Petraeus Has Spoken. Now What?:
Evacuations and alerts as Jakarta is rocked: A powerful underwater earthquake hits the island nation of Indonesia, and residents fear a tsunami may be next.
In Japan and Russia, the Governments, They Are A-Changing: Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe prepares to give up the ship after a scandal-plagued year in office, and Russian President Vladimir Putin dissolves his government three months before scheduled parliamentary elections to boost a close political ally.
Raid’s Riddle: What’s behind a mysterious Sept. 6 Israeli air raid in Syria? Officials say it may have been fears of arms-production of efforts in Damascus. But they admit their explanation is only a guess.
Craig’s Hail Mary: The embattled Idaho Republican gets good news — his request for a judge to overturn his guilty plea in an airport sex sting will be heard on Sept. 26.
Call Al and Leo!: The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts 2008 will be the warmest year in a century.
Women on Top in Baltimore: Interim Mayor Sheila Dixon and Interim City Council president Stephanie Rawlings-Blake win solid victories in Baltimore’s mayoral primary election. Though the winners must face general-election races against Republican challengers in November, many assume GOP candidates have little chance for victory in Democrat-heavy Baltimore (and history supports the assumption).
L’Shona Tova, Blessed Ramadan, and Shalom!: Jewish people throughout the world are starting a brand new year and marking their observance of the High Holy Days.
Although there is a solemn nature to Rosh Hashana, the New Year is considered a time for joy and warm sharing between families, according to information from the Jewish Community Council.
A festive meal is held at sundown. The custom of dipping a piece of apple or bread into honey symbolizes the hope for a “sweet” new year.
According to the Jewish calendar, this will be the year 5768.
During religious services, the shofar (SHO-far) or ram’s horn is sounded as a call to worship on New Year and each of the Ten Days of Repentance.
The period of renewal and penitence climaxes on Yom Kippur, the 10th day of the High Holy Days. [Known as the Day of Atonement, this year Yom Kippur lands on Sept. 22, 2208.]
As ancient as the holidays are, they also always have significance for today’s world and the problems faced not only by Jews but all people.
Rosh Hashana officially begins at sundown. Coincidentally, the Muslim observance of Ramadan starts at the same time for most followers of the faith. (Common ground!) The following excerpt talks about the holiday and includes news of how Ramadan is observed generally and in disparate parts of the world — and how the holy status of the month plays out in current events.
Across much of the Muslim world, Ramadan begins on Thursday, although Libya kicked off the festivities on Wednesday, the same day as Nigerian Muslims.
During the holy month, Muslims are required to abstain from food, drink and sex from dawn until dusk as life slips into a lower gear during the day, and activity peaks between “iftar,” the breaking of the fast at sunset, and “suhur,” the last meal of the day before sunrise.
In Indonesia, the world’s most populated Muslim nation, Ramadan began under the shadow of the latest earthquake disaster after a massive 8.4 tremor struck off Sumatra island. …
Meanwhile hardline Indonesian Muslim groups have warned they will act against nightclubs and other “dens of vices” that disregard the restricted opening hours for the month. …
In multicultural Singapore, Ramadan is just one of the holidays being celebrated, along with the Chinese mid-autumn festival and the Indian Deepavali festival next month.
In Bangladesh, the government has offered rice at a 20 percent discount around the country, while also opening 100 convenience stores around the capital Dhaka to sell other foods at reduced prices.
“We want poor and middle class people to have a comfortable Ramadan,” food secretary Dhiraj Malakar said.
In Cairo, a shopping frenzy began weeks ago despite soaring prices, as the faithful prepared for the first day of Ramadan where extended families break the fast with dates and milk, in accordance with Islamic tradition.
In the teeming city of 18 million notorious for gridlock, traffic police have been banned from taking time off during Ramadan, with extra wardens deployed to control pre-iftar accidents as cars clamour to get home in time for iftar.
Shiite Iran, which is also due to begin fasting on Thursday, bans restaurants from operating during the day throughout Ramadan.
Confusion about when Ramadan was starting led some people to wake up in the Afghan capital Kabul at 3:00 am on Wednesday for a pre-dawn meal — just in case it was the first day of the month-long fast.
Once the sun was up, broadcasters said that the holy month would start on Thursday, with restaurants opening only in the evenings and government offices closing by 1:00 pm.
The Taliban insurgency has already threatened to use Ramadan to launch a new wave of attacks on government and Western military targets throughout the country.
But in Baghdad, where thousands of US troops are deployed, the US military said levels of pre-Ramadan violence were lower this year and expected the trend to continue.
The nightly curfew in the Iraqi capital and a vehicle curfew is to be eased during Ramadan to help families celebrate the breaking of the fast.
GDPR’s wish for all: In the new year and during the month of Ramadan, may peace and love be your guide and hope, your companion.