[Ma'an News Agency | Thursday, 23 December, 2010.]
The mayor of a Jewish suburb of Nazareth sparked outrage on Wednesday after refusing to allow Christmas trees to be placed in town squares, calling them provocative.
Predominantly Jewish Nazareth Illit, or Upper Nazareth, is adjacent to Nazareth, where Christians believe Jesus spent much of his life. It has a sizable Arab Christian minority, as does mostly Muslim Nazareth itself.
"The request of the Arabs to put Christmas trees in the squares in the Arab quarter of Nazareth Illit is provocative," Mayor Shimon Gapso told A.F.P.
"Nazareth Illit is a Jewish city and it will not happen -- not this year and not next year, so long as I am a mayor," he said of the northern Israeli town.
"Nazareth is right next door and they can do what they want there," he said.
His decision angered the town's Arab and Christian minority, who accused him of racism.
"The racism of not putting a tree up is nothing compared to the real racism that we experience here," said Aziz Dahdal, a 35-year-old Christian resident of Nazareth Illit.
"When we asked the mayor to put up a Christmas tree in the Arab neighbourhoods of Nazareth Illit he said this is a Jewish town, not a mixed town," said Shukri Awawdeh, a Muslim Arab member of the town council.
Awawdeh said there were 10,000 Arabs, most of them Christian in the town and there was also a large community of Christian Russian immigrants.
"We told him that decorating a tree is just to share the happiness and cheer with other people in the town," said Awawdeh.
"People here, Jews, Christians and Muslims live in harmony, but when the mayor does something like that, it does not make things better."
Christmas festivities in the Holy Land focus on the West Bank town of Bethlehem, where Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus in a manger. But there are also events in Nazareth, where Jesus is believed to have grown up with his mother Mary and her husband Joseph. [Link.]
Monday, 27 December 2010
Thursday, 30 September 2010
[Palestinian Information Center | Saturday, 25 September, 2010.}
The Palestinian community in the US has denied that de facto Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas had met with its members, affirming that he only met with a limited number of PA employees other than meeting the Jewish community.
The Palestinian community said in a statement on Saturday that the alleged meeting with Abbas never happened.
"We challenge the PA in Ramallah to declare the name of one Palestinian institution or society that participated in this alleged meeting," it said.
The community noted that the only meeting for Abbas with Palestinians was the one held in New York with very few people most of whom working with the PA missions in New York and Washington. It added that the only community Abbas met with during his visit was the Jewish community in the presence of representative of 50 Zionist, racist organizations.
The community declared its objection to the policies of Abbas, describing them as "catastrophic".
It condemned the detention of innocent people in the West Bank and the security coordination with the Israeli occupation authority, adding that it would not meet with Abbas or provide a cover for his capitulatory policy. (Link.
Posted by Marco at 17:01
Friday, 17 September 2010
[Gulf News | Monday, 13 September, 2010.]
The British surrogate mother who was carrying Osama Bin Laden's twin grandchildren has suffered a miscarriage.
Louise Pollard was ten weeks into her pregnancy when she lost the children conceived by IVF using the sperm of Bin Laden's son Omar and the eggs of his 54-year-old British wife, Zaina, who was previously known as Jane Felix-Browne.
Pollard was travelling in Syria with Zaina when she was attacked by two men as she walked alone from a cafe to her accommodation late at night.
Her assailants did not speak, but punched her to the ground, and then ran away, leaving her with a black eye and bruising on her arms and legs.
Pollard, a 24-year-old personal assistant from Bristol, managed to get back to her apartment, and later went to hospital where a scan showed she had lost the babies.
"There was no heartbeat," said Pollard, who has previously had two babies for British couples.
She said she has no idea of the motivation for the attack, but says she has been recognised both in the UK and in the Middle East as the Western woman carrying Bin Laden children.
Since her ordeal, which she did not report to the police, Pollard has decided not to attempt another surrogacy for the Bin Ladens, who have now separated amid claims that Omar has developed mental illness.
But she insists her decision has nothing to do with the couple's connection to the world's most wanted terrorist.
(Full story here.)
Saturday, 11 September 2010
Wednesday, 17 March 2010
Monday, 15 March 2010
Thursday, 11 March 2010
[Daily Mail | Wednesday, 10 March, 2010.]
Assisted suicide for anyone over 70 who has simply had enough of life is being considered in Holland. Non-doctors would be trained to administer a lethal potion to elderly people who "consider their lives complete." The radical move would be a world first and push the boundaries even further in the country that first legalised euthanasia. The Dutch parliament is to debate the measure after campaigners for assisted suicide collected 112,500 signatures in a month.
Euthanasia has been available for the terminally ill in Holland since 2002 in cases of "hopeless and unbearable suffering" certified by two doctors, but this would be a far bigger step. Supporters say it would offer a dignified way to die for those over 70 who just want to give up living, without having to resort to difficult or unreliable solitary suicide methods. They might include widows and widowers overwhelmed by grief, those unwilling to face the frailties of extreme old age or people determined to "get out while they’re ahead" and meet death on their own terms.
The assistants who administered the deadly cocktail of sedatives would need to be certified, campaigners said. And they would have to make sure that patients were not acting on a whim or due to a temporary depression, but from a heartfelt and enduring desire to die.
But critics say there is scope for the elderly to come under untoward pressure from unscrupulous relatives. Many religious groups oppose any form of suicide on principle. And the Royal Dutch Medical Association - which played a key role in supporting the nation's euthanasia law - fears patients would use the policy as a way of getting around their own doctors.
Although Switzerland allows assisted suicide in cases where someone is not terminally ill, the Dutch measure would go further. Several European countries allow some assistance to terminally ill people who wish to die. Belgium has followed the Dutch euthanasia model, while Britain and France allow terminally ill people to refuse treatment but stop short of allowing active euthanasia. Around 2,500 euthanasia cases were reported in the Netherlands in 2009, rising gradually in the past decade as doctors have become more willing to disclose the practice. (Full story here.)
[By Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press | Wednesday, 10 March, 2010.]
Up to half the food aid intended for the millions of hungry people in Somalia is being diverted to corrupt contractors, radical Islamic militants and local U.N. workers, according to a U.N. Security Council report.
The report blames the problem on improper food distribution in the Horn of Africa nation, which has been plagued by fighting and humanitarian suffering for nearly two decades, according to a U.N. diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity because the report has not yet been released.
Transporters in Somalia must truck bags of food through roadblocks manned by a bewildering array of militias, insurgents and bandits. Kidnappings and executions are common and the insecurity makes it difficult for senior U.N. officials to travel to the country to check on procedures. Investigators could end up relying on the same people they are probing to provide protection.
The U.N. diplomat told The Associated Press that "a significant diversion" of food delivered by the U.N. food program is being diverted to cartels who were selling it illegally. The findings of the report were first reported by The New York Times on Tuesday Some 3.7 million people in Somalia - nearly half of the population - need aid. (Full story here.)
Wednesday, 10 March 2010
[By Alexandra Williams, Daily Telegraph | Wednesday, 3 March, 2010.]
Called the Hotshot, the condom has been produced after government research showed 12- to 14-year-olds did not use sufficient protection when having sex. The study, conducted on behalf of the Federal Commission for Children and Youth, interviewed 1,480 people aged 10 to 20. It showed more 12- to 14-year-olds were having sex, in comparison with the 1990s.
The Hotshot condoms, which cost 7fr60 (£4.70) for a packet of six, have been created by Lamprecht A.G., a leading condom manufacturer in Switzerland. The company has said the U.K. would be "top priority" if they expanded abroad, considering that it has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe.
Nysse Norballe, a spokesman for the company, said: "At the moment we are only producing the Hotshot in Switzerland. But the U.K. is certainly a very attractive market since there is a very high rate of underage conception. The U.K. would definitely be top priority if we marketed abroad." (Full story here.)