(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has called for the immediate release of arrested human rights activist Ibrahim Zoro, who regularly posts material on foreign-based opposition websites. It noted that two other people were in prison in Syria for posting similar material. It said the state security service, whose agents arrested Zoro on 5 April 2007 in Damascus, were "as always, acting quite illegally" and his family had not been told why he was picked up or where he was being held. "It is more like a kidnapping than an arrest," the worldwide press freedom organisation said. Zoro, who belongs to Syria's Kurdish minority, was helping to organise a seminar called "The Philosophy of Lies." He has posted many articles in Arabic on websites such as the blog Tharway and Mengos. Zoro, 47, has already spent seven years in prison, from 1987 to 1994, for belonging to the Syrian Communist Party. He is a member of the Committee for the Defence of Democracy, Freedom and Human Rights in Syria. Journalist Muhened Abdulrahman and writer Habib Saleh are also in prison in Syria for posting material online.
For Aysha Hussain, getting dressed each day is a fraught negotiation. Ms. Hussain, a 24-year-old magazine writer in New York, is devoted to her pipe-stem Leviâ€™s and determined to incorporate their brash modernity into her wardrobe while adhering to the tenets of her Muslim faith.(Wow, get it? Pipe-stem Levi's = "brash modernity." Muslim faith = the opposite.) And it's not just that it seems to be trying to turn a pretty mundane observation (what a Muslim woman chooses to wear â€œis a critical part of her identity," says one interviewee) into a sociological phenomenon that is unique to Muslim women. It's mostly the way the article seems to subscribe to a "liberation through shopping" theory. The title is "We, Myself and I." Presumably, in the outfits of the Muslim women interviewed, the "we" is exemplified by the veil and the modest long sleeves, and the "myself" by the brash, modern touches of Western coutoure. Theres' no questioning of the assumption that fashion and consumerism do anything but allow the individual woman to express herself.
The charred bones that were long believed to be remains of St. Joan of Arc don't belong to the French heroine but are instead the remains of an Egyptian mummy, a new study has shown. Philippe Charlier, a forensic scientist at the Raymond PoincarÃ© Hospital in Paris, France, obtained permission last year to study the relics from the church in Normandy where they are housed. The relics were said to have been retrieved from the French site where Joan was burned at the stake in 1431. Charlier's team studied the relicsâ€”including a fragment of cloth and a human ribâ€”under the microscope and subjected them to chemical tests. Close inspection of the human rib showed that it had not been burned but may have been heated to create a blackened crust on the surface, Charlier said. Meanwhile the fragment of linen cloth had a coating characteristic of mummy wrappings and contained large amounts of pine pollen. "Pine resin was widely used in Egypt during embalming," Charlier explained, adding that pine trees did not grow in Normandy during Joan of Arc's time.Zahi, could you please comment on smell artists from the French perfume industry also being used to find this out. (Where do pine trees grow today in Egypt?)
Fatah training new force in Egypt for renewed infighting By Avi Issacharoff Fatah has established a new security apparatus in the Gaza Strip and is recruiting thousands of militants in preparation for another round of violent clashes with Hamas. So far the organization - known as the Special Force - has recruited 1,400 combatants, a thousand of which have undergone military training. Fatah intends to recruit an addition of at least 1,000 men to the organization, loyal to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. The organization is headed by Sami Abu Samhadana, a notable operative in the first intifada. Palestinian sources told Haaretz that the new recruitment effort was initiated some six weeks ago. According to the sources, officers from Palestinian General Intelligence service and the National Security Force were assigned to the ranks of the new organization. They added that the organization is designed to function as an intervention force in case of a second conflagration of hostilities in the Gaza Strip between Hamas and Fatah. The sources, loyal to Fatah, add that the cease-fire between the two rival factions is regarded as a temporary arrangement, to be terminated as soon as Hamas "perceives itself strong enough to overtake Fatah militarily." Therefore, the sources say, the Special Fatah Force along with Abbas' Presidential Guard will have an important role in deterring Hamas from resuming hostilities.More likely that the Special Force will be used to attempt to crush Hamas when Dahlan feels ready to do so. Also intriguing is Egypt's role in all this:
Palestinian sources say some 350 combatants from the Special Force were sent to Egypt at the beginning of March to participate in a training course under the tutelage of officers from the Palestinian Authority and Egyptian army. The combatants of the Special Force training in Egypt were joined by several hundred soldiers of the Presidential Guard. Other soldiers of the Guard are currently training within the PA, in Gaza and in Jericho, where 500 new Presidential Guard recruits have only recently completed their training program. The sources say both the Special Force and the Presidential Guard are exercising strict discretion in accepting new recruits. "Anyone with any sort of affiliation to Islamist groups will not be accepted," they say. Sources add that Hamas is well aware of the mass recruiting and training in organizations loyal to Fatah, and that senior Hamas figures are pressing to militarily engage Fatah as soon as possible. They fear Dahlan and Abbas' military force would greatly surpass Hamas' forces in several months' time, the sources explain.Fantastic.
A French architect says he has cracked a 4,500-year-old mystery surrounding Egypt's Great Pyramid, saying it was built from the inside out. Previous theories have suggested the tomb of Pharaoh Khufu was built using either a vast frontal ramp or a ramp in a corkscrew shape around the exterior to haul up the stonework. But flouting previous wisdom, Jean-Pierre Houdin said advanced 3D technology had shown the main ramp which was used to haul the massive stones to the apex was contained 10-15 metres beneath the outer skin, tracing a pyramid within a pyramid.I still think it was aliens. But look at how they want to prove the theory:
Now, an international team is being assembled to probe the pyramid using radars and heat detecting cameras supplied by a French defence firm, as long as Egyptian authorities agree.What, using high-tech defense equipment on the national treasures? I suspect Zahi would say no unless he gets to do the Discovery Channel special about it, and Hosni will say no unless he gets to keep the high-tech gadgets.