World NewsSaudi Organizations Desecrate Holy Quran
State organizations in Saudi Arabia have desecrated the Holy Qur’an by discarding over fifty copies in Taif city’s street sewerage canals. According to a Saudi official in the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the incident was reported by a local student, who saw the holy books on his way home in Al-Salama district of Taif.
The service company that specializes in opening drainage inlets was then called, and dozens of copies of the Quran were retrieved. A photo that shows desecrated books has now gone viral on the internet and social media websites.
This is not the first time the Holy Quran has been desecrated in Saudi Arabia. Earlier this year, the move by prison officials in Al-Haer province to insult the Holy Book led to protests in different parts of the Kingdom.
The desecration of the holy Quran in a country, which is the birthplace of Islam, has raised eyebrows in the Muslim world.
Nearly 1000 Killed in November in Iraq’s Violence
At least 948 people have been killed in violent attacks across Iraq in the month of November.
According to figures released by the country’s ministries of health and defense earlier this week, the death toll included 852 civilians, 53 police officers and 43 soldiers. Another 1,349 people were also injured in the attacks.
The figures indicate that November was one of the deadliest months of 2013, with civilians accounting for about 90 percent of the fatalities. The United Nations warned of growing execution style killings in Iraq, raising the fears of a return of the death squads in the country that killed thousands of people following the US-led invasion in 2003.
In one of the incidents, authorities discovered the bodies of 18 kidnapped men dumped in farmland near the town of Tarmiyah, just north of the capital Baghdad.
The victims, among them two tribal chiefs, four policemen and an army major had been shot in the head and chest, hours after being seized by a group reportedly wearing military uniforms. In October, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki warned that Iraq is facing a “war of genocide,” blaming al-Qaeda militants for killing thousands of people in the country whereas he is the one to be blamed. Data released by Iraq’s ministries of health, interior and defense on November 1 showed that carnage in the country killed 964 people and injured 1,600 others in October alone.
President’s Experts Panel: Keep Spying on Americans
A panel of experts appointed by US President Barack Obama to review Washington’s spying activities has recommended that a program for collecting Americans’ phone records should stay in place.
The panel suggests the phone records be stored by a private third-party company instead and access to the data be permitted through an order from a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.“We are not in any way recommending the disarming of the intelligence community,” said Michael Morell, former Deputy Director of the CIA and one of five members of the presidential Review Group on Intelligence. The advisory panel also recommended that the NSA’s information assurance directorate and its computer defense arm be moved outside the spy agency and under the Department of Defense’s cyber policy office.The panel has further recommended an end to the FBI’s use of National Security Letters. The FBI used these letters to force private businesses to hand over financial records, phone information and even internet search histories without a search warrant signed by a judge. US District Judge Richard Leon on Monday called the mass collection program “almost Orwellian” and ruled that the US government “almost certainly” violated the constitution.
UN: Almost 1 Million in Need of Food Aid in Gaza
The United Nations says nearly one million people are expected to need food aid in the besieged Gaza Strip next year. The main reason behind the rise is the closure of Gaza tunnels by Egypt’s interim government. These tunnels are the only lifeline for Palestinians living under the Israeli siege.
Gaza has been blockaded since June 2007, a situation that has caused a decline in the standards of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty. The 1.7 million Palestinians of the Gaza Strip are living in what is called the world’s largest open-air prison as Israel retains full control of the airspace, territorial waters, and border crossings of the territory.
The Israeli military also frequently launches attacks in the coastal enclave, claiming the attacks are being conducted for defensive purposes. However, disproportionate force is always used in violation of international law, and civilians are often killed or injured.
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