Egypt’s diversity test – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

Only the Abrahamic faiths are acceptable as openly practiced religions. Believers of other faiths can practice their religions, but only in private, and have to keep their beliefs a secret. Years in courts have only won Egypt’s Baha’is a meager compromise: the right to ID cards with a blank space in the mandatory religion field, instead of being forced to falsely identify themselves as Muslim, Christian or Jewish. Even this victory still faces obstacles on the bureaucratic level. Marriages are not recognized by the state since it only accepts religious, not civil, unions. Paternity, inheritance and other issues stemming from this lack of recognition is a constant legal nightmare that disrupts their daily lives.

via Egypt’s diversity test – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East.

Four Arrested In Williamsburg Beating Of Gay Black Man: Gothamist

Four members of Williamsburg’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish community have been arrested in connection with the beating of a gay black man in Williamsburg last December, an incident that has been investigated as a possible hate crime.

The suspects, who allegedly attacked 22-year-old Taj Patterson as he was walking along Flushing Avenue near Spencer Street early December 1, were rounded up by law enforcement officials this week, police said. Two of the suspects were apparently plucked from Israel, where they fled following the attack, the Daily News reports. They are expected to be arraigned later today, and more arrests are likely.

Patterson was walking home alone from a party when he was attacked by a horde of roughly 20 Orthodox Jewish men, who beat him while yelling anti-gay slurs, including, “Stay down, f—-t!” Witnesses said the men all appeared to wearing similar uniforms, leading to speculation that they may have been members of Williamsburg Shomrim, a Jewish neighborhood watch group that patrols the area.

via Four Arrested In Williamsburg Beating Of Gay Black Man: Gothamist.

Avian Flu Diary: WHO EMRO Statement On MERS-CoV

The World Health Organization (WHO) is concerned about the rising number of cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in recent weeks, especially in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and in particular that two significant outbreaks occurred in health facilities.

“Approximately 75 percent of the recently reported cases are secondary cases, meaning that they are considered to have acquired the infection from another case through human-to-human transmission,” Regional Director of WHO for Eastern Mediterranean Dr. Ala Alwan said. “The majority of these secondary cases have been infected within the healthcare setting and are mainly healthcare workers, although several patients are also considered to have been infected with MERS-CoV while in hospital for other reasons.”

via Avian Flu Diary: WHO EMRO Statement On MERS-CoV.

Nepal Scrambles to Bring Striking Sherpas Back to Mount Everest – The Wire

{Seems now, it is all just about the money, not lives, honoring their friends, or safety.}

As it stands, the Sherpas already made their demands clear to the Nepalese government before yesterday’s walkout. They want substantially more money in compensation to the families of the 16 guides who died last week. Originally, the government offered a sum equivalent to $415. As the AP explains, the Sherpas’ counter offer is just over $20,000. The government responded by increasing the sum to $15,620, still far below what they’re asking. The guides also outlined a number of other demands for the government’s consideration, originally with a Monday deadline. It’s not yet clear what the Tourism ministry is willing to to bring this year’s (very lucrative) season back.

To be sure, a Sherpa vote to walk away from the 2014 climbing season was not taken lightly: the livelihoods of the famed guides depends on the 2-month window each year when it’s relatively safe to make a summit attempt. As the New York Times explains, Sherpas can make $3000-$5000 for a season of work. The average annual income in Nepal is about $700.

via Nepal Scrambles to Bring Striking Sherpas Back to Mount Everest – The Wire.

About the Database | Global Nonviolent Action Database

To provide free access to information about hundreds of cases of nonviolent action for learning and for citizen action. We research campaigns that have reached a point of completion. The cases are drawn from all continents and most countries. People are shown struggling for human rights, economic justice, democracy, national and ethnic identity, environmental sustainability, and peace. To learn more about searching by the issues people are struggling about, go to Issue Clusters.

To make available comparative information that will support researchers and writers to develop strategic knowledge and theory. Each case is presented in two formats: the database file (with searchable fields) and the narrative describing the struggle as an unfolding story. The database supports searches by country, by issue, by action method used, and even by year — there is a case from ancient Egypt, 12th century BCE! Some cases are part of a “wave” of campaigns, such as the “Arab Awakening” of 2011; by pressing each “wave” button one can find cases.

via About the Database | Global Nonviolent Action Database.

ExxonMobil Partners with Plan International to Combat Ebola Outbreak in Liberia – MarketWatch

{A little disease-wash to cover ire when spills pollute the land, sea, rivers, and air never hurts, I guess…}

Plan International USA today announced a $75,000 grant from ExxonMobil to help contain the spread of the Ebola virus in Liberia. The grant will support local authorities who are responding to the epidemic by disseminating prevention messages via TV, radio, and SMS. It will also support the supply of hand washing kits to all schools in the county of Lofa.

via ExxonMobil Partners with Plan International to Combat Ebola Outbreak in Liberia – MarketWatch.

And… Justin Bieber just went to the Yasukuni Shrine: Shanghaiist

With the lovely Instagram caption of ‘Thank you for your blessings,’ and 585,193 likes, Justin Bieber has just alienated a few hundred million Chinese fans. Why the Biebster decided that now (or anytime, really) was a good time to visit Japan’s shrine to its Class-A War Criminals remains a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, bound to piss off people in China and Korea.

via And… Justin Bieber just went to the Yasukuni Shrine: Shanghaiist.

Lebanon’s Presidential Elections, Round One: The Joke of A Lebanese Parliament

A Separate State of Mind | A Blog by Elie Fares

I don’t care about who ends up president.

I don’t care about the presidency to begin with, but I do understand that the seat becoming vacant, which it probably will for the second time in a row, will indicate how utterly fucked up our political system is. It’s okay though, no one expects otherwise.

But after the first round of presidential elections, the only question I want to ask is: why the hell are we not voting for the president? Why are some of those parliament “members” voting for who will pretend to lead the country for the next 6 years?

There was a moment there, just before they starting counting the ballots, that I realized how underwhelming our elections actually are. Many didn’t even know our parliament was voting today. Many others didn’t care, and quite honestly why would anyone want to bother when we all know exactly how…

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