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News and Analysis (5/26/15)

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"Whether it's Islamic women or whoever, it's just not right they can abuse people like that. No one should be doing that to anyone regardless of race or gender or religious creed": Sectarian tensions grow in Pakistan: "Nationalist monks are behind new powers enabling authorities to ‘organise’ family planning among groups with high birth rates such as Rohingyas" ... ... while pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi  continues to evade the issue, saying "she is a politician and that she never sought to be a human rights champion. Critics note she is carefully choosing her battles, in part because she has presidential ambitions": "The presiding judge, Abolghassem Salavati, is known for handing down harsh sentences and is accused by human rights groups of cracking down on journalists and activists ... [and who last year] sentenced [a man] to death for heresy for his interpretation of the Jonah and the Whale story as a symbolic tale": "We have no proof that a Middle Eastern billionaire is sitting on this salacious picture, but we do know that the breasts in the painting were blurred out by a Fox news channel. How peculiar, to project this bizarre outbreak of American puritanism on to Qatar.... So how come “we” are the ones censoring Picasso?" "The Quran has no clear reference to masturbation and the authenticity of many hadiths is questionable. Despite Han’s assertive religious stance, only a limited number of Islamic interpretations categorize masturbation as “haram,” while most of others call it a “makruh” (disliked) act: "Turkey's general election looks likely to push Tayyip Erdogan's dream of an all-powerful presidency further from his reach.... Barred by the constitution from party politics as head of state, Erdogan has nonetheless campaigned across Turkey": "I have always said I would much prefer to be killed by a Sunni terrorist organization than a Shiite terrorist organization" says a Sunni tribesman in Iraq ... ... while "[o]ver the past year defeated Iraq security forces have repeatedly left US-supplied military equipment on the battlefield, which the US has targeted in subsequent airstrikes against Islamic State forces: "Southern separatist fighters and Sunni tribesmen had regained control of Dhalea following heavy fighting on Monday, officials and residents said. It is the first major advance by the Houthis' opponents since Saudi-led coalition air strikes began in March": "The director of the Hamas-controlled side of the crossing, Maher Abu Sabha, says the border is scheduled to close again Wednesday afternoon.... The one-direction opening reflects the deepening hostility between Gaza's Hamas rulers and Egypt.... Abu Sabha called on Egypt to fully open the crossing":

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