Rabbi shot in Jerusalem increases clashes

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has condemned the Israeli closure of the al-Aqsa mosque compound as a “declaration of war”, while clashes raged in east Jerusalem after Israeli police shot dead a Palestinian man suspected of shooting and wounding a far-right rabbi.

Israel temporarily shutdown the flashpoint religious shrine on Thursday in what police called a temporary measure aimed at calming tempers following Wednesday’s shooting of Yehuda Glick, which they called an attempted assassination.

The rabbi survived the attack, and the hospital where he was being treated said he was in a serious but stable condition. Continue reading Rabbi shot in Jerusalem increases clashes

West Africa’s Ebola crisis and IMF

In recent months, as the spreading Ebola emergency took center stage in Washington, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have pledged $530 million to help Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. And in October, at a special session with African leaders on Ebola during the IMF/World Bank annual meetings in Washington, DC, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said that in addition the aid, the IMF would depart from its notorious budget austerity, and actually allow the hard-hit west African nations to increase their budget deficits: “We don’t normally say this!” she emphasized. To which the Guinean president, Alpha Condé, responded, “I’m extremely pleased to hear the IMF Managing Director [say]… that we can increase our deficit, which is quite a change from the usual narrative.” Continue reading West Africa’s Ebola crisis and IMF

Only The Longest Thread – An immersive and riveting journey through the Eureka moments in Physics

Longest Threads BookTasneem Zehra Husain is a writer, educator, and Pakistan’s first female string theorist. She holds a PhD from Stockholm University and did post-doctoral research at Harvard University. Husain is fascinated by scientific theories, how we engage with them, and how they change us. She explores these themes in her fiction and nonfiction writing, her popular talks, and the educational workshops she conducts for science teachers. Husain is actively involved in science outreach, and frequently delivers talks about theoretical physics to students and lay audiences. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Book Review:

Tasneem’s debut popular science novel Only The Longest Thread is now available for preorder. Only The Longest Thread is an immersive and riveting journey through the Eureka moments in Physics – from Newton’s Principia to the Higgs Boson. A series of historical novellas, set against a tapestry of a budding present day romance, transports you back in time to experience discoveries as they unfold. Even though this is primarily a work of science writing, the book is replete with lyrical beauty and compelling fiction. If you ever had an interest in Physics or enjoy quality prose, I strongly recommend it.

Continue reading Only The Longest Thread – An immersive and riveting journey through the Eureka moments in Physics

Israel buying Palestinian property thru UAE

The United Arab Emirates has played a big role in selling the houses of Arabs in Silwan, south of Al-Aqsa Mosque, to Israeli settlement construction companies, a senior member of the Islamic Movement has revealed.

In an interview with Al-Quds news channel, the vice chairman of the Islamic Movement in Israel Sheikh Kamal Khatib said: “Perhaps the coming days will reveal more. One should mention however, that a large sum of money was transferred from the UAE to a Palestinian bank and that bags of money were handed over to approximately 34 families who owned apartments in Silwan.” Continue reading Israel buying Palestinian property thru UAE

Saudi women’s eyes are too tempting for Saudi Arabia’s religious police

Saudi Arabia has announced that it has the right to cover women’s eyes—‘especially the tempting ones.’
“I love the looks of you, the lure of you
The sweet of you, and the pure of you
The eyes, the arms, and the mouth of you
The east, west, north, and the south of you”
—Cole PorterIt’s a safe bet that Sheikh Motlab al Nabet, spokesman of Saudi Arabia’s religious police, isn’t a fan of Cole Porter. “The lure of you” is precisely why Nabet announced yesterday that the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice will cover any women’s eyes that are deemed “tempting.” “The men of the committee will interfere to force women to cover their eyes, especially the tempting ones” he said. “[We] have the right to do so.”

Continue reading Saudi women’s eyes are too tempting for Saudi Arabia’s religious police

Should Chinese president support an anti-America blogger

China olympics us fan (By Robert Foyle Hunwick) Did you know that in America, workers toil for a lowly $3 to $5 an hour? And that’s hardly enough to live on when “a meal at a roadside cafe costs $20-$40 per person.”

These odd and erroneous claims are some of many made in “Broken Dreams in America,” an essay by Zhou Xiaoping. The 33-year-old has become the official toast of Beijing since Chinese President Xi Jinping singled him out (along with fellow blogger Hua Qianfang) for special praise at a “Forum on Art and Literature” this month. President Xi hailed their work as possessing “positive energy.” Continue reading Should Chinese president support an anti-America blogger

Apple’s Cook says he’s proud to be gay

(By Abby Ohlheiser) “I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me,” Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a Bloomberg Businessweek essay, discussing his sexual orientation for the first time in public.

Now that Cook has come out, some people and groups who oppose LGBT rights have spoken out about Cook.

But the reaction to his announcement has mostly stayed true to the recent environment, in which high-profile coming-out statements are followed by a relative lack of controversy — perhaps a sign that LGBT orientations are no longer a viable wedge issue in the mainstream. Continue reading Apple’s Cook says he’s proud to be gay

Pakistan’s National Bank collected Rs 411 million illegal fees from passport applicants

The National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) collected Rs411 million in form fees from passport applicants between 2007 and 2013 without the  approval of the finance ministry and the central bank, according to the Auditor General of Pakistan’s report for 2013-14.

The bank continues to charge applicants even though the AGP’s office has termed the charges “irregular”.

In 1975, the finance ministry and the State Bank of Pakistan decided that citizens applying for new passports and visas would pay the National Bank of Pakistan Rs1 as fee. In 1986, the charges were increased to Rs2 for each application. The interior ministry later increased the charges to Rs25.

Continue reading Pakistan’s National Bank collected Rs 411 million illegal fees from passport applicants

Real reasons for Mubashir Lucman ban

Mubasher Lucman prior to his ban from television (Photo: Rao Awais Mehtab)On October 17 of this year, investigative journalist Mubasher Lucman was banned for life from television in Pakistan. The case was taken up suo motu by the judiciary and found that Mr. Lucman maligned the judiciary egregiously enough to merit a lifetime ban from appearing in any capacity on television. As he says, “I cannot even host a game show.”

Mr. Lucman has covered many topics since entering televised journalism in 2006. He has become well known for investigating government corruption despite reprisals including three untimely visits to his home by the police, threats against his 14 year-old son and 12 year-old daughter, as well as having a gun fired in his general direction.

Continue reading Real reasons for Mubashir Lucman ban

What’s next for Homosapiens?

Yuval Noah Harari is a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He sees the possibility of humanity engineering itself into "a very different kind of being."<br />
By: Jennifer Hunter

The author of Sapiens, a new history of humankind, says technology is transforming us from biological creatures to something akin to bionic cyborgs. “This is not science fiction,” Yuval Noah Harari tells The Star’s Jennifer Hunter. “Look at how humans are becoming inseparable from mobile phones . . .”

Modern humans are descended from beings who emerged in East Africa two and a half million years ago. As they travelled to other parts of the world our ancestors developed different traits and became Homo Sapiens. In his book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, traces the historic evolution of humans from apes to the future possibility of an engineered people whose DNA has been altered.

Continue reading What’s next for Homosapiens?