HomePoliticsIran Shows Support To Anti-Trump Protests Iran Shows Support To Anti-Trump Protests ConsPatriot February 10, 2017 Iranians commending the Islamic Revolution of 1979 held signs praising against Trump dissidents amid the yearly encourages in Tehran, The Washington Post reports. The signs at the encourages are allegedly affirmed by government authorities, flagging the administration’s support. One such sign read, “Americans are welcome and welcomed to visit Iran,” and another read, “because of American individuals for supporting Muslims.” Iran’s leader said the social affair swarm communicated something specific that the U.S. necessities to “address the Iranian country with deference.” The exhibits likewise included smoldering American banners, individuals droning “passing to America” in Farsi, and blazed President Donald Trump in representation. “America and Trump can’t do a damn thing. We are prepared to give up our lives for our pioneer,” a young fellow disclosed to Iranian state TV, reported Daily Caller. Iran is incorporated into Trump’s impermanent suspension of movement from seven nations recognized by his Oval Office forerunner as potential wellsprings of psychological oppressor dangers to the U.S. The movement suspension started far reaching challenges crosswise over airplane terminals in the U.S. also, outside the White House. Trump has taken a harder line position on Iran than previous President Barack Obama. Trump required overwhelming assents against the Islamic republic on Feb. 3, after the nation led a ballistic rocket test infringing upon an UN determination. Trump has likewise censured the past organization for seeking after the 2015 atomic arrangement, which he accepts encouraged the nation’s forceful conduct.


Sponsored by Revcontent

<IMG width=”1″ height=”1″ class=”beacon-pxl beacon-one” style=”border: 0px; border-image: none; display: none;” alt=”Quantcast” src=”http://pixel.quantserve.com/pixel/p-aD1qr93XuF6aC.gif?labels=Publishers.Publisher-11701,Widgets.Widget-53567″ border=”0″>

Iran Shows Support To Anti-Trump Protests

Iranians commending the Islamic Revolution of 1979 held signs praising against Trump dissidents amid the yearly encourages in Tehran, The Washington Post reports.

The signs at the encourages are allegedly affirmed by government authorities, flagging the administration’s support. One such sign read, “Americans are welcome and welcomed to visit Iran,” and another read, “because of American individuals for supporting Muslims.” Iran’s leader said the social affair swarm communicated something specific that the U.S. necessities to “address the Iranian country with deference.”

The exhibits likewise included smoldering American banners, individuals droning “passing to America” in Farsi, and blazed President Donald Trump in representation. “America and Trump can’t do a damn thing. We are prepared to give up our lives for our pioneer,” a young fellow disclosed to Iranian state TV, reported Daily Caller.

Iran is incorporated into Trump’s impermanent suspension of movement from seven nations recognized by his Oval Office forerunner as potential wellsprings of psychological oppressor dangers to the U.S. The movement suspension started far reaching challenges crosswise over airplane terminals in the U.S. also, outside the White House.

Trump has taken a harder line position on Iran than previous President Barack Obama. Trump required overwhelming assents against the Islamic republic on Feb. 3, after the nation led a ballistic rocket test infringing upon an UN determination. Trump has likewise censured the past organization for seeking after the 2015 atomic arrangement, which he accepts encouraged the nation’s forceful conduct.

Posted in Iran, Shia, Uncategorized, US | Tagged | Leave a comment

Romania Reverses Decision to Weaken Corruption Law


 

 After five days of demonstrations, Romania’s month-old government backed down and withdrew a decree that had decriminalized some corruption offenses.
By DAPHNE RUSTOW on Publish Date February 4, 2017. Photo by Robert Ghement/European Pressphoto Agency. Watch in Times Video »

BUCHAREST, Romania — After five straight days of spirited mass protests, and predictions that a half-million or more people might take to the streets on Sunday, Romania’s month-old government backed down Saturday and withdrew a decree that had decriminalized some corruption offenses.

“We will hold an extraordinary meeting on Sunday to repeal the decree, withdraw it, cancel it,” Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu said late Saturday evening.

It was a remarkable and rapid turnaround for a government that had shown every sign of holding firm against the protests.

As recently as Thursday, Mr. Grindeanu said, “We took a decision in the government and we are going to press ahead.”

Continue reading the main story

“I feel a bit better, but it isn’t enough,” said Mihai Saru, 20, a student. “They lost our trust when they released this emergency ordinance in the night. How do we know it won’t happen again in two weeks, a month? But tonight is a little victory.”

Chants mixed with blaring horns as protesters listened to the prime minister’s announcement on their phones. “Thieves!” many yelled. In a show of patriotic solidarity, the crowd broke into the national anthem, but the demonstrations continued into the night.

“This doesn’t change anything,” said Diana Popescu, 42, an economist. “They still lied. This government isn’t honest. We don’t want to be represented by a government of liars.”

The combination of the mass protests, which showed no signs of abating, and growing international condemnation seems to have weakened the government’s resolve. Even the Romanian Orthodox Church, normally a solid supporter of the government, criticized the decree.

“The United States is deeply concerned about the government of Romania’s recent measures that undermine rule of law and weaken accountability for financial and corruption-related crimes,” Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman, said on Thursday.

The first cracks in the government’s resolve appeared Saturday afternoon, when Liviu Dragnea, the president of the governing Social Democratic Party and its most powerful figure, told a local news outlet that the decree could well be withdrawn in an attempt to avert civil conflict. Mr. Dragnea said he was not sure he could “keep in check” his own party’s supporters.

“Romania needs peace and stability in order to move towards prosperity, development and democracy,” he said.

Mr. Dragnea is ineligible to serve as prime minister because he was convicted last year of electoral fraud, an offense for which he received a two-year suspended sentence. He is also facing a trial on abuse-of-power charges tracing back to his time as a local council president in a poor county southwest of Bucharest.

The governing party, which won a decisive victory in December, assumed office in January and quickly proposed a law to pardon those serving sentences of five years or less for certain crimes, a move the party said was intended to ease prison overcrowding.

Photo

Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu announced on Saturday that the government will cancel a controversial new decree reducing some penalties for corruption. Credit Andrei Pungovschi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

It was unclear whether Mr. Dragnea himself would be in line for such a pardon, which would make him eligible again to be prime minister, but many on the streets believed he would have been. It was enough to inspire protests the past two Sundays.

The current round of protests began late Tuesday night when the government surprised opponents by enacting an “emergency decree,” which does not require a parliamentary vote. Among other things, the decree decriminalized cases of official misconduct in which the financial damage is less than 200,000 lei, or about $47,000.

There was no question that this would have benefited Mr. Dragnea — saving him from a potential prison sentence — as the charges against him involved an amount of money below that limit.

Within an hour of the decree’s enactment on Tuesday, despite the late hour, more than 10,000 protesters spontaneously gathered in Piata Victoriei, or Victory Square.

By Wednesday, the protests had spread across the country. Hundreds of thousands of people denounced what they viewed as a humiliating setback in the country’s fight to end endemic government corruption.

“In Romania, the political cleavage is not left against right, as it is in Western Europe,” said Sorin Ionita, a political analyst for the Expert Forum in Bucharest, a research group. “It is corruption versus anti-corruption.”

Posted in corruption, cultural blinders, political corruption, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

How much of the World Sees LBGT (if you are willing to allow such folk their Opinion)


 http://nation.lk/online/2017/01/28/why-indecent-hurry-over-lgbt-rights.html

WHY THE GREAT HURRY OVER LGBT

There has been much brouhaha over an attempt to give legal recognition to those with different sexual orientations. Critics have accused some sections of the government of making surreptitious attempts to legalise homosexuality and lesbianism and so on.

These matters fall into the wide area usually referred to as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights. The accusation is that moves to recognise these rights have come as a part of the so-called conditions imposed by the European Union for re-granting of the once withdrawn GSP Plus facilities for our exports.

It is not surprising that western countries often attempt to impose their cultural values upon the countries in the third world. The culture of any country is subject to change and as cultures change over decades what is not acceptable to the people at one point of time may become acceptable at some stage later. However, the western world has no right to impose their values on any other country particularly those in the third world when the people are not ready to accept them.

The other point is that so-called gay rights were officially accepted even in the liberal west not long ago. In 2001, the Netherlands became the first country to permit same-sex marriages. Since then it has spread into many countries in the Americas and Western Europe.

In 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed its first resolution recognizing LGBT rights which was followed up with a report from the UN Human Rights Commission documenting violations of the rights of LGBT people.

Following up on the report, the UNHRC urged all countries which had not yet done so to enact laws protecting basic LGBT rights.

On the other hand, in most parts of Asia and Africa gay rights have not been accepted while some thirty countries have passed expressed constitutional amendments banning a variety of same sex unions.

Societal attitudes towards homosexuality vary greatly in different cultures and different historical periods. All cultures have their own values regarding appropriate and inappropriate sexuality; some sanction same-sex love and sexuality while others may disapprove of such activities in part.

There seems to be broad acceptance of homosexuality in North America, the European Union, and much of Latin America, but equally widespread rejection in predominantly Muslim nations in Africa, as well as in parts of Asia and in Russia.

The acceptance of homosexuality is particularly widespread in countries where religion is less central in people’s lives. These are also among the richest countries in the world. In contrast, in poorer countries with high levels of religiosity, few believe homosexuality should be accepted by society.

Research has found that age is also a factor in several countries, with younger respondents offering far more tolerant views than older ones.

In any country some ideas are not discussed openly because of cultural inhibitions, however as the number of people supporting that particular view increases the matter becomes a subject of public discussion. That is how ideas should progress in the democratic world and this theory should apply to acceptance of LBGT rights as well.

When such rights were recognized in the west they did not do so under the influence of any other external power. Therefore the democratic west should understand that these developments should take place in a similar manner in the poorer democracies as well.
No external power has a right to impose any value system upon a country when its people are not in a mood to accept it. Neither should our politicians be in an indecent hurry to implement such ideas when there is opposition from the majority of the people. There is no point in creating a new controversy when there are enough issues that truly deserve their attention.

Posted in cultural blinders, cultural shifts, culture differences, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

   A lesson in bad manners from the University of Hong Kong


An undignified public feud between two top officials is a poor reflection on our top seat of learning, but sadly typical of our divided society

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 January, 2017, 2:27am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 January, 2017, 2:27am

The internet and politics bring out the worst in people. Consider the latest public spat at the University of Hong Kong between council chairman Arthur Li Kwok-cheung and William Cheung Sing-wai, head of the Academic Staff Association.

A fine example these two academic leaders have offered their students in manners and etiquette! Or is it that they are taking after their own rebellious and insolent pupils? Either way, it does not reflect well on Hong Kong’s oldest and most prestigious institution of higher learning.

In an open email exchange, Cheung accused Li of being “a liar” for failing to deliver a review of governance standards at the university, and said he should quit as a favour to everyone. Despite Cheung’s rudeness, Li might have taken the initiative to clarify whether or not he planned to deliver the review. Instead, he fired back a sarcastic reply in which he implied Cheung had “no intelligence or rationality”.

“After all, stupidity has no cure,” he wrote.

Cheung wrote back, suggesting Li himself suffered from the incurable condition and would make sure everyone knew about it.

Chairman of the HKU Academic Staff Association Dr William Cheung Sing-wai have made his disapproval of Authur Li very public. Photo: Nora Tam

Not long ago, such expressions of contempt among scholarly gentlemen would have been communicated behind closed doors. What is disturbing is the casual manner in which two academic leaders openly exchanged mutual disdain for all their staff and students to see. That’s something you usually associate with trolls in internet forums. But then, that is characteristic of political discourse in Hong Kong these days, and radical HKU students have been at the forefront of localist politics.

It’s now perfectly okay to express raw feelings and hate, unmediated by rational considerations, in the legislature, in public forums and on television.

That is perhaps to be expected given the bitterly divided state of our society. Our political conflicts have become so nasty and intractable that any once-held standards of social behaviour and tolerable opinion have been thrown out of the window. Civility is only possible when we all implicitly acknowledge social and political norms.

Nowadays, those very norms are being contested.

Still we expect our political and academic leaders to behave themselves – or at least show more wit when they insult each other.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Son of murdered Pakistani governor may face charges over ‘offensive’ video


3 hours ago
  • From the section Asia
Pakistani supporters of convicted murderer Mumtaz Qadri hold an effigy of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during a protest against Qadri's execution, Karachi, 4 March 2016Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The execution of a bodyguard who killed a Pakistani governor for supporting law reform led to protests

The son of a Pakistani governor killed for criticising the country’s blasphemy laws may face charges under the same laws after posting a video labelled “offensive” by religious groups.

Shaan Taseer used social media to call on people to pray for those held under Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws.

Some of those charged in the country are facing the death penalty.

His father, Salman Taseer, was murdered in 2011 after speaking in favour of law reform.

“In my Christmas message, I asked all my countryman to make a special prayer for everyone who has suffered religious persecution in Pakistan,” Shaan Taseer told the BBC.

He said it was time to raise the “very basic question” of whether Pakistani citizens should be able to talk about the country’s “unjust” laws on blasphemy.

“This issue has been shut down at the barrel of a gun after my father’s death,” he said, adding: “The law of the land states very clearly that every citizen has the right to talk about not just the blasphemy law but every law.”

Read more

One of those charged under the law and mentioned in Shaan Taseer’s message is Asia Bibi, a Christian woman facing the death penalty for on allegations of verbally insulting the Prophet Mohammed.

His appeal for prayers for those accused of blasphemy led to calls by an Islamic group for the state to bring charges against him under the same law. He said that he had also since received death threats.

Police in the city of Lahore said they accept the contents of the message could cause offence and are now investigating whether the video is authentic.

Members of the religious group which raised concerns over Shaan Taseer’s social media post have arranged to meet government officials to discuss the case.

The killing of Salman Taseer

This file photo taken on 28 March 2009 shows governor of Pakistan's Punjab Province Salman Taseer speaking to the media after a national assembly session in Islamabad.Image copyright AFP/Getty Images

Shaan Taseer’s father, Salman, was shot and killed by his bodyguard Mumtaz Qadri on 4 January 2011 after speaking out in favour of reform of Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws.

He was the governor of Punjab province at the time but angered Islamic hardliners by showing support for Asia Bibi, who remains on death row pending an appeal.

Qadri was later sentenced to death for the crime. Thousands of Pakistanis turned out for his funeral and he was hailed as a hero by Islamists.

Pakistan has never executed anyone for blasphemy but some of those accused have been murdered or lynched by crowds.

Most of those prosecuted under the blasphemy laws are Muslims. Some have alleged that charges against them are fabricated to settle personal scores.

Posted in government discrimination, persecution, prejudice, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Gwadar’s Earthquake Island Disappears


Gwadar’s

Men walk on an island that appeared 2 kilometres off the coastline of Gwadar on September 25, 2013, after an earthquake the day before. —AFP/File
Men walk on an island that appeared 2 kilometres off the coastline of Gwadar on September 25, 2013, after an earthquake the day before. —AFP/File

GWADAR: A small island said to have been created in the Arabian Sea by a huge earthquake that hit parts of Balochistan in 2013 has disappeared after remaining visible for three years.

Off the coastline near the port of Gwadar, locals were astonished to see a new piece of land surface from the waves after a strong earthquake struck southern parts of Balochistan, including Awaran, Turban and parts of the Makran coast, on Sept 24, 2013.

The island — 60 to 70 feet high, up to 300 feet wide and up to 120 feet long — was named “Zalzala island’’ by the locals. A team of experts and geologists visited the island and found methane gas rising.

“The island disappeared due to high tide in the sea,” Abdul Rahim Baloch, a marine biologist, told Dawn, adding that the island vanished from the surface of the sea but would remain underwater.

The area contains methane gas that forces land upwards during intense earthquakes in the Arabian Sea, he added.

“The island could reappear if a strong earthquake jolts the region again,” said Mr Baloch.

Published in Dawn December 31st, 2016

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Buildings that blend with nature: why Singapore has them in abundance and Hong Kong doesn’t yet


http://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-5/html/container.html#xpc=sf-gdn-exp-3&p=http%3A//www.scmp.com

Singapore is one of my favorite cities to visit.  When I was last there, the greening had yet to begin, except in their wonderful biological garden area. I am not surprised that the city is being transformed.

Fr. Orthohippo

 

Architects in Lion City have embraced the idea that humans have an innate desire to connect with nature and incorporated it in building design; Hong Kong’s green walls and podium gardens are a step towards this

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 December, 2016, 7:15am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 December, 2016, 7:15am

You begin to notice them as soon as you arrive in Singapore: buildings overwhelmed by greenery, steel and glass seemingly reclaimed by the tropical landscape. Then, as you make your way through the city, you notice how many spaces are open to the air, despite the constant heat and humidity that makes every afternoon feel like the dog days of a Hong Kong summer. Singapore isn’t a city in a garden; it’s a city that is a garden.

Richard Hassell and Wong Mun Summ deserve much of the credit. Their Singapore-based architectural practice, WOHA, has dedicated itself to biophilic design, a concept outlined in their new book, Garden City Mega City, which explores the firm’s work and its implications. “It’s something that’s part of us as human beings,” says Hassell. “We love nature.”

We’re hardwired as a species to affiliate with nature
Keith Griffiths

That’s the idea at the heart of biophilia, first proposed by the American biologist E.O. Wilson in 1984. He suggested that all humans have an innate desire to connect with nature, even if they have never lived in natural surroundings. Biophilic design translates that desire into the built environment.

“We’re hardwired as a species to affiliate with nature, because in millions of years of development we’re attuned to the sunrise and sunset, the weather, the climate, the seasons, rocks, landscape,” says Keith Griffiths, director of Hong Kong-based architecture firm Aedas. “That’s all part of our hard-wiring. Even though we might be born and brought up in a dense urban environment, we’re still naturally attuned to nature. We need to be very aware of that when we’re designing buildings.”

The challenge of biophilic design is to combine that age-old desire for nature with the demands of a modern world that is becoming more urban and more densely populated. The vision of firms like WOHA is not to replicate the sprawling suburban utopia of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Broadacre City, conceived in the 1930s; it is to create high-rise, high-density cities that give a new and more positive meaning to the term “concrete jungle”.

Oasia Hotel Downtown has multiple

“Being in a biophilic city delivers tremendous benefits in terms of quality of life,” says Timothy Beatley, author of the 2010 book Biophilic Cities. Studies have shown that proximity to nature reduces stress, which in turn promotes mental health and even physical healing; patients in hospitals with views of greenery have been shown to recover more quickly than their counterparts in settings with denuded scenery.

WOHA is by no means the only architectural practice to have embraced biophilia. In Milan, architect Stefano Boeri’s Bosco Verticale infuses two luxury apartment towers with more than 900 trees, which help cool the buildings in the summer while giving residents an immediate connection to birdlife, greenery and the change of seasons.

“It’s a very striking image,” says Aric Chen, curator of architecture and design at Hong Kong’s M+ Museum. “You’re definitely seeing much more innovative, creative and aesthetically powerful uses of greenery in architecture.”

To surround yourself with plants but live the most egregiously wasteful life while doing it probably has some contradictions
Aric Chen

But using greenery in architecture is one thing; being “green” in the metaphorical sense of the word is quite another. “We don’t want to confuse the presence of green with an actually sustainable way of building and living,” says Chen. “To surround yourself with plants but live the most egregiously wasteful life while doing it probably has some contradictions.”

That’s one of the goals behind Garden City Mega City, which lays out a set of firm principles that guide WOHA’s projects. The first is that cities should be layered, something that can be seen in Oasia Downtown, a 30-storey apartment, hotel and office tower that was completed in Singapore in 2016. “The big idea behind it is that as cities become more and more dense, the ground level is under enormous pressure to provide many things to many people,” says Hassell. Oasia deals with that by providing multiple “ground” levels, with several open-air sky lobbies containing fountains, pools and trees.

The entire Oasia Hotel Downtown is coated in greenery. Photo: Patrick Bingham-Hall

The entire tower is coated in greenery, which is another one of WOHA’s goals. Hassell says he has always been fascinated by the intersection of buildings and nature – even his early student projects were filled with greenery. The Parkroyal on Pickering, a hotel in Singapore completed in 2013, earned international acclaim for its thickly forested terraces, which contain more green space than Hong Lim Park across the street.

The Lion City makes it easy to coat buildings in vegetation. “Singapore has very low winds and year-round rainfall, constant humidity and a very constant sun path across the sky,” says Hassell. As Boeri’s Bosco Verticale proves, however, similar things can be done in any climate. “Basically the main condition to planting in buildings is that it’s the equivalent of a very exposed location on the ground. In cold climates it might be alpine plants, or seaside plants, which have high exposure to quite drying and strong winds off the sea. You’ll find in almost every climate there is a set of plants already adapted to such conditions.”

Here in Hong Kong, green walls and landscaped terraces have become a popular way to integrate nature into developments. Aedas’ Mongkok Residence, a serviced apartment building under construction on Sai Yee Street, will feature a verdant façade and podium gardens when it opens later this year.

Another goal of biophilic design is permeability. “The body enjoys breeze, it enjoys air movement – we expect it because it’s part of life,” says Griffiths. Though air conditioning creates dry, temperature-controlled spaces, it isn’t necessarily comfortable, and it certainly isn’t sustainable; air conditioning alone sucks up 30 per cent of the energy produced by Hong Kong’s coal-fired power plants.

The Sanya integrated commercial and transportation hub, in Sanya, China. Photo: courtesy of Aedas

Aedas has made a point of enhancing natural ventilation in a number of projects, including the Oasis Mall in Sanya, Hainan Island, and a Singapore retail and cultural complex called The Star.

“The curves of the storefronts promote breezes, so there is a constant three-knot wind across the shopping mall,” says Griffiths. “You don’t have air conditioning but people love going there because it’s so cool.”

We should make buildings into a complete ecosystem
Ken Yeang

Biophilic design has yet another goal: biodiversity. “We should make buildings into a complete ecosystem,” says Malaysian Ken Yeang, one of the first architects in the world to employ biophilic principles in his work. “What I try to do in all my designs is not just put vegetation in my buildings, I create different types of habitats for different species.”

WOHA has created a scoring system to account for all of this, with points assigned for greenery, biodiversity, community space and self-sufficiency, as well the most abstract concept of “civic generosity” – the contribution of a development to a city’s public life. “You score for connecting habitats rather than creating isolated little pockets in the sky,” says Hassell. If the city is a garden, it’s worth remembering that a garden isn’t purely decorative – it’s a place that is alive.

Can Hong Kong become a biophilic city too? Not unless government relaxes restrictions

Hong Kong is a green city – on paper. Most of its land area is undeveloped and more than half of it is protected by country parks. Everyone has access to untrammelled nature.

Yet the places where people spend most of their time – from the high-rise housing estate of Tseung Kwan O, to the shopping malls of Causeway Bay and the office towers of Central – are anything but green.

And it’s not just because of widespread biophobia – fear of nature – in Hong Kong, where schoolchildren on field trips have been scared to touch the soil, and Stanley residents once opposed a tree-planting scheme because they might attract birds and insects, and spread diseases such as bird flu.

There are other challenges in Hong Kong, too, says Keith Griffiths, director of Aedas, an international architecture firm based in Hong Kong. The biggest problem is the city’s restrictive building code.

Mongkok Residence, by Aedas, is an example of biophilic design in Hong Kong. Photo: Aedas

The Hong Kong government wants to control illegal development – we’ve had some very unfortunate basements and top-of-building developments,” he says. Though some green features are exempted from a development’s gross floor area, architects are forced to work within a very limited spectrum – only 500mm-deep planters are allowed, for instance. Any deviation from the building code’s prescriptions requires applying for special approval – a process that can drag on for years.

The biophilic architecture that results tends to be modest in scope, limited to tacked-on green walls and landscaped podium decks. Griffiths says this is a shame, because Hong Kong is otherwise well suited to architecture that embraces nature. Strong seasonal breezes can provide natural ventilation, and there are many opportunities to frame views of mountains and sea.

“All of that is calming, all of that brings us back with nature,” he says. Architects just don’t have the flexibility to embrace it.

Posted in culture differences, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment