Thursday, April 24, 2014

Turkish prime minister offers condolences over mass killings of Armenians in World War I

Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdopig has offered condolences to the descendants of victims of the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman troops during World War I
Mr Erdopig's statement was the first such overt comment by a Turkish leader over the killings, considered by many as the first genocide of the 20th century
He unexpectedly described the events as "inhumane", using more conciliatory language than has often been used in the past
It comes on the eve of the 99th anniversary of the start of the mass deportations of Armenians in 1915
"The incidents of World War I are our shared pain," Mr Erdopig said in a statement
"It is our hope and belief that the peoples of an ancient and unique geography, who share similar customs and manners, will be able to talk to each other about the past with maturity and to remember together their losses in a decent manner
"And it is with this hope and belief that we wish that the Armenians who lost their lives in the context of the early 20th century rest in peace, and we convey our condolences to their grandchildren"
The statement, released in nine different languages, repeated previous calls for dialogue between the two countries, and the setting up of a historical commission to probe events surrounding the killings

Armenians being marched to a prison by Turkish soldiers in April 1915
News report here.

BBC meets gang 'paid to join boko haram' in Niger

YT link here.

Cork arselifter community seeks replacement imam

A rapidly expanding community of arselifters wants to hire a new imam, or spiritual leader
The highly specialised job, which has been advertised by the Cork Arselifter Society, comes with a €2,500 monthly salary and an immediate start date. The position is open to men only
A spokesman for the society said the vacancy has arisen following the relocation to Dublin of the previous holder, Imam Salem
He was one of the founder members in 2006 of the Irish Council of Imams — a body which represents the 14 or so imams working in Ireland of both the sunni and shitie traditions
The new Cork imam will take on the role of religious minister to the region’s estimated 5,000 arselifters
The imam will be expected to lead pislamic preyer and religious services, but he will also be expected to take on a larger role in providing community support and spiritual advice
Applicants for the job should know and understand the koranus; be able to recite it correctly; be versed in pislamic studies and sharia; and have achieved a bachelor or masters degree in sharia
The society spokesman said the imam will be expected to work flexible hours and be on call seven days a week
Part of the role includes organising religion and arabpig language lessons for children, as well as religion classes for adults

The vacancy has arisen following the relocation to Dublin of the previous holder, Imam Salem, pictured leading preyers in Cork
News report here.

Gallipoli letters add poignancy to Idris Murphy's $20,000 art prize win

When Idris Murphy travelled to Gallipoli last year with a group of artists, the landscape painter carried letters written by a man he had never met but whose name he inherited
Murphy's mother died in 2012, leaving her son 160 letters written by his grandfather Charles Idris Pike from the battlefields of Gallipoli and the Western Front to his girlfriend Violet, who later became Charles' wife
"She left 160 letters which she'd never told me about," Murphy said. "All she said was there was a letter I should keep"
Those letters detailing his grandfather's experience of war added poignancy to the journey that inspired his painting Gallipoli Evening 2013, which was awarded the Gallipoli Art Prize on Tuesday
In one letter to Violet, Murphy's grandfather writes about how Australian and Turkish soldiers would exchange gifts of food and tobacco across the trenches when they were not engaged in bloody combat. When the Turkish soldiers wrote a letter asking for a knife to cut the meat, they signed it "Your soldier Friends Turks"
Murphy said he had been prepared for some melancholy when he visited Gallipoli: "However, I was not expecting or prepared for this place of legends to also be beautiful. This work, painted back in my studio is a response to that irony. Evening is both a sense of actual time and a metaphor for that experience of the place"
Accepting the $20,000 prize at the Gallipoli Memorial Club, Sydney, Murphy added: "Being there and seeing it's a day like today, a bright sunny day, a beautiful beach, Mediterranean water, very ironic kind of stuff when you're walking around fields where there's bits of bone sticking up"

Idris Murphy with Gallipoli Evening 2013
News report here.

California arselifters advocate for freedom, security

YT link here.

Perth mum warns pregnant women to check travel policies after Bali 'babymoon' nightmare

A Perth mother, who gave birth prematurely while on holiday in Bali, is counting her blessings that her son survived and has urged other expectant mums to check insurance fine print before travelling pregnant
Melissa Bain went into labour with Cooper almost two months early and just hours after touching down for a week-long break at one of Australia's most touted "babymoon" destinations
Since 2010, five Perth women have given birth prematurely in Bali and sought help from WA's Newborn Emergency Transport Service
Two of the babies died before making it onto the plane
"Generally we advise it is best not to travel while pregnant," NETS clinical nurse Kylie McDonald said
"A lot of women ask for pregnancy insurance, but don't realise it doesn't cover the baby"
It can cost up to $200,000 to charter an emergency medical flight and many insurance companies cover pregnant women up to 26 weeks gestation, but not the baby once born – leaving families hundreds of thousands of dollars in the red if a newborn needs repatriating
Cooper is Ms Bain's second child. He, like many premature babies, had respiratory problems and spent four weeks in hospital after returning home
Up until she went into labour, Ms Bain's pregnancy had been normal and her first child, Cienna, was born four days past her due date more than three years earlier

Cooper in hospital at Bali
News report here.

A haj exhibit opens in Paris, displays kaaba’s kiswah

An exhibit showcasing more than 200 historical pieces reflecting the history of the haj has opened this week in Paris
The show, which will run for three months, aims to broaden the visitors’ knowledge about haj, one of the five pillars of pislam
It is organized by the King Abdulaziz Public Library and the arabpig World Institute in Paris
French President Francois Hollande opened the show on Tuesday and toured the gallery that showcased 230 rare artifacts, including 53 from Soddy Barbaria
Hollande said the exhibition is the first of its kind in France, adding that it displays rare historical pieces and manuscripts, in addition to the routes pilgrims took to Mucka from various parts of the world
A piece of kiswah, the embroidered black cloth covering the kaaba’s door is also on display
The first haj exhibition was held in London two years ago

French President Francois Hollande (3rd L) speaks with deputy Foreign Minister of Soddy Barbaria Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz (L) as they visit an exhibition on the haj in Paris, April 22, 2014
News report here.

Group causes embarrassment at Gallipoli

YT link here.

Anzac-themed cocktails, plastic surgery shows sacred day is 'for sale', says veteran

A respected military veteran and historian has declared Anzac Day is now "for sale" and is being taken advantage of by pubs, confectionary outlets and even plastic surgeons
The turnout at services across Australia for Anzac Day's 99th anniversary on Friday, is expected to be the biggest yet
But James Brown, a retired captain who served in Irak and Afghanistan, says the growing interest is benefiting pubs and other businesses rather than veterans
"I think it has become for sale," Mr Brown said
"There are companies that have applied to [the Department of] Veterans' Affairs to use the word Anzac to sell ice-creams
"There's certainly a lot of people using it to get people in the door on Anzac Day to buy drinks at their pubs
"So we've got to be really careful about cheapening what is our most sacred national day and most sacred national memory"
Like many others, Melbourne restaurant Vue De Monde has designed an Anzac eve mixology event which includes drinks called the Light Horse Punch and The Spirit of The Anzacs

Since the 1920s permission has been required to use the term Anzac, but it is loosely enforced
News article here.

Today in History for April 24th

YT link here.

Hopes dashed in MH370 search

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Dr. Zakir Naik's thoughts on animal husbandry

Schoolgirl Claire Magann at Anzac Cove Gallipoli cannot imagine Diggers’ bravery

Claire Magann gets a little hug from one of her teachers as she stands by a row of headstones on the Ari Burnu cemetery on Anzac Cove
It’s been an emotional roller coaster ride for the 16-year-old from Goondiwindi on the NSW border
As part of her state high school trip she and her classmates have visited the Western Front in France and Belgium, trudged through battlefields once covered in blood but now flowers and farmland and they’ve traced the lives of men from their town who left for a grand adventure 99 years ago and now lie under foreign soil
But on the shore of Anzac Cove on the Gallipoli Peninsula it hits home that those who fought and died were about the same age as Claire is now and that’s almost unbearable, certainly unimaginable
“It really is a life-changing thing to walk in the steps of them and see what they saw or at least a little bit of what they saw,” the Year 11 says emotionally as she moves down row after row of names on marker stones, not real head stones, for the men are permanently lost and lie somewhere beneath the hard rock shore their identities and final resting place known only to God
“It really is amazing, I don’t think I would be able to do what they did for us. For me though it feels like I can finally say goodbye. It is sad”

Claire Magann, 16, at Aru Burnu Cemetery, Anzac Cove

Several school groups began arriving in Gallipoli overnight for the emotional drain that is the peninsula trail
A large group from St Monica’s College in Cairns was one of the first tour buses to arrive
The Catholic girls school students had come armed with the names of men whose identities are etched on the Queensland city’s cenotaph
Teacher Frazer Rigby says it personalises the tour for the girls to trace the origins all the way from home to the battlefields
News report here.

Tunisian activists sue Israel for 1988 assassination of PLO member

YT link here.

Anzacs to be honoured on Western Front

YT link here.

'What are those medals for?' ask Vietnam veteran's grandchildren

George Main has commemorated Anzac Day since he was a boy
He watched with pride as his father Derrick, who for four years during World War II was a prisoner on the Burma Railway, marched with his mates
He first marched himself in 1971, after serving in Vietnam. He was 19 years old when he landed in the country, where he spent two years driving tanks
Mr Main joined Anzac Day marches each of the 28 years he served in the military and has marched every year since his retirement. And on Friday, once again, the former major will line up alongside 20,000 serving and ex-service personnel for Sydney's march, to honour the lives lost and sacrifices made during war
"It's just remembering those that have fallen and those that aren't with us any more, and to show people, 'here we are, we are veterans,'" he said. "There wouldn't be a family in Australia that hasn't been affected one way or another by war. We just can't forget about it all. A lot of people have died to give us what we have now and it's a matter of respect"
Mr Main's children and grandchildren have been there to watch him. "My grandkids are asking me, 'what did you do in the war, poppa? what are those medals for?'" Mr Main said
The younger generation will lead Friday's march - veterans of recent conflicts and peacekeeping missions from Zoomalia to Rwanda, Afghanistan and Irak, East Timor and the Solomons
Almost 60,000 men and women have served overseas since 1999, outnumbering the surviving veterans from the Vietnam era
News report here.

Libyan soldiers in training

Libyan soldiers take positions during a training exercise directed by the Italian Army's 80th Infantry Regiment of Cassino, in Persano near Salerno, in southern Italy April 15, 2014

The training is part of a specific request by the government in Tripoli as part of the G8 undertaking to rebuild the structure of the armed forces and Libyan security. The operation involves other countries in the training of about 15,000 Libyans, with Italy the first to start training missions. Italy and the UK will train 2,000 units, Turkey 3,000 and the United States 8,000 at U.S. bases in Bulgaria

David Camoron says England is a Christian country - morons get the vapours

YT link here.

Students honour fallen Australian soldiers with messages of thanks

Wooden crosses inscribed with the personal reflections of Australian school children will be placed on 15,000 overseas war graves this Anzac Day
It is part of a project by the Australian War Memorial (AWM) which will see 100,000 crosses sent overseas during the next four years, marking the centenary of World War I
AWM director Brendan Nelson says the crosses draw on the children's feelings after visiting the memorial
"From the students who've completed the crosses, the constant theme is 'thank you for your sacrifice, thank you for giving your life for us and thank you for helping us to be free'," he said
Dr Nelson says thousands of crosses have already been sent overseas
"For Anzac Day this year, in 16 countries these crosses will be placed by Australian children who've written their message of what it means to them," he said
"It's not only what Anzac Day means to them, but more importantly what the sacrifices of these men and women means to them 100 years on"
Eliza Niven from Lyneham High School says she spent a long time deciding exactly what to write on her cross
"It's definitely a privilege to do this so that I can speak about what it means to me," she said
"I ended up writing 'your bravery gave us peace'"
Emma McMaster from Ainslie Primary School says it is an honour to help commemorate the centenary of WWI
"It's very exciting because you get to write something to soldiers who have fought for our freedom in the past," she said
Fourteen crosses and their messages will adorn wreaths for Anzac commemorations in Canberra, with two of them to be laid by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson handing out the crosses to Canberra school children
News report here.

CAIR reptile claims FBI uses No-Fly List for forced recruitment of arselifter informants

YT link here.