Amira Ibrahim Iraqi, is a 17-year-old girl who ranked first at the national level among thousands of students who received their secondary school results for 2015-2016. Amira scored 409.5 out of 410 or 99.87 percent. You would think such an outstanding result would lead to recognition by and praise from the government. There has been a long tradition in Egypt of the top student being congratulated by the Minister of Education. It won't happen for Amira.
Amira's achievements are being deliberately ignored because she is the daughter of a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, designated as a terrorist organization in Egypt.
The deposed former President Morsi was a member of the Brotherhood as well. Many who protested his overthrow lost their lives as protests were put down, others were jailed. Amira's father was given a life sentence. Her father is a doctor who specialized in kidney disease and had been serving for many years before being imprisoned.
It seems exceedingly narrow-minded to punish the child just because her father belongs to what used to be the main political group in Egypt but now is a banned organization.
The education system in Egypt is notorious for its corruption. There are constant problems being caused by exam questions being leaked. However, there are other problems. Mariam Malak, had been all along been doing quite well in her courses but when she got her final results found that not only had she failed all her exams but did not manage to score even a single mark. In previous exams she had scored near perfection. She had hoped to go to medical school.
Thousands have rallied behind Maria and over 30,000 people have liked a social media page titled "I believe Mariam". Mariam told the CBC: 'I was completely shocked. I couldn't hear anyone, I couldn't speak. I thought how can that happen? How can I get zero?'
Her brother thinks that the school or the examination board swapped her papers with a pupil who was obviously doing badly. Some were spreading rumours that Mariam had been discriminated against because she is a Coptic Chrisitian a minority in mostly Muslim Egypt. However, her family think that she was more likely just caught up in the corruption of the system.
Many have called for an investigation of Miriam's case. Her sister said: 'We believe in God's justice and the law and watching the support and solidarity we've been receiving from people gives us a bit of reassurance. We want an impartial and transparent committee to re-open the investigation and redo her handwriting test... we will continue until we do justice by Mariam.'
On July 22, the United Nations Security Council voted to authorize UN countries to aid Libya to eliminate its stockpile of chemicals that could be used to manufacture toxic weapons.
There are fears that the chemicals could fall into the hands of militants. The global chemical weapons watchdog, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said that the chemicals that were precursors to weapons had been moved to a temporary storage site in the north of the country. The OPCW asked for help destroying the chemicals outside the country.
Gadaffi had agreed to dismantle his program of weapons of mass destruction including chemical weapons as of December 2003. The chemical weapons are already destroyed but precursor chemicals have still to be destroyed: "As of 2013, over 800 tons of chemical weapons ingredients remained to be destroyed. In February 2014, the Libyan government announced that it had finished destroying Libya's entire remaining stockpile of chemical weapons. Full destruction of chemical weapons ingredients is scheduled to be completed by 2016. "
As of now, there are roughly 700 tonnes of precursor chemicals left to destroy. The resolution, drafted by the UK, was unanimously adopted by the 15 members of the Security Council as it determined "that the potential for acquisition by non-State actors of chemical weapons in Libya represents a threat to international peace and security." Boris Johnson the British Foreign Secretary said that destroying the chemicals "reduced the risk of these weapons falling into the hands of terrorists and fanatics."
Vitaly Churkin, Russian ambassador to the UN agreed with Johnson and noted that there had been terrorist groups springing up in Libya. Churkin said: "There was an imminent threat of danger that these things would fall into terrorist hands. The examples of Syria and Iraq have demonstrated the topical nature of the problem of chemical terrorism for the region." Russia and the US agreed on the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons.
Tuesday afternoon a storm ripped through southern Manitoba leaving baseball-sized hail in some places. There were tornado warnings put in place by Environment Canada for parts of southern Saskatchewan to the west of Manitoba and for southern Manitoba as well on Tuesday afternoon.
A severe thunderstorm developed near Carberry, east of Brandon around noon. It moved southeast over the afternoon an into North Dakota in the US by late afternoon. There are photos of some of the hail. The two large ones seem a bit too large to be real to me and would produce severe damage to anything they hit. The storm lasted about four hours with large hail and quite strong wind gusts.
Norm Bruneau who runs an auto body shop in the small town of St Claude says that his staff have been busy all summer with repairs as there was hail earlier in June. He said although he had a lot of claims last year, this year would probably see even more. Hail damage can be quite localized. The monopoly Manitoba Public Insurance corporation or Autopac said that for the entire province hail claims are actually lower than last year over the entire province. As of July 19 this year there were 7,635 claims whereas last year on the same date there were 10,012. The numbers for this year may catch up after the recent storm.
An Enhanced Fujita Scale 1 tornado touched down at the Long Plain First Nation and the surrounding area traveling at least 8 kilometers. Chief of the Long Plain reserve Dennis Meeches said that roofs were blown off houses, trees uprooted and homes separated from their foundations. 47 homes were damaged seriously leaving almost 200 people displaced in a community of 2,400.
A nearby Hutterite colony was also struck. Large grain silos were dented beyond repair, and tractors were buried in debris. In Winnipeg the Manitoba capital the temperature dropped from 28 degrees C to 18 within an hour.
Hydro was knocked out by the wind in a number of locations. At the storm peak 16,000 to 20,000 in Winnipeg lost power. Throughout Manitoba 32,000 people lost power during the worst part of the storm.
The humidity was high before the storm. High humidex at Winnipeg was 42 C , at Brandon 43, and Portage La Prairie 45. Winnipeg had wind gusts of 98-107 kilometers an hour. Portage 122. At least three tornadoes were reported in southern Manitoba according to one report.
Bahrain court has ordered that the country's main Shiite opposition group Al-Wefaq be dissolved. The order follows a crackdown by the Sunni-dominated monarchy that rules the island.
The US Navy 5th fleet is based in the island nation. Bahraini dailies Al-Ayam and Al-Wasat said that the court ruling called on Al-Wefaq assets to be liquidated and funds transferred to the Bahrain state treasury, Authorities had suspended Al-Wefaq activities last month and frozen its assets. The Secretary-General of the group Sheikh ali Salman was sentenced to nine years in prison. Bahraini authorities accuse Al-Wefaq of having links with groups that support terrorism. The actions are happening even as there has been international criticism of the kingdom's intensified crackdown on dissent. The ruling dissolving Al-Wefaq can still be appealed.
Al-Wefaq had been the largest group in the Bahraini parliament but its lawmakers resigned in 2011 after the government crushed protests that were calling for an elected government instead of the monarchy. The court that ruled that the group should be dissolved accused it of "inciting violence and encouraging demonstrations and sit-ins which could lead to sectarian strife in the country". Demonstrations in Manama the capital are banned.
The court also said the group had "criticized the performance of the state authorities, executive, judicial, and legislative."Al-Wefaq's defence lawyers withdrew from proceedings on June 28 as the court insisted on speeding up the process which was originally planned to last until October 6. Last October, the court banned Al-Wefaq for three months for violating the law on associations.
Political parties are banned in Bahrain so quasi-parties register themselves as an association. Authorities also accuse Al-Wefaq of providing an opening for foreign interference in Bahrain. This is a reference to Iran which Bahrain authorities accuse of fomenting unrest among Bahraini Shiites. The Shiites are a majority in the country and are supported by Iran.
The UN, United States, and several rights groups have pleaded for the action against Al-Wefaq to be dropped but to no avail. Washington calls the action "alarming" and called for "reform and reconciliation" in Bahrain. Sheik Ali Salman, the chief cleric of Al-Wefaq had his sentence more than doubled to nine years by a court in May. Other features of the Bahraini crackdown are removing citizenship from those opposing the government.
At least 261 people have lost their citizenship from 2012 including the Shiite spiritual leader Sheikh Isa Qassem. Just recently, human rights activist Nabeel Rajab was denied bail. He is being charged for insulting a state institution and also Saudi Arabia online.
After Turkish President Recep Erdogan reportedly called the failed coup "a gift from Allah" some have suggested that the whole coup was faked so that Erdogan could suspend civil liberties and order mass arrests of his opponents.Some have even compared it with the 1933 arson attack on the German parliament building.
The theory seems very improbable as Erdogan had difficulty even getting to communicate with the Turkish people and seemed genuinely frightened.
At first the coup seemed to be going well.
One twitter user suggested that it was probably a real coup that could have been vaguely known beforehand but was allowed to go ahead since it was known that it was weak and would not be successful. This at least is possible but more likely Erdogan simply did not know of the coup.
Erdogan blames the coup on the Turkish preacher living in exile in the US, Fethullah Gulen, whose Gulen movement Erdogan describes as "an armed terrorist organization".
At one time, before 2013 Gulen and Erdogan were allies but Gulen supported and even encouraged investigation of Erdogan and one of his sons for corruption. Erdogan accused Gulen of being behind the charges. Now he is on Turkey's most wanted terrorist list.
Turkey is demanding that Gulen be extradited from the US to Turkey.
For his part Gulen has been one of those who have claimed that the coup might have been a fake organized by Erdogan himself. While Gulen may have encouraged the coup, there was obvious dissatisfaction within the army although top officers did not seem to participate and police in Istanbul sided with Erdogan. Gulen denies he had anything to do with the failed coup.
There is no doubt that Erdogan will use the coup as an excuse to purge the armed forces of any potential opponents. He has already cleared out many from the military and from the judiciary who were possible opponents. Turkish TV claims that 2,745 judges had been removed from their offices after the coup attempt. It is hard to believe that so many judges were supporting the coup.
All opposition parties opposed the coup even the Kurdish party badly treated by Erdogan. However, Erdogan is likely to use the coup attempt as a reason to crack down further on any opposition.
Erdogan already is criticized for repression of the media. It is reported that since 2014 a total of 1,845 journalists, writers, and critics have been charged with insulting the president which carries a potential jail sentence. Erdogan in this respect is following in the footsteps of Egyptian president El-Sisi and the Gulf monarchies. El-Sisi supported the coup since Erdogan is supported by the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt blocked the UN Security Council from passing a motion condemning the coup.
While Erdogan's position may be strengthened in the short term a large minority are much opposed to his increasing authoritarian actions combined with his reliance on support from Islamists. His suppression of the Kurdish minority is infamous.
While Erdogan has begun to improve relations with Russia and Israel, his relations with the United States are under considerable strain. Turkey appears to be developing into an unstable country with too much power in the hands of a president who wants to stifle any opposition.
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Ken is a retired philosophy professor living in the boondocks of Manitoba, Canada, with his Filipina wife. He enjoys reading the news and writing articles. Politically Ken is on the far left of the political spectrum on many issues.
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