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Living Under Drones: Consequences Beyond Killings

Living Under Drones: Consequences Beyond Killings

In the United States, the dominant narrative about...

'Help Israel avoid war crimes charges,' Netanyahu urges US lawmakers

'Help Israel avoid war crimes charges,' Netanyahu urges US lawmakers

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appealed to Amer...

From the Balkans to Ukraine: can the Gorlovka attack cause the resurgence of ethno-religious warfare?

From the Balkans to Ukraine: can the Gorlovka attack cause the resurgence of ethno-religious warfare?

The shelling of an Ukrainian Orthodox Church ...

Boycott of Israel Spreads in European Civil Society Over Gaza War, Could Cost $5 Billion a Year

Boycott of Israel Spreads in European Civil Society Over Gaza War, Could Cost $5 Billion a Year

The ill-considered and remarkably brutal Gaza...

Bolivia declares Israel ‘terrorist state’, scraps visa exemption agreement

Bolivia declares Israel ‘terrorist state’, scraps visa exemption agreement

Bolivia has declared Israel to be a "terroris...

It Turns Out Hamas Didn’t Kidnap and Kill the 3 Israeli Teens After All

It Turns Out Hamas Didn’t Kidnap and Kill the 3 Israeli Teens After All

When the bodies of three Israeli teenagers, ki...

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World Global

SETTING

As many diaspora youth as possible to return to BiH

As many diaspora youth as possible to return to BiH

At the Gazi Husrev-beg Library in Sarajevo today, the second meetings of yo...

Economy

SETTING

13th Denationalization Bond for Compensation of Citizens issued in Macedonia

13th Denationalization Bond for Compensation of Citizens issued in Macedonia

According to its own press release, Macedonian Ministry of Finance issued t...

Why Coal Isn’t Going Away

Why Coal Isn’t Going Away

Coal plays an integral role in keeping the lights on and buildings standing...

Bulgaria becomes world's biggest producer of Lavender Oil

Bulgaria becomes world's biggest producer of Lavender Oil

Dozens of workers wade through a sea of purple, picking lavender blossoms i...

Bulletin Board

SETTING

Why is no one talking about US poverty?

Why is no one talking about US poverty?

It's not my intention to belittle the government shutdown or the political ...

Polish climbers to climb peaks of the Balkan

Polish climbers to climb peaks of the Balkan

Balkan Winter Expedition 2014 project aims to climb the highest peaks of Ba...

Special Interest

SETTING

The month of Ramadan is a time to purify the heart

The month of Ramadan is a time to purify the heart

O Believers, Observe Saum — the fasting, it is prescribed for you as it was...

Montenegrin Church and Religion

Montenegrin Church  and Religion

In the area of present-day Montenegro (formerly the Roman province of Praev...

Jewish scholar lectured on 'How Islam Saved the Jews'

Jewish scholar lectured on 'How Islam Saved the Jews'

David J. Wasserstein, a professor of Jewish History at Vanderbilt Universit...

Health

SETTING

Vitamin D deficiency linked to increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

Vitamin D deficiency linked to increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

Vitamin D deficiency is now linked to increased risk of dementia and Alzhei...

Cinnamon, Ginger and Onions Strongly Protect Us from Colds and Flu

Cinnamon, Ginger and Onions Strongly Protect Us from Colds and Flu

In the fall as the weather gets cooler ailments tend to affect our Lungs in...

Life and Style

SETTING

Babies born naturally 'have higher IQs than those delivered by caesarean section'

Babies born naturally 'have higher IQs than those delivered by caesarean section'

Babies born naturally may have higher IQs than those delivered by caesarean...

Cosmetics causing an epidemic of allergies: Doctors urge for preservatives to be removed

Cosmetics causing an epidemic of allergies: Doctors urge for preservatives to be removed

A chemical used in hundreds of beauty products is being blamed for a massiv...

Technology

SETTING

Google pulls ‘Bomb Gaza’ app after public criticism

Google pulls ‘Bomb Gaza’ app after public criticism

'Bomb Gaza' developed by PlayFTW and still available as an app on Facebook,...

World Global

Rampant Extremism: The U.S. lawmaker calls Islam 'a cancer in our nation'

1 MONTHS AGO
Rampant Extremism: The U.S. lawmaker calls Islam 'a cancer in our nation'

Religious leaders in Oklahoma are speaking out against remarks made by state Rep. John Bennett (R), who told a town hall audience on Monday that the Islamic faith "is a cancer in our nation that needs to be cut out," and is a sociopolitical movement with the goal of taking over the world and destroy...

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President Aliyev: Azerbaijan becomes NATO’s reliable partner

1 MONTHS AGO
President Aliyev: Azerbaijan becomes NATO’s reliable partner

President Ilham Aliyev attended the NATO summit in Wales, September 4-5. In addition to the 28-members states that form the North Atlantic alliance, countries participating in the ISAF force in Afghanistan, the United Nations and the European Union participated in the meeting.

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French radicals are at the 'gates of power'

1 MONTHS AGO
French radicals are at the 'gates of power'

France's radical far-right National Front is at the "gates of power", Prime Minister Manuel Valls (pictured) warned on Sunday, after a recent poll showed FN leader Marine Le Pen would beat Socialist President François Hollande in a 2017 presidential vote.

The French premier was speaking to fellow s...

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Brussels warns BiH, Serbia not to use EU-Russia trade war

2 MONTHS AGO
Brussels warns BiH, Serbia not to use EU-Russia trade war

The European Union warned candidates for membership and potential candidates, among them Serbia and BiH, not to try to use sanctions between the EU and Russia to create a better trade position, reports Patria.

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As many diaspora youth as possible to return to BiH

2 MONTHS AGO
As many diaspora youth as possible to return to BiH

At the Gazi Husrev-beg Library in Sarajevo today, the second meetings of youth from the BiH diaspora, organized by the Center for Social Education of Youth (CDOM), was opened, the Anadolu Agency reports.

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Lingering accussation of Kosovo KLA leaders over war crimes perssist

2 MONTHS AGO
Lingering accussation of Kosovo KLA leaders over war crimes perssist

An EU inquiry published on July 29, 2014, asserted to have found evidences of war crimes committed by KLA leaders during the 1998-99 Kosovo-Serb conflict, while there will be no trial yet for the illegal traffic of organs.

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Economy

13th Denationalization Bond for Compensation of Citizens issued in Macedonia

2 MONTHS AGO
13th Denationalization Bond for Compensation of Citizens issued in Macedonia

According to its own press release, Macedonian Ministry of Finance issued the thirteenth today issued denationalization bond amounting to EUR 10 million.

Macedonian ministry states that all decisions on denationalization which became effective in the period 1st January 2013- 31st January 2014, ...

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Bulgaria to allow its fourth-biggest bank to collapse

3 MONTHS AGO
Bulgaria to allow its fourth-biggest bank to collapse

Bulgaria is to allow its fourth-biggest lender to collapse but could spend up to 2 billion levs ($1.39 billion) making sure customers do not lose out, as the Balkan country battles to clean up its worst financial scandal since the 1990s.

The central bank said it was removing Corporate Commercia...

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Why Coal Isn’t Going Away

2 MONTHS AGO
Why Coal Isn’t Going Away

Coal plays an integral role in keeping the lights on and buildings standing. Despite the green energy movement, more than 40% the world's electricity still comes from coal-fired plants, and 70% of the world's steel production requires metallurgical coal.

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Etihad CEO seeks to seal talks on Alitalia deal

3 MONTHS AGO
Etihad CEO seeks to seal talks on Alitalia deal

Etihad Airways chief James Hogan said on Wednesday he aimed to complete negotiations on buying 49 percent of Alitalia by the end of the month but stressed the company had to be "right-sized" first.

"We're all focussed on the end of this month. With our agreement, more time is allowed but our fo...

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Bulgaria becomes world's biggest producer of Lavender Oil

3 MONTHS AGO
Bulgaria becomes world's biggest producer of Lavender Oil

Dozens of workers wade through a sea of purple, picking lavender blossoms in the sweltering heat. The 100-degree Fahrenheit temperatures give the blossoms their highest concentration of oil — a liquid treasure that is prized by perfume makers around the world.

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Bulgarian Minister vows to fight for South Stream Implementation

5 MONTHS AGO
Bulgarian Minister vows to fight for South Stream Implementation

Bulgarian Economy and Energy Minister Dragomir Stoynev said that Bulgaria will do its best to make sure the South Stream gas pipeline project is implemented. "We will fight for the implementation of South Stream," he said.

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Bulletin Board

The ‘Eastern Question’ Still Persists in Europe

1 MONTHS AGO
The ‘Eastern Question’ Still Persists in Europe

The Balkans lived in peace for hundreds of years under Ottoman rule. The Bosniaks in particular were the standard bearers of Islam in Europe. The sound of the adhan, the call to prayer, has never fallen silent from the time when the region joined the Ottoman Empire to the present day.

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Buddhism in Myanmar: Extremism Galore

2 MONTHS AGO
Buddhism in Myanmar: Extremism Galore

Myanmar is undergoing a state of upheaval and transformation. As of now, the country is experiencing changes on the political, economic and social frontiers.

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Why is no one talking about US poverty?

1 YEAR AGO
Why is no one talking about US poverty?

It's not my intention to belittle the government shutdown or the political showdown underway between President Obama and the GOP, but more often than not, America's fickle news media is dominated by one subject. It's what gets left out that is often more telling than what everyone (or at least ...

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Gunpowder Composition for Rockets and Cannon in Arabic Military Treatises In Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries

1 YEAR AGO
Gunpowder Composition for Rockets and Cannon  in Arabic Military Treatises  In Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries

A Gap in the history of gunpowder and cannon

n some documented histories of warfare and weapons in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance there is a noticeable gap in the history of gunpowder and cannon in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Some Authors jump from China in the far east to Eu...

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Polish climbers to climb peaks of the Balkan

7 MONTHS AGO
Polish climbers to climb peaks of the Balkan

Balkan Winter Expedition 2014 project aims to climb the highest peaks of Balkan countries in the winter - Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Romania.

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ACTION ALERT: Tell the Simon Wiesenthal Center to Apologize For Denial of Genocide on Bosniaks

9 MONTHS AGO
ACTION ALERT: Tell the Simon Wiesenthal Center to Apologize For Denial of Genocide on Bosniaks

CALL TO ACTION:

On behalf of Bosniaks in the U.S. and Canada and survivors of the Bosnian genocide, we call to action all friends and people of good will to protest the comments made by Efraim Zuroff in which he is denying the genocide in Srebrenica and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

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Special Interest

The month of Ramadan is a time to purify the heart

3 MONTHS AGO
The month of Ramadan is a time to purify the heart

O Believers, Observe Saum — the fasting, it is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you (Jews and Christians), that you may become Al-Muttaqun — the God-concious, the pious ones.

Al-Quran, 2-183.

Ramadan offers this central theme for Muslims: complete submission of mind and ...

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Al-Salafiyyah: The Methodology of the Pious Predecessors

4 MONTHS AGO
Al-Salafiyyah: The Methodology of the Pious Predecessors

All praises and thanks are due to All?h, and may the blessings and prayers be upon the Messenger of All?h, his family, his companions, and all those who follow in their footsteps until the Day of Judgment.

Al-Islam is a collection of rules and articles of faith, of knowledge and action, of thin...

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Montenegrin Church and Religion

8 MONTHS AGO
Montenegrin Church  and Religion

In the area of present-day Montenegro (formerly the Roman province of Praevalitane), Christianity started to put down roots early. The first episcopacy was formed in the fourth century when the native populace consisted of Romans and Romanized Ilirs. (See "Iz Povijesti Hriscanskih Crkava u Crno...

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Bulgarian Orthodox Patriarch Maxim Dies at 98

1 YEAR AGO
Bulgarian Orthodox Patriarch Maxim Dies at 98

The Bulgarian Ortodox Patriarch Maxim, who weathered a revolt over his Communist-era ties to lead his country's Orthodox Christians for more than 40 years, died here on Tuesday at age of 98.

The Bulgarian Ortodox church's top clerical body Holy Synod said in a statement that the cause of death ...

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Jewish scholar lectured on 'How Islam Saved the Jews'

5 MONTHS AGO
Jewish scholar lectured on 'How Islam Saved the Jews'

David J. Wasserstein, a professor of Jewish History at Vanderbilt University, lectured on "How Islam Saved the Jews" on Thursday, April 24, at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.

Readmore

Muslim Jewish Conference Meets In Sarajevo To Combat Islamophobia And Anti-Semitism

1 YEAR AGO
Muslim Jewish Conference Meets In Sarajevo To Combat Islamophobia And Anti-Semitism

Students and young professionals from around the world have gathered in Sarajevo, Bosnia to exchange experiences and fight prejudice and hatred. They represent different cultures and races and speak dozens of languages, but they share either one of two identities: they are all Muslims or Jews.

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Health

Vitamin D deficiency linked to increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

2 MONTHS AGO
Vitamin D deficiency linked to increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

Vitamin D deficiency is now linked to increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

According to a study completed in collaboration with Dr. Paulo Chaves, associate professor at Florida International University College of Medicine, study participants who had severe vitamin D deficiency we...

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Circumcision Protects Against AIDS

1 YEAR AGO
Circumcision Protects Against AIDS

A new study found that uncircumcised men were nearly seven times more likely to get the AIDS virus, giving further support to findings that circumcision . The study by Robert C. Bollinger and colleagues from Johns Hopkins University Medical School and the National AIDS Research Institute in Pune, In...

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Cinnamon, Ginger and Onions Strongly Protect Us from Colds and Flu

9 MONTHS AGO
Cinnamon, Ginger and Onions Strongly Protect Us from Colds and Flu

In the fall as the weather gets cooler ailments tend to affect our Lungs in the form of coughs, sinus issues, colds and flu. In Traditional Chinese Medicine autumn relates to the metal element which corresponds to the Lungs. The taste that strengthens the Lungs is pungent: the spicy flavor of f...

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Genetically Modified Democracy

1 YEAR AGO
Genetically Modified Democracy

Reliable sources in Washington D.C. have informed the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) that Monsanto has begun secretly lobbying its Congressional allies to attach one or more "Monsanto Riders" or amendments to the 2013 Farm Bill that would preempt or prohibit states from requiring labels on...

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Puberty Before Age 10: A New ‘Normal’?

1 YEAR AGO
Puberty Before Age 10: A New ‘Normal’?

One day last year when her daughter, Ainsley, was 9, Tracee Sioux pulled her out of her elementary school in Fort Collins, Colo., and drove her an hour south, to Longmont, in hopes of finding a satisfying reason that Ainsley began growing pubic hair at age 6. Ainsley was the tallest child in her thi...

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Every human emotion now classified as a mental disorder

1 YEAR AGO
Every human emotion now classified as a mental disorder

The industry of modern psychiatry has officially gone insane. Virtually every emotion experienced by a human being -- sadness, grief, anxiety, frustration, impatience, excitement -- is now being classified as a "mental disorder" demanding chemical treatment (with prescription medications, of co...

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Life and Style

Babies born naturally 'have higher IQs than those delivered by caesarean section'

2 YEARS AGO
Babies born naturally 'have higher IQs than those delivered by caesarean section'

Babies born naturally may have higher IQs than those delivered by caesarean section, new research claims.

According to scientists, when women give birth naturally there are higher levels of a special protein in babies' brains that helps boost intelligence levels as they develop.

 Scientist...

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Teaching Kids Responsibility

2 YEARS AGO
Teaching Kids Responsibility

Discover the secret to getting your kid to set the table or tidy her room without being constantly on her case about it.

My daughter, Zoe, was 5 when I decided to give her a couple of chores: making her bed every morning and putting some of her clean clothes in drawers on laundry day. Let's just say...

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Video gaming addiction can control your thoughts

1 YEAR AGO
Video gaming addiction can control your thoughts

A psychology researcher from Canberra has collected some of the first scientific evidence that video gaming can be addictive in a way similar to gambling and alcohol.

"People who spend an excessive amount of time playing video games are powerless to stop themselves from thinking about gaming," says ...

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One Question that Could Save Your Marriage

2 YEARS AGO
One Question that Could Save Your Marriage

“Who knew marriage could be so difficult?” asked Sara:

“One day you’re this care-free woman, pretty selfish and self-indulgent. Next you have a roomie – and one that is supposed to share that room with you for the rest of your life!”

“We were living on top of each other,” she added,

“Everyone h...

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Cosmetics causing an epidemic of allergies: Doctors urge for preservatives to be removed

1 YEAR AGO
Cosmetics causing an epidemic of allergies: Doctors urge for preservatives to be removed

A chemical used in hundreds of beauty products is being blamed for a massive rise in dangerous allergic reactions.

Cosmetic giant Johnson & Johnson says it is so concerned, it is taking the chemical out of its best-selling Piz Buin sun cream and other products.

Readmore

Beauty Queens Outside and Slobs Inside?

1 YEAR AGO
Beauty Queens Outside and Slobs Inside?

In the West women dress with looks to kill outside the home and save the sweats and t-shirts for inside. Most women will look very beautiful while going outside of the house, but look like a slob inside the house. This is not always true and sometime it’s the other way round.  Many women leave ...

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Technology

Google pulls ‘Bomb Gaza’ app after public criticism

2 MONTHS AGO
Google pulls ‘Bomb Gaza’ app after public criticism

'Bomb Gaza' developed by PlayFTW and still available as an app on Facebook, imitates the on-going conflict between Israel and Hamas, which dominates the Palestinian territory. Players drop bombs from a fighter jet while dodging missiles from Hamas fighters in black and green masks.

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Putin calls Internet 'CIA project'

6 MONTHS AGO
Putin calls Internet 'CIA project'

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday called the Internet a "CIA project" and warned Russians against making Google searches.

Putin assured a group of young journalists that the Internet was controlled from the start by the CIA and its surveillance continues today.

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How to get rid of the bedbugs?

1 YEAR AGO
How to get rid of the bedbugs?

Bedbugs have become a growing problem around the world, with epidemics New york and other world cities.

However, researchers have found an unlikely solution - kidney bean leaves.

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The Pirate Bay is the World's Most Efficient Public Library

1 YEAR AGO
The Pirate Bay is the World's Most Efficient Public Library

The way "media piracy" works is that one person or group purchases a work, and then shares it with millions of other people. This supposedly deprives the author or artist of those millions of people's money. One group has acquired over 50 million media items, and makes each of them available to...

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Dire warning: Due to massive solar flare storm you could lose power, communications

2 YEARS AGO
Dire warning: Due to massive solar flare storm you could lose power, communications

The largest solar storm since 2005 is now in progress, causing fluctuations on the power grid and disruptions to the Global Positioning System. The ongoing strong proton storm is in full fury. And it's getting stronger; a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) impact also impacting us, traveling at 1,400 miles...

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“Dark matter” mystery deepens

3 YEARS AGO
“Dark matter” mystery deepens Like all ga­lax­ies, most as­tro­no­mers be­lieve ours is filled with a strange, in­vis­i­ble sub­stance that be­trays its pres­ence only through its gravita­t­ional pull. The gal­ax­y’s stars would fly apart with­out this so-called dark mat­ter hold­ing them to­geth­er.

But the na­ture of “dark mat...

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Arts

Turkish tradition, Islamic art meet at Acar’s exhibit

2 YEARS AGO
Turkish tradition, Islamic art meet at Acar’s exhibit

Turkish tradition and Islamic art came together as a renowned artist from Turkey opened his first exhibition in the Kingdom on Feb. 28.

Imsail Acar mounted a solo gallery featuring 43 of his paintings at the Consulate General of Turkey here until March 1.

Acar introduced his works as a combination o...

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Top Islamic artworks on display at Paris show

2 YEARS AGO
Top Islamic artworks on display at Paris show

The Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris is playing host to an exhibition of Islamic artworks created by 10 top Iranian and Arab artists selected for the Jameel Prize 2011.

Awarded every two years, the Jameel Prize is an international art award for contemporary artists and designers inspired by Islamic ...

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Modernist Islamic Architecture: Toward preserving a migrant past

3 YEARS AGO
Modernist Islamic Architecture: Toward preserving a migrant past

MakeSpace Architects is a London-based firm whose work specializes in private and social housing, as well as community buildings. Much of the community work focuses on the development of mosques and Islamic centers. Besides designing and building the structures, MakeSpace aspire to develop a new arc...

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Ottoman architecture not just from Armenians and Greeks, says historian

3 YEARS AGO
Ottoman architecture not just from Armenians and Greeks, says historian Two recent exhibitions on Istanbul's Armenian and Greek architects have caused a debate among experts on Ottoman . While some say there is an attempt to show that Istanbul’s recent architectural heritage belongs to Armenians and Greeks only, others think that such a prejudiced approach goes against ...

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Macedonia and the medieval manuscript: It is the first time that this has repeated itself

2 YEARS AGO
Macedonia and the medieval manuscript: It is the first time that this has repeated itself

In every class of every school there are students, who are excellent; there are good ones and ones with average performance; there are also bad student and ones that are so bad they have to take the same class twice; but there are also ones, who do not like anything and anyone.

The case with th...

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Tears of the famed Mona Lisa

2 YEARS AGO
Tears of the famed Mona Lisa

Save You stand among the crowds in a world museum like the Louvre in Paris, moving from one hall to another gazing at pieces of art such as the Mona Lisa, trying to understand the secret of that mysterious smile on the face of the Italian La Gioconda ... well, you are not alone! Many people in th...

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Entertainment

2011 Libyan rebellion comes to Sarajevo

3 MONTHS AGO
2011 Libyan rebellion comes to Sarajevo

Hundreds of former Libyan rebels gathered in Sarajevo on Thursday to see the world premiere of a documentary dedicated to their 2011 fight against Moamer Gathafi's regime.

The four-hour documentary "Tomorrow, Tripoli" by French director Florent Marcie depicts the everyday experiences of fighter...

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'Arrow': An Islamic prayer and the issue of cultural prejudice

8 MONTHS AGO
'Arrow': An Islamic prayer and the issue of cultural prejudice

In the recent "Arrow" episode, an assassin takes a moment to pray before drinking poison and dying. That moment was meant to deny information to heroes Oliver Queen and Sara Lance, while simultaneously showing commitment to the League of Assassins.

But did this moment mean more? Is "Arrow" guil...

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The upcoming “Islamic music industry”

10 MONTHS AGO
The upcoming “Islamic music industry”

Ten years ago, a young and unassuming British-Azerbaijani, who’d recently had a spiritual awakening, released an album that catapulted him to stardom. Sami Yusuf, now 33, is known throughout the Muslim world for his spiritual songs about Islam. At the peak of his career, following the rele...

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Some Serbians sensitive to Handler's jokes about their country

3 YEARS AGO
Some Serbians sensitive to Handler's jokes about their country

Chelsea Handler may have forgotten all about a few jokes she tossed out during a taping of her show earlier this week that touched on Amy Winehouse's botched comeback tour kickoff in Belgrade, but tens of thousands in Serbia have not.

People of all ages in the country appear outraged at her comments...

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Exploring Jefferson, Islam and the founding of a nation

9 MONTHS AGO
Exploring Jefferson, Islam and the founding of a nation

Americans have been arguing bitterly over religion since before the founding of the independent nation. The Colonists came by it honestly. They arrived from Europe with a legacy of several hundred years of wars with the infidels, the Papists and fellow Christian reformers.

A few early Colonists...

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An ‘industry’ built on hate: How the right-wing successfully brought anti-Muslim bigotry into the American mainstream

1 YEAR AGO
An ‘industry’ built on hate: How the right-wing successfully brought anti-Muslim bigotry into the American mainstream

Ahmed Sharif was a 44-year-old Muslim Bangladeshi taxi driver in New York City. It was August 24, 2010, a time that marked the height of vitriolic protests against a planned Islamic center to be located in lower Manhattan, a few blocks away from the site of Ground Zero. Sharif picked up 21-year...

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Travel

Albanian Tourism Project Puts Beds in Bunkers

2 YEARS AGO
Albanian Tourism Project Puts Beds in Bunkers

The Balkan country of Albania has hundreds of thousands of disused communist-era bunkers and a booming tourist industry. Now a joint German-Albanian project has put the two things together -- and is converting a bunker into a backpacker hostel.

In the coastal town of Tale, about 50 kilometers (...

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Albania's surprising side

2 YEARS AGO
Albania's surprising side

Superb Roman ruins, glorious scenery, good food and ridiculously low prices – Edward Reeve finds much to admire in the former communist state.

This is odd. I'm sitting in a bar in Tirana, Albania, and there's not a gangster in sight. What there is is a 20ft-long counter packed with an array of ...

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Istanbul’s historic Grand Bazaar to undergo major restoration in 2013

2 YEARS AGO
Istanbul’s historic Grand Bazaar to undergo major restoration in 2013

Restoration of Istanbul's famous historic Grand Bazaar (Kapali Çarsi) will begin in the early months of 2013 and cost the municipality TL 200 million, the Fatih district mayor has said.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Fatih Municipality Mayor Mustafa Demir said they plan to restore...

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Riding the Danube Express through Istanbul and Budapest

3 YEARS AGO
Riding the Danube Express through Istanbul and Budapest

Imagine a train journey through time. Crossing cultural, political and religious conflicts spanning not just centuries but millennia. No, you don’t need to be Doctor Who to take this trip; all you need is a ticket for the Danube Express.

Eight carriages will transport you and up to 41 fellow travell...

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Democracy vs Mythology: The Battle in Syntagma Square

parthenon-4-sale

I have never been more desperate to explain and more hopeful for your understanding of any single fact than this: The protests in Greece concern all of you directly.

What is going on in Athens at the moment is resistance against an invasion; an invasion as brutal as that against Poland in 1939. The invading army wears suits instead of uniforms and holds laptops instead of guns, but make no mistake – the attack on our sovereignty is as violent and thorough. Private wealth interests are dictating policy to a sovereign nation, which is expressly and directly against its national interest. Ignore it at your peril. Say to yourselves, if you wish, that perhaps it will stop there. That perhaps the bailiffs will not go after the Portugal and Ireland next. And then Spain and the UK. But it is already beginning to happen. This is why you cannot afford to ignore these events.

The powers that be have suggested that there is plenty to sell. Josef Schlarmann, a senior member of Angela Merkel’s party, recently made the helpful suggestion that we should sell some of our islands to private buyers in order to pay the interest on these loans, which have been forced on us to stabilise financial institutions and a failed currency experiment. (Of course, it is not a coincidence that recent studies have shown immense reserves of natural gas under the Aegean sea).

China has waded in, because it holds vast currency reserves and more than a third are in Euros. Sites of historical interest like the Acropolis could be made private. If we do not as we are told, the explicit threat is that foreign and more responsible politicians will do it by force. Let’s make the Parthenon and the ancient Agora a Disney park, where badly paid locals dress like Plato or Socrates and play out the fantasies of the rich.

It is vital to understand that I do not wish to excuse my compatriots of all blame. We did plenty wrong. I left Greece in 1991 and did not return until 2006. For the first few months I looked around and saw an entirely different country to the one I had left behind. Every billboard, every bus shelter, every magazine page advertised low interest loans. It was a free money give-away. Do you have a loan that you cannot manage? Come and get an even bigger loan from us and we will give you a free lap-dance as a bonus. And the names underwriting those advertisements were not unfamiliar: HSBC, Citibank, Credit Agricole, Eurobank, etc.

Regretfully, it must be admitted that we took this bait “hook, line and sinker”. The Greek psyche has always had an Achilles’ heel; an impending identity crisis. We straddle three Continents and our culture has always been a melting pot reflective of that fact. Instead of embracing that richness, we decided we were going to be definitively European; Capitalist; Modern; Western. And, damn it, we were going to be bloody good at it. We were going to be the most European, the most Capitalist, the most Modern, the most Western. We were teenagers with their parents’ platinum card.

I did not see a pair of sunglasses not emblazoned with Diesel or Prada. I did not see a pair of flip-flops not bearing the logo of Versace or D&G. The cars around me were predominantly Mercedes and BMWs. If anyone took a holiday anywhere closer than Thailand, they kept it a secret. There was an incredible lack of common sense and no warning that this spring of wealth may not be inexhaustible. We became a nation sleepwalking toward the deep end of our newly-built, Italian-tiled swimming pool without a care that at some point our toes may not be able to touch the bottom.

That irresponsibility, however, was only a very small part of the problem. The much bigger part was the emergence of a new class of foreign business interests ruled by plutocracy, a church dominated by greed and a political dynasticism which made a candidate’s surname the only relevant consideration when voting. And while we were borrowing and spending (which is affectionately known as “growth”), they were squeezing every ounce of blood from the other end through a system of corruption so gross that it was worthy of any banana republic; so prevalent and brazen that everyone just shrugged their shoulders and accepted it or became part of it.

I know it is impossible to share in a single post the history, geography and mentality which has brought this most beautiful corner of our Continent to its knees and has turned one of the oldest civilisations in the world from a source of inspiration to the punchline of cheap jokes. I know it is impossible to impart the sense of increasing despair and helplessness that underlies every conversation I have had with friends and family over the last few months. But it is vital that I try, because the dehumanisation and demonisation of my people appears to be in full swing.

I read, agog, an article in a well-known publication which essentially advocated that the Mafia knew how to deal properly with people who didn’t repay their debts; that “a baseball bat may be what’s needed to fix the never ending Greek debt mess”. The article proceeded to justify this by rolling out a series of generalisations and prejudices so inaccurate and so venomous that, had one substituted the word “Greeks” with “Blacks” or “Jews”, the author would have been hauled in by the police and charged with hate crimes. (I always include links, but not in this case – I am damned if I will create more traffic for that harpy).

So let me deal with some of that media Mythology.

  • Greeks are lazy. This underlies much of what is said and written about the crisis, the implication presumably being that our lax Mediterranean work-ethic is at the heart of our self-inflicted downfall. And yet, OECD data among its members show that in 2008, Greeks worked on average 2120 hours a year. That is 690 hours more than the average German, 467 more than the average Brit and 356 more than the OECD average. Only Koreans work longer hours. Further, the paid leave entitlement in Greece is on average 23 days, lower than most EU countries including the UK’s minimum 28 and Germany’s whopping 30.

  • Greeks retire early. The figure of 53 years old as an average retirement age is being bandied about. So much, in fact, that it is being seen as fact. The figure actually originates from a lazy comment on the NY Times website. It was then repeated by Fox News and printed on other publications. Greek civil servants have the option to retire after 17.5 years of service, but this is on half benefits. The figure of 53 is a misinformed conflation of the number of people who choose to do this (in most cases to go on to different careers) and those who stay in public service until their full entitlement becomes available. Looking at Eurostat’s data from 2005 the average age of exit from the labour force in Greece (indicated in the graph below as EL for Ellas) was 61.7; higher than Germany, France or Italy and higher than the EU27 average. Since then Greece have had to raise the minimum age of retirement twice under bail-out conditions and so this figure is likely to rise further.

  • Greece is a weak economy that should never have been a part of the EU. One of the assertions frequently levelled at Greece is that its membership to the European Union was granted on emotional “cradle of democracy” grounds. This could not be further from the truth. Greece became the first associate member of the EEC outside the bloc of six founding members (Germany, France, Italy and the Benelux countries) in 1962, much before the UK. It has been a member of the EU for 30 years. It is classified by the World Bank as a “high income economy” and in 2005 boasted the 22nd highest human development and quality of life index in the world – higher than the UK, Germany or France. As late as 2009 it had the 24th highest per capita GDP according to the World Bank. Moreover, according to the University of Pennsylvania’s Centre for International Comparisons, Greece’s productivity in terms of real GDP per person per hour worked, is higher than that of France, Germany or the US and more than 20% higher than the UK’s.
  • The first bail-out was designed to help Greek people, but unfortunately failed. It was not. The first bail-out was designed to stabilise and buy time for the Eurozone. It was designed to avoid another Lehman-Bros-type market shock, at a time when financial institutions were too weak to withstand it. In the words of BBC economist Stephanie Flanders: “Put it another way: Greece looks less able to repay than it did a year ago – while the system as a whole looks in better shape to withstand a default… From their perspective, buying time has worked for the eurozone. It just hasn’t been working out so well for Greece.” If the bail-out were designed to help Greece get out of debt, then France and Germany would not have insisted on future multi-billion military contracts. As Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the MEP and leader of the Green group in the European Parliament, explained: “In the past three months we have forced Greece to confirm several billion dollars in arms contracts. French frigates that the Greeks will have to buy for 2.5 billion euros. Helicopters, planes, German submarines.”
  • The second bail-out is designed to help Greek people and will definitely succeed. I watched as Merkel and Sarkozy made their joint statement yesterday. It was dotted with phrases like “Markets are worried”, “Investors need reassurance” and packed with the technical language of monetarism. It sounded like a set of engineers making minor adjustments to an unmanned probe about to be launched into space. It was utterly devoid of any sense that at the centre of what was being discussed was the proposed extent of misery, poverty, pain and even death that a sovereign European partner, an entire nation was to endure. In fact most commentators agree, that this second package is designed to do exactly what the first one did: buy more time for the banks, at considerable expense to the Greek people. There is no chance of Greece ever being able to repay its debt – default is inevitable. It is simply servicing interest and will continue to do so in perpetuity.

And the biggest myth of them all: Greeks are protesting because they want the bail-out but not the austerity that goes with it. This is a fundamental untruth. Greeks are protesting because they do not want the bail-out at all. They have already accepted cuts which would be unfathomable in the UK – think of what Cameron is doing and multiply it by ten. Benefits have not been paid in over six months. Basic salaries have been cut to 550 Euros (£440) a month.

My mother, who is nearly 70, who worked all her life for the Archaeology Department of the Ministry of Culture, who paid tax, national insurance and pension contributions for over 45 years, deducted at the source (as they are for the vast majority of decent hard-working people – it is the rich that can evade), has had her pension cut to less than £400 a month. She faces the same rampantly inflationary energy and food prices as the rest of Europe.

A good friend’s grandad, Panagiotis K., fought a war 70 years ago – on the same side as the rest of Western democracy. He returned and worked 50 years in a shipyard, paid his taxes, built his pension. At the age of 87 he has had to move back to his village so he can work his “pervoli” – a small arable garden – planting vegetables and keeping four chickens. So that he and his 83 year old wife might have something to eat.

A doctor talking on Al Jazeera yesterday explained how even GPs and nurses have become so desperate that they ask people for money under the table in order to treat them, in what are meant to be free state hospitals. Those who cannot afford to do this, go away to live with their ailment, or die from it. The Hippocratic oath violated out of despair, at the place of its inception.

So, the case is not that Greeks are fighting cuts. There is nothing left to cut. The IMF filleting knife has gotten to pure, white, arthritis-afflicted bone. The Greeks understand that a second bail-out is simply “kicking the can down the road”.  Greece’s primary budget deficit is, in fact, under 5bn Euros. The other 48bn Euros are servicing the debt, including that of the first bail-out, with one third being purely interest. The EU, ECB and IMF now wish to add another pile of debt on top of that, which will be used to satisfy interest payments for another year. And the Greeks have called their bluff. They have said “Enough is enough. Keep your money.”

____________________________________________________________

My land has always attracted aggressive occupiers. Its vital strategic position combined with its extraordinary natural beauty and history, have always made it the trinket of choice for the forces of evil. But we are a tenacious lot. We emerged after 400 years of Ottoman occupation, 25 generations during which our national identity was outlawed with penalty of death, with our language, tradition, religion and music intact.

Finally, we have woken up and taken to the streets. My sister tells me that what is happening in Syntagma Square is beautiful; filled with hope; gloriously democratic. A totally bi-partisan crowd of hundreds of thousands of people have occupied the area in front of our Parliament. They share what little food and drink there is. A microphone stands in the middle, on which anyone can speak for two minutes at a time – even propose things which are voted by a show of thumbs. Citizenship.

And what they say is this: We will not suffer any more so that we can make the rich, even richer. We do not authorise any of the politicians, who failed so spectacularly, to borrow any more money in our name. We do not trust you or the people that are lending it. We want a completely new set of accountable people at the helm, untainted by the fiascos of the past. You have run out of ideas. 

Wherever in the world you are, their statement applies.

Money is a commodity, invented to help people by facilitating transactions. It is not wealth in itself. Wealth is natural resources, water, food, land, education, skill, spirit, ingenuity, art. In those terms, the people of Greece are no poorer than they were two years ago. Neither are the people of Spain or Ireland or the UK. And yet, we are all being put through various levels of suffering, in order for numbers (representing money which never existed) to be transferred from one column of a spreadsheet to another.

This is why the matter concerns you directly. Because this is a battle between our right to self-determine, to demand a new political process, to be sovereign, and private corporate interests which appear determined to treat us like a herd, which only exists for their benefit. It is the battle against a system which ensures that those who fuck up, are never those that are punished – it is always the poorest, the most decent, the most hard-working that bear the brunt.  The Greeks have said “Enough is enough”. What do you say?


Nassim Nicholas Taleb is the Lebanese-American philosopher who formulated the theory of “Black Swan Events” – unpredictable, unforeseen events which have a huge impact and can only be explained afterwards. Last week, on Newsnight, he was asked by Jeremy Paxman whether the people taking to the streets in Athens was a Black Swan Event. He replied: “No. The real Black Swan Event is that people are not rioting against the banks in London and New York.”

The islamophobia industry

The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims

The book, written by the editor-in-chief of Aslan Media, comes at an opportune time. Released in September 2012, the book landed just one month after American Muslims witnessed a stark increase in hate attacks during the holy month of Ramadan.

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