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Member since: Thu Dec 4, 2014, 02:08 AM
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Düsseldorf: migrants burn their shelter over observance of Ramadan

It would appear one group didn't wake up another on time for the first prayer of the day.
A sin apparently so great it called for the burning of a building.


German Police Hold Two Men on Suspicion of Starting Shelter Fire

Police say Düsseldorf fire might be related to a dispute over the observation of Ramadan

BERLIN—Two residents at a refugee shelter in Düsseldorf are being held on suspicion of starting a fire that left the building in ruins this week, a city prosecutor said Wednesday.

The two 26-year-old men from North Africa were in police custody and waiting Wednesday night to face a judge, who would decide whether to prolong their incarceration with charges pending, a spokeswoman for the local police said.

The blaze that left the shelter, a former exhibition hall on the city’s trade fair grounds that was home to about 220 residents, a mess of ash and rubble likely started when a mattress was set on fire Tuesday, investigators said while cautioning their work was complex.

While it was too early to establish a motive for the suspected arson, police said it might be related to a simmering dispute in the shelter over the observation of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which began Monday.


Sexual assault epidemic in Gaza

In a society where women are encouraged to hide, molestation of boys increases.

See the bacha bazis of Afghanistan.

Sexual assault epidemic in Gaza

Over 650 cases a year of sexual assaults on children are reported to a Palestinian NGO; most assaults go unreported, 'hidden because of the weight of tradition and culture of shame'

Life has turned into a nightmare for Fatma’s family since her eldest son, 11, was sexually assaulted, a trauma which has damaged them all and forced them to move house.

Fatma’s family is one of the rare victims who speak out on a taboo issue in the conservative Gaza Strip and to bring the case to court. “Even though they are part of the family, I asked for the death penalty,” she said.

Gazan society, in which tradition has always played a major role, has turned in on itself further since the Islamist movement Hamas won 2006 elections and took sole control of the territory the next year after deadly clashes with the rival secular Fatah.


Iranian Students Lashed 99 Times Over Coed Party

Religion, the gift that keeps giving..

The Iranian police monitored 58 homes in the hope of catching people having parties to teach them “Islamic behavior” by means of 99 lashes. Great use of their time, to be sure.

I wonder why CAIR in America doesn't expound this aspect of “Islamic behavior”?

Iranian Students Lashed 99 Times Over Coed Party

TEHRAN — More than 30 college students were arrested, interrogated and within 24 hours were each given 99 lashes for attending a graduation party that included men and women, Iran’s judiciary has announced.

The punishments, which were believed to be part of a wider crackdown by a judiciary dominated by hard-liners, ....

The Qazvin prosecutor, Esmail Sadeghi Niaraki, said that more than 30 female and male students — the women were described as “half naked,” meaning they were not wearing Islamic coverings, scarves and long coats — were arrested while “dancing and jubilating” after the authorities received a report that a party attended both by men and women was being held in a villa on the outskirts of Qazvin.

Mixed-gender parties, dancing and the consumption of alcohol are illegal in Iran, although they have become common over the past decade, especially in cities. Col. Mojtaba Ashrafi of the Semnan police told the news agency that the raids were carried out over a 48-hour period, after the authorities monitored for several weeks 58 homes in which single people were believed to be living.

The judiciary has responded by stepping up its own activities, and last week it announced the arrest of several so-called Instagram models. A blogger was arrested, and prominent actors and actresses, who have huge social media followings in Iran, were given warnings about adhering to Islamic dress code and “Islamic behavior.”


ABC/WP general election poll. The key is swing independent voters

Washington Post article focused on the issues:



ABC article presents best the demographics:


Independents appear to be the key battleground

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Trump?

Clinton has been under attack from the right throughout her 25 years in the national arena. The Sanders critique from the left has served to deepen her negative ratings.... Clinton’s response to these attacks has been faltering.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Trump?

(..) How could a candidate with as much baggage as Trump be neck-and-neck with one of the most admired, best credentialed and most broadly experienced nominees in the history of the Democratic Party?

The reversal has come quickly, as my colleague Nate Cohn pointed out on Tuesday. Last year, on July 15, Clinton led Trump 53.3 to 33.7 in the RealClearPolitics aggregation of polls. As recently as March 23, she had a solid 11.4 point lead, 50.4 to 39.0, over Trump.

How did Clinton lose her advantage?

The unrelenting assault from the right and the left on her integrity and competence, conducted both by Republicans and by her opponent for the Democratic nomination, appears to have taken a toll. Clinton has been under attack from the right throughout her 25 years in the national arena. The Sanders critique from the left has served to deepen her negative ratings.

The current barrage has several central themes. The first is that her acceptance of millions of dollars in speaking fees and in campaign contributions from Wall Street banks suggests that her loyalties lie with financial elites, not with the electorate. The second focuses on Clinton’s use of a personal email server to conduct State Department business, the subject of a Republican-led congressional inquiry that has lasted longer than the Watergate investigation. The third is a revived focus on Bill Clinton’s sexual escapades by the thrice-married Trump — himself a notorious sexual braggart and a confessed adulterer — who wrote in “Trump: The Art of the Comeback”:

If I told the real stories of my experiences with women, often seemingly very happily married and important women, this book would be a guaranteed best-seller (which it will be anyway!).

Clinton’s response to these attacks has been faltering. (..)


People of no religion outnumber Christians in England and Wales

People "having no religion rose from 25% in 2011 to 48.5% in 2014"?

That's 23% of the population dropping religion in just three years?

Sounds almost too good to be true, but if it is, it's awesome

People of no religion outnumber Christians in England and Wales – study

Proportion of population who identify as having no religion rose from 25% in 2011 to 48.5% in 2014, surveys show

The number of people who say they have no religion is rapidly escalating and significantly outweighs the Christian population in England and Wales, according to new analysis.

The proportion of the population who identify as having no religion – referred to as “nones” – reached 48.5% in 2014, almost double the figure of 25% in the 2011 census. Those who define themselves as Christian – Anglicans, Catholics and other denominations – made up 43.8% of the population.

“The striking thing is the clear sense of the growth of ‘no religion’ as a proportion of the population,” said Stephen Bullivant, senior lecturer in theology and ethics at St Mary’s Catholic University in Twickenham, who analysed data collected through British Social Attitudes surveys over three decades.

“The main driver is people who were brought up with some religion now saying they have no religion. What we’re seeing is an acceleration in the numbers of people not only not practising their faith on a regular basis, but not even ticking the box. The reason for that is the big question in the sociology of religion.”

The report did not examine data from Scotland or Northern Ireland. Last month a Scottish Social Attitudes survey found that 52% of the population said they were not religious, compared with 40% in 1999.


'No Muslims allowed': how nationalism is rising in Aung San Suu Kyi's Myanmar

Looks like the ransacking of Buddhist villages by the Muslim Rohingyas in 2012 is spiralling into a religious confrontation.


'No Muslims allowed': how nationalism is rising in Aung San Suu Kyi's Myanmar

Poppy McPherson - Monday 23 May 2016 03.11

At the entrance to Thaungtan village there’s a brand-new sign, bright yellow, that bears the message: “No Muslims allowed to stay overnight. No Muslims allowed to rent houses. No marriage with Muslims.”

The post was erected in late March by Buddhist residents of the village in Myanmar’s lush Irrawaddy delta region who signed, or were strong-armed into signing, a document asserting that they wanted to live separately.

Since then a couple of other villages across the country have followed suit. Small but viciously insular, these “Buddhist-only” outposts serve as microcosms of the festering religious tensions that threaten Myanmar’s nascent experiment with democracy.


Washington Post: Sanders Is Playing With Fire

Summary: Time to rally round Hillary if we want to avoid a Trump White House.

Sanders Is Playing With Fire

WASHINGTON -- Bernie Sanders is playing a dangerous game. If he and his campaign continue their scorched-earth attacks against the Democratic Party, they will succeed only in one thing: electing Donald Trump as president.

I say this as someone who shares much of Sanders' political philosophy; I too, for example, see health care as a basic right. He has run a remarkable and historically significant campaign, pulling the party to the left and pumping it full of new progressive vigor. His crowds are almost as big as Trump's and perhaps even more enthusiastic. Most important, he has brought legions of young people into the political process.

But he hasn't won the nomination.

Hillary Clinton has an insurmountable lead in pledged delegates, earned by her performance in primaries and caucuses. In the aggregate, she leads Sanders by about 3 million votes. The will of the party is clear: More Democrats prefer Clinton over Sanders as their nominee.

Instead of accepting this obvious fact, the Sanders campaign is behaving like a 2-year-old who can't have ice cream for breakfast. All along, Sanders and his aides have claimed that the party establishment was unfairly tipping the scales in favor of Clinton. Now the Sanders people have gone further and are deliberately stoking anger and a sense of grievance -- less against Clinton than the party itself. This is reckless in the extreme, and it could put Trump in the White House.

Washington Post opinion: Sanders is selling a fantasy agenda

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has attracted a passionate following because he is selling his followers a fantasy. And not just any fantasy — but one of epic proportions. A group of respected, nonpartisan experts offered the public a sense of the scale on Monday, releasing the most thorough analysis * yet on Sanders’s plan and finding that it is profoundly flawed.
* http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/publications/analysis-senator-bernie-sanderss-tax-and-transfer-proposals

The analysts found that Sanders’s program is very progressive, jacking up taxes massively on the rich and providing a range of new benefits to the poor. Though every working person would face higher payroll taxes, the value of these benefits would leave 95 percent of households better off.

But there is a massive catch. Sanders’s assurance that he has “a plan to pay for every spending program he has introduced to date” is wrong. And not just wrong, but extravagantly so. Even with his large tax increases, Sanders would fall $18 trillion short over just 10 years. Factoring in interest costs, his plan would add $21 trillion to the debt over a decade. That is more than the roughly $19 trillion the Treasury already owes. And the picture would probably get much worse as time went on.

Sanders’s health-care plan is the big budget-buster. It alone would cost $32 trillion over 10 years — “more than twice the new revenues” that Sanders would raise, Len Burman, the director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, said on Monday. When reporters have asked Sanders about the costs of his health-care plan in the past, the senator has typically responded that other countries maintain functioning single-payer systems — as though he has not proposed a specific plan that should be assessed on its own merits. Burman pointed out Monday that other countries do not promise their people as much as Sanders does.


Video on al Aqsa (Hamas) TV glorifies suicide bombings.

Not exactly a path to peace..

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