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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Saudis halt lashing sentence of woman driver


Saudis halt lashing sentence of woman driver
Member of royal family announces decision on Twitter
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has put a stop to the lashing of a woman who defied the kingdom's ban on female drivers, a government official said.
The official declined to elaborate. He spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.

"Thank God, the lashing of Shaima is cancelled. Thanks to our beloved King," Saudi Princess Ameerah Al-Taweel posted on her Twitter account Wednesday. "I'm sure all Saudi women will be so happy,I know I am."
Al-Taweel is the wife of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Amira. Al-Taweel said in a later post on twitter the prince had confirmed the sentence had been revoked by the king.

The driver, Shaima Jastaina, driving car was sentenced on Tuesday to be lashed 10 times with a whip for a violation of the longtime driving ban for women in the ultraconservative Muslim nation.

Normally, police just stop female drivers, question them and let them go after they sign a pledge not to drive again. But dozens of women have continued to take to the roads since June in a campaign to break the taboo. 
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that bans women — both Saudi and foreign — from driving. The prohibition forces families to hire live-in drivers, and those who cannot afford the $300 to $400 a month for a driver must rely on male relatives to drive them to work, school, shopping or the doctor.
There are no written laws that restrict women from driving. Rather, the ban is rooted in conservative traditions and religious views that hold giving freedom of movement to women would make them vulnerable to sins.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Nobel laureate Maathai dies

Nobel peace laureate Wangari Maathai dies of Kenya.

NAIROBI: Kenya's Wangari Maathai, who won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for her environmental work, has died of cancer, the campaigning movement she founded announced on Monday.

"It is with great sadness that the family of professor Wangari Maathai announces her passing away on 25th September 2011 at the Nairobi hospital after a prolonged and bravely borne struggle with cancer," the Green Belt Movement said in a statement.

Born in 1940, Maathai became a key figure in Kenya since founding the movement in 1977, staunchly campaigning for environmental conservation and good governance.

Since its founding, her organisation has planted some 40 million trees across Africa. In the 1970s, she also headed the Kenya Red Cross.

Maathai won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for her environmental work and reforestation in her native Kenya.

She was the first woman in east and central Africa to earn a PhD, and also the first African woman and Kenyan to receive the Nobel Peace prize.

Outside Kenya, Maathai was involved in efforts to save central Africa's Congo basin forest, the world's second largest tropical forest.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Saudi Women Can Vote In National Election.

Saudi Women Can Vote In National Election, King Says
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, considered a reformer by the standards of his own ultraconservative kingdom, decreed on Sunday that women will for the first time have the right to vote and run in local elections due in 2015.
It is a "Saudi Spring" of sorts.
For the nation's women, it is a giant leap forward, though they remain unable to serve as Cabinet ministers, drive or travel abroad without permission from a male guardian.
Saudi women bear the brunt of their nation's deeply conservative values, often finding themselves the target of the unwanted attention of the kingdom's intrusive religious police, who enforce a rigid interpretation of Islamic Shariah law on the streets and public places like shopping malls and university campuses.
The decision to give the women the right to vote and run in municipal elections may not be enough to satisfy the growing ambition of the kingdom's women who, after years of lavish state spending on education and vocational training, significantly improved their standing but could not secure the same place in society as that of their male compatriots.
That woman must wait four more years to exercise their newly acquired right to vote adds insult to injury since Sunday's announcement was already a long time coming – and the next local elections are in fact scheduled for this Thursday.
"Why not tomorrow?" asked prominent Saudi feminist Wajeha al-Hawaidar. "I think the king doesn't want to shake the country, but we look around us and we think it is a shame ... when we are still pondering how to meet simple women's rights."
The announcement by King Abdullah came in an annual speech before his advisory assembly, or Shura Council. It was made after he consulted with the nation's top religious clerics, whose advice carries great weight in the kingdom.
It is an attempt at "Saudi style" reform, moves that avoid antagonizing the powerful clergy and a conservative segment of the population. Additionally, it seems to be part of the king's drive to insulate his vast, oil-rich country from the upheavals sweeping other Arab nations, with popular uprisings toppling regimes that once looked as secure as his own.
In contrast, King Abdullah in August withdrew the Saudi ambassador from Syria to protest President Bashar Assad's brutal crackdown on a seven-month uprising that calls for his ouster and the establishment of a democratic government.
The United States, Saudi Arabia's closest Western ally, praised the king's move.
"Muslim women in our Islamic history have demonstrated positions that expressed correct opinions and advice," said the king.
Abdullah became the country's de facto ruler in 1995 because of the illness of King Fahd and formally ascended to the throne upon Fahd's death in August 2005.
The king on Sunday also announced that women would be appointed to the Shura Council, a currently all-male body established in 1993 to offer counsel on general policies in the kingdom and to debate economic and social development plans and agreements signed between the kingdom with other nations.
The question of women's rights in Saudi Arabia is a touchy one. In a country where no social or political force is strong enough to affect change in women's rights, it is up to the king to do it. Even then, the king must find consensus before he takes a step in that direction.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Muslims to joined peace conference

Muslims to attend peace conference

Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri is to issue a declaration for global peace at the Peace for Humanity event at Wembley Arena
Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri is to issue a declaration for global
peace at the Peace for Humanity event at Wembley Arena

More than 12,000 Muslims are to attend a peace conference at Wembley Arena.

The Peace for Humanity event is to be addressed by a leading Islamic scholar who will call for an end to terrorism and violence.

Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, founder of Islamic organisation Minhaj-ul-Quran International, which is behind the London conference, will issue a declaration for global peace, saying: "We reject unequivocally all terrorism because at the heart of all religions is a belief in the sanctity of the lives of the innocent.

Video messages of support from Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Labour leader Ed Miliband will be shown to those attending.

Mr Clegg said: "Your conference today is even more important than usual - coming together to talk openly and candidly about the issues that can divide people but crucially the values that unite us too, tolerance, human rights, peace, and belief in opportunity for all, a faith in young people and their potential to learn from our mistakes, from the mistakes of the past, to help tackle discrimination and prejudice, building communities that are strong, where we take on our problems together."

Mr Miliband said in his message that the "values of tolerance, understanding and of bringing people together" demonstrated by the conference was "exactly what our society needs".
He said: "A month or so ago we saw the terrible riots that affected some of our major cities but what we also saw was the vast majority of people, right across this country, coming out, cleaning up and saying 'no' to the violence that we saw on our streets.

"It's exactly that message of peace, harmony and working together that I know your conference is designed to promote. And indeed the way you come at the issues that you'll be talking about today, your faith, is such an important part of British life."

A collective multi-faith prayer will be said at the event, and a campaign to get a million signatures to back the declaration for peace will be launched.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Palestinian bid upstages Arab Spring at UN

Palestinian bid upstages Arab Spring at UN
Hillary Rodham Clinton, sharing a podium during the United Nations General Assembly with half a dozen of the world’s most powerful political women, was waxing enthusiastic about the success of the Arab uprisings when she gave a sudden shout-out to Tunisia.
“Minister! Thank you, minister,” Mrs. Clinton enthused as she pointed toward the country’s new minister of women’s affairs. “I think we should give Tunisia a round of applause.”
By rights, this should be the year of Arab uprisings at the yearly gathering of presidents, kings and other potentates. Some of the world’s longest-serving tyrants (and once star attractions among the weeklong marathon of speeches) have been overthrown. The fresh faces here represent nascent Arab governments that profess to want to follow the principles of human rights and good government that the United Nations embodies.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A final push to avert UN showdown,Set to meet Israeli, Palestinian leaders


President Barack Obama in final push to avert UN showdown
President Barack Obama was to meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders Wednesday as diplomats scrambled to persuade Mahmud Abbas to drop a bid for UN membership of a Palestinian state.
Both the United States and the Europeans appeared to be working to buy more time to avert the looming clash, with Abbas determined to press ahead with plans to submit a formal application to UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Friday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in New York just hours ahead of his talks with Obama, with Israeli officials renewing an offer of talks here with Abbas.
"We believe the Palestinian bid at the UN is a mistake and it will not advance peace nor advance the establishment of a real Palestinian state," Netanyahu's spokesman, Mark Regev, told AFP as the Israeli delegation arrived.
"Unfortunately, the Palestinian drive at the UN could hurt the chances of reaching a negotiated solution between Israeli and the Palestinians.
"We hope the Palestinians change track and prime minister Netanyahu's offer to start this week in New York direct peace talk stands. He is ready to meet with Palestinian President Abbas."
Obama will meet later Wednesday around 6:00pm with Abbas, as the US leads the diplomatic drive to steer the Palestinians off their course.
"The president will be able to say, very directly, why he believes that an action at the United Nations is not a way to achieve a Palestinian state," national security advisor Ben Rhodes said Tuesday.
Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy were also both set to address the opening session of the UN General Assembly, with French sources saying Sarkozy could unveil a breakthrough in the standoff.
Obama has already called for negotiations to resume using the 1967 lines -- encompassing the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip -- as a starting point for the contours of an eventual Palestinian state.
European diplomats and the Middle East Quartet -- comprising the European Union, the United States, the United Nations and Russia -- were all seeking to head off the confrontation.
Sources close to the negotiations who asked to remain anonymous said the focus was on trying to buy time to allow a broader path towards resuming the direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which last collapsed in September 2010.
One possibility was that Ban would not hand over Abbas's letter straight away to the Security Council, a European source told AFP, adding there were other "diplomatic airbags" that could be used to defuse tensions.
Several diplomats said the aim was to find a plan that would satisfy both sides while also avoiding an escalation of violence in the volatile region.
The Palestinians need nine votes out of the 15 Security Council members for their bid for UN statehood to proceed.
If they fail to attract enough support, then the bid will fail without the need for a US veto, which the US administration has threatened to use.
The Middle East Quartet was seeking to draw up a statement that would coax Israel and the Palestinians back to talks, but British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who met Abbas Tuesday, said it had made "no progress."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Afghans mourn peace broker Rabbani

 Afghans mourn peace broker Rabbani

Hundreds of Afghans marched in Kabul Wednesday to mourn Burhanuddin Rabbani, chairman of the government's peace council, whose assassination threatens to plunge the country into fresh turmoil.
Rabbani, president during Afghanistan's 1992-96 civil war and a warlord with a chequered human rights record, was killed at home Tuesday by a bomber thought to be a trusted emissary bringing a special message from the Taliban.
Although there has been no official word from the Taliban, his killing deals a heavy blow to already remote hopes of an imminent end to 10 years of fighting between Islamist insurgents and the Afghan government backed by Western troops.
President Hamid Karzai rushed back to Kabul from a visit to the United States and chaired an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss plans to give Rabbani an official funeral in the coming days, officials said.
"It will be tomorrow (Thursday) or likely the day after," Sataar Murad, a spokesman for Rabbani's Jamiat-i-Islami party, told AFP. "He will be buried in Kabul but an exact location has not been chosen yet."
Rabbani's killing was the most high-profile political assassination since the 2001 US-led invasion dislodged the Taliban.
That it happened in Kabul's supposedly secure diplomatic zone, close to last week's 19-hour siege which targeted the US embassy, again highlights a sharp rise in spectacular Taliban attacks in Afghanistan.
Under heightened security on Wednesday, several hundred mourners marched to Rabbani's home carrying giant pictures of him and wearing black headbands.
Karzai, whose relations with the West have soured drastically since his fraud-tained re-election in 2009, insisted Rabbani's assassination "will not deter us from continuing down the path we have started".
US President Barack Obama, who has said American combat troops will leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, said Afghans must be allowed to live "in freedom, safety, security and prosperity".
NATO's Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who heads up the alliance leading the foreign military effort to reverse Taliban momentum, said those behind the killing "will not prevail".
Members of Rabbani's entourage said the attacker and an accomplice were invited to his high-security villa as emissaries bringing "special messages" from the Taliban.
One source close to Rabbani, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said the pair were not searched as a sign of trust.
The bomber detonated his explosives as he hugged Rabbani in greeting.
Although there were conflicting reports of who brought in the bombers, the source said they arrived with Mohammad Massom Stanikzai, one of Rabbani's deputies, who was one of four people wounded in the attack.
He added that Rabbani had just returned from Iran especially to meet the two, believing they were important Taliban figures.
Peace Council member Fazel Karim Aymaq said the two visitors claimed to have "special messages" from the Taliban and were thought to be "very trusted".
The High Peace Council put out a message Wednesday eulogising Rabbani as a "great leader of jihad" as well as its chairman.
"His martyrdom is an expression of his ultimate sacrifice to restore harmony in this country," the statement said.

Higher Risk of Second Breast Cancer Seen in Black Women

Health Day News : Higher Risk of Second Breast Cancer Seen in Black Women
Black women who develop breast cancer are more likely than white women to suffer a second cancer in the other breast, and those who are diagnosed under age 45 are more likely to get a primary breast cancer of a more aggressive form, new research indicates.

"When the disease does occur in blacks early on, it tends to be more aggressive, more likely to be estrogen-receptor negative and it is more likely to cause death," study lead researcher Hala Nsouli-Maktabi, a Ph.D. graduate of the George Washington University, said in a news release from the American Association for Cancer Research.

The investigators also found that overall diagnoses of breast cancer are higher in whites compared to blacks. That's because most breast cancer is diagnosed at an older age, when it's more commonly found in white women than black women, they explained.

"While the incidence of breast cancer is generally higher among whites for first-time diagnosis, we found the incidence of the second contralateral diagnosis was higher among blacks," said Nsouli-Maktabi, referring to a later diagnosis of cancer in the other breast. "This was unexpected -- blacks usually have a higher mortality rate than whites from the first cancer, so you would expect blacks to have lower rates of second cancers. Usually, about 4 percent of all breast cancer patients will present with a second primary cancer contralaterally."

For the study, the researchers analyzed data from a registry of 415,664 white women and 39,887 black women diagnosed with primary breast cancer at age 19 or older.
Just under 41 percent developed a second primary breast cancer, of which 4 percent occurred in the opposite breast.
"This should alert the physician to watch patients very carefully," Nsouli-Maktabi explained in the news release. "A cancer in one breast should lead to a careful examination of the other breast over a long period, just in case a cancer develops."

The study findings were slated to be presented Monday at the American Association for Cancer Research Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Washington D.C. The data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Surgeons Separate Conjoined Twin Girls who’s Heads

Surgeons Separate Conjoined Twin Girls who’s Heads :Rital And Ritag Gaboura
Sudanese twins born with the tops of their heads joined together have been separated in a rare and risky series of operations at a London children's hospital, officials said Sunday.

Facing the World, a charity which helps disfigured children, said it had helped fund the four-stage operation on 11-month-olds Rital and Ritag Gaboura.

Twins born joined at the head are known as craniopagus twins and they occur in about one in 2.5 million births. Separating them can be dangerous, especially if — as in this case — there's significant blood flow between their brains.

"It's extremely high-risk," said Dr. James Goodrich, who co-ordinated a similar separation of conjoined twins at New York's Montefiore Children's Hospital in 2004.

But the alternative can be just as bad. Because conjoined twins almost never pump the blood across their bodies evenly, the strongest sibling strains his or her heart trying to pick up the slack. Facing the World said that Ritag's overworked heart was already failing by the time her family arrived in Britain.

The separation took place in stages at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital. Two operations took place in May. Tissue expanders — essentially balloons intended to help stretch the babies' skin over their newly exposed heads — were inserted in July. The final separation took place on Aug. 15.

"Incidences of surviving twins with this condition is extremely rare," lead surgeon David Dunaway said in a statement released by the charity. "The task presented innumerable challenges and we were all very aware of our responsibilities to the family and these two little girls."

The after photograph showed both side-by-side looking alert and healthy, clutching white stuffed animals.

"Within days the twins were back on the general ward interacting and playing as before," the charity said. Its executive co-ordinator, Sarah Driver-Jowitt, predicted that the girls' parents — who haven't been named — may soon return home "with two healthy, separate girls."

Although rare, operations to separate twins linked by their heads aren't unheard of. The U.S. National Library of Medicine records that one of the first successful operations to separate craniopagus twins took place in 1956.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hillary Clinton most popular national political

Hillary Clinton most popular national political 

Americans believe Hillary Clinton would have been a better president than Barack Obama, and two-thirds view her favorably, according to a new Bloomberg News poll.
"The most popular national political figure in America today is one who was rejected by her own party three years ago: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton," Bloomberg News'  John McCormick wrote on the poll's findings, which were released Friday.
While 34 percent of those polled believe "things would be better under a Clinton administration," McCormick wrote, "almost half--47 percent--say things would be about the same, and 13 percent say worse."
By contrast, "35 percent of those polled believe the country would be worse off if John McCain had been elected president," Holly Bailey reported at The Ticket.
"Clinton remains the most popular political figure on the national scene, with 64 percent of those polled saying they have a 'favorable' view of the Secretary of State, Bailey wrote.
"Obama's favorable rating is at 50 percent—even though 49 percent of those polled disapprove of the job he's doing as president. A majority of Democrats say Obama is their best candidate in 2012, though just under a third—30 percent—say they'd prefer to have someone else on the ticket."

Friday, September 16, 2011

Britain, France to help Gaddafi hunt

 Britain, France to help Gaddafi hunt
David Cameron yesterday pledged British help in hunting down Muammar Gaddafi as he and France's Nicolas Sarkozy became the first foreign leaders to visit the new Libya and forces advancing on the fallen strongman's hometown came under heavy fire.
"We must keep on with the Nato mission until civilians are all protected and until this work is finished," the British prime minister told a joint news conference in Tripoli on a lightning visit.
"We will help you to find Gaddafi and to bring him to justice," he said.
The French president said the toppled despot remained a "danger" and that there was a "job to finish" in eliminating his forces' remaining strongholds.
Sarkozy, accompanied by Foreign Minister Alain Juppe on what Finance Minister Francois Baroin called an "historic" visit, insisted there was "no ulterior motive" in Western assistance to the new Libya.
Cameron and Sarkozy, whose forces spearheaded the Nato air war that helped topple Gaddafi, are immensely popular among ordinary Libyans for their role in ending the fugitive strongman's 42 years of iron-fisted rule.
They met the head of the National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, who earlier gave assurances that Tripoli had been sufficiently secured since its capture from Gaddafi forces last month for their visit to go ahead.
Cameron said Nato would continue its UN-mandated air operations until Gaddafi's remaining redoubts around his hometown of Sirte on the Mediterranean coast and in a slew of Saharan oases extending to Libya's southern borders are neutralised.
"We will go on with the Nato mission for as long as is necessary under UN Resolution 1973 to protect civilians," he said.
"And the message I think to Gaddafi and all those still holding arms on his behalf is it is over. Give up. The mercenaries should go home.”
Cameron said Britain would release $950 million in Libyan assets as part of a series of measures aimed at supporting the new authorities in Tripoli.
He also said Britain would release another 12 billion pounds in frozen Gaddafi regime assets as soon as the UN Security Council approved a draft resolution that Britain and France are to put forward on Friday.
The visit came as a large convoy of NTC forces zeroed in on Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte in gruelling heat, confident of overcoming one of the final pockets of resistance.
Fighting erupted after the heavily armed convoy neared houses after driving into the desert town of Wadi Bey, some 130 kilometres southwest of Sirte.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Influential NYC rabbi charged

 Influential NYC rabbi charged with rent fraud

A New York City rabbi who was fired as a Correction Department chaplain for arranging a lavish jailhouse bar mitzvah has been charged with stealing more than $220,000 in federal housing subsidies.
Rabbi Leib Glanz and his brother Menashe Glanz were charged in Manhattan federal court Wednesday with theft and conspiracy for allegedly stealing Section 8 rent subsidies over 15 years.
They were released on $50,000 bond each and declined to comment.
Prosecutors said Menashe Glanz filed false documents to get subsidies for an apartment that his brother lived in.
The city Department of Investigation says the case is the largest individual case of tenant fraud it has ever investigated.
Leib Glanz was ousted as a jail chaplain in 2009 after the extravagant bar mitzvah for a wealthy inmate's son.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A memorable 9/11 anniversary: A day in pictures

A memorable 9/11 anniversary: A day in pictures

Sunday marked the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. America honored the memory of those who lost their lives that fateful day with a variety of memorials, prayer services and personal reflection.

President Obama and the First Lady will visit all three locations of the terrorist attacks -- New York City, the Pentagon and Shanksville, PA. 


911-photos-5-getty.jpg911-photo-1-getty.jpgWe honor the heroes and remember those who lost their lives on this day.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Libyan Rebels tell to loyalist Gaddafi: ‘Surrender or face attack’

Libyan Rebels tell to loyalist Gaddafi:
The ultimatum given by Libyan rebels to of deposed Libyan leader the loyalists Muammar Gaddafi, ‘Surrender or face attack’.

The rebels have claimed that they are closing in on Gaddafi. Rebels’ interior minister Ahmed al-Darrad sees the asylum granted to Gaddafi and his family by Libya as an ‘enemy act’. The rebels demanded that Gaddafi and his family, who were given shelter in Algeria should be returned to Libya.

Rebel leaders seen making attempt to restore order in Libya, According to a report by Sydney Morning Herald,

Reporters touring Tripoli still saw chaotic scenes, including desperate motorists stealing fuel from a petrol station. In the capital's Souk al Jumma neighbourhood, about 200 people pounded on the doors of a bank, demanding that it open.
Rebel fighters were converging on Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte, which is his main remaining bastion, some 400 kilometres east of Tripoli.

The rebels gave pro-Gaddafi forces there a deadline of Saturday - the day after the end of the Muslim holiday - to complete negotiations and surrender.

After that, the rebels will "act decisively and militarily," Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the head of the rebels' National Transitional Council, said on Tuesday.