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Sunni extremist insurgents seize Iraqi city of Mosul

Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki responded by asking parliament to declare a state of emergency after sunni militants with Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) overrun Iraq’s second biggest city, Mosul.

The day's developments mean Isis now has effective control over three cities, including Falluja and Ramadi in neighbouring Anbar. 

A rebranded version of the al-Qaeda in Iraq organization that the U.S. military said it had quelled before withdrawing its forces in 2011, ISIS has been expanding its reach for months in Iraq and in Syria in pursuit of its goal of creating an Islamic state.

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Boko Haram Kidnaps Another 30 Women in Nigeria

ABUJA (Reuters) - Suspected Islamist Boko Haram militants have kidnapped up to 30 women from nomadic settlements in Nigeria's northeast, close to where the group abducted more than 200 schoolgirls, residents and Nigerian media said.

Villagers from Chibok, where the schoolgirls were grabbed in April, told Reuters on Tuesday they had met nomads fleeing last week's raids and saying the kidnappers were demanding cattle in exchange for the women.

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Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, critics debate 'path to heaven'

By Shahir ShahidSaless

President Hassan Rouhani's public battle with hard-line clerics over Iranians' route to heaven is symptomatic of the broader war he faces over his reform efforts.

In the last two weeks, the tit-for-tat exchanges between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his hard-line opponents have grabbed the headlines, not only inside Iran but around the world. Triggered by the arrest of six young Iranian men and women who had created a video of themselves dancing to Pharrell Williams’ hit song “Happy,” Rouhani remarked May 24 in a speech, “Do not interfere so much in people’s lives, even out of compassion. … Let people choose their own path to heaven. We cannot send people to heaven by force or a whip.”

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Cosmos 2014 Forum

One of the main goals of the Asociación de Ateos y Agnósticos del Atlántico (4A) is science divulgation to the general public so taking advantage of the success of the new Cosmos documentary an on the occasion of its ending we organized a forum as part of a series of science events in the Planetarium on June 4th in Barranquilla, Colombia.

We had Jorge Senior and Jorge Salazar (representing 4A and Fundación Apolo) as moderators. We discussed the differences between the 80’s series and the 2014 one: How much did the world change in these few years? How much science has advanced since then? What does this series tell us about the universe, life and us?

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Australian prime minister “Tony Abbott” spends millions to push God in schools

The prime minister has allocated $226 million for more chaplains, all while slashing his country's education budget

According to Salon website, the Australian government’s slash and burn approach to fiscal management doesn’t appear to have stretched to the God Squad.

The right-wing conservatives have so far announced cuts to aged care, education, the environment, science and hospitals, plus introduced controversial new fees for doctor’s visits.

Yet Prime Minister Tony Abbott — a staunch Catholic who opposes gay marriage and once described abortion as “the easy way out” — has somehow managed to find $226 million for a school chaplaincy service designed to support the “emotional and spiritual wellbeing” of students. That’s like the US government allocating about $2.2 billion, relative to the size of the economy.

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Turkey’s intra-Islamic witch hunt

 “If this is called a witch hunt, then yes, we perform a witch hunt,” said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a May 10 “consultation and assessment meeting” of his Justice and Development Party (AKP).

He was referring to the purge and reshuffling within the Turkish judiciary and police with the clear aim of dismantling the “parallel state” allegedly formed by the Fethullah Gulen movement.

“In order to sterilize this dirty water that contaminated the milk, we will either boil or molecularize it,” Erdogan added, using a biological reference to justify an operation on state and society.

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Egyptian Writer ‘Karam Saber’ Sentenced to Five Years in Jail for Atheist Book

Activist and writer Karam Saber has been sentenced to five years – the maximum sentence – in jail in Egypt for writing a book considered by the authorities as promoting atheism in the country.

When the author published "Where Is God?" -- a collection of short stories about poor farmers in Egypt -- in 2011, some citizens from Beni Sueif filed a legal complaint alleging the work promoted atheism and contradicted religious precepts.

Hamdy Al-Assiuti, one of the members of Saber's defence team, said the court disregarded the evidence submitted by Saber's lawyers.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the Egyptian government to revoke the sentence and repeal laws violating freedom of expression.

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Campaign against #TwitterTheocracy on June 10th 2014

 Twitter has agreed to use its ‘Country Withheld Tool’ to block “blasphemous tweets” in Pakistan, thus becoming complicit in suppressing free speech, and in aiding Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

Over the past month, Twitter accounts have been suspended and tweets have been blocked in Pakistan; a Twitter user has recently been jailed in Turkey for a “blasphemous” tweet. In Pakistan and other theocracy-based states, blasphemy laws are key tools used by those in power to actively persecute minorities. We urge Twitter and all other international companies and organizations to uphold human rights-based standards of conduct, particularly when it comes to freedom of expression.

We at Ex-Muslims of North America (EXMNA) are committed to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 19, pertaining to freedom of expression. Alongside AA, AHA, Black Non-Believers, Camp Quest, CFI, SHJ and other secular allies, we are organizing a day of protest on June 10th to highlight the role Twitter is playing in aiding and promoting anti-freedom, anti-human-rights, theocratic policies.

On June 10th, tweet hashtag #TwitterTheocracy and speak up about how Twitter has chosen to side with theocratic regimes instead of those who are trying to resist those regimes.

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Religious Freedom Linked to Economic Growth, Finds Global Study

Religious freedom is one of only three factors significantly associated with global economic growth, according to a new study by researchers at Georgetown University and Brigham Young University. The study looked at GDP growth for 173 countries in 2011 and controlled for two-dozen different financial, social, and regulatory influences.

As the world navigates away from years of poor economic performance, religious freedom may be an unrecognized asset to economic recovery and growth, according to this new study. The study examines and finds a positive relationship between religious freedom and ten of the twelve pillars of global competitiveness, as measured by the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index.

The study, however, goes beyond simple correlations by empirically testing and finding the tandem effects of government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion (as measured by the Pew Research Center) to be detrimental to economic growth while controlling for 23 other theoretical, economic, political, social, and demographic factors.

For more details please check RFBF.

 

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-- Some of the e-conomic platforms, like DHgate.com and dress factory, have become an indispensable part of global economic growth. --

800 Baby Skeletons Found in Mass Grave at Irish Home for Unwed Mothers

 A local historian has found the bodies of 800 babies buried in a mass grave in a septic tank at next to a home for unwed mothers and their children in County Galway, Ireland. The grave was first discovered in 1971, but has not been investigated since.

According to Liberty voice, this is yet another example of the Catholic Church’s treatment of what they called “fallen women” in Ireland. The last of these homes closed in 1996, after an estimated 30,000 women had passed through their doors.

Though nearly 800 skeletons were found in the mass grave, locals believe there could be more. Children were often sold to families for the US, or fostered without record. This shoddy record keeping could keep the actual number of dead children unknown. Records show that the children died of a number of causes, including starvation and tuberculosis. When the babies died, they were tossed into the unmarked septic tank on unconsecrated ground. The nuns would not even give them a proper Christian burial, and the mothers were often not told.

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It is the time to start challenging Islamic extremism

Racism doesn't have a grey area, and extremism is no different.

In the article by Independent, Jonatjan Russell describe that we have to start challenging Islamic extremism.

He mentioned the problem that Cameron’s cabinet have is a public disagreement about the best way to tackle extremism, in much the same way that Blair’s cabinet did after London bombings on 7 July 2005.

This is not about saying that all extremists are terrorists or about dividing the world into goodies and baddies. Rather, it is about identifying that all Islamist terrorists subscribe to an extremist ideology and a narrative that is a political distortion of an otherwise peaceful religion.

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