Negotiations to End All Peace

By Jamal Kanj Following the historical recognition by the Swedish government, British legislators voted overwhelmingly on a non-binding resolution urging their government to recognize the state of Palestine. Ireland’s Seanad and Spain’s parliament passed similar motions on October 22 and November 18 respectively. Sweden, the home of the Nobel Peace Prize, has positioned itself in […]

Indonesian police conducting virginity tests for new recruits

According to The Hindu, Indonesia must stop subjecting female police recruits to physical tests in an effort to determine whether they are virgins, a leading human rights group said Tuesday, describing the practice as degrading and discriminatory.

The report was based on interviews with female police officers and police applicants in six Indonesian cities who had undergone the “two-finger” test to determine whether their hymens are intact. The requirement is even posted on the jobs website for Indonesia’s national police.

On Tuesday it read, “In addition to the medical and physical tests, women who want to be policewomen must also undergo virginity tests. So all women who want to become policewomen should keep their virginity.”

Citing medical experts, Human Rights Watch said the physical tests are useless in determining virginity.

Indonesian police spokesman Maj. Gen. Ronny Sompie urged people not “respond negatively” to the tests, saying they were aimed at ensuring applicants were free from sexually transmitted diseases.

He said both male and female recruits also get blood tests for STDs. “All of this is done in a professional manner and did not harm the applicants,” Maj. Gen. Sompie said.

On Sam Harris’s ‘Waking Up’ Lecture

WRITTEN BY BERKELEY STUDENT FRANCES HUANG WITH MARK KOLSEN, AAI NEWS TEAM

Does it make sense to talk of ‘secular spirituality’? Well-known atheist and author Dr Sam Harris thinks it does. I attended Harris’s San Francisco lecture on 17 September which coincided with the release of his new book Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. The lecture series (also presented in Los Angeles and New York) tried (and mostly succeeded) in getting to the core of human consciousness, mindfulness and secular spirituality.

from http://www.thinkatheist.com First, Harris skilfully argued that since the very beginning, suffering has its origins in the illusion of self. This ‘self’ claims to be the thinker of our thoughts and the experiencer of our experiences. When we are wandering in our thoughts, those little persons in our heads are the ‘selves’ that we seem to experience. However, as Harris pointed out in both the lecture and the new book, ‘a persistent and unified self’ is merely an illusion since it is the whole brain and the firing of neuronal networks that make us who we are. Our thoughts and our behaviors are wholly caused by our brain, which also changes with time. As Harris argued in his book Free Will (2012), free will, like the sense of self, is also an illusion.

Outrage over UAE’s New Terror List

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has sparked anger and confusion by including several prominent Western Muslim charities and civil society groups in a new list of “terrorist organizations” together with Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and the so-called Islamic State. Islamic Relief, a respected UK-based international aid agency; the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest […]

Talk of a Third Intifada: Where to from Here, Palestine?

By Ramzy Baroud When a journalist tries to do a historian’s job, the outcome can be quite interesting. Using history as a side note in a brief news report or political analysis oftentimes does more harm than good. Now imagine if that journalist was not dependable to begin with, even more than it being “interesting”, […]