- Syria Live Blog - May 25. Here .(Al-Jazeera).
- Libya Live Blog - May 23. Here (Al-Jazeera).
- Yemen Live Blog - May 27 . Here. (Al-Jazeera).
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in Japan today 4.9 ! Lots of activity in Turkey.More info here.
- Japan - Latest official Situation Update No. 123.Source : Here .
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- Memorial Day.Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. Service Members who died while in the military service. First enacted by formerly enslaved African-Americans to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War – it was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars.Begun as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation after the Civil War, by the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as ordinary people visited the graves of their deceased relatives, whether they had served in the military or not. It also became a long weekend increasingly devoted to shopping, family get-togethers, fireworks, trips to the beach, and national media events such as the Indianapolis 500 auto race, held since 1911 on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.The first known observance of Memorial Day was in Charleston, South Carolina in 1865; freedmen (freed enslaved Africans) celebrated at the Washington Race Course, today the location of Hampton Park, and each year thereafter. African Americans founded Decoration Day, now referred to as Memorial Day, at the graveyard of 257 Union soldiers and labeled the gravesite "Martyrs of the Race Course" on May 1, 1865. Black Charlestonians created this American tradition.
In the North in Waterloo, New York on May 5, 1866. The friendship between General John Murray, a distinguished citizen of Waterloo, and General John A. Logan, who helped bring attention to the event nationwide, was likely a factor in the holiday's growth. On May 5, 1868, in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic – the organization for Northern Civil War veterans – Logan issued a proclamation that "Decoration Day" should be observed nationwide. It was observed for the first time on May 30 of the same year; the date was chosen because it was not the anniversary of a battle.
There were events in 183 cemeteries in 27 states in 1868, and 336 in 1869. The northern states quickly adopted the holiday; Michigan made "Decoration Day" an official state holiday in 1871 and by 1890 every northern state followed suit. The ceremonies were sponsored by the Women's Relief Corps, which had 100,000 members. By 1870, the remains of nearly 300,000 Union dead had been buried in 73 national cemeteries, located mostly in the South, near the battlefields. The most famous are Gettysburg National Cemetery in Pennsylvania and Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington.
The Memorial Day speech became an occasion for veterans, politicians and ministers to commemorate the war – and at first to rehash the atrocities of the enemy. They mixed religion and celebratory nationalism and provided a means for the people to make sense of their history in terms of sacrifice for a better nation, one closer to God. People of all religious beliefs joined together, and the point was often made that the German and Irish soldiers had become true Americans in the "baptism of blood" on the battlefield. By the end of the 1870s the rancor was gone and the speeches praised the brave soldiers both Blue and Gray. By the 1950s, the theme was American exceptionalism and duty to uphold freedom in the world.
Ironton, Ohio lays claim to the nation's oldest continuously running Memorial Day parade, it has been a tradition since 1868. The first parade was held May 5, 1868.
In the South
In Charleston, South Carolina in 1865, freedmen (freed enslaved Africans) celebrated at the Washington Race Course, today the location of Hampton Park. The site had been used as a temporary Confederate prison camp for captured Union soldiers in 1865, as well as a mass grave for Union soldiers who died there. Immediately after the cessation of hostilities, freedmen exhumed the bodies from the mass grave and reinterred them in individual graves. They built a fence around the graveyard with an entry arch and declared it a Union graveyard. On May 1, 1865, a crowd of up to ten thousand, mainly black residents, including 2800 children, proceeded to the location for events that included sermons, singing, and a picnic on the grounds, thereby creating the first Decoration Day-type celebration.
Beginning in 1866 the Southern states had their own Memorial Days, ranging from April 26 to mid June. The birthday of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, June 3, became a state holiday in 10 states by 1916. Across the South associations were founded after the war to establish and care for permanent cemeteries for Confederate soldiers, organize commemorative ceremonies, and sponsor impressive monuments as a permanent way of remembering the Confederate tradition. Women provided the leadership in these associations, paving the way to establish themselves as capable of public leadership.
The earliest Confederate Memorial Day celebrations were simple, somber occasions for veterans and their families to honor the day and attend to local cemeteries. Around 1890, there was a shift from this consolatory emphasis on honoring specific soldiers to public commemoration of the Confederate "Lost Cause". Changes in the ceremony's hymns and speeches reflect an evolution of the ritual into a symbol of cultural renewal and conservatism in the South. By 1913, however, the theme of American nationalism shared equal time with the Lost Cause.
Columbus, Mississippi at its Decoration Day on April 25, 1866, commemorated both the Union and Confederate casualties buried in its cemetery.The preferred name for the holiday gradually changed from "Decoration Day" to "Memorial Day", which was first used in 1882. It did not become more common until after World War II, and was not declared the official name by Federal law until 1967. On June 28, 1968, the Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, which moved three holidays from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a convenient three-day weekend. The holidays included Washington's Birthday, Veterans Day and Memorial Day. The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May. The law took effect at the federal level in 1971. The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) advocate returning to the original date, although the significance of the date is tenuous. The VFW stated in a 2002 Memorial Day Address:
Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed a lot to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.Since 1987, Hawaii's Senator Daniel Inouye, a World War II veteran, has repeatedly introduced measures to return Memorial Day to its traditional date.After some initial confusion and unwillingness to comply, all 50 states adopted Congress's change of date within a few years. Memorial Day endures as a holiday which most businesses observe because it marks the unofficial beginning of summer. This role is filled in neighboring Canada by Victoria Day, which occurs either on May 24 or the last Monday before that date, placing it exactly one week before Memorial Day.Source.
- Obama Goes Golfing on Memorial Day.(Whitehousedossier).By ,Keith Koffler. The business of memorializing our war dead done, President Obama headed out to the Fort Belvoir golf course today, finding his way onto the links for the ninth weekend in a row.Obama earlier today laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and met with families of those killed in battle. But he emerged from the day’s solemnity to go golfing for the 12th time this year and the 70th time of his presidency.The decision to golf on Memorial Day invites comparison with President George W. Bush, who gave up the game early in his presidency and said he did it out of respect for the families of those killed in Iraq.Obama is out with the three younger aides he typically has in tow on his golf excursions, junior White House staffer Ben Finkenbinder, White House Trip Director Marvin Nicholson, and Energy Department staffer David Katz.In a sign of his determination to play no matter what, Obama is golfing even though it is currently 95 degrees at Fort Belvoir and it “feels like” it’s 98 degrees, according to The Weather Channel.Hmmmm......."Respect for the fallen soldiers" ever heard of it?No matter what he has to "Get His Fix"?Read the full story here.
- Yemen jets 'bomb al-Qaeda-held city'.(Al-Jazeera).At least 30 people reported killed in strikes on city of Zinjibar, which is said to be held by al-Qaeda-linked fighters.At least 30 people have been killed by military jet fire in Yemen's southern city, Zinjibar, which is said to be controlled fighters linked to al-Qaeda.The air attack on Monday appeared to be in response to Sunday's takeover of the city by 300 alleged al-Qaeda fighters and an overnight ambush that killed at least six Yemeni soldiers and injured dozens more who were travelling to the southern city."Civilians found a military car and an armoured vehicle. They were destroyed, and the bodies of six soldiers were found on the roadside," Ayman Mohamed Nasser, editor-in-chief of Attariq, Aden's main opposition paper, told the Reuters news agency by telephone.According to residents, the warplane response targeted positions held by the fighters, but also hit buildings in the town of 20,000, killing at least 13 people earlier in the day and more than 17 later on."The city is devastated. All of its residents have left. Even the dogs, animals and donkeys have abandoned it," said an opposition member in the city who asked to be named as Ali.Later on Monday night, four explosions were heard in Yemen's capital. More information about the blasts is not yet available.Opposition leaders accuse Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen's embattled president under pressure to quit and end his 33-year rule, of allowing Zinjibar on the Gulf of Aden, to fall to al-Qaeda and allied fighters in order to raise alarm in the region that would in turn win him support.Elsewhere in the troubled country swept by anti-government protests, at least 20 people were killed in the southern city of Taiz after soldiers opened fire indiscriminately on a protest camp, a source said.They did not give further details on the violence in Taiz, but said the death toll was likely to rise.Ashraf Khandari, a journalist based in Aden, said protesters were sprayed with live bullets and hot water, adding that "a lot of people" had been killed.The latest unrest came days after troops loyal to Saleh clashed with Hashed tribesmen who support the opposition.A tenuous truce was reported on Sunday, but unrest erupted when security forces tried to storm Taiz's "Freedom Square", where hundreds of anti-government demonstrators have been camped for days."Most of the wounded were hit by live bullets, but some were run over by bulldozers," a medical source from a field hospital told Reuters.Al Jazeera correspondents said early on Monday that the security forces set fire to some tents of the protesters and fired water cannons and tear gas at the crowd.Security forces arrested dozens of people on Monday to head off plans for another rally in Taiz, where Saleh's troops have parked armoured vehicles in "Freedom Square".Separately, rocket attacks by government forces were reported in the tribal area of Arhab in south Yemen where fighting has taken place in the past, Al Jazeera's correspondents said.Read the full story here.
- Guess where this place is?(IsraelMatzav).I'm going to show you some pictures of a place that may be familiar to some of you (should be familiar to those who are regular readers) and you should guess where it is. For those who read Hebrew, just scroll down to the answer. For those who do not, I will put the answer below the ScribD embed.Are you ready?A MUST SEE !Read and see the full story here.
- Belgium: Muslim organization sues sociologist for making link between Islam and antisemitism.(IslamInEurope).Via HLN (Dutch):The Vigilance Musulmane (Muslim Vigilance) think-tank lodged a complaint with the Centre for Equal Opportunities and the Fight Against Racism (CGKR) against VUB professor of sociology Mark Elchardus, for statements about Islam and antisemitism he made in the De Morgen newspaper.On May 12 the newspaper published the results of a study 'Jong in Brussel' by the Youth Research Platform. In the article Mark Elchardus said that antisemitism among Muslim students was theologically inspired and that there is a direct link between being Muslim and harboring antisemitic feelings.Vigilance musulmane say that this goes back to the idea that every Muslim is antisemitic. His statements incite the public opinion to hate all Muslim citizens on the basis of their religious convictions. The think-tank say Elchardus' claim violates the anti-discrimination law of 2007 , which forbids discrimination on the basis of 'religious convictions'. They say his statements also violate article 444 of the penal code, since they were repeated extensively in print.The think-tank wants CGKR to legally review this type of public statement, and if it applies, to act appropriately.Hmmmm........Qur'an (5:51) - "O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people." Read the full story here.
- Germany: Woman sets fire to man in mosque.(TheLocal).A Turkish woman set fire to a man in a mosque in southern Germany on Saturday. She says she acted out of revenge after the man raped her.The 36-year-old poured petrol over the 38-year-old man in a mosque in the city of Reutlingen, in Baden-Württemberg, before setting him alight. The woman was taken into custody on Sunday, on charges of attempted murder, according to the state prosecutors office and the police. The victim was admitted into hospital after the attack suffering from severe burns, however his life is not in danger. According to the police, the victim and the suspect have known each other for some time. The woman claimed she had been sexually abused and molested by the man. He, on the other hand, says that there was a consensual relationship.On Saturday afternoon, according to the police, the woman’s husband and the later victim got into a fight in a room in the mosque. People attending the mosque tried to separate the two men, but were unsuccessful. The woman then poured petrol from a canister she had brought with her and set him on fire. The man was able to run outside and, with the help of a witness, managed to take off the burning clothes.The accused and her husband were arrested at the scene. The woman admitted that she had carried out the attack, saying that her motive was the alleged rape. Her husband was subsequently released.Read the full story here.
- Assad, Nasrallah discuss 'Syrian reform'(Ynet).Reforms go 'hand in hand' with backing Palestinian resistance in spite of Israel, al-Akhbar reports. Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah met with Syrian President Bashar Assad in order to discuss reforms in Syria, the Lebanese daily al-Akhbar, identified with Hezbollah, reported on Monday. Nasrallah "held more than one meeting with President Assad to discuss reforms in Syria", the report says. But Assad "did not require encouragement to proceed with reforms, as he himself presented many ideas", it was quick to add.The elusive reforms, which the paper did not go into detail over, go hand in hand, in Assad's opinion, with standing up to attempts "by officials and states that want to topple the Syrian regime because of its stance regarding the resistance" – a word used to describe Palestinian militancy – "and exhaust it so it capitulates on this issue". The report adds that Assad was so adamant in his stance on the "resistance" that he refused to hear any suggestions about it. Over the weekend anti-government protesters in Syria were seen burning pictures of Nasrallah, after the latter gave a speech voicing support for Assad. Read the full story here.
- Muslim girl, 19, 'stoned to death after taking part in beauty contest'.(DailyMail).A teenage Muslim girl was stoned to death under 'Sharia law' after taking part in a beauty contest in Ukraine.Katya Koren, 19, was found dead in a village in the Crimea region near her home. Friends said she liked wearing fashionable clothes and had come seventh in a beauty contest. Her battered body was buried in a forest and was found a week after she disappeared. Police have opened a murder probe and are investigating claims that three Muslim youths killed her claiming her death was justified under Islam. One of the three - named as 16-year-old Bihal Gaziev - is under arrest and told police she had 'violated the laws of Sharia'.Gaziev said he had no regrets about her death because she had violated the laws of Islam. Hmmmm.......Imam Feisa Abdul Rauf Sharia Law And US Constitution is The Same?Read the full story here.
- Fatah and Hamas Representatives Meet again in Turkey to Discuss Implementation of Reconciliation Agreement.(Memri).Representatives of the Palestinian factions – Fatah, Hamas, the Popular Front, and independents – met in Turkey on May 28 to discuss the strengthening and implementation of the Palestinian reconciliation agreement. Fatah representative Majed Abu Shamala said that the atmosphere had been good and that the discussions had focused on the establishment of mechanisms that would remove the Palestinian security and civil institutions from the partisan domain. Earlier meetings between representatives of Palestinian factions took place in Turkey on May 20-23, under the aegis of a Finnish NGO specializing in dialogue management. According to Hamas representative Isma'il Al-Ashqar, the meetings dealt with issues of security, the government, the political program, human rights, and representation in the PLO and in other Palestinian bodies, and were a follow-up to a meeting that took place in Finland in late 2010. The sides also met with a representative of the Turkish foreign ministry.Hmmmm....a "NATO Member" organising meetings with known terrorists?GET TURKEY OUT OF NATO!Read the full story here.
KolkhoznikPresident Lukashenko declares war on Russia.(MoscowNews).Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko has demanded that Russia be considered a nation at war with Belarus, as the Belarusian economy continues its freefall and the population begins to hoard food. He blames the crisis on various external factors, including an unrestrained Russian media and has effectively demanded that Russian journalists be thrown out of the country, Kommersant reported.Russia, meanwhile, has said it will “review” the loan it has been considering to bail out Minsk’s flagging rouble. Moscow has already demanded harsh terms, as it eyes up Belarus’ state companies. These include Beltransgaz, energy transit company and one of Lukashenko’s few bargaining chips.Hmmmm.....The last USSR dictator.Read the full story here.