For the Muslim month of Ramadan that began this week, TSA, the transportation security agency that began in the wake of 9/11 attacks, says it’s “trying to create an environment of understanding.” TSA has warned its employees to be sensitive to Muslims seen praying in airports and otherwise observing the rituals of the month of daytime fasting.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is resigning the cabinet position she’s held throughout the Obama administration to become president of the University of California system. UC officials believe her experience (i.e. connections) will help UC-administered federal weapons and energy labs.
Ramadan isn’t keeping Egypt’s military-backed authorities from cracking down on extremist groups. This week prosecutors ordered the arrest of Muslim Brotherhood supreme guide Mohammed Badie and half a dozen others for inciting violence that led to the deaths of more than 50 on Monday.
Open Doors is making available its annual Ramadan Prayer Guide, a useful way for Christians to pray through the 30 days when the world’s more than 1.6 billion Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, observing one of the five pillars of Islam.
Fugitive document-leaker Edward Snowden met today with human rights activists and lawyers at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, and told them he would apply for political asylum in Russia, where he has been stranded since June 23.
The longest-serving political leader in the European Union, Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, has resigned over an explosive scandal involving the tiny country’s spy agency. Allegations include the misuse of public funds and disclosures that the agency kept longstanding surveillance files on individual citizens. And, note to filmmakers, it also involves the country’s former spy chief secretly taping official meetings with a recorder disguised as a wristwatch.
Today is Malala Yousafzi’s 16th birthday, and to celebrate, the Pakistani teen who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban, spoke to world leaders at the UN. An education activist well known in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Yousafzi was shot in the head in October by Taliban gunmen, and this was her first public speech since surviving the attack. “We call upon all the governments to fight against terrorism, to protect children from brutality and harm,” she said to an audience at the UN Youth Assembly, which included UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and former UK prime minister Gordon Brown.“Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child. One teacher and one book and one pen can change the world.”
Infrared satellite images from Lac-Mégantic, scene of last week’s fiery railroad explosion in Quebec, show the small town “burned as bright and wide as a big city” in the hours after the train derailment. Over 20 are confirmed dead and today authorities say the remaining 30 missing have also been declared dead.
Long weekend read: “A Deadly Triangle: Afghanistan, Pakistan and India” by acclaimed British author William Dalrymple.