Malala Yousafzai, Two Years After Attempted Assasination

Malala Yousafzai, Oval Office 11 October 2013, Photo Courtesy of White House

Malala Yousafzai, Oval Office 11 October 2013, Photo Courtesy of White House

UNITED STATES - On October of 2012, 14-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai was shot for speaking up about women's rights to education. As an inside correspondent with BBC, subject of two documentaries and frequent guest in newsrooms, Yousafazai was becoming the poster child of youth activism and women's rights. A Taliban gunman attempted to silence her and to set an example. She was hospitalized for three months.

The attack failed to curb her passion for political activism and, with international support, she continued her crusade for education soon after her recovery. Instead of silencing her and the movement, the attack raised global awareness with spokespeople from the US, the UK and Canada showing their outrage and support.

The next time she spoke publicly was on 12 July 2013 -- her birthday. She celebrated at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City where she spoke to a global audience about the role youth can play in ensuring worldwide education. She supported the Global Education First Initiative, which aims to have all school-age children, particularly girls, in school by year 2015. The day became known as Malala Day.

Another namesake is the Malala Fund, which has raised $7 million to spend on education projects in remote areas of Pakistan.

The most recent effort is the We Are Silent Campaign, to be held on April 17. She encourages the world to take a 24-hour vow of silence in honor of 31 million girls worldwide who are denied an education.

Since the shooting, Time magazine featured her in 2013 as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. She made history as the youngest nominee for the (2013) Nobel Peace Prize, and was nominated again in 2014. With help from journalist Christina Lamb she's written a memoir entitled "I am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up For Education and was Shot by the Taliban." She's gone to Buckingham Palace and the White House and plans to continue her career in political activism.

Ambassador Steven's Death Provoked by Jones?

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 13:29 PM EDT, 12 September 2012

U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, Photo Courtesy of the White House

BENGHAZI, Libya – This morning the White House confirmed that the California born U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens and four consular staffers were murdered during a mob attack on the consulate following the release of a video which denigrated the Prophet Mohammed.

Though it is unclear when and how the four diplomats died, it is surmised that they were rushed to a secret safe house after the initial attack to await evacuation by a U.S. commando unit.

Members of the evacuation team arrived from Tripoli soon after receiving notification of the escalating violence which claimed the lives of Steven and three others diplomats.

The Libyan government issued a statement immediately condemning the violence and sympathizing with the families of the murdered. Libya's Deputy Interior Minister Wanis Al-Sharif expressed surprise that the armed groups knew the location of the safe house.

"It was supposed to be a secret place and we were surprised the armed groups knew about it. There was shooting," Sharif said. Two U.S. personnel were killed there, he said. Two other people were killed at the main consular building and between 12 and 17 wounded. (Source: Reuters)

The violence was incited by a low-budget film which was made in the summer of 2011 but was recently promoted by Florida Pastor Terry Jones, who previously garnered international attention when he threatened to burn the Qur'an. He was subsequently persuaded to abandon this incendiary act by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.

However, Jones remained undeterred in his efforts to provoke Muslims, and is reported to have been actively promoting the low-budget film which denigrated the Islamic faith, the Prophet Mohammed, and Arabs.

It appears that his vigorous internet promotion of the film which also portrayed Mohammed engaging in a sex act with a woman, as a fool, a philanderer, and religious charlatan, is a culmination of his original efforts to defame and inflame Islamic sentiment.

Sam Bacile, a self-proclaimed Jew and real-estate developer, wrote and produced the movie, but is currently in hiding for fear of being murdered like the Dutch filmmaker, Van Gogh, who was killed in 2004. However, that is where the comparison ends, because Van Gogh's film titled Submission was made in conjunction with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali refugee who desired to highlight the plight of women who are forced into arranged marriages.

The White House will certainly spend the next few days consoling the families of the victims while simultaneously investigating the attacks against the U.S. Embassies in both Libya and Cairo. The newly elected, President Mohamed Morsi who represents the Muslim Brotherhood has yet to issue an apology or any statement acknowledging the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Cairo which may have been more spontaneous than the apparently well-organized coordinated attack of the Benghazi embassy.

Though it is early in the process and blame has yet to be assigned, certainly a significant amount of responsibility for fomenting the unrest that precipitated the death of these four Americans needs to be placed firmly on the shoulders of Pastor Terry Jones for promoting an obscure video with the clear intent of provoking violence. He had precedence, he knew it was incendiary, and his motives are Machiavellian at most and irresponsible in the extreme.

As many have expressed today throughout Social Media outlets, this is not something that Jesus would have done because he advocated peace and ended all conflicts out of love. It is unfortunate that religions as interpreted by extremists have led to more heart-ache, tragedy, and death of human beings since time immemorial, and we would be well served to embrace tolerance in this era of greater interconnectedness.

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President Obama Hosts Ramadan Iftar Dinner

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 22:22 PM EDT, 10 August 2012

White House Table Setting, Photo by Luigi CrespoTonight President Barak Obama is hosting his fourth Iftar dinner at the White House to honor Muslims celebrating Ramadan. It is a tradition begun under President Bill Clinton and maintained by President George Bush during his eight-year presidency.

The dinner will be presented in the State Dining Room to celebrate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. This ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar is universally observed by over one billion Muslims who fast from sunup to sundown.

Ramadan is the third "pillar" or religious obligation of Islam. During this holiday adherents learn self-control through fasting which some describe as an emptying of attachments to the physical and thus empowers their spiritual nature to grow closer to God.  In addition to prayer and study, Muslims also engage in giving charity, purifying behavior, and doing good deeds.

According to the White House, the invited guests for the evening “include elected officials, religious and grassroots leaders in the Muslim American community, and leaders of diverse faiths and members of the diplomatic corps.” (Source: CNN)

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Ghana Mourns President John Atta Mills

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 11:35 PM EDT, 24 July 2012

ACCRA, Ghana — Beloved Ghanaian President John Atta Mills died in a military hospital located in the capital of Accra on 24 July 2012.

Mills governed the country from 2009 to 2012 and had planned to run for a second term on 7 December 2012.

President Mills is the first Ghanaian head of state to die in office, and immediately following the announcement of his passing, Vice President John Dramani Mahama was sworn in to finish the remaining five months of Mills' term.

Mills was a seasoned political official serving in various capacities within the Ghanaian government after a 25-year tenure as a law professor at the University of Ghana. Shortly before becoming president he served as vice president of President J.J. Rawlings who was widely regarded as a military dictator.

The 2009 election was Mills’ third run for the highest office in the nation, and though the election was extremely close, independent observers praised the process as free and fair which resulted in a peaceful transition of power. Under Mills’ leadership Ghana experienced strong economic gains to become one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.

According to Reuters, Mills reiterated his commitment to political stability during a visit with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in March. Many Ghanaians are devasted by the loss of this pragmatic leader who recognized that success is not so much about power as it is about peace and mutual benefit.

”When there is no peace, it is not the leaders who suffer; it is the ordinary people who have elected us into office. So we have a big challenge, and we know that some of our friends in Africa are looking up to us, and we dare not fail them." (President John Atta Mills)

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GrantAssist.com | Caveat Emptor

GrantAssist.com | Caveat Emptor

In these tough economic times parents whose budgets are already stretched thin by the high cost of food, petrol and education are desperate for immediate relief in addition to securing the tools to implement long-term solutions to their budgetary constraints. Since lending has become increasingly difficult because of tighter restrictions on credit worthiness, people are seeking access to sources of money which does require repayment. My son attends a private school which does not provide financial aid. During this past year it has become increasingly difficult for me to make the monthly tuition payments, so I decided to see if I could locate grant money to pay for his education. I am pretty Internet savvy and most of the sites that I found were immediately dismissed as scams.

However, as a working mom tasked with a full-time job in technology and a full-time job as a parent the thought of searching through various sources to identify grants applicable to my needs was daunting. As if in answer to prayer, my sister who works for a United States Senator and knows how much I struggle, forwarded a link to an officious website titled Free Government Grants 2011.

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