Nuclear missiles and tanks paraded Friday across Red Square for the first time since the Soviet era but new President Dmitry Medvedev warned other nations against “irresponsible ambitions” that he said could start wars.Marching bands and 8,000 troops goose-stepped across the square, followed by a huge display of heavy weapons including Topol-M ballistic missiles and T-90 tanks, and a fly-by of warplanes.
Reviewing his first parade as commander in chief, Medvedev warned against “irresponsible ambitions” that he said could spark war across entire continents.
In an apparent attack on US foreign policy and Western backing for Kosovo’s independence, Medvedev also criticised “intentions to intrude in the affairs of other states and especially redraw borders.”
Alongside the new president was his mentor and now prime minister, Vladimir Putin, standing under bright sunshine in a tribune in front of Lenin’s Mausoleum, the Soviet holy of holies that was screened off by a giant hoarding inscribed with May 9, 1945.
The show of strength on the 63rd anniversary of victory against Nazi Germany symbolised Moscow’s growing boldness following eight years of rule by Putin, whose hawkish policies have set Russia at loggerheads with Western capitals.
Medvedev, who was inaugurated Wednesday, is a close ally of Putin and had been his aide for much of the last two decades.
Many analysts believe that Medvedev, 42, will be a weak president reliant on the support of Putin, 55, who on Thursday became prime minister.
Other observers say the untested Medvedev will grow into the presidency, which carries huge powers in Russia — as symbolised by the Red Square parade.
Earlier Putin said the parade was not “sabre-rattling” but “a demonstration of our growing defence capability.”
The commemoration came after Washington on Thursday said Moscow had expelled two of its diplomats.
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday dismissed the move as “just the usual tit for tat” in response to Washington’s expulsion of a Russian spy.
Tensions with the United States have been particularly high over Russia’s pro-Western neighbour Georgia, which has received US backing for its bid to join the NATO military alliance.
On Thursday Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said his country and Russia had come close to war “several days ago” after Russia ramped up support for separatists controlling Georgia’s Abkhazia region.
Medvedev told veterans invited to a Kremlin reception after the parade that “we must unite the international community so as not to allow the spread of new, very frightening threats,” ITAR-TASS news agency reported.
On the streets of Moscow, the atmosphere was festive for one of the country’s best-loved holidays.
Amid re-runs of World War II films, television stations showed soldiers parading through cities across the country.
Veterans were shown with chests loaded down with medals, while some young soldiers were dressed in World War II uniforms, complete with old-fashioned rifles and red stars on their helmets.
A 37-year-old man is charged with raping a 10-year-old girl who gave birth last month in Idaho.
One day later, the ABC affiliate says the young mother delivered a 6-pound girl at Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg, Idaho.
KIDK-TV says Guadalupe Gutierrez-Juarez, a suspected illegal immigrant, is being held at the Fremont County Jail. He’s due in court next week to face rape charges.
“I wouldn’t have believed a 10-year-old could conceive in the first place,” Fremont County Sheriff Ralph Davis tells the Associated Press.
The CBS affiliate has more on the local reaction.
Bill Clinton Argues With Voter Fayetteville, W.VA (CBS News)
The once-formidable fund-raising machine of Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton has begun to sputter at the worst possible moment for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, Clinton advisers and donors said Thursday, with spending curtailed on political events and advertising as Clinton seeks to compete in the last six nominating contests.
Clinton’s diminished political momentum, following Tuesday’s loss in the North Carolina primary and her narrow victory in Indiana, appears to have had a dampening effect on her fund-raising, aides said, increasing the likelihood that Clinton will lend her campaign more of her own money beyond the $11 million she has already provided.
Clinton advisers said Clinton was committed to spending more of her own cash on the campaign if necessary, although they spoke optimistically about a rise in fund-raising if she prevails in Tuesday’s primary in West Virginia.
The campaign is clearly running low on cash, although advisers would not say how much money — or how little — Clinton currently has. The campaign had started April with over $10 million in unpaid debts, and Clinton was vastly outspent by Senator Barack Obama in North Carolina and Indiana.
Some advisers to Clinton said that the debt had grown significantly, especially because of the high cost of competing and advertising in the Pennsylvania primary last month, but they could not give a precise figure.
Two men and a juvenile are accused of digging up a corpse, decapitating the body and using the head to smoke marijuana, according to court documents.
Matthew Gonzalez and Kevin Jones have been charged with the misdemeanor offense of abuse of a corpse, said Scott Durfee, a spokesman for the Harris County District Attorneys Office.
According to documents filed in the case, Gonzalez, Jones and an unnamed juvenile on March 15 went to an Humble cemetery, dug up a man’s grave, left with the head and turned it into a “bong.”
Gonzalez told authorities about the incident Wednesday, and showed officers the defaced grave, including a 4-foot hole. Because of a heavy rain, officers were unable to determine whether the casket or the body had been disturbed.
Code Pink is now resorting to witchcraft to beef up the number of its supporters protesting Berkeley’s controversial Marine Corps Recruiting Center.
The women’s anti-war group has told ralliers to come equipped with spells and pointy hats Friday for “Witches, clowns and sirens day,” the last of the group’s weeklong homage to Mother’s Day.
“Women are coming to cast spells and do rituals and to impart wisdom to figure out how we’re going to end war,” Zanne Sam Joi of Bay Area Code Pink told FOXNews.com.
The group’s week of themed protests, which included days to galvanize grannies and bring-your-daughter-to-protest, appears to have done little to boost its flagging numbers.
A FOX News camera, which has a 24/7 live shot of the recruiting center’s front door, recorded little action, and the gatherings have, until this point, been ill attended.
Code Pink — which was given parking and noise permits by the city council and is allowed to protest during the recruiting center’s business hours — has been protesting daily since September.
The group frequently announces bizarre theme weeks in front of the office, but their numbers have been dwindling and the events get little media attention.
Now, after three months of continual protest, their actions barely capture the attention of even the Marines at the recruiting center.
Capt. John Paul Wheatcroft said he’s unfazed by Code Pink’s antics.
“They’re always in pink and wear funny things, half-shaved heads, one side with hair and the other one bald, yeah, I’m pretty much used to anything,” he told FOXNews.com.
Code Pink said that grandmothers did show up for Monday’s protest — some over 90 years old, some in wheelchairs — and began knocking on the door of the recruiting center.
KHOST, Afghanistan — Pfc. Monica Brown cracked open the door of her Humvee outside a remote village in eastern Afghanistan to the soft pop of bullets shot by Taliban fighters. But instead of taking cover, the 18-year-old medic grabbed her bag and ran through gunfire toward fellow soldiers in a crippled and burning vehicle.
Vice President Cheney pinned Brown, of Lake Jackson, Tex., with a Silver Star in March for repeatedly risking her life on April 25, 2007, to shield and treat her wounded comrades, displaying bravery and grit. She is the second woman since World War II to receive the nation’s third-highest combat medal.
Within a few days of her heroic acts, however, the Army pulled Brown out of the remote camp in Paktika province where she was serving with a cavalry unit — because, her platoon commander said, Army restrictions on women in combat barred her from such missions.
“We weren’t supposed to take her out” on missions “but we had to because there was no other medic,” said Lt. Martin Robbins, a platoon leader with Charlie Troop, 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, whose men Brown saved. “By regulations you’re not supposed to,” he said, but Brown “was one of the guys, mixing it up, clearing rooms, doing everything that anybody else was doing.”
In Afghanistan as well as Iraq, female soldiers are often tasked to work in all-male combat units — not only for their skills but also for the culturally sensitive role of providing medical treatment for local women, as well as searching them and otherwise interacting with them. Such war-zone pragmatism is at odds with Army rules intended to bar women from units that engage in direct combat or collocate with combat forces.
Military personnel experts say that as a result, the 1992 rules are vague, ill defined, and based on an outmoded concept of wars with clear front lines that rarely exist in today’s counterinsurgencies.
After his wife of more than two decades filed for divorce in Montgomery County Circuit Court, Irfan Aleem responded in writing in 2003, and not just in court.
Aleem went to the Pakistani Embassy in the District, where he executed a written document that asserted he was divorcing Farah Aleem. He performed “talaq,” exercising a provision of Islamic religious and Pakistani secular law that allows husbands to divorce their wives by declaring “I divorce thee” three times. In Muslim countries, men have used talaq to leave their wives for centuries.
But they can’t use it in Maryland, the state’s highest court decided this week.
The state Court of Appeals issued a unanimous 21-page opinion Tuesday declaring that talaq is contrary to Maryland’s constitutional provisions providing equal rights to men and women.
“Talaq lacks any significant ‘due process’ for the wife, its use, moreover, directly deprives the wife of the ‘due process’ she is entitled to when she initiates divorce litigation in this state. The lack and deprivation of due process is itself contrary to this state’s public policy,” the court wrote.
The decision affirms a 2007 ruling by the Court of Special Appeals, the state’s intermediate appellate court, which also said that talaq does not apply in the Free State.
Dr. Dwight Hopkins is a professor of theology at the University of Chicago Divinity School. He is the author of many books on theology, and his latest is “Being Human: Race, Culture and Religion.” He also attends Trinity United Church of Christ, where the Rev. Jeremiah Wright is the former pastor.
In a phone interview, Dr. Hopkins answered questions about the black church, black liberation theology, and how they provide a context for the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s controversial remarks.
- What is black liberation theology?
- Has it always included a political component?
- Do all black churches use liberation theology?
- What are the theological differences between black and white Protestant churches?
- What’s the most common inaccuracy in all the Jeremiah Wright coverage?
- Is Jeremiah Wright correct to characterize criticisms of him as an attack on the black church?
Black liberation theology can be understood from a couple of angles. I usually look at each word. The theology part identifies the Christian connectedness or its roots in the Christian tradition. The liberation part relates to Jesus’ message of liberation for people who are left out, people who are hurting. And the black part is how the theology and the liberation are revealed in African-American culture. The actual origin of black theology liberation takes place in 1966.
A group of about 45 black male clergy and one female clergy wrote a statement in the New York Times called “The Black Power Statement.” That’s the historical marker for the beginning of contemporary black theology liberation. They wanted to reconnect the actual foundation of the black church, which took place under slavery in America.
That church was founded for two specific reasons. Of course, one was to talk about personal healing and personal salvation, but the other aspect of it was to be involved in political conversation and political movements.
Black theology liberation arose from these black clergy persons, to reclaim that heritage of linking personal transformation with systemic transformation.
It’s biblically based. Three passages come to mind: [The first is] Luke 4:18. This is the passage where Jesus gives his first public statement on what his mission is on earth, that is to say, why has he come down to earth, why has God revealed God’s self in Jesus, the man on earth.
And that mission is very clear. It’s to feed the hungry, to give water to the thirsty, to help–to liberate, you know, those who are imprisoned, to support–you know, support the–justice for the oppressed. It’s very clear. Black liberation theology, biblically speaking, is based on that.
The second passage is Matthew 25:31 and following. From the perspective of black liberation theology, or black theology liberation, they mean the same for me–that’s the only passage where Jesus gives criteria to enter Heaven.
And it doesn’t say that you have a prosperity gospel. It doesn’t even say how many people did you convert to Christianity? It talks about the same thing that Luke 4:18 talks about: the poor, the oppressed, the hungry, the thirsty, those who are in prison.
And the third is John 3:16, “God so loved the world that God gave God’s only begotten son.” The point there is that God loved the whole world, not just internal healing, but the whole world. The whole world includes politics, economics, culture, international affairs, all of that. God loves all of God’s creation. So, black theology liberation doesn’t believe that it should be a little separate island, a monastery, but that it should go out into all of the world that God loves.
It’s a theology of love, actually. It’s just that it loves the whole world, and it fights for God’s whole world, particularly for those who don’t have a voice to speak out, or people who don’t have resources to allow them to have input on how the world that God loves should be run. The black church, in general terms, is there for lifting up the spirits through celebration and adoration. And part of a way of doing that is to involve in social justice issues.
Yes, it’s always had that connection.
There are various forms of African-American churches, but, underneath all the various forms of black church expression, there is this continuum between personal salvation and social justice, political social justice. And most churches and black churches in America fluctuate along that continuum. Black theology liberation is the best expression of holding both foci together in a very positive way. So, those black churches that carry out black theology liberation are those that hold both the personal healing and the prophetic message together.
CLINTON STRATEGIST TO CLINTON: IT’S OVER.
An Iraqi cleaner and two cooks claim that a culture of sexual harassment, abuse and bullying exists at the British Embassy in Baghdad.
The middle-aged cleaner told The Times that a British contractor with KBR, the company hired to maintain the embassy’s premises, offered to double her daily pay if she would stay the night with him. When she refused, she said, her pay was cut and she was later dismissed.
The Iraqis accuse the embassy of leaving the abuse unchallenged and failing adequately to respond to complaints against several British managers for KBR. The company was allowed to conduct its own inquiry, an arrangement criticised as a very serious conflict of interest.
The complainants – the cleaner and two male cooks who worked in the embassy canteen – say that some KBR managers groped Iraqi staff regularly, paid or otherwise rewarded them for sex and dismissed those who refused or spoke out.
LOS ANGELES — When Ali Ardekani started fishing around on the Internet a couple of years ago for video blogs about Muslims, he did not like what he found: either the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims were depicted as bloodthirsty zealots, or they were offering defensive explanations as to why they were not.
When Ali Ardekani started fishing around on the Internet a couple of years ago for video blogs about Muslims, he did not like what he found: either the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims were depicted as bloodthirsty zealots, or they were offering defensive explanations as to why they were not.
“Arabic sounds foreign and scary — you don’t know what is going on,” Mr. Ardekani said in an interview at his small Sherman Oaks apartment, its walls decorated with Koranic verses. “Or they show a woman with the veil, who doesn’t speak, and it is assumed if she did speak she would say, ‘Help me!’ ”
So Mr. Ardekani, a 33-year-old Web designer, cast himself on his video blogs as Baba Ali, an outsize character with a serious religious message who both dissects and lampoons the lives of American Muslims.
Mr. Ardekani is among the most visible of a new wave of young American Muslim performers and filmmakers trying to change the public face of their religion. His most popular video posting — “Who Hijacked Islam?” — has garnered more than 350,000 hits on YouTube since July 2006. Of course the uphill battle such efforts face is reflected in the comments section. One viewer remarked darkly, “It’s Muslims that do the hijacking.”
These video pioneers’ arena of choice is mostly YouTube and similar Web sites, which young Muslims extol as a new way to take their arguments public. The role model is Bill Cosby, who young Muslim filmmakers believe changed the perception of African-Americans by depicting them as ordinary.
For the moment, the filmmakers suspect, most of the hits they attract are generated by other young Muslims.
“They are deprived of any type of representation in the media which isn’t a terrorist or an extremely pious Muslim,” said Lena Khan, 23. So whenever an image to the contrary is seen “on YouTube or the Internet or on a TV show, it just spreads across the Muslim community like wildfire, because everyone wants to support it.”
I accept that I cannot control the events that occur in my life or in the lives of others.
Islam is the only religion that communicates total submission to our Creator, the Creator of all people and of all things.
As a Muslim I know that everything I do first begins with an intention and then I must transform that intention into an effort in order to carry out what has already been decreed.
This wisdom defines my path to be a better person to myself, my family, my community and to all of my brothers and sisters here on earth.
In essence Allah (the one God) opened my heart, Islam gave me the direction, and now I live to serve out the guidance lent by my Creator for happiness here on earth and if Allah wills, in the hereafter.
While religion is a resource to help guide ourselves to good behavior through our spirituality, there is no prerequisite that it should be far fetched in mental comprehension.
I am a recent convert. Catholicism is the religion followed by my forefathers. At the age of 14, I refused the trinity concept and narrowed what I saw as a complicated tale of ‘three in one’ down to ‘two in one’ and started attending a Baptist church.
Throughout my life, I have searched for understanding, but when it came to my faith I truly was confused about why God would come as a human being and would allow himself to die for the sins of only those privileged enough to believe in his (or his son’s) crucifixion.
I found this explanation extravagant and shared my doubts with pastors and scholars who gave every effort to communicate the Christian belief to my understanding. I asked myself: “Why would my religion need to be so complex?”
When I reached adulthood, I decided to make it very simple. There was just one, our Creator and that was it. No other explanation could rationally make sense.
I see Islam as a religion that came to clarify the errors of human beings who changed the original word of God to fit their interests. Islam is simple: God is God. God created us and we worship God and God alone. God sent Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon him) to deliver his message to guide all people.
In Islam, Jesus is the only prophet who never died which is why he is the only messenger who will come back before the Day of Judgment to lead the people of the books: [the Torah, the Injeel (Bible) the book of Psalms and the Quran]. The Quran is the final book that has never been altered to fit the changing interest of people throughout history.
Islam confirms that you are not awarded passage into heaven just because you say you are Muslim. And you may not go straight to heaven just because you believe that God is monotheistic. You go to heaven based on your intentions and actions following the message taught to us by the messengers themselves and confirmed by the original books of God.
Heaven is not an exclusive club for those who merely follow what their fathers taught them. Instead it is your responsibility, especially as a Muslim, to constantly search for truth, understanding and to read and think.
After reading every chapter in the Quran twice and taking detailed notes, I believe that this masterpiece could only have come from my Creator. Without a doubt the author of this book knows more about me than I know about myself.
It is no secret that Islam is seriously misunderstood and disliked by many here in my homeland, theUnited States. My conversion to this “controversial” religion has my family and friends puzzled.
It is my sincere belief that Allah led me to Islam by enhancing my passion in exploring unfamiliar perspectives through foreign travel. I have a genuine interest in building bridges with all people everywhere rather than promoting my own ideology as the only system that can work for all people.
While culture shock is a mild term to express the drastically different life styles of Muslims in the Middle East, I saw great beauty in the generosity of people, the cohesiveness of families and the immediate acceptance of a girl so foreign in her ways.
Even so, in the present I face a culture shock within my own predominantly Middle Eastern Muslim community. I do understand the challenges a Muslim born into their religion faces to dissect their own culture within it.
After finding myself in Islam, I am able to adhere to the teachings supported by the Quran and Hadiths while also managing to bypass the cultural manifestations taught by Muslims born into their religion. Islam is multi-cultural and is a system that can be adopted in any environment at any point in time.
I can confidently say that if Allah had not breathed Islam into my soul, I would have never found Angela. Well, today, here I am: Angela, a Muslim American: the soul who persistently searched for her Creator and has found the Creator of all that is in the universe and beyond, in Islam.
America has the world’s largest prison population. It’s not exactly news these days to mention this fact. After all, largely because of the way in which the war on drugs has played out here, the country long ago out-incarcerated Russia, China, Brazil, South Africa and all the other traditionally high-imprisonment countries. But a new report out by the London-based International Centre for Prison Studies explores just how extraordinary the numbers really are.
ICPS researchers estimate that close to 2.3 million Americans now live inside jails and prisons, giving the US an incarceration rate of over 750 per 100,000. A Rip van Winkle or Austin Powers character who had gone to sleep 30 years ago and just woken up would read this number and think he’d somehow travelled in his sleep from America to the Soviet Union. Of course then he’d read the history books and realise the Soviet Union no longer existed … and then the realisation would dawn on him that this is, indeed, his home.
The huge incarceration rate detailed by ICPS makes even cynical prison watchers like myself – I have written three books on America’s burgeoning prison-industrial complex – sit up and take note. In 1992, already a decade into the country’s prison binge and the year before crime rates began plummeting in the US, 505 per 100,000 Americans were incarcerated – and that was viewed, at the time, as utterly unprecedented. By 2001, after eight years of falling crime rates, it had risen to 685; three years later to 723; and now to 751. And this rise is occurring not during a period when the public is listing crime as a top concern, as it was in the mid-1990s, but rather during years in which few people list fear of crime as their top concern.
True, nearly 50% of Americans tell pollsters they remain “a great deal concerned” about crime and violence, even if it doesn’t top their lists of scare-factors, but the issue doesn’t resonate emotionally in the political arena in the way it did in the 1990s. Listen to the three remaining presidential contenders and none of them is really going out of their way to tout their tough-on-crime credentials.
In other words, the incarceration engine, which began as a sop to conservative, “silent majority” public opinion is now running full-throttle independently of public demand. And since it’s rising annually despite crime rates falling, there’s no reason to think it will stop anytime soon. It’s entirely possible that a few years from now the country will be incarcerating close to one in every 100 residents.
Bay Area residents had a rare opportunity Sunday to hear a man who may be the single most influential Muslim in America. But the limits of his reach were also on display.
When Imam W. Deen Mohammed stepped to the podium at the Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco, there were perhaps 300 people in the audience, almost all of them African American.
Though most of his hourlong talk was not about race, the issue that made him a revolutionary in American religion, he didn’t shy away from it. He urged audience members to think of themselves not in racial categories but in human terms.
Mohammed spoke of how the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a day when his children would not be judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character. But after King’s death, Mohammed said black leaders chose another direction.
“Now how come after he died, our leaders talked nothing but ‘black’ to us,” he said. Mohammed said the use of the adjective “black” to describe the community’s achievements degraded them – and insulted others.
Noting that African American leaders in Congress refer to themselves as the Congressional Black Caucus, Mohammed questioned how people would react if there was a “white caucus.” Mohammed urged those gathered to think about the universality of all people – and that defining religion for any one race is dangerous.
“Black theology weakens our ability to gain from scripture, guidance from scripture, to make ourselves a better religious community,” he said.
The words are dramatic considering the path that Mohammed has taken.
Mohammed is the son of Elijah Muhammad, who for more than 30 years led the Nation of Islam, the black separatist religion that deemed all white people to be “devils” and black people to be “gods.” W. Deen Mohammed was chosen by his father to carry on his legacy.
But after Elijah Muhammad died in 1975, the son chose a different path. He gradually dissolved the Nation of Islam, leading believers toward the Sunni branch of Islam. All people were equal, regardless of race. Women were the same as men, except for physical strength.
While his father’s Nation of Islam explicitly referred to the U.S. flag as a symbol of “slavery, suffering and death,” Mohammed started New World Patriotism Day in 1979, according to Imam Faheem Shuaibe, who leads Masjidul Waritheen, an Oakland mosque.
The effort was intended to show that the ideals set forth in the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are the same ideals called for in the Quran.
“We should be most American,” Mohammed once said, according to Shuaibe. For a Muslim to reject those documents, Mohammed reportedly said, “You reject our greatest opportunity.”
Mohammed does not reject what his father did entirely, calling it a necessary step in the evolution in the psyche of African Americans. For a people who had been degraded into a status of inferiority for centuries, believing that they were gods helped level the playing field, he maintains.
In his talk Sunday, Mohammed, who now leads a Chicago-based nonprofit the Mosque Cares, said his father had “prepared” the community.
As a result of the huge religious migration away from the Nation of Islam, many scholars believe African Americans are the single largest ethnic group of American Muslims today. (Louis Farrakhan would resurrect the Nation of Islam, though it would be far diminished in size.)
Sunday’s talk was notable for the remarkable absence of Muslims of immigrant descent. Though American Muslims often say that Islam has no racial bounds, most Bay Area mosques parallel the demographic patterns of Christians – segregated by ethnicity or race. The Muslim Community Association in Santa Clara is the most notable exception.
Hatem Bazian, a UC Berkeley lecturer, appeared to be the sole prominent figure in the immigrant Muslim community who showed up. Bazian gave a speech before Mohammed’s talk about the promise that could be had if the two communities worked together.
But the absence of immigrants left some bitter at the slighting of the American Muslim most beloved to Muslims of African American descent.
“We are once again disappointed by our brothers who are immigrant Muslims,” said Imam Abu Qadir Al-Amin, who leads the San Francisco Muslim Community Center. “Don’t call on me in the future.”
E-mail Matthai Kuruvila at email@example.com.