Inside a Beijing Interrogation Room

Assa Ariyoshi

Assa Ariyoshi

Picture and story from: New York Times Dated: July 17 2014 By

Chinese writers like me often face difficult choices. What should we do when friends are arrested for no good reason? Keep our mouths closed? Should we speak out in protest and risk being dragged away to prison? Is it fair to our families and friends to risk rotting away in jail because we refuse to shut up?

After several months away from China for an academic residency and vacation, I returned to my home in Beijing on July 2 prepared to be arrested. While abroad I had announced in a blog post and in this newspaper that I would turn myself in to the authorities for contributing an essay to a private commemoration of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown. Several of the participants in the Beijing gathering had been arrested.

On July 6, I posted a message online saying that I was home and ready to be picked up. My girlfriend never said it, but I knew she was uncomfortable with my stance. Two days later, I received a phone call from a police officer -Read more

UN security council votes to deliver aid to rebel-held areas of Syria

The United Nations Security Council

The UN security council meets to discuss aid in Syria before unanimously voting to authorise relief deliveries. Photograph: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images



From: Guardian, UK Dated: July 14 2014 By Julian Borger

The UN security council has voted unanimously to authorise deliveries of humanitarian aid to rebel-held areas of Syria, without the approval of the Damascus regime, in a rare show of international unity that diplomats say will help get food to 1.3 million people trapped behind the lines.

The resolution endorses the use of four new crossing points on the Syrian border for humanitarian deliveries and the deployment of a monitoring team to ensure aid flows smoothly.

UN agencies had been reluctant to deliver food and other essential supplies to rebel-held areas without the Syrian government’s permission for fear the regime would stop their work in government zones, endangering the lives of the people there.

“This resolution is aimed at breaking the regime’s stranglehold on aid - Read more

Wars without winners

From: The Hindu Dated: July 15 2014 By Suhasini Haidar

In her autobiographical work, based on her tenure as U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton makes a startling statement while explaining the need for U.S. intervention around the world, despite the “dangers” to American lives. “While we can and must work to reduce the danger,” writes Ms. Clinton, “the only way to eliminate risk entirely is to retreat entirely and to accept the consequences of the void we leave behind. When America is absent, extremism takes root, our interests suffer, and our security at home is threatened” (Hard Choices, p.387, Simon & Schuster, 2014).

It is curious that Ms. Clinton thinks that extremism thrives when America is absent, as empirical facts and the patterns one can glean from them indicate that the opposite is truer. While Iraq and ISIS’ brutal advance on Baghdad is at the top of the news now, it must be remembered that each of the countries today at -Read more

Israel warns north Gaza civilians to evacuate ahead of strikes

Palestinians crowd around a missile said to have been fired by Israel at a target in Rafah, Gaza Strip, 13 July

Palestinians crowd around a missile said to have been fired by Israel at a target in Rafah From:

From: BBCnews Dated: July 13 2014

Israel says it has warned residents in northern Gaza to evacuate as it prepares to launch fresh air strikes.

Israeli forces have raided a suspected rocket-launching site in Gaza in their first reported ground incursion since operations began on 8 July.

The military says it will continue its offensive until Palestinian militants stop firing rockets at Israeli cities.

At least 159 Palestinians have been killed since Israel’s offensive began, according to health officials in Gaza.

The dead are said to include 17 members of one family who died in an Israeli missile strike on Saturday evening.

Israel says it is targeting Hamas militants and “terror sites”, Read more

Constitution allows Shariat, contest Muslim clerics after SC rules Shariat courts illegal

From: India Today Dated: July 7 2014          Visit @Graffiti

The clerics say the Constitution allows them the right to work and act according to Muslim personal law. Zafaryab Jilani, a member of the Muslim Personal Law Board, said, “We are not doing anything parallel to the judicial system and we don’t say that any order passed by a Qazi is binding on all. Our sole motto is to resolve a matter with the consent of two parties involved in accordance with Shariat.”

Cleric Khalid Rasheed Farangi said under the Constitution, Muslims have the right to work and act according to Muslim personal law. “Indian Constitution has given us the right to act and work according to our Muslim personal law. One must also keep in mind that Shariat Application Act, 1937, has very clearly said that in those cases in which both parties are Muslims and the matter is related to nikaah, talaaq, zihar, lian, khula and mubaraat, the decisions will be taken in the light of the Muslim personal law,” he said, adding -Read more

£340,000 taxpayer bill for hotel rooms booked for London Olympics and never used

From: Telegraph, UK, for detailed attribution visit @Graffiti


The Home Office spent £340,000 during the Olympic Games on hotel rooms that were never used.

Theresa May’s department block-booked 3,455 rooms at a cost of up to £139 a night, which were then left empty.

The rooms were at budget hotels at Gatwick, Sussex, Stansted and Luton airports.

The Home Office said it booked the rooms as a contingency measure so it could provide additional staff to man the border at peak times.

“This was to ensure visitors were not delayed and the security of the Olympic Games was maintained,” a spokesman said. “If rooms had not been pre-booked they would have cost significantly -Read more

Migration to the United States Under-age and on the move

From: The Economist, for detailed attribution visit @Graffiti

The first action of this first global conflict involved a young officer whose name may be familiar to some readers. On May 28th 1754 a small group of soldiers from the British colony of Virginia, under the command of a man called George Washington, engaged a group of French troops who were interloping from New France (ie Canada) into territory the British considered theirs. Instead of peacefully repelling them as he had been instructed, -Read more