MountDamavand is thehighestpeak in theMiddleEastwith an elevation of 5,610 m (18,405ft). It is located in Iran in themiddle of theAlborzmountainrange,nearthesoutherncoast of theCaspianSea. In Zoroastriantextsandmythology,thethree-headeddragonAžiDahaka is chainedwithinthisdormantvolcano,there to remainuntiltheend of theworld. In Persianmythology,themountain is whereZahhaktheDragonKing is slain by whathero?More…Discuss
In 1985, members of the US National Security Council (NSC) secretly authorized weapons sales to Iran in an attempt to secure the release of US hostages held in Lebanon by pro-Iranian militias. Part of the $48 million profit was then diverted to Nicaraguan Contra rebels, in violation of a 1984 law banning such assistance. After a Senate investigation, NSC members Oliver North and John M. Poindexter were indicted and convicted of various offenses. Why were their convictions later overturned? More…Discuss
Royal Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Hawaii (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hawaii’s Queen Liliuokalani stepped down from the throne on January 24, 1893, to avoid any bloodshed and to pardon her supporters who had been jailed by the Provisional Government, which had asked her to abdicate. After becoming queen in 1891, Liliuokalani fought against making Hawaii a part of the United States, making her unpopular among those Hawaiians who felt they had more to gain from annexation. She believed in ‘Hawaii
The overthrow of Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlevi of Iran by an Islamic revolutionary government in February 1979 led to a steady deterioration in Iranian-American relations. In September of that year, the exiled shah was allowed into the US for medical treatment, prompting Iranian students called the Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line to seize the US embassy in Tehran and take 66 Americans hostage. After 444 days, the last 52 hostages were released. What was the “Canadian Caper”? More…Discuss
Nazila Fathi reported from her native Iran for The New York Times. Fearing arrest, she fled in 2009 with her family and now lives in suburban Washington, D.C. Her new book, The Lonely War, describes the challenges of reporting from the country. Hassan Sarbakhshian
Nazila Fathi covered turbulent events in her native Iran for years as The New York Times correspondent. She learned to navigate the complicated system that tolerates reporting on many topics but can also toss reporters in jail if they step across a line never explicitly defined by the country’s Islamic authorities.
Fathi recalls one editor telling her what journalists could do in Iran: “We have the freedom to say whatever we want to say, but we don’t know what happens afterwards.”
Five years ago, Fathi was covering the aftermath of Iran’s hotly contested 2009 presidential election, when demonstrators flooded the streets to protest a vote they said was rigged in favor of the incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The government warned journalists to stop covering the street demonstrations, which often turned violent, but Fathi continued to file stories for the Times.
Radical Islamists now issue threats against cartoonists, writers and filmmakers with such frequency that they barely cause a stir. Actual attacks have been carried out several times over the past decade, and French authorities suspect Muslim extremists in Wednesday’s slaughter of 12 people in Paris, including eight journalists at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
To see how these threats and attacks have evolved over the past quarter-century, consider al-Qaida‘s most-wanted list, published in 2013 in its online magazine, Inspire.
A couple of things stand out in the article titled “Wanted: Dead or Alive for Crimes Against Islam.” First, it attracted little attention because it’s the kind of thing the group does regularly. Second, the group did not target Western political or military leaders — the people who have actually waged war against the group.
One of the world’s most heavily used shipping lanes, the Suez Canal extends 101 miles (163 km) from Port Said to the Gulf of Suez and connects the Red Sea with the Mediterranean Sea, allowing ships to sail directly between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. After its completion in 1869, its ownership remained in French and British hands until Egypt nationalized it in 1956, setting off an international crisis, during which it was closed. What caused the next closure of the canal? More…Discuss
Kim Zetter is here to answer all of your questions about computer crimes and security, Stuxnet and digital warfare, online surveillance and privacy, and how living online is changing the world.
Zetter is the author of the new book Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World’s First Digital Weapon, which tells the story of the development and deployment of the computer worm that became the first known cyber weapon.
Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World’s First Digital…
The Birth of the Bab is a holy day in the Baha’i religion to celebrate the birthday in 1819 of Mirza Ali Mohammad in Shiraz, Persia (now Iran). In 1844, Mirza Ali declared himself the Bab (meaning “gate”) and foretold the coming of one greater than he. The day, on which work is suspended, is a happy social occasion for Baha’is. More…Discuss
After Cuba gained independence from Spain in 1898, US influence over the island grew. The two countries traded heavily until Fidel Castro rose to power in a bloody coup, and Cuba expropriated many American-owned land holdings. The US then enforced a prohibition of all exports to Cuba in 1960. Two years later, the US blockaded the island in order to compel the Soviet Union to dismantle its nuclear missile base. Although the word “embargo” exists in Spanish, what is the US embargo called in Cuba? More…Discuss
Part 2 of 2: The BBC is allowed to film in Cuba and show life under the absurd US trade embargo. Whilst the US moralises over a tiny Cuba, they do nothing about the likes of Iran, China and North Korea, who all have dubious human rights records. But of course, it’s easy to pick on a little island instead of a big country. Recorded from BBC 1pm News, 26 February 2010.
A detail from the “Saffron Gatherers” fresco of the “Xeste 3” building. It is one of many depicting saffron; they were found at the Bronze Age settlement of Akrotiri, on the Aegean island of Santorini.
Saffron is a plant native to Asia Minor, where for centuries it has been cultivated for its aromatic orange-yellow stigmas—one of the world’s most expensive spices. When handpicked and dried, the stigmas yield saffron powder, the source of the principal yellow dye of the ancient world. The plant is still grown in limited quantities for the powder, which is used in medicines and perfumes and for flavoring. How many flowers must be harvested to produce one pound (0.45 kg) of dry saffron? More…Discuss
The Bahá‘í faith is an emerging global religion founded by Bahá’u’lláh, a 19th-century Iranian exile. It is a doctrinal outgrowth of Babism, with Bahá’u’lláh revered as the Promised One of the earlier religion. Bahá’í faith proclaims the essential unity of all religions and the unity of humanity. It is concerned with social ethics and has no priesthood or sacraments. Emphasis is laid upon simplicity of living and upon service to the suffering. How many Bahá’ís are there today? More…Discuss
The ISO is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from some 100 countries. It was founded in Geneva after World War II to promote the development of standardization and related activities, with a view to facilitating the international exchange of goods and services as well as intellectual, scientific, technological, and economic cooperation. At first glance, ISO appears to be an acronym for the group’s full name, but it is not. Rather, it is derived from a Greek word for what? More…Discuss