I first heard the word "Armenian" while eavesdropping on the conversations of elderly Muslim women. Back when I was a child in Istanbul, there was a small bakery my grandma would send me to for the best yufka in the neighborhood. The place was owned by a modest couple, a short woman who never smiled and her shorter husband who always did. Coming home from there one day, I found a group of women in our living room sipping their teas and praising the yufka of this small bakery as they reached for the pastries. Then I heard one of them ask, "Are these bakers Armenians?" My grandma nodded as she said: "But isn't it obvious? They are such a hard-working couple." One by one the women shared with each other memories of the Armenians they knew back in their childhoods in Sivas, Erzurum, Van, Istanbul, etc.
This is one of the main reasons why many Iraqis were and still are disappointed with America. No, these Iraqis do not hate America as most like to think, they're just disappointed with her for not fitting the image they had in their minds; the just tyrant that should've taken full responsibility for some time until they could find their own just tyrant who would make their life much better without forcing them to share a burden and a responsibility they never thought it was among their duties as citizens.I just exclaimed "they get it!" when I read the last part. Beautiful. Thimbleful of the best cognac to ördög! No, make that two thimblefuls!
In the same sense, many Iraqis looked for the January elections to bring the long awaited Iraqi savior even if it meant many saviors not just one. They saw the advantage of multiple leaders/democacry and welcomed it but did not expect that these leaders would have so many differences and find a huge difficulty in agreeing on a common major goal.
Thus, Iraqis are brought back again to the same point where they have to ask questions and keep an eye on events. And with time and through these changes, it has become obvious to an increasing number of Iraqis that they can never go back to that idle state were they left everything to whoever in charge and instead they're gradually seeing how important their role in making their lives better, and I have no doubt that soon most Iraqis will find that not only they have a role they should play but that this role is in fact the main one.
Following the ethnic unrest in southern Iran, in the Arab majority region of Khuzestan on the Persian Gulf, the government of President Mohammad Khatami has decided to cut-off internet connections in many cities. "The decision was taken following the use of the internet by those involved in the protests, for communication purposes that had the security of the state at risk," according to the Tehran-based Mehr news agency.Information wants to be free and mullahs are doing everything they can to stop the flow of truth into the outside.
International inspectors fear that nuclear weapons components and specialized tools were diverted from Libya and sent to another country.
The 2003 shipment was initially meant for a secret $100-million, uranium enrichment plant and bomb factory being built for Libya by Pakistan's A.Q. Khan and his associates, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
But it never arrived and International Atomic Energy Agency officials fear it went to an unidentified customer seeking to build nuclear bombs. Libya has since given up on its nuclear bomb making plans.
IAEA staffers are working out of an office in Vienna to find the missing components and tools. They are being supported by intelligence officials and prosecutors from other countries, including the United States, Germany, Britain, France, South Africa and Switzerland.
To date, seven people have been taken into custody in Dubai, Germany, Malaysia, South Africa and Switzerland.
The location of the missing items remains a mystery.
Naima Ghoani, a 30 years old nurse from a Moroccan origin, who resides in Italy, expressed her wishes to chair the Friday prayer in one of the mosques, located at the suburbs of the Italian capital, Rome.Two steps forward, one step back.
By doing so, Ghoani is trying to follow the precedent of American woman, Amina Wadud, a professor of Islamic businesses at the University of the Commonwealth in Virginia, who was allowed to chair the Friday prayer in the Episcopal church of Manhattan.
It should be noted that Amina Wadud has already performed the sermon in front of a mixed audience of about 150 people, where some of the women were without the traditional Islamic veil.
However, Naima Ghoani could not follow her American counterpart's example and her request to chair the prayer was unanimously denied by the some 1,500 Muslim worshipers attending this mosque. And EMarrakech reports that these worshipers also went on to demand that the person in charge, who agreed to receive Naima Ghoani's request, will be dismissed.
The cycle of violence between the Jews and the Egyptians continues with no end in sight in Egypt. After eight previous plagues have destroyed the Egyptian infrastructure and disrupted the lives of ordinary Egyptian citizens, the Jews launched a new offensive this week in the form of the plague of darkness.(a nice big matzo to Jefe, Portia and cba)
Western journalists were particularly enraged by this plague. "It is simply impossible to report when you can't see an inch in front of you," complained a frustrated Andrea Koppel of CNN. "I have heard from my reliable Egyptian contacts that in the midst of the blanket of blackness, the Jews were annihilating thousands of Egyptians. Their word is solid enough evidence for me." While the Jews contend that the plagues are justified given the harsh slavery imposed upon them by the Egyptians, Pharaoh, the Egyptian leader, rebuts this claim. "If only the plagues would let up, there would be no slavery. We just want to live plague-free. It is the right of every society."
Saeb Erekat, an Egyptian spokesperson, complains that slavery is justifiable given the Jews' superior weaponry supplied to them by the superpower G-d. The Europeans are particularly enraged by the latest Jewish offensive. "The Jewish aggression must cease if there is to be peace in the region. The Jews should go back to slavery for the good of the rest of the world," stated an angry French President JacquesChirac.
Even several Jews agree. Adam Shapiro, a Jew, has barricaded himself within Pharaoh's chambers to protect Pharaoh from what is feared will be the next plague, the death of the firstborn. Mr. Shapiro claims that while slavery is not necessarily a good thing, it is the product of the plagues and when the plagues end, so will the slavery. "The Jews have gone too far with plagues such as locusts and epidemic which have virtually destroyed the Egyptian economy," Mr. Shapiro laments. "The Egyptians are really a very nice people and Pharaoh is kind of huggable once you get to know him," gushes Shapiro.
The United States is demanding that Moses and Aaron, the Jewish leaders, continue to negotiate with Pharaoh. While Moses points out that Pharaoh had made promise after promise to free the Jewish people only to immediately break them and thereafter impose harsher and harsher slavery, Richard Boucher of the State Department assails the latest offensive. "Pharaoh is not in complete control of the taskmasters," Mr. Boucher states. "The Jews must return to the negotiating table and will accomplish nothing through these plagues." The latest round of violence comes in the face of a bold new Saudi peace overture. "If only the Jews will give up their language, change their names to Egyptian names and cease having male children, the Arab nations will incline toward peace with them," Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah declared.
Candidates backed by conservative clerics dominated the final stage of Saudi Arabia's landmark municipal elections, according to results announced Saturday.
In the kingdom's commercial capital of Jiddah, the seven winning candidates were those whose names appeared on what was dubbed the "golden list" — the picks of fundamentalist clerics.
Five of the six winners in Buraydah, capital of ultraconservative Qassem province, also received a clerical nod, and the holy city of Medina also saw Islamist candidates finishing well. Many Islamists also won seats in municipal council polling elsewhere in February and March.
The three stages of voting were the first nationwide elections in this monarchy. The municipal council posts have little power except for at the local level, but many Saudis jumped at the chance to have even a small voice in politics.
The Saudi monarchy, a longtime ally of Washington, has been under U.S. pressure to make some democratic reforms. But the limited experiment in democracy — only men could vote and run for seats on the half-appointed councils — also appeared to be an attempt to deflate the militant Islamic movement by bringing some Islamists into the system.
The government can balance the makeup of the councils by naming liberals to the portion of seats reserved for government appointees.
Osama Aba al-Khel, head of the electoral committee, announced the results Saturday in Jiddah, one of the most liberal parts of the kingdom. He did not provide winners' political or religious backgrounds. But the candidates, like the clerics, have made their views known.
"We are an Islamic country and we are Islamists. We will stick to our Islamic values in fulfilling our duties according to the book and al-Sunnah," said winning Jiddah candidate Bassam Jamil al-Khadher, referring to the Quran and sayings of Islam's founding Prophet Muhammad.
Al-Khadher denied there was any coordination or formal list, which would have been illegal under Saudi election rules. However, the list of names was widely circulated on the Internet and through mobile phone text messages.
"Of course, our respected scholars support us. We are people known for our public service. It is only natural that we will get such support," al-Khadher said.
Nabil Qamlu, a liberal lawyer who lost to one of Jiddah's "golden" candidates, accused the powerful clergy of interfering in the elections. Some losing candidates were expected to lodge complaints with the election commission, which largely ignored such complaints made before the vote.
"This is neither democracy nor equal opportunity," Qamlu said. "Who has given them such power to determine whom should the electorate choose.
"For the next election, I must grow a beard in order to get elected."
Abdel-Rahman al-Yamani, who secured the most votes in Jiddah — nearly 12,000 of the 55,000 cast in the municipality — attributed the Islamists' success to popular support rather than a well-organized clerical campaign.
"We are religious people by nature and secular people are not accepted by the society," he said.
In Buraydah, a city known as a hotbed for Islamic militancy, only one of the six winning council members was not among the clerics' recommendations — that was a businessman with strong tribal backing.
Thursday's voting was the last of three rounds and included the holy city of Mecca as well as the northern areas of Hail, Tabuk and Jouf on the northern frontier with Iraq and Jordan. A total of 244 seats were contested.
Japan's biological warfare experiments are, however, less well documented. Initiated under a signed order from the Japanese emperor - a factor Wang believes explains why, to this day, Japan has not fully opened its archives on the subject - Japan established a series of chemical and biological weapon research centres across China.Read it all, I don't know what to believe any more. Bringing Japan's biological war to light
Japanese scientists conducted experiments using the local population as human guinea pigs, she says.
Typically, whole villages were exposed to various pathogens, such as the bubonic plague or cholera, and then monitored for effects.
Documents seized after the war ended show that some people - referred to as "monkeys" by the scientists - were even taken to the centres and vivisected without anaesthetic so scientists could see the effects of the diseases on the internal organs.
At the clinically named Unit 731 in the northeast Chinese city of Harbin, several thousand people - some prisoners of war, others civilians - were kept inside the centre and injected with pathogens directly.
Others were tied up outside in the freezing winter temperatures so scientists could see the body's reaction to frostbite.
In one town that Wang is working with in Zhejiang province, six different germs were tested on the civilian population between 1940 and 1942.
Using testimony from Japanese soldiers, and records from the local centre for disease control, Wang has shown that over 300,000 people were affected by the tests, which included plague. Some 50,000 died.
Scientists also researched how best to deploy these potential weapons. At Unit 731, now a museum, records show how the military perfected bombs that could securely carry germs, or their animal hosts, and not destroy them upon impact.
Historians' estimates say as many as 300,000 people died as a result of these tests, although as most of the relevant documents were either burnt or taken back to Japan, the actual figure remains unknown.