Khan Continues Demands to Overturn Loss

December 29, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

Amir-Khan1
 

Former super lightweight champion Amir Khan repeated calls this past week for his loss to Lamont Peterson to be overturned or for the sanctioning bodies to mandate an immediate rematch. The split decision, following a fight in which referee Joe Cooper deducted two points from Khan for pushing, so incensed Khan’s handlers that they filed official appeals to both sanctioning bodies, and during a conference call Tuesday afternoon, Khan reiterated his position.

“I think the IBF and WBA should order a rematch in my opinion and also look at the fight the way it was refereed,” Khan said during a conference call while on a train to London. “Let’s just see where we go from here. Overall, it was a great performance from Lamont Peterson  also. We both were happy with the way we fought, but the referee and the judging just spoiled a great night of boxing.”

Cooper deducted a point from Khan in the seventh and 12th rounds that Khan and his team insist came without customary warning. Cooper, however, warned Peterson repeatedly, Khan’s camp said, for coming in low with his head but did not issue a penalty.

Richard Schaefer, chief executive officer of Golden Boy Promotions, which handles Khan’s publicity, also questioned circumstances that unfolded immediately after the fight. The suspicious activity, Schaefer said, included judges taking an exceptionally long time after the fight to pick the winner; judge George Hill’s card showing 10-10 for the seventh round and later changed to 10-8 in favor of Peterson; and the disappearance of an IBF scorecard that had the fight as a draw.

Schaefer said he spoke to IBF Champions Chairman Lindsay Tucker on Monday morning about the incident and was told the IBF supervisor at the fight said the card had vanished. Schaefer also said Tucker told him it appeared to the IBF supervisor that the D.C. boxing commission removed the card while Peterson was in the ring receiving the belt. “Then suddenly two days ago, an IBF scorecard appeared,” Schaefer said. “It looks as if it was made up after the fact. No question about it. Or it was made two days ago. The printing was way too neat and consistent, not consistent with what usually a scorecard looks like. We’re just outlining the facts here. There clearly is some smoke.”

Khan’s camp initially sent the IBF a letter stating its disapproval of the refereeing and judging, and the IBF responded by saying it did not see grounds to overturn the decision. Khan’s team then filed an official appeal that Schaefer said is set to be heard in New York on Jan. 19. Khan’s team is still awaiting an official reply from the WBA.

Peterson, meantime, has not announced an official rematch. Peterson said after the fight that he was willing to fight Khan again, and Schaefer said he approached Barry Hunter, Peterson’s trainer, with a seven-figure offer for a bout at Staples Center on May 19. The process of setting up a rematch, though, appears on hold pending rulings from the IBF and WBA.

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Iraq PM Warns Sunnis Could Be Shut from Power

December 29, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Suadad al-Salhy and Aseel Kami

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq’s Sunni Muslim minority rejected a call for all-party talks on Wednesday, ignoring U.S. pressure for dialogue to resolve a sectarian crisis that has erupted since American forces left the country this week.

With fears mounting that the nation of 30 million might one day fragment in chaos in the absence of the U.S. troops who toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki warned Saddam’s fellow Sunnis they faced exclusion from power if they walked out on his ruling coalition.

The main Sunni-backed party, furious at terrorism charges leveled by the Shi’ite-run authorities against Iraq’s Sunni vice president on the day Americans left, rejected Maliki’s call for all-party talks in the coming days and vowed to try and unseat the prime minister in parliament, a move unlikely to succeed.

Having stuck by a decision to withdraw U.S. forces in 2011, a return of the kind of sectarian blood-letting that killed tens of thousands of Iraqis after Saddam fell could embarrass President Barack Obama as he campaigns for re-election.

Vice President Joe Biden called Maliki and the Sunni speaker of parliament on Tuesday to press for urgent talks among Iraq’s leaders. But there was little sign of a thaw on Wednesday, although it remained unclear how far the rhetoric reflected a real threat to the fragile coexistence of Sunnis with the majority Shi’ites and ethnic Kurds, both oppressed under Saddam.

Maliki, calling on the Kurds to hand over Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi who has taken refuge in their autonomous region, said he wanted Hashemi’s Sunni-backed Iraqiya block to end a boycott of parliament and of his year-old power-sharing government.

“But,” he warned, “If they insist, they are free to do so and they can withdraw permanently from the state and all its institutions.”

SUNNIS SLAM MALIKI

Iraqiya said it would not attend talks with Maliki, “since he represents the main reason for the crisis and the problem, and he is not a positive element for a solution.”

As well as Hashemi, who stands accused of running death squads based on televised confessions by men claiming to be his bodyguards, the other most senior Sunni politician, deputy prime minister Saleh al-Mutlaq, is also under fire from Maliki, who has asked parliament to remove Mutlaq from office.

Hashemi has dismissed the charges against him as a fabrication, a denial that has credibility in Washington, where one U.S. official said he believes the charges were unfounded.

The White House on Tuesday said it was “obviously concerned” about the arrest warrant issued for Hashemi. In his calls to Baghdad, Biden had “stressed the urgent need for the prime minister and the leaders of the other major blocs to meet and work through their differences together.”

Shi’ite leaders insist there is no political motive behind the case against Hashemi. But Sunnis, outnumbered about two to one by Shi’ites, see it as proof that Maliki, now freed of the trammels of U.S. occupation, is determined to tighten his personal grip on government and to marginalize the Sunnis.

In a system devised under U.S. occupation to divide power, Iraq has a Shi’ite prime minister with Sunni and Kurd deputies, a Kurdish president with Shi’ite and Sunni vice presidents, and a Sunni parliament speaker with Shi’ite and Kurd deputies.

Having long shunned the U.S.-backed institutions set up when Saddam’s decades of one-man rule ended, Sunni voters propelled Iraqiya into first place in a fragmented parliament last year. But Maliki was able to draw on other Shi’ite and Kurdish groups to build a coalition, in which Iraqiya eventually took part.

Tensions among the major groups has, however, hamstrung the government, leaving key posts such as that of defense and interior minister unfilled and obstructing legislation that could clarify rules for investing and exploiting Iraq’s vast oil and gas reserves.

Iraq sits astride a Sunni-Shi’ite faultline running through the Middle East, fuelling mutual accusations of foreign influence, whether from Shi’ite Iran to the north or from the Sunni-ruled Arab states to the south.

In an interview with Reuters, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari, an ethnic Kurd, said that the country’s domestic schisms risked inviting more interference from outside:

“As long as your internal front is fragmented and not united … others who want to interfere will be encouraged,” he said. “That’s why it is very important to deal with this crisis as soon as possible.”

(Additional reporting by Serena Chaudry in Baghdad; Writing by Alastair Macdonald)

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Backstreet Internet Call Shops Threaten UAE Telcos

November 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Smith

DUBAI, Nov 9 (Reuters) – In the gritty streets of Deira, the old commercial heart of Dubai, lurks a threat to some of the region’s biggest telecommunications firms.

It is here on the northern bank of Dubai creek, among the grocery stores and barbers, the discount tailors and food stalls, where low-wage workers come after a day’s toil to phone their family and friends overseas.

Instead of using their pre-paid mobile phones, they cram into the sweaty booths of dilapidated backstreet Internet shops to call home at prices a fraction of those charged by telecom operators Etisalat , the United Arab Emirates’ most valuable listed company, and rival du.

These shops dodge government inspectors to offer unlicensed Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services — free Internet-to-Internet calls and cheap Internet-to-phone calls. The UAE’s regulator says only licensed companies can provide VoIP.

“It’s less than a tenth of the cost of Etisalat, that’s why I come here,” said Mansour, 21. The Afghan works in a Deira clothes shop and calls his family in Kabul three times a week from a 14-booth VoIP shop run by managers Mamun and Shajib, both 22.

The Bangladeshi pair have been offering VoIP services for more than a year and spoke on condition that their full names and company details were not disclosed.

“For internet we can only charge 3 dirhams (82 U.S. cents) an hour and that’s not enough to pay two salaries, shop rent, licences and broadband costs,” said Shajib. “We would have shut if it wasn’t for VoIP, but this is very popular and more and more people are telling their friends.

“Most people’s salaries are not even 1,400 dirhams per month and they can’t spend much on the telephone, so that’s why they come here. If Etisalat or du offered the same rates as us, we would close down tomorrow.”

Internet-to-phone calls via Skype, the global leader for consumer VoIP, are intermittently blocked in the UAE, but the Deira shops use other programmes such as Calls Telecom and Call World for Internet-to-phone calls, and these seem to work without hindrance.

Rates start at 0.1 dirham per minute to phone a landline in India, with Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka the other top destinations, Shajib said. Prices to these countries are about 0.25 dirham per minute on average.

To call India, Etisalat and du charge 1.89 dirhams per minute for off-peak calls between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., and 2.40 dirhams at other times.

The regulator sets their tariffs, so the two operators cannot directly compete on price and instead tout various call packages. Etisalat offers subscribers a 60 percent discount on late-night calls to the subcontinent, but its fees are still much higher than the rates offered by Shajib and rival shops.

Etisalat operates across 18 countries but three-quarters of its revenue comes from the UAE, while du is a single-country carrier, and international calls are among their biggest income streams. So VoIP is potentially disastrous for them.

“It’s a losing battle – when you try to ban or restrict something on the Internet, the harder you squeeze, the more it gets between your fingers,” said Oliver Johnson, chief executive of British-based telecoms research firm Point Topic.

“As speeds increase, people will value VoIP more and more and they won’t see why they should make a normal international call instead. Margins on international calls are yesterday’s revenues.”
Four-fifths of UAE residents are expatriates, which spurs demand for international calls. Wealthier Western and Arab residents have better access to the Internet, at home and at work, and were the first to use VoIP services in the UAE; its spread to the lower-income majority could be a game changer for Etisalat and du.

“If VoIP was legal and widely available, it would be a disaster for Gulf operators,” said Pedro Oliveira, partner at consultants Oliver Wyman.

Many smart phones come ready-installed with Skype, which can be used for Internet-to-Internet calls. Operators are pushing these high-end handsets as they try to offset falling profit margins on voice calls by selling data packages, so they are aiding the rise of a technology that could hurt their own businesses. Etisalat’s profits have fallen in six of the past seven quarters.
“There are really three big competitors (in the UAE) and one of those is VoIP…you can see it on the street corner,” said Matthew Willsher, Etisalat’s chief marketing officer.

REGULATION

So far, the UAE telecommunications regulator seems determined to resist the rise of Internet-based phone calls as it tries to protect revenues in the government-controlled sector. Only Etisalat and du are licenced to provide VoIP services, and they have yet to do so. The two companies are majority-owned by government-linked institutions and the sector is an important source of state revenue.
“So long as regulators remain part of the government and the government continues to own controlling stakes, then protectionism will remain high,” said Oliver Wyman’s Oliveira.
In October, Etisalat unveiled plans for ePlus, an online platform it says will include social and instant messaging, plus VoIP calling. But it has not revealed likely prices for VoIP calls and the UAE regulator, which must approve these tariffs, has dampened expectations for any major savings for consumers.

“Do not expect prices to fall drastically just because voice over IP services are launched,” Majed Almesmar, deputy director-general of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, told reporters at an exhibition in Dubai. “We are waiting for them (the operators) to come with certain packages or proposals. We need to look at those proposals.”

As Mansour in Deira explained, low-cost calls are the main motivation for people using VoIP, so rolling out VoIP services that do not offer steep discounts to conventional services would be unlikely to satisfy consumers.

Du has also said it will launch VoIP services, but it is unclear when this will happen; other UAE innovations such as number portability were delayed for over three years and a deal to allow open competition on fixed line services is running late.

Ultimately, fighting VoIP could harm the UAE’s economic competitiveness, some analysts argue.

“Protectionism could harm economic development if it places other industries at a disadvantage to those based elsewhere — eventually, governments could decide these negatives outweigh the positives and loosen VoIP restrictions,” said Oliveira.

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An Historic Achievement by MPAC

July 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Susan Schwartz, TMO

With the proliferation of Islamophobia in the United States and the spike in hate crimes directed at the Muslim community, organizations to counter these phenomena and to project the truth while at the same time working within the Muslim community for empowerment, are essential if we are to survive as a democracy.

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) has stepped up to the bat in these arenas. Last week well deserved formal recognition took place in the form of a telephone call from President Barrack Obama to Haris Tarin. Mr. Tarin directs MPAC’s Washington, D. C. office.

During the course of the conversation the President recognized Mr. Tarin’s work with the Muslim community and through that community to the United States. Specifically, he praised Mr. Tarin’s work with Muslim youth, with interfaith clergy and lay persons, and for empowering the contributions of Muslims through civic engagement.

Mr. Tarin replied by telling the President that MPAC has a deep commitment to this nation and to Islam as do other Muslim institutions.

The telephone call is a testament to the success of MPAC in countering Islamophobia and in working within the Muslim community and reaching outward to other communities to establish roots that make Islam an integral part of the American fabric.

Mr. Tarin was raised and educated in Southern California. He is pursing an advanced degree at Georgetown University where he is studying at the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.

Mr. Tarin, in his capacity as Executive Director, intersects with many government agencies and has addressed numerous conferences and symposia. He is a “go to” person for media outlets.

MPAC was established in 1986. Its vision was and continues to be to establish a vibrant Muslim community and to enrich with Islamic virtues the American society it is a part of. MPAC promotes the leadership of young Muslims, and it is a resource and partner to various government agencies.

Its awards and the programs it has formulated are many. Herewith a few: In partnership with the Progressive Jewish Alliance, MPAC formed New Ground, a group dedicated to Muslim-Jewish understanding; MPAC became a consultant to a television series “Aliens in America”; MPAC Senior Advisor, Dr Maher Hathout, received the John Allen Bugs Award from the Los Angeles Human Relations Commission, and MPAC, after a decade  of work, persuaded the Bush administration to desist from use of the term “jihad” in its official communications.

To find out more about the Muslim Public Affairs Council, please access their web site at: www.mpac.org. Mr. Tarin’s work may also be accessed at that web site.

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Largest Student Union in Europe Joins Boycott of Israel

June 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By James Haywood and Ashok Kumar

The University of London Union (ULU) has voted 10-1 to institute and campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in support of Palestine. The motion called for “thorough research into ULU investments and contracts” with companies guilty of “violating Palestinian human rights” as set out by the Palestinian Boycott National Committee (BNC). Ashok Kumar, Senate member for LSE, speaking in favour of the motion, argued, “We have precedents for boycotting campaigns at ULU, especially with South Africa and the boycott campaign over Barclays bank, that supported the Apartheid regime. We are now responding to the Palestinian call for civil action in support of their fight against racism.”

The motion also called on other students’ unions to join in the campaign for Palestinian human rights. ULU is the largest students’ union in Europe with over 120,000 members from colleges across London. ULU senate consists of the presidents of the 20 students unions representing every University of London University. James Haywood, President-elect at Goldsmiths Students’ Union, stated, “We are delighted that this motion has passed, and with such a clear vote as well. We have seen throughout history that boycotts are a crucial nonviolent tactic in achieving freedom, and target institutions, not individuals.”

Sean Rillo Raczka, incoming ULU Vice President, “I’m delighted that ULU has passed this BDS policy on Israel. We stand in solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian people, and as Vice President next year I will ensure that the University of London Union does not give profit to those denying the human rights of the Palestinians”

The text of the motion passed is as follows:

Union notes:

(1) to boycott is to target products, companies and institutions that profit from or are implicated in, the violation of Palestinian rights

(2) to divest is to target corporations complicit in the violation of Palestinian human rights, as enshrined in the Geneva Convention, and ensure that investments or pension funds are not used to finance such companies

(3) to call for sanctions is to ask the global community to recognize Israel’s violations of international law and to act accordingly as they do to other member states of the United Nations

(4) that in 2009 The Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa released a report stating that Israel was practising a form of apartheid in the occupied West Bank, (http://www.hsrc.ac.za/Media_Release-378.phtml)

(5) that Israel continues to build a 8 metre high “annexation” wall on Palestinian land inside the post-1967 occupied West Bank, contravening the July 2004 ruling by the International Court of Justice (the highest legal body in the world, whose statutes all UN members are party to) and causing the forcible separation of Palestinian communities from one another and the annexation of additional Palestinian land.

(6) that within the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, Israel continues a policy of settlement expansion in direct violation of Article 49, paragraph 6 of the 4th Geneva Convention which declares “an occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into territories it occupies.”

(7) that the Gaza Strip continues to face a suffocating siege from land, sea and air by Israel, and continues to suffer military incursions into the territory by the Israeli army

(8) that Palestinians living in Israel continue to suffer third-class citizenship and are heavily discriminated against from healthcare, education, landownership and in many cases having ‘unrecognized’ villages completely demolished

(9) that there continues to be millions of Palestinian refugees throughout the world who are racially discriminated against by not being allowed to return to their homes in Israel and the Occupied Territories, which is legally recognized under international law, including United Nations resolution 194.

(10) that ULU and the NUS nationally adopted the call for BDS in the 1980s when it was called for by South Africans fighting racism and apartheid

(11) that Ronnie Kasrils, the Jewish South African Minister of Intelligence said “The boycotts and sanctions ultimately helped liberate both blacks and whites in South Africa. Palestinians and Israelis will similarly benefit from this non-violent campaign that Palestinians are calling for.”

(12) that the call for BDS has come from over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations, including student organizations, as well as organizations within Israel and across the global; and that the campaign is founded on the basis of anti-racism and human rights for all

Union Believes:

(1) that unions should work to support the Palestinian people’s human rights and uphold international law

(2) that BDS is an effective tactic, which educates society about these issues, economically pressures companies/institutions to change their practices and politically pressures the global community

(3) that unions have a moral responsibility to heed the call of oppressed peoples, like we did so proudly during the BDS campaign to end South African apartheid

(4) that the BDS movement has united human rights campaigners from different nationalities, races, religions and creeds across the world

Union Resolves:

(1) Institute thorough research into ULU contacts with investments and companies, including subcontractors that may be implicated in violating Palestinian human rights as stated by the BDS movement

(2) Pressure University of London universities and affiliate students’ unions to divest from Israel and from companies directly or indirectly supporting the Israeli occupation and apartheid policies;

(3) Promote students’ union resolutions condemning Israeli violations of international law and human rights and endorsing BDS in any form;

(4) Actively support and work with Palestine solidarity organizations such as the BDS Movement, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, British Committee for Palestinian Universities , Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions

(5) Affiliate ULU to the Palestine BDS National Committee and engage in education campaigns to publicize the injustice of Israel’s discriminatory policies against the Palestinians and its illegal occupation

Contact: James Haywood, President-Elect, Goldsmiths University Students’ Union
http://www.bdsmovement.net/2011/largest-ulu-7064

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Lunch with the “Devil”

June 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Geoffrey Cook, TMO

Jerusalem—May 19th—Your scribe has cultivated a collegial relationship with a progressive American Jewish group, J-Street, who advocate a strong Israel next to a viable independent Palestinian State.  They wish to be able to communicate with American Muslims as natural allies, too, towards concluding a mutual peace throughout the Levant. 

On the date above, Jeremy Ben-Ami of J-Street in Washington invited me to be on a Conference call with Major General Nat Sharoni (retired) of the IDF (Israeli Defense Force); now Director of the  Council for Peace and Security and with  Taras Hassan, a ranking member of Tel Aviv’ Justice (sic!) department.

Your essayist’s stance is close to theirs, curiously enough.  Therefore, although not Jewish by religion, I support their position, and, thus, consider myself as a “fellow traveler.”

Admittedly, it is a “Disaster,” though, that the Jewish State (20% of its population are not Jews) was established in this profusely populated region in the Middle East even though Stalin, only as an example of another possible alternative, had a functioning (Jewish nation) within Central Asia at the time of the latter State’s establishment (1948) built upon the Foundation of the British (Palestinian Arab) Mandate.

If you remember your writer’s study of the Hindu M.K. Gandhi upon the founding of Israel which was published on these pages a bit over a year ago, your researcher was of the opinion that, if the Zionist faction, would have seriously contemplated Gandhi’s propositions, Israel could have emerged as an admirable multi-sectarian( Middle Eastern) entity.

Just last week (May 16th – 21st), as your columnist, was preparing this week’s column, your reviewer received a request out of the University of Bethlehem by a group of impressive Palestinian intellectuals to sign onto a call for a one-State solution.  Your commentator did not, even though I had proposed a Constitutional schema to resolve such an eventuality last year in reply to a memo to the Chair of an assemblage who desired such a resolution to the conflict.    

It is true a one-State solution would destroy Tel Aviv as the Center of a Jewish State.  Instead Israel-Palestine would revert back to the acceptable cultural constitution of the multi-sectarian Ottoman Province and the similar structural mix of the later pre-Partition British Mandate.  

Such leading personalities as Judge Richard Goldstone himself, the lead author of the Goldstone Report on the IDF (Israeli Defense Force’s) aggression against Gaza, and Richard Falk, the former U.N (United Nations’) Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories during the incursion (Operation Cast Lead) from the middle of December 2008 until end of January 2009, believe that a One State solution is the only possible endgame, unfortunately, due to the Settlers’ illegal theft of land from its rightful residents.  Also, a similar posture — based upon dissimilar rationale — is held by leading Palestinian thinkers as, curiously, by some right-wing Jewish individuals.  (The latter consider it to be the only way they could – in any way — ultimately be able to hold onto those settlements.)

This past week the Libyan Civil War, further, raged while NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) continued its ferocious intervention.  In Yemen one of the major tribes is in open revolt against the government.    Syria is close, too, to an out and out civil conflict.  The rest of the lands around the Southern shores of the Mediterranean Sea are at different levels of upheavals or crises.

The Key to the success or failure of the Arab “Spring” lies here within non-Arab Jerusalem.  Whatever reaction Israel might make, very well will determine the success or failure of the “Spring,” and this past week has been a momentous one for the United States, Israel and Palestine (the “Occupied Territories”). 

The U.S. President’s Special Envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, resigned while on the Palestinian side their two violently competing parties, Fatah and Hamas, reconciled to the trepidation of Tel Aviv.  The Israeli Prime Minister Netanayhu came to Washington to address the combined houses of Congress after the U.S. President made an important address on Holy Land peace, also.  The conversation, which will be described in future sections of this extended article, occurred shortly after the latter’s speech.

That middle week of last month was an important period for those from the three above mentioned countries – individuals within them who are striving for a bi-national conclusion to the Arab-Israeli conundrum of the past sixty-three years.  Furthermore, all progressive peoples in these three lands are preparing for this September’s upcoming scheduled crucial vote in the United Nations (U.N.) for Palestinian independence.

Within the Hebrew-speaking populace a twofold homeland outcome is becoming ever more accepted and apparent.     

The American President Barrack Hussein Obama proposed an amazingly even-handed practical basis for negotiation, but the Hebrew Prime Minister instantly — with a politically tactless rebuff – insulted the President’s proffered rational peace principles.   In effect, the latter man rejected any possible proactive participation toward solving the problem; and, thereby, any possibility of a peaceable co-existence between the two populations soon.  In essence, Netanyahu ensured that no motion towards the cessation of hostilities will be made while the current government in Tel Aviv remains.  Furthermore, it is unlikely that there will be a better time than now to begin to reconcile the two sides with the most even-handed American Presidency in Washington since the Nakba (of 1948). 

It was a bad week for all who desire peace.  Most of all, it was a bad meeting for the Israelis for it will guarantee that their “Eternal War” will continue which can only conclude in an unimaginable violent end to their national ambitions at its current pace.  Fortunately, there are high ranking dissidents in the Jewish State whose propositions would be more acceptable to the Palestinian parties, and in future segments of this study you will be able to listen to those.   

The Obama Administration’s central plan to begin the dialogue was that the borders for a new State of Palestine would be based on the pre-1967 borders.  Prime Minister Netanyahu’s repudiation of that request was that those borders were indefensible for Israel, but some of his best military advisors disagree with him, and your reporter will bring influential high-ranking Israelis’ arguments against their P.M. (Prime Minister) in future sections of this extended article.

13-23

Saudi Arabia Tightens Media Laws

May 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Royal order threatens fines and closure of publications that jeopardize kingdom’s stability or offends clerics.

Security has been strengthened in Saudi Arabia in an effort to crush possible protests [AFP]

Saudi Arabia has tightened its control of the media, threatening fines and closure of publications that jeopardised its stability or offended clerics, state media reported.

The tighter media controls were set out in amendments to the media law issued as a royal order.

They also banned stirring up sectarianism and “anything that causes harm to the general interest of the country”.

“All those responsible for publication are banned from publishing … anything contradicting Islamic Sharia Law; anything inciting disruption of state security or public order or anything serving foreign interests that contradict national interests,” the state news agency SPA said.

Saudi Arabia, which is a major US ally, follows an austere version of Sunni Islam and does not tolerate any form of dissent. It has no elected parliament and no political parties.
It has managed to stave off the unrest which has rocked the Arab world, toppling leaders in Tunisia and Egypt.

Facebook call unheeded

Almost no Saudis in major cities answered a Facebook call for protests on March 11, in the face of a massive security presence around the country.

Minority Shias have staged a number of street marches in the eastern province, where most of Saudi Arabia’s oil fields are located.

Shias are said to represent between 10 and 15 per cent of the country’s 18 million people and have long complained of discrimination, a charge the government denies.

Clerics played a major role in banning protests by issuing a religious edict which said that demonstrations are against Islamic law.

In turn, the royal order banned the “infringement of the reputation or dignity, the slander or the personal offence of the Grand Mufti or any of the country’s senior clerics or statesmen”.

King Abdullah has strengthened the security and religious police forces, which played a major role in banning protests in the kingdom.

According to the amendment published on Friday, punishments for breaking the media laws include a fine of half a million riyals ($133,000) and the shutting down of the publication that published the violation.

It also allows for banning the writer from contributing to any media.

13-22

Saudi Arabia Tightens Media Laws

May 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Royal order threatens fines and closure of publications that jeopardize kingdom’s stability or offends clerics.

Security has been strengthened in Saudi Arabia in an effort to crush possible protests [AFP]

Saudi Arabia has tightened its control of the media, threatening fines and closure of publications that jeopardised its stability or offended clerics, state media reported.

The tighter media controls were set out in amendments to the media law issued as a royal order.

They also banned stirring up sectarianism and “anything that causes harm to the general interest of the country”.

“All those responsible for publication are banned from publishing … anything contradicting Islamic Sharia Law; anything inciting disruption of state security or public order or anything serving foreign interests that contradict national interests,” the state news agency SPA said.

Saudi Arabia, which is a major US ally, follows an austere version of Sunni Islam and does not tolerate any form of dissent. It has no elected parliament and no political parties.
It has managed to stave off the unrest which has rocked the Arab world, toppling leaders in Tunisia and Egypt.

Facebook call unheeded

Almost no Saudis in major cities answered a Facebook call for protests on March 11, in the face of a massive security presence around the country.

Minority Shias have staged a number of street marches in the eastern province, where most of Saudi Arabia’s oil fields are located.

Shias are said to represent between 10 and 15 per cent of the country’s 18 million people and have long complained of discrimination, a charge the government denies.

Clerics played a major role in banning protests by issuing a religious edict which said that demonstrations are against Islamic law.

In turn, the royal order banned the “infringement of the reputation or dignity, the slander or the personal offence of the Grand Mufti or any of the country’s senior clerics or statesmen”.

King Abdullah has strengthened the security and religious police forces, which played a major role in banning protests in the kingdom.

According to the amendment published on Friday, punishments for breaking the media laws include a fine of half a million riyals ($133,000) and the shutting down of the publication that published the violation.

It also allows for banning the writer from contributing to any media.

13-22

Houstonian Corner (V12-I6)

February 4, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Picture AS Picture AT

HHRD in Houston Recently Did A Successful In-Kind Donations Campaign For A Container to Pakistan…

METRO Light Rail In CBD Houston

HHRD Sending in Mid-February In-Kind Donations Container to Haiti

With the dedicated help and support of International Courier Services (ICS), Helping Hand For Relief & Development (HHRD) is sending a Container from Houston for the dire needs of Haiti. Since there are many useful things from USA, which are not readily available around Haiti, this will indeed be a kind-hearted gesture on part of all Americans to our fellow human-beings in Haiti, who are in dire situation.

Please take all your stuff in boxes (do not seal the boxes) and DROP off on: Saturday and Sunday; February 13th & 14th, 2010 between 10 am-4 pm at the following location: ICS Shipping Co. – 6160 Westview Dr. – Houston, Texas 77055 – DIRECTIONS to ICS Shipping: From Inside the 610 loop / Go on I-10 West, Exit Silber Street / Make a right turn on Silber / Make a right on Westview, go about ¼  mile / 6160 Westview is on the left / For directions, one can also call Khurram Iqbal 281-793-8455 (Cell).

For any other questions please call: Maaz Adil 281-468-2238 / ILyas Hasan Choudry 832-275-0786.

Each donor will be issued a receipt at the site for their In-Kind donations (which is necessary as per HHRD In-Kind Giving Policy).

HHRD is collecting the following (brand new items are being encouraged – if used items, please make sure they are clean and in usable conditions – medical centers, clinics & doctors can be requested for bulk medical supplies donation):

1) Tax-Deductible Monetary Donations (will be used to ship the container and for the HHRD Base Camps in Haiti and Dominican Republic);

2) Medicines (For list call 832-275-0786 or visit http://www.muslimsforhaiti.org/);

3) Medical Supplies (For list call 832-275-0786 or visit http://www.muslimsforhaiti.org/);

4) Protective Eye Goggles & Glasses;

5) Bottled Water;

6) Hygiene Products for Whole Family especially Ladies;

7) Non-Perishable Food Items, including Ready to Eat Food Items, but no staple items like rice, wheat, flour, etc;

8) Sleeping Bags, Tents, etc;

9) Home washing things like bath soaps, detergents, plastic tubs, buckets, etc;

10) Flashlights, Batteries, Small Generators, etc;

11) Warm Weather Clothes like T-Shirts, Pants, Jeans, Children Clothing, etc;

12) Linen like Bed-Sheets, Pillows, Pillow-Sheets, Towels, Blankets, Comforters, etc;

13) Shoes, Socks, etc;

14) Household items like Kitchenware (unbreakable), Pots & Pans, etc (at an appropriate time, these will be given to Haitians, who have lost everything in the rubble);

15) Bikes, Toys for Children, etc;

16) Few computers, printers & accessories (needed for the Base Camps in Haiti and Dominican Republic)…

NOTES

1) Please bring brand new items if easily possible – No Junk or Unusable Items, as we need to maximize the valuable shipping space;

2) Use separate boxes for different items, especially clothing for women, men, boys and girls, and properly note down the contents & their amounts with a marker;

3) Tie Shoes, Socks, Sandals Pairs to ensure that they stay together. Any other things that have pairs, again tie them;

4) Tightly fold and secure the clothes;

5) Fitted / Flat sheets, comforters, quilts, towels etc. should be tightly rolled and secured.

6) All household items in separate boxes from clothes, etc. HHRD CANNOT Accept any Appliances;

7) In addition please make a donation of any amount ($50-and-above) that will help cover the shipping, port clearance, inland transportation, other distribution costs; plus HHRD Base Camps in Haiti and Dominican Republic – Check should be made payable to: Helping Hand For Relief & Development (tax-deductible receipt will be issued) – To mail the checks & or money-order, use this address: 11945 Bissonnet, Houston, Texas 77099.

VOLUNTEERS

We need at least 30 volunteers each on February 13th and 14th, 2010. Please call us and let us know which day you can help. Food and community service hours’ letter will be given to all the volunteers.

For any other questions please call: Maaz Adil 281-468-2238 / ILyas Hasan Choudry 832-275-0786.

METRO Rail Survives Any Cuts

Officials at the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) are happy with what they have seen in President Obama’s upcoming budget, although not yet a final agreement. Continued funding for light rail in Houston is on the way, with an estimated $150 million dollars in federal money, to go for the north and southeast rail lines, connecting public transit in a more effective and efficient manner with the two major airports Bush Intercontinental and Hobby.

It has been said that in north Houston, in neighborhoods along Fulton Street, the rail project is seen by many as a service that’s badly needed. The north rail line will run from downtown to Northline Mall, which will then be connected to good transfer service to Bush Intercontinental Airport.

But the construction has been frustrating for businesses along the construction route. Metro is rolling out a small business assistance program to help those affected by rail construction. Metro says the new rail line will be ready for riders within five years. For more information, one can visit http://www.ridemetro.org/

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