMF is doing to Greece. You can add your voice a href="http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/oppose-IMF-assault-on-Greece" target="_hplink"here/a. 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/233194190605/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d178d5/sc/7/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194190605/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d178d5/sc/7/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194190605/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d178d5/sc/7/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194190605/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d178d5/sc/7/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194190605/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d178d5/sc/7/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194190605/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d178d5/sc/7/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194190605/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d178d5/sc/7/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194190605/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d178d5/sc/7/a2.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/233194190605/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d178d5/sc/7/a2t.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/47d178d5/sc/7/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

UN Human Rights Council? UN Human Wrongs Council!

14 hours 31 min ago
The 47-member UN Human Rights Council in Geneva just voted to assail Israel because of the Hamas-triggered war in the summer of 2014.br / br / That's right, assail Israel, not Hamas.br / br / There will be those silver-tongued diplomats from Europe and elsewhere who will try to explain that the text could have been worse, as if this should be a source of gratification.br / br / No doubt, the text could have been still worse - it always can be - but that's not the point. The point is it shouldn't have happened in the first place.br / br / But then again, this is the inaptly named UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). When it comes to Israel, these things are so routine they barely raise an eyebrow in the international community.br / br / After all, hard as it may be to believe, tiny, democratic Israel has been the target of more country-specific resolutions at the UNHRC than all other nations combined.br / br / Think about it for just a moment. There are 193 UN member states, including some of the worst human rights violators in modern history.br / br / Yet many, if not most, get off scot-free. Even more, they get to pile on Israel, while avoiding the UNHRC's scrutiny and wrath.br / br / Why?br / br / Actually, the answer is really quite simple - and telling.br / br / It's, above all, about numbers. The UN is nothing more or less than the collective expression of its member states.br / br / So, let's take the example of an anti-Israel resolution.br / br / Right off the bat, the Palestinians can count on the automatic support of the 21 voting members of the Arab League (if it's the entire UN General Assembly, or the league's representatives in the case of a smaller body like the UNHRC).br / br / So, too, with the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).br / br / There won't be any dissent coming from this group, irrespective of how biased, one-sided, or outrageous the anti-Israel text might be. Group solidarity counts for far more.br / br / And then comes the 120-member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Suffice it to say that the current chairman is Iran and Venezuela is on deck.br / br / That's close to two-thirds of the UN membership, providing a decisive majority for any anti-Israel text.br / But, alas, it doesn't end there.br / br / In some ways, the most problematic voting can come from the 28-member European Union and those nations who tend to follow this group.br / br / After all, these are democratic countries that have relations with Israel and shouldn't necessarily be in lockstep with the Arab League, OIC, or NAM.br / br / And, true, there are times when, voting as a bloc, the EU will abstain on an Israel-related matter, for which they congratulate themselves on their courage, even if sitting on the fence can be contradicted by the facts on the ground.br / br / And indeed, every so often, the EU won't achieve a consensus, in which case individual nations will go their own way, sometimes variously ending up in the "yes," "no," and "abstain" columns.br / br / But today in Geneva, the five EU countries all voted together - and voted "yes."br / br / While such a vote from Ireland or France may not be a complete surprise to observers of the world body, a comparable vote by Germany, the Netherlands, and U.K. is more noteworthy - and deeply disappointing.br / br / Let's be frank. It bespeaks, above all, political expediency, not political courage. Standing with Israel yields few benefits and, potentially, many costs. Conversely, standing against Israel yields few costs and, potentially, many benefits.br / br / Apropos, when France wonders why Israel is opposed to initiatives from Paris in the UN on the peace process, this vote, and some that preceded it (e.g., at the UN Security Council, World Health Organization, and UNESCO) offer an answer. br / br / Paris cannot present itself to Israel as fair-minded and balanced, on the one hand, and then, when push comes to shove on a UN vote, go in the opposite direction.br / br / Once again, as in the case of last summer's vote on the Hamas-Israel war at the UN Human Rights Council, only one country out of 47 stood tall, defended the truth, and displayed courage - the United States. (Had Australia and Canada also been members, they doubtless would have joined with the U.S.)br / br / Five others thankfully abstained - Ethiopia, Kenya, Macedonia, Paraguay, and, notably, India, which had hitherto voted with the automatic majority on Israel-related measures.br / br / And so, by a vote of 41 to 1, with five abstentions, the UNHRC adopted yet another measure against the one and only liberal democracy in the Middle East.br / br / In doing so, it showed that it couldn't - or wouldn't - distinguish between a terrorist entity, Hamas, calling for Israel's destruction - and Israel, a UN member state seeking to defend itself against the onslaught of cross-border missiles, mortars, and tunnels.br / br / Shame!br / br / Of course, what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, or at least that's the way it's supposed to be.br / br / Let's see what happens when other democratic countries, faced with increasing threats from Hamas-like foes, realize that fighting back against enemies who use civilians as human shields, and hospitals and mosques as weapons depots, isn't all that clean, neat, and simple.br / br / Will they, too, face commissions of inquiry and one-sided resolutions from the automatic majority that circle the wagons around dangerous actors like Hamas, Iran, and Venezuela?br / br / But, frankly, what's most troublesome of all about this vote, and the countless hours of discussion, debate, and decision that led up to it, is that it denied genuine victims of human rights abuses the attention and protection they deserve.br / br / That's what the UNHRC is supposed to be doing - giving voice to the voiceless, protecting the defenseless, shining the spotlight on the perpetrators, calling them to account.br / br / But how can it, when it is pathologically obsessed with Israel, numerically captive to those ready to protect the guilty parties, and willing to throw truth to the wind?br / br / No, tragically, the UNHRC, doesn't begin to live up to its name, far from it.br / br / And those who truly care about the defense of human dignity and human rights should be the first to express their outrage at this daily travesty. 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/233194190604/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d178d6/sc/7/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194190604/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d178d6/sc/7/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194190604/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d178d6/sc/7/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194190604/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d178d6/sc/7/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194190604/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d178d6/sc/7/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194190604/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d178d6/sc/7/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194190604/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d178d6/sc/7/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194190604/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d178d6/sc/7/a2.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/233194190604/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d178d6/sc/7/a2t.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/47d178d6/sc/7/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

Woman Injured After Bomb Explodes At Canadian Law Firm

15 hours 6 min ago
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — A woman has been sent to a hospital with serious injuries after a bomb exploded at a law firm in Winnipeg.br / br / Police said Friday that they were called to the Petersen King law office mid-morning.br / br / Constable Eric Hofley says the woman triggered the explosive device inadvertently and the injuries were to her upper body.br / br / He did not know how the device ended up in the law firm, whether it was sent through the mail or dropped off by someone.br / br / There were no reports of anyone else being hurt.br / br / Police have cordoned off the building and the bomb squad is on the scene to ensure there are no other devices. 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/233194184304/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d14ffb/sc/7/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194184304/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d14ffb/sc/7/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194184304/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d14ffb/sc/7/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194184304/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d14ffb/sc/7/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194184304/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d14ffb/sc/7/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194184304/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d14ffb/sc/7/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194184304/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d14ffb/sc/7/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194184304/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d14ffb/sc/7/a2.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/233194184304/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d14ffb/sc/7/a2t.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/47d14ffb/sc/7/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

Israeli Couple Finds 2,000-Year-Old Jewish Mikvah Bath Under Their Floorboards

15 hours 8 min ago
JERUSALEM (RNS) An Israeli family experienced the surprise of a lifetime when, during a home renovation, workers discovered a 2,000-year-old Jewish ritual bath, called a mikvah.br / br / The discovery lends weight to what some archaeologists have long suspected: that a Jewish community existed in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem neighborhood during the time when Jesus lived.br / br / Christians believe John the Baptist was born in Ein Kerem, a popular pilgrimage site and home tobr / several monasteries and churches.br / br / On Wednesday (July 1), the Israel Antiquities Authority briefly showed the ritual bath to journalists and awarded the owners, Oriah Shimshoni and her husband, Tal, a certificate of appreciation for reporting the discovery, which “contributed to the study of the Land of Israel,” the IAA said.br / br / Reporting an archaeological find on one’s property — something that happens quite frequently in Israel — can be a disruptive process when the state’s archaeologists feel it necessary to excavate the site.br / br / The 11.5-foot-by-8-foot bath was discovered complete.br / br / img alt="mikvah" src="http://i.huffpost.com/gen/3145412/thumbs/o-MIKVAH-570.jpg?6" /br / br / “It is rock-hewn and meticulously plastered according to the Jewish laws of purity,” the IAA said. A stone staircase leads to the bottom of the immersion pool.br / br / Pottery vessels dating to the first century and traces of fire that might constitute evidence of the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple around years 66-70 were discovered inside the bath.br / br / In addition, fragments of stone vessels were found that were common during the period.br / br / A mikvah is a pool of water — some of it from a natural source — in which observant married Jewish women are required to dip once a month, seven days after the end of their menstrual cycle.br / br / Amit Re’em, an archaeologist, said the discovery was important because until now, the archaeological remains in Ein Kerem were “few and fragmented.”br / br / The discovery of the ritual bath reinforces the hypothesis that there was a Jewish settlement Ein Kerem. The area is also important to Christians, he said, because it is where John the Baptist was born and where his pregnant mother, Elizabeth, met with Mary, mother of Jesus.br / 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/233194184303/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d14fff/sc/7/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194184303/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d14fff/sc/7/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194184303/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d14fff/sc/7/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194184303/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d14fff/sc/7/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194184303/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d14fff/sc/7/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194184303/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d14fff/sc/7/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194184303/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d14fff/sc/7/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194184303/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d14fff/sc/7/a2.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/233194184303/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d14fff/sc/7/a2t.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/47d14fff/sc/7/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

Thousands Of Greeks Rally In Athens Ahead Of Crucial Referendum

15 hours 20 min ago
By Michele Kambas and Lefteris Papadimasbr / br / ATHENS, July 3 (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of Greeks took to the streets on Friday in rival rallies that laid bare the deep divide heading into a referendum that may decide the country's future in Europe's single currency.br / br / Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, elected in January on a promise to end years of austerity, urged people packing Syntagma square in central Athens to spurn the tough terms of an aid deal offered by international creditors to keep the country afloat.br / br / His European partners say a 'No' vote will jeopardize Greece's membership of the euro.br / br / Tsipras says they are bluffing, fearing the fallout for Europe and the global economy. A 'Yes' vote may bring him down, ushering in a new period of political instability for a country reeling from five days of shuttered banks and rationed cash withdrawals.br / br / Framing Sunday's ballot as a battle for democracy, freedom and European values, the 40-year-old left-wing leader told Greeks to "turn your backs on those who terrorize you daily."br / br / "On Sunday, we are not just deciding that we are staying in Europe, but that we are deciding to live with dignity in Europe," he told the crowd of at least 50,000.br / br / His opponents accuse Tsipras of gambling Greece's future on a rapid-fire plebiscite that a major European rights watchdog says falls short of international standards of fairness.br / br / Four opinion polls published on Friday had the 'Yes' vote marginally ahead; a fifth put the 'No' camp 0.5 percent in front, but all were well within the margin of error.br / br / "We know that the lenders will close the door if we say no, but we must fight," said 65-year-old pensioner Irini Stavridou, who attended the 'No' rally.br / br / "We must fight not only for Greece but all the people in Europe, for those who just have a different opinion."br / br / img alt="greece" src="http://i.huffpost.com/gen/3149874/thumbs/o-GREECE-570.jpg?1" /br / font size="2"emSupporters of the 'Yes' campaign attend a rally and listen to speeches at the Olympic Stadium in preparation for Sunday's referendum on July 3, 2015 in Athens, Greece. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)/em/fontbr / br / img alt="greece" src="http://i.huffpost.com/gen/3149876/thumbs/o-GREECE-570.jpg?6" /br / font size="2"emSupporters of the 'Yes' campaign attend a rally and listen to speeches at the Olympic Stadium in preparation for Sunday's referendum on July 3, 2015 in Athens, Greece. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)/em/fontbr / br / ODE TO JOYbr / br / On Syntagma, patriotic songs blared out over loudspeakers. At the 'Yes' camp, thousands rallied in front of the old Olympic Stadium to Beethoven's "Ode to Joy," the anthem of the European Union. There appeared to be fewer people than in the 'No' crowd.br / br / "I prefer to vote 'Yes', have a few more years austerity and give my child a better future," said unemployed economist Marina Peppa, 45. "It's not going to be easy, but if 'No' prevails we'll have Armageddon, total poverty."br / br / With tension building, police fired stun grenades and briefly scuffled with a few dozen black-clad people carrying red flags, often carried by anti-establishment radicals. The violence appeared to be isolated.br / br / In a televised address earlier in the day, Tsipras seized on a report by the International Monetary Fund - which argued that Greece's massive public debt could not be sustained without significant writedowns - as vindication of his rejection of the lenders' terms.br / br / Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis called the IMF report "music to our ears." Regardless of the outcome of the referendum, Greece will need some 50 billion euros as well as a massive debt writedown, the report said.br / br / European policy makers, however, issued fresh warnings of the costs of a 'No' vote in a plebiscite called with just eight days' notice after the breakdown of talks with the European Commission, the IMF and the European Central Bank.br / br / Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble dismissed Tsipras' argument that his government would be able to move smoothly to negotiate more favorable terms if Greeks backed his rejection.br / br / "If the Greeks will vote 'No', the Greek position is dramatically weakened," Juncker told a news conference.br / br / img alt="greece" src="http://i.huffpost.com/gen/3149892/thumbs/o-GREECE-570.jpg?1" /br / font size="2"emGreek protesters hold a placard reading 'No' during a demonstration calling for a 'No' vote in the upcoming referendum in Athens on July 3, 2015. (ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)/em/fontbr / br / img alt="greece" src="http://i.huffpost.com/gen/3149894/thumbs/o-GREECE-570.jpg?2" /br / font size="2"emGreek protesters shout slogans during a demonstration calling for a 'No' vote in the upcoming referendum in Athens on July 3, 2015. (ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)/em/fontbr / br / BRINKMANSHIPbr / br / Tsipras is betting Europe will compromise rather than let Greece slip out of the euro zone. But behind the rhetoric, there were more concrete signs of the pressure Europe can exert on Greece.br / br / The euro zone's rescue fund, Greece's largest creditor, said it was reserving the right to call in 130.9 billion euros of debt ahead of time after Athens defaulted on an IMF loan.br / br / With banks shuttered all week, cash withdrawals rationed and commerce seizing up, Sunday's ballot could decide whether Greece gets another last-ditch financial rescue in exchange for more harsh austerity measures or plunges deeper into economic crisis.br / br / One in four Greek workers are jobless; the economy has shrunk by a quarter since 2009.br / br / Tsipras' opponents have pointed to the fact that the referendum is on a deal that is no longer on the table, accusing him of recklessly endangering the country's future.br / br / Greece's top administrative court, however, rejected an appeal against the referendum by two Greek citizens, who argued that the constitution bars plebiscites on fiscal issues and that the question is too complex.br / br / The 'No' campaign has directed much of its venom at Germany, the euro zone's dominant power and Greece's biggest creditor.br / br / One poster plastered in central Greece shows a picture of German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble with the slogan: "For five years he's been sucking your blood. Tell him NO now."br / br / But fueling fears of worse to come, the Financial Times reported that Greek banks were making contingency plans to possibly "bail in" depositors, a prospect Greek leaders have repeatedly denied.br / br / The report said plans to shave off at least 30 percent on deposits above 8,000 euros were "an increasingly likely scenario for at least one bank," as part of a restructuring of the bank sector once Greek is back in a bailout program.br / br / Louka Katseli, head of Greece's Bank Association and chair of the National Bank of Greece, dismissed the report as "completely baseless."br / br / He told Skai TV: "There are no such scenarios at any Greek bank, not even as an exercise on paper." br / br / img alt="greece" src="http://i.huffpost.com/gen/3149900/thumbs/o-GREECE-570.jpg?2" /br / font size="2"emSupporters of the 'Yes' campaign attend a rally and listen to speeches at the Olympic Stadium in preparation for Sunday's referendum on July 3, 2015 in Athens, Greece. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)/em/fontbr / br / a name="liveblog"/aHH--LIVEBLOG--4386--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/233194191695/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1950a/sc/25/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194191695/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1950a/sc/25/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194191695/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1950a/sc/25/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194191695/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1950a/sc/25/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194191695/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1950a/sc/25/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194191695/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1950a/sc/25/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194191695/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1950a/sc/25/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194191695/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1950a/sc/25/a2.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/233194191695/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d1950a/sc/25/a2t.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/47d1950a/sc/25/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

European Countries Tried To Block Release Of IMF Analysis On Greece: Report

16 hours 38 min ago
By Paul Taylorbr / br / BRUSSELS, July 3 (Reuters) - Euro zone countries tried in vain to stop the IMF publishing a gloomy analysis of Greece's debt burden which the leftist government says vindicates its call to voters to reject bailout terms, sources familiar with the situation said on Friday.br / br / The document released in Washington on Thursday said Greece's public finances will not be sustainable without substantial debt relief, possibly including write-offs by European partners of loans guaranteed by taxpayers.br / br / It also said Greece will need at least 50 billion euros in additional aid over the next three years to keep itself afloat.br / br / Publication of the draft Debt Sustainability Analysis laid bare a dispute between Brussels and the Washington-based global lender that has been simmering behind closed doors for months.br / br / Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras cited the report in a televised appeal to voters on Friday to say 'No' to the proposed austerity terms, which have anyway expired since talks broke down and Athens defaulted on an IMF loan this week.br / br / It was not clear whether an arcane IMF document would influence a cliffhanger poll in which Greece's future in the euro zone is at stake with banks closed, cash withdrawals rationed and commerce seizing up.br / br / "Yesterday an event of major political importance happened," Tsipras said. "The IMF published a report on Greece's economy which is a great vindication for the Greek government as it confirms the obvious - that Greek debt is not sustainable."br / br / At a meeting on the International Monetary Fund's board on Wednesday, European members questioned the timing of the report which IMF management proposed at short notice releasing three days before Sunday's crucial referendum that may determine the country's future in the euro zone, the sources said.br / br / There was no vote but the Europeans were heavily outnumbered and the United States, the strongest voice in the IMF, was in favor of publication, the sources said.br / br / The Europeans were also concerned that the report could distract attention from a view they share with the IMF that the Tsipras government, in the five months since it was elected, has wrecked a fragile economy that was just starting to recover.br / br / "It wasn't an easy decision," an IMF source involved in the debate over publication said. "We are not living in an ivory tower here. But the EU has to understand that not everything can be decided based on their own imperatives."br / br / The board had considered all arguments, including the risk that the document would be politicized, but the prevailing view was that all the evidence and figures should be laid out transparently before the referendum.br / br / "Facts are stubborn. You can't hide the facts because they may be exploited," the IMF source said.br / br / IMF spokeswoman Angela Gaviria declined comment on this report.br / br / POLITICALLY ANATHEMAbr / br / Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said in a blog post the IMF had upheld the Syriza party government's contention for the last five months that debt relief should be at the center of the negotiations.br / br / "Puzzlingly, all this fine research by the good people at the IMF suddenly evaporates when IMF functionaries coalesce with their ECB and the European Commission colleagues in order to impose upon our government their chosen policies," he wrote.br / br / The IMF argues that Greece's debt burden of nearly 185 percent of gross domestic product can only be made sustainable if the euro zone provides considerable extra financing through a mixture of new loans and a debt restructuring.br / br / This is politically anathema in Germany, the biggest creditor country, and most other euro zone states, where no leader wants to explain to taxpayers that the money they lent to Athens will never be coming back.br / br / Euro zone governments insisted in five months of talks this year that a lengthening of loan maturities and a reduction in interest rates would only be considered after Greece had implemented its commitments under a 2012 bailout deal, including painful structural reforms and public spending cuts.br / br / In Brussels, the way the IMF communicated the findings was seen as confusing, misleading and politically unhelpful.br / br / The European Commission had produced its own debt sustainability analysis, based partially on IMF data, which is less pessimistic in its scenarios and is one of the documents mentioned on the Greek referendum ballot paper.br / br / Diplomats said the IMF's publication of the study was a way of making clear it would only be part of any future loan pact with Greece if the Europeans included debt relief in the mix.br / br / Germany and its north European allies have said the IMF's presence is indispensable both to win parliamentary backing for aid for any euro zone partner, and to keep the European institutions honest. Berlin suspects the European Commission of being too soft on Greek efforts to wriggle out of reforms of pensions, taxation, public sector wages and labor law.br / br / The European Central Bank, the third partner in what used to be called the "troika" of bailout enforcers, is also keen to keep the IMF involved. (Additional reporting by David Chance in Washington; editing by Anna Willard)br / br / a name="liveblog"/aHH--LIVEBLOG--4386--HHbr / 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/233194192537/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d13383/sc/24/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194192537/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d13383/sc/24/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194192537/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d13383/sc/24/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194192537/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d13383/sc/24/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194192537/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d13383/sc/24/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194192537/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d13383/sc/24/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194192537/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d13383/sc/24/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194192537/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d13383/sc/24/a2.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/233194192537/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d13383/sc/24/a2t.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/47d13383/sc/24/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

7 Problems The Women's World Cup Needs To Fix

Fri, 07/03/2015 - 23:36
The 2015 Women's World Cup has featured amazing athletes dazzling us for weeks. Fans have been pouring out nationalist kumbaya feelings on Twitter, television and in the streets of host country Canada a href="http://www.fifa.com/womensworldcup/news/y=2015/m=6/news=tv-audiences-grow-in-world-cup-quarter-finals-2654416.html" target="_hplink"in record numbers/a. br / br / But those snapshot moments of adulation are only possible because the players themselves have put up with unholy amounts of bullshit, courtesy of FIFA, a href="http://www.outsports.com/2015/6/22/8828353/andy-benoit-sports-illustrated-women-soccer" target="_hplink"some/a a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/07/01/alex-morgan-sexist-fifa-profile_n_7705760.html" target="_hplink"media/a a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/12/stephen-a-smith-sexist_n_7571434.html" target="_hplink"members/a and even their own coaches. Let's count the things we know. br / br / strong1. FIFA is run by trash individuals/strong. FIFA, an organization a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/20/fifa-billion-revenue-world-cup_n_6914224.html" target="_hplink"powered by an annual revenue that amounted to $2 billion last year/a, is lead by the top-down leadership of president Sepp Blatter, who’s been in office since 1998. br / br / The self-proclaimed a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02qw29r" target="_hplink"“godfather of women’s football”/a is the same creepy 79-year-old godfather who suggested in 2004 that a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2004/jan/16/football.gender" target="_hplink"players should wear tighter shorts to “create a more female aesthetic.”/a But he didn't feel compelled to have a woman a href="http://www.fifa.com/about-fifa/news/y=2013/m=5/news=nsekera-first-female-elected-the-fifa-executive-committee-2088890.html" target="_hplink"join FIFA’s board until 2013/a. Even the one woman given any sort of difference-making power within FIFA, anti-bribery expert Alexandra Wrage, a href="http://www.theguardian.com/football/2013/apr/22/anti-bribery-resigns-fifa" target="_hplink"quit her post in April 2013/a after her proposals were ignored. Yup, it’s that bad for women in FIFA. br / br / strong2. The world-class athletes playing in the Women's World Cup must do so in conditions way worse than those of their male peers./strong To start, consider this number: $343 million,a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/fifa-womens-world-cup-prizes-2015-6" target="_hplink" the gap in prize money/a between the 2014 World Cup and the 2015 Women’s World Cup, according to Business Insider. Germany received $35 million for winning last year’s final. The winner of USA-Japan on Sunday will take home $2 million. br / br / FIFA also a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/us-germany-staying-in-same-hotel-before-world-cup-semis-2015-6" target="_hplink"housed opposing teams in the same hotels/a for their stay during the Women's World Cup, being incredibly inconsiderate and creating unnecessary off-pitch tension, not to mention awkwardness for players. Who the hell wants to share a continental breakfast alongside the ladies you’re trying to crush? br / br / blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"p lang="en" dir="ltr"I can answer Jill Ellis's question on whether men's World Cup teams also have to stay in the same hotel as their opponent. They don't./p— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) a href="https://twitter.com/GrantWahl/status/615666938300264449"June 29, 2015/a/blockquotebr / script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"/scriptbr / br / strong3. The literal playing field isn't equal either because of the turf surfaces being used./strong Forty international women’s soccer players, including Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan, actually a href="http://espn.go.com/espnw/news-commentary/article/11868149/sydney-leroux-explains-why-turf-terrible-soccer-players" target="_hplink"sued FIFA in 2014/a over their insistence on a href="http://www.theplayerstribune.com/womens-world-cup-megan-rapinoe/" target="_hplink"having the World Cup (men or women’s) played on turf/a for the first time ever, a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/soccer/2015/01/21/womens-world-cup-artificial-turf-lawsuit/22111983/" target="_hplink"citing Canadian gender discrimination law/a. The suit was dropped this past January, but it’s etched itself into the consciousness of the players. American midfielder Megan Rapinoe expanded on this in May.br / br / “a href="http://www.theplayerstribune.com/womens-world-cup-megan-rapinoe/" target="_hplink"I think the more technical, possession-oriented teams will have a harder time adjusting to turf,/a” she wrote on The Player’s Tribune. “Teams that play a run-and-gun, disruptive style will have an easier time on turf. The ball bounces differently — it tends to skip off the surface instead of settling down. It also feels different when you run. And that’s the crucial point: I think the turf will be a lot harder on our bodies.” br / br / Low and behold, Rapinoe was right. According to The Guardian, the average goals per game, when adjusted for outliers, a href="http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/jun/18/womens-world-cup-artificial-turf" target="_hplink"drops below the 2011 World Cup’s goal rate/a. Earlier in the tournament, Wambach noted the difficulties the turf was causing her. This is a scary, painful surface to play soccer on. br / br / “a href="http://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/06/abby-wambach-uswnt-world-cup-turf-goals" target="_hplink"I’m way more carefree [on grass],/a” Wambach said after the opening match against Australia. “I throw my body. I’m not worried about anything. There’s no second-guessing.”br / br / blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"p lang="en" dir="ltr"This is why soccer should be played on grass! a href="http://t.co/fsNGi27oRY"pic.twitter.com/fsNGi27oRY/a/p— Sydney Leroux Dwyer (@sydneyleroux) a href="https://twitter.com/sydneyleroux/status/323630086249140224"April 15, 2013/a/blockquotebr / script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"/scriptbr / br / strong4. The refs aren't top of the line either./strong To compound the problems with turf, there have been officiating problems on the pitch too. The all-women referee crews of the World Cup -- a novel mandate a href="http://espn.go.com/espnw/news-commentary/2015worldcup/article/13106566/why-bad-refs-huge-problem-women-soccer" target="_hplink"pushed by FIFA to improve opportunities for women within the game/a -- are questionable choices to call games played by the world’s fastest players, because they lack the high-level experience. The lack of quality refs has exposed itself in poor ways, like in a href="http://fansided.com/2015/06/12/sydney-leroux-handball-video-uswnt-world-cup/" target="_hplink"this missed handball penalty against Team USA/a in their match against Australia. Why not just hire the 22 best referees for the most important soccer tournament of the year? br / br / IMG SRC="http://i.imgur.com/AeeDF1P.gif" WIDTH="570" HEIGHT="321"br / centeremfont size="2"Carli Lloyd put the moves on Germany to setup Kelley O'Hara's dagger on June 30. (Source: Vice)/em/center/fontbr / br / strong5. FIFA's placed an onus on money and ratings over fairness and competition./strong These are issues that strike at the integrity of the game -- admittedly, a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/27/fifa-arrests-corruption_n_7450358.html" target="_hplink"not FIFA’s forte/a. The most unforgivable, however, is the purposeful a href="http://www.si.com/planet-futbol/2015/06/11/womens-world-cup-structure-fifa-germany-france-sweden" target="_hplink"rigging of the competition to boost match attendance and television ratings/a. Instead of seeding the top-ranked teams and conducting a random draw -- like they do with the men to ensure the best sides don’t all knock each other out early in the tournament -- FIFA decided to select the groups themselves and schedule certain teams in specific time zones to make it easier for television viewers back at home. br / br / A lopsided bracket proved to be problematic in the quarterfinals, when No. 1 Germany had to play No. 3 France with the winner expected to play second-ranked Team USA. On the flip-side of the bracket, fourth-ranked Japan has predictably cruised to the Final. This seriously pissed off France, who a href="http://www.fifa.com/womensworldcup/matches/round=268018/match=300269498/" target="_hplink"lost to Germany on penalties last Friday/a. Star French midfielder Camille Abily lashed out at FIFA after the match:br / br / “a href="http://www.lequipe.fr/Football/Actualites/Camille-abily-qu-ils-arretent-de-nous-prendre-pour-des-cons/569878#xtor=CS1-12" target="_hplink"At some point they have to stop taking us for idiots,/a” she told L’Équipe. “I’m sorry but if they did a real draw, maybe we would not have played Germany or the United States after." br / br / FIFA: Where morality and good sportsmanship are squeezed out and shunned at the behest of the television industry and matchday ticketing operations. Grand. br / br / iframe width="570" height="321" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ehnMEjHyIgM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen/iframebr / centeremfont size="2"Norway's women's team tackled sexist haters in this hilarious satirical segment released in June./em/center/fontbr / br / strong6. Damaging amounts of apathy from men who work in women's soccer./strong To seriously correct these blatantly sexist tropes of inequality, it’ll take more than an every-four-years wave of outrage. Former U.S. captain Julie Foudy told The Huffington Post last Friday that deeper, more cultural problems of apathy need to be addressed first. br / br / “a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/26/julie-foudy-womens-world-cup_n_7675020.html?utm_hp_ref=sportsir=Sports" target="_hplink"Look at Spain/a. Same coach for 27 years. One World Cup appearance and two appearances in the European Championships. They’re never demanding more. It shows the apathy," Foudy said. br / br / Ah yes, let’s look at Spain. On the men’s side, they’re known as the world’s top footballing country of the 21st century. In June, the Spanish women didn’t win any of their Group Stage matches and, upon returning home, the players a href="http://www.mundodeportivo.com/futbol/femenino/20150619/20531931824/las-jugadoras-de-la-seleccion-femenina-piden-el-cese-del-tecnico.html" target="_hplink"called for the firing of manager Ignacio Quereda in a shocking open letter/a. br / br / In it, they revealed a laundry list of sexism and misogyny leveled against them by Quereda, along with complaints concerning the lack of preparation done pretournament and the limited prematch analysis and studying they did of their opponents. According to his own players, Quereda would call them “a href="https://www.google.com/search?q=chavalitasoq=chavalitasaqs=chrome..69i57.122j0j7sourceid=chromees_sm=91ie=UTF-8#q=chavalitas+meaning" target="_hplink"chavalitas/a” and “a href="http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/ni%C3%B1a" target="_hplink"niñas/a,” or just straight-up fat when their fitness levels weren’t to his liking. This is a man who’s had the same job for 27 years, all while a href="http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/mar/27/womens-football-hope-powell-fifa-world-cup" target="_hplink"only 8 of the World Cup’s 24 teams are led by women coaches/a. br / br / Seeing the merits of improving the women’s game are obvious: The Women’s World Cup makes us happy, a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/26/upshot/why-you-should-root-for-nigeria-or-brazil-mexico-or-ghana.html?_r=0" target="_hplink"as all World Cups generally do/a. It shouldn’t have to be like a href="http://espn.go.com/espnw/news-commentary/2015worldcup/article/13060258/why-all-watch-women-world-cup-my-sons-do" target="_hplink"eating your vegetables/a, but considering where we currently stand, it's treated as if it is. br / br / IMG SRC="https://metrouk2.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/lucy-bronze-goal-gif.gif" WIDTH="570" HEIGHT="321"br / centeremfont size="2"Lucy Bronze fired this missile of a goal against Norway to give England their first ever knockout stage win on June 22. (Source: Vice)/em/center/fontbr / br / strong7. Male soccer players aren't doing their part./strong Since corrupt men hold all the power at FIFA, and therefore hold the future of the women’s game between their dry, cracking fingers, it’s important for rational, responsible men of soccer to speak up. MLS veteran Robbie Rogers, the first openly gay player in league history, published an espnW column on this exact topic on Tuesday.br / br / “a href="http://espn.go.com/espnw/news-commentary/2015worldcup/article/13175358/why-men-need-stand-women-soccer-confront-fifa" target="_hplink"Breaking down the barriers of discrimination is only possible when we stand together,/a” wrote Rogers. “Women -- across diverse races, orientations, identities and experiences -- have stepped outside of themselves throughout history to stand up for human rights. Men -- we, too, need to step up and be visible allies.” br / br / IMG SRC="http://i.imgur.com/T1vByTn.gif" WIDTH="570" HEIGHT="321"br / centeremfont size="2"Japan scored one the best team goals you'll ever see against the Netherlands on June 23. (Source: Vice)/em/center/fontbr / br / It’s a needed call to action that Tim Howard, the U.S. men’s national team’s star goalkeeper, should take to heart. br / br / On June 4, he spoke to The Huffington Post on the turf controversy, saying, “It’s disappointing. I feel for the women. I’ve spoken to a few who I’ve come to know over the years and have supported, and it’s unfair for them to have to play a tournament on astroturf.”br / br / The purity of the game extends beyond a turf pitch though. It delves into what we, as fans, athletes and critics know is right, and what is wrong. What we know is this: FIFA disrespected the hell out of the women of the World Cup. br / br / And they responded in the best possible way: By playing through contact and scoring out of love for their country and their sport. That’s where the purity of the game ultimately rests. 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/233194187184/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d10cf4/sc/28/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194187184/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d10cf4/sc/28/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194187184/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d10cf4/sc/28/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194187184/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d10cf4/sc/28/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194187184/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d10cf4/sc/28/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194187184/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d10cf4/sc/28/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194187184/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d10cf4/sc/28/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194187184/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d10cf4/sc/28/a2.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/233194187184/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d10cf4/sc/28/a2t.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/47d10cf4/sc/28/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

This Man Is Trying To Get The Whole World To Say 'Thank You'

Fri, 07/03/2015 - 23:11
What would happen if we decided to create a global chain of gratitude?br / br / A new initiative out of Spain, called a href="http://www.100thanks.com/" target="_hplink"100Thanks/a, aims to build this chain with the power of the Internet. Its motto is "100 things learned are 100 things for which to be thankful." Its objective is to spread the spirit of thankfulness around the world.br / br / The man behind the plan is Jose Luis Caceres, an industrial engineer based in Madrid who, like so many others, has suffered the consequences of the recession. "In 1997, I made a website as my graduation project. It went so well that I started making a living from it. But three years ago I started losing clients, like a lot of businesses, and everything collapsed. I went through a bad period,” he told HuffPost Spain.br / br / Caceres, however, came to a realization: He needed to remember the good things. br / br / "I would send myself an email every night with the things from that day that I should be thankful for, and I would read it the next day. Sometime later, I realized that it's a very powerful form of psychological therapy," he said.br / br / He thought others, too, would benefit from saying "thank you" more often, and so the idea of 100Thanks came to Caceres.br / br / The 100Thanks platform offers a space where people can create their own notebooks with things to be thankful for. Although the individual entries are private, the locations of those creators are tracked on a map that shows the newly forming network's reach around the world. There are also options for people to share their entries through social networks and to send certificates to those they wish to thank. "At a time when individualism and the loss of values are being highlighted, 100Thanks proposes a change," the website says.br / br / “The project has a lot of potential and quite a bit of acceptance among people," Caceres said. The website was publicly launched in late May. The event in northwest Spain included talks with people such as athlete Victor Tasende, who overcame a horrible childhood accident that left him unable to walk, and surfer Aitor Francesena, who coaches the best Spanish surfers despite the fact that he is blind. br / br / The 100Thanks site is a nonprofit effort. "If it made a profit, it would lose all the magic. We want everyone to use it and to free themselves this way," Caceres said. "I've been asked several times if I was inspired by the movie 'Pay It Forward.' But the idea of gratitude is older than this film." br / br / "I encourage everyone in the world to try it," he said.br / br / emThis post a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.es/2015/07/01/cadena-agradecimientos_n_7470096.html?utm_hp_ref=asi-si" target="_hplink"originally appeared on HuffPost Spain/a and has been translated from Spanish to English. /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/233194188618/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d09aaf/sc/28/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194188618/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d09aaf/sc/28/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194188618/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d09aaf/sc/28/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194188618/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d09aaf/sc/28/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194188618/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d09aaf/sc/28/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194188618/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d09aaf/sc/28/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194188618/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d09aaf/sc/28/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194188618/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d09aaf/sc/28/a2.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/233194188618/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d09aaf/sc/28/a2t.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/47d09aaf/sc/28/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

A Careful Look at Greece's Options and Why Yes Is the Only One

Fri, 07/03/2015 - 22:28
Paul Krugman and Joe Stiglitz have vociferously advocated voting no in the Greek referendum. Their main argument is based on the effect of austerity on the Greek economy and on the possibilities open to Greece following a refusal of the current deal. Indeed, they imply, that once free from the rigors of EU fiscal controls Greece and able to at last devalue Greece will be capable of reinventing itself and solve its woes.br / br / pFirst, lest there is any doubt in anyone's mind, both Krugman and Stiglitz see the no vote not so much as a negotiating tactic, but as the first step out of the Eurozone. So let us abandon the pretense that this is merely a way to strengthen the government's negotiating position. The argument then has to be about the merits of leaving the Euro or not./pbr / br / pBefore entering that discussion let me first be clear: Most Greek economists, myself included, who are advocating a yes were not happy with the way the bailouts were organized. They were clearly the result of a messy compromise reflecting the internal politics of the Eurozone. I, for one, would have desired a slower process of fiscal adjustment and debt restructuring as a response to implementation of reforms. This does not mean that Greece must now turn its back to Europe/pbr / br / pUnderstanding the consequences of leaving the Euro has to be analyzed in two separate parts: first the consequences during the transition to the drachma and second the long-term outlook for the Greek economy with its own currency./pbr / br / pThe transition is, of course, hugely important. Contrary to what Krugman believes, the worst of that transition has inot/i already happened. First, it is important to remember that until January, before the new government took over, Greece had started growing, unemployment was in decline and had even managed to access the credit markets. /pbr / br / pIf Greece votes no, the most likely outcome will be a breakdown of negotiations with the Eurozone, simply because a significantly better deal will not be approved by the parliaments in many of the Eurozone countries -- it is not consistent with itheir/i mandates. With no deal the banks will not receive any liquidity assistance and will not be able to open to the public. Since trading in the real economy will collapse, the government, with no revenues to speak of, will be forced to print a parallel currency to run the state (police, hospitals, public sector etc.). /pbr / br / pFirst, this is illegal under Eurozone rules and secondly bad money drives out good. So this will effectively mean Grexit. Deposits will be redenominated in the new currency and will lose at least half their value in the ensuing devaluation of the parallel currency. Inflation will follow and the resulting purchasing power and wealth will be decimated. This will lead to an austerity not even imagined on the basis of what happened in the last five years or what is to come if we vote YES. So Krugman is iwrong/i in reassuring us that the worst has already come. This is an irresponsible statement not backed up by any evidence./pbr / br / pIn the longer-run Greece will stabilize at a much lower level of wealth than before. With the absence of any outside discipline it will maintain the statist and clientelist economy it has lived with for years. Just look at the legislative initiatives since February in rehiring public sector workers, in dismantling recent education reforms and of course the huge amount of nepotistic appointments that surpass anything we have seen before. The point is not that the Greek public sector is much larger than others in the EU, but that it is totally ineffective. This combined with numerous regulations prevents Greece from being productive. No amount of devaluation or stimulus will change that. It will just cause inflation and volatile exchange rates, reinforced by governments printing money to satisfy their political ends./pbr / br / pWhat we see here is not a fight between ileft /iand iright/i. It's a contrast between extreme populist policies that seem to claim that prosperity can be gained with no cost and no effort versus careful thinkers who are trying to chart a way out of the current quagmire for Greece. Leaving the Euro would, not only impoverish Greece in the short-run but would also allow the worst excesses of populism to displace any hope for reform and growth, allowing Greece to slip down the rank of wealthy nations, which it achieved with great effort post-war. /pbr / br / pA better deal for Greece is a must. But it has to be accompanied by hard work and well-structured reforms. Stimulus is fine for short run smoothing of economic fluctuations and yes, too much austerity was imposed as a result of internal EU politics. But this does not mean that abandoning monetary stability and refusing to reform can lead to anything desirable. We need to vote YES, make a deal to stabilize the economy and then work hard to rebuild Greece./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/233194190097/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d083f1/sc/24/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194190097/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d083f1/sc/24/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194190097/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d083f1/sc/24/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194190097/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d083f1/sc/24/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194190097/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d083f1/sc/24/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194190097/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d083f1/sc/24/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194190097/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d083f1/sc/24/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194190097/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d083f1/sc/24/a2.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/233194190097/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d083f1/sc/24/a2t.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/47d083f1/sc/24/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor

At Ramadan, An Online Petition For Female Reciters

Fri, 07/03/2015 - 21:56
(RNS) To many non-Muslims, Ramadan is about fasting, and later, feasting. But Muslims know Ramadan as the month of the Quran, a time when the sacred scripture is recited, read and rehearsed.br / br / Many Muslims attempt to listen to the Quran in its entirety during the month of fasting, either by attending evening prayers called “tarawih,” or more frequently by listening to CDs, podcasts, and online software programs such as a href="http://quranexplorer.com/" target="_hplink"QuranExplorer.com/a.br / br / But searching for a recitation from a female “qariah” or reciter, Jerusha Lamptey, assistant professor of Islam and ministry at Union Theological Seminary, found none.br / br / So she launched a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23AddAFemaleRecitersrc=tyah" target="_hplink"#AddAFemaleReciter/a campaign on Twitter, directing her efforts at the popular QuranExplorer.com site and other Quran recitation apps urging them to add women reciters. So far, her a href="http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/addafemalereciter" target="_hplink"online petition/a has received more than 175 signatures.br / br / “This is an issue of representation and inclusion,” Lamptey said. “There’s nothing that bars females from reciting the Quran. In fact it is incumbent on all Muslims to learn it and recite it daily without distinction in gender. But many women don’t hear or see people who look or sound like them reciting the Quran.”br / br / The sticking point, said Lamptey, was not whether women could read or recite the Quran but whether they could do so before a mixed-gender audience — in person or online.br / br / Two years ago, the Islamic Society of North America — the largest umbrella organization for Muslims in the U.S. — caused a stir when Tahera Ahmad, a female chaplain at Northwestern University, performed a public recitation of the Quran at its annual conference.br / br / Some Muslims reject the female Quran reciters because they may distract or sexually arouse men gathered for prayer. This perspective allows girls to recite publicly, but only until the age of puberty. Others say women can recite, but not in a “showy” manner.br / br / Such views are being challenged by scholars such as Omid Safi, professor of Asian and Middle Eastern studies at Duke University, who said it’s ultimately the responsibility of men to control their own urges; it is not fair to impose those restrictions on women.br / br / Lamptey, too, thinks it’s time for a more mature understanding of the sexes.br / br / “What kind of view says that men can listen to a woman’s voice and not be inspired toward God, but only inspired toward lust?” she asked.br / br / For its part, QuranExplorer responded to Lamptey on Twitter and asked her to “provide us with some links to audio of female reciters so that we can evaluate it.”br / br / Lamptey provided multiple links from the likes of Ahmad and others such as Sumaya Abdul Aziz Eddeeb of Egypt, Sharifah Khasif Fadzilah Syed Badiuzzaman of Malaysia, and Seemi Ghazi of Canada — many of whom are authorities in the art of reciting the Quran.br / br / Indeed, in many parts of the world, including Indonesia, Morocco, Egypt, Malaysia, and Saudi Arabia, women regularly take part in Quran recitation competitions.br / br / “The recitation of the Quran is to be celebrated in every voice,” said Safi. “When we exclude the voice of women, we are depriving all of us of half the possibility of experiencing God.” 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/233194185775/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d00630/sc/7/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194185775/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d00630/sc/7/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194185775/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d00630/sc/7/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194185775/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d00630/sc/7/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194185775/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d00630/sc/7/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/233194185775/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d00630/sc/7/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"//abr/br/a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194185775/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d00630/sc/7/a2.htm"img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/233194185775/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d00630/sc/7/a2.img" border="0"//aimg width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/233194185775/u/60/f/677102/c/35496/s/47d00630/sc/7/a2t.img" border="0"/img width='1' height='1' src='http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/c/35496/f/677102/s/47d00630/sc/7/mf.gif' border='0'/
Categories: News Monitor