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May 15th, 2010
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By MARYAM NY
Published: May 12, 2010
Dr. Reza Aslan is an Iranian born American scholar of religions, an internationally acclaimed writer, and a contributing editor at the Daily Beast. He is the author of the international bestseller, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam. Writer and journalist Reihan Salam has called the book one of the 100 most important books of the last decade.
Persian2English had the opportunity to interview Dr. Aslan on some of the issues confronting post-election Iran. Following the 2009 Presidential election, there has been a visible shift in the power dynamics of Iran’s socio-economic and political structure. While the Green opposition movement has posed the greatest challenge to the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic, Iran’s political structure has witnessed a rising influence of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). We asked Dr. Aslan his views on the influence of the IRGC and the growing opposition movement inside and outside Iran.
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Long, but illuminating. I've just finished "No god But God" and it was very informative on the origin and evolution of Islam. I think I might get my mom to read it. She found the few pages she read interesting.
MIDLAND dole offices are offering unemployed teenage girls the chance to earn £700 a week – as X-rated internet stars.
The “job with a difference” is being advertised at Jobcentre Plus offices in Birmingham, Warwickshire and Shropshire.
Applicants are told they must be prepared to perform naked at home in front of a web camera and engage in smutty talk with callers.
They are also warned they should be ready to go along with “any other activities you feel comfortable with”. The ad says men and couples are also wanted.
The job offer sparked political outrage, with Birmingham MP Khalid Mahmood demanding an official inquiry.
Mr Mahmood (Lab, Perry Barr) lodged a complaint with Department for Work and Pensions deputy regional director Sarah Stanford after being told about Jobcentre Plus’s behaviour by the Mail. He said: “I am absolutely flabbergasted. We already have enough issues with young adults being used by unscrupulous people in the sex industry, but to discover job centres are encouraging unemployed people to get into this is almost beyond belief.
“This advert must be removed straight away.”
The company behind the recruitment drive is adult chat line company faceclick.co.uk, whose website offers the chance to view “just legal” 18-year-old girls.
A Birmingham man and a 19-year-old girl from Nuneaton looking for clerical work were among those handed the details by Jobcentre Plus. Applicants, who must be 18 or over, are told they should be outgoing, friendly and confident and can earn £100 a day.
The 19-year-old, who would not be named, said she was shocked a government agency was effectively recruiting for the sex industry.
She said: “My job in a call centre is a fixed-term contract that’s coming to an end and I’ve just taken out a car loan so I’m desperate for work.
“But I’m not so desperate that I’m prepared to perform disgusting acts on an internet sex line.”
In Birmingham, 23-year-old Darren John was offered the same opportunity. He said: “Is it really the role of Jobcentre Plus to be advertising for people willing to be naked for the purposes of adult entertainment?”
When a Mail reporter rang the number in the advert posing as a jobhunter, they were told by a job centre worker that they could earn £100 per day on an “as and when required” basis.
The Department for Work and Pensions defended its conduct, insisting it had no right to withdraw the advert. A West Midlands DWP spokeswoman said: “If a vacancy is legal then Jobcentre Plus has to advertise it.
“However, adult entertainment jobs are clearly marked that applicants must be aged 18 or over. Our staff do not actively promote these vacancies to our customers, it would be up to them to express an interest in applying and to ask for further information.”
Seven years ago, Jobcentre Plus lost a legal battle when it tried to refuse advertising jobs in the adult entertainment industry.
Procter & Gamble Co is being sued by parents claiming new Pampers diapers have caused severe rashes and other skin conditions on their children, court documents showed, assertions the company has called "completely false."
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on May 11.
The action, filed by the law firm of Keller Rohrback, comes on the heels of parents' complaints that updated Pampers Swaddlers and Cruisers diapers with P&G's new Dry Max technology appear to have caused rashes and burns on their children. A number of parents have voiced concern in Internet forums such as Facebook.
"While we have great empathy for any parent dealing with diaper rash - a common and sometimes severe condition - the claims made in this lawsuit are completely false," P&G said in a statement. "We have every confidence that we will prevail in this meritless lawsuit."
According to documents, the lawsuit wants the court to require P&G to ensure that Pampers will not cause severe rashes, blisters, welts, chemical burns and other skin ailments and to regularly test the product. It also wants parents to be reimbursed for the diapers and compensated for treatment of skin ailments in their children they say were caused by the diapers.
Last week, Pampers dismissed reports that the diapers were causing skin irritations after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada said they were investigating the products.
Last year, a $1 million lifetime cap on health care expenses meant nothing more than fine print on an insurance policy to Jim Bucher.
"I never thought I'd hit that," Bucher said. "Who's going to spend a million dollars?"
That was before his 6-year-old son, Landon, was diagnosed with leukemia last July.
What followed were hospital stays that lasted weeks at a time, expensive chemotherapy drugs and a bone marrow transplant at Duke University Hospital.
Landon has now accrued about $700,000 in medical expenses, and there are still some hefty outstanding bills.
For Jim Bucher and his wife, Patty, health care reform can't get here fast enough. The act signed by President Barack Obama in March eliminates lifetime caps from health insurance policies.
That part of the law goes into effect Sept. 23, one of the earlier pieces to fall in place. But because the Buchers have an existing policy, the cap will stay until their policy is renewed on Jan. 1.
In the meantime, Bucher, 40, bird-dogs his medical bills, organizes fund raisers and spends hours on the phone with insurers and benefit specialists.
"It's turned my life upside-down," said Bucher, a mortgage loan officer.
It's also given the Virginia Beach resident a new perspective on health care reform. Before, he didn't really think government should get involved. "The way it was presented, it seemed like a negative thing. I figured, 'I have insurance, so I don't need to worry about it.' "
Now he's finding out just how critical the new law will be to his family.
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PARAMOUNT, Calif. (AP) -- The assistant principal at a California high school has been placed on leave after a campus talent show where male students pranced seductively in underwear and Speedos.
The Paramount Unified School District began an investigation after video of the student performances showed up on YouTube and local television news reports. One performer, Christian Dominguez, says he simply wanted to "pump up" the class at Paramount High School.
But some parents complained.
Superintendent David Verdugo says the performance was inappropriate and the assistant principal who was present has been placed on administrative leave while the district investigates who arranged and managed the acts.
No students have been disciplined.
ETA: merig00 was very kind and found a news report showing clips. Thank you so much. <3
Steed Wheeled Into Brussels at Night
BRUSSELS – In what many are hailing as a breakthrough solution to Greece’s crippling debt crisis, Greece today offered to repay loans from the European Union nations by giving them a gigantic horse.
Finance ministers from sixteen EU nations awoke in Brussels this morning to find that a huge wooden horse had been wheeled into the city center overnight.
The horse, measuring several stories in height, drew mixed responses from the finance ministers, many of whom said they would have preferred a cash repayment of the EU’s bailout.
But German Chancellor Andrea Merkel said she “welcomed the beautiful wooden horse,” adding, “What harm could it possibly do?”
Source is wary of Greeks bearing gifts.
By GAIL COLLINS
Published: May 14, 2010
“Do you support allowing people to carry loaded guns into an American airport?” Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey asked the attorney general at a recent Appropriations Committee hearing.
The proper answer to this question would seem to be: “Huh?” However, Eric Holder is a dignified guy, so he settled for “very worrisome.”
Lautenberg has a knack for proposing laws against things that most people would presume were illegal already. You may remember him from such past hits as “Let’s Not Let Convicted Felons Buy Weapons at Gun Shows” and “Don’t Sell Assault Rifles to People on the Terrorist Watch List.”
Neither is anywhere near being passed. Or even coming up for a vote.
Now he’s got a bill making it illegal to carry a firearm into an airport. It was inspired by the Georgia State Legislature, which recently passed a bill requiring the Atlanta airport to let people with gun permits take their weapons into the lobby, baggage claim, food courts — everywhere short of the point where you take off your shoes.
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New York Times op-ed, so unfortunately nothing about the actual Georgia or Tennessee legislation that's out there. I've left most of my WTF for my own journal, so I leave this to you lovely people.
Some 20,000 pieces of mail - many more than a decade old - have been recovered from a postman's garage in the US city of Philadelphia.
Tubs of undelivered letters were discovered in April when the US Postal Service worker missed several days of work and managers visited his home.
The FBI said it took more than three postal vans to remove the mail, some of which dated back to 1997.
Investigators are still trying to find the postman so they can question him.
Delaying mail and stealing mail are both federal offences in the US.
The missing mail is said to have included large numbers of cheques, bills and official letters. Many have since been delivered to bewildered residents of Bustleton, a north-eastern suburb of Philadelphia.
"I got mail today from 2007," Kevin Carpenter told ABC News. "Pay-cheques, things like that that I needed - stuff from the social security administration and the IRS."
"I asked Dave [the postman] and Dave said he hadn't seen it but as soon as he got it he'd call me," Mr Carpenter added.
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I can't believe when he asked that lady WHY she thought the girl was a prostitute she goes "OH WELL I THOUGHT IT SEEMED SIMILAR TO THE RIHANNA CASE."
Ed Miliband to take on brother David in leader battle
The former energy minister declared his intention in a speech to centre-left think-tank the Fabian Society.
He said the party must renew itself and Labour needed to be "clear and honest" about the scale of its election defeat.
He said he would "absolutely" be ready to serve under David Miliband, should his brother win, and promised the leadership contest would be civilised.
The pair are the only two Labour MPs so far to have announced they are standing for the party leadership, previously held by Gordon Brown.
Ed Miliband, 40, kicked off Saturday's speech by joking that everybody had been asking whose bid their mother would support - then said she was behind the left-wing MP John Cruddas.
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By Dennis Carcamo May 13, 2010
MANILA, Philippines – Militant group Bayan has called on Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, the apparent President-elect in the May 10 national polls, to make the prosecution of outgoing President Arroyo one if his administration’s priorities.
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maybe hopeful source
Arroyo faces uphill battle for speakership–spokesman
By TJ Burgonio 05/15/2010
MANILA, Philippines – While she had lawmakers at her beck and call for nine years, outgoing President Arroyo faces a tough battle for the speakership of the House of Representatives against returning Quezon City Representative Feliciano Belmonte, an ally of presidential frontrunner Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, said deputy presidential spokesman Gary Olivar.
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Marcos Jnr wins seat in Philippine senate
(AFP) – 15 hours ago
MANILA — Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jnr, son of late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was Saturday declared a senator after national and local elections, reinforcing the family's return to prominence. WTF
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wtf is this
Image by markhillary via Flickr
Roshonara Choudhary, 21, will appear before Stratford magistrates' court on Monday, Scotland Yard said.
Timms, 54, was holding a surgery for constituents at Beckton Globe Library when he was stabbed.
Choudhary, who is unemployed and from the local area, has also been charged with two counts of possession of an offensive weapon. Two weapons have been recovered.
Timms, a former Treasury minister, was taken to the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel yesterday and was said to be recovering well today following surgery.
A hospital spokeswoman said: "Stephen Timms had surgery yesterday evening at the Royal London hospital to repair his stab wounds.
"The operation went well. He is comfortable and resting on a ward.
"It is anticipated that he will be discharged from hospital in the next few days to recuperate at home."
Police were called to the scene at 3.20pm and a witness at the library described Timms being carried into a room wearing a bloodstained shirt.
The mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, said he understood the MP was stabbed during a pre-arranged meeting with a constituent.
Sir Robin, who has known Timms for more than 20 years, said he thought the MP "was handling it very well" when he spoke to him last night.
Unmesh Desai, the MP's aide during the general election, said Timms was "obviously shaken" following the incident.
Timms has regularly spoken out against knife crime in his constituency, particularly among young people.
He has been MP for the constituency – and previously for Newham North East – since 1994. He held jobs in the Labour administration throughout its 13 years in power, first as a parliamentary aide and as financial secretary to the Treasury and in ministerial posts the departments for social security, education, trade and industry and work and pensions.
He joined the cabinet in 2006 as chief secretary to the Treasury – effectively chancellor Gordon Brown's second-in-command, with responsibility for keeping departmental budgets under control. After Brown became prime minister in 2007, he was dropped from the cabinet and made competitiveness minister in the business department, before moving back to the Department for Work and Pensions and then returning to his old job of financial secretary to the Treasury in 2008.
Source: The Guardian
(CNN) -- Progressive Catholic groups vented outrage Friday over the decision of a Roman Catholic school in Massachusetts to rescind the admission of an 8-year-old student because his parents are lesbians.
"The idea that a child might be punished because he does not live with his two biologic parents is antithetical to notions of Christian charity and Catholic social justice," said Patrick Whelan, president of Catholic Democrats, in a statement Friday.
Other liberal Catholic and gay groups issued similar statements Friday, responding to news reports this week that a child accepted to St. Paul Elementary School in Hingham, Massachusetts, for the fall was told he couldn't enroll after the school learned that his parents are gay.
In addition to pressuring the Massachusetts school to reverse its decision and accept the student, progressive Catholic activists are attempting to do something much more dramatic: get the Archdiocese of Boston, which includes the Hingham school, to set a precedent for how the American church treats students with gay parents.
In March, the Archdiocese of Denver, Colorado, supported a decision by a Catholic school in Boulder to block two students with gay parents from re-enrolling.
While the Denver archbishop who backed that decision, Charles J. Chaput, may be the most outspokenly conservative bishop in the nation, progressive Catholics think they can get more moderate Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley to speak against Catholic schools rejecting students over their parents' sexual orientation.
"I'm very disappointed in Chaput's actions, but he has a history of politicizing issues," said Chris Korzen, executive director of the progressive Catholics United, which has asked O'Malley to intervene in the Hingham case and to allow the child to attend St. Paul.
"Cardinal O'Malley understands that there's a place to assert church teachings but that it doesn't make sense to discriminate against a child because of his parents' background," Korzen said.
Korzen and other left-leaning Catholics said they were concerned that the Hingham school was following the example of the Denver Archdiocese in the Boulder case.
"While the relationship between the events in Boulder and Hingham [is] not known, Catholic Democrats is concerned that a narrative will develop that legitimizes the exclusion of children of same sex parents from Catholic schools," the group Catholic Democrats, which is based in Boston, said Friday.
Conservative Catholic groups, meanwhile, have been mostly silent on the matter. "I don't really have a strong opinion on this one," said Deal Hudson, a prominent conservative Catholic activist, in an e-mail on Friday. "It's a matter of the individual bishop's discretion."
O'Malley has not publicly weighed in on the case, but the Boston Archdiocese said Thursday that the Hingham school was not acting in compliance with archdiocesan policy.
"The archdiocese does not prohibit children of same-sex parents from attending Catholic schools," said Mary Grassa O'Neill, the archdiocese's secretary for education and superintendent of Catholic schools. "We will work in the coming weeks to develop a policy to eliminate any misunderstandings in the future."
O'Neill said that the Boston Archdiocese met with one of the child's parents on Thursday and that it has offered to help enroll him in another Catholic school in the archdiocese.
The parents of the St. Paul student have insisted on anonymity for them and their son in press reports of the situation.
The Catholic Schools Foundation, a Boston-based group whose board is chaired by O'Malley, said Thursday that it would not support schools that discriminated against students based on their parents' sexual orientation.
`"[N]o school that promotes an exclusionary admissions policy or practice will be considered for support," said the foundation's executive director, Michael Reardon, in a Thursday letter to school administrators. "We believe a policy or practice that denies admissions to students in such a manner as occurred at St. Paul's is at odds with our values as a foundation, the intentions of our donors, and ultimately with Gospel teaching."
Calls to St. Paul Elementary School and church on Friday night were not returned.
Around 500 fair voting system campaigners dressed in purple rallied outside of the houses of Parliament today. They were demanding voting system reform, as they say that the current system does not represent the British people. London, UK. 15/05/10
The protesters demands for voting system based on proportional representation, comes as many of the electorate are unhappy with the results of last week's election which has led to the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government.
Peter Facey from the Take Back Parliament coalition said "we haven't got proportional representation for the House of Commons. We must not let the politicians get away with thinking that it is for them to decide how we should elect our representatives. They must let the public decide."