Thursday evening SpaceX launch critical for timeline of next astronaut flight
Thursday evening SpaceX launch critical for timeline of next astronaut flight
Evidence strongly indicates that schools are not the sites of significant viral transmission, leading some to wonder why schools are being forced to bear the pandemic’s brunt, when it is adults in adult spaces who seem to be spreading the virus.
Houthi rebels in Yemen have claimed responsibility for a cruise missile attack against an oil facility in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.The missile hit a fuel tank at a Saudi Arabian Oil Co. facility on Monday morning, and an Energy Ministry official said the strike caused a fire. The facility is near the King Abdulaziz International Airport.In 2015, the Iranian-backed Houthis seized Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. Since then, a Saudi-led coalition has been fighting the rebels, resulting in a humanitarian catastrophe. The Houthis have used cruise missiles against Saudi targets before, The Associated Press reports, with United Nations and Western officials accusing Iran of supplying the weapons, allegations Tehran has denied.A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, Col. Turki al-Maliki, called the missile attack "cowardly," adding that it "not only targets the kingdom, but also targets the nerve center of the world's energy supply and the security of the global economy."More stories from theweek.com The Secret Service is reportedly preparing for Trump's 'post-presidency life' Biden is stealing the spotlight. Trump can't stand it. I was wrong about Mitt Romney
The republication of caricatures depicting the Prophet Muhammad by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in September 2020 led to protests in several Muslim-majority countries. It also resulted in disturbing acts of violence: In the weeks that followed, two people were stabbed near the former headquarters of the magazine and a teacher was beheaded after he showed the cartoons during a classroom lesson. Visual depiction of Muhammad is a sensitive issue for a number of reasons: Islam’s early stance against idolatry led to a general disapproval for images of living beings throughout Islamic history. Muslims seldom produced or circulated images of Muhammad or other notable early Muslims. The recent caricatures have offended many Muslims around the world. This focus on the reactions to the images of Muhammad drowns out an important question: How did Muslims imagine him for centuries in the near total absence of icons and images? Picturing Muhammad without imagesIn my courses on early Islam and the life of Muhammad, I teach to the amazement of my students that there are few pre-modern historical figures that we know more about than we do about Muhammad. The respect and devotion that the first generations of Muslims accorded to him led to an abundance of textual materials that provided rich details about every aspect of his life. The prophet’s earliest surviving biography, written a century after his death, runs into hundreds of pages in English. His final 10 years are so well-documented that some episodes of his life during this period can be tracked day by day.Even more detailed are books from the early Islamic period dedicated specifically to the description of Muhammad’s body, character and manners. From a very popular ninth-century book on the subject titled “Shama'il al-Muhammadiyya” or The Sublime Qualities of Muhammad, Muslims learned everything from Muhammad’s height and body hair to his sleep habits, clothing preferences and favorite food. No single piece of information was seen too mundane or irrelevant when it concerned the prophet. The way he walked and sat is recorded in this book alongside the approximate amount of white hair on his temples in old age. These meticulous textual descriptions have functioned for Muslims throughout centuries as an alternative for visual representations. Most Muslims pictured Muhammad as described by his cousin and son-in-law Ali in a famous passage contained in the Shama'il al-Muhammadiyya: a broad-shouldered man of medium height, with black, wavy hair and a rosy complexion, walking with a slight downward lean. The second half of the description focused on his character: a humble man that inspired awe and respect in everyone that met him. Textual portraits of MuhammadThat said, figurative portrayals of Muhammad were not entirely unheard of in the Islamic world. In fact, manuscripts from the 13th century onward did contain scenes from the prophet’s life, showing him in full figure initially and with a veiled face later on. The majority of Muslims, however, would not have access to the manuscripts that contained these images of the prophet. For those who wanted to visualize Muhammad, there were nonpictorial, textual alternatives. There was an artistic tradition that was particularly popular among Turkish- and Persian-speaking Muslims. Ornamented and gilded edgings on a single page were filled with a masterfully calligraphed text of Muhammad’s description by Ali in the Shama'il. The center of the page featured a famous verse from the Quran: “We only sent you (Muhammad) as a mercy to the worlds.”These textual portraits, called “hilya” in Arabic, were the closest that one would get to an “image” of Muhammad in most of the Muslim world. Some hilyas were strictly without any figural representation, while others contained a drawing of the Kaaba, the holy shrine in Mecca, or a rose that symbolized the beauty of the prophet. Framed hilyas graced mosques and private houses well into the 20th century. Smaller specimens were carried in bottles or the pockets of those who believed in the spiritual power of the prophet’s description for good health and against evil. Hilyas kept the memory of Muhammad fresh for those who wanted to imagine him from mere words. Different interpretationsThe Islamic legal basis for banning images, including Muhammad’s, is less than straightforward and there are variations across denominations and legal schools. It appears, for instance, that Shiite communities have been more accepting of visual representations for devotional purposes than Sunni ones. Pictures of Muhammad, Ali and other family members of the prophet have some circulation in the popular religious culture of Shiite-majority countries, such as Iran. Sunni Islam, on the other hand, has largely shunned religious iconography.Outside the Islamic world, Muhammad was regularly fictionalized in literature and was depicted in images in medieval and early modern Christendom. But this was often in less than sympathetic forms. Dante’s “Inferno,” most famously, had the prophet and Ali suffering in hell, and the scene inspired many drawings. These depictions, however, hardly ever received any attention from the Muslim world, as they were produced for and consumed within the Christian world. Offensive caricatures and colonial pastProviding historical precedents for the visual depictions of Muhammad adds much-needed nuance to a complex and potentially incendiary issue, but it helps explain only part of the picture. Equally important for understanding the reactions to the images of Muhammad are developments from more recent history. Europe now has a large Muslim minority, and fictionalized depictions of Muhammad, visual or otherwise, do not go unnoticed.With advances in mass communication and social media, the spread of the images is swift, and so is the mobilization for reactions to them. Most importantly, many Muslims find the caricatures offensive for its Islamophobic content. Some of the caricatures draw a coarse equation of Islam with violence or debauchery through Muhammad’s image, a pervasive theme in the colonial European scholarship on Muhammad. Anthropologist Saba Mahmood has argued that such depictions can cause “moral injury” for Muslims, an emotional pain due to the special relation that they have with the prophet. Political scientist Andrew March sees the caricatures as “a political act” that could cause harm to the efforts of creating a “public space where Muslims feel safe, valued, and equal.” Even without images, Muslims have cultivated a vivid mental picture of Muhammad, not just of his appearance but of his entire persona. The crudeness of some of the caricatures of Muhammad is worth a moment of thought.[Insight, in your inbox each day. You can get it with The Conversation’s email newsletter.]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Suleyman Dost, Brandeis University.Read more: * Muslim schools are allies in France’s fight against radicalization – not the cause * Why there’s opposition to images of MuhammadSuleyman Dost does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
A group of Pennsylvania Republicans filed a lawsuit over the weekend to block certification of the state's election results in an eleventh-hour attempt to overturn Joe Biden's victory in the key battleground state.The emergency petition, filed in state court, takes issue with a voting reform bill that passed Pennsylvania's Republican-held legislature in October last year. The lawsuit claims that the law's allowance of no excuse mail-in voting is "unconstitutional" and seeks to block Pennsylvania counties from certifying their vote results ahead of the deadline on Monday to do so and invalidate millions of mail-in ballots cast in the 2020 election.The group is led by Pennsylvania Representative Mike Kelly and GOP congressional candidate Sean Parnell, who has not conceded since his defeat this month by his Democratic rival, Representative Conor Lamb. Their suit names Democratic Governor Tom Wolf, the GOP-led legislature, and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar as defendants.Meanwhile, a federal judge on Saturday dismissed a lawsuit from the Trump campaign that sought to invalidate millions of votes in Pennsylvania and block the certification of the state’s election results. Trump wrote in a tweet Saturday night that he plans to appeal the decision.About 2.6 million voters in Pennsylvania cast mail ballots in the general election this month. Biden won three out of every four mail ballots cast in the state, according to an analysis of data from Pennsylvania's state department.Biden won Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes over President Trump and is expected to be awarded the Keystone State's coveted 20 electoral votes. States have until December 8 to resolve election disputes, and electors will meet on December 14 to formally vote for the next president.Over the past several weeks, Trump has made allegations that voter fraud occurred on a massive scale through mail-in ballots. The president has claimed he won the election and has refused to concede even though his lawyers have not produced evidence of fraud widespread enough to alter the election outcome.
"The president's slow-moving coup is not going that well," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. "This afternoon, the Michigan election board certified Joe Biden's win in that state, then tonight we just learned moments ago that the General Services Administration informed President-elect Joe Biden the administration is ready to begin the formal transition process." That makes it official, he said. "Our next commander in chief will be President Biden. Which means somewhere, right now, Rudy Giuliani is filing a last-ditch legal claim that our current president's name has always been Joe Biden.""With so many people humiliated by the absolute incompetence of his legal team, the president did what had to be done and fired someone named Sidney Powell," Colbert said. "If you don't know who she is, congratulations, now you don't have to know. But I'm going to tell you anyway." And he did.Powell "got kicked off Trump's legal team for being too crazy," Jimmy Fallon marveled at The Tonight show. "That's like getting kicked off of Real Housewives for being too crazy. Seriously, you know how nuts you have to be when Rudy Giuliani's head starts leaking and you're the one who gets fired?""Here's how big of an embarrassment she was to the Trump team," James Corden elaborated at The Late Late Show: "The guy who held a press conference next to a sex shop, and last week had hair dye running down his face, and who wears loafers that look like clown shoes -- that guy, still on the team. But I saw this coming, I did. Any good conspiracy theorist will tell you if you rearrange the letters in Sidney Powell, you get Needy Pillows, which is obviously nod to the MyPillow CEO, who invented coronavirus to destabilize the neck-support industry. I gotta be honest, I spent a lot of time on the internet this weekend.""Trump is concerned that his legal team is made up of fools that are making him look bad," Jimmy Kimmel laughed at Kimmel Live. "They said the same thing about you." Meanwhile, "we still haven't seen the president concede -- we've barely even seen the president," thanks largely to golf, he shrugged. "I've never seen a guy try so hard to keep a job he doesn't even do." Watch another one of Kimmel's "great ideas" to get Trump to leave office below. More stories from theweek.com The Secret Service is reportedly preparing for Trump's 'post-presidency life' Biden is stealing the spotlight. Trump can't stand it. I was wrong about Mitt Romney
A firearms-toting congresswoman-elect who owns a gun-themed restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, has already asked Capitol Police about carrying her weapon on Capitol grounds, her office has acknowledged. The practice is allowed for lawmakers, with some limitations, under decades-old congressional regulations. The public is barred from carrying weapons in the Capitol, its grounds and office buildings.
Decorating mansion will be her final official act as first lady
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is no longer sure Trump will "do the right thing" and acknowledge his loss to President-elect Joe Biden, but he's certain Biden will be sworn in Jan. 20, 2021, he told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday's State of the Union. Hogan, who has been critical of Trump, said he voted for the late President Ronald Reagan this year.Pressuring state legislators in Michigan and other states to "somehow change the outcome with electors was completely outrageous," Hogan said. "We used to go supervise elections around the world, and we were the most respected country with respect to elections. And now we're beginning to look like we're a banana republic. It's time for them to stop the nonsense. It gets more bizarre every single day, and frankly, I'm embarrassed that more people in the party aren't speaking up."> Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says he is "embarrassed that more people in the party aren't speaking up" regarding President Trumps' refusal to concede https://t.co/2wEl0kWIoX CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/ht8v9oi0O5> > -- CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 22, 2020John Bolton, Trump's former national security adviser, was also critical of both Trump and his Republican Party, but he did offer some advice to those Republican officials scared of Trump. "Look, for those who are worried about Trump's reaction, there's strength in numbers," he said. "The more who come out and say, 'He doesn't represent us, he is not following a Republican game plan here,' the safer they will be." > "The Republican Party is not going to be saved by hiding in a spider hole. We need all of our leaders to come out and say, 'the election is over.' We're not talking about an abstract right for Trump to use his legal remedies. We've past that," John Bolton says. CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/pUFsiFj7PC> > -- State of the Union (@CNNSotu) November 22, 2020More stories from theweek.com The Secret Service is reportedly preparing for Trump's 'post-presidency life' Biden is stealing the spotlight. Trump can't stand it. I was wrong about Mitt Romney
Raymond Deskins was charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly breathing heavily on protesters who were outside Trump National Golf Club.
I live in a democracy. But as Thanksgiving approaches, I find myself longing for the type of freedom I am seeing in China. People in China are able to move around freely right now. Many Americans may believe that the Chinese are able to enjoy this freedom because of China’s authoritarian regime. As a scholar of public health in China, I think the answers go beyond that.My research suggests that the control of the virus in China is not the result of authoritarian policy, but of a national prioritization of health. China learned a tough lesson with SARS, the first coronavirus pandemic of the 21st century. How China flattened its curveBarely less than a year ago, a novel coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China, with 80,000 cases identified within three months, killing 3,000 people. In late January 2020, the Chinese government decided to lock down this city of 11 million people. All transportation to and from the city was stopped. Officials further locked down several other cities in Hubei Province, eventually quarantining over 50 million people.By the beginning of April, the Chinese government limited the spread of the virus to the point where they felt comfortable opening up Wuhan once again. Seven months later, China has confirmed 9,100 additional cases and recorded 1,407 more deaths due to the coronavirus. People in China travel, eat in restaurants and go into theaters, and kids go to school without much concern for their health. Juxtapose that to what we are experiencing in the U.S. To date, we have confirmed over 11 million cases, with the last 1 million recorded in just the last one week alone. In September and October, friends from China sent me pictures of food from all over the country as they traveled around to visit friends and family for the mid-autumn festival and then the seven-day National Day vacation week. I envied them then and envy them even more now as Americans prepare and wonder how we will celebrate Thanksgiving this year. What China learned from SARSWe Americans are told that the freedoms Chinese now enjoy come at the expense of being subject to a set of draconian public health policies that can be instituted only by an authoritarian government. But they also have the experience of living through a similar epidemic.SARS broke out in November of 2002 and ended in May of 2003, and China was anything but prepared for its emergence. It didn’t have the public health infrastructure in place to detect or control such a disease, and initially decided to prioritize politics and economy over health by covering up the epidemic. This didn’t work with such a virulent disease that started spreading around the world. After being forced to come to terms with SARS, China’s leaders eventually did enforce quarantine in Beijing and canceled the week-long May Day holiday of 2003. This helped to end the pandemic within a few short months, with minimal impact. SARS infected approximately 8,000 worldwide and killed about 800, 65% of which occurred in China and Hong Kong. The Chinese government learned from SARS the important role public health plays in protecting the nation. Following SARS, the government improved training of public health professionals and developed one of the most sophisticated disease surveillance systems in the world. While caught off guard for this next big coronavirus outbreak in December 2019, the country quickly mobilized its resources to bring the epidemic almost to a halt inside its borders within three months. What can the US learn from China?Knowing that there were no safe or proven treatments or an effective vaccine, China relied on proven nonpharmaceutical interventions to conquer the epidemic. First and foremost was containing the virus through controlling the sources of infection and blocking transmission. This was accomplished through early detection (testing), isolation, treatment and tracing the close contacts of any infected individual. This strategy was aided by the three field hospitals (fancang) the government built to isolate patients with mild to moderate symptoms from their families. Strict quarantine measures were also central to preventing the spread of this epidemic, as it was with the SARS epidemic in 2003. This was paired with compulsory mask-wearing, promotion of personal hygiene (hand-washing, home disinfection, ventilation), self-monitoring of body temperature, universal compulsory stay-at-home orders for all residents, and universal symptom surveys conducted by community workers and volunteers. What else could the US have done to be prepared?SARS exposed serious weaknesses in China’s public health system and prompted its government to reinvent its public health system. COVID-19 has exposed similar shortcomings in the U.S. public health system. To date, however, the current administration has taken the exact opposite approach, devastating our public health system. The Trump administration made major cuts to the budgets of the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The last budget submitted by the Trump administration in February 2020, as the pandemic was beginning, called for an additional reduction of US$693 million to the CDC budget. This affected our ability to prepare for a pandemic outbreak. In the past, this preparation included international partnerships to help detect disease before it reached our shores. For example, the CDC built up partnerships with China following the SARS epidemic, to help contain the emergence of infectious disease coming from the region. At one point the CDC had 10 American experts working on the ground in China and 40 local Chinese staff, who mostly concentrated on infectious disease. Trump started slashing these positions shortly after taking office, and by the time COVID-19 broke out, those programs were whittled down to a skeleton staff of one or two. [Research into coronavirus and other news from science Subscribe to The Conversation’s new science newsletter.]The Declaration of Alma Ata guaranteed health for all, and not just health for people governed under a specific type of bureaucratic system. The U.S. has been, and can be, just as dedicated to protecting the health of its people as China under its authoritarian government. We demonstrated this during the Ebola epidemic, with the launch of a whole government effort coordinated by Ron Klain, who has been appointed White House chief of staff under President-elect Biden.This effort, which included a coordinated response with both African nations and China, improved preparedness within the U.S. and ultimately helped to save hundreds of thousands of lives around the world. A reduction in funding for our public health infrastructure, under the Trump administration, was a divestment in the health of the American people and should not have happened. A new administration that places public health at the helm, once again, will I hope prove to us that health is not just something that can be protected under an authoritarian government, but is in fact a right for all.This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Elanah Uretsky, Brandeis University.Read more: * Poor US pandemic response will reverberate in health care politics for years, health scholars warn * Experts agree that Trump’s coronavirus response was poor, but the US was ill-prepared in the first placeElanah Uretsky does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
The German government has agreed on mandatory female quotas on the boards of leading businesses, a move that Berlin says was necessary as companies were failing to take voluntary steps towards gender equality. A bill agreed between Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union [CDU] and her junior coalition partner, the Social Democrats, will enforce a rule of at least one female board member on companies listed on the stock exchange. Meanwhile, businesses that the German state has a majority shareholding in will be required to fill 30 per cent of the chairs at their board tables with women. Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht said that “this law is a huge success for women in Germany, and offers not just a great chance for society but for the companies too.” The coalition partners committed themselves in 2018 to passing legislation that would improve conditions for women at the top of German business. But it took months of wrangling between the parties before the draft law was finally agreed upon. Franziska Giffey, the families and women’s minister, conceded that a law enacted in 2015 that obliged companies to publish targets for female participation at board level had failed to produce the desired results. “Voluntary measures were not achieving anything, we need obligatory standards in order to achieve results,” she said. Surveys show that there are far fewer women at the top end of German business than is the case in countries such as the UK and the US. While roughly a quarter of executives at British firms are female, just 13 percent of executives at companies on Germany's DAX index are women. The steel giant ThyssenKrupp is one of the few German conglomerates to have a female CEO. Martina Merz took over in 2019 and has been attempting to turn around the struggling manufacturer's fortunes after years of instability. Criticism of the quota has come from the liberal Free Democrats, who say that it "degrades women to the position of placeholders and doesn’t truly respect their achievements.” The Greens on the other hand said that the law did not go far enough. “What they set out is a minimum requirement, nothing more than that,” said Green MP Ulle Schauws.
As retired members of the military, we've cast votes from all over the world and know it works, so stop questioning the legitimacy of this election.
Parishioners of St. Andrews Catholic Church in Fort Worth, Texas, know that the Rev. Jim Gigliotti does not water down Catholic teaching for the sake of his flock’s comfort. He doesn’t mince words when explaining it, either.