Happy Thursday, everyone. It’s not snowing in the District, so it’s already a better day in late March than usual.
Quote of the day: “I have no illusions or worry about the long-term future of Russia. Russia is now a gas station masquerading as a country.” — Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
- The UN General Assembly has rebuked Russia for its annexation of Crimea.
- Can the SCOTUS understand a person’s soul? The Atlantic is asking.
- A film that wages an ‘interfaith campaign’ against the abuse of Muslim women. Views differ as to whether the film is Islamophobic or feminist in nature.
- Mysterious Missing Plane updates: Bad weather is hindering the search for the missing objects spotted via satellite.
- Arundhati Roy, still quite the presence.
- Health in the United States: The South gets the short end of the stick, as always.
- Al Jazeera: What the Taliban and Christian conservatives have in common.
- Ballerina Misty Copeland talks about her body struggles in a beautiful and moving piece.
- Let’s talk about ‘impostor’ syndrome.
- Monday is your Obamacare deadline.
- When the AfPak Taliban(s) unite… via FP. Also via FP: A shift in Afghanistan’s power.
- Drone deaths are on the rise in Afghanistan (and Yemen).
- The Pakistani president has made his first visit to Kabul, Afghanistan.
- Polio in Pakistan is an endemic threat.
- English – more than a language? The advantage given to those who have the resources and means to become fluent in the language (a relic of the country’s colonial past) is significant, and many are pushing for its continued prominence:
Journalist and writer Ghazi Salahuddin said proficiency in English or any other second language could not be ensured without imparting education to the school beginners in their first language. He said children’s genius could only flourish by teaching them in their first language. He said English would remain a barrier to progress in Pakistan until this fact was recognised.
Dr Shahid Siddiqui, a linguistics scholar, discussed historical perspective of language evolution in Pakistan. Stressing the connection between the language and society, he termed linguistic capital a pivotal force guiding economic, cultural and social capital of any society.
At the time of independence, he said, Urdu became a strong language in Pakistan and now the same was true for English.
Dr Siddiqui stated that 27 out of 67 languages currently being spoken in Pakistan were endangered.
Earlier, British Council’s Director English Mussarat Shahid shared the key findings of the research and vowed that the council would go the extra mile to bridge the gap between the ever-increasing demand for the English language and the supply of fully-equipped institutions in this regard.
- Do I have to become Muslim to survive in Pakistan?
- Osama Bin Laden’s son-in-law has shockingly been found guilty. (Sarcasm.)
- The Taliban and the Pakistani government have opened talks. PTI chief Imran Khan says the Taliban want peace and not to impose Sharia, which likely comes as news to anyone reading…the news.
- The fallout from that NYT article on Pakistan, OSL, and the U.S. continues.
- The government also claims kidnapped Iranian border guards are not in Pakistan. This claim is not shared by all, specifically a Sunni jihadist group.
- Death sentence issued in blasphemy case against a Christian man, following riots that saw 100 Christian houses burnt.
- The UN has approved an investigation into Sri Lankan war crimes.
- Various political parties have fielded five candidates accused of inciting riots between Hindu and Muslim communities last year. The Uttar Pradesh government was found guilty of negligence regarding the incident.
Middle East & North Africa:
- Iraq and Iran have triggered a global spike in executions.
- Saudi Arabia is a kingdom on guard.
- The Arab League has rejected Israel as a Jewish homeland.
- An American couple living in Qatar have been found guilty of murdering their adopted daughter.
Israel & Palestine
- John Kerry is in the Middle East, working to salvage the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, following a dispute over prisoners.
- 53.6% of Syria’s chemical weapons have been destroyed.
- Many U.S. lawmakers are displeased with Obama over Syria and the administration’s failure to fully address the country’s crisis.
- Al-Sisi will be running for president, will likely win, might want a return to authoritarianism. He is waiting to release his platform.
- Egypt has ordered even more mass trials for Muslim Brotherhood supporters.
- Sisi will be running for president in the shadow of Nasser, who looms as ever over Egypt’s political process. And if he wins, will there be a revival of Arab nationalism?
Europe & Eurasia:
- The U.S. is quietly slamming Russia with more sanctions, Cold War redux continues. Obama also dissed Russia something epic.
- Meanwhile NATO is ill-equipped to ‘deal’ with Russia, and cuts have hindered its ability to truly protect the Ukraine, should the need arise.
- The ‘pivot‘ back to Europe.
- Just how untouchable is Putin?
- NYT: Cold War redux, language change, game change.
- The IMF has announced an $18 billion bailout for the Ukraine.
- Ukraine’s combat dolphins are now swimming for Russia.
- Tymoshenko, Ukraine’s controversial and newly-freed politician, is set to run for president of the country.
- Ukrainian women have banded together to….deny sex to Russians.
- Turkey has blocked YouTube in a move that is likely to send its young and internet-savvy population into protest mode overtime.
- Weekly Wonk: Turkey, Twitter, & the Vote.
- Do it for Denmark: Someone really wants Danes to have more sex. A lot more.
- Some are worried that the U.S. is losing its ‘military edge’ over China and have come up with ‘solutions’.
- The Security Council is set to meet regarding North Korea’s missile firings.
- Net neutrality wins in Brazil’s internet constitution, in a big move that could be an indicator of things to come on a more global scale.
- Nearly 70% of Inuit children do not have access to a consistent source of food, according to a new report that comes at a time when the Canadian government is under fire for its treatment of the country’s Native populations.
- The search for victims of the Washington mudslide presses on, and loggers have become a crucial component of the search.
- Chris Christie is still having a bad day.
- Aloha, Drones?
- Debunking the pathology of poverty.
- A court has ruled that Kansas can strip Planned Parenthood funding.