SyrianAmerican Uses Poetry to Heal Her Pain

Rabat – Amal Kassir describes herself as an “international spoken word poet.” She is using her words to put a face to Syria’s faceless victims… and a voice to those who can no longer speak for themselves. In a video shared by BBC News, she describes her experience in very personal terms.Last week, as the world expressed its outrage over the chemical attack launched against the citizens of Idlib by their own president, Bashar al Assad, the young Syrian-American lost eleven members of her own family in a separate, but every bit as deadly, attack.“I speak up for those who are under rubble and don’t have a mic or a camera pointed at them,” Kassir explains. It’s a heavy burden for one so young but, much like another young Muslim girl known best to the world as Malala, Amal gives one the impression she is more than up to the task. “You always consider that it might be your family that goes under the rubble,” Amal says. “It’s surreal when it finally happens, but for six years I have been working with poetry and speaking about the narrative of Syria.”Still, when the tragedy finally did strike home, Amal wondered if she would be prepared for the sight of her family member’s names written into her poetry. Then her instincts kicked in. “… when it finally came and the bomb finally hit my family’s home and took eleven people, including two unborn babies, it was like all these years of practice had prepared me for the ability to tell this story.”In the video, Amal recalls reading the words of US President Trump, expressing outrage over the deaths of babies. “No child of God” should ever perish in such a way, he had said. Amal wonders aloud, “Does it take someone to be gassed to be considered one of God’s children?” acknowledging that what happened that terrible day has been happening in Syria for six years.And yet, she expresses joy that at least one world leader finally did something, even if it happened to be the same man who has been trying to ban Syrians from entering the US since he took office. “I will never view Donald Trump as a moral, truth-telling individual, but I would respect this president if he would carry true to what he said.”If the Tomahawk strike of last Thursday is not accepted as the message it was intended to be and the slaughter in Syria doesn’t stop, then, for Amal, it becomes just another failed mission.Her thoughts return to her lost family members and she again questions what the experience will be like when she unlocks her emotion through her pen. With deep emotion she recalls her cousin, Salaam, who was the last family member Amal saw when she left Syria for the last time. Salaam, whose name means peace, died with her two-year-old daughter in her arms and another unborn child still inside of her.The emotion is raw for Amal. “I wish I would have known I would never see you again.” read more

Closing Bell TSX up amid bullish housing news traders look to Fed

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed higher Monday as traders hoped for hints this week about when the U.S. Federal Reserve may move on hiking interest rates.The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 34.23 points at 15,338.47. The Canadian dollar was up 0.02 of a cent at 91.86 cents US.A strong showing in the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index raised hopes for a rebound in the U.S. housing sector and also helped push New York’s Dow industrials up 175.83 points to 16,838.74. The Nasdaq gained 43.38 points to 4,508.31 and the S&P 500 index rose 16.67 points to 1,971.73.The Fed has kept short-term interest rates near zero since the financial crisis of 2008-2009.Traders will initially look to the Fed minutes from its latest meeting on rates on Wednesday.They’ll also look to Friday when Fed chair Janet Yellen delivers the keynote speech at the central bank’s annual meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyo., which has been the scene of other major announcements.“And in particular, they remember back two years ago signalling the next round of quantitative easing (so) I can understand why people are so focused on it,” said David Wolf, portfolio manager in the Global Asset Allocation group at Fidelity Investments, adding he doesn’t think markets will end up any the wiser about rates.“The (Fed) keeps on drilling it into us it is data dependent, not calendar dependent, and the data have been evolving generally in a positive direction that suggests that tightening is on the visible horizon. Anything more specific is just sort of market chatter that should be tuned out.”One reason higher rates are a concern is that investors could be tempted to put more of their money in investments with a higher guaranteed rate of return.Inflation plays a big part in when rates will start to head higher and traders will also consider the latest reading on the U.S. consumer price index on Tuesday. Economists are looking for inflation to come in at an annualized rate of 2%.Sentiment was also helped along after the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers held talks in Berlin over the weekend. The discussions were aimed at ratcheting down tensions in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian militias have been battling Ukrainian forces.The tech sector led TSX advancers with BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB) ahead 17 cents to $10.61 as the company said that it has created a new business unit that will combine some of its most innovative technology, including QNX embedded software, Certicom cryptography applications and its patent portfolio.The financial sector climbed 0.35% in advance of a string of earnings reports coming in from Canada’s big banks. Royal Bank (TSX:RY) reports Friday and its shares climbed 56 cents to $80.41.The metals and mining sector gained 0.25% while September copper was ahead a penny at $3.11 a pound.The gold sector shed early losses to move up about 0.2% while a lessening of geopolitical tensions pushed December bullion down $6.90 to US$1,299.30 an ounce.The energy sector was the major decliner, falling 0.42% as September crude dropped 94 cents to US$96.41 a barrel, near its lowest since April, as fears of supply disruptions from major producer Iraq faded, removing much of the risk premium that built up in May and June.The Canadian Press read more

The day press freedoms received a devastating blow

It was an unseasonably warm sunny September day when three of Britain’s most senior judges filed into court to ­consider The Telegraph’s case to publish reports of a leading businessman’s alleged sexual harassment and racist abuse of employees. Desmond Browne QC, the former Bar Council chairman representing the newspaper, told the appeal court judges that the arguments went to the heart of an independent media’s right to inform the public about issues of legitimate public interest. The public, including prospective employees, had the right to know not just about alleged misconduct but also the way in which it is claimed senior managers of the companies had swept aside employees’ complaints. …

ASOBAL Round 9 Barcelona wins derby against La Rioja

← Previous Story Bundesliga (Round 12): RN Lowen with hard-fought win keep table lead Next Story → POLL: Who deserved “wild card” for Qatar 2015? ASOBALgudjon sigurdssonKiril LazarovVictor Tomas Barcelona had a very easy job in what was supposed to be the derby of Round 9, as the second best team in the ASOBAL faced the best one. However, the Catalan side already from the beginning showed that they won’t have any trouble in Rioja as they had 7-0 lead in the first 7 minutes, and they took the first half with 19:10. The rest of the match was just formality, and the Pascual side in the end celebrated 34:23 victory. Victor Tomas with 7 was the best scorer for Barca, while Lazarov and Sigurdsson contributed 6 goals each.ASOBAL: Granollers 31:27 BM Cangas, La Rioja 23:34 FC Barcelona, Ademar 36:29 Genil, Guadalajara 26:20 Cuenca, Villa de Aranda 32:29 BM Huesca, Gijon 22:28 Puerto Sagunto, Zamora 25:33 Benidorm read more