SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – We have all read, seen and heard a lot about Google Glass. The technology looks cool and there is no doubt that many of us are simply aching to just try it on, possessing one would be a dream come true for some. Google recently conducted the #IfIHadGlass competition on Twitter, in which people had to tweet their innovative ideas of using Glass, those who won were given the Explorer status and would be entitled to a unit after paying the $1,500 fee. An Explorer, who goes by the name Ed, tried to sell his unit online just so he could pay off his student loans. Earlier this week he took down the listing. He listed it up for sale without even owning it at the time.
Explorers who have been given Google Glass units by the company are strictly prohibited from selling or loaning the glasses to anyone else. Google has already said they will brick the Explorer’s Glass if he or she sells or loans it. Ed said that he voluntarily took down the auction after he learnt about this rule. A student from Georgia Institute of Technolog, Kevin Dietze, successfully sabotaged this auction by posting its link on a chat group for Glass Explorers from where people artificially inflated the price up to an unbelievable bid of $95,000.
Kevin said that he wanted to stop the auction from completing because Ed doesn’t care about the technology, he merely wants to turn over a profit. How many of you agree with Kevin? Besides that, Google would have bricked Ed’s unit anyway so if the price wasn’t falsely inflated and the unit would have been sold, the purchaser was likely to take a big hit.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – A student went on a building-to-building stabbing attack at a Texas community college Tuesday, wounding at least 14 people before being subdued and arrested, authorities said.
The attack at about 11:20 a.m. on the Lone Star Community College System campus sent at least 12 people to area hospitals, including four people taken by helicopter, according to volunteer fire department spokesman Robert Rasa. He said several people refused treatment at the scene and all the wounds were consistent with stabbing.
Sheriff Adrian Garcia said officers responded to the campus after receiving a call about a male "on the loose" stabbing people. He said it was not immediately clear what type of weapon was used.
"Some of the details in the call slip did indicate that students or faculty were actively responding to work to subdue this individual," Garcia said, describing the man as being about 21 years old and enrolled at the college. "So we're proud of those folks, but we're glad no one else is injured any more severely than they are."
Lone Star officials initially urged people on campus, about 40 kilometres northwest of downtown Houston, to take shelter and be on alert for a second suspect. But the sheriff's department said a short time later that authorities believed just one person was responsible.
"It was the same suspect going from building to building," department spokesman Thomas Gilliland said.
Garcia said buildings still were being searched Tuesday afternoon.
Student Michael Chalfan said he was walking to class when he saw a group of police officers running after the suspect. He said one of the officers used a stun gun to help subdue the man, who Chalfan said he recognized from a drama class last year.
Chalfan described the man as "eccentric," saying he often wore gloves and was known to carry stuffed animals. He said although the man was teased by fellow students, he remained friendly.
"I'm surprised because he didn't look like he was hateful to the world," Chalfan said.
Student Teaundrae Perryman said he was in class when he received a text message from a friend and went outside to see a young woman being loaded into an ambulance with what appeared to be stab wounds to either her neck or head. He said he didn't receive an email alert from the college until 11:56 a.m.
"I was concerned but I wasn't afraid because I was with a large group of people," the 21-year-old said, later adding, "The police got to the scene very quickly."
The four people taken by helicopter and two others with moderate injuries were taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital. Of those six, two were in critical condition and four were in fair condition Tuesday afternoon, hospital spokeswoman Alex Rodriguez said.
One student said she learned one of her classmates was stabbed after leaving the school's Health Science Center building.
"I called to check on another classmate who was still inside the building and she said the classroom was on lockdown and she said one of the classmates had been stabbed," Margo Shimfarr-Evans told KHOU-TV. "It happened in the hallway."
Courtland Sedlachek, 18, was in class when his phone started buzzing along with the phones of everyone else in class. The room was temporarily locked down, but students were let out and off campus a short time later, in what Sedlachek described as an orderly evacuation.
He described his reaction as a "little bit of nervousness."
The attack came three months after a different Lone Star campus was the site of a shooting in which two people were hurt. The suspected gunman in that incident is charged with aggravated assault. -www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – A recent dust-up between Wikipedia and Canada’s largest university raises questions about how collaborative the popular website that bills itself as “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit” truly is.
The online information portal recently took a professor from the University of Toronto to task for one of his classroom assignments.
Steve Joordens urged the 1,900 students in his introductory psychology class to start adding content to relevant Wikipedia pages. The assignment was voluntary, and Joordens hoped the process would both enhance Wikipedia’s body of work on psychology while teaching students about the scientist’s responsibility to share knowledge.
But Joordens’s plan backfired when the relatively small contingent of volunteer editors that curate the website’s content began sounding alarm bells. They raised concerns about the sheer number of contributions pouring in from people who were not necessarily well-versed in the topic or adept at citing their research.
Discussions in the Wikipedia community became very heated with allegations that articles were being updated with erroneous or plagiarized information. Some community members called for widespread bans on university IP addresses and decried the professor’s assignment as a needless burden on the community.
Joordens issued a statement defending his students, saying only 33 of the 910 articles edited were tagged for potential problems.
But he also acknowledged that he did not understand the limited scope of the Wikipedia editorial community, which boasts a few thousand members compared to the more than 488 million people that visit the site every month.
“I assumed that the current core of editors was extremely large and that the introduction of up to 1000 new editors would be seen as a positive,” Joordens said.
“However, the current core of editors turns out NOT to be that large, and even if my students were bringing signal along with noise, the noise was just too much to deal with on the scale it was happening.”
Joordens said the Wikipedia community became “annoyed and frustrated,” adding that things became heated to a point he found “somewhat ridiculous.”
The animated discussion that’s ensued from the incident highlights both the pros and cons of using social media in the classroom, experts said.
Sidneyeve Matrix, media professor at Queen’s University, said crowdsourcing platforms like Wikipedia offer unparalleled opportunities for students to engage with their topics of study and to feel they’re actively involved in the learning process.
But collaborative projects can’t survive without leadership, she said, adding the zealous editors at Wikipedia have an important role to play as gatekeepers. This case, she said, exposes the difficult balancing act at play.
“I thought it was a lot more open than it is, but at the same time I’m seeing that more and more teachers are using it in their classrooms,” she said. “The authenticity and verifiability of the information on the site has been improving, and that doesn’t happen from the magic fairy. It happens from dedicated folks who are behind the scenes.”
Jay Walsh, spokesman for the Wikimedia Foundation that operates Wikipedia, said the online encyclopedia is working to carve out its niche in the classroom.
The website has established a pilot project that works closely with both teachers and students, he said, adding Joordens had some preliminary discussions with the company before carrying out his own plan.
He described the professor’s approach as “experimental,” emphasizing that editors need to follow certain protocols when contributing to articles. The strong reactions and speedy response of the Wikipedia community, he said, is the very mechanism that makes the site attractive to educators.
“This response is pretty high-value within the Wikipedia community,” he said. “It’s conceivable for someone to interpret that response as being too fast or not giving us a chance, but in this case there seems to be an openness towards figuring out ways to make this kind of an initiative work.”
Joordens agreed, saying he will limit the number of students who take on such voluntary assignments in the future and make sure they’re up to speed with the site’s editing practices. In turn, he called for Wikipedia members to back down from their hardline position on fledgling contributors.
“Now that at least some members of the Wikipedia community are putting down their digital pitchforks, it is becoming more and more obvious to me that we all share the same goal of improving the quality and quantity of information on Wikipedia,” he said. “If we could find ways of working together while also being respectful of one another, we could really do some great things.”-www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: The globe and Mail
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Students in the five-college Claremont system in southern California are organizing against an act of racial discrimination by an Israeli professor who called a Palestinian student a “cockroach.”
Since the incident became public, the student says he has faced violent threats written on his reserved seat in the campus library, and someone flattened one of the tires of his car with a sharpened key.
The first incident occurred on Monday, 4 March, when the Claremont group of Students for Justice in Palestine launched its series of events marking Israeli Apartheid Week with street theater actions simulating mock Israeli military checkpoints at three of the colleges throughout the day. Israeli Apartheid Week is marked at campuses nationwide and internationally to educate the wider public about Israel’s occupation and supremacist rule in Palestine.
At one point that evening, a man who was later identified as a faculty member at Claremont McKenna College aggressively approached the Students for Justice in Palestine members staffing a mock checkpoint which was set up outside an entrance of the Collins Dining Hall on the campus.
The professor, Yaron Raviv, who is an Israeli citizen and teaches economics at Claremont McKenna College, demanded that the dining hall staff, the dean of students and campus security remove the Students for Justice in Palestine members from the area.
But since Students for Justice in Palestine had acquired official permission for its event and had its paperwork in order, neither the school officials nor the dining staff agreed to remove the students. They did request, however, that the students not block the doorway.
The student activists complied with this request, according to a Claremont McKenna College Campus Safety and Security officer’s incident report obtained by The Electronic Intifada.
A Palestinian member of Students for Justice in Palestine, Najib Hamideh, then walked up to the professor and politely asked his reason for being there, requesting that the man identify himself. In an exchange verified and quoted in the officer’s report, the professor then responded, “Fuck off, you cockroach.”
According to Hamideh, Raviv next referred to all the Students for Justice in Palestine members as cockroaches, and then asked him which of the Claremont colleges Hamideh belonged to. When Hamideh replied that he attends Pitzer College, Raviv then responded that “all Pitzer kids are cockroaches,” Hamideh says.
The Electronic Intifada attempted to contact professor Raviv for a comment on 13 March, but he has still not replied to our request.
Violent, profane speech allegedly written on a card marking Nijab Hamideh’s reservation of a study carrel in the campus library.
The harangued student, as well as the Claremont chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine as a whole, are stressing to the student body and Claremont administrations that professor Raviv’s conduct amounts to racial discrimination and falls within the category of a “bias-related incident.”
In a Claremont Colleges’ document titled “Communication Protocol for Bias-Related Incidents,” it clearly states that “Bias-related incidents are expressions of hostility against another person (or group) because of that person’s (or group’s) race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, gender or sexual orientation, or because the perpetrator perceives that the other person (or group) has one or more of those characteristics.”
“Use of the term ‘cockroach’ must be taken in its specific historical context as hateful, racist, enemy imagery,” Claremont Students for Justice in Palestine wrote on 7 March, both in an incident report filed with Pitzer administrators and in a public statement to the Pitzer student body’s discussion forum. The student group cited cases of the term applied to Tutsis during the Rwandan genocide and to Jews under Nazi Germany (“Students allege bias related exchange with professor,” The Student Life, 8 March).
The term has also been used by Israeli military and political leaders in reference to Palestinians throughout its history.
Reported in The New York Times in April 1983, for example, the Israeli army Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan proposed building 10 settlements for every stone-throwing incident in the West Bank and Gaza. “When we have settled the land,” Eitan said, “all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged roaches in a bottle.”
Daniel Segal, a longtime professor of anthropology and history at Pitzer College, told The Electronic Intifada that Raviv’s behavior was “clearly harmful” to the educational environment.
“Faculty should be modeling how, when we disagree with each other, we challenge each other with evidence and/or questions about the logic of the position that we’ve developed from the evidence,” he said. “Name-calling, particularly denigrating name-calling, is not conducive to dialogue across very strong political differences. And for a faculty member to do that is to corrode and degrade the educational context of the colleges; it’s an attack on the students, it’s also an attack on our community.”
An Israeli instructor called a Palestinian student a “cockroach” during a mock checkpoint action.
Raviv’s use of the term “cockroach,” Segal added, was particularly troubling. “A cockroach is something that ‘we humans’ have only one relationship to. We try to stomp on them, we try to wipe them out, we try to kill them, we try to eliminate them.”
Hamideh, having graduated from high school in the occupied West Bank where he lived for 10 years, remembers being “subject to this form of abuse many times before,” he said in a Claremont Students for Justice in Palestine public statement (“Statement regarding bias-related incident on Claremont McKenna Campus,” SJP Claremont Facebook page, 8 March 2013).
“It is a great irony that at a checkpoint simulation on campus that I helped to organize, I experienced an Israeli calling me a cockroach, just as has been done to me many times before at actual checkpoints in the West Bank. To me, this is a discriminatory incident and I personally do not feel comfortable as a student on a campus where a faculty member is allowed to demean me and curse at me.”
For fellow Claremont Students for Justice in Palestine member Zavi Kang Engles, the incident at the mock checkpoint strikes at the heart of Palestinian rights advocacy by students as a whole. The professor’s “cockroach” slur “also implicated other people doing this sort of work,” she told The Electronic Intifada. “In that way, the professor’s remarks were an attack on all of SJP.”
Sixteen persons — including reporters for Pomona College’s The Student Life and The Electronic Intifada, and nearly all the members of Claremont Students for Justice in Palestine, along with supporters such as the Pitzer College student body vice president — crowded into the Pitzer dean of students’ tiny office late afternoon on 8 March, to meet with Dean of Students Moya Carter and Vice President for Student Affairs Jim Marchant.
Hamideh was visibly disturbed during the meeting, at one point nearly breaking down, his voice shaking, as he cited further personal trauma. “When I go back to my country, the [Israeli army] makes me open up my Facebook, my Gmail, and if they see any conversations [on this topic] …” He said that he was afraid of what Israeli forces might do, including refuse him entry into the West Bank in the future.
Students under investigation
In a Pitzer campus-wide statement on 8 March, Marchant wrote that his Pitzer administration was investigating what he mildly described as “inappropriate and hostile verbal comments by a CMC [Claremont McKenna College] faculty member” directed at the student during the event (“Students accuse professor of hate speech following Palestine justice event,” Claremont Port Side, 11 March).
But in its initial statement on 7 March, Pitzer’s administration was quick to emphasize that it is working with Claremont McKenna College in a joint investigation of “whether the policy on demonstrations was followed” by Claremont Students for Justice in Palestine during their event. The colleges understood that “some form of verbal exchange occurred involving a Pitzer student and CMC faculty member.”
Such remarks did not sit well with members of Students for Justice in Palestine, which stated in their public response that “both the Pitzer and CMC administrations should be putting more effort into investigating the discriminatory and harmful actions of a faculty member rather than investigating the previously sanctioned, constitutionally protected event held by [Claremont SJP].”
In the following days, Pitzer administrators seemed to agree. “I apologize, the [7 March] statement was misleading,” Marchant said in the meeting on 8 March. He explained the effort as a “compromise” with Claremont McKenna College, whose administrators remain focused on whether the student group followed school policies, while Pitzer administrators are concerned with the “verbal exchange.”
Marchant’s clarifying regrets didn’t make it into his campus-wide statement made later that evening. He did, however, concede that the group informed Campus Safety and Security of its event, for which it obtained formal permission, and complied with all requests by school officials on the scene prior to the incident.
Claremont SJP has garnered the strong support of Pitzer College faculty during this ordeal. Along with news of the incident spreading rapidly throughout the student campus, on 10 March the Pitzer Faculty Executive Committee stated in a letter obtained by The Electronic Intifada that it was “extremely concerned” by the incident, urging Claremont McKenna College and Pitzer to finish investigating the matter “immediately and thoroughly.”
Admonishing the Pitzer administration, the faculty committee added: “We think it is unfortunate that the initial public communications about this issue were focused on potential demonstration policy violations — we reassert that the right to peaceful demonstrations is an integral piece of an open, intellectually vigorous college community.” The committee reaffirmed a “protection from verbal assault and harassment.”
In a follow-up letter to the entire five-college student body dated 15 March, the Pitzer Faculty Executive Committee stated that “the Pitzer investigation into the matter has shown that the five college students involved in the SJP event of 4 March did not violate any procedures in carrying out their event. It is [Claremont McKenna College], however, that has the responsibility for further investigation into Professor Raviv’s behavior, and conducting that investigation is not within Pitzer College’s purview.”
The committee added that it will work with faculty and students to “organize forums for discussion of the incident and related topics,” after this week’s spring break.
Asked to comment on the situation, Liz Jackson, cooperating attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Palestine Solidarity Legal Support Initiative, wrote in an email to The Electronic Intifada: “This case epitomizes the repressive environment faced by students who stand up for Palestinian rights on campuses nationwide.” Jackson added that “from Brooklyn to Berkeley, from South Florida, to southern California, students are subjected to harassment, discriminatory treatment and legal threats.”
In particular, California has become a hotbed for legal and administrative measures aimed to discourage Palestinian rights-based activism.
In August 2012, the California state assembly passed a non-binding, bipartisan resolution, HR 35, which civil rights organizations say conflates on-campus Palestine solidarity activism and rights advocacy with anti-Semitism.
The range of activities that California legislators recommended banning includes merely stating that Israel has engaged in “crimes against humanity” or “ethnic cleansing,” or using language describing Israeli policies as racist or akin to apartheid; the sponsoring of boycott, divestment and sanctions actions; and other political activities regularly organized by student Palestine solidarity groups.
It was revealed that resolution HR 35 was drafted with help from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an ultra-right-wing Zionist organization which is building a “museum of tolerance” on top of an ancient Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem (“California legislator promise to affirm free speech rights on campus earns praise of Palestine solidarity activists,” Mondoweiss, 4 September 2012).
Back at the 8 March meeting at Pitzer College, Dean Moya Carter said she had met with Claremont students who were upset by the Students for Justice in Palestine mock checkpoint action, which they perceived as “hostile” and “aggressive.” According to one student she quoted, “[SJP members] weren’t being pro-Palestine, they were being anti-Israel.” However, no outside groups have contacted the college nor have any complaints about the mock checkpoint action been filed as of 8 March, according to both Carter and Marchant.
More significantly, no action has been taken against professor Yaron Raviv as of press time.
Professor Daniel Segal told The Electronic Intifada that even though Raviv is “clearly in violation of [the college’s] handbook” due to his bias-related targeting of Najib Hamideh and the other students, he was not surprised that the Claremont McKenna College administration has chosen to be protective of Raviv rather than take responsibility. “[CMC] has not cultivated a respect for and a commitment to foster dissent, particularly dissent from the left,” Segal added.
By choosing to scrutinize an approved protest action rather than pursue an investigation into one of their faculty members’ wrongful, racist conduct toward students, Segal explained that this is just the latest in a series of “chilling effects” that the Claremont McKenna administration has had on dissent and protests.
Meanwhile, aggressive attacks against Hamideh have taken place since the incident with Raviv became public. Hamideh told The Electronic Intifada that on 12 March, a sharpened metal key had been deliberately shoved deep into his car’s tire, flattening it. On the same day, a threatening note was found scrawled on a card marking his reservation for a carrel desk in the college’s library.
On the library carrels, each desk has a sign reading “This carrel has been reserved for” and then the student’s name. Hamideh explained that someone had written “me to fuck” under his name and scrawled under that, in different handwriting, “in the skull.” Hamideh said that although Student Affairs had been notified, and had acted “horrified,” administration officials haven’t yet taken any action.
Claremont Students for Justice in Palestine member Sonia Mehrmand said that since the incident with professor Raviv became known, students have expressed shock and outrage — but also support for SJP and its members. “It’s not slipping under the radar like it could have,” she said. “The angry voices are the loudest ones. It doesn’t mean that they’re the only ones.”
Hamideh said, “I really feel like it’s an act of desperation … When I was in Palestine, I remember first hearing about [the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement] and thinking that it was never going to happen. But like in South Africa, the BDS movement started, and then on college campuses, and it pushed through. It gained national attention. And that’s how oppression can be stopped.”-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –Britain’s Consul-General to the Palestinian Territories was forced to abandon plans to deliver a speech at a university in Ramallah earlier today, after his car was attacked by a number of students.
Sir Vincent Fean, a well-respected diplomat in the region, and several members of his staff made their getaway from Birzeit University in the Palestinian Authority’s administrative capital after a group of students with a range of complaints prevented Sir Vincent from getting to a lecture hall where he was due to speak on Britain’s position on the stalled peace process and the prospects for a Palestinian state.
“The students were protesting about a range of issues, from the plight of Palestinian prisoners and the Balfour Declaration,” said someone at the scene. “Several people surrounded the car and stuck pictures of prisoners on it; one person got on the car’s bonnet and at some point a wing mirror was broken.”
In a statement, the consulate, said: “Sir Vincent had hoped to underline Britain’s deep commitment to the creation of a Palestinian state, and the urgency of progress on the peace process in 2013.
Neither Sir Vincent, nor any other member of the consulate staff were injured in the incident, and the head of the UK mission was apparently frustrated by the fact that the speech, which was due to be followed by a question and answer session with students, was stopped. However, “the consulate takes the security of its staff very seriously,” said an official at the mission yesterday.
“The sitters demanded lecture be cancelled, to protest the policies of Britain in support of the Zionist entity, which caused the plight of the Palestinian people and their continued suffering, and because of the infamous Balfour Declaration. The students carried pictures of prisoners and banners condemning the policies of Britain. This is a message to the world.”-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –Given American students an opportunity to know more about Islam and Islamic culture, Muslim students at Grand Valley State University in West Michigan launched Monday, February 25, an awareness week to dispel common misconceptions about the faith.
“This week is a great tool to reach out to the community and tell them about a group of students that represent the largest religion in the world,” Sebastian Maisel, adviser of the Muslim Students’ Association and professor of Arabic and Islamic studies at GVSU, told Lanthorn student newspaper.
“It’s interesting to know that the MSA students come from Saudi Arabia, Syria, Pakistan, the United States, you name it.”
The week includes events that aim to raise fellow students’ awareness about Islam, including poetic readings and lectures about women’s rights in Islam.
A comedian will be invited to lighten up the topic.
“All major Muslim countries have students at GVSU working together peacefully and collaborating on these events and activities,” Maisel said.
Though there are no official estimates, the US is home to an estimated Muslim minority of six to eight million.
Since the 9/11 attacks on the United States, many Muslims have complained of facing discrimination and stereotypes in the society because of their Islamic attires or identities.
A US survey had revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll had also found that more than half Americans already hold negative views about the faith.
Yet, a Gallup survey found that the majority of American Muslims are loyal to their country and optimistic about their future in the United States.
A special lecture will also be organized as part of the week to inform students about the basic pillars of Islam.
“I hope people walk away with something new,” MSA president Zeana Khodor said.
“If they had a bad idea of what Islam really is before, I hope these events can change their minds.”
Maisel, the MSA adviser, sees the week as an opportunity to introduce the true Islamic teachings to American students.
“When students or the community listen to the news on any form of media, it is a very distorted picture of Islam, with violence, fighting and bombing highlighted,” he said.
He said that the Islam awareness week would also show the diversity on campus.
“It seems that in West Michigan, we have an understanding that our society is so homogenous, and students are usually surprised to realize how many different beliefs are represented on campus.”
American Muslims have launched several campaigns to promote the true image of Islam among Americans.
Muslim activists have launched a campaign in Chicago to reclaim the true meaning of Jihad as believed and practiced by the majority of Muslims. The campaign has later expanded to San Francisco and Washington D.C.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- The Oxford University Students' Union (OUSU) will meet on Wednesday to vote on a possible boycott of the Zionist entity, its companies and institutions, in protest against the regime’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories and its continuing human rights violations.
The motion, which would be formally presented at the National Union of Students conference in Sheffield in April, urges the student body to join the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel over its unfair treatment of defenseless Palestinians.
According to the reports, both the proposer and the seconder of the motion have received threatening emails, leading the seconder to withdraw his support. The proposer also demanded that she remains unnamed.
Last Wednesday, British Respect MP George Galloway walked out of an Oxford University meeting demanding the Israeli regime’s immediate withdrawal from the occupied West Bank, after he discovered he was debating with an Israeli.
“I refused this evening to debate with an Israeli, a supporter of the Apartheid state of Israel,” Galloway said in a statement after the debate.
“The reason is simple: no recognition, no normalization. Just boycott, divestment and sanctions, until the Apartheid state is defeated. I never debate with Israelis nor speak to their media. If they want to speak about Palestine, the address is the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization],” he added.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – At least two people have been injured in a shooting at a school in the US state of Georgia in the latest of gun violence in the country.
The incident took place at Price Middle School in southeast Atlanta on Thursday.
School officials said a 14-year-old student was transferred to Grady Memorial Hospital in downtown Atlanta after being shot in the head.
“The student was alert, conscious and breathing” while being transferred to the hospital, police said in a statement.
The second victim is a teacher, who had suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene.
No details were released about the shooter and the weapon used.
Earlier in the day, an assistant district attorney was shot dead near the North Texas county courthouse.
On December 14, 2012, twenty children and six adult victims were fatally shot by a gunman -- who later killed himself -- at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in the town of Newtown in the US state of Connecticut. Earlier in the day, the assailant killed his mother in another location.
There have been reports that the twenty-year-old killer, Adam Lanza, suffered from a personality disorder, was on the antidepressant Prozac, and was fond of first-person shooter games.
Every year, more than 30,000 people are shot and killed in the US.
The US averages 87 gun deaths each day as a function of gun violence, with an average of 183 injured, according to the University of Chicago Crime Lab and the Centers for Disease Control.
The year 2012 was a record setting year for gun sales in the US.
About 4.5 million firearms are sold annually in the United States at a cost of 2 to 3 billion dollars.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – A student who was expelled from Montreal’s Dawson College after discovering security flaws in the online portal used by post-secondary students across Quebec said there was no criminal intention behind his actions and wants to be allowed back to class.
Hamed Al-Khabaz was expelled last November after he found “massive shortcomings” in the Omnivox software created and operated by Skytech Communications. The flaws left the personal data, including the social insurance numbers, of more than 250,000 current students and millions more past students vulnerable to theft, he said.
Al-Khabaz, a 20-year-old computer science student in his second year, said he discovered the flaw on Oct. 20, when he was logged in to his profile and sent a friend a link to his profile picture. The friend, who was at another computer, could see Al-Khabaz’s picture even though he was not logged in to the system.
Al-Khabaz said it took him and his friend 20 minutes to figure out that by decoding the encrypted links, inserting other student identification numbers in plain text and then re-encrypting the links, he could access other students’ profiles.
“The main issue is the whole system is based on this encryption,” Al-Khabaz told CTVNews.ca in a telephone interview. “So we’re talking about social insurance numbers, we’re talking about grades, we’re talking about schedules… a lot of stuff. All our student information, all our lives are stored in that database.”
Al-Khabaz said he met with the school’s head of information technology a few days later to demonstrate the flaw, and was told the problem would be fixed immediately.
Two days later, he confirmed the fix had been done, but found other problems. During these checks, Al-Khabaz said he received a call from an official at Skytech, which was getting messages that someone was trying to gain unauthorized access to the system.
Al-Khabaz said he was accused of launching a cyber-attack and threatened with jail and a lawsuit. Al-Khabaz said he wanted to help the company close the security loopholes, and so signed an agreement that he would hand over all of the information about the flaws that he had discovered in exchange for agreeing to not speak publicly about his findings.
The company also agreed not to take legal action against him, he said.
Skytech Communications did not immediately respond to both a phone and email request for comment.
However, Skytech president Edouard Taza told the National Post that while he mentioned legal and police consequencesin his call to Al-Khabaz, he did not utter threats.
“All software companies, even Google or Microsoft, have bugs in their software,” Taza told the Post. “These two students discovered a very clever security flaw, which could be exploited. We acted immediately to fix the problem, and were able to do so before anyone could use it to access private information.”
Al-Khabaz said he was happy to collaborate with the company and help them to find solutions. However, Dawson College decided on Nov. 14 to expel him from the school. The school rejected his appeals and he now must repay nearly $5,000 in bursaries and loans.
School officials would not discuss the specifics of Al-Khabaz’s case, citing Quebec privacy laws.
However, a statement provided to CTVNews.ca outlined the steps the school takes before a decision is made to expel a student.
“The process which leads to expulsion includes a step in which a student is issued an advisory to cease and desist the activities for which he or she is being sanctioned, particularly in the area of professional code of conduct. Conditions for remaining in the College on good terms are clearly explained in person to the student,” the statement said.
“When this directive is contravened by the student by engaging in additional activities of the same sort, the College has no recourse but to take appropriate measures to sanction the student.”
Al-Khabaz said he did not receive any such advisory from the school before he was notified of his expulsion. And he is concerned that his student file contains a note in which he is accused of not only breaching the school’s code of conduct, but also having criminal intentions, which he denies.
“I thought it was my moral duty,” he said, of checking up on the fix and looking for more potential security flaws. “I thought what I was doing was right for checking that fix.”
Al-Khabaz said he is afraid he won’t be able to continue his studies at another school because he was given zeroes on his courses for this semester and due to the note on his file.
The Dawson Student Union has launched a website, hamedhelped.com, where supporters can sign a petition demanding that Dawson College reinstate and apologize to Al-Khabaz.
"Hamed is a brilliant computer science student who simply wanted to help his school," Morgan Crockett, director of internal affairs and advocacy of the Dawson Student Union, said in a statement.
"Dawson College should be thankful for his talent and foresight. They must immediately reinstate Hamed, refund the debt he has incurred as a result of his unjust expulsion and offer him a public apology."
Meanwhile, school officials say they are confident that student data is safe.
Communications officer Donna Varrica said once it was brought to the school’s attention, the security flaw “was redressed within a matter of hours.”
“Our security systems have been upgraded and we now constantly monitor systems to maintain the integrity of our student information,” Varrica said, suggesting that the publicity about Al-Khabaz’s case “will surely incite other hackers to try their hand.”-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- One of the most widely shared articles of this week (so far) is a study claiming that students whose parents are bankrolling their education have lower GPAs. Something about the study feels morally right – the upstanding who work and save to pay their own freight come out ahead of the “spoiled children.’ That conclusion ignores two very important caveats the researcher herself identifies. The first is that when parents not only pay, but talk to their kids about the importance of putting in the time and effort, the effect is weaker. The second is that students are more likely to graduate when their families contribute. As the study puts it, “students receiving high levels of parental aid enjoy an advantage in college completion that, for many, likely outweighs the detrimental effects to GPA.”
Academic tribute to Aaron Swartz
Academics have taken to posting their own articles online in tribute to RSS pioneer Aaron Swartz, who was prosecuted for downloading almost five million documents from the JSTOR database. Links to the articles are compiled on pdftribute.net. This after the MIT home page was hacked on Sunday with tributes to Mr. Swartz replacing web pages. Mr. Swartz apparently committed suicide Friday.
USask to review all programs, begins layoffs
The University of Saskatchewan is beginning a review of its budget as it grapples with projections of a $44.5-million budget deficit by 2016. The institution will adopt the program prioritization process that other Canadian universities have implemented and that opens up all programs across the university for scrutiny. Meanwhile, layoffs have already begun.