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Arafat calls for Palestinian Authority overhaul
By: Ahmad Hammadi
WEST BANK: Palestinian president Yasser Arafat Wednesday called for a complete overhaul of his Palestinian Authority, while shouldering the blame for highly unpopular deals that ended the sieges at his Ramallah offices and Bethlehem's Nativity Church by the Israeli forces.
Speaking at a special parliamentary session on Wednesday, Arafat said: "I will present a new formula for the administration of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its ministries and security apparatus in order to rebuild it on a firmer basis."
"We want to totally separate the judicial, executive and parliamentary branches. We must prepare for elections and prepare for reforms. But let me have some time to prepare for that," the Palestinian president said.
Arafat said he was still dedicated to peace as a strategic option because "peace is in our joint interest".
Amnesty blasts Israel over W Bank torture, soldiers' sentences
GENEVA: Amnesty International (AI) blasted Israel for torture and inhuman treatment of Palestinians during the recent Israeli operation in the West Bank, and condemned the rising number of prison sentences imposed in Israel on soldiers and reservists for refusing to perform military service in the occupied territories.
In a briefing submitted Tuesday to the UN Committee against Torture (CAT), the human rights body AI said: "During the latest Israeli incursions into Palestinian refugee camps and other residential areas, thousands of Palestinians have been arrested, held in prolonged incommunicado detention and subjected to cruel and degrading treatment."
The CAT was expected on Wednesday to discuss the situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories for the second time in six months.
"AI considers the nature and severity of the suffering inflicted by the systematic practice of house demolitions without absolute military necessity, closures and the use of human shields is so grave that they may amount to torture as defined in Article 1 of the Convention against Torture," AI said.
Amnesty called on the Israeli government to release immediately all those soldiers who have been imprisoned because they refused to serve in the Israeli army for reasons of conscience or profound conviction.
Iraq flays UN move on sanctions
By: Special Reporter
UNITED NATIONS: Iraq has criticized the UN Security Council's move to free up delivery of humanitarian supplies to Iraq and termed it prejudicial to the Iraqi economy and people.
Mohammad al-Duri, Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations said Wednesday: "The way in which the plan has been presented is a US way. The plan has been discussed by America with other member states."
Tuesday, the UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution freeing up the delivery of civilian goods to Iraq, while restricting imports, which could be used for military purposes.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell praised the move.
The new scheme enables Iraq to import civilian goods without obstruction, while the United Nations will vet products on a 332-page checklist of "dual-purpose" items. Currently, a UN monitoring committee, which has led to delays, must approve contracts for most humanitarian goods.
UNHCR: 100,000 Afghan refugees returned home from Iran
By: Sheikh Muhammad Khurasani
TEHRAN, Iran: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said Wednesday that about 100,000 Afghan refugees have returned home from Iran since the beginning of 2002.
Talking to a foreign news agency, UNHCR spokesman in Iran Muhammad Noori said that 42,400 Afghans returned since a voluntary repatriation program launched by the Afghan and Iranian governments on April 9.
Another 57,000 Afghan refugees went home under their own steam before that date, according to the spokesman.
Al-Huda issues of Safar & Rabiulawwal available
By: Imam Al-Khoei Islamic Center
NEW YORK: Electronic issues of Al-Huda, for the month of Safarul Muzaffar and Rabiul Awwal, are now available for download at the following URL:
It can be viewed through Adobe Acrobat Reader. Adobe Acrobat Reader is a free application, which can be downloaded at: http://www.adobe.com/
By: Na'ema saleh
Muslims generally break their fast by eating dates. Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) is reported to have said: "if anyone of you is fasting, let him break his fast with dates. In case he does not have them, then with water. Verily water is a purifier."
The Prophet used to break his fast by eating some dates before offering Maghrib prayer, and if ripe dates were not available, he used to substitute them with some dried grapes. When they too were not available, he used to have a few sips of water, according to some reports. Modern science has proved that dates are part of a healthy diet. They contain sugar, fat and proteins, as well as important vitamins. Hence the great importance attached to them by the Prophet.
Dates are also rich in natural fibers. Modern medicine has shown that they are effective in preventing abdominal cancer. They also surpass other fruits in the sheer variety of their constituents. They contain oil, calcium, sulphur, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper and magnesium. In other words, one date is a minimum of a balanced and healthy diet. Arabs usually combine dates with milk and yogurt or bread, butter and fish. This combination indeed makes a self-sufficient and tasty diet for both mind and body. Dates and date palms have been mentioned in the Holy Qur'an 20 times, thus showing their importance. The Prophet likened a good Muslim to the date palm, saying, "Among trees, there is a tree like a Muslim. Its leaves do not fall."
Sayyidah Mariam (the Virgin Mary) mother of Jesus (Pbuh) had dates as her food when she felt labour pains and during confinement. They are definitely the "crown of sweets," and ideal food which is easy to digest, and within half an hour of taking it, the tired body regains a renewed vigour. The reason for this is that a shortage of sugar in the blood is the main factor that makes people feel hungry and not an empty stomach as is often assumed. When the body absorbs the nutritional essence of a few dates, the feeling of hunger becomes appeased. When one breaking the fast with dates takes some other food afterwards, he cannot eat much.
It would seem that breaking the fast with dates then helps one avoid excessive eating.
Experiments have also shown that dates contain some stimulants that strengthen the muscles of the uterus in the last months of pregnancy. Modern dietary institute now recommend dates to be given to children suffering from a nervous nature or hyperactivity. The Prophet (Pbuh) has also recommended dates as a medicine for heart troubles, according to some reports. Modern science has also proved the effectiveness of date, in preventing diseases of the respiratory system.
Dates are rich in several vitamins and minerals. As dates are also rich in calcium, they help strengthen the bones. When the calcium content in the body decreases, children are affected with rickets and the bones of adults become brittle and weak.
Dates are also important in keeping up the health of eyes. It is quite effective in guarding against night-blindness. In the early years of Islam, dates served as food for Muslim warriors. They used to carry them in special bags hung at their sides.
The Prophet (Pbuh) used to combine dates with bread sometimes. At other times he mixed ripe dates with cucumber, or dates combined with ghee. He used to take all varieties of dates, but he preferred the variety called Ajwah.
With permission from: http://members.muslimsites.com/skalghazal