Monday, January 12, 2015

The region is returning to closer relationships between governments.

13 January 2015
The cases of 70 Saudis (click here) being held in Iraqi prisons would be taken up once the Saudi government opens up an embassy and consulate in the country, a senior diplomat said recently.
Sami Al-Saleh, the Kingdom’s ambassador in Jordan, said that the opening of the diplomatic offices, first announced last year, would strengthen ties between the two countries.
Saudi Arabia closed its embassy in Iraq in 1990 after the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.
There have been closer relations this year between the two countries since a new government replaced the regime of Nuri Al-Maliki.
Meanwhile, Al-Saleh warned that Saudi students studying in Jordan should not return home without the permission of the embassy, which risks them losing their scholarships....

The attacks in Paris are strongly condemned by a Grand Mosque imam.

Sheikh Adel Al-Kalbani, a former imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, has denounced the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.
The denouncement came in the form of tweets from his Twitter account. “The Paris incidents show that what Islam has done in years through Muslim preachers has been destroyed in moments,” he said. “It’s the handiwork of a few ignorant people and what they have done amounts to treason.”
Al-Kalbani has always been critical of erring Muslims, whether in the Kingdom or abroad. He was the imam of King Khaled Mosque in the capital for around 25 years.
Toward the end of 2008, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah appointed him as a Grand Mosque imam to lead Taraweeh prayers during Ramadan. He is now the imam of Al-Muhaisen Mosque in northeast of the capital.
Paris terrorist attacks have deeply shocked the Saudis and a look of sadness was easily seen on their faces, not only because these brutal acts are denounced by Islam but also because very often the price for such inhuman acts is paid by innocent Muslims living in the West....
12 January 2015
DUBAI: Both brothers (click here) who carried out the attack against satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo traveled to Yemen via Oman in 2011 and had weapons training in the deserts of Marib, an Al-Qaeda stronghold, two senior Yemeni sources said on Sunday.

This is the first confirmation by Yemeni officials that both Cherif and Said Kouachi, who carried out the bloodiest attack on the West in decades, had visited Yemen where Al-Qaeda’s deadliest franchise, AQAP, is based. One Yemeni source had previously confirmed a visit by Said Kouachi.
The Paris attack puts a fresh spotlight on the AQAP branch that has recently focused on fighting enemies at home such as government forces and Shiite rebels but still aims to carry out attacks abroad....

...A senior Yemeni intelligence source confirmed the brothers had entered Yemen via Oman in 2011, citing the ease with which they entered while the security forces were focused on the Arab Spring protests that were convulsing the country at the time.
The source also confirmed the brothers had met Awlaki “and trained in Wadi Abida,” — which is between Marib and Shabwa provinces where Awlaki was known to move freely.
The Kouachi brothers were shot dead by French security forces after they took refuge in a print works outside Paris.
Awlaki, an influential militant recruiter, was killed by a suspected US drone strike in Sept. 2011.
Cherif Kouachi told a television station he had received financing from Awlaki and that he had been “sent” by Al-Qaeda in Yemen.
Meanwhile, a man resembling Amedy Coulibaly, who shot a policewoman and took hostages at a Jewish supermarket in the Paris attacks, claimed to be a member of the Islamic State group in a posthumous video released online on Sunday....

The Middle East is having a persistent winter.

Frolicking: Children make the most of the annual snow fall in the Northern Border Province while their father keeps a watch on them. (SPA)

January 13, 2015
By Jeddah: Galal Fakkar

The Ministry of Labor (click here) has ordered private sector employers to provide protection for their workers against the cold weather sweeping the country including warm clothing and instructions on how to keep safe.
The ministry wants to prevent work-related accidents in line with labor regulations, sources were quoted as saying, in response to a statement posted by the ministry on its website.
The sources said the ministry has provided extensive information on safety awareness on its online websites, including the protection of property and goods. It wants to develop a culture of safety in the country.
The ministry plans to conduct inspections to check whether employers comply with the directive and the regulations. Penalties for non-compliance are set out under Article 236 of the labor regulations, the sources said.
The ministry’s regulations for public and private companies are in line with international labor standards, the sources said....

13 January 2015
By Qatlf, Arab News
Farmers in the Eastern Province (click here) say they have lost 40 percent of their crops because of the sandstorms last week, with fears that the cold snap over the past few days would cause further losses.
Abbas Dahi, an investor, said most of the farms in the Eastern Province were affected because the dust destroyed the produce-bearing flowers on plants and trees.
He said it is expensive to counteract the sandstorms because large amounts of water is needed to wash off the plants and trees. Most farmers prefer to leave them covered with dust until they wither and die, or grow again.
Dahi said open fields have been affected, not greenhouses. Removing damaged trees takes time and increases production costs, especially now because of the cold weather. The best option for farmers is to leave their crops as they are, he said....

Refugees in other countries, such as Pakistan, successfully made it through in the past.

January 6, 2015
By Jumana Al Tammi 

Dubai: Syrian refugee camps (click here) in many Middle Eastern countries are preparing this year for what is anticipated to be a freezing winter with the beginning of a harsh snowstorm yesterday evening.

The UAE is sending aid to assist Syrian refugees in both Lebanon and Jordan, and boost the efforts of aid organisation and NGOs are on the ground struggling to meet the needs of people living in tents, which usually become surrounded by rain puddles in winter.

Already, three Syrian toddlers died from the cold a few months ago in the Lebanese town of Arsal in the Beqaa near the Syrian border, said Malek Abu Kheir, a Syrian journalist working in Lebanon and frequent visitor to the camps.

“The most difficult thing is the lack of heating facilities,” Abu Kheir told Gulf News. “People have become used to the mud and clay.”...

This may sound bizarre and probably is a strange idea, but, so long as refugees don't dismantle the patio heater for cooking, they should be safe from burning tents. These heaters are for outdoor use to warm the air where people are gathering. They sell in the USA market for about $100.00. I would venture a guess they would sell for less if purchased in larger numbers. Buy out the warehouses, the refugees need them more IF they actually are a solution.

...In Lebanon there are nearly 1.1 million registered Syrian refugees, according to UN figures.

The number of registered Syrian refugees in Jordan is 620,000, 1.65 million in Turkey, and 228,000 in Iraq.

There are nearly 137,000 Syrian refugees in Egypt....

Walking the double edged reality following the heinous attacks in France.

January 13, 2015

More than 50 anti-Muslim incidents (click here) have happened across France – including shootings – in less than a week since the deadly attack on satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, according to the nation's Muslim community, which is calling for heightened security.
Among the 54 anti-Muslim incidents, there have been 21 reports of shootings and grenade throwing at Islamic buildings, as well as 33 cases of threats and insults, said Abdallah Zekri, president of the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF). CCIF is a monitoring body within the Central Council of Muslims...

Those that threaten can sincerely mean it and have to be taken seriously. I admire France's resolve to protect all French citizens.

Hate will not infect France regardless of those seeking to make it so. 

Believe in our moral strength. It is the true morality we believe in and not a faux belief.

He should be alive now. He didn't do anything wrong. He simply had no place 'to be.' I have tears in my eyes as I write this. We don't kill people because they are poor and homeless or mentally confused about reality. Those that stood for justice are the most moral. Do you understand why? Because without the voice of outrage our human frailties no longer exists. James was dehumanized by those that killed him. My heart brakes knowing what happened to him. 

January 25, 2014
By Journal Staff
Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg (click here) charged two Albuquerque police officers each with an open count of murder on Monday in the fatal shooting of a homeless camper in Albuquerque’s foothills last March.
Brandenburg’s office filed a criminal information that charges former Albuquerque police Detective Keith Sandy and SWAT team member Dominique Perez with murder in the death of James Boyd, a 36-year-old homeless man who was shot in March 2014.
District Attorney Kari Brandenburg said her office charged Sandy and Perez with an open count of murder because “we have probable cause.”
She would not discuss the specific facts of the case and said it would be up the judge hearing the case to determine which charge — ranging from
1st degree murder to aggravated assault — would apply in the case....

The police had control from the beginning. James Boyd was only a danger to himself. How could they do it? How could they kill a man with no options and isolated by the law into breaking it because there was simply no place for him to be.

Every human being needs a place to be, to breath, to see, to hear, to be who they are. To talk, to complain, to eat and sleep. When every place in the universe is denied to you, that is a death sentence. James Boyd was killed because no one gave him a place to be and the laws that governed demanded his death for trespassing in the only place he could find to sit and sleep. He was a danger to no one. He was denied a place to be by the laws of the land and the police carried those laws out without question or the ability to discern a man living is legal, but, a man dead is illegal. The police could have walked away, taken him to a jail cell for trespassing, but, they killed him because they gave themselves the right to do so.

The USA can solve it's own problems with abuse of power, because, it's citizens know the truth and are unfraid.

...In an email, (click here) Krause related that at the UNHRC hearing, Roy L. Austin, Jr, referred to the deaths of the students as “murder.” Krause says she will be following up with Austin and copying the UN on all correspondence.

She is also planning to request a UN special rapporteur in extrajudicial killings.
The United States government is required, in the next year, to answer to the charges made by the Kent State Truth Tribunal. Perhaps by the next anniversary of this sorry date in American history, the families will have received justice.

For the four Kent State students, however, they found the cost of freedom, and the price was their lives.

One year and the deaths of Ohio will begin it's justice. No killing, no self-righteousness; only armed with "The Truth" and a global community that believes in it.

When freedom is the enemy at home, it becomes the enemy everywhere.

January 11, 2015
By Yasmin Alibhai Brown

...Pakistan, Afghanistan, (click here) most central Asian states, Egypt, Syria, Algeria, Libya, even “liberated” Iraq, people know they must not say what they think about their rulers or their imams, not even to neighbours or friends. The only choice is to conform and live, keep your boiling thoughts locked in your own head. Imagine the psychological consequences.

When, in 2010, the Arab Spring unexpectedly arrived, Muslims rejoiced, and thought they could at last speak freely and get proper democracies. I was in the Middle East in the most optimistic months. Spring turned to winter and even harsher restrictions were imposed everywhere. Now thousands of Muslims try to flee every day, to get to places where they can earn a living, be safe, most of all be liberated from oppression. Those people on boats who turn up on Europe’s shores want what the brothers Chérif and Saïd Kouachi and Amedy Coulibaly had before they blasted it all away....

...After my book Refusing the Veil came out last year, some female Muslim acquaintances organised a soiree for me to read from it and discuss its contents. These were reasonable, educated women. Here are some of the comments made:
“Why did you have to write this; who gave you permission?”
“Even to think these thoughts is wrong, and you go and publish them? If you were in a Muslim country you would be in jail.”
“If your mother was alive she would have slapped you for writing this.”
When I replied that my mother refused the veil when she was 22, the woman came back: “Then I feel sorry for you. She was the sinner and she made you one too.”
“OK I have not read the book because it will dirty my pure thoughts, but if you are a Muslim, you follow Islamic rules without question. Are you even a Muslim?”
Only two out of 14 women defended my right to write the book. But then said they could never challenge Islamic practices so openly....

Western democracy has a long history of enemies regardless of governing methods. This is nothing new, except, the only capacity available to Violent Islam is attempts at terrorism of the individual.

War with Islam within the boundaries where they exist only creates the recruitment of a greater enemy. Why expose our nations to such opportunity? The coalition is working and it is deeply felt by those of the Islamic State. The Islamic State no longer seeks to bring supporters to Syria, but, to outsource their hatred and fear to citizens within other countries recruited from their own citizens.

The future is in peril, not from the disintegration of societies that value life and freedom, but, those right wing political figures that actually do believe invading other countries and killing more innocent people is the path of victory. 

I know there was another bizarre event in Great Britain. It is the security of the Homeland that has to be secured while Violent Islam destroys itself. Our countries have never demanded so much from us to maintain it's sovereignty. We can overcome this without a global war.

Killing will only beget the same. The French have set the path forward we can all understand and seek.

What may appear to be the disenfranchised Muslim is nothing more than a criminal looking for a way out by redefining the world through violence, no matter where they may appear. If free people turn their own countries into war zones the international criminals who have named themselves jihadists will have won their goal of a war without end.
"Morning Papers"

The Rooster


"Good Night, Moon"

The Waning Gibbous

21 Day Old Moon

62.2 percent lit

There are some who believe a moon project for Africa will raise it's image and prove a new venue for learning.

January 11, 2015
China's bold plan (click here) to land an unmanned spaceship on the moon before returning to Earth has moved another step forward with a test craft shifting into lunar orbit to conduct further tests, state media reported Sunday.
The service module of a lunar orbiter that flew back to Earth in November had been sitting in a position that brought in into sync with Earth's orbit, known as the second Lagrange point. It had separated from the orbiter in November.
The craft, loaded with support systems for operating a spaceship, will collect further data to aid planning of the 2017 Chang'e 5 mission, state broadcaster China Central Television said....