stephen jay gould

(september 10, 1941-may 20,2002)
  • Americans stranded at Pakistan airport after cruise ship was denied entry to multiple countries over coronavirus fears

    Americans stranded at Pakistan airport after cruise ship was denied entry to multiple countries over coronavirus fearsA plane full of Americans and Canadians was stranded on a tarmac at an airport in Karachi, Pakistan, for several hours on Thursday after it was turned away from multiple countries due to fears of the coronavirus, according to a family member of two of the passengers.


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  • Police: Couple forced boys off road, angered by Trump flags

    Police: Couple forced boys off road, angered by Trump flagsA northwestern Indiana couple allegedly used a car to force two teenage boys off a road, angered that the twin brothers were riding bicycles adorned with flags supporting President Donald Trump, before ripping one of the sibling's flag from his bike, police said Friday. Hobart police said Snapchat videos helped officers secure charges against Kyren Gregory Perry-Jones, 23, and Cailyn Marie Smith, 18, in connection with a July 22 incident. Police Capt. James Gonzales said the Hobart couple are accused of driving in their car, running the 14-year-old boys off of the road, and making threats toward them.


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  • AOC launches plan to block non-progressive Democrats with all-female candidates: 'My ambition right now is to be a little less lonely in Congress'

    AOC launches plan to block non-progressive Democrats with all-female candidates: 'My ambition right now is to be a little less lonely in Congress'Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is planning to endorse an all-female group of progressive candidates to build the far left, with some of the challengers going against members already in the Democratic Party.Her endorsements of more than one dozen candidates from her new political action committee will include a progressive challenger to potentially unseat a Texas representative from her party.


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  • Democrat Warren, worried campaign will run out of cash, taps $3 million loan

    Democrat Warren, worried campaign will run out of cash, taps $3 million loanNEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren raised more money than most of her Democratic presidential rivals in the weeks before the Iowa caucuses, but spent so heavily that her campaign took out a $3 million loan fearing she would run out of cash. Warren raised $10.4 million in contributions in January -- more than former Vice President Joe Biden's $9 million and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg's $6 million -- but ended the month with only $2.3 million in cash, according to disclosures filed on Thursday. All of the presidential hopefuls were required to submit financial disclosures on Thursday, public documents that offer insights into how they are managing their multi-million campaign operations.


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  • Quadruple murderer executed in Tennessee

    Quadruple murderer executed in TennesseeA quadruple murderer was put to death in Tennessee on Thursday despite lawyers asking the US Supreme Court for a stay of execution. Nicholas Sutton, 58, was found guilty of stabbing a fellow inmate to death in 1985. Sutton's lawyers in January asked the state's Republican governor, Bill Lee, to grant clemency, citing expressions of support for Sutton from prison officials.


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  • Erdogan, Putin, Merkel and Macron to Meet March 5 on Idlib

    Erdogan, Putin, Merkel and Macron to Meet March 5 on Idlib(Bloomberg) -- The Turkish, Russian, German and French leaders will meet on March 5 to try to find a solution to the crisis in the city of Idlib as Turkey and Russian-backed Syrian forces risk confrontation in the region.Following phone calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that he will meet them all on March 5. As Turkey slides toward war, Ankara has appealed to the U.S. and its European allies for support in a conflict that risks undermining the friendly ties he’s built with Moscow.READ: Turkey and Russia Near Breaking Point in Syrian StandoffTurkey wants an end to intensifying attacks by Russian-backed Syrian forces in the country’s last rebel stronghold of Idlib, where one-time al-Qaeda militants as well as Turkey-backed rebels are holed up. Russia has in turn accused Turkey of failing to abide by agreements to ease hostilities, warning that the flow of Turkish troops was aggravating the situation.Erdogan has threatened to use force before the end of February if Syrian fighters don’t pull back from areas surrounding Turkish military outposts in Idlib. While Turkey insists it will avoid any confrontation with Russian forces, the pressure on Erdogan to respond is rising as the toll of Turkish casualties mounts.Another Turkish soldier was killed on Saturday on the way to hospital after being wounded by Syrian tank fire in Idlib, taking the total toll of Turkish casualties to 17 in February alone.To contact the reporter on this story: Ugur Yilmaz in Istanbul at uyilmaz@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Onur Ant at oant@bloomberg.net, James Amott, Sara MarleyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


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  • South Korea accepted that its efforts to stop the coronavirus from infecting the country failed and says it's pivoting to containment

    South Korea accepted that its efforts to stop the coronavirus from infecting the country failed and says it's pivoting to containmentCases of the coronavirus in South Korea have tripled. The government says it must now take a different approach.


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  • Airport worker with no license takes plane for spin near D.C., almost crashes, feds say

    Airport worker with no license takes plane for spin near D.C., almost crashes, feds sayRyan Guy Parker allegedly "bounced" the landing and spun out when he touched down at the end of one harrowing flight.


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  • This Fighter Jet Is The Biggest Threat To Russia's Su-57 Stealth Fighter (Not the F-35)

    This Fighter Jet Is The Biggest Threat To Russia's Su-57 Stealth Fighter (Not the F-35)And it's not American.


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  • A New York lawmaker wants to treat white supremacists like foreign jihadists. Is this the solution, or a new war on terror?

    A New York lawmaker wants to treat white supremacists like foreign jihadists. Is this the solution, or a new war on terror?Rep. Max Rose wants the federal government to recognize that white nationalists groups are as serious threats to American citizens as the Islamic State or al-Qaida. The FBI has also acknowledged that threat, recently deeming homegrown extremists a “national threat priority.”


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  • Iowa Professor Bound and Gagged Husband Before His Death: Cops

    Iowa Professor Bound and Gagged Husband Before His Death: CopsAn Iowa professor has been charged for allegedly gagging and binding her husband to a chair with rope for hours before his death, authorities said on Wednesday evening.Gowun Park, a 41-year-old assistant economics professor at Simpson College, was charged with first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping in the death of her 41-year-old husband, Sung Nam, on Saturday, West Des Moines police told The Daily Beast. “Ms. Park’s actions and in-actions were directly responsible for Mr. Nam’s death. The injuries sustained by Mr. Nam were not self-inflicted,” a criminal complaint obtained by the Des Moines Register says. “Ms. Park stated that the only people present during the duration of the events were her and her husband, Sung Woo Nam.”California Woman Fabricated Firefighter Husband to Scam Donors: PoliceAuthorities allege Park bound her husband’s hands and feet with zip ties before tying him to a chair in their West Des Moines home on Saturday between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Park then allegedly stuffed “an item of clothing” into Nam’s mouth to prevent him from yelling in protest before finally using duct tape to place a towel over his head to cover his eyes.Several hours later, at about 5:05 p.m., police say Nam asked to be untied in distress, but his wife refused to free him. Gun finally called West Des Moines police officers at around 6:45 p.m., at which point deputies found Nam unresponsive with ligature marks on the front of his neck and throat. His wife was “performing CPR” on him, authorities said.“Ms. Park made efforts to hide and conceal the binding items prior to the arrival of emergency personnel,” the criminal complaint said. Nam was transported to UnityPoint Health-Iowa Methodist Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The next day, Park emailed her students to say she was canceling classes for the following week and postponing their midterm because of a “personnel issue,” according to the Des Moines Register. Park, who was hired at the small liberal-arts college in 2017, was arrested on Wednesday after faculty members saw deputies in her office. Air Force Major Charged With Murder After Missing Wife’s Remains Found“I witnessed three police officers in the faculty member's office searching through papers and drawers,” Brian Steffen, professor of multimedia communications, told the school’s newspaper, The Simpsonian. “I did see police officers remove a computer from her office. I don’t know whether they took other materials, but I did see them take a computer away.”A Simpson College spokesperson told The Daily Beast that the school has suspended Park following her arrest and is cooperating with authorities during the ongoing investigation. As of Thursday afternoon, Park’s staff profile page was removed from Simpson College’s website, as was any mention of the assistant economics professor.Wife Kills Husband, Admits It in a Bar Bathroom“The recent news has left me and other classmates in shock,” Kody Ricken, a sophomore and one of Park’s advisees, told the student newspaper. “We never would have expected her to do anything like this.”Park received her master’s degree in economics from New York University in 2010 before teaching there as an adjunct professor for five years, a school spokesperson confirmed. She later received her doctoral degree in economics in 2017 from the City University of New York just before joining Simpson College faculty, according to alumni records. Park is being held on a $5 million bond at Dallas County Jail. It was not immediately known whether she has a lawyer. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


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  • Former CIA director: We’re in a ‘national security crisis’

    Former CIA director: We’re in a ‘national security crisis’Former CIA Director John Brennan is very disturbed by a new report from the New York Times, which says last week, members of the House Intelligence Committee were warned by an aide to acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire that Russia is actively meddling in the 2020 campaign in order to get President Trump reelected.


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  • Qatar accuses Saudi Arabia of hampering its access to Gulf meet on coronavirus

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  • Housing crisis: Berkeley law would put renters first

    Housing crisis: Berkeley law would put renters firstThe mayor of Berkeley, California, proposed a new housing policy Thursday aimed at giving renters first dibs when a property goes up for sale, as the state battles a severe housing shortage and homelessness that Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared his top priority. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin announced a proposed ordinance to give renters "the first refusal and right to purchase" when their apartment buildings or rented homes are put on the market. Berkeley's city council will vote on the idea later this month.


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  • Warren Reverses Pledge to Refuse PAC Money, Implies She’s Been Held to Sexist Double Standard

    Warren Reverses Pledge to Refuse PAC Money, Implies She’s Been Held to Sexist Double StandardSenator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) changed her tune on the nefarious influence of super PACs just days after receiving the backing of a newly formed PAC, telling reporters on Thursday that because “all of the men” in the race refused to rely entirely on individual donors, she shouldn't be expected to either.“It can't be the case that a bunch of people keep them and only one or two don’t,” she said.Warren, speaking to reporters in Nevada, tried to square her past disavowals of super PAC funding with her refusal to disavow a new PAC that made a $1 million television ad buy on her behalf this week. She argued that because she failed to convince other candidates to commit to her proposal of no PAC funding, she was forced to accept PAC support.“The first day I got in this race, over a year ago, I said ‘I hope every presidential candidate who comes in will agree — no Super PACs for any of us,” Warren explained. “I renewed that call dozens of times, and I couldn’t get a single Democrat to go along with me.”The pro-Warren “Persist” PAC filed with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday and booked $800,000 in television ads to run in Nevada, despite Warren’s previous criticisms of PAC money. During the New Hampshire Democratic Debate, she touted her lack of PAC support, saying “everyone on this stage except Amy [Klobuchar] and me is either a billionaire or is receiving help from PACs that can do unlimited spending.”The day of the New Hampshire primary last week, Warren tweeted that she “won’t take a dime of PAC money in this campaign.”> Let’s be clear: I won't take a dime of PAC money in this campaign. I won't take a single check from a federal lobbyist, or billionaires who want to run a Super PAC on my behalf. > > And I challenge every other candidate who asks for your vote in this primary to do the same.> > -- Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) February 9, 2019“Senator Warren is the best candidate to take on Donald Trump and win, and we’re going to ensure primary voters and caucusgoers hear her message,” Persist PAC spokesman Joshua Karp told The New York Times on the new venture. Warren’s campaign released a statement on Wednesday in response, which said her stance was “unchanged” on PACs, but did not direct the newly formed PAC to stand down.Speaking Thursday, Warren went further, implying that she could not hold out any longer after “all of the men” still running against her “had either Super PACs, or they were multi-billionaires.”“Finally, we reached the point a few weeks ago where all of the men who were still in this race and on the debate stage, all had either Super PACs, or they were multi-billionaires, and could just rummage around in their sock drawers and find enough money to be able to fund a campaign. And the only people who didn’t have them were the two women,” Warren argued.Warren signaled that after a pro-Klobuchar PAC sprang up earlier this week to support the Minnesota Senator, she was not going to stand in the way.“At that point, there were some women around the country who said, ‘you know, that’s just not right.’ So here’s where I stand — if all the candidates want to get rid of super PACs, count me in. I'll lead the charge. But that's how it has to be. It can't be the case that a bunch of people keep them and only one or two don’t,” she stated.> NEW: Here is video of Warren declining to disavow the new super PAC supporting her:> > “If all the candidates want to get rid of super PACs, count me in. I'll lead the charge. But that's how it has to be. It can't be the case that a bunch of people keep them and only 1 or 2 don’t.” pic.twitter.com/byxQRjGMfs> > -- Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) February 20, 2020The shift in tone comes after Warren slammed former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg during Wednesday’s Nevada debate for a history of sexist comments and non-disclosure agreements with female employees.


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  • Coronavirus: Princess Cruises boss under fire for blowing kisses at ship where two have died and 3,000 have been quarantined for weeks

    Coronavirus: Princess Cruises boss under fire for blowing kisses at ship where two have died and 3,000 have been quarantined for weeksThe president of Princess Cruises welcomed a coronavirus-quarantined ship by blowing kisses and making heart signs, captured on a video set to upbeat music and posted on social media the same day as reports of the deaths of two passengers had surfaced.In a video posted to the company's social media on Wednesday, Jan Swartz is seen wearing a surgical mask and forming heart hands over her head as the cruise ship finally begins to disembark after its passengers were forced to remain at a port in Yokohama, Japan for several weeks following a shipwide outbreak of the flu-like respiratory virus.


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  • A crowd in Ukraine threw bricks at buses carrying coronavirus evacuees from Wuhan to quarantine

    A crowd in Ukraine threw bricks at buses carrying coronavirus evacuees from Wuhan to quarantineThe buses were attacked in Novi Sanzhary on Thursday night. Nobody on board has tested positive for the coronavirus — the quarantine is a precaution.


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  • A recurring Biden campaign story about being arrested in South Africa is full of inconsistencies

    A recurring Biden campaign story about being arrested in South Africa is full of inconsistenciesFormer Vice President Joe Biden has a pretty good tale to share — but it may be a little tall.Biden, who is running for president, has been spicing up his recent campaign stump speeches with a story of how he was arrested while in South Africa trying to see Nelson Mandela, The New York Times reports. But that recollection of events has only recently come to light, and it was reportedly omitted from Biden's 2007 memoir that detailed his escapades in the country around that time.During recent campaign speeches, Biden says he "had the great honor" of meeting Mandela and "of being arrested with our U.N. ambassador on the streets of Soweto." As Miami Herald reporter Alex Daugherty points out, Soweto is a ways away from Robben Island, where Mandela's maximum security prison was located.> Adding to @katieglueck's story is Biden's quote doesn't make geographical sense. "I had the great honor of being arrested with our U.N. ambassador on the streets of Soweto trying to get to see him on Robbens Island." Soweto is almost 900 miles away from Robben Island https://t.co/WtlZMdkexq> > — Alex Daugherty (@alextdaugherty) February 21, 2020The arrest, which has seemingly only been brought up publicly by Biden in the last few weeks, was not found referenced anywhere by readily available news outlets, per the Times.The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. from 1977 to 1979 was Andrew Young. While Young reportedly acknowledged going to South Africa with Biden, he said he was never arrested in the country, and he told the Times he didn't think Biden had been arrested there either."I don't think there was ever a situation where congressmen were arrested in South Africa," Young told the Times, although he did say some people were being arrested in Washington.The story, which was seemingly nonexistent before a few weeks ago, has been told three times on the trail as Biden heads into Nevada and South Carolina, where he needs to pull in big numbers in order to counteract a lackluster showing in Iowa and New Hampshire.Word of advice: there are other ways to make yourself look tough to voters that don't include broadcasting a trip to the slammer.More stories from theweek.com A moderate's 2020 lament The stunning Southern Baptist controversy over Donald Trump and Russell Moore, explained How much will Medicare-for-all save Americans? A lot.


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  • In Case on Wealth Test for Green Cards, a Scathing Sotomayor Dissent

    In Case on Wealth Test for Green Cards, a Scathing Sotomayor DissentWASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court on Friday allowed the Trump administration to move forward with plans to deny green cards to immigrants who are thought to be likely to become "public charges" by making even occasional and minor use of public benefits like Medicaid, food stamps and housing vouchers.As in a similar case last month, the vote was 5 to 4, with the court's conservative justices in the majority. As before, the court's brief order included no reasons for lifting a preliminary injunction that had blocked the new program.The earlier case, from a judge in New York, concerned a nationwide injunction. Friday's order lifted a much more limited injunction, one that applied only in Illinois.The new order drew a scathing dissent from Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who said the Trump administration had become too quick to run to the Supreme Court after interim losses in the lower courts."Claiming one emergency after another, the government has recently sought stays in an unprecedented number of cases, demanding immediate attention and consuming limited court resources in each," she wrote. "And with each successive application, of course, its cries of urgency ring increasingly hollow."The court's earlier order, she said, at least had the virtue of blocking a nationwide injunction, a form of relief that has been criticized by judges and scholars.Indeed, two members of the court -- Justice Neil Gorsuch, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas -- issued a concurrence in last month's case indicating that the central problem was the geographic scope of the injunction."It has become increasingly apparent that this court must, at some point, confront these important objections to this increasingly widespread practice," Gorsuch wrote. "As the brief and furious history of the regulation before us illustrates, the routine issuance of universal injunctions is patently unworkable, sowing chaos for litigants, the government, courts, and all those affected by these conflicting decisions.""I concur in the court's decision to issue a stay," Gorsuch continued. "But I hope, too, that we might at an appropriate juncture take up some of the underlying equitable and constitutional questions raised by the rise of nationwide injunctions."On Friday, Sotomayor wrote that the administration's "own definition of irreparable harm has shifted" after securing that first victory."Having first sought a stay in the New York cases based, in large part, on the purported harm created by a nationwide injunction, it now disclaims that rationale and insists that the harm is its temporary inability to enforce its goals in one state," she wrote.She added that the court had to shoulder its share of the blame."It is hard to say," she wrote, "what is more troubling: that the government would seek this extraordinary relief seemingly as a matter of course, or that the court would grant it."The administration, she wrote, has been treated far better by the justices than death row inmates seeking last-minute stays of executions."I fear," she wrote, "that this disparity in treatment erodes the fair and balanced decision-making process that this court must strive to protect."The administration announced in August that it would revise the so-called public charge rule, which allows officials to deny immigrants permanent legal status, also known as a green card, if they are likely to need public assistance. In the past, only substantial and sustained monetary help or long-term institutionalization counted, and less than 1% of applicants were disqualified on public charge grounds.The administration's revised rule broadened the criteria to include "noncash benefits providing for basic needs such as housing or food" used in any 12 months in a 36-month period. Use of two kinds of benefits in a single month counts as two months, and so on.The new rule was challenged in courts around the country, and five trial judges entered injunctions blocking it. Appellate courts stayed some but not all of the injunctions while appeals moved forward, and the appeals themselves have been placed on fast tracks.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


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  • Execution for a Facebook post? Why blasphemy is a capital offense in some Muslim countries

    Execution for a Facebook post? Why blasphemy is a capital offense in some Muslim countriesJunaid Hafeez, a university lecturer in Pakistan, had been imprisoned for six years when he was sentenced to death in December 2019. The charge: blasphemy, specifically insulting Prophet Muhammad on Facebook. Pakistan has the world’s second strictest blasphemy laws after Iran, according to U.S. Commision on International Religious Freedom.Hafeez, whose death sentence is under appeal, is one of about 1,500 Pakistanis charged with blasphemy, or sacrilegious speech, over the last three decades. No executions have taken place. But since 1990 70 people have been murdered by mobs and vigilantes who accused them of insulting Islam. Several people who defend the accused have been killed, too, including one of Hafeez’s lawyers and two high-level politicians who publicly opposed the death sentence of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman convicted for verbally insulting Prophet Muhammad. Though Bibi was acquitted in 2019, she fled Pakistan. Blasphemy and apostasyOf 71 countries that criminalize blasphemy, 32 are majority Muslim. Punishment and enforcement of these laws varies. Blasphemy is punishable by death in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Brunei, Mauritania and Saudi Arabia. Among non-Muslim-majority cases, the harshest blasphemy laws are in Italy, where the maximum penalty is three years in prison.Half of the world’s 49 Muslim-majority countries have additional laws banning apostasy, meaning people may be punished for leaving Islam. All countries with apostasy laws are Muslim-majority except India. Apostasy is often charged along with blasphemy. This class of religious laws is quite popular in some Muslim countries. According to a 2013 Pew survey, about 75% of respondents in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and South Asia favor making sharia, or Islamic law, the official law of the land. Among those who support sharia, around 25% in Southeast Asia, 50% in the Middle East and North Africa, and 75% in South Asia say they support “executing those who leave Islam” – that is, they support laws punishing apostasy with death. The ulema and the stateMy 2019 book “Islam, Authoritarianism, and Underdevelopment” traces the root of blasphemy and apostasy laws in the Muslim world back to a historic alliance between Islamic scholars and government.Starting around the year 1050, certain Sunni scholars of law and theology, called the “ulema,” began working closely with political rulers to challenge what they considered to be the sacrilegious influence of Muslim philosophers on society. Muslim philosophers had for three centuries been making major contributions to mathematics, physics and medicine. They developed the Arabic number system used across the West today and invented a forerunner of the modern camera.The conservative ulema felt that these philosophers were inappropriately influenced by Greek philosophy and Shia Islam against Sunni beliefs. The most prominent in consolidating Sunni orthodoxy was the brilliant and respected Islamic scholar Ghazali, who died in the year 1111.In several influential books still widely read today, Ghazali declared two long-dead leading Muslim philosophers, Farabi and Ibn Sina, apostates for their unorthodox views on God’s power and the nature of resurrection. Their followers, Ghazali wrote, could be punished with death. As modern-day historians Omid Safi and Frank Griffel assert, Ghazali’s declaration provided justification to Muslim sultans from the 12th century onward who wished to persecute – even execute – thinkers seen as threats to conservative religious rule. This “ulema-state alliance,” as I call it, began in the mid-11th century in Central Asia, Iran and Iraq and a century later spread to Syria, Egypt and North Africa. In these regimes, questioning religious orthodoxy and political authority wasn’t merely dissent – it was apostasy. Wrong directionParts of Western Europe were ruled by a similar alliance between the Catholic Church and monarchs. These governments assaulted free thinking, too. During the Spanish Inquisition, between the 16th and 18th centuries, thousands of people were tortured and killed for apostasy.Blasphemy laws were also in place, if infrequently used, in various European countries until recently. Denmark, Ireland and Malta all recently repealed their laws.But they persist in many parts of the Muslim world. In Pakistan, the military dictator Zia ul Haq, who ruled the country from 1978 to 1988, is responsible for its harsh blasphemy laws. An ally of the ulema, Zia updated blasphemy laws – written by British colonizers to avoid interreligious conflict – to defend specifically Sunni Islam and increased the maximum punishment to death. From the 1920s until Zia, these laws had been applied only about a dozen times. Since then they have become a powerful tool for crushing dissent.Some dozen Muslim countries have undergone a similar process over the past four decades, including Iran and Egypt. Dissenting voices in IslamThe conservative ulema base their case for blasphemy and apostasy laws on a few reported sayings of Prophet Muhammad, known as hadith, primarily: “Whoever changes his religion, kill him.” But many Islamic scholars and Muslim intellectuals reject this view as radical. They argue that Prophet Muhammad never executed anyone for apostasy, nor encouraged his followers to do so.Nor is criminalizing sacrilege based on Islam’s main sacred text, the Quran. It contains over 100 verses encouraging peace, freedom of conscience and religious tolerance. In chapter 2, verse 256, the Quran states, “There is no coercion in religion.” Chapter 4, verse 140 urges Muslims to simply leave blasphemous conversations: “When you hear the verses of God being rejected and mocked, do not sit with them.”By using their political connections and historical authority to interpret Islam, however, the conservative ulema have marginalized more moderate voices. Reaction to global IslamophobiaDebates about blasphemy and apostasy laws among Muslims are influenced by international affairs.Across the globe, Muslim minorities – including the Palestinians, Chechens of Russia, Kashmiris of India, Rohingya of Mymanmar and Uighurs of China – have experienced severe persecution. No other religion is so widely targeted in so many different countries. Alongside persecution are some Western policies that discriminate against Muslims, such as laws prohibiting headscarves in schools and the U.S. ban on travelers from several Muslim-majority countries.Such Islamaphobic laws and policies can create the impression that Muslims are under siege and provide an excuse that punishing sacrilege is a defense of the faith.Instead, I find, such harsh religious rules can contribute to anti-Muslim stereotypes. Some of my Turkish relatives even discourage my work on this topic, fearing it fuels Islamophobia. But my research shows that criminalizing blasphemy and apostasy is more political than it is religious. The Quran does not require punishing sacrilege: authoritarian politics do.[ Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter. ]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts.Read more: * Conservative Islamic views are gaining ground in secular Bangladesh and curbing freedom of expression * Imran Khan hopes to transform Pakistan but he’ll have far less power than past leadersAhmet T. Kuru is a FORIS scholar at the Religious Freedom Institute.


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  • Watch Out! U.S. Army Tanks Could Collapse Polish Bridges On Their Way to Battle Russia

    Watch Out! U.S. Army Tanks Could Collapse Polish Bridges On Their Way to Battle RussiaThe U.S. Army and its closest allies have a problem. The region of the world where they arguably are most likely to deploy its heaviest vehicles for high-tech combat also is peppered with flimsy old bridges that can’t support the vehicles’ weight.


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  • After Trump attacks, judge handling Stone case responds sternly

    After Trump attacks, judge handling Stone case responds sternlyU.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson remained silent last week when President Donald Trump attacked the prosecutors, the jurors and her personally for their roles in the trial of his long-time friend and adviser Roger Stone. Jackson said Stone showed "flagrant" disrespect for the proceedings. The 65-year-old jurist, without mentioning Trump by name, called his attempts to influence the case "inappropriate" and said he did not sway her decision.


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  • Bloomberg says 3 women can be released from NDAs

    Bloomberg says 3 women can be released from NDAsMike Bloomberg said Friday he’d free three women from confidentiality agreements that bar them from speaking publicly about sexual harassment or discrimination suits filed against him over the last three decades. Warren hammered Bloomberg over the issue in the recent debate, his first time facing his rivals. Bloomberg didn't automatically revoke the agreements, but told the women to contact the company if they would like to be released.


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  • California Pension Fund Does Not Deny CIO’s Involvement in China’s ‘Thousand Talents Program’

    California Pension Fund Does Not Deny CIO’s Involvement in China’s ‘Thousand Talents Program’The CEO of California’s public pension fund said Representative Jim Banks (R., Ind.) had made “baseless accusations” about the fund’s chief investment officer being involved in Chinese espionage — but did not deny that Yu Ben Meng had been recruited to the “Thousand Talents Program.”Marcie Frost, the head of California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), also admitted that her organization — the largest public pension fund in the country with “approximately $400 billion in global assets — had increased its Chinese investments in 2019 after shifts in “well-established indexes.”“CalPERS rebalanced its portfolio in light of these changes accordingly, resulting in the removal of 143 stocks and the addition of 198 stocks. Nearly half of the companies added were Chinese companies because the MSCI and FTSE indices changed to include China A-Shares,” she wrote in a Thursday letter to Banks.Banks told National Review that Frost’s comments “failed to answer two fundamental questions raised in my letter to Governor Newsom,” which he sent last week over concerns about Meng’s history.Meng emigrated to the U.S. from China to study at the University of California, Davis. He initially worked for CalPERS in 2008, before returning in January 2019 as CIO. From 2015 to 2018, Meng worked as deputy CIO with China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), which oversees China’s U.S. Treasury security holdings.In his letter to Newsom, Banks highlighted a 2017 Chinese article which mentioned Meng’s role in Beijing’s Thousand Talents Program, which provides under-the-table funding to U.S. citizens in exchange for valuable information.“First question: Is Mr. Meng a member of the Thousand Talents Program, something the FBI called a ‘non-traditional espionage program?’” Banks said Friday after Frost’s response. “Second question: Since Meng came back as Chief Investment Officer of CalPERS, has CalPERS invested in companies that are affiliated with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army?”The Indiana Republican added that he wanted to hear from Meng over comments he gave to “the Chinese communist rag People’s Daily.”In the 2017 article, Meng mentions that his “roots were in China,” and says that “in human life, if there is an opportunity to serve the motherland, such responsibility and honor cannot be compared to anything.”


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  • Coronavirus Now a ‘Tremendous Public Health Threat’: CDC

    Coronavirus Now a ‘Tremendous Public Health Threat’: CDCFederal officials announced Friday that their tally of 2019 novel coronavirus cases in the United States had increased to 34, with more infections expected sooner than later, even as questions lingered about how efforts at containing the deadly illness had fallen short so far.The jump came after the State Department repatriated 18 infected U.S. citizens from aboard a cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan. Three other people confirmed to have the disease have been repatriated, in addition to 13 other American travelers who fell ill upon returning from abroad, as The New York Times reported. “This new virus represents a tremendous public health threat,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said on a call with reporters.The virus has infected over 75,000 people in more than two dozen countries and killed at least 2,240, mostly in mainland China, where the disease originated. The virus has affected every aspect of life in that country, from travel to business to government to family relations, and spread outward from there. Roughly 760 million people are subject to some type of quarantine measure, more than double the population of the entire United States. The Ticking Coronavirus Time Bomb: America’s UninsuredBut the release of the new numbers also amounted to the first significant CDC update since the feds’ response to the outbreak came under harsher scrutiny this week. According to The Washington Post, federal officials learned 14 passengers on flights out of Japan were infected while the evacuation was under way earlier this week, and decided to fly them home with hundreds of uninfected people despite a CDC recommendation they not do so.“It was like the worst nightmare,” one U.S. official told the paper. “Quite frankly, the alternative could have been pulling grandma out in the pouring rain, and that would have been bad, too.”Meanwhile, Reuters on Friday reported that only three states were able to effectively test for the illness, a logistical problem poised to fan the flames of anxiety about a possible pandemic. It’s a looming crisis for which some U.S. hospitals have begun to prepare.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


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  • More than 100 wild animals in China died from poisoning in a mass die-off seemingly triggered by coronavirus disinfectant

    More than 100 wild animals in China died from poisoning in a mass die-off seemingly triggered by coronavirus disinfectantAnimal activists also shared distressing photos on Weibo: bloodied animals, a man hitting a dog with a stick, and an officer poking a lifeless dog.


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  • Ilhan Omar accuses Meghan McCain of hypocrisy towards 'Bernie bros' over online attacks

    Ilhan Omar accuses Meghan McCain of hypocrisy towards 'Bernie bros' over online attacksRepresentative Ilhan Omar has accused The View's Meghan McCain of hypocrisy for her opinions about Bernie Sanders supporters and their online attacks given her own social media behaviour."The same people who chastise the progressive movement regularly traffic in anti-Muslim smears and hate speech against me and those I represent," the freshman representative wrote in a tweet Thursday.


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  • Conservatives ahead as Iran poll results trickle in

    Conservatives ahead as Iran poll results trickle inConservatives took a lead Saturday as the first results of Iran's parliamentary election came in, boosted by a predicted low turnout following the disqualification of nearly half the candidates. Friday's election followed months of steeply escalating tensions between Iran and its decades-old arch foe the United States. About half of the 16,000-odd candidates were barred.


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  • New Trump intelligence pick fits pattern of mistrust

    New Trump intelligence pick fits pattern of mistrustIntelligence experts interviewed by Yahoo News are skeptical that Richard Grenell, President Trump’s pick to replace Adm. Joseph Maguire as acting director of national intelligence, is a good fit for the job.


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  • India Should Buy the F-15EX from America. Here's Why.

    India Should Buy the F-15EX from America. Here's Why.A good idea? What about the F-35?


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  • U.S. charges ex-DEA agent with laundering millions in drug funds

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  • Judge dismisses Nunes lawsuit against Fusion GPS

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  • Twitter suspends pro-Bloomberg accounts for violating manipulation and spam policies

    Twitter suspends pro-Bloomberg accounts for violating manipulation and spam policiesSome accounts have been permanently suspended while others are under review to verify ownership.


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  • State Department reportedly overruled CDC to fly coronavirus-infected Americans home

    State Department reportedly overruled CDC to fly coronavirus-infected Americans homeFourteen Americans who contracted coronavirus on a cruise ship in Japan were transported back to the U.S. against the wishes of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Washington Post reports.A total of 328 Americans were quarantined on the Diamond Princess ship for weeks before test results showed 14 of them had the COVID-19 virus, the Post writes. The U.S. State Department had said no one with the infection would be allowed on a flight. But it fought with the CDC to transport the infected people, who weren't showing symptoms, back anyway on the same flight and separated from those not infected by a "plastic-lined enclosure," the Post writes. State eventually won, but the CDC reportedly refused to puts its name on the press release announcing the flight.More than 600 people on the ship contracted the coronavirus, and two passengers, both in their 80s, died on Thursday. South Korea also reported its first death from the disease on Thursday as case numbers there swelled by about two-thirds, per the Post. China reported new coronavirus numbers of Wednesday that seem to show spread of the infection is slowing, with 394 new infections and 136 deaths added in the past week, CBS News reports.More stories from theweek.com The stunning Southern Baptist controversy over Donald Trump and Russell Moore, explained How much will Medicare-for-all save Americans? A lot. Friends reunion special officially announced for HBO Max


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  • The DOJ is reportedly probing whether Boeing's chief pilot misled regulators over the 737 Max

    The DOJ is reportedly probing whether Boeing's chief pilot misled regulators over the 737 MaxThe former Boeing pilot who sent messages describing "egregious" problems with the 737 Max is under investigation by federal prosecutors.


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  • Wave of racist attacks against Asian Americans in wake of coronavirus outbreak

    Wave of racist attacks against Asian Americans in wake of coronavirus outbreakMisinformation and exaggeration about the coronavirus have led to a wave of racist attacks on Asian Americans across the US.The attacks are both physical and verbal, and there are also cases of people either from East Asia, or of East Asian descent, being turned away from businesses.


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  • DNC announces qualifications for South Carolina debate

    DNC announces qualifications for South Carolina debateCandidates seeking to participate will need to meet either a polling or delegate threshold to take part in the event.


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  • Here’s $5.4 billion of stuff the US Navy says it wants but didn’t fit in its FY21 budget request

    Here’s $5.4 billion of stuff the US Navy says it wants but didn’t fit in its FY21 budget requestHere's the Navy's laundry list of stuff it wants in 2021 but says it couldn't fit into its FY21 ask.


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  • Coronavirus: Could It Takedown China's Communist Party?

    Coronavirus: Could It Takedown China's Communist Party?It's up to Xi himself.


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  • Pete Buttigieg Is Not Intersectional Enough

    Pete Buttigieg Is Not Intersectional EnoughLast Friday, a group of disgruntled “queer activists” interrupted Pete Buttigieg’s campaign event in San Francisco. One of the protesters, Adiel Pollydore, told the Guardian that she decided to protest in part because “Pete Buttigieg represents a very small percentage of the experiences of queer and trans people in this country, being white and being cisgender and being a man, being someone who is highly educated. We know queer and trans folks of color, especially black queer and trans folks, live at the intersection of so many systems of oppression in this country.”We would not want the “highly educated” speaking on Ms. Pollydore’s behalf.The protester’s objection to Buttigieg’s melanin count and intact genitalia — “Why aren’t you a trans black woman, Mr. Mayor?” — highlights an ongoing debate on the left about the former mayor’s sexuality, and whether he is, in the words of Masha Gessen of The New Yorker, “gay enough” to represent the LGBT community.One would think Buttigieg’s gay bona fides are obvious. He is “married” to another man, and frequently drones on about how Mike Pence “hates” him for his sexual preferences. Buttigieg is nevertheless accused of lacking a metaphysical “gayness,” one that obtains not by participation in certain sex acts but instead through the approval of the identity eunuchs in the commentariat and American sociology departments. The operative question, then, is not whether Pete Buttigieg is a homosexual — that much is beyond dispute — but instead whether he is gay, or “gay enough.”Gessen attempted to explain the contempt “some queer people” hold for Mayor Pete, who they doubt “is gay enough” to represent their political interests. What the mayor’s relative “gayness” has to do with his aptitude as a political vessel for the interests of “queer people” is unclear, as is her operative definition of “gay.” Gessen nevertheless proceeds with an empiricist’s certainty, picking apart moments in Buttigieg’s life and asserting that “the notion that some of us think that Buttigieg is not gay enough has an identifiable relationship to the facts.”Unlike those who are noticeably “queer,” Gessen argues, Pete Buttigieg has always appeared relatively normal (he can “pass” as a straight man) and therefore could “choose the circumstances and timing of his coming out.” This experience, in turn, led him to adopt a political platform that — in Gessen’s telling — is “profoundly, essentially conservative.” She concludes that Pete Buttigieg’s life experience and ideological commitments make him “a straight politician in a gay man’s body.”It’s difficult to think of a sense in which a candidate who supports unfettered abortion access, compelling religious business owners to violate their consciences, abolishing the Electoral College, reengineering the Supreme Court, decriminalizing illicit border crossings, granting amnesty to more than 11 million illegal aliens, and banning all new fracking ventures might be understood to be “profoundly, essentially conservative.”(“Facts.”)Gessen defends characterizing Buttigieg as “conservative” by citing his aversion to “revolutionary change,” a posture that signals to straight people that “we are just like you, and all we want is the right to have what you have: marriage, children, a house with a picket fence, and the right to serve in the military.” His refusal to embrace “revolutionary change”— a pars pro toto of his rejection of the gay “separatist” politics described by Andrew Sullivan — makes Buttigieg, in Gessen’s telling, “an easy and reassuring choice for these older, white, straight people, and a disturbing possibility for the queer people who seem to be criticizing him for not being gay enough.”One is reminded of Anthony Kennedy’s famous ex cathedra decree that one “would misunderstand” the Obergefell plaintiffs “to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves.” Ultimately, he said, they “ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law.” The Court was advancing a fundamentally progressive suggestion at the time of Obergefell -- at stake was the heretofore unchanged definition of a bimillennial institution — and within five years of Kennedy’s paean, Masha Gessen considers the Obergefell “ask” a sign of dyed-in-the-wool conservatism.All of Gessen’s argument could, in earnest, be reduced to “Pete Buttigieg isn’t really gay because he doesn’t agree with me about politics.” That implication is clear enough in the “straight politician in a gay man’s body” quip, suggesting that gay men are authentically gay only if they hew to the political program prescribed by Masha Gessen. I do not, for what it’s worth, think much of “authentic gayness” — as moral lodestars go, I prefer the Pauline epistles to the fleeting approbation of a New Yorker columnist; chacun à son goût — but to the sort of person who suggests that Buttigieg is “not gay enough” to earn their vote, I echo the question recorded by the evangelist: What lackest he yet?


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  • A new swing state poll paints an ominous picture for Democrats against Trump

    A new swing state poll paints an ominous picture for Democrats against TrumpIn a Quinnipiac survey of registered voters released Thursday, Trump beats all of the major 2020 Democratic contenders in the key state of Wisconsin by between 7 and 11 percentage points, with frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders 7 points away from Trump in the state.


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  • Alarm in the holy land after visit by pilgrims with coronavirus

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  • Nurse sentenced to 13 years in prison for harming infants

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  • Apple has been granted a temporary restraining order against a man it says has been stalking Tim Cook

    Apple has been granted a temporary restraining order against a man it says has been stalking Tim CookApple says the man has been harassing Tim Cook and has shown up at his house in Palo Alto, California, twice, once with Champagne and flowers.


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  • US accuses Russia of huge coronavirus disinformation campaign

    US accuses Russia of huge coronavirus disinformation campaignUS officials say thousands of social media accounts linked to Russia are part of a coordinated effort to spread disinformation about the new coronavirus.The campaign allegedly aims to damage the US’s image and spread unfounded conspiracy theories that it is behind the outbreak which has infected nearly 78,000 globally and killed over 2,500 people.


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  • "Here we go again," Trump says about intel on Russian meddling

    "Here we go again," Trump says about intel on Russian meddlingThe Nevada GOP canceled its caucus, which would have been held Saturday.


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  • 2 passengers die after leaving 'chaotic' cruise ship

    2 passengers die after leaving 'chaotic' cruise shipThe death toll from the coronavirus outbreak climbed to 2,236 in China. Here is the latest.


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  • This Is The Air Force's Plan To Take The Fight To China

    This Is The Air Force's Plan To Take The Fight To ChinaA plan to make the military less vulnerable.


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  • Man who bought 100-round magazine for Dayton mass shooter sentenced to 32 months

    Man who bought 100-round magazine for Dayton mass shooter sentenced to 32 monthsEthan Kollie bought parts for the assault-style rifle used by Connor Betts in last year's mass shooting in Dayton.


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  • Iraq's Sadr warns MPs against rejecting new government

    Iraq's Sadr warns MPs against rejecting new governmentPopulist cleric Moqtada Sadr returned to Iraq Saturday with a threat to organise protests outside parliament unless lawmakers back the government of prime minister-designate Mohammad Allawi in a confidence vote. The Shiite cleric with a cult-like following in Iraq has thrown his weight behind the appointment of Allawi, despite the premier's rejection by a protest movement Sadr once backed.


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