For years, in the silence of midnight, Gamila Khir secretly perfected her homemade olive oil and herb soaps. When she launched her soap-making business, her Druse neighbors and even her husband mocked her.Efforts help Israeli Arab women try to make it in the business world
Now that she runs two factories, employs 26 workers and sells her products as far away as the United States, Hong Kong, Japan and the Netherlands, no one is laughing anymore.
“People told my husband, ‘What is your wife doing? It’s not natural. Take her to a psychologist.’ But now everyone congratulates me and says ‘Way to go.’ But at the beginning it was very hard," said Khir, 65, her silver hair covered with the sheer white headscarf worn by traditional Druse women.
Khir, who had to drop out of school when she was 7 to help her parents farm, spoke at a recent conference in Haifa that highlighted the unique challenges facing Arab women and girls in Israel, especially in the fields of education and employment. In Israel, Arab girls are far less likely to pass high school matriculation exams than their Jewish counterparts and Arab women are the least employed sector in the country.
North Korea no longer wants to negotiate with the United States and four other nations in an effort to ease the ongoing standoff over Pyongyang's nuclear program, China's state news agency said Saturday.I predict China will turn the screw that they claim not to have. Meanwhile we'll ignore this, once again. Kim is really just dying for some attention here. Bzzt, application for attention denied!
The official Xinhua News Agency, citing an anonymous North Korea Foreign Ministry spokesman, said the official reiterated the communist regime's Feb. 10 decision to indefinitely suspend its participation in six-party nuclear disarmament talks. Those parties are the United States, the two Koreas, China, Russia and Japan.
Reviving the stalled talks has taken on greater urgency since North Korea's explosive but unconfirmed declaration earlier this month that it has become a nuclear power.
After announcing it had an arsenal, Pyongyang demanded one-on-one meetings with the United States to discuss the nuclear dispute a move Washington rejected. On Saturday, the North Korean official withdrew that demand.
The North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said Pyongyang no longer was willing to hold direct talks with Washington because of what it described as the United States' alleged persistent attempts to try to topple the communist regime, Xinhua said.
"The DPRK has no justification to take bilateral talks ... on the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula with the United States now," Xinhua quoted the spokesman as saying. DPRK is the acronym for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The comments came as the head of the Chinese Communist Party's international department, Wang Jiarui, met North Korea's No. 2 leader, Kim Yong Nam, in Pyongyang, said the North's official news agency, KCNA. They had a "friendly conversation," the report said without elaborating.
During his stay, Wang Jiarui plans to meet the country's reclusive leader, Kim Jong Il, to give a "strong recommendation" that Pyongyang return to the six-party talks, South Korea's Munhwa Ilbo newspaper reported, quoting diplomatic sources in Beijing
It was not clear how long Wang Jiarui would stay in the North.
North Korea expelled the last U.N. nuclear monitors in late 2002. It is not known to have tested an atomic bomb, although international officials have long suspected it has one or two nuclear weapons and could be making more.
The U.N.'s chief nuclear inspector, Mohammed ElBaradei, called on North Korea's leader to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to return to his nation, offering in an interview released Saturday to go personally if it would help.
Speaking to Germany's Der Spiegel magazine, ElBaradei said his agency has no concrete information North Korea actually possesses nuclear weapons, although he said Pyongyang has the know-how and enough plutonium to make "at least six to eight bombs."
Washington hopes Beijing North Korea's last major ally will use its economic influence on the North to persuade Pyongyang to return to negotiations. China is an indispensable source of fuel and trade for the impoverished North, but Beijing has insisted it has little influence over Kim's regime.
Meanwhile, a North Korean diplomat said in an interview published Saturday that his government has "burned its bridges" behind itself in the escalating nuclear standoff.
Han Sung Ryol, the North's ambassador to the United Nations, said his nation was forced to build nuclear weapons because of plans by Washington for a regime change in North Korea and would never abandon them until the United States promises to end hostility.
"We have no other option but to have nuclear weapons as long as the Americans try to topple our system," South Korea's JoongAng Ilbo quoted Han as saying.
Han also said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's reference to his country as an "outpost of tyranny" during recent U.S. Senate hearings "defines U.S. foreign policy."
"There are two preconditions for our return to the six-party talks," the newspaper quoted Han as saying. "The United States must promise us coexistence and noninterference, and it must make us believe that we can expect concrete results from these talks in making the Korean Peninsula nuclear weapons-free and ending the hostile U.S. policy toward us.
"If the United States withdraws its hostile policy, we will drop our anti-Americanism and befriend it. Then why would we need nuclear weapons?" he was quoted as saying.
China has hosted three inconclusive rounds of six-nation talks since 2003. North Korea refused to attend a fourth round, scheduled for last September, accusing the United States of trying to topple its communist regime.
Notwithstanding its cooperation with the United States in the war against terrorism, Pakistan is probably the “most anti-American country" in the world, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), which advises the US Congress.Radical Islamists and Westernised liberals are hating us? I thought they would be too busy hating each other. And don't they have Indians to hate too? I honestly don't know how they find the time, I try to hate regularly (and there are a lot of people I would love to hate more) and I only manage to do it well once a month at most.
Pakistan is “probably the most anti-American country in the world right now, ranging from the radical Islamists on one side to the liberals and Westernised elites on the other side," according to a CRS analysis up to February 14, reports the Press Trust of India.
The scenario occurs in hospital rooms throughout the world, thousands of times every day. A brain-damaged father or mother or child lies in bed, not completely unconscious, not in a coma, but demonstrating only flickering consciousness, small behaviors that show there is some evidence of the person who once was there, some evidence that this person perhaps knows friends and family members are near by. Medically, these patients are categorized as existing in a minimally conscious state of awareness; it is estimated that there are 100,000 to 300,000 Americans in such a state right now. Sometimes these patients are able to actually utter the name of an object or to follow a very simple command. But for friends and family, they are no longer themselves. And because they find language so difficult, it is also assumed that they are unlikely to follow conversations.Read the whole article, it's fascinating: Mysteries of the mind. It should be mandatory reading for Judge Greer.
But in a stunning study published this month in the journal Neurology, researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging to study the brains of two minimally conscious patients and compared them with the brains of seven healthy men and woman. The scans revealed that the minimally conscious patients had less than half of the brain activity of the others. But then all the subjects were played a tape made by a family member or friend, recounting happy memories and shared experiences. One minimally conscious man listened to his sister reminiscing about her wedding and about the toast that he made. The result was astonishing: All those who were scanned, including the minimally conscious patients, shared similar brain activity, some with activation in the visual cortex. "This shows that there is a life of the mind beyond what is apparent," says Joseph Fins, chief of the medical ethics division of New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center. But Fins, who was not involved in the study, points out that philosophical questions also emerge. "Does this mean that they are seeing words? Visualizing semantic concepts? Does this in some way conceptualize consciousness?" As Zaltman points out, language is only the narrowest determination of our thoughts. This study shows that our brains, even damaged brains, are exquisitely attuned to that fact.
"I think there has been some softening up in the attitude toward Bush after the successful democratic elections," said Johan Hermann Rump, 29, a student in Copenhagen, Denmark.Well, Johan my man, you're right! Check this out:
"He's a bad man," she said.See this is good, we've moved from "Hitler" to "very, very, very bad." And that was only counting the liberation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Imagine if we get the mad mullahs next (which 70% of Germans think we will do anyway)- Bush might even get to be called a "jerk."
"A very, very, very bad man," chimed in her husband, Francisco.
"An egoist," said Miriam. "He doesn't think about the people."
"George Bush, with his hollow claims of being in an alliance with God, is presenting himself as the boss of the planet with a divine right," commentator Pantelis Boukalas said in an editorial in the Athens daily Kathimerini.This is so encouraging, you have no idea: see, the Greeks used to call Clinton "the boss of the planet" during his eight-year-reign on earth, so this means that the Greeks like Bush at least as much as they liked Clinton, our popular president! I'm telling you, this is very good progress.
"He could take a harder line with Israel to win support in the Arab world," said Ruben Eshuis, a photographer in Amsterdam.We're giving a terrorist supporter and Holocaust denier $350 million condition-free aid, does that score points for popularity?