I am a Muslim, a Christian, a Jew and a Buddhist too. If you don't like it, then this place is not for you, but as long as you don't force your beliefs on anyone, you're welcome to join in, it doesn't matter if you're a liberal, a republican or just simply you.
For our readers from other regions of the world who are not familiar with The National Enquirer - it's that American publication most known for dishing out dirt on celebrities (with real stories and fabricated ones) among other things. It seems obvious Telquel is headed in the same direction, desperately seeking readership as of late.
Morocco is to pay parents to send children to schools in a system so bad that there is no drinking water in three quarters of rural establishments, the country's education minister said Saturday.
Ahmed Akhchichine told the newspaper Journal Hebdomadaire that a new government programme would tackle neglect of the education of poor children especially in rural areas, saying a similar scheme had already proved effective in Mexico.
"We are going to pay parents to send their children to school," said Akhchichine.
"At present, 75 percent of countryside schools have no drinking water and 80 percent have no toilets," he revealed.
Girls can give up going to school entirely because of the absence of toilet facilities, the minister admitted.
Moroccan school education did not meet the hopes of society, he said.
It's always great to see minorities elevate their status -- in this case a Jewish woman from the Persian Gulf. From the JTA via the Jerusalem Post:
Bahrain will name a Jewish ambassador to the United States, a report said.
Huda Azar Nunu, a Jewish woman who is a lawmaker in Bahrain's upper house, will be named to the Washington position, according to a report this week in A Sharq al-Awsat, a Saudi-owned pan-Arab daily published in London.
"The sources denied that the appointment of Nunu as a woman and a Jew is a public relations campaign by Bahrain in the West, emphasizing that Huda Nunu has proven her qualifications, whether through her membership in the Consultative Council or through her work in human rights associations, of which she is an active participant in Bahrain," the newspaper said.
Bahrain, a Persian Gulf state sandwiched between Iran and Saudi Arabia, has a tiny Jewish population dating back to Talmudic times. Nunu is descended from Iraqi Jews who migrated to the port of Manama in the late 19th century. Jews in Bahrain have kept a low profile but generally have been treated well.
It is despicable to abuse and/or murder women for not doing what they are told. (How sad that I actually need to state the obvious.) Although it goes generally unspoken, the fact of the matter is that women are by far the largest victims of hate crimes across the globe. We see brutality against women and girls occur for so many reasons ... and I don't see why it is still relatively tolerated in a cross-section of societies, whether through silence or even outward support.
For whatever it's worth, you may be interested to know that Abby Ferber from the University of Colorado, has written a book called, Homegrown Hate: Gender and Organized Racism, in which she demonstrates that male anxiety toward women drive racist and bigoted tendencies. It's a rather interesting concept. I don't want to do her research misjustice by boiling it down to a cheap soundbyte, but essentially she stipulates that anxiety towards women creates internal hostilities in some men, which come out against "the other," in dysfunctional ways. Read it yourself and make up your own mind.
Residents of a western Baghdad neighbourhood have said militant groups in the area are hunting down women and killing them, and have appealed to parliament to do something, a member of parliament (MP) said on 22 April.
"Over the past six months 15 women were killed in al-Salam neighbourhood for religious reasons or because they had criticised the militants, or because of their previous affiliation to the Baath Party [disbanded party of ousted President Saddam Hussein]," MP Safia al-Suhail told IRIN.
Al-Suhail, who is also a woman activist, said the latest incident occurred in the past 10 days when gunmen shot dead a woman in front of her house because she had criticised the militants.
The next day, when her husband erected a huge tent near his house to receive mourners, the gunmen ordered the husband not to hold funeral rites, and torched the tent, al-Suhail said.
A Dutch school director preparing an exhibition on Anne Frank found a Christmas postcard signed by the Jewish teenage diarist, the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam said Wednesday.
Maatje Mostard, of the museum, said the card was sent in 1937 and addressed to Samme Ledermann, one of Frank's best friends. It was postmarked from Aachen, a town just across the Dutch border in Germany.
The postcard, with a picture on the front of a Christmas-decorated bell in the foreground and a snow-covered field behind it, was signed 'Anne Frank' with no other handwritten message. Mostard said it was the second such card the museum had seen. "We know it's an original," she said.
The teacher, Paul van den Heuvel, found the Christmas greeting in a box of cards in the antique store owned by his father in the town of Naarden, 15 kilometers east of Amsterdam. Van den Heuvel was gathering material on Anne Frank for his school to mark Liberation Day, the May 5 anniversary of the end of German occupation, when he came across the card.
The museum was informed of the find Tuesday by a journalist. "I don't know what he will do with it. We hope we can get it for our collection," Mostard said.
The museum, which encompasses the small Amsterdam apartment where the Frank family hid from the Nazis for 25 months, has the largest collection of documents and papers on Anne Frank, whose diary is the most widely read book relating to the Holocaust.
Anne, her parents and sister and four other Jews hiding in the apartment were arrested in August 1944 and deported to Auschwitz. The sisters were later sent to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where Anne died of typhus in March 1945, two weeks before the camp was liberated. She was 15.
It happened in Woodstock and in John Lennon and Yoko Ono's bed. When used for democratic purposes, music is a universal language that can negotiate peace.
So hopes Aaron Shneyer a Georgetown University graduate from America. Armed with a BA in Anthropology, the 24 year-old musician and songwriter has traveled to Jerusalem on a year long MTV and Fulbright scholarship to help make music in the Middle East.
His ambitious plan is to unite Israeli and Palestinian high school youth and turn them into a recording and performing band through his project Heartbeat:Jerusalem.
Today there are 12 Muslim, Christian and Jewish high school students in the band. Despite the ongoing conflicts in Jerusalem, they meet once a week in a professional studio in the city where they jam, write songs together and share each other's unique musical heritage.
Some 5,000 visitors are expected in Rabat to sample a vast number of different dishes to be served on a 300-m buffet - possibly the world’s largest!
Themed "together to bring our peoples closer through our cultures", this event will gather the most popular dishes of some twenty countries in a "festival of taste and fondness of good food" is also meant to bring peoples closer through presenting their cultures (gastronomy, folklore and musical heritage) and offers the opportunity to participants to share the friendship.
In addition to world dishes, this event will also feature artistic events (paintings, sculpture and traditional arts) of the participating countries, as musical and dancing bands will come from the four corners of the world to perform in the Moroccan capital.
Girls practice basketball in Kurdistan, northern Iraq. The Iraqi Basketball Assn. is trying to revive the sport, which has been crippled by war, inadequate financial backing and the challenges facing women in a nation that is increasingly religiously conservative. (Source:Asso Ahmed / ForThe Times)
SULAYMANIYA, IRAQ — The tallest player on the women's national basketball squad is 5 feet 7 inches. She and her teammates cannot practice in the nation's capital because of poor security. And in northern Kurdistan [actually, northern Iraq is southern Kurdistan -- PV], where they are now based, they practice outdoors, often in frigid temperatures.
"The people, they don't like the girls to play," said team member Rajwa Abdul Ahad, 28. "They say, 'No . . . it's bad for you.' But I don't care because basketball, it is in my blood."
"I think we are the best place for women's sports in all of Iraq," said Rizgar Mohammed Raouf, a physical education professor at Sulaymaniya University and representative of the local basketball federation.
But building the team hasn't been easy, particularly when the participants lack basic skills and the coaches themselves have no formal training. Getting funding in the soccer-crazed, male-dominated country is also difficult, said Sameera Abdulla, head of the women's sports office for the Kurdistan Olympic Committee.
But Abdulla said the head of the National Olympic Committee promised: "If I helped you before with one hand, I will help you now with two hands. Let me assure you, there is a chance for women."
As in many other sports, the team is often overshadowed by the men's basketball team.
This week the team traveled to Syria to compete in the West Asia Women's Basketball Championship, an event that has received almost no media coverage. They were knocked out by Iran.
Since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the ragtag national team has competed a couple of times in other Middle Eastern countries. The Iraqis were beat soundly by women who towered over them, sometimes losing by as many as 50 points.
"We cannot beat any team," Abdulla said, "but I think we will get better."
Dunya Najat, 26, of Sulaymaniya did not begin playing until she went to college -- in part because her parents would not allow it. Now she is married to the basketball coach and plays on the national team. Her hope, she said, is that Iraq will become safer and that the team will be able to travel again to Lebanon and Jordan. And from there, who knows?
"I want to be famous," she said. "I want to go to America to see how they play. I hope to see Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal."
Although the national team has several players in their 20s, coaches have their eye on young talent, girls who have expressed passion in the sport and persuaded their parents to let them play. This month, about 40 girls 12 to 14 years old have started practicing with eight new coaches.
Kausar Mahdi, 17, said she has loved basketball since seventh grade, but had been rebuffed by her father. "He said: 'Care about your lessons. Care to go to a good college.' But after three years, I asked my father again and he said, 'OK.' "
She watched games at school and her father helped her put up a hoop at home. "I'm not really good," she said. "I have to practice more."
Farther north in Irbil, 14-year-old Romrama Shamael Nano dribbles and shoots in a brand-new gymnasium, where she joins other aspiring female basketball players. Their gym is the nicest in northern Iraq, but they can practice and compete only when their coach isn't busy with his three other teams.
"I want to be a very good player," Romrama said. With the completion of the new gymnasium, the players hope more tournaments will be scheduled so they can do more than just practice.
"Now we have an opportunity," said Abdulla, of the Olympic Committee. "Kurdistan is free. It is different from the south and the middle. We want to make the Iraqi people be together, especially in sports."