SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — A state of deep confusion still haunts the Israeli occupation leadership after the strategic achievement represented by Hezbollah’s "Ayyoub" drone flight over the southern part of occupied Palestine. A battle of accusations is being traded among different military and security divisions as to whom the blame should be directed in this new Israeli failure.
After the devastating blows that the Syrian army has dealt to the terrorist groups, it has been noticed that Turkey has increased its involvement in the Syrian crisis. This new attitude was attributed according to some analysts to Turkey's plan to support the military groups’ morals and to busy the Syrian troops to ease the pressure around the rebels.
During a meeting for Western states’ ambassador and after they tackled the Syrian issue, one of the ambassadors asked whether his other colleagues think President Bashar Al-Assad would be toppled. No one raised his hand…— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Russia has taken ties with Iraq to a new level as it hosts Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, for the first time in almost four years.
It has just concluded a huge arms deal with Iraq that is potentially worth as much as $5bn, making Russia Iraq's biggest supplier of weapons after the US.
During his three-day visit, al-Maliki is also expected to discuss the worsening crisis in Syria.
Some see both Baghdad and Moscow as helping prop up Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, by strongly opposing outside intervention in the crisis.
Iraq has echoed Russia's call for a political solution to the conflict, and both countries reject any move aimed at regime change in Syria.
Al-Maliki has defended Iraq's right to buy arms from any source it chooses, saying: "As far as our arms purchasing policies are concerned, we do not ask for anyone's advice first. We do not intent to play the role of being someone's monopoly interests .… We have good relations with the United States and Iran. We do not want to live surrounded by constant conflict. We buy weapons based on the needs that we feel we have."
Iraq has now become the second-largest importer of Russian arms, after India.And in turn, after the US, Russia is the world's largest arms exporter. It supplies weaponry to 55 countries. Its total exports this year is worth $13.5bn, which is 19 per cent of the annual arms trade.
Syria has been the largest importer of Russian arms in the Middle East. Its arms imports increased 600 per cent between 2007 and 2011, with Russia supplying 78 per cent of these.
Russia has also become the main provider of arms to Iran, which has imported more than $500m of arms in the last three years despite being the target of an arms embargo.
So what is behind Iraq's arms deal with Russia? Are the motives behind the ?deal purely financial; and how will it impact the delicate balance of power in the region?— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — A California man behind an anti-Islam film that stoked violent protests in the Muslim world is due to appear in a federal court in Los Angeles next week for a preliminary hearing on whether he violated the terms of his probation over a 2010 bank fraud conviction, court papers show.
Mark Basseley Youssef, 55, who before went by the name Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, is scheduled to go before U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder on Wednesday, the documents filed on Friday in U.S. District Court show.
The terms of Youssef's 2011 release from prison include a ban on using aliases without the permission of a probation officer.
The Egyptian-born Youssef has been described as the producer of a crudely made 13-minute video filmed in California and circulated online under a number of titles, including "Innocence of Muslims." It mocked the Prophet Mohammad and sparked a torrent of anti-American unrest in Egypt and other Muslim countries last month.
The U.S. Marshals Service arrested Youssef on September 27 and took him before a federal judge that day for a hearing held amid tight security at which prosecutors accused him of violating the terms of his probation.
A judge that day ordered him held without bail, and a federal prison official later confirmed he was taken to a high-rise federal jail in downtown Los Angeles.
The defendant, who had worked in the gas station industry, declared at the outset of his last hearing that he had changed his name to Mark Basseley Youssef in 2002 from his previous name of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.
While previous court documents referred to him as Nakoula, the latest court papers from Friday name him as Youssef. He most recently lived in a suburb of Los Angeles.
An actress, Cindy Lee Garcia, who appeared briefly in the clip, has accused him in a federal lawsuit of making the film under the alias Sam Bacile. Garcia has said she thought she was working on a historical adventure film and did not know it had anything to do with Mohammad.
Other people who appeared in or worked on the film have made similar claims.
Federal authorities have stressed that they are not investigating the film over its content, but Youssef's arrest has led to some criticism from free speech advocates.
Prosecutors did not specify which terms of Youssef's 2011 conditional release he is suspected of violating, but they said he had used aliases and that they could seek to have him sent to prison for up to 24 months if a judge finds he violated his probation.— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Demanding immediate expulsion of the US ambassador from the country, Majlis Wahdat ul Muslimeen has termed the troika – the USA, “Israel” and India – responsible for target killings of Millat e Jafria members.
“The vicious USA-“Israel”-India troika is behind the target killing and terrorist strikes in Pakistan. We will continue to stage protests and siege of US consulates unless the US ambassador is expelled from the country,” said Raja Nasir Abbas Jafferi, head of Majlis Wahdat ul Muslimeen while addressing a press conference here on Friday. Allama Mohammed Iqbal Kamrani, Allama Abuzar Mehdvi and others were also present.
Speaking on the occasion, Raja Nasir Abbas Jafferi said that anti-Pakistan elements were busy in hatching conspiracies against the federation and timely action should be sought against them to prevent the loss of innocent lives.
Condemning on the killing of 11 elders of Millat e Jafferia in Pakistan as well as a youth, Syed Ali Raza Taqvi, who was gunned down on September 16 by the security persons deployed on the security of the US consulate, Raja Nasir said the government must move against the US and Jew agents active in sabotaging peace of the country.
The head of Majlis Wahdat e Muslimeen demanded the President, the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of Pakistan and the Chief of Army Staff to take stern action against the US consul general, the Inspector General Sindh, the DIG South and others responsible for the killing of Ali Raza Taqvi.
He also drew the attention of the media towards the recent killing of three persons from a family, a father and his two sons, who were gunned down in Paan Mandi, Karachi. In Quetta city as well, a resident of Karachi Dr Mohammed Moshin was targeted.
He said that raids of Shia-dominated localities in Karachi on the directions of prejudiced police administration were a part of a plot knit by spy agencies like Black Water, CIA, RAW, Mossad. He said the US agents also conspired to sabotage peace of the country on Youm e Ishqi Rasool (SAW) observed on September 21. — www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — All we got was that the A6 offers a 2x faster processor and 2x faster graphics compared to the A5. That’s it – there was no mention of architecture, clock speed or even core count. And since the floor is open for speculations here are some thoughts on what might be hiding under the iPhone 5 hood.
As of today there is no quad-core chipset with native LTE support, which Apple explicitly stated as available in the iPhone 5. And if the iPhone 5 had two more cores than its predecessor, Apple would have without a doubt made a big deal out of it on stage. So a quad-core CPU is most probably out of the question.
This leaves us with three dual-core options:
• A dual-core Krait processor
• A dual-core processor, based on the new Cortex-A15 architecture
• A dual-core Cortex-A9 chip, clocked somewhere between 1.5GHz and 2.0GHz
The dual-core Krait processor seems the most probable option to me. Chipsets with Krait processors have proven to be at least twice as fast as the Cortex-A9 dual-core solutions (such as the Apple A5). Krait chipsets have already been used in lots of phones so it seems understandable why Apple would leave that piece of info out of the slides.
An overclocked Apple A5X chipset is also an option, but I doubt overclocking would give them a 2x upgrade in performance over the regular A5.
And finally, the Cortex-A15 architecture. It would be the best thing to happen to the new iPhone. It will bring major performance upgrade and will make the iPhone 5 the first smartphone to use the new cores. But then again, if this was the case Apple wouldn’t have missed the opportunity to brag about this new processor that blows past the Galaxies and One X’s.
However I put this, a dual-core Krait processor is most probably ticking inside the iPhone 5. If so, then an Adreno 305 GPU and 1GB RAM are most probably the rest of the mysterious specs. Here’s hoping I’m wrong or that would be everything else but real innovation.—www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — In the name of God, the Benificent, the Merciful
Despite the theoretical agreements Muslims have with respect to the universalities of religion such as principles \[of religion] (uṣūl), beliefs (ʿaqāʾid), ethics (akhlāq), rulings (whether it is related to worship rituals or religious rulings, rites, punitive and judicial laws, political laws, and other Islamic aspects) – they however, differ in a secondary aspect of beliefs and specific details of commands and rules. \[These differences] divide them into different sects and factions.
For these disputes, two main axes can be observed: one, the axis of beliefs which is related to the science of scholastic theology (ʿilm al-kalām), and the other, the axis of rulings (aḥkām) - in its general application, which is related to the science of jurisprudence (fiqh). The most prominent example of a dispute in the first axis is the dispute between the ashʿarīs and the muʿtazilīs in the theological issues. An example of dispute in the second axis is the dispute between the four sects of Sunnism in issues of fiqh.
One of the famous disputes between the sects of Islam is the dispute between Shia and Sunni on the issue of Imamate. Shias (Imamiyah) consider Ali Ibn Abi Talib (upon whom be peace) to be the Imam after the departure of the noble Prophet (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him and His Household), and the placeholder of that great man, as opposed to Sunnis who consider him to be the fourth caliph. In fact, the main characteristic of the Imami sect is its belief in the imamate of the twelve Imams, \[and their] possessing three characteristics: infallibility, God-given (Divine) knowledge, and assignation from the Exalted God.
Here, the question arises: is the core of this dispute related to beliefs or kalām (and the \[resulting] fiqhi disputes are secondary), or is this dispute simply a jurisprudential one?\ Or, is this a political dispute, much like the disputes that exist between two political parties over the election of \[their respective] candidates for office?
This issue – at least, from the Shia perspective – is an issue of theology and kalām, and \[thus] its jurisprudential and political dimensions are secondary. In other words, the Shia belief system has axes that are contingent upon and in coordination with each other. Imamate constitutes one of these axes, which – if eliminated – \[causes] the chain \[to] lose its coherence and completeness. In order to shed \[more] light on this matter, we must make a brief survey of the Shia belief system, so that we see the role of Imamate in this interwoven system, and \[understand] the reason behind the Shia \[putting so much] concern toward this issue, and the reason for its necessity.
The first axis of the Islamic belief system is belief in the existence of One God, and, in turn, the belief in His attributes of essence and action. In the Islamic worldview, the Exalted God – just as He is the creator and the granter of all the existing phenomena – is also the Lord and the administrator of them; no existing creature is outside the purview of His creatorship and Lordship. God, the Exalted, has not created anything in vain or without purpose. Rather, all of them have been created based on an ever-wise system; and all the beings that are in a horizontal or vertical chain, as vast as infinity, form a unitary, coordinated system that is governed by divine wisdom through the laws of causality.
From among the infinite divine creations, it is man that is known for having the characteristics of reason, awareness, resoluteness, and free will. Thus, \[man] will have two paths \[before him] – \[one,] toward eternal bliss, and \[another, toward] eternal punishment – and likewise, is subject to a special Lordship (in addition to the Lordship that includes the beings with no free will) referred to as legislative Lordship. Meaning, the need for a comprehensive divine Lordship with respect to man is that God makes available to him the means and preliminaries for journeying willingly (such as, knowledge of the aim, and the path for reaching it) so that it is possible \[for him to] determine his path with awareness. Thus, divine wisdom – by way of revealed teachings – is needed to compensate for the insufficiency of knowledge based on sense and reason.
Thus, the need for a system of revelation and prophethood becomes evident, as – if Almighty God had left human beings to their own accords, and did not teach them the correct path to reaching eternal bliss (by way of the prophets), He would be like a host who invites guests but does not give them the address of the meeting place!
The teachings of the prophets, with the passage of time, and \[with] the coming under influence of various forces, would become subject to changes and alterations both intentional and unintentional. This would reach a point where \[religion] would lose its substance; \[lose its capacity for] guidance and enlightenment. \[Thus,] there comes about the need for another prophet to be sent to revive the past teachings, and – in areas of necessity – add teachings to them, or \[even] replace previous teachings with new ones.
Here, the question is raised whether this \[historical] movement will continue for all eternity, or is it possible for there to be a complete sharīʿah that can remain immune from alterations without there being the need for another prophet? Islam’s answer is the latter; all Muslims are in agreement that Islam is the last divine sharīʿah, and that the Prophet of Islam is the last of the divine prophets. And the Glorious Qur’an – the original source of this shari’ah – has reached us uncontaminated and void of alterations, and it will remain as such.
However, the Glorious Qur’an has not expressed – in detail – all of the teachings needed by humanity, and the detailed expounding \[of these teachings] is the responsibility of the great Prophet (Peace and Blessings be Upon him and his Household), such as has been said: "\[We sent them] with clear proofs and written ordinances" (Surah an-Nahl, 16:44). Thus, it could be demonstrated \[from the verse] that the second source for understanding Islam is the sunnah. However, this source does not have the same immunity as the Qur’an; reliable witnesses from history have declared as much. The great Prophet (Peace and Blessings be Upon him and his Household) himself predicted that certain individuals would attribute actions to him which he did not do, and narrate words from him which he did not speak.
Thus, a new question is raised: what program does the divine Lordship put forth for meeting the needs \[of humanity] after the departure of the great Prophet (Peace and Blessings be Upon Him and his Household)? It is at this point where one can observe a missing link in the chain of the philosophy and beliefs system of the Sunnis. On the contrary, the Shia beliefs system, in place of this void shines an illuminated link which is Imamate. Meaning, after the great Prophet (Peace and Blessings be Upon him and his Household), the responsibility for the implementation of the commands and laws of Islam – and for the interpretation of the ambiguities and analogies of the Glorious Qur’an – has been placed upon the shoulders of \[the Imams;] those who possessed God-given (Divine) knowledge and the lofty status of infallibility; those who perform every role (including authority and government) and possess every characteristic of the great Prophet (Peace and Blessings be Upon him and his Household), save for prophethood. In other words: the divine Lordship, in its formative stages, necessitated the existence of such individuals within the ummah, and revelatory Lordship necessitates that one obeys them.
So the system of Imamate is, in essence, the continuation of the system of prophethood. The household of the great Prophet are the inheritors of \[what were] his obligations. Without possessing the status of prophethood, they preserved and implemented the \[ideals they] inherited from that great man. Moreover, they were appointed by almighty God to administrate the Islamic society, and govern and command over the ummah, however much the implementation of this system was only possible for a short period of time (just as it was with the prophets).
Thus, it is evident that the issue of Imamate is – at its core – a kalāmī issue, which therefore must be discussed as a question of beliefs, and not as merely a secondary jurisprudential issue or a political/historical issue.
\ Sharḥ al-Maqāṣīd, Vol. 2, p. 271.—www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — For many low-income Americans, Internet access is a luxury they can't afford.
Too bad they don't live in South Korea.
By the end of this year, South Koreans will have access to Internet speeds that are more than 200 times faster than what most Americans have, and they can have it for just $27 a month, or slightly more than half the average price Americans pay.
South Korea is among several countries where people can find speedier and cheaper Internet access than in the United States, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It's also a place where nearly everyone is online. More than 94 percent of South Koreans have high-speed connections -- compared with about 70 percent in the United States, according to the OECD.
As Democrats convene this week in Charlotte and outline their plan to jumpstart the economy, an important tool for implementing that strategy -- high-speed Internet connectivity -- is missing in the homes of millions of Americans. Many experts say a blueprint for expanding Internet access in America can be found abroad, where several countries have increased Internet adoption by regulating Internet service or declaring Internet access a legal right.
About 100 million people, or one third of the country, lack home access to broadband Internet, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). A fast, reliable Web connection has become a vital platform for finding jobs, starting a small business, accessing online education, and helping Americans compete in a global economy.
One of the biggest reasons people give for not subscribing to high-speed Internet is that it's too expensive. In 2010, the average monthly broadband bill was $40. That’s up from $34.50 in May 2008, according to surveys conducted by the FCC and Pew Research Center.
Internet providers say comparisons between the United States and other countries are flawed. But consumer groups argue that other countries offer better deals -- and have greater levels of Internet adoption -- because there is more competition in the market. Experts say the FCC should create policies which would ensure more companies compete to provide Internet service and keep prices low.
HuffPost Live will be taking a comprehensive look at the persistence of poverty in America Sept. 5 from 12-4 p.m. EDT and 6-10 p.m. EDT. Click here to check it out -- and join the conversation.—www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) —In an interview published a day after his death, a prominent progressive Catholic cardinal left the best summary of his contribution to debates within the Church.
"The Church has remained 200 years behind the times. Why has it not been shaken up?" Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini said in an interview published in Saturday's Corriere dell Sera newspaper. "Are we scared? Fear instead of courage? However, faith is the fundamental to the church."
He died Friday at age 85, the Archdiocese of Milan announced.
Martini suffered from Parkinson's disease and died at his residence in Milan, where he had lived since 2008, when the disease forced him to leave Jerusalem, the archdiocese said.
A public viewing was scheduled for Saturday at Milan Cathedral and the funeral for Monday.
Pope Benedict XVI sent his condolences to the archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Angelo Scola, remembering his "beloved brother that served with generosity the Gospels and the Church."
The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, called Martini "an expert and passionate in the Holy Scripture."
Martini was born in 1927 and entered the Society of Jesus at age 17.
Pope John Paul II appointed him archbishop of Milan in 1979 and proclaimed him cardinal in 1983. In 2002, at the retirement age of 75, Martini moved to Jerusalem to dedicate himself to Biblical studies, according to his official Vatican biography.
Martini was known for his progressive position on some of the Church's most controversial issues, including priestly celibacy, the use of condoms, euthanasia and homosexuality.
Even after his retirement, Martini raised "subtle though crucial objections" to the Church's opposition to all cases of assisted fertility, distribution of condoms to AIDS victims, and so-called right-to-die cases, Time magazine reported in 2007.
He "politely challenged" the pope's strong condemnation of an Italian government proposal to legalize civil unions for homosexual partners and voiced support for the ordination of women as deacons, Time reported.
Italy's ANSA news agency said Martini was considered one of the more liberal high-ranking representatives of the Catholic Church.
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano remembered Martini's "innovative paths in the inter-religious dialogue," as well as the "enlightening and concrete suggestions" he received from the prelate in each of their many encounters, especially on social themes like immigration.
Martini was one of the "papabili," or papal contenders, at the 2005 Conclave that elected the current pope.—www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) —Mitt Romney still faces a public that views him more unfavorably than favorably, and the gap between the two opinions has grown in recent months, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Wednesday.
About 40 percent of voters told pollsters they view the Republican hopeful favorably, consistent with his numbers in May. Since then, though, the percentage of those who view him unfavorably went from 45 percent to 49 percent, according to the poll.
The percentage of Americans who viewed Romney unfavorably peaked at 50 percent in a March 25 Washington Post/ABC News poll, before dropping to 45 percent in a May 27 poll.
Obama is doing better: The poll found 53 percent of voters hold favorable opinions of him, while 43 percent hold unfavorable ones. He also holds an advantage with independents, a key group in the upcoming election. More than half of independents -- 53 percent -- said they view Obama favorably, compared to the 40 percent who said they didn't. Romney's favorability among independents is the reverse, with half viewing him unfavorably and 37 percent saying they hold a favorable opinion of him.
Within their own parties, each candidate holds high favorability numbers, although more Democrats feel "strongly favorable" toward Obama -- 61 percent -- than Republicans feel "strongly favorable" toward Romney -- 41 percent.
The poll results are based on a survey by 1,026 adults around the country between Aug. 1 and Aug. 5. There is a plus or minus 4 percentage point margin of sampling error for the full poll.—www.shafaqna.com/english
SHAFAQNA (Shia international Association) — A recent study revealed that Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman are the least to integrate women in the job market.
According to a report issued by the Gallup institute published in the Saudi newspaper al-Riyadh, the percentage of women working in Saudi Arabia is below 22 percent, compared to the average 40 percent in the Middle East and 43 percent worldwide.
The report added that Qatar and Oman are also amongst the countries with the least percentage of women employment together with other non-Arab countries like Ecuador, Bolivia, Botswana, and Rwanda, where there is a gap of around 22 percent between male and females in the job market.
In contrast, the percentage of women employment in Kuwait is about 88 percent high and male employment stands at 89 percent. Kuwait was listed as one of the world’s first countries in women employment together with Singapore, Belgium, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, and Malta.
As for other Gulf countries, the report noted that female employment in Bahrain has reached 61 percent compared to 80 percent for males.
In other countries the percentage of the employment of females exceeds that of males. These include Ireland, Mongolia, Finland, and Serbia.
It was also noted that countries with a high level of local production are ones in which there is a gap between male and female employment. The report revealed that women across the world do not generally contribute to global economy as much as men do.
In the case of Saudi Arabia, official statistics revealed that the number of working women is 100,000, all in professions deemed “primary” according to the Saudi Professional Classification Manual.
The Saudi Ministry of Labor is currently launching several initiatives that aim at enhancing the role of women in the job market in a way that does not violate social norms.
Towards this end, the ministry issued last week a decree to hire female shop attendants in stores selling women items like clothes and accessories. A second decree allowed women to work as cashiers in supermarkets and a third gave women the chance to work in family public parks. A fourth ministerial decree stated that cooks in restaurants can be women provided that the illicit privacy laws, where a woman is not allowed to be with an unrelated man, are strictly followed. —www.shafaqna.com/english