Blog Archives

The marvel of Islamic geometric design

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Source: theguardian.com

By: Alex Bellos

To paraphrase Monty Python, what has Islam ever done for us? You know, apart from the algebra, the trigonometry, the optics, the astronomy and the many other scientific advances and inventions of the Islamic Golden Age.

Well, if you like art and interiors, there’s always the stunning patterns that grace mosques, madrasas and palaces around the world.

Islamic craftsmen and artists – who were prohibited from making representations of people in holy sites – developed an instantly recognizable aesthetic based on repeated geometrical shapes.

The mathematical elegance of these designs is that no matter how elaborate they are, they are always based on grids constructed using only a ruler and a pair of compasses.

Islamic design is based on Greek geometry, which teaches us that starting with very basic assumptions, we can build up a remarkable number of proofs about shapes. Islamic patterns provide a visual confirmation of the complexity that can be achieved with such simple tools.

Dust off your old geometry set, and let’s see how.

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The line for food at Syria’s Yarmouk refugee camp

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This jaw-dropping photo published in The Guardian this week shows the line for food at Syria’s Yarmouk refugee camp. The UN says that some people in this camp have been reduced to eating animal feed!

Extremely small amounts of aid have gotten in recently but delivery has been suspended repeatedly due to ongoing security concerns. The situation is dire! Take action to end the humanitarian crisis in Syria –>http://bit.ly/1mIYFrT

Gaza is a crime made in Washington as well as Jerusalem

MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANS CONFLICT

By: Seumas Milne

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/

Global revulsion at the mind-numbing carnage of Israel’s onslaught on Gaza seems finally to have spurred some of the western political class to speak out. The resignation of Sayeeda Warsi, Britain’s first Muslim cabinet minister, in protest against her government’s “morally indefensible”stance, emboldened Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, to demand thesuspension of arms export licences to Israel.

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Palestinian leaders poised to join ICC in order to pursue Israel for war crimes

Diplomats expect plan to join international criminal court and call for investigation to be used as bargaining chip in Cairo talks

The Palestinian foreign minister, Riad Malki

The Palestinian foreign minister, Riad Malki, said after meeting ICC officials that Israel had left him no choice but to seek accession to the court. Photograph: EPA

By: Julian Borger and Ian Black

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/

Palestinian political leaders are poised to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) with the aim of putting Israel in the dock on war crimes charges, officials said today.

“Israel has left us with no other option,” Riad Malki, the Palestinian foreign minister, told reporters after meeting ICC officials in The Hague to discuss the implications of signing the Rome Statute. It would make the Palestinian state a member of the court with the authority to call for an investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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Gaza conflict: Israel and Hamas begin 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire

Shelling continued in the Gaza Strip minutes before the ceasefire began at 8am local time and four Palestinians reported killed by Israeli tank fire

Mideast Israel PalestiniansAn Israeli tank advances in a staging area near the Israel-Gaza border on Thursday. Photograph: Tsafrir Abayov/AP

By: Harriet Sherwood, Jason Burke and Paul Lewis

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/

A tense ceasefire has officially come into effect in Gaza after Israel and Hamas agreed to a 72-hour pause in their three-week conflict. The United States and United Nations brokered the temporary truce to allow for humanitarian relief and bring both sides to the table for talks on a longer-term halt to hostilities.

After a night of heavy bombardment, shelling continued in the Gaza Strip and rocket fire from Hamas hit Israel minutes before the ceasefire began at 8am on Friday local time. An Israeli army spokesman said it was looking into reports four Palestinians were killed and 15 wounded by tank fire nearly two hours after the truce began.

Delegations from Israel and Palestine are due to convene in Cairo for negotiations to be mediated by the Egyptian government.

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Gaza: at least 15 killed and 90 injured as another UN school is hit

By: Harriet Sherwood

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/

At least 15 Palestinians were killed and about 90 injured early on Wednesday when a UN school sheltering displaced people was hit by shells during a second night of relentless bombardment that followed an Israeli warning of a protracted military campaign.

Pierre Krahenbuhl, commissioner-general of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, condemned “in in the strongest possible terms this serious violation of international law by Israeli forces”.

He said in a statement: “Last night, children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom in a UN-designated shelter in Gaza. Children killed in their sleep; this is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame. Today the world stands disgraced.

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Ethiopian women in Israel ‘given contraceptive without consent’

 A woman from the Ethiopian community protests calling for relatives to be brought to Israel
A woman from the Ethiopian community at a protest in Jerusalem calling for relatives to be brought to Israel. A documentary claims immigrants received contraceptive shots in Ethiopian transit camps and Israel. Photograph: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty

Israel‘s health ministry is investigating claims that Ethiopian women are being injected with a controversial contraceptive without their knowledge or consent.

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