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Fri, 21 Jan 2022
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Koran burnt in Florida church

Koran Burnt
© The Raw Story

A controversial US evangelical preacher oversaw the burning of a copy of the Koran in a small Florida church after finding the Muslim holy book "guilty" of crimes.

The burning was carried out by pastor Wayne Sapp under the supervision of Terry Jones, who last September drew sweeping condemnation over his plan to ignite a pile of Korans on the anniversary of September 11, 2001 attacks.
Sunday's event was presented as a trial of the book in which the Koran was found "guilty" and "executed."

The jury deliberated for about eight minutes. The book, which had been soaking for an hour in kerosene, was put in a metal tray in the center of the church, and Sapp started the fire with a barbecue lighter.


Book review: Moral Landscape examines science behind human values

© Sam Harris
The goal of this book is to begin a conversation about how moral truth can be understood in the context of science. There is an epidemic of scientific ignorance in the United States. This isn't surprising, as very few scientific truths are self-evident and many are deeply counter-intuitive."

So writes Sam Harris in his latest best-seller, "The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values." Harris is co-founder and CEO of Project Reason, a nonprofit foundation that advocates for science and secular values; he has degrees in philosophy and neuroscience from Stanford University and UCLA. His previous books include "The End of Faith," which won the PEN Award for Nonfiction in 2005, and "Letter to a Christian Nation."

At the heart of "The Moral Landscape" is the notion that all human values have their genesis in the natural order and, as such, we do not need "God" or anything else to define concepts of right and wrong or to otherwise make judgments about the inherent efficacy of different behaviors. To illustrate this point, he examines a number of values that tend to be common to people in most societies. For instance, acting in one's own self-interest has often been characterized as being beneficial from an evolutionary perspective. Conversely, most religions tend to articulate, in one way or another, that cooperation and empathy for others are higher-order aspirations that allow us to transcend our more primal tendencies.


Bahrain hospitals under siege as soldiers maintain Manama crackdown

© Hamad I Mohammed / Reuters
We can just imagine the meeting that took place between the psychopaths-in-chief of Bahrain: "So, they keep meeting at this landmark monument... even though we shoot at them, they keep returning... what can we do to prevent it turning into another Tahrir Square?... We could blow it up?... That's a brilliant idea!..."
Doctors arrested or prevented from working as martial law in tiny Gulf state approaches second week

Bahrain's two main hospitals remain surrounded by masked soldiers despite demands from America that the kingdom must ease its violent crackdown on demonstrators and the medical workers treating them.

Soldiers also continue to patrol all main roads in the capital Manama and have cordoned off access to the former hub of the protest movement, Pearl Roundabout, which was destroyed under government orders on Friday, denying the restive demonstrators a focal point.

The tiny Gulf state has the feel of a nation under siege as it approaches a second week of martial law imposed for three months by its besieged rulers. In addition to the troop presence, neighbourhoods remain largely empty; large, glitzy shopping malls have been virtually abandoned and helicopters regularly buzz over the debris-strewn scenes of recent street clashes.

Hospitals, particularly the Salmaniya medical clinic near the centre of town, have received extra attention, largely because of the significance they have taken on since the protests began in January.

As well as being used to treat hundreds of casualties, nearly all of them unarmed protesters, the hospitals served as rallying points for protesters, who took refuge from riot police in the relative safety of their grounds.

Salmaniya was one of several hospitals attacked by security forces during the week. Their entrances clearly show scuffs from rubber bullets and teargas canisters, as well as sound grenades were found well inside hospital grounds.


Musician Wyclef Jean shot during Haiti election campaign

© Guillermo Arias/AP
Wyclef Jean was shot in Delmas, just outside Port-au-Prince, while campaigning in the Haiti election.
Hip-hop star suffered wound to his hand while campaigning for one of the contenders in Sunday's presidential vote

Hip-hop star Wyclef Jean has received a gunshot wound to the hand while campaigning for a fellow performer who is running for president in Haiti.

The shooting happened in the Delmas area near the capital of Port-au-Prince on Saturday night, said Joe Mignon, senior programme director for Jean's Yele Foundation. Jean was treated at a hospital and later released, Mignon said.


Japan Earthquake: Calm After the Storm

Japan's nuclear crisis has brought a meltdown of morale to parts of the country. What the people have to fear is fear itself, says Andrew Gilligan.

© AFP / Getty Images / EPA
Left: The stern of the grounded cargo ship Asia Symphony breaches the port wall and juts out onto a road in Kamaishi. Right: A girl rides her bicycle past the wreckage of burnt out vehicles in the town of Yamada
Nine days after Japan's tsunami, the remarkable truth is this. The people who have lost absolutely everything are coping far better than the people who have lost absolutely nothing.

For 200 miles along the coast, the scene is an exact copy of an earlier Japanese horror. In the flattened towns, with their isolated skeletons of buildings and their hectares of rubble, Hiroshima is the only possible comparison.

But at the evacuation centres in north-eastern Japan, survivors hold doors open for each other and bow politely to visitors. Postal service has resumed. The relief effort is going full blast, with even visiting foreigners offered food because there is so much. There's not much of anything
else, admittedly. But across the disaster area, journalists have searched in vain for a single case of violence, looting, panic - or even queue-jumping.

Time and again, you hear of lives saved by calmness, organisation and discipline. At one low-lying secondary school half a mile from the sea, the children lined up in the playground for a post-earthquake headcount; surely hundreds must have perished.

But the instant they saw the tsunami coming, and with little more than seconds to spare, the staff got 450 teenagers to a pre-planned fall-back site on higher ground. The school is utterly wrecked, but every single pupil in it that day lived. Now, even the teachers who have homes to go to sleep alongside their students on evacuation-centre mattresses to make sure they're looked after.


Why can't we just let the Libyans fight it out ( and then make friends with the winners)

© Reuters
Who are the Libyan rebels? What do they want? Why do we love them so?

Politics seems to have become a sort of mental illness. We have no bloody business in Libya, and no idea what we hope to achieve there.

We are daily told that we have no money to spare. We have just scrapped a large part of our Navy.

Our Army is stuck in an Afghan war whose point nobody can explain. And now we have set out on a course that could drag us into a long, gory brawl in North Africa.

And yet, when the Prime Minister announces this folly he is praised. Why? Partly it is because we all watch too much TV. Its reports simplify, then exaggerate.

Reporters, much like politicians, like to feel they are helping to make history, and get excited by subjects they knew nothing about until last Wednesday.

Before we know where we are, we are taking sides in quarrels we don't understand. Who are the Libyan rebels? What do they want? Why do we love them so?


Filmmaker Michael Moore Rips President Obama Over Libya

Michael Moore
© The Associated Press
March 5: Michael Moore addresses a crowd at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., on the 18th day of protests over the governor's proposed budget that would eliminate collective bargaining rights for many state workers.
Filmmaker Michael Moore slammed President Obama in a string of tweets for taking military action in Libya.

Moore, who frequently criticized President George Bush for launching the Iraq War, compared the U.S. military's mission in Libya to Iraq and Afghanistan in several Twitter messages sent Saturday.

Moore's comments came after the U.S. troops launched 110 Tomahawk missiles at military targets in Libya as part of an allied effort to prevent forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi from overtaking the rebel-held city of Benghazi.

The strikes on Libya began on the eighth anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War.

Obama explained Saturday the U.S. and its allies acted to protect the Libyan people from a potential massacre.

No Entry

Arab League criticizes Western strikes on Libya

© Unknown
- The Arab League on Sunday criticized Western military strikes on Libya, a week after urging the United Nations to slap a no-fly zone on the oil-rich North African state.

"What has happened in Libya differs from the goal of imposing a no-fly zone and what we want is the protection of civilians and not bombing other civilians," Arab League secretary general Amr Mussa told reporters.

On March 12, the Arab League urged the United Nations to impose a no-fly zone on Libya and said Moammar Gadhafi's regime had "lost legitimacy" as it sought to snuff out a rebellion designed to oust him from power.

In the West's biggest intervention in the Arab world since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, US warships and a British submarine fired more than 120 Tomahawk cruise missiles into Libya on Saturday, the US military said.

French warplanes also carried out strikes.

The UN Security Council passed Resolution 1973 on Thursday authorizing military action to prevent Gadhafi's forces from attacking civilians.

Comment: The naivete is staggering. The Arab League allowed themselves to be conned into sanctioning a "no-fly zone" over Libya. Some no-fly zone, this. What did these people think they were going to get --- radar-jamming of SAM batteries by high-flying AWACS? - Forum Member

Bizarro Earth

Thousands Of U.S. Personnel Evacuated From Japan To Western Wash.

cracked highway Japan
© n/a
Seattle, Wash. -- Thousands of U.S. military and Department of Defense personnel are being voluntarily evacuated from Japan to Seattle and Joint Base Lewis-McChord following last week's earthquake and tsunami.

The USO confirmed Friday that 15,000 U.S. personnel and their dependents will be hosted at USO centers at SeaTac and JBLM in the coming days. The evacuation is part of the U.S. State Department's voluntary evacuation of U.S. personnel following growing concerns at nuclear plants in Japan.

About 6,700 people are expected to arrive at SeaTac and 8,000 at Lewis-McChord, the USO said. The USO centers will act as a hub for military support.

The News Tribune reported that about 240 military members and their families evacuated from Japan arrived at Sea-Tac Saturday morning, the first of a wave of several thousand expected to arrive in the Puget Sound area this week.


Japan faces its 9/11

© Associated Press
A woman kneels by the body of her mother, after Japanese firemen discovered the dead woman inside the ruins of her home in Onagawa
Doctors fear that thousands of survivors of the devastating Japanese earthquake and tsunami could now fall victim to disease and epidemics.

Children and the elderly living in the stricken zone are most at risk from outbreaks of flu and other ailments, they warned.

The emergency services are struggling to obtain medicines and basic supplies for the thousands of displaced people whose homes have been destroyed. The situation is being aggravated by cold temperatures.

Captain Kazuhiro Fujino, of the Maritime Self-Defence Force, said: "There is no medicine - nothing. My biggest fear is a flu epidemic, as there would be little we could do to stop it. It would take many more lives."

The warning came as abnormal levels of radiation were found in milk and spinach as far as 65 miles from the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant.