North Korea is in the news for two reasons: It has expanding nuclear weapons and missiles programs and it threatens to attack South Korea, the United States, and Japan. The nuclear program is hardly news. The Kim regime has been working since the 1980s on this program, and despite occasional denials of any desire to have nuclear weapons, it has forged ahead relentlessly, even during the days when it had reached a non-nuclear agreement with the United States. It is highly unlikely that the North Koreans were ever willing to completely abandon the program, no matter what incentives they were offered, and in recent years they have firmly renounced any interest in even discussing the program.
The 5th Global Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations held in Vienna on February 27th-28th this year highlighted the importance of cultural diversity, democracy and good governance as universal values of the global community and vehicles for development that as I believe are closely interrelated and mutually subordinated. As is known, most of the world’s states are ethnically and confessionally heterogeneous, and the governance of cultural diversity is a key issue for all these states. Recognizing cultural distinctions among people as an important component of civilizational environment and ensuring equal share for all groups in social and political life are tasks upon whose solution the successful functioning of society depends.
I long for the day when the people of Southeast Asia can see themselves as ASEAN citizens, but despite the fact that the ASEAN Community is almost upon us (by 2015), many of us in the region are still driven by primordial attachments to place, identity, language and culture. It can be summed up thus: We, Southeast Asians, are caught between a fluid region and a hard state.
With the general election coming up, women’s groups will be scrutinising political manifestos on issues of equality and justice for Malaysian women. IT’S that time of the year when we, women’s rights activists in Malaysia, sigh again as we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8.
Lackluster lovemaking is positively un-Islamic.
“Let none of you come upon his wife like an animal, and let there be an emissary between them,” the Prophet Mohammed is reported to have said. “What is this emissary, O Messenger of God?” a clueless believer asked. “The kiss and [sweet] words,” he replied.
If those sentiments seem to be lost in contemporary Arab society, one woman is out to breathe that pioneering spirit back into marital relations: Heba Kotb, the Arab world’s best-known sex therapist.
By calling on parents to dress their female babies in burqas in a television interview that ran on Islamic al-Majd TV last year (but only recently began to receive international media attention), Saudi cleric Sheikh Abdullah Daoud has garnered disgust and disdain from the civilized world. And by “civilized” here, I am referring to all sentient beings whose mental function exceeds that of sea anemone.
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