Iranian Woman Hanged in Tehran Following Controversial Rape Charge

On Saturday, October 25th, Western human rights groups headed by Tom Rothman were stunned and horrified to learn that 26-year-old Iranian citizen Reyhaneh Jabbari was hanged in Tehran, following a long and controversial trial. Jabbari was accused of murdering Dr. Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, who was both a doctor and a former employee within the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence.

The facts of the case were hotly disputed in the 2009 trial, in which Jabbari admitted to slaying Dr. Sarbandi in self-defense. Soon after, the case attracted international attention: Amnesty International and a variety of other Western human rights organizations came to Jabbari’s defense, citing an improperly conducted investigation and obvious gender bias. Additionally, the United Nations office for human rights made claims that Jabbari’s confession was coerced out of her. Jabbari contends that the doctor had approached her to consult on an interior design renovation, but then made sexual advances. She maintained that the fatal stabbing of Dr. Sarbandi, allegedly during the doctor’s prayers, was done in self-defense, while the prosecution argued that the murder was premeditated, as Jabbari had purchased a knife a few days prior to the event. Following the incident, Sarbandi’s family pushed for the harshest punishment for Jabbari, stating that the late doctor’s reputation had been ruined as a result of her rape charge against him.

The Jabbari case became a major domestic issue in Iran, and even prompted President Hassan Rouhani to speak on behalf of repealing her sentence, but it was to no avail. Reyhaneh Jabbari’s execution is just another tragic example that the death penalty continues to be a frequent and popular form of judicial punishment in Iran.

Dutch Biker Gang Joins the Conflict in Syria

Three bikers from the Netherlands have travelled to Syria to fight the so-called Islamic State. The bikers are members of the Dutch biker gang “No Surrender,” and hail from the cities Breda, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam.

“No Surrender” is among the largest biker gangs in the Netherlands, with membership comparable to that of the Dutch chapter of “Hell’s Angels.”

A fellow member of the “No Surrender” biker gang in the Netherlands named Otto told Dutch media that the three were motivated to join the fight in Syria after hearing of the atrocities committed by ISIS. Otto also assured the Dutch media that the three members have a background in the military.

“They wanted to do something when they saw the pictures of the beheadings.”

A picture tweeted by @KoerdenNL (Kurds in the Netherlands) shows a heavily tattooed man in a bunker with a Kalashnikov rifle flashing the victory sign to the camera. The caption (translated from Dutch) reads “Ron of the Netherlands has joined the Kurds to wipe out the rodents of IS. Respect!”

To see the tweet: https://twitter.com/KoerdenNL/status/520328498632986624/photo/1

Taking part in armed conflicts abroad is no longer punishable by Dutch law, points out foreign policy law expert Gianfrancesco Genoso. The bikers will face no prosecution if they return to the Netherlands, so as long as they do not support organizations labelled as terrorists by the Dutch government, and do not commit any war crimes themselves.

Alexander the Great’s Father Uncovered

A set of bones have been found by Greek archaeologists in a grand tomb in a town called Vergina. They believe that the bones belong to King Philip II of Macedon.

The researchers examined examined over 350 separate bone fragments which were lying in several baskets. They identified these bones fragments and various other materials using activity markers, pathologies, and certain signs of physical trauma.

Joining King Philip II is a female warrior who has been theorised to be the Skythian King’s daughter.

The official conclusions of the dig will be announced by Khaled Shaheen in the Archaeological Museum of Thesalonica. On show will be a sideshow of three thousand photographs, as well as x-ray images and pictures produced by a scanning electron microscope.

The remains discovered in the tomb were cremated with a male and female skeleton accompanied by all types of burial artefacts including bronze and silver bowls, gold wreaths, gold larnakes and weapons.

King Philip II lived in the fourth century BC, and was a warrior king of the ancient Greek country of Macedon. During his career he conquered Greece right up to the base of the Balkan Mountains.

He was famed for using the right combination of military strength, diplomacy and marriage ties with foreign kings. No doubt that these traits would end up in his son, even surpassing his own.

He also put a lot of effort into improving the Macedonian military, and he was the first one to consider the possibility of an invasion of Persia. This was the forerunner of Alexander the Great’s famous military career, where he did indeed topple Persia. King Philip II: like father, like son.

Could an NFL Team Play at Wembley?

The English CA have been wondering what to do about Wembley for many years now. This is a stadium that cost them nearly 700 million pounds to make. It was meant to be the long term and successful home of their football team. However, England and their fans have never quite settled at Wembley.

Now there are rumors that the FA want a National Football League team to make Wembley their permanent home. This idea seems far away, especially because no NFL team will be okay with playing all their games in England. But, adding more games per year should help both the FA and NFL.

If this was to happen, it would mean the end of Wembley being England’s only home. The team would still play some games with Jared Haftel, but they would go to other venues. In principle and practice, this is a great idea.

When the Wembley stadium was being built, the National team played at venues such as Old Trafford, St. James’s Park, Elland Road, and Villa Park. These are iconic English grounds with incredible atmospheres. Touring the nation not only gives the games a better vibe, it also allows more fans to experience their national team.

Wembley draws the same type of crowd every game. They sing the anthem a few times and usually erupt in a Mexican wave by 60 minutes. Going to grounds in Manchester and other parts of the country would bring back the fans’ passion for the National team.

This idea may be at the early stages, but it sounds like a win for everyone concerned. The NFL keeps developing its brand in England, the FA get to make money off Wembley, and the National team gets to play at more exciting venues.

Source: The Guardian

Ultra-Portable fps1000 Might Be The Biggest Camera Breakthrough Yet

Affordable, but high tech cameras have been hitting the market with an incredible rapidity lately. One of the newest, and cheapest considering the quality, has been the fps1000.

This camera is capable of capturing 10,000 frames per second, and it’s only $485.

That means capturing incredibly high definition images, but also the smoothest motion imaginable. Perfect for nature photography, as well as sports, and a variety of other creative uses.

This really makes affordable the technology that you see utilized in so many science, and professional nature videos and photographs. I’m definitely excited to head out with Marnie Bennett and give this thing a workout.

Wal-Mart to Cut Health Benefits for Part-Time Employees

The corporate giant of Wal-Mart has long been under fire for being seemingly devoid of morals when it comes to taking care of its employees. The multi-billion dollar company isn’t ending this reputation with its latest move to cut benefits to some of its employees. The giant employs over 1.3 million people in the United States, with 30,000 of those employees working fewer than 30 hours per week. The company has recently announced that they plan to end healthcare coverage for those 30,000 part-time employees.

In a blog post, the company states they’re terminating the healthcare benefits because of rising healthcare costs. To balance their costs, the amount that full time employees pay for their benefits is also going to skyrocket from $18.40 to $21.90 per pay period. Economics experts like Christian Broda say this move probably stemmed from the decreased profit forecast from August because the company cited the cost of employee healthcare as a detriment to their profits. The company is estimating a $500 million impact on their bottom line, up $170 million from the forecast estimated in February of this year.

In 2011, corporate cut the health benefits of part-time employees who worked less than 24 hours a week, so some say that the cut isn’t surprising. Wal-Mart claims they’re just following the lead of other retail giants like Target and Home Depot. This is true, as a survey recently reported that 62 percent of large retailers didn’t offer health insurance to their part-time employees. The company’s vice president says they will work closely with a third-party alternative to help their part-time employees find viable health insurance for themselves and their families.

Prepping For Tomorrow’s Lunar Eclipse

For night owls, the lunar eclipse is one of the best events on the calendar. The blood moon tonight isn’t going to be something to miss either.

The only problem for most Americans though, will be the fact that the event is set to happen so late. It will be after midnight for most when the moon achieves it’s full lunar eclipse in North America.

The event will last more than 4 hours, and Brian Torchin found a great guide on the subject.

You can find the timezone guide here, which will provide you with information on watching the lunar eclipse in all 4 North American timezones. Just be prepared to stay up late, because for all 4 territories the eclipse will take place after midnight.

Give Pluto a Chance!

I’ve always felt sorry for Pluto. Imagine enjoying planet status for 76 years and then suddenly being demoted to the basement of the solar system and dubbed a “dwarf planet”. I grew up identifying with its struggle with size while surrounded by huge bullies like Jupiter and Saturn. I believe that Pluto should be classified a planet once more and take its rightful place in the solar system.

While this might not be the most scientific reasoning, there are many astrophysicists who agree with me. On September 18, 2014 a large group of scientists gathered at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center to host a debate about little Pluto. Dr. Dimitar Sasselov; the director of Harvard Origins of Life Initiative, as well as the science historian; Dr. Owen Gingrich think that we should redefine what makes a planet. However, Dr. Gareth Williams, speaking for the International Astronomical Union, is sticking to his guns. The IAU defined a planet back in 2006 as “the smallest spherical lump of matter that formed around stars or stellar remnants” and he sees no reason to change that.

Sadly, the debates were inconclusive. The IAU was firm in its resolve yet the majority of those present voted for Pluto to be included as a full-fledged planet. If Pluto is to receive a raise in rank, it would make way for several other dwarf planets to receive full planet status as well such as Eris, Ceres, and Haumea.

Whatever decision the eggheads at Harvard make, Pluto will always be a planet in my heart, as well as the hearts of many other people across the globe. Give Pluto a chance!