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27 Jan, 2015

Myanmar e-visas soaring, expansion to four Thai border checkpoints in the pipeline

Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar — Proving that facilitating accessibility can be far more effective than big marketing budgets for spurring visitor arrivals, Myanmar’s e-visa system is averaging between 600-700 approvals a day, up from 100-200 a day when it was launched in Sepetmber 2014. The numbers are set to grow exponentially this year when the […]

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26 Jan, 2015

Turkish writer pens book on Islamic Culinary Culture

Compiled by Imtiaz Muqbil & Sana Shamsi

A compilation of progressive, positive, inspiring and motivating events and developments in the world of Islam for the week ending 26 January 2015 (06 Rabee’ al-Thaani 1436). Pls click on any of the headlines to go to the story. ============ A WORD FROM MY SPONSORS: TOURISM MALAYSIA ISLAMIC TOURISM CENTRE – GATEWAY TO MALAYSIA, THE […]

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26 Jan, 2015

Anti-Muslim violence spikes in France

The number of anti-Muslim incidents has risen sharply in France since this month’s attack on satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, a leading Muslim group says. The French Council for the Muslim Religion said on Friday that 128 incidents or threats against Muslims were reported from January 7 to 20. The council went on to say this […]

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26 Jan, 2015

‘Muslims, mosques targeted in Germany’

The chairman of Germany’s Central Council of Muslims says Muslims and mosques are being increasingly targeted in the country following the rise of Islamophobia in Europe. “Insults against Muslims, often women with a headscarf, vandalism against mosques and violence against imams have become a daily occurrence,” said Aiman Mazyek on Saturday. Mazyek held the right-wing […]

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26 Jan, 2015

Indonesia drops Australia from visa-free policy

The plan to waive the visa requirement for visitors from Australia, previously aimed at attracting more foreign tourists, has been dropped amid concerns surrounding repeated turbulence over Jakarta-Canberra diplomatic ties. The government had only proceeded with the visa-free policies for Chinese, Russian, South Korean and Japanese tourists, Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Indroyono Soesilo said on […]

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26 Jan, 2015

Four-day workweek, zero meetings help Japanese firms boost productivity, sales

Aki is unusual not only for its products — it operates under a four-day workweek system. The company’s 13 employees work 10 hours a day from Monday through Thursday. Company meetings, which were considered a waste of time, were abolished, resulting in a boost in employee motivation. Since the introduction of the four-day workweek in […]

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26 Jan, 2015

Labor Dept lists America’s Worst H-1B Employers – Center for Immigration Studies

The Center for Immigration Studies, as a public service, has pulled together a comprehensive, all-time list of Department of Labor-debarred H-1B employers. To our knowledge, this is the only complete listing in existence; it is displayed in alphabetical order so that job seekers can be warned about seeking employment with outfits that have received black […]

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26 Jan, 2015

ASEAN secretariat under strain, overwhelmed by workload, inadequate resources, tourism ministers told

Nay Pyi Taw, Myammar – The 305-strong staff of the ASEAN secretariat are “stretched to capacity” handling the workload of over 1,200 meetings annually, and the entire ASEAN apparatus is badly in need of a thorough overhaul, the region’s tourism ministers were told on January 25. Right at the opening of their annual meeting, the […]

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25 Jan, 2015

ASEANTA unveils plan to reinvent itself, rebuild ties with national tourism organisations

Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar — The ASEAN Tourism Association, which groups the private sector and some of the national airlines of the 10 member countries, has unveiled a series of measures to reinvent itself and re-establish a stronger partnership with the ASEAN national tourism organisations and tourism ministries. Addressing the 41st meeting of the ASEAN […]

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24 Jan, 2015

Chinese commentary: West should end its hypocrisy on anti-terror war

By Chen Weihua

Washington DC, China Daily, 2015-01-22 — Senior US leaders invited sharp criticism at home for not attending last week’s solidarity rally in Paris against the terrorist attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in which 12 people were killed. As a result, US Secretary of State John Kerry was in Paris this week to make […]

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24 Jan, 2015

ATF 2003 Flashback: Iraq war and the journalists who saw tomorrow

Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar — When the ASEAN Tourism Forum was held in January 2003 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the dogs of war were preparing to be unleashed in Iraq to weed out “weapons of mass destruction”. The United States was putting together a “coalition of the willing” to attack the country and dismantle former […]

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24 Jan, 2015

How Brunei can use its God-given wealth to make ASEAN an Abode of Peace

Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar — The theme of this year’s ATF is “ASEAN – Tourism Towards Peace, Prosperity and Partnership.” After a long time, the word “peace” is mentioned in an ASEAN tourism theme slogan. That should strike a chord in Brunei, the only ASEAN country whose full name also includes the word “peace” — […]

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24 Jan, 2015

OECD Report: Will Myanmar reap the last mover advantage?

Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar — Business marketing slogans often cite the importance of the “first mover advantage” but Myanmar is now well-placed to reap a “last-mover advantage.” Having for years been left behind by Western economic sanctions, and the advances of its Mekong region brethren, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, it is now rapidly making up […]

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24 Jan, 2015

Why the 2015 ASEAN Tourism Forum in Myanmar is an historic event

Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar — More than 1,500 travel & tourism executives and government officials from within the ASEAN region and around the world are convening here for what promises to be a ground-breaking ASEAN Tourism Forum in many ways. Here are some points of interest: (+) For the first time, Myanmar is hosting the […]

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24 Jan, 2015

Hindu Mahasabha to Khans: Convert if you love your wives – The Hindu

The Hindu Mahasabha has fired its latest salvo at Bollywood’s top Khans. The Hindutva outfit, in an editorial in its weekly publication Hindu Sabha Varta, has challenged Shahrukh Khan, Amir Khan and Saif Ali Khan to convert to Hinduism if they “really love their wives”. Shahrukh Khan is married to Gauri Khan, Amir Khan to […]

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23 Jan, 2015

Silencing Authors in India – NYTimes.com

The story of the latest victim of censorship by intimidation in India, the Tamil-language author Perumal Murugan, was taken up by the Madras High Court on Tuesday. Earlier this month, Mr. Murugan posted a poignant statement on his Facebook page: “Perumal Murugan, the writer is dead.” This was after he had been hounded by right-wing […]

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23 Jan, 2015

Australian David Hicks “terrorism” charges: US admits he is innocent – Sydney Morning Herald

The US government has admitted that former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks is innocent and his conviction in 2007 for providing material support for terrorism is invalid. Mr Hicks’ appeal case against the “invented” crime had been told that the US government does not dispute that he is innocent of any offence and his conviction […]

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21 Jan, 2015

Boycott of French products suggested in Saudi Arabia | Arab News

Some Saudis and expatriates have called for a campaign to boycott French products because of the offending cartoons published by the Charlie Hebdo magazine last week. “It is necessary to boycott French food products and perfumes and hit the French economy because they are ignoring the feelings of Muslims by publishing blasphemous cartoons. It is […]

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20 Jan, 2015

Asia Times Online: Lebensraum in Palestine

Olives are delicious and produce wonderful oil. They were originally cultivated in Syria, Palestine and Crete and there is evidence that some existing trees are 2,000 years old, which is amazing. But there aren’t any 2,000 year-old olive trees in Palestine nowadays. Indeed there are very few left in the Palestinian lands that have been […]

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20 Jan, 2015

A Free Press & Blasphemous Cartoons – Investigative Journo Levels the Playing Field

Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept Defending free speech and free press rights, which typically means defending the right to disseminate the very ideas society finds most repellent, has been one of my principal passions for the last 20 years: previously as a lawyer and now as a journalist. So I consider it positive when large numbers […]

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20 Jan, 2015

WEF Global Risks report challenges claimed benefits of tourism

For decades, travel & tourism has positioned itself as an industry of peace, a major contributor to friendship, international understanding, sustainability, poverty-alleviation, economic growth and socio-cultural stability. But a provocative report issued by the World Economic Forum in advance of its annual meeting in Davos this week provides food for thought about whether those theories […]

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20 Jan, 2015

Five Facts That Prove Paris Massacre is A False Flag Terror – Feroze Mithiborwala

We begin by saluting the people of France for not surrendering to xenophobia and fear and for standing united at a moment of a grave national crisis. The ‘March for Unity’ has shown the way as to how nations should respond to mass psychosis and fear that are generated after massive terror attacks that are […]

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20 Jan, 2015

Zionist Terror Is The Major Cause Of Islamic Fundamentalism, Wars And Terrorism – Dr Salim Nazzal

Europe needs to be reminded of its own history and responsibility.. Who sent the Zionist terrorists to Palestine, who supplied them with arms, and facilities their movements, and who recognized the state of Israel, which all its existence is based on terror in the past and in the present. And who supported the Israeli occupation […]

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20 Jan, 2015

Luxury Industry: Lessons Learned From 2014 | Wealth-X

Last year was a mixed bag for the luxury industry. While certain sectors boomed, like ultra prime property in the US and super-yacht chartering in Europe, other segments suffered, like certain watchmakers, jewellers and high-end fashion brands. Luxury sales growth slowed to 5 percent globally – around €223 billion in 2014, down from 7 percent […]

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20 Jan, 2015

Terror of hypocrisy – Irena Akbar, The Indian Express

Another year. Another cartoon lampooning the Prophet. Another terrorist attack by the “violent” Muslim. And another round of condemnation of the attack by the “moderate” Muslim. Yes, the “moderate” Muslim has performed her “duty” of condemning the acts of her “violent” co-religionists. She has told her non-Muslim friends and colleagues that she doesn’t support the […]

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19 Jan, 2015

Filipino Muslim leaders hail Pope’s message of peace | Manila Bulletin

More leaders of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) have hailed the message of peace of Pope Francis, one of them saying the papal message also reminds of Islam. Datu Abul Khayr Alonto, who chairs an MNLF group composed of “the founding fathers and vanguards of the Bangsamoro Revolution, issued this statement as he expressed […]

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19 Jan, 2015

Muslim solons back resolution of gratitude for Pope Francis | Manila Bulletin

Muslim lawmakers will not think twice about supporting a resolution seeking to extend the country’s deepest and highest gratitude to Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, for bringing national peace and unity and personally showing his concern to the victims of super-typhoon Yolanda. Basilan Rep. Jim Hataman-Salliman and his sister-in-law, AMIN party-list […]

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19 Jan, 2015

Free speech? CNN journo forced out after controversial Israel tweets – Haaretz

Veteran CNN anchor Jim Clancy stepped down on Friday, one week after a series of Twitter posts in which he mocked pro-Israel tweeters on a thread discussing the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Neither CNN nor Jim Clancy gave a reason for his departure, which was reported by AdWeek. Clancy had worked at CNN for 34 years. […]

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19 Jan, 2015

Scientific Center of Kuwait to Host 1001 Inventions in February

Compiled by Imtiaz Muqbil & Sana Shamsi

A compilation of stories of interesting events and developments in the world of Islam for the week ending 19 January 2015 (28 Rabee’ al-Awwal 1436). Pls click on any of the headlines to go to the story. ============ A WORD FROM MY SPONSORS: TOURISM MALAYSIA NOW YOU CAN BUY EXQUISITE MALAYSIAN HANDICRAFTS ONLINE Malaysian handicraft […]

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18 Jan, 2015

Asia Times Online: FreeSpeech, but we won’t cover your skin or honor your God – Maung Zarni

Yo the victims of American drone strikes, You and your lot ain’t White. So, we won’t fight Fight for your right to life You lives ain’t newsworthy. Don’t you dare be testy! Our man Murdoch said, “all yo Muslims, A-P-O-L-O-G-I-Z-E” for your share! How dare you demand our coverage to be fair?!! We ain’t F-A-I-R. […]

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18 Jan, 2015

Facebook is watching and knows who you are – Sydney Morning Herald

A video of a puppy having a bath, a photograph of a sandwich, neighbours, a friend’s spare room for rent and a colleague’s travel updates. This motley list makes up the things I have “liked” on Facebook in the past few days. Clicking the blue thumbs up beside a post on the social network is […]

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18 Jan, 2015

Muslims in America are hearing backlash from Paris attack – McClatchy DC

WASHINGTON — Islamic community leaders in North Texas want extra police and FBI protection for hundreds of Fort Worth-Dallas Muslims who’ll be attending a conference Saturday on combating Islamophobia after the group received multiple threats involving guns and possibly dynamite. Muslim leaders in Ohio said they’d reported last Sunday to federal officials that they’d received […]

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17 Jan, 2015

AlterNet: All White People Are Racists — Now Let’s Do Something About It

As Americans, we like to think of ourselves as a forgiving people. We’ve enshrined the assumption of innocence in our legal code; we take pride in giving second chances to those who misstep. And when it comes to questions of bias, we follow a similar script. In American life, no one is presumed racist without […]

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17 Jan, 2015

Facing common threats from within: Muslim Jihadis in Pakistan. Hindu Zealots in India.

Professor Ramesh Thakur​

The slaughter of 132 schoolchildren and nine adults in an army school in Peshawar on Dec. 16 by the Pakistani Taliban marked a new low in terrorist depravity. The massacre of the innocents brings to a head several pathologies that need addressing and to that end could prove a catharsis for Pakistan. An Indian, even […]

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16 Jan, 2015

Hypocrisy Abounds: Free Speech as Cover for Islamophobia – Sonali Kolhatkar – Truthdig

A magazine that most people outside France had never heard of before Jan. 7 now has legions of followers and fans around the world. The dominant narrative that has emerged from the horrific massacre of 10 staffers of Charlie Hebdo (plus police officers and hostages) is that the very foundation of freedom itself was attacked […]

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16 Jan, 2015

Pew Research: Five facts about the Muslim population in Europe

By Conrad Hackett

Recent violence in France and protest marches in Germany have drawn renewed attention to Europe’s Muslim population. In many European countries, including Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, concerns about growing Muslim communities have led to calls for restrictions on immigration. But just how large is Europe’s Muslim population, and how fast is it […]

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16 Jan, 2015

First Islamic Tourism seminar in Sabah promotes understanding, clears up misconceptions

Imtiaz Muqbil was the only travel trade journalist invited to both speak at and report on this seminar

Kota Kinabalu, Sabah – The Kuala Lumpur-based Islamic Tourism Centre organised its first seminar here between 12 – 14 January to update the travel & tourism industry of Malaysia’s second largest state with ways to better understand and attract one of the world’s most promising niche-market customer segments, the Muslim traveller. In addition to a […]

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15 Jan, 2015

Muslims shouldn’t have to keep apologising for terrorist attacks – Sydney Morning Herald

No one should be murdered for drawing cartoons or for working as a policeman or for visiting a supermarket. But our knowledge and consciousness of terrorism is almost always limited to our own cultural backyard. Our sense of reality is distorted. According to the 2013 Global Terrorism Index, 80 per cent of all terrorism-related deaths […]

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15 Jan, 2015

For Palestinian cartoonists, religion is off limits | Manila Bulletin

In the spirit of Charlie Hebdo, Palestinian cartoonist Ramzy Taweel is making his feelings about the French satirical weekly crystal clear — his latest illustration equates the publication to toilet paper. Palestinian political cartoonists, including Taweel, rushed to eulogise the staff of Charlie Hebdo killed by Islamic extremists in an attack on their offices in […]

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14 Jan, 2015

Freedom of expression too has a price – it’s called human dignity

By Ranjan Solomon

An assortment of world leaders assembled in Paris to pay tribute to the slain journalists who were killed in a savage attack that left twelve 12 people killed. The victims were all either staff of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo or security personnel. The newspaper which had become famed for its cartoons regularly ridiculed […]

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14 Jan, 2015

Fighting terrorism: An overview of European Commission’s actions, measures and initiatives

European Commission - Fact Sheet

Brussels, 11 January 2015 What is Europe’s role in the fight against terrorism, which is principally a national competence? What does the EU do to support Member States’ efforts? In 2010 the European Commission adopted an Internal Security Strategy for the period from 2010 to 2014. In the coming months, a European Agenda on Security […]

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14 Jan, 2015

Paris attacks: Massive Display of Hypocrisy by Western Leaders – LewRockwell.com

All those leaders who yell “terrorism” when it suits their grander schemes of domination. Now when there is blowback in Paris, they yell “extremism” and use the occasion to continue and enlarge the war on terror. They use it to strengthen police state surveillance and to frighten the populations under their control. The West’s leaders […]

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13 Jan, 2015

The false debate between freedom of expression and religious extremism | rabble.ca

Without giving any reason or excuse for the use of violence against journalists — which is not acceptable under any circumstances — one should remember that France is at war in many Islamic countries: in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Mali… Even if the human costs of these wars are not always clear to the French […]

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12 Jan, 2015

Islam’s Golden Age to be major highlight of UNESCO fair in Paris

Compiled by Imtiaz Muqbil & Sana Shamsi

A compilation of progressive, positive, inspiring and motivating events and developments in the world of Islam for the week ending 12 January 2015 (19 Rabee’ al-Awwal 1436). Pls click on any of the headlines to go to the story. ============ A WORD FROM MY SPONSORS: TOURISM MALAYSIA NOW YOU CAN BUY EXQUISITE MALAYSIAN HANDICRAFTS ONLINE Malaysian […]

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11 Jan, 2015

Racism in Europe: Who is to blame? | Arab News

By Harun Yahya People well-versed with history know well that racism is a blot on the history of Europe. Like many other negatives of now democratized and liberalized regions, racism had so far been confined to history books until recently. The resurgence of racist tendencies accompanied with acts of violence — which the United States […]

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11 Jan, 2015

Shanghai auto show may shut door on scantily-clad model girls

By DU XIAOYING,SHI JING

Shanghai, (China Daily) 2015-01-10 — Models in over-revealing costumes are disappearing quickly in China – first in TV dramas and now probably from trade shows. Female models may no longer be seen at one of the country’s most important auto shows, the biannual Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition, scheduled for April. Market industry sources say […]

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11 Jan, 2015

Paris attacks: Blowblack from Middle East wars – The Independent

Somehow the degree of failure of the “war on terror” launched by Bush and supported by Britain has never led to those who launched it being held culpable. Fail it demonstrably did, since in 2001 al-Qaeda had a few hundred activists confined to a few camps and towns in Afghanistan and Iraq. Fourteen years later, […]

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11 Jan, 2015

Now, saffron outfits plan grand ‘ghar vapsi’ in Modi’s Varanasi – Hindustan Times

After holding a controversial ‘ghar vapsi’ (homecoming) programme in Agra last month, saffron outfits have targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency – Varanasi — for a grand ‘ghar vapsi’ of over 10,000 people at a ‘dharam jagran sammelan’ next month. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a frontal organisation of the RSS, would conduct the ceremony at […]

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10 Jan, 2015

Hindu Chauvinism at its worst — Shashi Tharoor

As the New Year dawns, it has become increasingly clear that India’s new government faces a dilemma entirely of its own making — one that its predecessor never had to confront. Narendra Modi’s election as the prime minister in May 2014 was initially hailed worldwide as marking the advent of a more business-friendly government in […]

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10 Jan, 2015

Asia Times Online: Who profits from killing Charlie?

By Pepe Escobar Putin did it. Sorry, he didn’t. In the end, it was not Russia “aggression” that attacked the heart of Europe. It was a pro-style jihadi commando. Cui bono? Careful planning and preparation; Kalashnikovs; rocket-propelled grenade launcher; balaclavas; sand-colored ammunition vest stuffed with spare magazines; army boots; piece of cake escape in a […]

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8 Jan, 2015

UK public must wake up to risks of CCTV, says surveillance commissioner – The Guardian

The increasing use of surveillance technology – including body-worn video, drones and number plate recognition systems – risks changing the “psyche of the community” by reducing individuals to trackable numbers in a database, the government’s CCTV watchdog has warned. In his full first interview as surveillance commissioner, Tony Porter – a former senior counter-terrorism officer […]

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8 Jan, 2015

Commentary: Not a “Chinese Century,” but a less Westernized world

by Xinhua Writer Deng Yushan

BEIJING, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) — As the world marches into 2015, the international landscape augurs just another year of what history wonks refer to as Pax Americana. A “Chinese Century” foreseen by Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz and many others has not begun. Even if — a very big if given the notorious inaccuracy of […]

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8 Jan, 2015

How Thai tourism has failed a great King

Bangkok – As the Thai travel and tourism industry nears the end of an era, some heavy-duty soul-searching is overdue about its future in the new era. There is clear evidence that it has failed to comprehensively heed the 44-year-old guidance of His Majesty King Bhumibhol Adulyadej, and will have no choice except to place […]

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7 Jan, 2015

Hindu Mahasabha plans bike rally for Gandhi’s killer – The Times of India

LUCKNOW: Despite being booked last month for announcing a Nathuram Godse temple in Sitapur, Hindu Mahasabha members now plan to take out a bike rally in Lucknow on Thursday to make people “aware” about why he assassinated Mahatma Gandhi. During the course of the rally, the outfit’s members will perform a ‘bhumi pujan’ at Bhaptamau […]

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7 Jan, 2015

The West is wrong again in its fight against terror – The Times of India

Islamic State (ISIS) will remain at the centre of the escalating crisis in the Middle East this year as it was in 2014. The territories it conquered in a series of lightning campaigns last summer remain almost entirely under its control, even though it has lost some towns to the Kurds and Shia militias in […]

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6 Jan, 2015

Rise of Hindutva lobby poses a tough question to Modi – Hindustan Times

by Vir Sanghvi There are, broadly speaking, two views on why Narendra Modi led the BJP to such an overwhelming victory in last year’s general election. The first is the view of some members of his party and the extended Sangh parivar. According to this view, Modi won because India’s Hindu majority decided it wanted […]

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5 Jan, 2015

The Muslim Green: American Muslim Market Study 2014-15 released

Compiled by Imtiaz Muqbil & Sana Shamsi

A compilation of progressive, positive, inspiring and motivating events and developments in the world of Islam for the week ending 05 January 2015 (14 Rabee’ al-Awwal 1436). Pls click on any of the headlines to go to the story. ============ A WORD FROM MY SPONSORS: TOURISM MALAYSIA NOW YOU CAN BUY EXQUISITE MALAYSIAN HANDICRAFTS ONLINE […]

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3 Jan, 2015

Twitter, Facebook ‘allowing Islamophobia to flourish’ – The Independent

Twitter and Facebook are refusing to take down hundreds of inflammatory Islamophobic postings from across their sites despite being alerted to the content by anti-racism groups, an investigation by The Independent has established. The number of postings, some of which accuse Muslims of being rapists, paedophiles and comparable to cancer, has increased significantly in recent […]

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3 Jan, 2015

US bases of war in the Middle East – Al-Ahram Weekly

With the launch of a new US-led war in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State (IS), the United States has engaged in aggressive military action in at least 13 countries in the Greater Middle East since 1980. In that time, every US president has invaded, occupied, bombed or gone to war in at least […]

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3 Jan, 2015

Australia to toughen drone rules following several incidents – Sydney Morning Herald

Australia is set to have among the world’s toughest rules on drones after the Civil Aviation and Safety Authority rewrites its regulations in the new year. CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said the “huge growth” in popularity of the flying “unmanned aerial vehicles” – which are helicopter-like craft, with GPS and cameras – meant regulations had […]

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3 Jan, 2015

What made Thailand a unique travel & tourism country in 2014

Exclusive analysis by Imtiaz Muqbil

Bangkok – Thailand has become arguably the first in the world to statistically prove how political and geopolitical events at the local, regional and global levels can be both good and bad for the travel & tourism industry. From time to time, all countries are affected by negative man-made crises, and all benefit from positive […]

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3 Jan, 2015

5 Studies That Show How Wealth Warps Your Soul | Alternet

January 2, 2015 | “Money can’t buy happiness,” the old adage warns, although poverty is hardly a day at the beach. But according to several recent studies, excessive wealth not only fails to bring contentment, it warps your soul. (Or brain, for the skeptics among you.) That’s the thesis of a Michael Lewis essay on […]

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3 Jan, 2015

Surge in vacationing Chinese senior-citizens

By Xiaolixin and Zhengxin

Beijing, (China Daily) 2015-01-02 — Domestic and overseas travel have seen a sharp boost in the past decade, as groups of freshly retired Chinese senior citizens with abundant time and financial support enter the country’s tourism market. Senior citizens in China love to go on a trip with companions. [Photo by Shi Yucheng / China […]

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3 Jan, 2015

India’s New Year begins on a sorry note of fear and loathing – Hindustan Times

By Namita Bhandare First columns of the year should herald new beginnings. But for me the year begins on a note of disquiet. And nothing exemplifies this more than the controversy around the film PK. I saw the film before the #BanPK and #SupportPK hashtags began trending on twitter, before cinema halls were vandalised and […]

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2 Jan, 2015

Chinese white-collar workers: Too much work, too little sex

By Wang Xiaodong

Beijing, (China Daily), 2014-12-31 – Most young white-collar workers in China lack a sex life and physical exercise, according to a report released by Zhi-lian, one of China’s largest online recruitment companies. The report sampled 9,272 white-collar workers from major cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, most of whom had been in the workforce five […]

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31 Dec, 2014

Dry January: How to cut down your alcohol intake – The Independent

By Joel Harrison As a drinks writer, it is difficult for me to take a whole month off the booze. However, I often take a short break of a week, sometimes two if it is quiet, away from anything with an alcoholic content above about 0.5% abv. It is tempting, after a week of sampling […]

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31 Dec, 2014

Saudi ex-coach plans to open 30 anti-obesity gyms | Arab News

Jeddah – A local businessman plans to open 30 gyms across the Kingdom to help fight the country’s obesity epidemic. Makarem Sobhi Batterjee, previous coach of the Kingdom’s youth team, who heads Shababco Lifestyle Co., said that the government should also assist in setting up gyms to counter this growing trend. He said that America […]

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31 Dec, 2014

Right-of-centre ideology lost UK the war in Afghanistan and much more – The Observer

By Will Hutton It is part of Britain’s national self-image that we win wars. The army may be smaller than it was, but it remains the world’s best. Losing is impossible to conceive. Yet in Afghanistan, Britain has just suffered a humiliating defeat, the worst in more than half a century and, arguably, ranking with […]

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31 Dec, 2014

Now Indian Buddhist group wants to reconvert followers back from Hinduism – The Hindu

An estimated 6,000 OBC (1,600) families in Maharashtra have registered themselves with an organisation engaged in a campaign for ghar vapsi for ‘Buddhists’ who were converted recently. They want to embrace Buddhism, claiming it as their “real home”. As the right-wing Hindu organisations give an aggressive push to their ghar vapsi agenda in a bid […]

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31 Dec, 2014

Outrage over BJP MP’s remarks on farmers suicide – The Hindu

Coming on the heels of a dozen reported farmer suicides within three days in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region, BJP MP Sanjay Dhotre has kicked up a major controversy after he said that farmers should be “let to die” if they are incapable of or cannot afford farming. “Let these farmers fend for themselves. If crops fail, […]

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31 Dec, 2014

Majority of China’s white-collar workers unhappy with life

By Liu Wei

Beijing, (chinadaily.com.cn) 2014-12-30 – More than half of white-collars employees describe their life as unsatisfying, according to zhaopin.com, a Chinese job seeking and hiring website said in a report released on Monday, reported thepaper.cn. The majority of the participants who took part in the study with 9,272 valid samples said they don’t work out, don’t have […]

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31 Dec, 2014

Their nation in pieces, Iraqis ponder what comes next | The Japan Times

The machine gun poking out from between a framed portrait of a Shiite imam and a stuffed toy Minnie Mouse was trained on anyone who approached the checkpoint. Like dozens of other communities in Iraq, this small Sunni settlement in northern Salahuddin province’s Tuz Khurmatu district has been reduced to rubble. In October, Shiite militiamen […]

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30 Dec, 2014

Thai-Muslims Learn How “Halalness” can Benefit Them, Thailand, ASEAN and Islam

Imtiaz Muqbil was the only travel trade journalist to cover this milestone event.

Bangkok – Although the term “halal” is widely assumed to denote just observance of Islamic dietary and lifestyle norms, the broader economic, geopolitical and socio-cultural benefits of the multi-billion dollar halal industry were very much in focus at the first Thailand Halal Assembly in Bangkok between 28-30 December 2014. Both Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut […]

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30 Dec, 2014

Muslim scholars drop out of Oriental meet after threats from ‘Hindutva’ group – The Hindu

At least seven participants of the All India Oriental Conference (AIOC) to be held in Guwahati next month, have dropped out after receiving threatening letters. The letters, received only by Muslim scholars say, “If you will come at Gauwhati, Assam, our people will kill you” (sic). They are under the letter head of “Rashtriya Hindu […]

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29 Dec, 2014

World Islamic Travel Summit To Debut In Abu Dhabi, October 2015

Compiled by Imtiaz Muqbil & Sana Shamsi

A compilation of progressive, positive, inspiring and motivating events and developments in the world of Islam for the week ending 29 December 2014 (07 Rabee’ al-Awwal 1436). Pls click on any of the headlines to go to the story. ============ A WORD FROM MY SPONSORS: TOURISM MALAYSIA NOW YOU CAN BUY EXQUISITE MALAYSIAN HANDICRAFTS ONLINE Malaysian […]

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28 Dec, 2014

Modi govt must stop the celebration of Gandhi’s killer – Hindustan Times

The fruits of the development that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised will take some time to kick in, but we have reasons to be concerned about the deteriorating social climate in the meanwhile. Abusive language and behaviour by BJP leaders, the VHP’s ghar wapsi conversions, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s declaration that India is a […]

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28 Dec, 2014

Digital detox retreats let stressed Japanese log out | The Japan Times

Kyodo, Dec 26, 2014 – While many tourists go to great lengths to always be digitally accessible, a growing number of gadget-weary travelers in Japan are seeing what it is like to leave behind mobile phones and social media services altogether. Joining a trend that started overseas last year, they are ditching their phones and […]

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27 Dec, 2014

Council of American-Islamic Relations Christmas commentary: Jesus and Muhammad are Brothers

By Ibrahim Hooper

During the Christmas season, Christian families seek to maintain a focus on Jesus and his legacy. Many of our Christian brothers and sisters may be surprised to know that Muslims love and revere Jesus as one of God’s greatest messengers to mankind, just as we love and revere the Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon […]

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27 Dec, 2014

Muslim-majority Indonesia observes peaceful Christmas – The Jakarta Post

The country observed a peaceful Christmas on Thursday, which was marked by an unusually large number of Muslim government officials publicly sending “Merry Christmas” wishes to Christians nationwide, a move that many see as controversial in a country with the most Muslims in the world. One of the high-profile officials who wished Christians a “Merry […]

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27 Dec, 2014

Survey: Many New Year Thai revellers plan to drink and then drive home – The Nation

Nearly a third of people planning to go drinking at New Year parties also plan to drive themselves home, a survey has revealed. The survey conducted on 3,000 people by the Public Health Ministry revealed that 36.6 per cent of potential partygoers had no qualms about being behind the wheel even after consuming alcohol. “This […]

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27 Dec, 2014

No ban on alcohol for the New Year period – The Nation

Partygoers will be able to buy booze during New Year celebrations as the Alcohol Control Committee has decided to defer its decision on banning the sale of alcohol during this period. The ban was proposed on grounds that alcohol consumption is responsible for hundreds of road deaths during the New Year holidays every year. “We […]

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27 Dec, 2014

People flock to Thai beaches to honour 2004 tsunami victims – The Nation

One decade on, people gathered at various seaside spots in tsunami-hit provinces to remember those who perished in the deadly waves. Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the tsunami that killed more than 5,000 people of various nationalities in this country. In Phuket province, people laid flowers and lit candles in memory of tsunami victims […]

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26 Dec, 2014

Australians detained for assault, urination | The Jakarta Post

Two Australian brothers, Scott O’Hehir, 32, and Timothy O’Hehir, 27, have been detained at the North Kuta Police station after they allegedly assaulted a local man in Canggu village, North Kuta, Bali. The brothers reportedly beat up and injured the man after the latter reprimanded them for urinating inside a shop construction site and behind […]

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26 Dec, 2014

Tourism developers want to wipe out mangroves that saved Thai village from tsunami – Al Jazeera

Baan Nai Rai, Thailand – Ten years ago when a massive tsunami swept away every house in this small Muslim village in southern Thailand, Cham Khiaw-Nin didn’t lament the loss of his property but rather the damage done to the mangrove forest. “Mangroves are vital to us. We survive thanks to them because fish grow […]

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26 Dec, 2014

Christmas in Gaza: A season without hope as fears grow of renewed conflict with Israel – The Independent

Kim Sengupta Gaza City, Thursday 25 December 2014 -The sermons were about the sacrifice made by the Saviour, an affirmation of faith and belief in redemption, as befits a service on Christmas Day. But this is Gaza and there were also reminders of shared suffering and sorrow, the need for unity at a time of […]

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26 Dec, 2014

Ban alcohol firms from sponsoring sports clubs and events, doctors urge – The Guardian

Leading doctors are demanding a ban on alcohol firms sponsoring sports clubs and events because they claim that the “outrageous” practice is fuelling underage drinking by children. The leaders of Britain’s nurses, A&E specialists and hospital doctors are among those urging ministers to outlaw the sort of deals that have seen Everton and Celtic football […]

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26 Dec, 2014

PressTV – Russians angry over sanctions, wipe feet on US flag doormats

A Russian shopping mall in Moscow is using American flags as doormats in a bid to express anger over economic sanctions imposed by the United States against Russia. The mall in central Moscow invites customers to wipe their feet at its entrance on doormats bearing the United States flag. The mall’s workers said in a […]

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26 Dec, 2014

It’s official: Fast-food Dulls the Brain, Retards Academic Growth in Students

By: Jeff Grabmeier

COLUMBUS, Ohio, December 22, 2014, (Ohio State University media release) – The amount of fast food children eat may be linked to how well they do in school, a new nationwide study suggests. Researchers found that the more frequently children reported eating fast food in fifth grade, the lower their growth in reading, math, and […]

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26 Dec, 2014

Pope Rues “Globalization of Indifference” in Christmas Day Message – NYTimes.com

Dear brothers and sisters, may the Holy Spirit today enlighten our hearts, that we may recognize in the Infant Jesus, born in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary, the salvation given by God to each one of us, to each man and woman and to all the peoples of the earth. May the power of Christ, […]

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26 Dec, 2014

Religious Intolerance in India – NYTimes.com

Hope is in danger of crumbling that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would rein in the divisive agenda of his militant Hindu-nationalist supporters and allow India to concentrate on the important work of economic reform, and the blame lies squarely with Mr. Modi. During the last days of its winter session ending on Tuesday, Parliament was […]

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25 Dec, 2014

Wikileaks: How CIA Operatives With Fake IDs Evade Border Checks

Wikileaks media release

(English | Spanish | French) Today, 21 December 2014, WikiLeaks releases two classified documents by a previously undisclosed CIA office detailing how to maintain cover while travelling through airports using false ID – including during operations to infiltrate the European Union and the Schengen passport control system. This is the second release within WikiLeaks’ CIA […]

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25 Dec, 2014

What I’ve learned from living through three wars in the Gaza Strip

Alaa Radwan Alaa Radwan Alaa RadwanBy By Alaa Radwan in Gaza I am 22 years old now; and three times in my lifetime wars have taken place. The first war was the hardest and the most shocking to me since it was the first. Later I tried to get myself “used” to the worst so […]

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25 Dec, 2014

Christmas message from Jerusalem: Join the Babe of Bethlehem in Creative Resistance

Muna Mushahwar and Robert Smith, Co-Moderators, PIEF Core Group

Christmas greetings from Jerusalem. Even in the midst of lights and decorations in the Christian Quarter, Scout groups marching in Bethlehem, and amazing parties in Beit Sahour and Beit Jala, the reality of the situation in Israel and Palestine continues to challenge our Christmas joy. Just today, we received news that demolition orders have been […]

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24 Dec, 2014

2004 tsunami survivors recall how mosques stood firm | The Japan Times

AP, Dec 24, 2014, BANDA ACEH, INDONESIA – When powerful tsunami smashed into this Indonesian city 10 years ago, the only structures left standing in many neighborhoods were mosques. For the hundreds who found refuge within their walls, the buildings’ lifesaving role has not been forgotten — and for many, that experience strengthened their faith. […]

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24 Dec, 2014

Debating India’s conversion conundrum – Shiv Visvanathan, The Hindu

What one is facing is a tinderbox of emotions where each group lights its own matchstick. I am personally against conversion. I feel it should be restricted to real changes and beliefs. To use it as a political act, to rectify history or the inequities of caste creates deep violence. When the Bajrang Dal threatens […]

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24 Dec, 2014

Islamic organizations in Poso help to secure churches | The Jakarta Post

The Poso chapter of Nahdlatul Ulama’s young wing, Barisan Ansor Serbaguna (Banser NU), says it is ready to help police and military personnel ensure peace and safety for Christians in Poso, Central Sulawesi, who will conduct religious ceremonies for Christmas. “We will help secure Christmas celebrations in Poso but we can manage to secure only […]

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24 Dec, 2014

We are passive consumers of the pornography of violence – The Guardian

Ours is the culture of the repeat, the freeze-frame and the slow-motion action sequence; ours is the highly advanced civilisation that developed the capability to put a camera on the nose of a laser-guided bomb so that, like Major “King” Kong (the deranged cold war warrior played by Slim Pickens in Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove), we […]

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24 Dec, 2014

Ryanair boss: ‘No company has done more in last 30 years to boost European integration’ – The Independent

Michael O’Leary, the controversial chief executive of Ryanair, claims that his airline now dominates Europe – and has outperformed all other organisations in unifying the Continent. The Ryanair boss was speaking exclusively to The Independent about the two decades since he took over in 1994. Today the airline carries more passengers than any other European […]

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24 Dec, 2014

Balinese Hindus commemorate victory of good over evil | The Jakarta Post

Millions of Balinese Hindus across the island observed Galungan, to commemorate good’s victory over evil, on Wednesday. From early morning, people flocked to temples and shrines to perform prayers. Wearing their best colorful Balinese attire, they brought offerings, including many kinds of fruit, cakes and canang sari (a delicate banana leaf arrangement with petals on […]

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24 Dec, 2014

Mass conversion in India PM’s home state sparks anger | Arab News

AHMEDABAD, India: Hard-line Hindu groups came under fire Sunday after some 200 Christians were converted in the Indian prime minister’s home state, amid increasing concern at the right-wing government’s perceived pro-Hindu tilt. The radical Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP or World Hindu Council) said it converted Christian tribal people to their original Hindu faith in Prime […]

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