Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Environment and Energy : Denmark

Danes are eco-friendly people and Denmark is a leader in environmental and energy technology across a wide range of fields.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Mofaz plan—state now, ask questions later

Israeli politicians are reportedly setting out their ideas for the creation of a Palestinian state in a move that comes after the PA suggested asking the UN to recognise the Occupied Territories as an independent Palestinian state. Is this just an attempt to buy time and draw attention away from the stalled peace process?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Baby Trade.

Twenty years ago the United Nations adopted the Convention of the Rights of the Child. The CRC or UNCRC, is an international treaty setting out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of children.

Nations that ratify the UNCRC are bound to it by international law.As of December 2008, 193 signatories have ratified it, including every member of the United Nations except the US and Somalia.The UNCRC has been used as a blueprint for child protection legislation around the world.

The treaty restricts the involvement of children in military conflicts and prohibits the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.However, the treaty's promise to protect children has not always been kept.In many cases, poverty is to blame for making worse, the plight of the most vulnerable.

The illegal sale of children makes up more than half of all the cases of human trafficking around the world, according to recent estimates.

Traditionally it has involved the exploitation of children in poorer nations, but an Al Jazeera investigation has found that it is also happening in developed countries, such as South Korea.

For four months, Al Jazeera surfed community boards on popular Korean Internet sites, and found an underground trade where pregnant women can sell their unborn children.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Muslim 500 – A Listing of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World

November 17, 2009   |  Muslim Media Network

A fascinating new book has just been issued by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center (in Jordan) in concert with Georgetown’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.
The book lists the 500 most influential people in the Muslim world, breaking the people into several distinct categories, scholarly, political, administrative, lineage, preachers, women, youth, philanthropy, development, science and technology, arts and culture, media, and radicals.
Before this breakdown begins however, the absolute most influential 50 people are listed, starting with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.  The top 50 fit into 6 broad categories as follows:  12 are political leaders (kings, generals, presidents), 4 are spiritual leaders (Sufi shaykhs), 14 are national or international religious authorities, 3 are “preachers,” 6 are high-level scholars, 11 are leaders of movements or organizations.
The 500 appear to have been chosen largely in terms of their overt influence, however the top 50 have been chosen and perhaps listed in a “politically correct” order designed not to cause offense.  For example, the first person listed is the Sunni political leader of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah.  The second person listed is the head of the largest Shi’a power, Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei.  As these are not the two Muslim countries with the largest populations, and do not even represent the two countries with the most spiritual or religious relevance (Saudi Arabia yes, Iran no) therefore clearly the decision of spots one or two appears to have been motivated by a sense of political correctness.
In total 72 Americans are among the 500 most influential Muslims, a disproportionately strong showing, but only one among the top 50.  Sheikh Hamza Yusuf Hanson of Zaytuna Institute is listed surprisingly at number 38.  The world leader of the Naqshbandi Haqqani Sufi order, however, Sheikh Nazim al Haqqani, with millions of followers worldwide, spiritual adviser to kings, presidents, doctors, lawyers, professors and others across the spectrum of profession, race, and ethnicity on seven continents, is listed at number 49.  While Sheikh Hamza Yusuf has successfully built the Zaytuna Institute, his influence is confined mostly to American academia, scholars and students.  Surprisingly, Khaled Mashaal, leader of Hamas, (at number 34) is listed before any American Muslim. 
It seems strange that Yusuf is the only American listed in the top 50. Especially when Rep. Keith Ellison (D-5-MN), Tariq Ramadan and Ingrid Mattson are listed among the “honorable mentions” in the book (“honorable mentions” were almost among the top 50 but not quite—they are still listed among the 500).  Ingrid Mattson alone is likely more influential than Hamza Yusuf Hanson, for instance.  Not to mention Rep. Keith Ellison.  Even the Nobel prize winner Mohammad Yunus is listed only among the honorable mentions.
Sheikh Hisham Kabbani in the USA is listed among the most influential scholars in the Muslim world, and his relative Mohammad Rashid Qabbani, the Grand Mufti of Lebanon and its leading Sunni scholar, is also among the most influential scholars.  The Shi’a marja Ayatullah Sayeed Mohammad Fadlallah is the other listed scholar for Lebanon. 
The 18 prominent American Muslims in the Scholars section of the book also include Yusuf Estes, Sulayman Nyang, Muzammil Siddiqui, Sherman Jackson, Zaid Shakir, and Nuh Keller.  Two Americans are listed as Political figures in North America.  Nine Americans are listed as Administrative leaders, including Siraj Wahhaj—surprising to list him as an administrative leader rather than a preacher.  One Canadian is listed under the Lineage section, namely Jamal Badawi, but no Americans.  Under the Women heading appear six very recognizable names, perhaps most recognizable among them Ingrid Mattson, the controversial Amina Wadud, and the extremely influential Dalia Mogahed (who wrote the perhaps watershed work Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think.)  Two Americans are listed in the Youth category.  Under the Philanthropy category is listed one person, Dr. Tariq Cheema, co-founder of the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists.  13 Americans are listed under Development, including strangely the boxer Mohammad Ali.  Four Americans are listed under Science and Technology, perhaps most recognizably Dr. Mehmed Oz, who frequently appears on morning television to help explain medical situations to people, and who shows an interest in the overlap between traditional medicine and spirituality.  Seven Americans are listed under Arts and Culture, including the notable actors Mos Def and Dave Chappelle, also the calligrapher Mohammad Zakaria.  Nine Americans are listed in the Media section, including Fareed Zakaria and the filmmaker Michael Wolfe.
The book’s appendices comprehensively list populations of Muslims in nations worldwide, and its introduction gives a snapshot view of different ideological movements within the Muslim world, breaking down clearly distinctions between traditional Islam and recent radical innovations.
People who are themselves prominent scholars contributed to or edited the book, including of course Georgetown University’s Professor John Esposito and Professor Ibrahim Kalin.  Ed Marques and Usra Ghazi also edited and prepared the book.  The book lists as consultants Dr. Hamza Abed al Karim Hammad, and Siti Sarah Muwahidah, with thanks to other contributors.
The entire book is available online (here:  http://www.rissc.jo/muslim500v-1L.pdf) and we hope that it will be available for sale soon inside the United States.  Currently it is not available.
To encourage the printing and release of the book in the United States you can contact Georgetown’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at edu, or by phone at 202-687-8375.

Friday, November 20, 2009

America, Islam and South East Asia.

 We look at the state of the Islamic movements in Southeast Asia. 

Mahkamah : SPRM Diharamkan Soal Siasat Saksi Selepas Waktu Pejabat


Dalam satu keputusan bersejarah, Mahkamah Tinggi Kuala Lumpur memutuskan Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia tidak lagi dibenarkan menyoal siasat saksi pada waktu malam.

Hakim Mohd Ariff Md Yusof memutuskan SPRM hanya berhak menyoal siasat saksi dari pukul 8.30 pagi hingga 5 petang.

Keputusan itu dibuat berikutan pendedahan mendiang Teoh Beng Hock (gambar demonstrasi diatas) disoal siasat sepanjang malam sehingga awal pagi sebelum di jumpai mati di perkarangan ibu pejabat SPRM Selangor di Shah Alam 16 Julai lalu.

Seorang lagi saksi yang turut disoal siasat ketika itu, Tan Boon Wah, telah memohon Mahkamah Tinggi untuk menyemak sama ada SPRM berhak menyoal siasat saksi pada bila-bila waktu.

Boon Wah turut mendakwa beliau di kasari oleh pegawai penyiasat SPRM ketika beliau di soal siasat.

Beng Hock mati dalam keadaan mencurigakan, malah seorang pakar bedah dari Thailand tidak menolak kemungkinan mendiang mangsa jenayah.

Berikutan keterangan pakar itu pada inkues Beng Hock bulan lalu, arahan diberi untuk menggali semula mayat mendiang Sabtu ini bagi membolehkan bedah siasat yang lebih terperinchi dijalankan.

Dalam keputusannya hari ini, Hakim Mohd Ariff menolak tafsiran SPRM bahawa
Seksyen 30(3)(a) Akta SPRM kononnya memberi kuasa kepada badan itu untuk menyoal siasat saksi sepanjang masa.

Ungkapan dari hari ke hari (untuk jalankan siasatan) dalam seksyen itu tidak bermaksud 24 jam tetapi waktu kerja pejabat yang biasa,” kata beliau.

“Justeru, saya bersetuju bahawa pemohon (Boon Wah) dalam kes ini telah ditahan secara tidak sah untuk disoal siasat.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Number of Students Studying Abroad on Rise Globally

A Washington-based educational institute says the number of university students who study abroad is on the rise. The Institute of International Education reports a 60 percent increase in the number of students studying outside their native country since the year 2000.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

ElBaradei Ends Term With Goals 'In Tatters'

By Joe Lauria - WSJ

NEW YORK -- The departing director of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency declared Wednesday that efforts to curb nuclear proliferation were in "tatters," but he held out hope that current talks over Iran's nuclear program could open "a new era" between the West and Tehran.

Mohamed ElBaradei, who leaves Dec. 1 after 12 years as director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the Council on Foreign Relations that 50 years of mistrust threatens the proposed deal for Iran to ship most of its low-enriched uranium to Russia and France for processing into medical isotopes.

Iran has balked over issues of timing and amounts to be shipped, but talks could still succeed, he asserted. "If I can do that by the end of the month, I'd leave as a very happy man," he said.

The Egyptian diplomat said the IAEA still has no concrete proof that Iran has an ongoing nuclear-weapons program. He praised the Obama administration for opening a dialogue with Iran without preconditions.

Mr. ElBaradei said military action against Iran would solve nothing, since Tehran would engage in a crash program and "you cannot bomb knowledge.'' If Iran was attacked, "Every Iranian, even in Los Angeles" would support the nuclear program, he asserted, as would its allies.

Arab nations were "not comfortable reading that Israel has 200 warheads and it wants to bomb a country just for having the technology," he said.

Mr. ElBaradei said the world had fared poorly in its nonproliferation efforts. "We have not done well over the past 25 years," he said. "If you look at our international security system, it is in tatters." He said there was more danger now that nuclear weapons would be used than during the Cold War, especially if they get into terrorists' hands.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

UNICEF: "Paris Commitments" protect child soldiers

NEW YORK, USA, 30 September 2009 The challenging and critical job of protecting children from recruitment by armed forces or groups took a step forward this week, as a number of United Nations Member States added their names to the Paris Commitments.

Adopted in February 2007, the Paris Commitments are an expression of strengthened international resolve to prevent the recruitment of children and highlight the actions governments can take to protect children affected by conflict. A related document, the Paris Principles, sets out operational guidelines for the sustainable reintegration of former child soldiers.

A total of 84 states now have endorsed the commitments. The latest signatories are Albania, the Central African Republic, Eritrea, Guinea, Jamaica, Liechtenstein, Panama and Senegal.

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