PBSJ-Blog: Taking a break / PBSJ-Blog macht eine Pause

Dear readers

We are taking a break from our blog for a few weeks. Please check our archive which has more than 8000 posts. We hope to be back again very soon.

Best wishes
PBSJ-Blog macht eine Pause

Liebe Leser,

in den nächsten Wochen wird es leider nicht möglich sein zu bloggen. Wir hoffen auf Ihr Verständnis und verweisen auf die über 8000 Beiträge, die vielleicht für Sie von Interesse sind.

Beste Grüße

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The Arab revolutions and the rise of personal autonomy — A video interview with Samir Frangieh on Reset Doc org


The Arab revolutions and the rise of personal autonomy

“I believe that the most important phenomenon that we have witnessed during the revolutions is the rediscovery of personal autonomy,” explains Samir Frangieh, a senior Lebanese author and intellectual. “In other words: people are conscious that they can become the makers of their own history. In fact, this is rather new in a region where for decades the individual has been reduced to groups, groups to parties representing them, and parties representing them to their leader. As a result, we found ourselves in a situation in which entire countries were reduced to one person. Examples are Assad’s Syria and the entire Arab world, which was merely defined by 10 names. We are talking about 500 million people here, reduced to between 10 and 15 names. This is precisely what the Arab Spring has changed.” We interviewed Samir Frangieh in Rome, in 2013.

Interview: Nicola Missaglia
Filmmaker: Anna Fanuele

Source: http://www.resetdoc.org/story/00000022438


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How will Berlin look in five years’ time? — The Local de

From Tempelhof to Tegel, Berlins airports cause its politicians headaches. In the first of two articles, The Local looks at plans and problems for development in the city’s western half. What’s next for the West?

How will Berlin look in five years' time?

How Tegel may look from above and an architect’s idea for a temporary façade design until ICC’s future is decided. Photo: Gerkan, Marg and Partners/Tegel Projekt GmbH/J. Mayer H. & Partner

Berlin‘s Tagesspiegel newspaper recently asked its readers in an online poll: “In your view, what do rising rents and gentrification lead to?”

About half of the voters said “Berlin will lose its unique character,” while a quarter each went for “Living in the city centre will become unaffordable for average earners” or “As the economy grows, Berlin becomes more exclusive.”

The response to the question suggests many Berliners are not overly optimistic about the development path their city is taking.

Tempelhof airport                         

But that may be about to change, particularly in the western districts. It began in May with a humiliation of Berlin’s political class, when citizens voted to halt development plans, which included a library, for the former Tempelhof airport that initially had the backing of all parties in the state parliament.


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Lamwo District, Uganda: Celebrating 200 Million Doses of Mectizan® — By Dr. Frank Richards on Carter Center org

Today, we celebrate the remarkable success of Lamwo District in improving drug treatment coverage in its onchocerciasis elimination program. But we also celebrate the Carter Center’s 200 millionth and 200 million and first mass treatments with ivermectin tablets, also known as Mectizan®, donated by Merck, an American pharmaceutical company. Since the value of each treatment can reach up to $6, depending on the dose, we are talking about a donation reaching approximately $1 billion.

Eliminating river blindness in Uganda.

On Aug. 12, 2014, the 200 millionth Carter Center-assisted treatment of Mectizan was distributed in Padibe East Sub County, Lamwo District, Uganda, to Christopher Olanya, 60 (seated, center).

Over many years and in many countries, we have assisted ministries of health in distributing two hundred million treatments. Presently, we work with ministries of health in six countries in the Americas, where elimination efforts have been so successful that 96 percent of Mectizan treatments have been stopped, and we believe that four of the six countries already have completely wiped out this terrible disease forever. The Carter Center also has helped deliver Mectizan in Nigeria, Cameroon, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Uganda. But we picked Lamwo District for our celebration today because of the remarkable leadership this district has shown in a key area of the country that must improve its performance if Uganda is to eliminate onchocerciasis by 2020.

The 200 millionth and 200 million and first treatments took place in Wigweng South village, Mura parish, Padibe East Sub County.



Musicians and dancers celebrate the Carter Center and partners’  200 millionth and 200 million and first treatments of Mectizan in Wigweng South village, Mura parish, Padibe East Sub County on Aug. 12, 2014. (All Photos: The Carter Center)

Musicians and dancers celebrate the Carter Center and partners’  200 millionth and 200 million and first treatments of Mectizan in Wigweng South village, Mura parish, Padibe East Sub County on Aug. 12, 2014. (All Photos: The Carter Center)


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Israeli–Palestinian dialogue in Germany: It is possible to work together — Qantara / Deutsche Welle article by Wolfgang Dick


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Israelisch-palästinensische Dialoginitiative: Ferien vom Gaza-Krieg


While bombs are being dropped and rockets fired back home, a group of young Israelis and Palestinians has come to Germany to talk to each other and to listen to the other side of the story. By Wolfgang Dick


A group of about 50 Israelis and Palestinians aged between 20 and 35 fill the room in a conference centre near Bonn. To begin with, things are very difficult. There are tears and arguments, accusations and reproaches. Sitting together seems unbearable, almost impossible.

Yet when those participating in the two-week event start to talk about the fates of their families, the anonymous groups turn into real people; the differences between them begin to fade away. The participants communicate in Arabic and Hebrew. Interpreters are on hand to help express the intensity of their experiences and feelings.

“You hear terrible stories, and it’s really touching when other people empathise with you,” says Suad, a 35-year-old Palestinian woman. Sitting across from her is Amit, a 33-year-old Israeli who increasingly realises how little the two sides know about each other. “I don’t trust our media. They are too much a part of the conflict,” says Amit. Like others here, she wants to form her own, comprehensive picture of the situation, to have the chance to speak directly to those from the “other side”.

Back home, Amit and Suad only live 20 minutes away from each other. In reality, however, they are worlds apart. Amit lives in Jerusalem; Suad lives in the Palestinian territories and needs a special permit to cross the border. Now they and others like them have come together in Germany.

Suad (left) from Palestine and Amit from Israel (photo: KfGD)

Dialogue in a time of war: the German private initiative known as the Committee for Basic Rights and Democracy (KfGD) brings young Palestinians and Israelis together far away from the conflict zone to give them the opportunity to put their prejudices to one side and listen to each other

Private initiative

The event is organised by the KfGD, the Committee for Basic Rights and Democracy, a group run by peace activists and funded exclusively by private donations. During the bloody conflict in the former Yugoslavia, the committee made it possible for children from the war zone to spend two weeks at the seaside to give them a break from the fighting.

Since 2002, they have been facilitating meetings between young Palestinians and Israelis far from the scene of the conflict. Their idea is to offer participants the opportunity to forget their prejudices and learn that people on both sides share the same basic dreams and feelings. The association covers all costs, but relies on partner organisations such as “Breaking Borders” to use word of mouth to find potential participants in the conflict region.

All told, some 2,000 young adults, including many students, have so far travelled to Germany to meet others like them and share their stories. Against the backdrop of the current Gaza conflict, many of those in Germany told their relatives and friends back home that they were going to a holiday camp. For many, the truth is simply too sensitive.

Barbara Esser, one of the organisers of the “Holiday from War” project, understands the reasons for these white lies. “It is not acceptable where they come from,” she says. “Anyone who attempts to make contact with the other side is deemed a traitor.” She recalls one Israeli who wanted to be friends with a Palestinian on Facebook but didn’t know if he could without upsetting his friends.

At the heart of the programme is a mutual willingness to listen. Esser says it is not about forcing people to make friends, but fostering understanding and tolerance. They use role play to stage peace negotiations and come up with suggestions for solutions to the Middle East conflict.

Those involved feel that it is important to take many small steps instead of trying to come up with one major plan. Amit describes the experience as a chance to dream. “Positive visions of the future help generate hope and belief in the goal.” Very few of the participants believe the conflict will be solved by a younger generation.

Participants at the event speaking to each other (photo: KfGD)

Both sides at the dialogue event agree that the main hurdle to progress is the fear of having to make too many concessions and ultimately ending up the loser

Fear at the root of all difficulties

During their negotiations, the young Israelis and Palestinians pinpoint the basic hurdle to progress, namely the fear of having to make too many concessions and ultimately ending up the loser. There is a broad base of agreement on the importance of overcoming that feeling.

Suad is positive about the work they are doing together and sees how it can break down barriers. “Even the right-wing conservatives on both sides have started to change their thinking,” she says, adding that it helped to ask yourself what the other side would expect instead of just repeating what you yourself want. Whenever things get particularly tense, and those in charge show participants how they are slipping back into old thought patterns, both Israelis and Palestinians are surprised.

Ultimately the ice breaks whenever there is a chance for the participants to get to know each other better. Apart from playing games and going on trips, there are designated evenings devoted to the presentation of the different cultures. After cooking and eating together, there is often music, and then the unthinkable happens: Israelis and Palestinians dance together. No photos are taken for fear that they could be misunderstood.

There is a meeting of the ways here, and although participants agree that they did not have a holiday from war, they did lay the groundwork for being able to talk when they return home about the most important thing they learned, namely that it is possible to work together.

Wolfgang Dick

© Deutsche Welle 2014

Editors: Sarah Steffen/DW and Aingeal Flanagan/Qantara.de

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Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Workshop held at African Academy of Sciences

Originally posted on Ismailimail:

Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Workshop held at African Academy of SciencesThe African Academy of Sciences and its partners organized the second mentoring workshop on Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine for young African Scientists at its Nairobi Headquarters from 4 – 6 August 2014.

The young scientists from across Africa are being mentored in ways of using regenerative medicine or stem cell therapy to help prevent the increasing cases of non- communicable diseases.

The goal of the workshop was to develop knowledge and skills in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine among the selected African scientists and provided an opportunity for networking with a multidisciplinary team of experts from the African continent and other leading middle-income countries particularly China, Brazil, and India.

[...] Prof. Zul Premji, chairperson of the Aga Khan University Department of Pathology explains that the whole idea is to reduce chronic treatment of diseases. Instead of transplant, one’s own stem cells can be used to replace any organ…

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“What is Faith?” by Pir Shihabu’d-Din Shah and “Love for the Imam” by Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq


by Pir Shihabu’d-Din Shah

Faith (Iman) is like a tree, the roots of which go into the heart: its trunk is in reason, and its branches are in the instincts, while imagination is its new shoots and leaves – (senses of) the body. The foundation (asl) of faith is love for the Imam-e-Zaman (the Imam of the Time). And if this foundation, that is, this love, and the roots of faith are strong and in good condition, all other parts of the tree, such as its trunk, its branches and leaves, can be expected to continue to flourish even if they are (accidentally) damaged. If, on the contrary, the roots are not well grounded, or even rotten, the whole tree will soon dry, and then will become good for nothing except to be used as fuel.


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