Lecture explores religious freedom in Islam

first_imgMustafa Akyol, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity and a self-described “Islamic modernist,” gave a lecture titled “Religious Freedom in Islam” on Tuesday at the Eck Visitors Center, during which he promoted religious tolerance throughout the world.Akyol began the lecture by retelling a recent incident between him and the Malaysian religious police following a lecture he gave on apostasy in the country. Following his lecture on religious freedom, Akyol said, he was placed in front of a Sharia court for reciting the Quran without a permit, and was only released because of connections between his father, the Turkish former president and the Malaysian monarchy.The irony of this story provided a basis from which Akyol spoke on the need for more religious toleration in the Muslim world. Though many Westerners may feel that Islam is medieval and incongruent with toleration, Akyol said, there are many precedents for religious tolerance in its history.“Islam has strong assets for religious freedom,” he said. “But also we have issues in Islam that we have to deal with and we have to reinterpret. … Muslims are proud to say at a time when in medieval Spain … the Catholics at the time were not very liberal … at that time in the Islamic world because it accepted the rights of Jews and Christians to remain as Jews and Christians — it was more liberal.”Though this precedent exists, Akyol said the toleration was contingent on the religious minorities’ willingness to accept inferiority.“This toleration — and toleration is the right word — was not based on equality,” he said. “Muslims made sure that they were the ruling, supreme nation. Jews and Christians are tolerated, but as inferior. And this has some clear expressions, one of them was that Jews and Christians were forced to pay an extra tax. … They could not serve in the military and in the state, so the state belonged to Muslims.”Since this point in history, however, Akyol said the Islamic world has begun to fall behind the development of human rights.“In the face of this modern development [of human rights] … there is a friction today still between modern definition of human rights and Islamic authorities and Islamic interpretations,” he said.Akyol said change is happening, but such massive change does not occur overnight.“Now, are there Muslims trying to deal with this issue and offer this reformation? Yes,” he said. “There are Muslim rulers, intellectuals, institutions, countries — this is a thing that’s been going on for more than a century. It began in the 19th century, it’s still going on, the battle is still going on. Let me tell you, it’s not that easy and fast to change a culture and civilization.”Akyol offered a suggestion to begin encouraging this change.“One way to bring human rights … is to minimize the role of Islamic law and bring secular laws that will establish equality,” he said. “And this has been tried, and it’s worked.”Akyol pointed to the example of Turkey following World War I as an example of how secularization of laws can help modernize societies. Akyol also said the most permanent solution to advancing religious toleration is reinterpreting Sharia and the Quran altogether.“Another approach is to reinterpret Sharia, and that’s what I’m interested in because once you push the religious convictions aside for secular institutions, they’re still there,” he said. “They will want to come back, and there will be a tension between them and the secular space.”The best way to go about reinterpreting the Quran is through historicism, which focuses on divine intent in the context of the work’s initial production, Akyol said.“God spoke not in a vacuum, he spoke in a context, in a society that had a culture,” he said. “Therefore, when you look at the Quran, you should look at the divine intent and you should bring it to today with the impact but not the social context.”Whereas the West views many Middle Eastern countries as medieval, Akyol said, Middle Eastern countries view the West as exploitative and hypocritical. He said the best way for Western countries to promote secularization in Middle Eastern countries is to remain principled and set an example through their actions.“If the West wants to help in advancing human rights … they can do one thing and that is to be principled,” he said. “Do not use these concepts for colonial design, do not use these concepts sometimes only to advance the rights of your own people, do not use these concepts to bash the regimes that are your enemies, but then, when the same [violations of human rights] are committed by the regimes that are your allies, don’t look the other way.”Tags: Freedom of religion, Islam, Islamic law, religious freedom, secularization, Sharia lawlast_img read more

Peanut Achievement Club

first_imgEach of Georgia’s top 10 peanut farmers relied on University of Georgia Cooperative Extension research to produce the highest yielding crops this year. These farmers were honored by the peanut industry this month for growing the year’s record-breaking crops.“We lean on the Extension service heavily because they are there to answer questions and they have the experience,” said Wesley Webb, who has farmed peanut, cotton and corn in Calhoun County, Georgia, for 22 years. Webb was one of 10 Georgia peanut farmers recognized on Saturday, Aug. 8, by the Georgia Peanut Achievement Club. The peanut achievement club, coordinated by UGA, has recognized the top-yielding growers in Georgia since the 1960s. Webb averaged 7,337 pounds of peanuts per acre on 136 acres. “I can run to talk with Jay (Hathorn), my local county agent, and Jay can pick up the telephone and reach anybody, anywhere in the state of Georgia if we’ve got a problem,” Webb said. “It’s kind of like the Internet. All I do is talk to Jay, and Jay can find my answer through the Extension service.”Webb said, through his county agent, he gets research-based information straight from UGA scientists like plant pathologist Bob Kemerait, weed scientist Eric Prostko and peanut agronomist Scott Monfort.“He gets them on the phone in minutes and they answer any question I have,” Webb said.The process of relaying the latest information to farmers through UGA Extension is based on trust. Georgia farmers and UGA Extension agents have to forge a trusting relationship for the process to be successful, said Hathorn. “I like to say people don’t care what you know until they know that you care. Farmers have a trust in Extension, and a trust in the scientists, and a trust in the county agents to give them good, research-based information that they can use with their crops,” said Rome Ethredge, the agricultural and natural resources (ANR) agent in Seminole County, Georgia.Ethredge accompanied Seminole County farmers Eddie Miller and Greg Mims to the peanut achievement club’s recognition banquet, held at the Jekyll Island Club at Jekyll Island, Georgia. Miller was recognized for posting the highest overall yield in the state for farmers with 300 or more acres. He averaged 7,135 pounds per acre on more than 620 acres. Mims was the District II winner, a title that recognizes the farmer with the highest yield (6,628 pounds per acre) on more than 700 acres.Monfort said the weekend was a testament to the work of Extension, including UGA research faculty and county agents, and Georgia producers across the state. “This movement of information – from the researcher down to the agents to the farmer – is reciprocated back to us because we need that feedback. We need to know what works,” Monfort said. “We know what works in research, but when we put it to real world practice, does it work for these growers? Most of the growers in this particular program are going by university recommendations.”Farmer Ken Hall uses UGA recommendations to improve his farming practices in Worth County, Georgia. On 1,082 acres last year, Hall produced 4,905 pounds of peanuts per acre, the most in District III on more than 700 acres. Hall leans on Worth County ANR agent Larry Varnadoe for answers to questions that arise during the year. “Rather than us go out and try something that may cost extra money or lead to damage to our crops, it’s best to call them (UGA Extension agents) ahead of time. Nine times out of 10, they’ve already tried it and they can say, ‘Yes, you can,’ or ‘No, you can’t,’” Hall said.Along with the UGA peanut team, supporters of the peanut achievement club include Bayer, BASF, the American Peanut Shellers Association and the National Peanut Buying Points Association.The 2014-2015 Georgia Peanut Achievement Club winners are as follows:• Highest overall yield in the state, 100-299 acresWesley Webb, Calhoun County7,337 pounds per acre on 136 acres• Highest overall yield in the state, 300 or more acresEddie Miller, Seminole County7,135 pounds on 620 acres• District I, 300-699 acresAl Sudderth, Calhoun County/p>6,610 pounds per acre on 488 acres• District I, 700 or more acresJimmy Webb, Calhoun County6,728 pounds on 897 acres• District II, 300-699 acresRick LaGuardia, Miller County6,646 pounds per acre on 377 acres• District II, 700 or more acresGreg Mims, Seminole County6,628 pounds per acre on 890 acres• District III, 300-699 acresHulin Reeves Jr., Ben Hill County6,328 pounds per acre on 487 acres• District III, 700 or more acresKen Hall Farms, Inc., Worth County4,905 pounds per acre on 1,082 acres• District IV, 300-699 acresChip Dorminy, Irwin County5,874 pounds per acre on 436 acres• District IV, 700 or more acresWayne Sayer, Irwin County4,926 pounds per acre on 1,129 acresFor more information on peanut research from UGA Extension, go to extension.uga.edu.last_img read more

Global Trends Indicate a Coal Comeback Is Unlikely

first_imgGlobal Trends Indicate a Coal Comeback Is Unlikely FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Financial Times:President Donald Trump has pledged to “put our miners back to work” in the US, promising to return high-paying jobs to rundown rural areas of states such as Pennsylvania that brought him victory in last year’s election. Trends in coal markets, both in the US and internationally, suggest that will be an uphill battle.In 2013, the US Energy Information Administration projected that world coal demand would rise 39 per cent by 2040. Now it is expecting growth of just 1 per cent. If not quite “Peak Coal”, it certainly looks like an extended plateau. Projections of energy demand even a few years into the future can never be relied on: there are too many uncertainties in how markets and technology will evolve, and the EIA itself makes clear that this scenario is just one among many possible outcomes. Even so, the latest projection, from the EIA International Energy Outlook 2017, published last week, shows that the promise of eternally rising world demand for coal, which was the consensus expectation just a few years ago, can no longer be taken for granted.China dominates world coal markets, accounting for more than half of total global demand. The EIA believes that Chinese coal consumption may now be on a declining trend, with industrial use for steam and steelmaking already having peaked, and demand for power generation likely to peak around 2023. With demand also in long-term decline in the US and in Europe, growth in some emerging economies, led by India, is not enough to raise total coal use overall.More: ($) The future of coal in seven chartslast_img read more

#NAFCUAnnual: Bridging the generational divide

first_imgNAFCU Annual is in full-swing in Hawaii celebrating its Golden Anniversary. Of course the event is filled with lots of fun and reminiscing, but they’ve also learned a lot over the past 50 years and they’re passing that wisdom along to us.It seems like you can’t make it through the week anymore without hearing something about “millennials”, that usually leads to a sigh or a shake of the head of someone on the leadership team but the keynote speaker, Jeff Havens took and fun an interesting approach to the topic that left the generationally divided audience all laughing. We laughed as he made jokes about having multiple TV remote’s, getting in line behind someone paying with a check, or our demands to have everything right now because we’ve all had those feelings (or been annoyed by them) and guess what…. That’s perfectly normal! Millennials aren’t the first group be labeled lazy and they won’t be the last. So we’ve got it all out on the table, our generational differences, but now what?No matter how many different generations you have working for you, your workforce can be divided up into young and old. And there are some key factors about each group that the other needs to know and understand so that meeting at a halfway point can happen. That compromise is crucial for success because neither group is right all the time. There are many ways in which you can meet halfway but I’m sharing my favorite 3 below:For the young: some business practices exist for a good reason. For the old: Don’t view new ideas or questions as an attack on current practices or your authority.For the young: some things move slower than you wish they did. For the old: Some things move faster than you wish they did.For the young: Advancement is a process, not a right. For the old: Advancement is a process that never stops.No matter your age, you have a wealth of knowledge to bring to the table at your credit union and understand how your generational differences impact how that knowledge is shared, interpreted and implemented is important to the long term success of the credit union. 18SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Amanda Reed Web: www.CUInsight.com Detailslast_img read more

Dollar General Stores to dedicate first hour for senior citizens amidst coronavirus outbreak

first_img(WBNG)- Starting on Tuesday March 17, all Dollar General stores will be dedicating the first hour of each shopping day to senior shoppers. In a press release, the stores announced that they will dedicate the first hour for the shopping needs of senior customers who are most vulnerable to the coronavirus. CEO Todd Vasos stated, “In keeping with our mission and our ongoing commitment to serve our communities, we are dedicating the first hour of each day to seniors.  We appreciate our customers’ understanding of our decision and request they visit our stores later in the morning to allow at-risk populations the ability to purchase the items they need at affordable prices,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s CEO. “During these unprecedented times, Dollar General is diligently working to meet the ongoing needs of our customers and communities. We are proud to live our mission and provide customers with everyday low prices on the household essentials that are used and replenished most often.” center_img All stores will plan to close one hour earlier than normal in order for workers to clean and restock-shelves. Dollar General says that, customers are encouraged to plan their shopping trips around the window of time. last_img read more

Teaching assistant creates mask clips for healthcare workers

first_img“I’m doing my part by staying home and wearing masks when I go out like everybody should do, but just little bit to make their lives a little bit easier is just something that I thought was a good thing to do,” said Ryan. (WBNG) — The community has stepped in showcasing its creativity, making things to help healthcare workers ranging from masks to face shields. “They can design something and actually take it away with them either at the end of the day or the next day. Something really quick for the STEM kids, this make it-take it attitude is something they really like. Instant gratification, I want to design something and I want it right away,” said Ryan. Once school closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, Ryan thought of a different use for it. Each sheet the Glowforge is able to cut produces more than 60 clips. The machine was meant to be used with technology students. “There’s a lot of things out there that purely aesthetic, it’s something for the wall, it’s something for your desk, but there’s also things that are super utilitarian that you can actually use,” he said. “I hope they help a little bit and they go all over the place and everyone wants one and needs one and wears masks all the time,” he said. Ryan decided he would make mask clips, helping to reduce the strain caused by the elastic on healthcare workers’ masks.center_img Making this tough time, just a little bit better. He has donated some to a hospital in Norwich as well as Hamilton and doesn’t plan on stopping production any time soon. Now a Sherburne-Earlville teaching assistant is stepping in, making face mask clips. “What it is actually is it’s a laser cutter,” said teaching assistant Jonathan Ryan. Back in November, the district wrote a grant to purchase a Glowforge machine for its students. “I just saw some pictures of some people, first responders or people on the front line here, and their ears were just raw from wearing these masks all the time,” said Ryan. For more on the coronavirus click here.last_img read more

Easynet pulls plug on Hanover Street headquarters move

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PPV market treble quoted sector

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

USA beats Canada 3-0 in CONCACAF Olympic qualifying final

first_imgThe United States beats Canada 3-0 on Sunday in the final of the CONCACAF women’s Olympic qualifying tournament, a last formality for the team that booked its 2020 Tokyo berth with semi-final victory.The World Cup champion United States had punched its ticket to Tokyo with a 4-0 victory over Mexico, while Canada secured its spot with a 1-0 win over Costa Rica.With North American bragging rights on the line, Lynn Williams, Lindsey Horan and Megan Rapinoe scored for the United States, who is unbeaten in 28 games. They didn’t conceded a goal in five tournament matches, outscoring opponents 25-0.”I think this is our expectation, we go into every tournament with the pressure to win,” said Christen Press. “The most important thing is to qualify. We’re super-excited, we’re proud of ourselves for that and then to top it off with this game is excellent for us.”Press fired a shot off the crossbar in the 32nd minute and Canadian striker Christine Sinclair’s shot six minutes later was stopped by US keeper Alyssa Naeher.Williams broke the stalemate in the 60th minute, seizing upon an error by Canada’s Jayde Riviere and firing into the upper corner. Horan made it 2-0 in 71st and Rapinoe, subbed in in the 62nd minute, capped the scoring in the 87th with an easy finish against a clearly flagging Canadian side.The United States has played in every Olympics since women’s football was added to the program in 1996.The team has won four gold medals, but is out for redemption after being knocked out of the quarter-finals by Sweden in Rio in 2016.Canada, meanwhile, will be gunning for a third straight podium finish in Tokyo, after earning bronze in London in 2012 and Rio.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Govt to expand social aid, incentives to boost household demand, economy

first_imgThe government is planning to expand its social aid program and incentives for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in an effort to boost consumer spending and revive the sluggish economy in the second half of this year, as fears of a recession loom.Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Wednesday the government would reallocate around Rp 70.8 trillion (US$4.85 billion) from existing ineffective stimulus packages to fund the social aid expansion and new incentives so that the government would not need to increase its COVID-19 response budget, already worth Rp 695.2 trillion.“This will include extending the social aid program period to December to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said during a livestreamed press conference. The government is preparing aid for workers with salaries lower than Rp 5 million per month and allocating an estimated budget of Rp 31.2 trillion for such aid.State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Minister Erick Thohir, who serves as executive chairperson for the national economic recovery and COVID-19 response team, further explained in a statement on Thursday that the aid for workers would be in the form of direct cash transfers.The aid would be focused on 13.8 million workers registered on the Workers Social Security Agency (BPJS Ketenagakerjaan) database who are not civil servants or SOEs employees.“The workers will receive Rp 600,000 per month for four months, disbursed directly to each worker’s bank account every two months to prevent misuse,” said Erick. “This program is currently being finalized so it can be carried out by the Manpower Ministry this September.”Sri Mulyani also said the government would offer electricity and tax incentives for businesses and industries as well as productive aid for ultra-micro and micro businesses to support the supply side and help businesses to reduce their production costs.The electricity incentive will be in the form of a minimum billing waiver for businesses, industries and social sectors while the tax incentive will take the form of 50 percent corporate income tax discount from the previous 30 percent cut.“We will also disburse aid to 12 million MSMEs with a total budget of Rp 30 trillion,” she said, stressing that the aid was meant for productive use and was not in the form of loans.The expansion, however, comes with a drawback as the government will reduce the amount of cash transfers for underprivileged families by half to only Rp 300,000 per month per family.The expansion in social stimulus would boost purchasing power and bolster household spending in the second half of the year, said Bahana Sekuritas economist Satria Sambijantoro, despite projecting that Indonesia’s economy would likely see another contraction in the third quarter.“The possible backload of stimulus could be a blessing in disguise for the economic outlook in the second half of 2020,” he wrote in a research note.The inclusion of low-income formal workers in the social aid program, along with the distribution of salary bonuses for civil servants and low-income formal workers, would cut through the red tape in budget disbursement, he said.“We think household spending growth will continue to surpass investment growth for the rest of 2020,” said Satria.SMERU Research Institute researcher Ruhmaniyati, however, frowned upon the idea of aiding formal workers with monthly fixed income as the government should help informal workers instead.“There are still a lot of families with an income of less than Rp 5 million a month that work in the informal sector and need the aid,” she told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.Institute for Development on Economics and Finance (Indef) executive director Tauhid Ahmad echoed the sentiment, saying the aid for low-income workers was mistargeted.“They are not poor. The aid could potentially sit in saving accounts as those workers hold back on spending,” he said. “This can create a detrimental effect on the economy and trigger a recession in the third quarter.”Topics : Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP) shrunk 5.32 percent year-on-year (yoy) in the second quarter as all components except for net exports fell annually as a result of the pandemic.Consumer spending, which accounts for more than half of GDP, fell 5.51 percent yoy in the second quarter, while investment, the second-largest contributor, contracted 8.61 percent.Sri Mulyani expects the economy to grow at no more than 0.5 percent, or even contract further, in the third quarter, which would mean a recession for Indonesia, while fourth-quarter GDP growth is projected to be near 3 percent, making for a full-year expansion of zero to 1 percent.Under the plan, the government will allocate Rp 4.6 trillion to increase the amount of rice for the 10 million recipients of the Family Hope Program (PKH) to 15 kilograms per month. It would also disburse Rp 500,000 to 10 million Staple Food Card recipients this month.last_img read more