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Monday, July 13, 2009

nadeem tiptoes, Youth Help Line, Clean water, Ayatollah Sistani, Solar power, Robert Fisk

Nadeem tiptoes around, without naming names. ~t

They are still treated as some kind of anti-elite heroes, when in essence, just like the Taliban, these militant clerics too were once cogs of the reactionary Pakistani state; cogs who failed to keep up with the changing nature of the game that the same friendly state now found itself playing after 9/11. In other words, either we can call them Frankenstein monsters, or simply, spoiled Islamist brats who rebelled after dad started to change his ideological focus. Absolutely nothing heroic about any of it. Nadeem F. PARACHA

The last time I picked up the phone to call the Youth Help Line I did it so as ‘Amna,’ a 20 something with career problems. I acted confused, out of sorts. But the voice at the other end was comforting yet authoritative in tone. She knew what she was talking about and she knew exactly how to steer the conversation. She asked a series of questions scratching the surface to uncover the real issues I was presumably confused about. (Youth helpline toll free number: 0800 22444). Nosheen Abbas

People always ask: What can I do to make a difference? So many people in poor countries desperately need assistance. So many people in rich countries would like to help but fear their donations would line the pocket of a corrupt official or be lost in an aid bureaucracy. The result is a short circuit, leaving both sides unfulfilled. That’s where Scott Harrison comes in. Nicholas Kristoff

The issue is no longer about the election results. The issue now is about the core principal of the Islamic Revolution--velayat-e faqih--that Islamic law requires that power over civil society must lie with the clerical order of Islamic jurists. This debate is deeply rooted in the Islamic Revolution of 1979. At the time of the Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini was the most vocal proponent among the senior Shia clerics of velayat-e faqih, while he was opposed at the time by his peer and rival Ayatollah Abul-Qassim Khoi, who disagreed with that interpretation of Islamic law, and dissented from the urge to assert clerical dominion over civil society. While Khomenei won the day and dominated the revolution against the Shah of Iran, velayat-e faqih has never been accepted across the senior Shia clerical order as settled law. Who Will Win the Next Phase in Iran, Ahmadinejad or Iraq's Ayatollah Ali Sistani?

Energy experts have calculated that Desertec could meet at least 15 per cent of Europe's needs, and be up and running by 2019. By 2050, they estimate the contribution could be between 20 and 25 per cent. Although no host countries have been named, Desertec envisages a string of solar-thermal plants across North Africa's desert. The plants would use mirrors to focus the sun's rays, which would be used to heat water to power steam turbines. The process is cheaper and more efficient than the usual form of solar power, which uses photovoltaic cells to convert the sun's rays into electricity. €400bn energy plan to harness African sun

The outrageous death of his 26-year-old son, arrested in front of his own father, remains one of the most shameful episodes of our occupation of southern Iraq. As they beat the seven men, the British soldiers gave them the names of footballers. I guess it is always easy to demean those who you are going to brutalise. One of his comrades, who worked in the same hotel, and who spoke to me in great pain from his hospital bed, described how Baha had pleaded for his murderers to stop kicking him. "He was a decent guy. They didn't need to do that to him," he said. Robert Fisk: The story of Baha Mousa


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