Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Rare Celebration in War-torn Iraq

Iraqis celebrate on the streets of Basra following their football team's victory in the Asian Cup football final. The win marks the greatest sporting achievment in the country's history [Gallo/Getty]

Monday, July 30, 2007

Iraq's Persecuted Minorities


Iraq's minorities are suffering a persecution at times verging on genocide, a campaigning Iraqi MP has told the BBC News website.

Caught in a triangle of religious, ethnic and criminal violence, communities which once made up as much as 14% of the country's population get little state protection, said Hunain Qaddo, chairman of the Iraqi Minorities Council, a Baghdad-based non-governmental organisation.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sabbath Sales of Harry Potter Controversial in Israel

The worldwide launch of the latest Harry Potter is provoking religious controversy in Israel.
Bookstores will be opening on the Sabbath, the Jewish holy day, to sell the final instalment to eager fans. Most shops are normally closed for trade on the Sabbath, which runs from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday.
Religious politicians are accusing the bookstores of putting profits ahead of religious sensitivities for agreeing to open their shops. The Israeli Industry and Trade Minister, Eli Yishai, has threatened to fine any store that opens on Saturday. Israeli law forbids businesses to force their employees to work on the Sabbath.

Steimatzky, part of Israel's biggest bookstore chain, is hosting a gala event in Tel Aviv to launch the book. The chain says that it has received ten of thousands of advance orders for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and has no plans to cancel or postpone its event. "We are required by the publishers to start selling the books at this time," said store buyer Nancy Ayalon.
The Harry Potter books have sold more than 325 million copies worldwide and have been translated into at least 64 languages, including Hebrew.
(Text from BBC News.com)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

'Freedom' in the 'New' Iraq

An Iraqi boy peers through the shattered glass of a door at his house which was allegedly raided overnight by US and Iraqi troops in Baghdad's al-Kamaliyah neighbourhood, 17 July 2007 (AFP)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Voices From the Middle East: al-Qa'ida in Iraq Threatens War on Shi'i Iran

"We are giving the Persians, and especially the rulers of Iran, a two-month period to end all kinds of support for the Iraqi Shi'a government and to stop direct and indirect intervention ... otherwise a severe war is waiting for you. We advise and warn every Sunni businessman inside Iran or in Arab countries especially in the Gulf not to take partnership with any Shi'a Iranian businessman, this is part of the two-month period."

-Abu 'Umar al-Baghdadi
Leader of the Islamic Army in Iraq, an al-Qai'da affiliate