And four Shia pilgrims were injured when three car bombs exploded simultaneously in the town of Balad Rouz, said Muthana Altimimi, head of the security and defense committee in Diyala province.
Thursday will mark 40 days after Ashura, which commemorates the death of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson. Shiite pilgrims often mark the occasion by traveling to shrines.
Violence also erupted outside Baghdad. Seven people were killed and four were injured after their houses were bombed in the city of Mussyab, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of the Iraqi capital, the Interior Ministry said. It was unclear who was responsible for the blast or why the houses were targeted.
Monday's attacks come amid rising sectarian tensions, as tens of thousands of Sunni demonstrators nationwide protest what they say is second-class treatment by Iraq's Shiite-led government.
Sunnis largely boycotted Iraq's 2005 elections, leading to the emergence of a Shiite-led government. The move left the once-ruling minority disaffected, which contributed to years of bloody insurgency and sectarian warfare.
The arrest of a group of bodyguards for Iraq's Sunni finance minister fueled a surge in protests last week in Ramadi, about 110 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad, and in several other Iraqi cities.
At least five people were injured Sunday when bodyguards for a top Iraqi official opened fire on stone-throwing Sunni demonstrators, the country's Interior Ministry said.
The clashes broke out after Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq, who is Sunni, arrived to address crowds protesting in a plaza in Ramadi.
In the wake of the protests, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has defended his government.
"Nobody in Iraq has privilege over others," he said Friday, calling for increased dialogue.
"When we want to express an opinion, we have to do it in a civilized, humane and patriotic manner," he said. "It is not expected to express your opinion by cutting off roads, steering strife and sectarianism, fighting, bragging about wars and dividing Iraq."
«Ciao professoressa». L'ultimo saluto
a Montalcini, camera ardente al Senato
Applausi per Napolitano dalla folla, moltissimi i giovani. Esequie private, ma«aperte a tutti», il 2 gennaio a Torino
Rita Levi Montalcini (Ansa)
ROMA - Ali di folla, marciapiedi gremiti di giovani e famiglie: «Ciao professoressa», È così che Roma saluta Rita Levi Montacini, la grande scienziata scomparsa il 30 dicembre a 103 anni. La folla, in coda, ha atteso pazientemente l'apertura alle 15.30 della camera ardente allestita in Senato dall'ingresso di piazza Madama. Tra i primi ad arrivare a Palazzo Madama, l'ex premier Romano Prodi, Anna Finocchiaro, Renata Polverini, Gianfranco Fini, il sindaco Alemanno. Mario Monti è stato applaudito dalla folla al suo arrivo al Senato. Molto più calorosa l'ovazione riservata al presidente della Repubblica, accolto al suo arrivo al Senato da Renato Schifani.
L'addio a Rita Levi Montalcini nella camera ardente
GRANDE ESEMPIO PER LE DONNE- Nella folla in attesa davanti al Senato, tante donne di tutte le età. «Essere qui è doveroso - ha detto una signora in coda per entrare nella camera ardente - Sono felice che ci sia così tanta gente qui oggi. È doveroso questo omaggio. È stata una donna indipendente, che ha saputo andare per la sua strada. Sempre, superando gli ostacoli. Per noi tutte è un grande esempio da cui trarremo grande forza per il futuro».
PIU' ITALIANA CHE MAI - «Rita Levi Montalcini è stata un esempio di intelligenza e cuore» afferma l'ex premier Romano Prodi ricordando la senatrice a vita che aveva votato la fiducia al suo governo nel 2006 provocando al tempo numerose critiche. «Dopo 30 anni d'America, dopo che il Paese l'aveva trattata non certo bene, la nomina di senatrice a vita fu per lei più importante del Nobel. Ed è per questo che i giovani l'adorano - aggiunge - Non certo per i premi, ma perchè la sua carica umana si unisce a una intelligenza fuori dal comune».
La salma del premio Nobel (foto Ansa)
CIAO PROFESSORESSA - Già dalla prima mattinata è cominciato il viavai degli amici e dei colleghi nell'abitazione romana della Montalcini, in via di Villa Massimo. La salma del premio Nobel ha lasciato la casa intorno alle 14 ed è stata trasferita al Senato. Tante lacrime e qualche bacio da una trentina tra residenti e collaboratori che l'hanno salutata con un «ciao professoressa». Un grandissimo mazzo di rose rosse e una sola di colore blu è stata posta sulla bara. La Camera ardente sarà aperta da dalla visita del Presidente della Repubblica Giorgio Napolitano e del Presidente del Senato Renato Schifani.
La folla di fronte al Senato
FUNERALI - I funerali di Rita Levi Montalcini che si svolgeranno il 2 gennaio a Torino con rito ebraico e, in forma privata, sono «aperti a tutti. Chi vuole venire a rendere omaggio alla zia può farlo al cimitero monumentale di Torino. Tutti le abbiamo voluto molto bene». A spiegarlo è stata la nipote del premio Nobel, Piera Levi Montalcini, nell'atrio dell' abitazione romana dove si è spenta la senatrice a vita.
LA GRANDE ZIA - «Sarà difficile raccogliere il testimone lasciato da mia zia. Con lei se ne va un pezzo di famiglia, un pezzo di vita». Sono le parole della nipote Piera che ricorda con gioia il premio Nobel: «Quando ero piccola la chiamavamo la grande zia, la zia d'America - racconta -, arrivava sempre piena di regali. Da adulta invece ho avuto l'opportunità di collaborare con lei ed è stata tutt'oggi un'esperienza impagabile».
SHIMON PERES - Il Presidente israeliano Shimon Peres ha fatto pervenire alla famiglia della Montalcini un suo messaggio personale nel quale, si è appreso, ha espresso il cordoglio suo e del popolo d'Israele per la perdita di questa «donna e scienziato straordinaria», che «ha contribuito a fare del mondo un posto migliore e che è stata anche per lui personalmente, come amico, fonte d'ispirazione, la cui vita ed opera è stata motivo d'orgoglio per tutto il popolo ebraico».
From alcohol to kites: An A to Z guide to the Islamic Republic of 'Banistan'
Getty Images, file
All of these things have been banned in Pakistan at one time or another. Clockwise from top left: Long-haired musicians, 'The Da Vinci Code,' kite-flying, Salman Rushdie's 'Satanic Verses,' India (usually in the form of its newspapers and TV channels) and alcohol.
By Wajahat S. Khan, NBC News
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Last month, it was cellphones. Before that, it was motorcycles, shawls and jackets. Earlier this year, it was the BBC, Twitter and YouTube. In 2011, it was porn websites. In 2010, it was Facebook. In the 1990s, it was Indian television and musicians with long hair. In the 1980s, it was Salman Rushdie's "Satanic Verses." And in the 1970s, it was booze.
All banned. In Pakistan. By Pakistan.
Through the decades. Pakistan's state and non-state actors have found a way to regulate, boycott, ban or completely outlaw technology, information, literature, media and even entire communities.
The result? The Islamic Republic of Pakistan, once imagined as a secular, democratic haven for India's minority Muslim population, may well have become the land of "Banistan."
Babar Sattar, a Harvard-educated lawyer, is one of "Zia's Children" — the generation who grew up during the 1970s and 1980s when the culture of forbiddance took root through ironclad legislation passed by the country's Islamist dictator of the time, Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq.
"The proclivity to ban is the continuing manifestation of expanding religion-driven morality at the expense of personal liberty," Sattar told NBC News. "We don't even recognize that there exists a need not to allow collective outrage or shame to pillage individual rights."
Here's an A to Z of what's been curtailed in "Banistan."
Alcohol: Pakistan was a pretty wet place until the late premier Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto banned alcohol — days before he was removed by an Islamist general in a coup in 1977. Though a heavy drinker himself, Bhutto's ban was meant to move him closer to the religious margins of the country. The political strategizing didn't work for him (he was executed), but prohibition in Pakistan stuck. Still, booze is available for the connected and the rich.
The only brewery in Pakistan is a 150-year-old tradition. Business is booming despite strict prohibition laws. NBC's Amna Nawaz reports.
BlackBerry services: Pakistan's blasphemy laws are regarded as the toughest in the Muslim world. But when hundreds of websites were banned in May 2010 for "blasphemous content'" that was appearing on social networks, Pakistan decided to do away with BlackBerry services, too.
Cellphones: This year saw Pakistan's interior minister slam a blanket ban on cellphone services across the countryto prevent handsets being used to detonate suicide bombs. On at least two religious occasions in 2012, Eid and Ashura, when terrorist attacks were expected, almost 120 million Pakistanis couldn't use their cellphones, even in case of emergency.
Arif Ali / AFP - Getty Images, file
Pakistani Christians shout slogans as they protest against the movie 'The Da Vinci Code' in Lahore on June 3, 2006. The screen adaptation for the bestselling book by the same name -- starring Tom Hanks as the professor who comes across the Jesus Christ/Mary Magdalene union imagined by author Dan Brown -- was banned in 2004.
'Da Vinci Code, The': The screen adaptation for the bestselling "The Da Vinci Code," starring Tom Hanks as the professor who comes across the Jesus Christ/Mary Magdalene union imagined by author Dan Brown, was banned in 2004.
Erotica: In 2011, the country's Internet regulator placed a blanket ban on thousands of pornography sites. Meanwhile, print and DVD/CD formats of porn are available across the country, and the country manages to maintain an underground porn industry.
Food [& Beverages]: As in much of the Muslim world, pork products are banned in Pakistan. But 2012 saw even some "Halal" products boycotted by a lawyers' association in Lahore as well the campus of a major university because they were made by Shezan foods, a brand owned by Pakistan's minority Ahmadi sect. (Ahmadis don't think that Mohammad is Islam's final prophet and have been persecuted by successive Pakistani governments for such ideas.) Other products, including Pepsi, were also boycotted for being "Jewish."
Gambling: Once legal, gambling is now banned (thanks in large part to late prime minister Bhutto's attempts to appease the religious right in the late 1970s). However, Pakistan is a joint capital (with India) of the lucrative illegal cricket betting industry in which millions bet billions, especially when archrivals India and Pakistan play.
Daniel Berehulak / Getty Images, file
Ali Azmat and Salman Ahmad of the rock band Junoon perform in Mumbai, India, in December 2003. The popular band and all musicians with long hair were banned in the 1990s.
Hair: In his own bid to transform what was left of secular Pakistan after the Islamist Zia regime, the 1990s saw prime minister Nawaz Sharif (tipped to be the next premier in upcoming elections) try to implement selective Shariah law by banning popular rock band, Junoon, and all musicians with long hair. The ban on Junoon was politically inspired, as it had campaigned for the financial accountability of those in elected office. But it all proved to be rather cosmetic. Rock and roll continued to flourish in Pakistan, and the shutdown only helped Junoon polish off their bad-boy image until they broke up. Meanwhile, Sharif got a hair transplant. The 2000s, however, saw a more complicated and violent hair ban, this time implemented in Pakistan's northwest by Taliban militants, who even bombed and fined barber shops for shaving men.
India: The world's largest democracy enjoys a special place in the Islamic Republic's banning regime. Some bans look to be permanent, including all Indian news channels, certain news websites and books, and all printed newspapers and magazines (India reciprocates most of these bans).
Kites: The centuries-old spring festival of kite flying, Basant, based out of Pakistan's cultural capital Lahore, was also banned by the Supreme Court in 2005 when petitions were filed highlighting the dangerous after-effects of kite flying, including death by strangulation. The Supreme Court reversed the ban earlier this year.
Carl De Souza / AFP/Getty Images
A boy flies a kite on a hill overlooking a large relief camp run by The National Rural Support Program in September 2010.
LGBT rights: Rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community are curbed by social taboos in the Islamic Republic, but Pakistan's laws don't help either. The colonial-era Pakistan Penal Code of 1860, designed by the British, imposes a prison sentence for sodomy. But while lesbians have been low-profile in their run-ins with the law of the land, Pakistani transgenders made history in 2012 by successfully lobbying for a landmark Supreme Court judgment in their favor that allows them to both identify themselves and vote as a third sex -- transgender, and not male or female, as they were forced to in the past.
Minorities: First legally pronounced to be non-Muslims in the 1970s, the persecuted Ahmadi sect was further limited in its actions and exercise of religious freedoms by several laws in the 1980s. They were not allowed to say the Muslim greeting aloud, nor call their houses of worship mosques. Ahmadis continue to be targets of notorious blasphemy laws, under which other religious minorities, particularly Christians, are also targeted.
Nipples: Customs agents usually redact images of female nipples from foreign publications available on local newsstands. Bottoms usually are overlooked, but full-frontal nudity is not.
Osama: As the embarrassment of Operation Neptune Spear set in after May 2011, Pakistani authorities first cordoned off Bin Laden's Abbottabad compound, then forbade foreigners in Abbottabad, then forbade non-Abottabadis in Abbotabad, then forbade all and sundry from visiting the location. Finally, they just razed the building.
One year after Osama bin Laden's death, questions remain about his life at the heavily guarded compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. NBC'S Amna Nawaz reports.
Parties: According to the regulators of the largest housing authority in Pakistan's largest city, "Marriages Ceremony," "Dance Party," and "Musical Evenings" are not allowed for citizens inside their own homes. However, "Birthday Party" and "Quran Khwani / Dars" (Quran recitals and religious lectures) are.
Quran burning: Pakistan's blasphemy laws, considered the toughest in the Islamic world, carry a potential death sentence for anyone insulting Islam. When a Christian teenage girl with limited learning abilities was accused of burning and desecrating the Quran, riots and controversy followedas the case of young Rimsha, initially charged with blasphemy, developed into a complicated legal battle. But it soon became became evident that an imam, who wanted Christians like Rimsha out of his neighborhood, had planted evidence on her.
Raymond Davis (along with other intelligence contractors and diplomats): When CIA contractor Raymond Davis shot and killed two petty criminals in broad daylight in Lahore in January 2011, the anti-American uproar was so severe that the United States had to dispatch its best diplomats, including John Kerry, to negotiate his release. And although Davis was let go only through the traditional Islamic method of payment of blood money to the victims' relatives, Pakistan subsequently clamped down on the movement and deployment of all Western diplomats, officials and contractors. Today, if you work for the U.S., or the Argentinian, or the Jamaican embassy, you will have to obtain a "No Objection Certificate" to attend a dinner if it's even one town over from where you are stationed.
Raymond Davis, a CIA contractor who was charged with fatally shooting two men in Pakistan, has been released from prison after relatives of the victims agreed to a deal. NBC's Carol Grisanti reports.
Social media: With almost 20 million Internet connections that reach even deep inside the volatile tribal areas adjoining Afghanistan, Pakistani authorities have tried in vain to regulate social media. And although Facebook recently shut down a page used for recruiting by the Pakistani Taliban, the government has never directly acted to disconnect those who support terror via social networks.
Demonstrators shout slogans and wave placards as they protest against Facebook in Lahore in May 2010.
Shawls: In what was dubbed by the national press as the most desperate of recently taken security measures, a district in Pakistan's northwest actually banned coats and shawls, even in the dead of winter, under British colonial-era law designed for maintaining public discipline and security. The reason: their possible use to hide suicide jackets under the bulky clothing during a sensitive religious holiday.
Urinating: The absence of public toilets across the country, as well as the spread and social acceptance of a rural 'go anywhere' culture has created a messy challenge for government after government in Pakistan: how to stop millions from answering the call of nature when and where they please. The answer? A national ban, with threat of prosecution.
Vaccinations: Days before 161,000 children were about to inoculated for polio this summer, the Taliban banned the vaccination campaign. Even though Pakistan remains one of the three countries in the world that still carries the debilitating virus, militants continue to target and kill anti-polio campaigners, claiming that the program is a U.S. cover for espionage, similar to the CIA using a Pakistani physician to help locate Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad last year.
It's been a tough year for Pakistan U.S. relations. Crucial NATO supply routes have been shuttered since November, there is tension over drone strikes and now the countries are at odds over the treason conviction of the Pakistani doctor who helped the U.S. locate Osama Bin Laden.
Weddings: Forget the five-course wedding dinner. Pakistan -- once the land of extravagant, multi-event weddings -- has a law that doesn't allow for more than one entrée at a wedding feast. The policy has been in place for several years but is only now being implemented earnestly by a provincial government that is focused on battling food wastage.
XXX: As porn is outlawed in Pakistan, "Tripple" is the code word nationally accepted for under-the-counter DVD and magazine purchases that are naughtier than usual.
YouTube: YouTube is the only social networking site that continues to be blanket-banned in Pakistan since its owner, Google Inc., refused to block an anti-Islamic video last September. But Vimeo, YouTube's competitor network that offers similarly "blasphemous" material, remains rather functional and legal in Pakistani cyberspace.
“I Call the Living - I Mourn the Dead - I Break the Lightning”
by John M. Joyce (January 2013)
“How soft the music of those village bells,
Falling at interval upon the ear
In cadence sweet; now dying all away,
Now pealing loud again, and louder still,
Clear and sonorous, as the gale comes on!
With easy force it opens all the cells Where Memory slept.”
'The Task' (Book VI, Line 6 onwards).
One would think that I, as a Church of England priest, would be able to say the words of the Mass without having recourse to my missal, but memory is a strange thing and despite having said the words every day for more years than I care to remember I, in common with every priest that I know, would not care to celebrate without the book reposing on the missal stand on one side of the altar, for the very familiarity that one has with the words sometimes encourages one to stray off in one's thoughts to some prayer that they have prompted, unbidden, into one's mind. I must confess that my mind wandered in just such a fashion at the midnight Eucharist on Christmas Eve a year ago, in 2011. more>>>
1. Dante has erred only in this, that there should be words inscribed over the infernal gates informing the damned of their fate. Such a courtesy could never be allowed, lest its very iron-clad certainty provide the last refuge, the final consolation for the tormented souls. Would not the fiends know better than to extinguish the flames of hope in the hearts of their charges? more>>>
The summer before last Hugh, having discovered that author Thomas Hardy learnt to ride a bicycle in middle age (they had not been invented in his youth) pondered whether he rode a penny farthing or a later model. I found a picture of Hardy on a bicycle with wheels of equal size and we left it there. more>>>
"We're going to make grape juice," my 22 year old nine-month pregnant daughter, Ayelet, announced as my son-in-law, Akiva, arrived at their hilltop caravan, two old metal shipping containers connected by a roof, his pick-up truck loaded with boxes of grapes. more>>>
The devil came and asked what I wanted for my soul. I can’t believe I said pizza. – Marc Ostroff
Frances O’Grady was, if we can mix a metaphor, lovely lace curtain Irish gone to seed. She was born in Mount Vernon, New York; one of four pretty girls. Her parents died while she was a teen, leaving the O’Grady girls to fend for themselves. Her sisters married well; and in some cases, often. As young women, the O’Grady four were long distance telephone operators for Ma Bell, a tribute to vanished skills like good diction and legible penmanship. Frances O’Grady married, unfortunately, a conscientious Irish stereotype; a handsome bounder who never missed a day of work or a night at the pub. more>>>
Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence. - John Adams
Since so much has been written and said about this unfortunate incident, I was initially reluctant to say anything additional, judging that writers more familiar with the issues could do better by a subject I’d not confronted before; but since certain truths weren’t being heard...more>>>
Cyrus to Ahmadinejad, The Ancient Persian Ally Turned into Shi’ite Foe
Part Five in Series of the Sephardi-Mizrahi Communities in Israel
by Norman Berdichevsky (January 2013)
Previous New English Review articles dealing with the “Eastern” Jewish communities of Yemen, Morocco, and Iraq traced the Mizrahi-Sephardi communities in Israel. The fourth largest wave of immigration to Israel (following Morocco, Algeria and Iraq) from among these communities are the Jews of Persia (modern Iran). more>>>
By now, most people have come to accept a few obvious truths about Islamism and its negative impact on the human condition. You don’t need to be the next Hannah Arendt or George Orwell to see what is going on. You just need to read the papers, surf the internet, and connect the dots – if you dare. more>>>
The Dangers of Syria’s Bio-Warfare Complex Should Assad Fall: An Interview with Dr. Jill Bellamy van Aalst
by Jerry Gordon with Dr. Jill Bellamy van Aalst (January 2013)
The control of Syria’s unconventional chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction are of vital concern in a troubled Middle East should the Assad regime fall to Sunni supremacist opposition forces. more>>>
The fawning necrologies to the recently departed historian Eric Hobsbawm are testament if any further evidence was needed to the hugely disproportionate influence of Marxist intellectuals in the soft culture of the BBC and mainstream media, Simon Schama and Tristram Hunt penning the kind of obsequious eulogies which are normally the stuff of satire outside the borders of People’s Republics. That both men are paid up members of the soft boiled left rather than its lunatic fringe simply emphasizes its cachet. more>>>
Like some Presidents of Italy, such as Sandro Pertini, or the current president, Giorgio Napolitano, Rita Levi Montalcini was seen in Italy as above the fray, an altogether superior being akin to Frost's astral inspiration in "Take Something Like A Star," which "steadfast as Keat's Eremite," shines down on those who, looking up, find something "to stay our mind on and be stayed."
I previously posted, to show just how significant she was in Italy, a page of headlines and stories and videos devoted to her, that I found at Corriere della Sera. But these were all in Italian.
Here is her obituary, in English, in today's Times.
From The New York Times:
Dr. Rita Levi-Montalcini, Nobel Winner, Dies at 103
Fabio Campana/European Pressphoto Agency
Dr. Rita Levi-Montalcini in 2007. She discovered chemical tools the body uses to direct cell growth and build nerve networks.
Dr. Rita Levi-Montalcini, a Nobel Prize-winning neurologist who discovered critical chemical tools that the body uses to direct cell growth and build nerve networks, opening the way for the study of how those processes can go wrong in diseases like dementia and cancer, died on Sunday at her home in Rome. She was 103.
Her death was announced by Mayor Gianni Alemanno of Rome.
“I don’t use these words easily, but her work revolutionized the study of neural development, from how we think about it to how we intervene,” said Dr. Gerald D. Fishbach, a neuroscientist and professor emeritus at Columbia.
Scientists had virtually no idea how embryo cells built a latticework of intricate connections to other cells when Dr. Levi-Montalcini began studying chicken embryos in the bedroom of her house in Turin, Italy, during World War II. After years of obsessive study, much of it at Washington University in St. Louis with Dr. Viktor Hamburger, she found a protein that, when released by cells, attracted nerve growth from nearby developing cells.
In the early 1950s, she and Dr. Stanley Cohen, a biochemist also at Washington University, isolated and described the chemical, known as nerve growth factor — and in the process altered the study of cell growth and development. Scientists soon realized that the protein gave them a new way to study and understand disorders of neural growth, like cancer, or of degeneration, like Alzheimer’s disease, and to potentially develop therapies.
In the years after the discovery, Dr. Levi-Montalcini, Dr. Cohen and others described a large family of such growth-promoting agents, each of which worked to regulate the growth of specific cells. One, called epidermal growth factor and discovered by Dr. Cohen, plays a central role in breast cancer; in part by studying its behavior, scientists developed drugs to combat the abnormal growth.
Dr. Cohen, now an emeritus professor at Vanderbilt University, said Dr. Levi-Montalcini possessed a rare combination of intuition and passion, as well as biological knowledge. “She had this feeling for what was happening biologically,” he said. “She was an intuitive observer, and she saw that something was making these nerve connections grow and was determined to find out what it was.”
One of four children, Rita Levi-Montalcini was born in Turin on April 22, 1909, to Adamo Levi, an engineer, and Adele Montalcini, a painter, both Italian Jews who traced their roots to the Roman Empire. In keeping with the Victorian customs of the time, Mr. Levi discouraged his three daughters from entering college, fearing that it would interfere with their lives as wives and mothers.
It was not a future that Rita wanted. She had decided to become a doctor and told her father so. “He listened, looking at me with that serious and penetrating gaze of his that caused me such trepidation,” she wrote in her autobiography, “In Praise of Imperfection” (1988). He also agreed to support her.
She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Turin medical school in 1936. Two years later, Mussolini issued a manifesto barring non-Aryan Italians from having professional careers. She began her research anyway, setting up a small laboratory in her home to study chick embryos, inspired by the work of Dr. Hamburger, a prominent researcher in St. Louis who also worked with the embryos.
During World War II, the family fled Turin for the countryside, and in 1943 the invasion by Germany forced them to Florence. The family returned at the close of the war, in 1945, and Dr. Hamburger soon invited Dr. Levi-Montalcini to work for a year in his lab at Washington University.
She stayed on, becoming an associate professor in 1956 and a full professor in 1958. In 1962, she helped establish the Institute of Cell Biology in Rome and became its first director. She retired from Washington University in 1977, becoming a guest professor and splitting her time between Rome and St. Louis.
Italy honored her in 2001 by making her a senator for life.
An elegant presence, confident and passionate, she was a sought-after speaker until late in life. “At 100, I have a mind that is superior — thanks to experience — than when I was 20,” she said in 2009.
She never married and had no children. In addition to her autobiography, she was the author or co-author of dozens of research studies and received numerous professional awards, including the National Medal of Science.
“It is imperfection — not perfection — that is the end result of the program written into that formidably complex engine that is the human brain,” Dr. Levi-Montalcini wrote in her autobiography, “and of the influences exerted upon us by the environment and whoever takes care of us during the long years of our physical, psychological and intellectual development.”
I don’t believe in ghosts, spirits, djinns, demons, witches or fairies, with one notable exception: the Sock Fairy. The Sock Fairy inhabits, or hovers around, every washing machine in which my wife or I ever put my socks. He, she or it manages somehow to turn what were six perfectly matching pairs of socks when put into the machine into (say) three pairs plus three odd socks. more>>>
Goodluck Jonathan Likens The Islamic Threat In NigeriaTo The Same Threat In Syria
Nigeria president likens nation's unrest to Syria
By BASHIR ADIGUN and JON GAMBRELL
Associated Press / December 31, 2012
ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has likened attacks by a radical Islamist sect in his West African nation to the ongoing civil war in Syria, an unlikely acknowledgment from the seat of power about the violent unrest gripping the country.
Jonathan’s comments Sunday are widely viewed here as hyperbole because the estimated 45,000 people killed in the Syrian uprising is far more than those killed by Nigeria’s extremist sect. But Jonathan’s remarks offer a glimpse into the worried leader’s mind as his weak government remains unable to stop attacks by the sect known as Boko Haram. Though government and security officials have sought to downplay the sect’s guerrilla campaign of shootings and bombings, the group is blamed for killing at least 792 people in 2012 alone, according to an Associated Press count, the worst year of violence yet.
And with Jonathan also referencing the apocalypse before parishioners at a church in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, it offers a bleak assessment of Nigeria heading into the New Year.
‘‘We have challenges, no doubt, especially the recent terrorist attacks on all of us and the church is one of the main targets,’’ Jonathan said. When the preacher ‘‘was making reference to the bombings ... I was just wondering, could this be a clear way of telling us that the end times are so close?’’
Boko Haram, whose name means ‘‘Western education is sacrilege’’ [it means, literally, "Book -- Forbidden"] in the Hausa language of Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north, continues to attack civilians and government forces at will, despite a heavy presence of soldiers and police officers there. The sect wants the multiethnic nation of more than 160 million people to enact strict Shariah law and release its imprisoned members. It also has loose connections with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and Somalia’s al-Shabab, according to Western military officials and diplomats.
Just in the last few days, gunmen suspected to belong to Boko Haram attacked a village in Nigeria’s arid northeast, rounding up men, women and children and killing at least 15 by cutting their throats.
Speaking Sunday before an EYN church in Abuja, Jonathan acknowledged the sect killed people this holiday, but said his government had stopped the group from committing more killings.
However, his speech offered stark comparisons to the situation in his country, comparing it to Syria and the Central African Republic, which now faces rebel attacks that threaten the nation’s stability.
The CAR rebels ‘‘were quite close to taking over the capital city just as Boko Haram is taking over Abuja (and wanting) for me and those working in government to run and hide somewhere else,’’ Jonathan said. ‘‘Let me agree with you that we have challenges. ... No part of the country is free.’’
This isn’t the first time Jonathan, who sometimes fumbles through public speeches, has made dire pronouncements about security in Nigeria. On Jan. 8, 2012, speaking before another church service, Jonathan said the threat of Boko Haram was worse than the nation’s 1960s civil war, which killed 1 million people. The president also suggested Boko Haram had infiltrated the government and the nation’s security forces.
‘‘Some continue to dip their hands and eat with you and you won’t even know the person who will point a gun at you or plant a bomb behind your house,’’ Jonathan said at the time.
Jonathan never elaborated on his comments, though a high-ranking senator was later arrested for alleged ties to the sect. Nigeria’s dysfunctional intelligence community also has freed suspected radical Islamist terrorists out of religious sympathies in the past, including one later implicated in Boko Haram’s August 2011 suicide car bomb attack on the United Nations headquarters in the nation’s capital that killed 25 and wounded more than 100 others.
As the attacks continue, soldiers have killed civilians and the government faces growing criticism from human rights groups over alleged indefinite detention, beatings and killings of Boko Haram suspects in custody. However, Jonathan promised Sunday that the government ultimately would stop the sect.
‘‘If the idea of Boko Haram is to stop Nigerians from worshipping God, they will not succeed. If the idea of Boko Haram is to stop government from providing the dividend of democracy they will not succeed,’’ Jonathan told those at the church. ‘‘God willing and with our commitment, the excesses of Boko Haram and other criminal organizations will be brought to a reasonable control.’’
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. – Hebrews 11:1
It is interesting to note that people who have never experienced real faith, often mistake faith for a kind of hope and an irrational hope at that. To them, faith seems a very fragile thing, apt to crumble in one's hands the way hope often will. Faith, they believe, is simply a wishful attitude and nothing more. more>>>
In the past few years, it has become all too apparent that the nations of the European Union (EU) have made a catastrophic mistake when they created a common, one-size-fits all currency, the euro, ignoring the vast differences in productive capacity, financial resources, work habits, and culture of the member nations. The full consequences of this mistake have yet to unfold, but the instability in the world’s financial markets may be a foretaste of darker troubles ahead. more>>>
HE HAD just got married and his wife was about to give birth but this did not save Andrei Arbashe, a young Christian, from a horrific fate at the hands of rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad's regime earlier this month.
"They beheaded him, cut him into pieces and fed him to the dogs," said Agnes-Mariam de la Croix, mother superior of the Monastery of St James the Mutilated between Damascus and Homs.
Forget the familiar Arab spring narrative about down-trodden masses taking on the forces of evil: the Syrian conflict appears to have entered a darker phase in which the rebels are committing atrocities against innocent civilians. It does not bode well for peace. The people who chopped up Arbashe did not seem to need much of a motive: his brother had apparently been overheard complaining about the rebels behaving like bandits.
Sister Agnes-Mariam, who has been keeping a macabre scorecard of such atrocities, believes that his fault, in the eyes of his killers, was his Christian faith.
"The uprising has been hijacked by Islamist mercenaries who are more interested in fighting a holy war than in changing the government," she told The Sunday Times on a recent visit to Paris. "It's turned into a sectarian conflict," she added. "One in which Christians are paying a high price."
A highly educated Carmelite nun of Palestinian and Lebanese descent, Sister Agnes-Mariam fled Syria over the summer after being warned that she was on the rebels' "blacklist" for abduction. She has been on an international tour since then to warn the world about the uprising's "extremist" drift as the conflict turns into a magnet for Islamist mercenaries from all over the world, including Britain.
The sectarian twist to the conflict has raised fears of Christian communities being destroyed as they have been in neighbouring Iraq and other parts of the Middle East. Once the cradle of Christianity, the region today is turning into its grave, with Christians dwindling to a minority even in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, Christ's birthplace.
Bigots have two things in common. First, they blame others for their own shortcomings. The Nazis, for example, believe if anything goes wrong, it must have been because a Jew was involved. If they get a flat tire, they automatically blame Jews. The Ku Klux Klan takes a more religious approach, claiming Jews killed Jesus; therefore Jews are the root of Evil. When I heard Louis Farrakhan speak in the 1980’s he pointed to me in the audience and said “Now my Jewish brothers and sisters out there, now don’t you think I’m anti-Semitic, but don’t you put your evil on me!”
That leads to the second thing bigots have in common. They claim to be better because others are worse. It is a depression mentality that some try to fix with the self-esteem movement. This leads to the new breed of Jew-hatred, the Israel boycotters, a generation of haters who, instead of being depressed, feel good about themselves while blaming Jews for their own shortcomings.
As detailed in my book Boycotting Peace(http://www.BoycottingPeace.com), the Arab boycott of Israel dates back to 1910 as a boycott of Jewish interests. The boycott is also the central theme of the Arab League, the leading pan-Arab organization that was formed to coordinate the boycott against Jews and Israel. It is also where the Nazis got the idea of boycotting Jews that later evolved into creating the Nazi concentration and death camps. There is a parallel. Two Israeli Army reservists made a wrong turn into Ramallah on October 20, 2000. Despite going to the Palestinian police compound for refuge, they were brutally murdered at the hands of the PA that is not only signatory to the boycott of Israel, but which also created the Boycott Divestment Sanctions campaign against Israel. The fact is the Arab boycott of Israel and its BDS campaign subsidiary is not benevolent.
There are two types of people who join the BDS campaign against Israel. First you have the angry Marxists who just hate every capitalist society, and then you have the peace activists who will do almost anything in the name of peace. But how does this translate into Jew hatred?
The answer becomes apparent in their approach. Marxists generally stand with the communists, Trotskyites, and everyone else on the far left. One would think therefore they would stand with their Israeli Kibbutz comrades, but nothing could be further from the truth. The Marxists who join the Arab boycott / BDS campaign attack anything and everything from or related to Israel.
The same applies to the peace activists. They don’t stand with Israeli peace activists; they just boycott Israel in general. While some Israel boycotters claim they only boycott goods from certain areas of Israel, the fact is in practicality the boycott campaign does not differentiate between goods based on origin within Israel.
This brings us back to the two things racists have in common – they blame others for their own shortcomings and claim superiority because other people are worse. While the BDS crowd blames Israel for the woes of others, they also tell Israel what to do out of a sense of moral superiority based on their own self-esteem. Effectively, therefore, the Israel boycotters are by definition bigots.
Of course they will deny being bigots and then claim Zionists are the real bigots, which brings up the topic of the Arab techniques used in their boycott of Israel - the trend among Arabs is to blame Israel for their shortcomings. For example, while Jews and Christians are forbidden from entering Mecca and Medina, the BDS claim is that Arabs are discriminated against by Israel. Of course the Arabs don’t tell their BDS recruits that Arabs vote in Israel and have been in every Knesset since day one; nor do they tell their BDS recruits that Israelis can’t enter most Arab nations, nor can any Jews vote in Arab nations.
The Israel boycotters also fail to mention that Arab women can’t vote or drive under Islamic rule, yet are free to do both in Israel. The list goes on and on. Simply stated, the Arab world likes to claim Israel denies the very basic human rights the Arab world actually imposes on its own people, thus blaming Israel and Jews in general for the Arab world’s own shortcomings.
There is one truism I have learned in the fifteen years I have been studying boycotts:
It is easy to make a false claim and scream boycott in response. However, when you shine a light on the actions of the claimants, you may then be exposing the truth, including who the real bigots are.
Fred Taub is the President of Boycott Watch (http://www.BoycottWatch.com) and the author of Boycotting Peace (http://www.BoycottingPeace.com) which exposes the truth behind the Arab boycott of Israel / BDS. He is radio host, comments in the major media and his work as been cited in two cases before the United States Supreme Court.